Tag Archives: food photography

Photo Visit – Ask for Luigi – March 2015

15 Mar

305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1C4

T: 604 428 2544
www.askforluigi.com

I normally don’t pay too much attention to the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates Awards, as my opinion is often very different from other voters so the results usually just leave me irritated. This year, however, I actually agreed with some of the winners. One of my favourite restaurants, Ask for Luigi, won this year’s “Best New Restaurant” award and they beat Cioppino’s (!!) to take out top spot in the “Best Italian” category. I’ve been loving what they’ve been doing ever since they opened so I am thrilled for them (although this win will make it even harder to get a table now).

When I’m asked what I like about Ask for Luigi, I give the same answer that I give about Nook (one of my other favourites); it is unpretentious, relaxed, and provides great food and wine at affordable prices. These are the places that you want to go to after a busy week at work, or to catch-up with friends or your significant other, where you know you will leave feeling happy that you got value for money, but more importantly, that the food was of a high standard. Plus, I love a place that remembers their regular visitors and treats you like a friend when you return.

I went for a late lunch a few weeks ago with a friend and we ended up having a long, boozy lunch (isn’t that how all Italian meals should go?) that consisted of the following dishes:

Brussels & crispy pork belly agro dolce– $10

Gnocchi, squash, sage & whipped ricotta – $15

Bucatini all’amatriciana – $15

Olive Oil Cake – $8

Chocolate budino – $8

Although we enjoyed the whole meal, there were a few dishes that stood apart from the others.

1/ The brussels, with crispy pork belly and crunchy hazelnuts, were a great introduction to the meal. I loved the texture of this dish (lots of crunch from the nuts and pork, but a softness from the brussels).

2/ The gnocci was incredibly light and soft, with a hint of earthiness from the sage. A must order.

3/ We both battled spoons over the subtle olive oil cake. We should have ordered two.

If you’ve not been, I recommend a visit to Ask for Luigi to see what all the fuss is about. If you need further persuading (really?!), check out their Instagram feed for some tantalizing food pics.

Photo Visit – Nook – June 2013

16 Jun

781 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L6

T: 604 568 4554
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Brief Description: Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog just how much I enjoy visiting Nook. I dare say that it is my favourite restaurant in the city. Not because of any one thing but it is the combination of the friendly service, well-executed food, the unpretentious and intimate space, and the value for money, that make it a favourite. B and I love visiting Nook whenever we want to go out for a romantic, yet affordable, evening. This meal, plus 2 glasses of wine and a beer, came to just under $100.

Nook

Burrata and Proscuitto – $18

P1070318

Daily Pasta Special: Pork Ragu – $19
P1070322Italian Sausage Pizza – $15

Rumour has it that Nook will be opening their Kitsilano location in July. I, for one, cannot wait and I have my fingers crossed that they are able to keep the same standard that they consistently deliver at the West End location.

Nook on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Kintaro Ramen – May 2013

27 May

788 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L5

When I moved to Canada six years ago, I honestly didn’t know much about Vancouver but I came equipped with a Lonely Planet and a Time Out guide and got to learning more. I studied the dining out section of the Time Out guide and endeavoured to visit the restaurants and cafés that I was reading about (I would even check them off in the book after each visit). One of the places that I read about that stood out in my mind was Kintaro Ramen. Having not eaten ramen before arriving in Vancouver, I knew that this would be one of the first places that I would visit (and it was). When I lived in the West End, I would frequent Kintaro Ramen with my sister because the tasty bowls of broth and noodles were warming on cold Vancouver nights, and they were cheap.

Years later, I have now eaten ramen all across the city and Kintaro Ramen’s light doesn’t burn as bright for me as it did all those years ago. Yes, you can still get a delicious bowl of salty ramen but is it still the best in the city? I will leave that argument for the ramen-aficionados of the city. Regardless of its ranking, I returned a few nights ago to the busy, cramped ramen joint on Denman and it would seem as though nothing has changed. There is a still a queue. The service is still spotty and hurried. The prices are still cheap.

Pan Fried Gyoza

Miso ramen

Shio Ramen

Paris – the city of the expanding waistline

12 Dec

What do you do when you have only 30 hours to spend in Paris? If you are like me then you make an itinerary of must-see food places and spend your time sniffing them out and gorging on the bounty that you manage to acquire.

I was recently in London for work and, as a treat to myself, I jumped on the Eurostar and found myself in Paris for a 30 hour jaunt. Having been to Paris numerous times before, this trip was completely and utterly about over-indulging.

In preparation for the trip, I recently read “Paris, my Sweet” by Amy Thomas, and used the suggestions in the book to plan my itinerary. I based myself close to Notre Dame so that I could walk to most places (a small gesture to burn off some of the calories I would be consuming).

