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:
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?
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
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
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):
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!
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.
“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..
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
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..
In between we shopped and (window shopped) everywhere (Black Friday Sales!)…
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
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!
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…
Attended our friend’s wedding (congratulations Bryan and Adelphie) on Halloween (that’s a first!!)
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)
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!
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.
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.
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..
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.
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…
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!
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!
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).
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.
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)
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
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!
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 Avenueand 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.
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).
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!
Avid Japanese food lovers are no strangers toMiku 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 Kongfor 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:
Kaiso 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 “coursefor 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).
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.
Lemon 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.
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).
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 Cafeon 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;
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.
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)
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/)