February was filled with family visits and gatherings with friends celebrating the Lunar New Year. There were new discoveries and return visits to old favourites and some long forgotten places, all filled with pleasant little surprises.
OINK OINK OINK:
So Hyang Korean Cuisine: Perfectly grilled mackerel for me and Korean Galbi (beef short ribs) for him; tasty authentic cuisine on Fraser Street at reasonable prices.
Lunar New Year Feasts at Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine and Red Star Chinese Restaurant: Great Food and Fun times: A huge thank you to my zumba classmates (you know who you are) for arranging these special dinners (OO)
Fall has always been my favourite season ; I simply love the colours, the weather and the beautiful and delicious local harvests! I was overly excited and overextended myself a little with Thanksgiving family dinner and cooking classes (which I love!), I ended up catching a cold. Yikes! Changing seasons is a very tricky time period, we should all be extra mindful in taking care of our bodies in order to prepare for the long winter season ahead.
A couple of months ago I came across True Nosh through Instagram, what I found intriguing about True Nosh is their focus on “no added sugar” cooking! Coming from a family with history of diabetes (on my maternal side of family), I thought I could learn something new to even further reduce the usage of sugar in foods prepared for my family.
I browsed through their website and signed up for the Chinese Green scallion cake (one of my favourite Chinese snacks) class; I think most of you by now know “working with dough” and cooking Chinese food is not my strong suit (Ha ha).
The class focused mainly on demonstration by owner and certified dietitian Ms. Renee Chan; only a small part requires hands on participation.
What is no added sugar cooking? Ms. Chan finds a creative way to use the natural sweetness from fruits and vegetables to replace refined sugars in traditional cooking. A lot of restraint is exercised by limiting the quantities so sugar content is lower and the dishes are lightly sweetened.
The menu for the evening also includes braised beef shank (which goes very well with the green scallion cakes) and mango mochi (without added sugar) as dessert. The dough was proof ahead of time by Ms. Chan and her team; the six class participants helped to roll out the dough and shaped the actual pancakes while Renee would cook and teach us Chinese (simple Chinese words in Cantonese and Mandarin) at the same time, she certainly made it fun and relaxing for everyone.
What did she use to replace the refined sugar? A small quantity of chopped red dates and apricots were used to create to a paste and added into the braised beef shank (picture not shown) as sweetener. (The usage of this ingredient was featured at another vegetarian/vegan class which I attended later – see below). After a most enjoyable evening, I decided to sign up for her “moon-cake making” class.
The second class was held at her newest location (West 7th avenue and Ontario Street, very close to Main), Renee and her team prepared all the ingredients and dough ahead of time, and participants only assemble and created the moon cakes with the beautiful tools provided. For the filling she has selected lotus (paste made from seeds) and red date (paired), mung bean and apricot (paired), red bean and purple yam to create the fillings, green tea powder and saffron were used as natural food colouring to change the “skin” colour. The textures and flavors are definitely different from store-bought “snow-skin” moon cakes, it is more rustic and not as sweet.
Renee and her team are helpful and friendly, I had the best time chatting with her about cooking and travel! Her family was also present that afternoon and I was delighted to have met her mother, the atmosphere was very warm and personal. All recipes were sent to participants via email with nutritional information.
Her company also offers a range of sauces and condiments with funky names and interesting flavor profile for Chinese cooking. Check out her website for more information. Thank you Renee and team for the connecting, see you at one of your classes another time!
I like her overall concept and support for a good cause (ending diabetes); and I am already thinking how I can introduce this “no refined sugar” method to my family and friends. I do think this a better option however it is still important to exercise personal judgement and stay well-informed on what suits your own dietary needs….As I always say, always cook with lots of care and love.
Learn and Nourish at Workshop Vegetarian Cafe (296 Pemberton Road, North Vancouver, BC)
In the past couple years more vegetarian and vegan restaurants have opened up in Greater Vancouver, even regular restaurants now offer more vegetarian and vegan options. Most of their flavor profile tend to be either Mediterranean or Middle eastern inspired, there are only just a handful of authentic Asian-flavored ( Chau Veggie Express) centric vegetarian friendly eateries operating in Vancouver.
