March 23 Radio Show: Spring is here – Sushi and Greens

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On Wednesday March 23rd  I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order)!

If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you!  Drop me a line anytime at goldenapron@gmail.com (OO)

Bon Appetit and Saveur:

As a Vancouverite, I am so proud some of the best eats of our beloved city is featured in the March 2016 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine!

http://www.bonappetit.com/restaurants-travel/navigator/article/what-to-eat-in-vancouver

As for Saveur magazine, I read a truly inspiring article by Francis Lam on Ms. Sonoko Sakai: Sonoko Dreams of Soba.

http://www.saveur.com/how-to-make-fresh-soba-noodles-at-home

I adapted Ms. Sakai’s recipe and made my own version of soba salad, check my March 21st, 2016 recipe posting!

My first ever formal sushi making class: Taka’s Sushi Making class at Nikkei Heritage Centre (separate blog post coming soon)

Earlier this month I took a class with my food buddy Jo; it was a very humbling and wonderful learning experience.  I’m registered to take another class on April 02! It’s all about technique and patience:

http://www.centre.nikkeiplace.org/sushi

Taka-san’s contact: takayukiomi@mac.com

Facebook: Taka’s Sushi Class

Where to buy fish for sashimi/sushi (as recommended by Taka-san; they are also two of my favourite shops in Vancouver)

http://www.fujiya.ca

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

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Taka-san’s wonderful sushi making class: temaki sushi, nigiri sushi, rainbow roll and kappa maki. He prepared the ingredients ahead of time and taught us the technique in assembling the different types of sushi.

 

Kombucha and Salad Lovers: Field and Social in Downtown Vancouver (separate blog post coming)

http://www.fieldandsocial.com

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Quinoa and co: Watercress, golden quinoa, organic apple, apricot, sunflower sprouts, Belgian endive, purple barley, organic teff, sautéed oyster mushrooms and puffed wild rice in roasted shallot dressing. Top: “on the tap” kombucha and butternut squash vegan soup (so delicious!)

A dinette fit for Royals: Royal Dinette

http://www.royaldinette.ca

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My second visit to Royal Dinette with my “twin”: Ling cod, sea cucumber, mussels, abalone mushroom in supreme broth

Getting ready for Dinner Party YVR: April 9, 2016

http://www.dinnerpartyyvr.com

A tour for hobby chefs at sponsor Whole Foods on Cambie; and upcoming March 31 “huddle” – get together with other hobby chefs, sponsored by Cressey

It was fun to meet Annika, organizer of the event and a few other hobby chefs! Whole Foods Cambie’s concierge Ms. Lucia was absolutely personal and wonderful; she took us on a one hour tour and sample different citrus fruits, maple smoked salmon and cheese platter!  Did you know there’s actually a cheese sommelier in the store?

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February 17 Radio Show: Stay “Warm” with Noodles and Stay “Cool” with Icecream

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Happy CNY! Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner at home: Broiled Threadfin Bream from Seafood City, Japanese style braised mushrooms on pea sprouts, eight grain rice with cauliflower and garlic stems, Crispy Siu Yuk (Roast Pork), Soy Sauce Free Range Chicken and Duck

Happy CNY! How’s your 2016 so far?

On February 17th I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order): Stay warm with “noodles” and stay cool with “ice-cream”.

The most talked about vegetarian ramen on instagram, it’s really delicious: Ramen Man  841 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC

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Aosa “sea Lettuce” Ramen and it’s all about chicken broth: On the same street at a different block: Marutama Ramen 780 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC

http://www.japanesenoodle.com

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Is it worth the wait? Tsukemen at Sanpoutei Ramen: 160-4328 No. 3 Road (the newest building next to Parker Place)

http://www.sanpoutei.ca

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East Meets West = West Coast Cool  at Tangram Creamery (check my blog review), 2729 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC

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Old time favourite: Xiao Long Bao  and Tan Tan Noodles at Top Shanghai Cuisine 120-5880 Ackroyd Road, Richmond, BC

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…Coming in March and April:

http://www.centre.nikkeiplace.org/sushi

http://www.dinnerpartyyvr.com

 

 

 

 

East Meets West = West Coast Cool: Tangram Creamery @ Arbutus Vancouver

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Last Saturday I got a “hot tip” from my foodie pal Ms. Moto about a “cold delight”; she couldn’t stop raving about the hoji-cha ice-cream and insisted we must go, and go we did…..there was no turning back.

