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Month: September 2018 Page 1 of 3

Sasaya Restaurant

We came here on a whim, looking at our original destination and turning back around, we ended walking across the way to “Sasaya”. Based on its awning and the photos of their dishes plastered on the window, I deemed it the best option in the neighbourhood.

Inside the restaurant was painted in a rose pink with an apple red detailing. Despite its colouring the whole set up felt like a cafeteria with linear tables set in rows. Stale grey rectangular tables surround by black office chairs. We grabbed a seat in the upper corner and watched the restaurant slowly fill; admiring the one lone server working the floor trying to service them all. She literally ran from table to table either delivering dishes, busing plates, or offering refills of water in to your cup.

The restaurant boasted Korean cuisine on the awning but based on the menu, signs in the dining area, and the staff greeting customers in Mandarin; this was more like a Chinese-style Korean restaurant with options like bubble tea, stewed appetizers, and other popular Taiwanese’s snacks. This had me curious over their homemade kimchi and what a pairing of mayonnaise and bamboo shoot would taste like. They were basically a bubble tea cafe hiding within this Korean restaurant front.

I ended up ordering Japanese style udon despite the Korean name and the Chinese influences. It was noodles and vegetable in a chicken broth base: cabbage, carrot, corn, shrimp, mussels, squid, tofu, sliced pork, egg, and udon. My guest likened it to an “Asian minestrone with tofu”, and now I can’t think of a better way to explain it. It was warming and comforting, with that home cooked feel, just as all the dishes to come were.

I ordered the “Deep fried black rice cake”’out of curiosity. It had a firm texture, what I imagine biting into freshly poured asphalt would be like. It was interesting enough to want to go back for a second, third, and fourth bite to try figure out what it is you were tasting. You ate it for its chewiness and enjoyed it for its instant-noodle-package-seasoning flavour.

The “Bibimbap” was very much so Korean with bbq pork, kimchi, beansprouts, mushrooms, egg, and rice. It came with the cast iron still sizzling. You stirred it all up and then added a kick with a healthy squeeze from the bottle of hot sauce that came with the set. It was exactly as we expected and just as satisfying.

I never miss ordering Korean rice cakes for their texture. This spicy one was plenty tasty, with the vegetables and meat offering contrast and some heartiness to the serving. Although, I would have been just as happy with the sauced up tubes as they were.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Maybe I came in with very low expectations, but I found everything tasty and the meal very fairly price. I was especially impressed by our earnest server, so much so that I made sure to recognize her for your hard work and level head. Once again she was tasked with serving the entire dining room, and she did so with speed and efficiency. All whilst saying pleases and thank you’s. She even ran around with two pitchers in her hand to be ready to offer either hot or cold water. You don’t see that level of service for many off the grid shoppes like this, Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SASAYA
7538 Royal Oak Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5J 4K1
604-433-3652
Sasaya Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ban Chok Dee, Maple Ridge

Having travelled all the way to the original location of “Ban Chok Dee” before, I was excited to see if their new location would measure up to the pedestal that I put their Langley one up on. Though as much as I enjoy dining with them, the travel to is one I don’t enjoy making. Luckily my role as judge for the Vancouver Foodster sangria challenge demanded that I make the trip out. So here I was.

It is located in a strip mall, so already on first impression it is a lot more casual. Though it does still hold a candle to some of the more decorative elements the original location is known for. Like the jewel incrusted Thai deities greeting you at the threshold, the glowing crystal chandeliers caged in iron, and the rhinestone mandala that garnered your attention.

The place was packed this Friday night (the photo I took above was as one of the last guests leaving for the night). Every seat was sat, and there was a wait for more to free up by the entrance. We were seated at the bar, with a direct line to the kitchen.