The Workshop Vegetarian Cafe opened in 2016 and they well-known for their creative veggie bowls and signature ramen creations. Owner Tak and his wonderful team have created a Japanese menu featuring fresh seasonal and local ingredients. This delightful gem is very welcoming and cosy; it offers a complete vegetarian menu, with gluten-free and vegan options available; inside they operate a “corner shop which sells produce, frozen noodles (their in-house made udon/ramen), vegan and gluten-free condiments. I first visited this cafe in September 2016 with my friend “Kanekic” and really enjoyed their avocado toast and ramen.
I came across their workshop information through Instagram, apparently they have started to offer special workshops almost on a monthly basis with different themes.
On a beautiful Sunday morning I attended their sake kasu workshop, the focus is on the explanation and demonstration of key ingredient “sake lees” used in four recipes (which was given to us also), and a special five course lunch was included afterwards.
The demonstration was hosted by one of the chefs Oku-san, who is from Artisan Sake Maker at Granville Island, Canada’s first local sake maker (opened since 2007). You may ask what is sake kasu? It is the lees left over from sake production; it is a versatile ingredient which can be use as a marinade or pickling agent, adds lots of flavor to soups and sauces. If you taste the kasu on its own, the flavor itself is actually quite strong, so very little is needed in all applications.
In the demo class he taught us how to create of amazake (Japanese New Years drink), Vegan Chocolate Banana Smoothie, Miso Marinade and Vegan Mayonnaise; we all get to sample them afterwards and we were all given a small tub of sake kasu to take home for our cooking experiments.
The biggest surprise came when lunch was served; Oku-san and his friends, three other experienced chefs who work at different establishments in BC, they collaborated and created an exquisite five course lunch which exceeded my expectations. The meal was perhaps could easily ranked as the best vegetarian I’ve had in Vancouver, it is so wonderful to see we have high calibre chefs collaborating together and showcased not only their individual talent, but their superb team work; as a home cook, I left with not only a full stomach but also a very inspired mind.
I will be returning in November to attend a dashi-making workshop, I simply look forward to see what they have to offer next time. Meanwhile if you are unable to make it to Vancouver, check out their postings on Instagram; their feed is very positive and inspirational. Thank you very much Tak and team for the inspiration!
I have taken many cooking classes, however this is the first time I came across a knife sharpening workshop being taught in Vancouver.
I am completely clueless on this subject matter; I usually hone them with a steel (learn through YouTube and not sure exactly what I was doing) and take them out for service when required.
Our kitchen knives are our best friends; they are the most used tools in the kitchen, come to think of it, we spend a lot of time prepping our ingredients!
You may think these days we can practically learn almost anything on YouTube, so why a workshop?
It is a personal decision based on the way how I learn, I also happen to enjoy exchanges and connections with people in general (at times flipping between being an introvert and extrovert).
On this particular subject matter, I have tried to watch videos, I realize I need to see first hand in reality how it is done with instructions and thorough explanations.
So two weekends ago on a Sunday morning I overcame my fear (of the unknown) and spent two hours, together with three other students, learn about the basic principles of knife sharpening through Vancouver Chinatown’s Ai and Om Knives‘ ; the workshop was taught by local chef and shop owner Douglas Chang.
Ai and Om Knives carries a curated selection of Japanese knives and accessories; the first time I came across this specialty shop was actually through Instagram. When they opened last summer in August (official opening in October), I paid a visit and purchased my treasured nakiri bocho , a Japanese knife specifically used for cutting vegetables. My first experience at the store was very pleasant and positive so I subsequently subscribed to their newsletter.
I was truly elated when I saw their workshop schedule recently, I signed up immediately through email without any second thoughts.
On the day of we all brought their own knives for sharpening, fees were paid ($75.00 for the session) before the workshop started and I also purchased the split whetstone (discount given to students who signed up) , I was a bit scared and I was all ready to go, not knowing what to expect! The workshop was taught at the back of the shop where our “sensei” (teacher) spent the first half explaining clearly the technical terms and principles; he later proceed with a demonstration and sufficient time was allocated for our own hands on practice.
I admit initially I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin as there were just a lot of information to remember and understand; in the spur of the moment I decided not to overthink and calmly focus on what our “sensei” has explained earlier, breaking it down step by step (the precis writing skills acquired back in secondary school really helped to pick out the “Key” words and points) and slowly got into it. Although the technicalities are very important, if we put all things aside, the process itself is actually very simple and rustic, it just comes down to the knife, the stone, your own concentration and focus.
Personally at that moment the lesson transcended into something more enlightening, I was engaged in a short “self-realization” journey, directing my own focus to be “in the moment” and learn how to appreciate the simplicities in life. I found the process to be very calming and therapeutic, I enjoyed it tremendously, much to my own surprise.