Tangram is the latest addition to our local ice-cream craze; located  on the busy Arbutus Street (2729 Arbutus) between West 11 and 12 Avenue, just a couple of minutes walk away from one of my favourite butchers Pete’s Meats.

There were Nine offerings on their menu, displayed prominently on the wall:  Seven ice-cream flavours (Tahitian Vanilla/Double Chocolate/Guatemala Coffee/ Matcha/Hoji-cha/Salted Caramel/Strawberry Strudel) and two sorbet (Mango/Lychee).

Heeding Ms. Moto’s advice, I decided to go for the Hoji-cha and added a scoop of Guatemala Coffee in a “cup”, an ice-cream version of my own “yin-yeung” (tea and coffee duo, a Hong Kong style cafe reference):

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The distinct smoky tea flavour hit instantly on the first bite (hoji-cha is a charcoal roasted Japanese green tea, originally from Kyoto).  As I savoured, the silky milky-ness came through and finally the right amount of sweetness lingered on, tantalizing my palate and playing a trick in my mind: I felt as if I was enjoying an ice-cold “hoji-cha milk tea”, it was absolutely brilliant!  I don’t ever recall any other ice-creamery having such an offering.  Let’s not forget the Guatemala Coffee, which is richer in flavour and slightly bitter, definitely well suited for coffee lovers.

The day before Valentine’s, I decided to pop by Tangram again to pick up another pint for dessert, and try something else which I had my eye on since the other night: A single scoop of Strawberry Strudel ice-cream in their house-made Langue de Chat (cat’s tongue shape), a French sugar cookie cone.

One bite and I was smitten: the strawberry’s tartness and sweetness were well-balanced, the freshness and the strawberry flavour, combined with specks of strudel, gave the ice-cream a different texture, it was heavenly. The cone was flaky and complemented the ice-cream very well, the tail end of the cone was dipped in chocolate is a nice touch; however I found it melted quite quickly, perhaps I was really taking my time to savour every bite.

This is just a personal preference: I find their scoop sizes just right and I like their texture, it may not be the creamiest but it is smooth and silky.  The pricing is very reasonable: one scoop for $5.00, double for $7.00, triple for $9.00 and a pint (16 ounces) costs $10.00; add an extra dollar and you can enjoy the special French sugar cookie cone/bowl.

At first glance I somehow thought “Tangram” was Korean (thinking along the lines of “Gangnam” style), it is the “English” name for the Chinese “QiQiaoBan”, the incredible “Seven pieces Transformation Puzzle”, derived from Chinese (tan) and Greek (gram) origin (Check out Wikipedia!).  Their  brand “story” behind its name is another “story” for me to uncover some other time.

To my dear friend Ms. Moto: Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful place; cannot wait to go there to try something else with you next time (OO)

By the way, we picked up a pint of Lychee Sorbet…it was so refreshing!  Look forward to see what else Tangram will bring us this summer!

Information:

Tangram 2729 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC (Between West 11 and 12 Avenue, Kits area), follow them on Instagram @tangramcreamery 

Local ice-creamery; friendly service and reasonable price point, communal table and seating available; must try hoji-cha flavour (especially for Japanese tea-lovers) and their in-house made cookie cone, other offerings include coffee and macaron ice-cream dessert, their taste is authentically Japanese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York City: “Getting to Know You”..all over again.

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Hello from NYC – gingerbread display at “Lord and Taylor’s”

“Getting to know you…Getting to feel free and easy…When I am with you…Haven’t you noticed suddenly I’m bright and breezy…Because of all the beautiful and new things I learn about you…” – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”

Two weeks ago I kick started my holiday season in New York City, and spent the most wonderful time with my dearest sister, niece, my cousins and their better halves.

We talked, we laughed, we cried, we shopped, we drank, we ate….Life is wonderful and filled with precious moments, I am truly thankful.

I am happy and content to be back in “Raincouver” with my hubby; until the next time I see my family again, I miss you all (OO)

Here’s a snapshot of some of my favourite moments and places:

Alone time at ramen-ya in NYC: now that’s a first for me..

http://www.hidechanramen.com

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Vegetarian ramen and a side order of pork “bao” – Will the bao trend ever end?