Here I would be reunited with the head chef of both “Ban Chok Dee” location’s and their newest cooking school: Prinya. I have met her once before, so was delighted to have her cook for us tonight. For dinner she would spoil us with a six course meal from off the menu. She is known for her creativity and the specialty dishes that combine her expertise of Thai cuisine with all the cooking techniques that she has picked up through her journeys and learnings. Given her creativity and talent I can see her competing on Iron Chef Canada, but where would she find the time? As the owner of two successful “Ban Chok Dee” Thai cuisine restaurants, the teacher at her own cooking academy, a mother of two, and a fitness model who has competed locally, and will soon do so nationally. But despite inevitable fatigue she greeted us at our bar seats, and personally delivered us our plates course after course. She took the time to explain to us what we would be having as well as check in on how we were doing.

It is no wonder all the staff working for her were just as cordial. She has set the standard and they all followed with exceptional service and conversation. This was especially the case with their friendly bartender, and creator of their sangria contender: Kelsey V. She was as bright and cheery as her rainbow hair and wide grin. She engaged us and checked in between our sips of cocktail and wine. I won’t be covering her sangria in this blog post, as the competition is still going on, and I am sworn to secrecy. Instead, I invite you to return back to this blog after October 7th, where I will be reviewing the entire competition, the winners, and how I voted.

We began with a great tasting platter served on a marble board shaped like a cactus. It was an assembly that went well together with uniform tangy seasonings and crispy bites.

The flaky curry puff was filled with a sweet curry ground beef. It was the dressiest curry puff that I have ever had.

I liked the prawn wrapped in noodle. It offered a new twist to breading and deep frying your seafood. Here the crispy noodle strand wrapping the juicy shrimp gave it a great crunch and a unique flavour.

The prawn served with duck soy sauce was served wrapped in pandan leaf. I have never tried pandan leaves before, so wasn’t sure if you ate it and the prawn whole as the bite it was intended to be? Only through trying did I learn that the answer was, “no”. The leaves were too tough to even rip with teeth.

In the similar vein of utilizing non edible plants as holders for edible food, the shrimp cake was wrapped around some lemon grass. It was served looking like a drumlet that you can easy bite down on and pry seafood from “bone”. It was a little salty, but I loved the bounce in the bite of the cake and how crispy it’s breading was.

The next course was a chilled soup of cucumber, coconut, mint, and plenty of shrimp. It was served in a young coconut, and I wasn’t sure if you were meant to eat the coconut flesh with the soup, but I made sure to scrape it clean after my last sip. The soup was refreshing, like drinking a green smoothie, but savoury and more filling like a salad. There was nothing I didn’t like about this from its presentation to its taste, this was a great build up for flavours to come.

Next we had a scallop and crab salad with pomello, cherry tomato, cucumber, scallops, and greens. If all salads were like this one I would order and have more salads. It was great for those like myself who don’t actually like greens. It was fragrant with the strawberry, and herbaceous with the shisho leaves, peppery from the shallots, and sweet from the juicy tomatoes. This was another great start to build up the appetite with.

The lobster tail in red curry was an impressive plate. However the curry was so flavourful that it over powered the natural sweetness of the lobster meat. I wished for some noodles or a nice basmati to pair with it. Some thing carb-y to soak up the flavour, as I didn’t want to waste a drop of it, but it was too overwhelming to drink as a soup.

Our main was a deep fried cod fillet served with green beans and rice in a Penang sauce. The seasoning and level of flavours were similar to the dish above, therefore after the first bite it was too much for me. I would have liked the salad above just before this to give the palette a breath. Therefore, I was left wanting some pickles or a tartar-like cream sauce to balance out the drier fish. This dish could have also used more rice give the pool of sauce it soaked in.