I was enjoying the process and did not even think of the results until it was time for the true test to see if I achieved what I was taught: to test and see if the knife will slice through paper effortlessly. I was absolutely thrilled when my nakiri “swished” through the paper….. I was more excited about the fact that I overcame the fear of another “unknown” .
I am not going to get into the details of knife sharpening as I have only learnt the basics and currently digesting what I have learnt; I assure you the session was informative and in the end you will be equipped with enough basic information to start sharpening your knives at home, and gained a better understanding of the art of knives and sharpening techniques. Hats off to local chef and owner Douglas Chang; he is very knowledgeable and articulate speaker who shows great patience and exerts a calming presence. Thank you very much for a very meaningful and eye-opening lesson.
My other thoughts on this experience: Never stop learning and practice definitely makes progress! Take good care of our kitchen tools will definitely help us to become more efficient with our meal preparations; improved efficiency will ease our minds, our focus will become clearer, and time will then be saved.
And time, perhaps is the most precious gift, spending time together with family and friends is the true expression of love and care.
Note: Ai and Om Knives is located in the heart of Vancouver Chinatown, 129 East Pender Street. Besides selling knives, they also carries a range of accessories , provide knife sharpening services and hosting workshops. Check their website for more details.
PS Note to my dear friend James; My knives will always be sharp from now on (OO).
During the BC Day Long weekend, my friend “Kanekic” brought me along on a short tour at Birak Berry Farm with the owner.
We didn’t go berry picking, however it was fascinating to learn about the berry farming business briefly over a 1 hour short tour. She was very nice and patient and answered many of my questions related to berry varieties, seasonality, harvesting, equipment and processing; the entire operation is very extensive and more complex than I ever imagined! We went home with really sweet strawberries and blueberries; thank you very much again for the wonderful time and delicious berries.
The farm is open to public for berry picking, for information please check the BC Strawberry growers Association website.
Two weekends ago I finally made it to Krause Berry Farm! As it is already the tail end of berry picking season, we only went for a short time to enjoy their delicious strawberries (Sweet) and waffles (Picture below, reduced whipped cream (trying to be good)) at their outdoors dining patio. The line up was quite long but the friend worked so efficiently we didn’t really have to wait long! The waffles were crispy, however I would definitely ask to have the toppings on the side next time. We quickly walked through their wine tasting room and spent a little time in their shop which is filled with goodies from their farm and a nice selection of kitchen ware (Danger zone for me!). The ambience is warm and friendly, I will definitely make it back much earlier next year. For their offerings and year-round schedule, visit their website for more information.
Premium Rice Donburi and Affordable Omakase at Tetsu Sushi Bar ( 775 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC)
Tetsu sushi baris a 14-seat Japanese sushi restaurant located on Denman Street (at Robson); I was first introduced to this small gem by my friends J and VG (A Big Thank you to both of you!). The experienced owners used to work in a well-known Japanese restaurant in Richmond; opened since April, lately this little gem is slowly building up their reputation and gaining some attention from local food lovers.
This friendly little place offers an extensive menu of cooked foods and very good quality sushi at reasonable pricing; their lunch sets in particular I find are of great value and the food quantity is in line with their pricing.
I have been to Tetsu on a few occasions for lunch and dinner, I am honestly hooked on their premium rice, which is only offered when you order their donburi (my personal fave is the unagi don). The aroma is enticing (I think I smelled konbu), the texture is not sticky, and you can pick up and taste each grain. My other favourite item on their menu is the Yamaimo salad with plum dressing, which adds an interesting flavor to the salad (I love Japanese dried plums and use them quite often in my cooking) and tastes so refreshing.
They also offer omakase dinners (basic start at $45.00 per person) which includes 3 kinds of appetizer, 5 piece daily sushi, inaniwa udon (cold or hot) and ice cream. For additional costs you can upgrade to premium 5 piece or 7 piece daily sushi; follow them on @tetsusushibar_van.
We shared many dishes including an upgraded premium omakase which includes the bluefin tuna (a very guilty indulgence I admit); the fish were very fresh and clean tasting.
The space has a very humble and neighbourhood feel, as seating is limited, it is more suitable for small gathering (4 at most to sit comfortably) and it is better to call ahead to make reservations.