First night’s dinner at Vaucluse, another first…(first visit to restaurant, first time meeting my cousin’s girlfriend (OO)

http://www.vauclusenyc.com

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My favourite dish: delicata squash with chanterelle, shallots, poached egg and red wine jus..new ideas spinning in my head

After dinner food shopping at Westside Market…my cousin went bonkers..Amy (cousin’s lovely wife) and I just followed..

http://www.wmarketnyc.com

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And the next day we cooked up a storm for Thanksgiving Family Dinner..(childhood memories and flashbacks)….and we had plenty of leftovers the next day

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What’s on the menu: Roast organic turkey, lobster mac and cheese, homemade cranberry sauce, cauliflower and zucchini mash, savoy cabbage and radicchio salad (remember this dish?) and delicious desserts brought over by Amy’s lovely parents..

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In between we shopped and (window shopped) everywhere (Black Friday Sales!)…

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A busy Saturday….Finally I made it to Per Se (Thomas Keller’s second Three Michelin starred property, the first being “French Laundry” in Napa Valley

http://www.thomaskeller.com

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At night we went enjoyed the musical “The King and I : I have a special reason for wanting to see this (you’ll find out in the end)…(I cannot believe my wonderful cousin Cary accompanied four ladies to a “chick musical”, thank you so much for the special treat!

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I was hoping to see Ken Watanabe…Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara is lovely as “Anna” and Hoon Lee is pretty cool as the “King”….
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Lincoln Centre – outside Vivian Beaumont Theatre

We spent a lot of time in Chelsea, a neighbourhood on the west side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City..

A seafood feast from the Lobster Place at Chelsea Market, where we spent four hours shopping and eating…

http://www.chelseamarket.com

http://www.lobsterplace.com

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King Crab Legs, oysters, clams, toro sashimi, clam chowder – a feast from Lobster Place in Chelsea Market
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Chelsea Market Snapshot: Food Network office and Youtube offices are inside the market! Fresh seafood from Lobster Place, artisan’s market, Fat Witch brownies and Eleni’s cookies..just to name a few..
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Artisan’s Market inside Chelsea Market

A must see: High Line Park

http://www.thehighline.org

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It’s all about Family: another first visit to Carmine’s, an Italian family style restaurant and it was a lot of fun!  Simple food, friendly service…we were all warm and fuzzy..

http://www.carminesnyc.com

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Share plates “Family Style” at Carmine’s – Porterhouse steak, four kinds of pasta platter, caesar salad (not shown in picture) and a “side” order of spinach…Leftovers for the doorman

The visit is never complete without spending any time in Soho…hanging out, shopping and eating (yes more eating)

http://www.balthazarnyc.com

http://www.cecicelanyc.com

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And back to midtown Lady M, another first for me; the original mille crepe cake was divine.

http://www.ladym.com

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Lady M’s Mille Crepe Cake by the slice

And before we left…Soba in NYC at Sobakoh, the homemade soba restaurant: Soba Nabe for me and Uni Soba for my niece, plus two orders of dashi tamagoyaki

http://www.soba-kohnyc.com

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Dessert with cousin and niece at Harbs, a Japanese bakery 

http://www.harbs.co.jp

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Scrumptious King Chocolate Cake with cream puffs and tart raspberries..smooth, sweet and tart – it was heavenly

Alone time again when sister and niece left….a quick visit to Flatiron District and Chelsea before heading to JFK:

http://www.fishseddys.com

http://www.whisknyc.com

http://www.eataly.com

http://www.timeout.com/newyork

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And now the moment of truth… I was named after the old-time Hollywood movie star Deborah Kerr, who played “Anna” in the original “The King and I” movie (OO)

 

 

 

Raincouver, Love you to the Moon and Back

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Gastown in the Rain; beautiful as ever

“Raindrops keep falling on my head…I ain’t gonna stop the rain by complaining.

I’m dancing and singing in the rain…why am I smiling?

Because I am living a life full of you.” – I love Vancouver.

Brunching in “Raincouver”….walking in the rain in Gastown and brunching at L’abattoir…it’s always great to revisit old favourites.

http://www.labattoir.com

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Enjoyed the wild mushroom Quiche!!

Attended our friend’s wedding (congratulations Bryan and Adelphie) on Halloween (that’s a first!!)


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Spent time cooking and experimenting at home….