For dessert we had two citrus flavoured panna cottas with butterfly pea flower jello. I preferred the orange blossom flavoured panna cover over the kaffir lime and lemon grass one. The orange offered a nicer contrast to the jello. This was a light finish to round off all the flavours above.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I came in a fan, and felt reassured in my declaration that “Ban Chok Dee” is one of my favourite places for dressy, modern, and fun Thai food. Bold flavours and stunning plates, whipped up a strong woman. Make sure you follow them on social media, if you are like me and eat with your eyes. They are always doing so many creative things worth driving 19km for. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BAN CHOK DEE
20395 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge BC, V2X 2P9
604-459-8000
banchokdee.com
Ban Chok Dee Thai Cuisine  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pancake and Booze Art Show

I stumbled upon an advert for this art show online. From reading its name alone I wanted go. The promise of all you can eat pancakes coupled with the prospect of drinking beer and appreciating local art. Although sadly, it would not live up to my expectations.

I gathered up the girls and we purchased our tickets online. $10 was regular admission, but we splurged, paying $3 more to “line jump”. However that was unnecessary, as there was no one waiting to enter, in fact a handful were leaving by the time we had our IDs checked for admission.

The locale was the “Fortune Sound Club”, I have never been within before, so at least took joy in exploring a longstanding venue within Vancouver. It also ended up being a great choice because of its decor, and the way it’s space had pockets and corners worth wandering around in. The club was naturally outfitted with many artistic elements. Neon lights, mirrored calligraphy, paintings on columns, murals snaking across walls, and a collage of comics and graffiti travelling up the stairwell.

The club is layered. Check in is on the ground floors, mid way up the stairs is a short hall to your left. Here, a room with a lowered ceiling and the long line for the pancakes mentioned in the advert of the event invitation.

The pancakes were an unlimited offering, but tipping was highly encouraged and/or shopping from their adjacent booth. A table with black and white, colour yourself stickers; and a love note exchange, where you fill one out and leave it on the table, then take one in its place.

The two artist behind this was working the pancake booth all night: two girls to one skillet. The pancakes were made to order and customized to your preference. Chocolate chips, bananas, and/or apples; or a combination of any two. At most these ladies are able to flip six fluffy pancakes at a time. Serving six at a time, with at least two minutes of wait time in between rounds, still had those waiting in line getting listless. Impatiently waiting in a cramped room with low ceilings and no ventilation. We thought of grabbing a round piece of a dough, then hoping back to the end of the line to get another, repeating the process as necessary. The pancakes were good enough, just the effort necessary wasn’t worth the work. Sadly, our plans of eating at least 5 pancakes to get our money’s worth were dashed.

I had a chocolate chip and banana pancake and coated in it some “Aunt Jemima’s” syrup. We weren’t even able to enjoy our pancakes, really. We couldn’t take them to the main gallery to eat and appreciate art at the same time, there weren’t enough places to sit and eat slow at, nor was it really comfortable in the muggy room. We tried retreating to the stairwell to eat by a breeze, but we directed back to the hovel. So we stood up and scarfed it down.

There were at least a few booths on this floor, a table selling food themed stickers, one offering art-filled “mystery bags”, and another selling cross stitched portraits and penises on canvas. There were so many great kitschy things that I seriously considered getting.

Upstairs the dance floor was sectioned into three rows. Faux walls set up like miniature galleries for various artists to claim it as their own space. They offered full canvases and prints for sale; photographs, postcards, and pins. I picked up one of the latter: a skull decorated with bright flowers.

I liked the pop culture cartoon characters drawn as if they are candles melting under heat. The collection of sassy cards featuring vulvas and asking its readers to “Don’t ignore me, I sucked your dick”. One artist utilized the neon colouring of a black light to give his heavily textured paintings a different look in day versus night.

But there was many more focused on capturing the naked female form. One such was a live demonstration of body painting. A semi nude model was down to her underwear, being dabbed over with blue-grey body paint. She had a skull painted on her back and gold dust flecked over her shoulders. Beside her and her artist was a man mouldings some of the most intricate balloon animals I have ever seen.

After a lap of the place and the continuous bumping of shoulders, we agreed we had spent all the time we could there. 30 minutes waiting in line for pancakes, 30 minutes roaming. Given how tight the arena was we opted to not order a drink at the bar, but instead go else where for a seat and a drink, with a full meal that would satisfy.