Found on Instagram: Temaki Sushi on Arbutus:
I didn’t even know this restaurant existed until recently I saw postings popping up through Instagram.
I saw a very enticing sushi lunch picture on Instagram posted by a renowned Vancouver chef, so I decided to have lunch at Temaki Sushi one Friday afternoon.
Their in-house chef known as @sushi_hil has posted a lot of delicious sashimi pictures on Instagram, showcasing his skill and the offerings from the restaurant.
I was skeptical and nervous when I first walked in, the decor is nothing like a typical Japanese eatery.
It was a very busy lunch hour; I was greeted and seated promptly by a friendly staff.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I looked over the Specials Board and decided to go with what I have seen on Instagram (gut feeling), so I went with the nigiri sushi special, 8 pieces priced at $28.00. The fish was very fresh, there was offering of fresh wasabi (for a small additional cost) and the sauce for the aburi was light; this is definitely a personal preference as I am not keen on anything which is too heavy-handed.
When I finished my lunch and asked for the bill, I met another server (her name is Ellen) who was very friendly and started to chat with me, asking for feedback and tell me more about the background of the restaurant and its owners.
We often read a lot of reviews and ask for recommendations before we try out a new restaurant; often we would go in with a certain level of preconceived notion; if there is one lesson to be learnt – everyone deserves a chance.
Oh my it is almost the end of July and I have been on “hiatus” since late May! I just cannot believe three months have gone by already since I left my full-time job; particularly the past two months it has been a trying period, adjusting to changes in routines, schedules and lifestyle. While I am still contemplating and planning exactly what I will be doing next, I am very glad I took a leap of faith and go on this much needed break (OO).
How’s your summer so far? I have been enjoying my “staycation” here in Vancouver, summer time is the best season to stay here! The past two months were filled with out-of-town friends visits, which is the perfect excuse (as if I need any) to go around town searching for new attractions and good eats! I believe if you are at least 90% good most of the time with your regular diet, there is a little room for other enjoyment and occasional indulgences.
On Wednesday July 26th I will be back on Ms. Deborah Moore’s program on Fairchild Radio 1470 1030am sharp; thank you in advance for tuning in! I also want to thank my audience who take their time to send me email (email@example.com) with questions or suggestions, I really love to hear from you!
Brisk Walking activity at Iona Beach Regional Park (Richmond) and Pacific Regional Park Trail (Vancouver – UBC) – (Easy Trails)
Brisk walking is our favourite outdoor activity during the summer months; one of our favourite places to visit is Iona Beach regional Park (picture above); the jetty unmarked trail stretches 4 km (one way) along the mouth of Fraser River and it is a very easy walk. We love to go particularly in the evening to catch the beautiful sunset and evening breeze; during the day there are sightings of herons along the way. The jetty trail is a open area so it may get a little windy at times, so you must go prepared with proper outdoor gear and lots of sun protection.
Recently we decided to re-discover the UBC area and on one hot Saturday afternoon, we went for an easy hike in the forest at the Pacific Spirit Regional Park, located at the UBC Endowment Lands (5495 Chancellor Road, Vancouver, BC). The trail gate is located at West 16th next to Camosun Park, the network of trails contained in more than 750 hectares of forest. Free parking is available along West 16th Avenue, the signs inside the forest are very easy to follow and it is a very popular trail amongst local residents. It is advisable to check the map to predetermine your route and decide how far you would like to go, and mark the location of the park’s exits. We lost track of our direction and “exited” so far off , we ended adding a lot more steps to our count, trekking along 16th Avenue (lol).
Asian Cuisines and Small Eateries in Vancouver:
Delicious Pad Thai and Friendly Service: Sen Pad Thai at Granville Island (1666 Johnston Street – inside Loft, across from Public Market)
Sen pad Thai is the newest addition to award-winning Chef Angus An’s roster (Maenam, Freebird, Longtail Kitchen, Fat Mao Noodles) in Greater Vancouver. Located inside the Net Loft across from Public Market, this wonderful fast food stall opened in May 2017, the menu offer different pad thai dishes, variety of Thai small bites and drinks.