My take on “Fish without Chips”: Baked lemon pepper panko crusted cod : Last month I adapted Just One Cooking’s baked croquettes method and made some fabulous kabocha edamame croquettes at home; using the same stove-top browning method to prepare the panko (a little olive oil and medium low heat on a frying pan), I encrusted the beautiful cod I got from Seafood City (Granville Island Public Market) with lemon rind browned panko mix (flour/egg/panko), baked the fish in 350 degree F oven for approximately 10 minutes..served piping hot on a homemade relish mayo sauce (OJAI lemonaise + greek yogurt + homemade relish)…now I just have to get those “yam fries” in next time (OO)

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It has been a while since I made Saba (mackerel) Soboro (Flaked Mackerel with carrots, onions and scrambled egg, check my recipe posting in the archives February 2014)…This one is for you: Shin, Teru and Rinka, we miss you!

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http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

http://www.granvilleisland.com

Life is always full of wonderful little surprises and always give us something to think about: GROW – COOK – SHARE – ADVOCATE

Two months ago I entered and won the Gastropost Vancouver “Good Food Changes Lives” contest via Instagram with my savoy cabbage salad photo.

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Warm Savoy Cabbage and Radicchio Salad with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, pancetta bits, parmesan Reggiano and a drizzle of homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette (1 Tablespoon manuka honey, 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper season to taste)

The most meaningful prize gift basket came in early November; thank you thank you thank you Gastropost Vancouver and Community Food Centres Canada for your truly inspirational handwritten message and thoughtful gifts; I’m inspired to share my table and make a difference.

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http://www.vancouver.gastropost.com

http://www.cfccanada.ca

We are always learning something new: 

My friend PPQ and I attended a Nutrition Education Seminar hosted by the BC Cancer Agency two weeks ago at their Vancouver Research facility. The presentation by key speaker Ms. Desiree Nielsen RD is  informative and delightful (she’s a lovely speaker); Ms. Nielsen provided 10 simple steps to “unjunk our diets”, her insights and guidelines are geared towards preventing inflammation and general overall health improvement for everyone. I’m planning to read her book “Unjunk your diet” and research further..

http://www.desireerd.com

And when the “dining” stars were alignedPosh Noshing at Torafuku, the #CoolestCatOnTheBlock (958 Main Street, Vancouver tel 778-903-2006)

Finally we made it to Torafuku, “brick and mortar” location by the creators of Le Tigre food truck 

2 cocktails for him + 1 mocktail for me + 4 great dishes + 1 scrumptious dessert + great service +  friendly conversation with the bartenders = We will be back

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Gone Fishing – My favourite dish
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YUM! Vegetarians only – crispy mochi, seasonal veggies, mozza, torched mayo

Back to Ramen Butcher in Chinatown..this time for tsukemen (Check out their campaign specials on instagram)

http://www.theramenbutcher.com

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Tsukemen with Japanese char siu

Although my heart goes out to Paris...

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There’s always lots happening in my city:

http://www.vancitybuzz.com

http://www.eatlocal.org

Can you decipher the message? It echoes my sentiments towards “Raincouver”…

(Maggie, thank you for being the coolest teacher)

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LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK….

 

 

Fallin’ hard for “Lang Lang” Langley in the Fall

Beautiful Barn at Vista D'oro, Langley, BC
Beautiful Barn at Vista D’oro, Langley, BC

I have a feeling and I’m not concealing..Fall is the time for it..I open my eyes to see and let my heart discover…I have fallen…fallen hard for “lang lang” Langley in the Fall..

What is “Lang Lang”?  You’ll find out when you read to the end…

A beautiful Fall Day in Langley..self drive to a couple of locations recommended by Circle Farm Tour

Visited Vista O’Doro Farms and Winery (thanks to an earlier visit to Cafe Orso in Deep Cove I discover their fruit preserves)

http://www.vistadoro.com

http://www.circlefarmtour.com

http://www.the-preservatory.com

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Enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Bacchus Bistro at Domaine de Chaberton (our second visit to the winery and restaurant)…wonderful time with dear friends…

http://www.chabertonwinery.com

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a non-drinker visiting a winery…
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I had a spinach salad..and shared a pork rillette with brioche (picture not shown)…
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Visited the shop, walked the grounds for photos and enjoyed the fine weather..

