A Sweet and Savoury September

DSC00244
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..

IMG_8474

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

IMG_8567

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

IMG_8536
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!

IMG_8504
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

IMG_8576
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

DSC00122

DSC00189
Cherry Yogurt Gelato at Seaport Farmers Market – Foxhill Cheese House
DSC00149
Smiling Goat Coffee and Pastry (15 ingredients) and Mexican Chiapas Coffee
DSC00128
Pan Seared Rice paper wrapped scallop at Stories

Delicious seafood risotto at The Bicycle Thief Italian Restaurant…

http://www.bicyclethief.ca

DSC00214

After dinner stroll along the sea walk….

DSC00202

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

http://www.grayline.com

DSC00268
Beautiful and quaint…beyond words can describe
DSC00263
Scotsman and the lobster

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

http://www.mckelvies.com

DSC00227

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

http://www.tallshipsilva.com

DSC00394
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

IMG_8697DSC00478

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

http://www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com

DSC00492
Goldwater lobster shack at the Seaport Farmers Market
IMG_8701
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

DSC00497
St Lawrence Market, Toronto
DSC00514
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

IMG_8753

IMG_8755
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

IMG_8792
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.

IMG_8884

Kingyo Izakaya on Denman – Hitsumabushi (Unagi)

IMG_0314
Kingyo Green Salad

It was one of those rare self-extended long weekends; after a rather busy errands-filled Monday morning, we found ourselves craving for Japanese food and headed to Kingyo on Denman, a popular local Japanese izakaya which has been reviewed (and raved about) many times,on many food blogs, Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor.

I admit I actually frequent its sister restaurant Suika for evening gatherings more often; Though I’m already very familiar with Kingyo’s menu and flavors (or perhaps because of it), it somehow remains my go-to Japanese restaurant for weekend lunches in downtown Vancouver.

Their Hitsumabushi is the reason why I’m writing this review, as I do not recall having seen reviews on this particular dish often. The soy-sauce cooked eel was served in a sizzling stone bowl of rice with green onions, seaweed and special house broth.  This is Kingyo’s version of a famous Nagoya-area local dish.  Our waitress took her time to explain how I should enjoy it and I really appreciate her efforts: This is one of the aspects which I love about food, or rather the sharing of the “joy of food” with those who have a real passion for it. It is such a great common topic which breaks down all barriers and sometimes lead to the most interesting conversations; there is always something new to learn every day…

IMG_0320
My second helping with condiments

Eating this dish is particularly interesting because its like a “four act” play or a symphony with “four movements”…each act uses the variations of the same basic ingredients to offer a slightly different kind of eating experience.  I might have missed if I had not asked our server about “recommendations” on how best to eat it!  I think it reflects the finest of dining traditions..the chef imagines the experiences and creates the opportunity with the ingredients and serving vessels presented in a certain way, the server helps to convey the opportunities, providing their recommendations if asked, and the diner, if they have the will and openness of heart, chooses to participate.  I am sure for this particular dish, this has been done perhaps thousands of times, each participant trying to “make it better’ as an experience for the diner.  I suppose, like most things great and lasting, it is done with full heart and a loving, sharing spirit..

To enjoy: 1st helping – scoop some unagi and rice into bowl and eat as is; 2nd helping – enjoy with added condiments to your taste (green onion, seaweed and wasabi) ; 3rd helping – this time poured the special broth over, it’s similar to having ochazuke; last helping – the bonus with Kingyo’s serving style and definitely the best for last..scraping the “burnt crispy rice” bottom and mixed with the broth…The flavour changes throughout as you add on each component, it was a thoroughly delicious and enjoyable experience. Some may beg to differ and say it’s different from Nagoya’s original, for now, this will do…

IMG_0316
Kanazawa Katsu (deep fried pork cutlet) Curry with cabbage, onion pickles and rice..Oishii kata..

Of course there is still an old favourite, Kanazawa Katsu (Deep fried pork cutlet) Curry, a scrumptious rich-flavored curry dish (served with rice, cut cabbage and onion pickles) which Andy ordered as his main and quickly devoured…

For starters, we shared a Kingyo green salad, a simple and fresh blend of organic greens with avocado, tomato and veggie chips with a mixed vegetable dressing.

The standards and levels of consistency are definitely maintained at Kingyo; while I do yearn for new and exciting flavors at this old-time favourite; I realize through today’s experience: rather than always expecting the restaurants to change as quickly as fickle diners’ tastes; it’s good to seek ‘”new” favourites or new ways to experience old favourites.

Now I’ve found a new favourite at one of my “old” favourites , so what’s yours?

 

Information:

Kingyo – 871 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC

(http://www.kingyo-izakaya.ca/)

Authentic Japanese taste, eclectic shared plates and interesting drink menu; fair-sized portion and moderate-high pricing. Reservations highly recommended.  Friendly service and great ambience, lunch is a better time to avoid long line ups and try their specialties (must try Special bento box). Parking could be troublesome, mostly metered (free parking available on side streets).  

Kingyo Izakaya 金魚居酒屋 on Urbanspoon

Kingyo Izakaya 金魚居酒屋 on Urbanspoon

Youtube: Japanese food channel Cooking With Dog

IMG_9195

Here’s more information for Japanese Food Lovers: Cooking with Dog is a YouTube cooking show featured a canine host name Francis and a mysterious Japanese Lady Chef whose real name is not disclosed.  It is very popular, currently there are more than 570,000 channel subscribers.

I came across this accidentally while searching for Japanese cooking instructional videos on Youtube; my dear pal James mentioned on his Facebook page (thanks for sharing my blog!) this is also one of his favourite Youtube foodie channel.

http://www.youtube.com/user/cookingwithdog

On a personal note:

Thank you Ms. Deborah Moore (http://deborahmoore.com/) for having me on your radio show this morning on AM1470 (http://www.am1470.com/splash.php)! Look forward to next time!

If you are a Vancouverite or a visiting tourist interested in the history of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, check out and sign up for James Johnstone’s walking tours.

http://historywalksinvancouver.blogspot.ca/ (the tour currently ranked #13 of 121 activities to do in Vancouver on Trip-advisor).

It’s getting late, good night!