The pad thai was meticulously prepared, filled with really fresh ingredients and “Wok Hei” (breath of the wok) – a term which refers to flavors and tastes imparted by a hot wok for stir fry dishes! It was hot (fresh from the wok), tangy (from the tamarind), bright (juice from the generous slice of lime), crunchy (peanuts and fresh sprouts) and smooth ( noodles and eggs were cooked perfectly); for those who love to add more spiciness, the condiments are ready for your perusal on their counter. The staff was friendly and helpful; if you are unsure what you would like to try, just ask them for recommendations (which I did for my second visit) and they will happily oblige. Because the dishes are prepared “a la minute”, there is a little bit of a wait time and it is all worth while. Tables are located near the stand, or you may just want to bring your tasty noodle box outdoors, enjoy an authentic Thai dish and the fine Vancouver weather at the same time.
A lot of small eateries have been popping up lately in Vancouver, scattered all around our beloved city in different districts; the latest addition at the edge of Gastown is a Korean eatery named Haru Korean Kitchen (324 Cambie Street, next to the ever popular Meat and Bread (Porchetta sandwiches!).
Three weeks ago I paid a visit with my little friend JT who loves to eat Korean food; we shared a namul vegetable bibimbap with gochujang and their house special cold vegetarian soba set (bibim guksu) with lots of fresh vegetables in a wasabi sauce, came with a small plate of steamed pork belly . Our favourite was definitely the noodle which was so refreshing and the wasabi added a nice little “kick” to the citron soy sauce. Their menu is very home style and simple, marking very clearly the choices (vegetarian/vegetarian option/spicy) and sauce options (gochujang, gang doenjang (miso) and citron soy sauce) are available. The service was adequate (small restaurant with less help and it’s fairly new), reservations available (which is very rare these days) and I would love to return sometime to try their bingsoo and other korean family classics (japchae).
With mostly homestyle Korean eateries popping up in the Greater Vancouver area, it is quite a change to see the opening of a small authentic Korean BBQ restaurant in Richmond. Located inside the Continental Plaza shopping mall which is mostly filled with Chinese eateries, I wouldn’t have known about this little place if it is not because of Instagram; apparently Dolpan has been opened for a while! If you wish to give this place a try, go for lunch as their lunch BBQ set is great value ($15 or $20 per person), my favourite part is their servers actually help to cook the meat at your table! I had the pork set (jowl/belly) with lettuce wrap and it came with very delicious side dishes (potato, kimchi radish). Other hot plates (pre-cooked meats in kitchen) and Army Based hotpots (budae jjigae) seem to be very popular amongst the lunch diners; service was prompt and attentive, reservations are available.
Sunday brunching at MaknMing (1629 Yew Street, Vancouver)
Chefs Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng’s MaknMing in Kitslano is now open for brunch on Sundays till September 03rd, 2017; this “small team big heart” eatery which opened at the end of 2016 is quickly becoming my newest favourite brunch spot: I have tried their special Lobster Hollandaise Eggs Benedict which I wanted to purchase a “bucket” of the flavorful and silky smooth hollandaise to take home; on a separate visit I had their “wickedly” clever indulgence, the Krispee Challah french toast (rice krispies in the batter, served with toasted coconut blueberry compote and honeycomb)….speechless and in awe with their creativity! Their brunch menu is finely edited with a few items, I do recommend bringing a few friends and order different plates to share. The service is impeccable (Thanks Christina for your recommendations), parking could be a little bit of a challenge however it is so close to Kits beach, so park anywhere, enjoy the fabulous brunch and walk it off afterwards (OO).
Desserts Desserts Desserts: “Mochiffle” at Baker and Table (6414 Fraser Street) and “Little Plant” from Bubble Bear Cafe (8051 Granville Street, Vancouver)
If you have been following my blog and instagram, you will know I love savory foods and rarely eat desserts (I did bake a cheesecake with my friends over the weekend, my first!). I recently found these two desserts which I quite enjoy: Mochiffle from Baker and Table(remember the little bakery cafe which I mentioned a couple months ago?) and “Little Plant” Egg Custard pudding from Bubble Bear Cafe (Bubble Tea place on Granville opened a few months ago); the mochi-waffle combination is addictive and it is gluten free, it has a very nice chewy bite and you must add the ice-cream and the red bean! As for the egg custard pudding, I really like the texture of the soft silky pudding and oreo bits (looks like “dirt” hence the name “little plant”. Baker and Table’s owner Hitomi-san and Bubble Bear Cafe’s owners Maureen and Danny are very nice and helpful people, pay them a visit for lunch or snack and ask them for recommendations! Baker and Table also offers vegetarian curry and sandwiches (together with her famous melon pans and yuzu cheesecakes) , and Bubble Bear Cafe offers a small selection of delicious savoury bites (spicy wontons, meat floss egg rolls) and a variety of bubble teas and slushes (great for summer!) at very reasonable prices.