Afterwards we went back to Fort Langley…(we were there back in May!)

http://www.cranberriesnaturally.com

http://www.tourism-langley.ca

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The Old and the New – Vintage Cars out and about
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Second visit to Cranberries Naturally this year! This time I picked up a bag of cranberry powder for smoothies 🙂
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Crossed the Jacob Haldi Bridge between Fort Langley and McMillan Island, home of Kwantlen First Nation
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Venturing out..we went into the Brae Island Regional Park…Along the Fraser River’s Bedford Channel

While back to our city life in Vancouver…

I went on a photo walk in downtown and gastown…enjoyed a virgin berry mojito at Mosaic Grill (Hyatt Regency) on the way…

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A storefront in gastown: It’s all about Love…

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Do you like Ramen? There’s another ramen ya in Vancouver: Tried Danbo Ramen (on West 4th Avenue in Kitslano); someone had extra noodles; we like the flavors.

http://www.ramendanbo.com

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Fukuoka style Ramen with Chashu; I added seaweed.

I just love walking to Granville Island…to shop and prepare for cooking and fun gatherings with family and friends on weekend..

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A quick stop to my favourite seafood place…picked up a snapper (and great cooking tips)…

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

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Of course I have to take one home…

Had the day off on Thanksgiving (Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law’s invite!)…

Then I cooked up a storm for my friends..Broiled Snapper for my friend’s birthday dinner! Cover the snapper in coarse sea salt for 2 to 3 hours; wipe clean afterwards (do not rinse!). I lightly stuffed the fish with lemon slices, green onion and some ginger…Broil the fish in the oven for approximately 6 minutes on one side (it’s a 1.5 pounder), and 5 minutes on the other (thanks William for your great cooking tip)…Serve hot with oroshi (grated daikon) with yuzu ponzu and chopped onion.

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For another gathering with three lovely visitors, I made kabocha and edamame croquettes, I tried to replicate the dish I had at Kinome Japanese Kitchen (2511 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC) last month; ideas are everywhere and creative juices are flowing…

http://www.facebook.com/KinomeJapaneseKitchen

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Kabocha and Edamame croquettes, cooking method adapted from Just One Cookbook..They are baked, not fried!
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Beautiful purple tulips..I love all things purple bright and beautiful..

Thank you Seafood City : Not only did I get great fish and cooking tips always..

I am happy and thankful I have made new friends, met a chef (star struck and pretended to be cool)… and received an unexpected gift (Thanks Brian!)..King Sauce…found Betty King Sauce on Instagram and we had a few exchanges!

http://www.bettykingsauce.com

http://www.facebook.com/bettykingsauce

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Made myself a tomato-dashi broth udon noodle and had it with King Sauce..it’s wicked good!  Going to try it with hotpot very soon!

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Because of “Chef”, I found out there’s a new Japanese restaurant on Fraser…Masayoshi Sushi (4376 Fraser Street (at E. 28th), Vancouver, BC)..Remember a few months ago I talked about Fraser Street, this sushi bar is right in my favourite area (around E. King Edward).

We had their nigiri sushi (shima aji, scallop, hamachi, tai (snapper)), loved their kimpira gobo (burdock root, it’s a stroke of genius by adding almonds, hazelnuts), enjoyed their smoked salmon salad (see picture below)…Excellent service by Tomo-san, he was very attentive and informative. Reservations highly recommended (omakase must be booked 3 days in advance as they include seasonal ingredients for their cooked food).

http://www.facebook.com/masayoshisushi

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Smoked Salmon Salad with papaya, apple, a hint of shiso, egg yolk kimizu (egg yolk and vinegar)…

Good Reads: heated debates?

WHO Reports on “Meat is linked to higher cancer risk” 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-fitness/health/five-questions-about-the-whos-cancer-causing-meat-announcement-answered/article26982884/

I have yet to see Lang Lang (ha!) in concert, I saw Chris Botti instead 

To End in a “high note” (pun intended)…

I know one is a world-renowned pianist and the other a pop/jazz trumpeter…thanks Mavis for your invitation to the Richmond General Hospital Benefit and Gala…it was definitely an eye opening experience.

IMG_9092 In life all things and encounters happen for a reason….Grateful and Thankful always…Whatever will be will be.

So What is “Lang Lang”? It’s “Bright/Happy” in Mandarin; “Pretty Pretty” in Cantonese (OO)

A Sweet and Savoury September

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Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

A Sweet and Savoury September..and a dream came true…”if it has to be, it is up to me”

Sharing: I had the best time learning how to make relish and canning with Jo and friends..