It was only seconds after stepping out of the Metro that I found myself surrounded by a small farmers market, and as a result, completely captivated by the food. Jars of foie gras, poultry birds with their heads and feathers still on, sausages, and cheese – everywhere I looked there was food! This was my kinda city!

The one thing that I noticed this time around more so than on previous trips, was the aroma of food. I know that it is a cliché to talk about the smells of the city, but in Paris you truly do notice hunger-inducing scents as you walk through the city. On more than one occasion I was guided by the smell of warm baked bread wafting down the street, and fromageries were just as enticing, with their pungent smells creeping out to greet you.

Here is a list of places that I visited on my short trip. Please note that I have not included my dinner at Le Chateaubriand (post coming soon!).

Eric Kayser – I definitely recommend a visit to Eric Kayser. I was lucky enough to be staying around the corner from one and there was constant queue throughout the day – folks hoping to snag fresh, warm bread. I wasted no time jumping in the line myself and sat on a park bench beside Notre Dame and stuffed myself with the still-warm, crunchy baguette, salty French butter, and some cheese. And I finished it all off with a framboise tarte. Yum! I’m not ashamed to admit that I returned the next day – twice – once for a butter croissant, and another time for a baguette and some madelines for the train ride home.

Gerard Mulor – If you are pressed for time, then I’d recommend a visit to this store more than all of the others that I visited. The Gerard Mulor store that I visited was everything a quintessential viennoiserie store should be. Beautiful towers of macarons in the windows, delicate pastries and cakes tantalizing from glass cabinets, and the air was filled with the smell of a mix of buttery pastries and yeasty baked bread. The croissant was crunchy, with a darker bottom than others that I’d tried, and was more chewy than flaky. The café crème that I ordered was robust but milky and the berry pastry (I didn’t catch the French name) was delectable. Everything was picture perfect.

Regis Chocolates – I had three croissants in one morning and one was from Regis. It was very good – this is Paris, of course it’s going to be good – but I preferred the croissants from Eric Kayser and Gerard Mulor more.

Angelina – I had to visit Angelina for one of their famous chocolat chaud. Unfortunately, it was far too rich and chocolate-y for me. I barely finished even a quarter of it and at €4.90 for a small cup, I wanted to! Here’s a tip, there is a huge line-up but that is for the tea-rooms. If you want your hot chocolate to go, then skip past the line (I didn’t know this until I reached the end of the queue – doh!).

Jean-Paul Hevin – I was overwhelmed walking into the beautiful (and slightly posh) Jean-Paul store. There were beautiful, elegant chocolates all over the store and I wanted them all! However, I am just one person with one stomach, so I ended up ordering the mousse chocolat traditionnelle for €4.70 and it was exquisite. I believe there are tea-rooms upstairs, so I’d recommend sitting in to eat. Not cheap, but absolutely worth it for the chocolate lovers.

Pierre Hermé – The Parisians take their macarons seriously. So seriously, in fact, that you aren’t allowed to take photos inside their stores. I felt like I spent a lot of my trip lining up for delectable treats and Pierre Hermé was no exception. These were my favourite macarons that I tried whilst in Paris. My favourite was the white truffle with hazelnut (such an interesting flavour) and the crème brulee was good too. Not badly priced at €1.95 each.

Ladurée – Even though I was completely disappointed with the macarons from Ladurée in London, I had to try them again. Unfortunately, they didn’t gain back any ground and I was left completely disappointed with the macarons at Ladurée. They seemed flat to me – less airy than the ones from Pierre Hermé. Also, the flavours were very standard and not very interesting. I’m still scratching my head, wondering what all the fuss is about.

Even though I was alone in the “City of Love”, I was with one of my loves the whole time – food. I can’t think of a more suitable city for someone who loves baked goods of all types. It was a blessing in disguise that I was only able spend a limited time in Paris or I would have come back the size of a (happy) house.

French Toast and Hermit Friday Nights

13 Aug

Every so often, on a Friday night, rather than going out and celebrating the beginning of the weekend, I go against social norms and hermit at home. After a busy week, I find it soothing for the soul to spend time by myself, whether that be whilst cooking, or reading, or spending countless hours on Pinterest (seriously, where does the time go?!).

When the clock hit 5.30pm last Friday night, I was done. I couldn’t be bothered to do anything, nor talk to anyone. Yes, it is anti-social but sometimes that’s just how it is. All I wanted to do was go home, cook myself a yummy dinner, and practice my food photography.

I was as happy as a bee making French Toast, drowning it in maple syrup and raspberry syrup, and sitting on my patio, demolishing it. I’m an adult. I can do this sort of stuff now. 

Garnate gems

It mightn’t be the “cool” thing to do but sometimes Friday nights in by yourself just rock.

What do you like to do when you have the house to yourself? What activities do you find replensh your soul?