With no expectations and no set plans for the time being…
I took each day as is…reflect, cherish and enjoy..
Come What May…
Playing Tourist in our own town: Vancouver Foodie Tours’ Granville Island Market Tour, Stave Falls and Sewell Marina’s Sea Safari
Have you ever walked around in your own city as if you were a tourist? My hubby and I love doing this in Metro Vancouver especially during the spring and summer season! As our beloved city is growing rapidly, very often we are very surprised by how quickly it changes, how much there is to see, and how little we actually know about our hometown.
For the past 3 years we are very fortunate to be participants in the Destination BC’s Tourism Challenge program ; every year over 20,000 tourism industry participants are invited to experience Vancouver and BC region to enrich their knowledge in order to share their experience with visitors from around the world.
Since the end of April, we had such a blast going around town and took part in some activities/tours which I think even locals would enjoy…
Vancouver Foodie Tours’ Granville Island Market Tour:
A fun, informative and tasty Sunday morning spent with 14 others and our wonderful tour guide Tracy at Granville Island Market, making stops and sampling tasty bites at Edible Canada, JJ Bean, Terra Breads, Oyama Sausage and Co (charcuterie 7 types), Benton Brothers Cheese, #1 Orchard (Apple) , Granville Island Tea Co (their famous chai tea) and Lee’s Donuts (freshly made!).
We were introduced to these wonderful local vendors and see the best they have to offer, at the same time we were learning a bit about the history and establishment of the Public Market. I often attend cooking classes and this is my second food walking tour (first one back in September 2016 in Halifax)! Thank you Tracy and Vancouver Foodie Tours for the wonderful experience!
Sewell Marina’s Sea Safari: Beautiful Howe Sound – sights and sound of the sea
Sewell Marina’s Sea Safari is very enthralling guided tour: Boarding the 30 feet rigid and sturdy inflatable boat at beautiful Horseshoe Bay, we took the 1630 tour (last one of the day the Circle Tour) and spent 2 hours soaring through the stunning Howe Sound waters, taking in the beautiful scenery (Anvil Island, Gambier Island, Lions Bay, Mystery Falls, Christie’s Islet, Bowen Island just to name a few), admired the mighty coastal mountains and enjoyed the sightings of wildlife (bald eagle, seals), all from a safe distance !
Our tour guide Casey was very friendly and knowledgeable, we were also blessed with beautiful weather and the seas were calm…overall a truly exceptional experience!
BC is truly stunning and I am proud to call it my home.
Driving on our own: BC Hydro Stave Falls, Kilby Museum (at Harrison Mills, BC) and Bridal Falls
Did you know Canada’s first free cooking school of its kind held a five-day electric cooking demonstration at the Vancouver Hotel from May 03 to 7 in 1926? This is one of the cooking “trivia” I just learned from our trip to BC Hydro Powerhouse at Stave Falls. This 100-year-old power generating facility is also a National Historic Site of Canada, where visitors can tour the generator facilities and browse through the museum where you can see old versions of home appliances. I was so excited to see the old cooking elements (the fancy models have a “dish warmer” above the stove) and learning about the history of cookery, certainly a bit geekish…
The facility is in pristine condition, the dam is majestic, and down by the lake there is a beautiful camping site, so you may want to spend a little more time to explore the area.
From Stave Falls we drove another 45 minutes to visit Kilby Historic Site (another stop for the challenge). Located at the junction of Harrison and Fraser Rivers, it is a historic site of a once thriving community. It felt as if we were travelling back in time to the early 1900’s, the highlight was going through the General Store Museum, learning about the history and listening to fascinating stories told by their knowledgeable volunteers. Did you know back in those days people can order groceries by mail? That was the “primitive” version of internet! There is also very simple gift shop / restaurant on site where they offer pies, soups and sandwiches; the egg salad sandwich was very good and I had it with a hearty vegetable soup, it all felt very rustic and homey.