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A humbling and fulfilling experience as Kitchen Help Volunteer at Union Gospel Mission..

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Visiting friends and kids: Homemade kid friendly sushi salad lunch at home…

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Lunch with old friends and kids at home : A homemade kid friendly sushi salad – sushi rice, canned tuna+shredded crab meat+kewpie+Ojai lemonaise, boiled egg (or Japanese egg omelette), braised shiitake mushrooms, Japanese pickled radish (takuan) and seaweed. Broccoli and radish salad with ginger apple dressing, store-bought salt pepper roast chicken.

Had a fabulous dinner with hubby at Kinome Japanese Kitchen (2511 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC), this picture was published in the Province Gastropost Vancouver!

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Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) and edamame Korokke (panko crusted) with side salad at Kinome Japanese Kitchen

Dear friends delivered the Wickedly delicious creme brulee from Crackle Creme (245 Union Street, Vancouver Chinatown) to our home:

http://www.cracklecreme.com

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Take your pick: Yuzu, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean or Organic Matcha ?

And a travel dream came true – Snapshot by the Sea: My Maritime memories in Halifax, Nova Scotia (sneak peek of upcoming blog post)

http://www.novascotia.com

2.5 hours of Fun and Tasty Downtown Somo (South of Morris Street) Food Tour with Local Tasting Tours (Thank you Emily!)

http://www.localtastingtours.com

http://www.storiesdining.com

http://www.selwoodgreen.com

http://www.cafechianti.com

http://www.smilinggoat.ca

http://www.theuncommongroup.com

http://www.foxhillcheesehouse.com

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Cherry Yogurt Gelato at Seaport Farmers Market – Foxhill Cheese House
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Smiling Goat Coffee and Pastry (15 ingredients) and Mexican Chiapas Coffee
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Pan Seared Rice paper wrapped scallop at Stories

Delicious seafood risotto at The Bicycle Thief Italian Restaurant…

http://www.bicyclethief.ca

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After dinner stroll along the sea walk….

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A dream came true: I made it to Peggy’s Cove!

http://www.grayline.com

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Beautiful and quaint…beyond words can describe
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Scotsman and the lobster

Simple and delicious lunch at Mckelvies: Pan seared Local rainbow trout with tarragon sauce 

http://www.mckelvies.com

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One hour harbour cruise on Tall Ship Silva (old pirate ship) around the harbour:

http://www.tallshipsilva.com

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An old pirate ship: the brave and strong can try to pull the sails

A quick visit to the Nova Scotia Art Gallery: do you know who is Maud Lewis? She’s a famous Canadian folk artist, we learn something new every day…

http://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca

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Lobster roll (yes more food) at Seaport Farmer’s Market

http://www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com

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Goldwater lobster shack at the Seaport Farmers Market
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Lobster roll: Fresh baked bun and home made mayo with succulent Nova Scotia lobster meat..

And on my way home…quick stopover in Toronto to visit an old friend…and a quick visit to the St. Lawrence Market..yes it’s all about friendship and food..

http://www.stlawrencemarket.com

http://www.upexpress.com

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St Lawrence Market, Toronto
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Lunch at Le Papillon on Front: Love the spinach salad with feta and raspberry vinaigrette, I also enjoyed their Jean Pierre crepe (broccoli, spinach, onion, feta, tomato sauce – picture not shown)

When I returned to Vancouver…we enjoyed an Italian meal with my friends, Peter (@pastaboypeter on twitter) and James (house historian) who now lives in Italy and came back for a visit..

Stringozzi (shoestring fresh handmade pasta at home), bruschetta with concord grape compote/ricotta/pancetta bits and mozzarella di buffala with cherry tomatoes, salt baked sea bass, Avonlea cheese from PEI, warm savoy cabbage salad

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

http://www.cioffisgroup.com

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Beautiful sea bass from Seafood City, Granville Island, my favourite seafood shop. 400F and 20-25 minutes later..

Warm Savoy Cabbage and radicchio salad, with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, fried pancetta bits (optional for non-vegetarians), shavings of Parmesan Reggiano with home made Manuka honey balsamic vinaigrette,  I took the main elements from the salad I had at the Bicycle Thief (Halifax Bishop’s Landing) and added my own touches, recipe coming!

http://www.eatlocal.org

http://www.cranberriesnaturally.com

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Homemade Warm Savoy Cabbage and Radicchio Salad

And today I’m on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio Ms. Deborah Moore’s show sharing my experience with all of you..Thank you Deb M for having me on your show, and thanks everyone for tuning in!