Sadly, I felt bad for suggesting the event to my friends, so much so that I apologized and even contemplated refunding them their $13 out of my own pocket. A great idea, but poor execution. There were so many elements to this that could have made this a great and memorable night. Instead, I was left wanting more and not feeling like I got my money’s worth. There are plenty of great galleries I could enjoy art at, plenty of installations that don’t charge admission, and many more IHOPs where I could get a giant stack of pancakes from for less than $10.

 

 

Saturday Morning, cereal popup

This Saturday morning I had the day off, so thought what better way to spend it then reliving my childhood with the “Saturday Morning” pop up. This is a monthly pop up that brings Vancouverites a fun place to have a light breakfast at. Organizers take over a shop space and theme it to your childhood bedroom. The date and location are in flux, so be sure to follow them on social media to stay in the loop.

This month’s locale was the eye glass shop, “Ollie Quinn” on Commercial Drive. “Saturday Morning’s” advertisement spoke to this, as their hand outs featured an eye chart and the looney toons gang showcasing their offer of $5 dressed up cereal bowls. The collaboration had people trying on readers and sunnies vowing to come back, to purchase their next pair of frames. Although the eye glasses shop wasn’t actually open for business or sales this 10:30-3:30pm, (the duration of the pop up).

If you didn’t get the memo for the event, you couldn’t miss it walking by. The music was bumping all the way to the sidewalk, and those passing by couldn’t help but feel themselves gravitating closer with its bouncy pull. The DJ was spinning Saturday morning cartoon jams like the themes from your favourite tv shows including “Recess”, “Doug”, and the “Goof Troop’ movie. There was also plenty of 90’s club bangers playing, like “Rhythm of the Night”, “What is love?”, and even that “Crazy Frog” song.

Looking through the window you also couldn’t help but have your curiosity peaked with their colourful toys and playful displays. In the main window was a collection of the bizzaro versions of your favourite “Kellogg’s” and “General Mills” cereal mascots. Cubby versions of Captain Crunch, Tony the Tiger, the leprechaun from “Lucky Charms”, the Tucan from “Fruit Loops” and there was even “Snap, Crackle, and Pop” merged into one three faced and three legged entity. Behind it a pop culture take on the Sailor Scouts. The pretty guardians were dressed in sports attire and branded gear by “Supreme”, “North Face”, and “Nike”.

The other window was rearranged into a play nook with fuzzy carpet, plush toys, and character pillows. “Carebears”, “Garfield”, “Scooby Doo”, “Mickey Mouse”, and even an original “Treasure Troll” (not the Justin Timberlake version). Here, they had a vintage television set up with a functioning “Nintendo” gaming system, allowing attendees the ability to try their hand a classic games like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Super Mario”.

At the very back of the space was their service counter. Here you ordered and paid for your bowl of cereal. Be warn this is a cash only affair.

I have been to cereal popup before, a different event run by a different team and where I left unsatisfied there, all my issues and suggestions were address and improved upon at this pop up. They offered up limited edition cereals and flavours you don’t normally see you at your grocery store shelves, so that in itself is a reason to visit. They also allow you to mix boxes of cereal, which would be the point in visiting a cereal bar. Who wants to keep it only one flavour when there are a shelf-full of boxes to choose from. And then they take everything to a new level by offering you the ability to top your cereal bowl like you would a sundae: various sauces and toppings to make it your own. Strawberries, banana, marshmallow, strawberry sauce, Nutella, and even cookie butter spread.

There was a menu of speciality crafted bowls. Each had a combination of cereals topped with fruit and/or ice cream syrups and sauces. The ones with international cereal offerings were highlighted by the USA and Japan flags. You make your choice and after it’s poured into disposable bowl you choose and pour your own milk into the mix. They had two non-dairy options like soy and almond milk available. Whereas they only offered 3.25% for your regular cow-milk option. I personally prefer a 2% or a skim if I am counting calories. Although the heavier 3.25% made things creamier and more befitting of my dessert-like cereal bowl.