We drove another 30 minutes from Kilby to Bridal Veil Falls, Chilliwack BC; we figured we were already out there so why not drive further? This is the first time seeing Bridal Veil Falls up close, last time four years ago on the train travelling to Jasper, Alberta. We took the 15 minute hike (a little longer for me and that moment I decided I must get back into shape!) through the beautiful woods; it was almost at the end of the day so it was not crowded at all. The fresh air within the woods and the sounds of the waterfall
There are so many dining options available in Vancouver and sometimes we forget the older established favorites…we just returned to Pear Tree with our friends for birthday celebrations. Although it is a bit out-of-the-way, the food is very fresh and unpretentious, and the service is truly attentive and exceptional. Once again I ordered their vegetarian menu (you can ask for the menu) and asked the same old question from two years ago: is it really vegetarian? For sure it will not take me another two years to dine at this fine establishment again.
This April has been a very busy month filled with long working hours, farewell gatherings and birthday celebrations..
I am simply overwhelmed with gratitude and joy..
A big thank you to my ex-colleagues and friends for all your well wishes and support…I am at loss for words..
This month’s posting is short and
For now I will let my pictures do most of the “talking”…
As I prepare to enter another phase in my life…look forward to sharing more with all of you…
and you can catch me on Ms. Deborah Moore’s show on April 26 AM 1470 1030am sharp (OO) Something New : Pre-opening dinner at Botanist restaurant, Fairmont Pacific Hotel
I knew I was in for a special treat when my dear foodie friend Ms. Moto invited us to a sneak preview dinner and to celebrate my birthday, at the Botanist, one of the most highly anticipated restaurant opening in 2017. Thank you so much for the special invitation and birthday celebration! Here’s a snapshot of our dinner, detailed post coming later.
Masayoshi Revisited : One year Later…Memorable Omakase Birthday Dinner
One year ago I celebrated my birthday at Masayoshi; I have chosen to return this year…To sum up the experience…
Dear Chef Masayoshi and crew at Masayoshi: the experience is more than words can described; I am so glad I have chosen to return to your restaurant to celebrate my birthday and the beginning of another chapter of my life. Thank you very much for another truly memorable experience; this made my day extra special!
It’s almost the end of April and we are trying a New hotpot place: Hot pot Palace in Richmond (168-7911 Alderbridge Way, Richmond, BC)
Ending a busy work week with a nicely paced Friday night almost 3 hour hotspot experience..I really enjoyed the zousui in the end.
System reboot, old hangs and new experience: Garden City Hotpot,and Juicery & Co…and WHITE CAPS!
Deconstructed Afternoon Tea at Wild Sweets: “an affair to remember”
I revisited Wild Sweets with my dear foodie friends one Sunday afternoon for their “Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Afternoon Tea”, their 13-course afternoon tea is a very unique and “hands on” affair. All courses came “deconstructed” with detailed explanation presented by Mr. Dominique, each item includes a cocoa bean to chocolate element, all served with a chocolate tea infusion. Their take on this old tradition is very refreshing and modern filled with wonderful surprises, I felt I was taken “back in time” to secondary school days experimenting in the science lab. We had the most wonderful 2 hours assembling and styling the delicate treats, it is definitely an “affair” to remember.
Thank you very much to Dominique and Cindy and their staff for this wonderful learning experience!
Booking for this event is available online through their website:
My dear friend James now resides in Casperia, Italy and comes back to Canada to visit his family twice a year. Whenever he is in town, we always get together to cook an Epic Italian Dinner at my home. We always have the best time preparing all the dishes together for our friends, I hope in the near future someday I will be cooking with James, a truly wonderful teacher, in Italy..
James always introduce a tasty and authentic Italian element to our dinners: I rarely use already processed sauce or paste, however I am willing to make an exception for James! And here comes “Nduja”: a spicy cured pork salumi spread originally from Calabria, Italy.
When using nduja, a little goes a long way, the smell and taste reminded me a little of chorizo sausage (without the distinctive smell). We used it as the base for the sauce, cooked together with a little olive oil, white wine and minced garlic; then we steamed the clams in the sauce, finished off with grated lemon zest. Toss in “al dente” spaghetti (nduja is already salty so be light handed with salt when boiling pasta) and Voila! The flavors melted together and lifted the pasta dish to a different level, and the sauce tasted even better on the next day.
James was such a sweetie and got rid of all the clam shells!
The bottled version is available at Bianca Maria, a quaint Italian food store on East Hastings; the sausage version is available at Oyama Sausage in Granville Island; give it a try and tell me which version do you like better?
Always cook with love and thoughtfulness, and eat with your love ones (quote Peter Ciuffa “pastaboy”)
Beautiful sea bass from Brian’s wonderful Seafood City at Granville Island, nduja sausage from Oyama Sauage and Co., romano beans from Granville Island Market.