My wish for everyone: La Dolce Vita.

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Easy Saturday Brunch at Farmer’s Apprentice

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One late May sunny Saturday morning, at exactly 11:10am, we were already sitting outside of Farmer’s Apprentice restaurant, waiting anxiously for the restaurant to open for brunch.  I figured 20 minutes wait is totally acceptable and at exactly 11:30am sharp, the hostess came out and started to seat everyone. I assured you within that short time frame, the entrance were already filled with people; miraculously everyone was in “cue” and our friendly hostess was able to coordinate and seat everyone in an orderly fashion.

Located on the Fairview Slopes on 6th Avenue and Granville Street, honestly it is lovely to see another simple (Salade de fruits Cafe is just up one block) restaurant opened in the posh South Granville neighbourhood; the interior is rustic, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxing… the brunch menu was simple with a twist of imagination; the dishes we had were good.

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Perfect poached egg!
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Buttery sablefish with tangy parsley dill sauce

I had the healthy dish – Grains cooked in asparagus juice, asparagus, hazelnuts, pea shoots and poached eggs (warm organic bread ordered separately)- I know the ingredients may not exactly sound very tempting, however I find the idea itself very interesting and I never would have imagined all these flavours would work quite well together. Some diners may find the portion (Vancouver/North American supersize) a bit small, personally I think it’s just right and this is actually a very filling dish.

Andy had the smoked sablefish, potatoes and poached eggs with parsley dill sauce; the fish was buttery, the sauce was creamy with just the right amount of tanginess, it “disappeared” in no time…

This is one of the rare times I did not do any thorough research or read up on the chef’s profile prior to our visit; we went because we happened to walk by this place one day some time ago, we liked its name and the vibe, and sure glad we finally went (OO).

Information:

Farmer’s Apprentice – 1535 West 6th Avenue (and Granville Street), Vancouver, BC.

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Rustic decor…

Friendly and fast service, casual atmosphere, fresh farm to table menu which changes constantly (items which I’ve mentioned may not be available), street parking (mostly metered) available; if you live in the neighbourhood, walking is the best way to get there.

Brunch is first come first serve basis, I’m sure the restaurant has gotten even busier since winning the 2014 Vancouver restaurant awards; get there early!

http://www.farmersapprentice.ca/

Farmer's Apprentice on Urbanspoon

Farmer's Apprentice on Urbanspoon

Sunday Lunch @ Miku

IMG_0886Avid Japanese food lovers are no strangers to Miku and its sister restaurant, Minami, which both specialize in aburi sushi (lightly seared nigiri sushi that has been torched with open flame).

During the holiday season, I decided to try Miku (new location at 70-200 Granville Street, next to Canada Place) with my friend Helene, who was visiting from Hong Kong for an early Sunday lunch.  I made the reservations through OpenTable (it’s so convenient!); although it was an early lunch, the restaurant was already fairly busy, the coveted window seats (with waterfront view) were all occupied and we were seated very close to the bar in the mid-section.

We had to wait much longer than expected to place our orders; I do appreciate the efforts of another server(who was working at the bar), who jumped in and provided us with attentive service, ensuring things were moving along smoothly and our dishes were delivered promptly.

We decided to share three courses and dessert:

IMG_0885Kaiso Seaweed Salad – a medley of organic baby greens, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, radish, crunchy arare (bite-size Japanese cracker) with sesame ponzu vinaigrette – it was a nicely dressed salad with balanced flavours, I would definitely order this again.

Aburi Sushi Lunch (Picture shown in Header) – consists of 8 pieces from their selection of their aburi, oshi and roll sushi, served with miso soup, each piece is paired with their own special sauce. This is definitely an excellent introductory “course for anyone who doesn’t have any previous experience with aburi sushi; my favourites were the salmon oshi (with jalapeño and special Miku Sauce) and the ebi oshi (pressed prawn with lime zest and ume (Japanese plum) sauce). 
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Kaisen Soba Peperoncino – Soba noodles “stir fried” with soy, garlic, olive oil, shrimp, squid, baby Bok choy, sweet peppers, shiitake mushrooms and tempura bits. It has all the elements of a great tasting “fusion” dish and the spiciness was just right; however we found the noodles a bit greasy.