If you don’t see something you like off their menu, or maybe prefer not to mix things up, you can choose your cereal from their shelf of boxes and custom make your own. They had a chocolate and a strawberry doughnut cereal, a cereal that tasted like birthday cake, one that was mini chocolate chip cookies, a limited edition “Frosted Flakes”; and even the popular spooky cereal trio “Frankenberry”, “Booberry”, and “Count Chocola” made an appearance. Not to mention, there were a handful of Japanese cereals worth trying, including one with a syrupy chocolate at a centre of a crispy wafer chocolate shell.

The following is a list of the bowls they offer, then the ones myself and our group ordered.

I went for the “Yogi bear”, as suggested by the cashier. She would pour a pre-blended mix of “Cinnamon Toast Crunch”, “Lucky Charms”, and “Cocoa Pebbles” together; then topped it with torched mini marshmallows and a chocolate “Nesquik” drizzle. You can’t go wrong with crispy cereal, that leaves you with sweetened milk at the end.

“Cookie Monster”. “Oreo O’s” and “Cookie Crisp” with crushed Oreos and a condensed milk drizzle.

“Sylvester the cat”. “Hershey cocoa nibs”, strawberry slices, and French vanilla whipped cream.

Tasmanian devil. Cap’n crunch, Reese’s puffs, coco puffs, banana slices, and a Nutella and coconut butter drizzle.

Rainbow brite. Fruity “Pebbles” and “Trix” with strawberry “Nesquik” syrup

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This was such a fun scene. I highly suggest following their social media to find out when the next one is and attending for yourself. There is nothing else like it being offered in the city, and this is what the city needs to inject some colour and liveliness. With “Saturday Mornings” we are one step closer to Vancouver getting its own full time cereal bar. Offering cereal bowls with milk by day, and sundaes and milkshake with ice cream and crushed up cereals by night. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SUNDAY MORNINGS
https://www.instagram.com/saturdaymorningscereal/

Nomad

Today I was visiting “Nomad”, as one of the judges for the Vancouver Foodster sangria challenge. My role, to visit each of the five participating restaurants, to try their sangria creation; then judge it based on taste, originality and presentation. I won’t be revealing my thoughts on the drink here, as the competition is still running, but be sure to return back to my blog for the results and to see how I voted after October 7th.

I have only been to “Nomad” once before. And having tried a handful of their happy hour plates had me excited to explore more of their menu with a full dinner, today. To check out the original visit post, visit the link, then come back to read my revisit.

Nomad, Happy Hour

 

Their name refers to their inspiration, their ability to travel and try new flavour combinations and techniques, then apply it to their menu. A menu that is updated regularly and takes on a lot from its surroundings and what is available locally, just as a nomadic tribe would.

With minimal decorations, vaulted ceilings, and a few scenic photos where blue skies meets brown soil; the decor too subtly speaks to the nomadic theme. We were seated at the bar. This was the perfect vantage point to take in some of the little details they put into each cocktail poured. Like smoking glasses with wood and flame, and then storing them in the fridge. This seals in the smokiness that latches on to the moisture from the heating and cooling of the glass.

Here, on the high tops we were looked after by their very charisma bar manager, Benny. I would later learn that he has quite the following, which includes a crowd that comes in specifically on Thursdays, when he works, (and lucky for us, we were here on a Thursday). He has competed in various mixing competitions, including a big win at the “Hennessy Cognac” competition, locally. This win earned him the ability to complete, and represent Vancouver on a national level. And his creative three course cocktail was so popular that it earned him a seat at the judge’s table this year. This was one of the many inspiring stories he regaled us with. I was most impressed by his ability to continuing mixing as he took us through this history of achievements.