I checked out the sweet and rustic Baker and Table bakery cafe at East 48th Avenue and Fraser, it was wonderful to meet the owner Ms. Hitomi who provided really wonderful and friendly service.
I really enjoyed the organic chicken with cashew pesto sandwich and the cheesecake for dessert; I also purchased the tasty white bread (whipping cream incorporated) which was “pillowy” soft, I used to make thick toast at home for breakfast. She does accept special cake orders, I returned the next day and purchased a delicious strawberry shortcake and enjoyed it with my friends on our Epic Italian Dinner Gathering. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for menu information and updates.
Baci Baci Kissa Tanto in Chinatown: Memorable Dinner and Superb Service
One rainy Thursday night after a long and hectic day at work, we decided to head to Chinatown and got in to Kissa Tanto (it was around 8 pm) without any reservations!
The experience left us speechless: the dishes (our favorite was the lasagna of the day (picture shown) were filled with interesting elements of Japanese and Italian flavors, a combination which I personally enjoyed a lot.
The service (I believe our server’s name name is Celina) was very attentive and superb. Love their retro decor and ambiance: Kissa Tanto, thank you for a memorable dining experience.
How’s your New Year so far? After “MIA” for almost two months I finally have time to catch up a little…I have been busy at work and spent most of January fighting the flu bug…and I have spent some wonderful time with my lovely sister…
Catch me on Wednesday February 22nd, 2017 1030 am sharp, Ms. Deborah Moore’s show on AM 1470 (OO)
A different kind of cooking: My new favorite stores on Main (Soap Dispensary and Welk’s)
My lovely sister is a beauty guru; she lives for beauty products and fittingly she’s in the business. During her recent visit while “snowed in” and confined to home, she decided to try something new and turned my kitchen into an experimental beauty lab. Our DIY’s are based on recipes my sister found online through many sources, we whipped up different batches of creams and balms, giving them away as precious Valentine’s gifts.
I find the process much simpler than soap making; as there are no chemicals involved, so it is much easier to handle. There are lots of videos available on-line you can use as reference; the best part is spending quality time with my sis…
My latest favorite shops on Main: the wonderful Soap Dispensary (soap refills, “low impact” living and fine products) and Welk’s (General store where we purchased the mason jars, they have almost everything at reasonable prices).
Simple lip balm recipe:Sterilized the little containers. Melt 100 g mixture of different oils (50 g coconut oil and 50 g sweet almond oil) and 18 g of bee wax in a double boiler or small glass bowl over a small pot of boiling water, keep stirring until melted. Add 1 to 2 spoonful of honey, stir and mix well. Remove pan from heat but keep mixture over the still hot water to keep mixture melted. Add your favorite essential oils: we used orange and frankincense). Pour into container and let it set.
(Frankincense (sap burnt in incense) is a common essential oil use in aromatherapy, can help to reduce stress, pain and inflammation, boost immunity etc).
Van Koji Foods, Benkei Ramen and Japanese Crepe Sasuke at Nikkei Center Flea Market:
Two years ago I’ve talked about using shio koji (see old short blog post), a natural seasoning made with salt, water and rice koji (typical mold -Asperiguillus Oryzae used for fermentation) and I’ve read about making this natural seasoning (from Just One Cookbook) at home.
Recently when I checked out the Book and Flea Market at the Nikkei Center, I made a wonderful discovery: meeting Ms. Tonami who makes and sell koji products from her company, Van Koji Foods. I have used the shoyu koji as a marinade for a mushroom rice dish and it has a very nice subtle flavor. I had a lovely chat with her and later signed up to attend the miso making class in early March.
I also had some delicious foods at the market: Japanese Crepe Sasuke (Richmond Market – currently no permanent physical location): nice thin crepe with strawberries and matcha ice-cream, check out their page on Facebook.
And a mini bowl of shio ramen from Benkei Ramen: remember Taka-san, Japanese sushi chef who teaches sushi making class at the Nikkei Center during the winter season? He is also the creator behind Benkei Ramen. I stopped by the stall to make the purchase and he remembered me! Taka-san, great seeing you! Check out his Facebook page (Taka’s Sushi Class) and look for updates for his classes.
Interesting Read: The Ultimate Grocery Storage Guide from food connections (Thanks to fellow Dinner Party YVR hobby chef Ms. Elaine Cheng for sharing on the homepage)