IMG_0891Lemon Cream – poached pears, gingerbread cookie, kaffir lime sauce. The dessert exceeded my expectations; the “tartness’ of the cream was balanced nicely with the sweetness of pears and mixed fruits. Overall it was very pleasing to the palate.

I’ve been to Minami a few times before and this was my first visit to Miku; I guess I may have gone with slightly high expectations. Although the initial slow service was a bit disappointing, I must say the oshi sushi was still exceptional; it is still on balance worth a second try.

Information:

Miku – #70 – 200 Granville Street (by Canada Place)

Authentic Japanese flavours with fusion twists; high price point; reservations recommended (available through http://www.opentable.com). Indoor public parking available close by (next to Waterfront Sky train station); better yet, take the sky train on a nice day and enjoy a walk by the waterfront after lunch (OO).

 
Miku Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Miku Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kale chips for tea? Vegan High Tea @ Indigo Food Cafe

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Raw Vegan High Tea Dessert Time: My favourite was the coconut cream pie (raw whole coconut, dates, vanilla, salt, lemon)

I love Afternoon Tea; it’s one of those English customs which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed from the days when I was still living in Hong Kong.  This afternoon delight seems to have gained much popularity here in Vancouver; gone were the days when there were limited offerings of this service as in recent years quite a few unique tea houses have sprouted throughout the Lower Mainland; it is a wonderful way to spend an easy weekend afternoon with girlfriends.

Two weekends ago on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I shared a very unique high tea experience with three lovely ladies (Thanks Deb M, Jo Jo and Mavis) at the Indigo Food Cafe on West 16th Avenue (and Trafalgar Street).   The idea of trying out a raw vegan meal is definitely a novelty for me; this experience was ultimately curiosity driven! As I’m not familiar with vegan dining, I can only tell you my overall impression and what I’ve enjoyed at this quaint and wholesome little place.

Deb M made reservations (recommended especially on weekends due to limited seating) and ordered our Raw High Tea Sets.  Listed as extra service on the menu, it must be ordered and confirmed in advance.  The set is a great way to get a taste of their menu, just as regular high tea offerings at other establishments, we each choose our tea from their organic and fair trade loose leaf teas selection.

The bite size delicacies were served in the traditional three tiers: with the savouries on the bottom and sweets on top.  When the owner presented our food, we were taken back!  All the items, especially the desserts, do not look raw at all!  Visually they are very pretty as the colours are vibrant, and the play on texture shows a lot of thought has been given to the entire creative process. We enjoyed the whole foods in their natural state; overall the use of ingredients and combination of flavours are sharp yet tasty.

We had kale chips (picture not shown),  my favourite savoury items were the buckwheat crepe (the only cooked item) and the stuffed mushroom;

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Buckwheat crepe with enoki mushrooms and sprouts
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Stuffed mushroom (with cashews, lemon juice, garlic, red star nutritional yeast

As for desserts, I could have done with a bit less and finding most of them too sweet for my liking (it’s a personal preference).  However I did enjoy immensely the coconut cream pie (picture in header) and their fresh in-house made fruit and yogurt cup.

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Organic raw fermented coconut cashew yogurt with raw sprouted granola and seasonal fruit

The service was very attentive, the owner also took her time to explain each item and describe the ingredients (actually listed on menu), they truly took pride in their work and they should! Afterwards I chatted with the owner briefly to obtain more information on their classes which are taught on site (schedule available online); I am definitely looking into attending a class (Jo Jo Let’s go!) sometime in the future.

I went with no expectations and the overall experience was filled with pleasant little surprises; perhaps this was the first time I didn’t feel guilty after having “cheesecake”..(OO)

Information:

Indigo Food Cafe – 2589 West 16th Avenue (at Trafalgar), Vancouver, BC.

Dairy and Gluten Free, Diabetic and Vegan Friendly; Reservations recommended and required for Afternoon Tea; Metered parking available on West 16th, free parking available on side streets. Attentive service, pricing for tea service is comparable, reasonable portions. Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 8pm, Menu, cooking classes information and pricing available on their own website (http://www.indigofood.org/)  

Indigo Food Cafe on Urbanspoon

Indigo Food Cafe on Urbanspoon