We would get a taste of his ability with a glass of “Nomad’s” most popular drink, with over 18,000 glasses sold to date: The “Femme finale”. It included lavender, ginger syrup, fresh lemon, rose water, and sparkling wine. It was a pretty drink, light with citrus notes and bubbles. The house brandied cherry was literally the cherry on top of this cocktail.

The food portion of our night began with some house made sourdough bread. Baked daily every morning, this half loaf of warm crusty bread was served with cultured butter and smoked salt. It was good as is, better with the butter, and next level with the salt highlight the natural tang of the dough. I just wished that the crust wasn’t as tough as it was. I found it scraping the roof of my mouth, to the point that I decided to peel it away and leave only soft spongy bread to spread with butter.

As they did with their bread, they had a different approach with their squid. Whereas most restaurants fry or grill their’s, here their “Humboldt squid” is seared for a different texture and appreciation of its natural flavours, (this is also something that they are known for). It is served in a panang sauce with tomatillo, cilantro, roasted chickpea, house pickled red onion, and king oyster mushroom. The creamy coconut sauce had a curry feel to it. It did well to highlight the firm and chewy squid. As I eluded to earlier, I have never had a texture like it before. Something like what I would expect from squid, but with the qualities of eating fish. There really isn’t anything like it. Sadly, the side ingredients really didn’t do anything to further the plate. I wanted more variety in the textures, less softness, like with the grainy chickpeas (but this is also a preference thing). More pickled vegetables with a crunch (green beans and cauliflower) and maybe the mushrooms in larger chunks would have help. But honestly the squid by itself is worth ordering for a try. I would have preferred it as a steak to cut into too.

The “Hannah brook organic green salad” would have served better as a side to the squid above, instead of a main on its own. I did enjoy the flavouring of the toasted sunflower and preserved orange dressing, the bits of pickled roasted peppers, and especially the dehydrated plum, with the crispy quinoa. But overall even as fully dressed as it was, it still felt like it was lacking. There were too many greens where u wanted more fruit, more plum, and more crunch.

Our version of the “Shaw family farms pork tenderloin” included only 2 cuts of the tender pork as a tasting, thought normally it does come with 3. It is prepared with organic soy beans, broccoli, whipped yams, and miso jus. The jus was a tad on the salty side, but delicious when paired with the beautiful sweet yam purée, and the slightly cooked, crunchy broccoli. The beans offered substance, but once again I am not a fan of such beans and their grainy texture.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
There aren’t many cocktail spots in the Main Street area, so I can definitely suggest this one if you are looking for a unique glass. Here, it will be offered with attentive service, and a welcoming aura. They preach and saw to it that our time with them would be all about the experience, offering us and those dining a lasting memory in some small way. Overall, a beautiful way to enjoy a different take on your favourite proteins and sides. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

NOMAD
3950 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P2
604-708-8525
nomad-vancouver.ca

Sneeki Tiki

Today was the perfect day to visit Vancouver’s newest and downtown’s first tiki bar. It was the first of many rainy days to come, so this vibrant and brightly coloured lounge was the perfect oasis, in which to imagine the sunnier days of summer once forgotten.

“Sneeki Tiki” is the new hotel bar, located at the lobby of Granville Street’s “Best Western”, And today they invited myself and a handful of others to help celebrate their grand opening in style. The bar is easy to spot with its straw thatched patio and citrus coloured bar stools. Colourful planters lined the fenced off area with a bounty of fake greenery that includes tropical blooms, tall grass, and pineapple fruit. But sadly the rain pouring down on the uncovered space meant that the party was moved to the inside.

And to be honest, I preferred it much more. It was thoroughly decorated to bring to life the tiki theme and to help whisk you away to some where warm. Somewhere, where you order the frozen drinks they serve and sway to island beats they play. Ceiling to floor the theme was consistent. Straw panels lined the room, the ceiling was plastered with maps of the tropics and pineapple decals. Their tiki mascot found its way around the room: in the carved wooden masks and columns, the decorative paintings and figures, and in the glassware that they poured into. Woven rattan chairs and wooden tables faced the stage in the corner. It’s back drop was a hand painted surf scape. Blue skies, colourful pointed boards, and green leaves.

Tonight this would be the background and stage that local and award winning Polynesian dancers would perform on. This night was the perfect test to see how the crowd responded, and if there was a market in Vancouver for regular Polynesian dancing to be held at “Sneeki Tiki”. Based on how much fun I had and how enthusiastic the crowd got tonight, I would say that is a yes!

They performed several sets where they wowed us with their traditional story telling told through colourful garments, acoustic instruments, and the impressive speed in which hips were swaying. They danced with hand gestures, handheld instruments, and hoot and hollered aloud to get the crowd going. There were costume changes, feats of strength, and a portion that would have been simply magnificent if they were able to incorporate fire into the act.

As for the drinks, the menu mimicked a treasure map with 19 different cocktails organized by “islands”. “Signature islands”, “classic islands”, “sneeki islands”, and “tiki bowls”. We would try a handful during this visit. Half the fun was seeing what glasses each came in and how decorative the cocktail would get in the name of their theme.

The “Mai Tai Redux” was the “Sneeki Tiki’s” take on the classic Mai Tai. Amber and pineapple rum, apricot brandy, orgeat and faleum syrup mixed with pineapple and guava juice. It was as tropical and tasty as it reads.

The “Blue Hawaiian” is a popular sweet and frozen cocktail given its colour. Light rum, blue curaçao, coconut cream and pineapple juice. This is a staple at any sunny, all inclusive resort; so it gave me flash back of fond memories with every sip.

The “Tinder surprise” was a created in house a blend of Vodka, Kahlua, and orange bitters topped with more bitters. Compared to how easy and tasty all the other drinks were, this one made you grimace with every sip. It wasn’t a smooth and creamy drink like what you’d expect from one mixed with Kahlua. Nor was it a simple and clean, it just felt like it wasn’t gibing.

The “Stormy D.” was a play on the dark and stormy but lighter. It is made with dark rum, lemon grass syrup, and pineapple juice; topped with ginger beer. It was much lighter with the beer and drank just as such.

The “Pineapple Express” was a fun one with light rum, falemum, pineapple fruit and pineapple juice. A refreshing juice-like cocktail that I would order again.

But truly the one to get and the bar’s showstopper is the “Scorpion bowl”. This is a larger serving of drinks to share between 2-3 people. It is 4.5 ounces of light rum, brandy, triple sec, orgeat, talemum, cane sugar, guava, and papaya juice. It comes in a special bowl and set a flame. A little cinnamon sprinkled atop of the lit sugar cube gives the table some theatrics.

But sadly none of these are part of their happy hour menu, also known as “Tiki Hour”. Instead, you can take advantage of their discounted food menu between 4-6pm. Their speciality wings go for $4 less, you pay a couple of bucks for a skewer of chicken satay and/or chicken corn dogs, and vegetable gyozas run at $2 less. We would get to try a few of these and some of their other menu items as a sampling.

“Polynesian wings”, chicken wings tossed in a blend of pineapple juice and spices, available in mild or spicy. They were sweet and salty, juicy wings, easy to slide into your mouth and pick clean with your teeth. A great bar staple that they are doing their way.

By comparison the “Chicken satay on skewers” were dry and bland. The menu described it being served with a peanut or yogurt dipping sauce; and had we had a saucer of it, things would have tasted much better.

The “Veggie gyoza” was your standard gyoza: chewy dough surrounding a nugget of mixed vegetables seasoned with plenty of garlic. This too was missing the sauce that it was advertised with: a ponzu and chilli oil sauce

But the “Thai Brussels sprouts” were the best of the appetizers served in this particular platter. A great texture and garlicky taste to balance out the bevy of sweet drinks.

The “Coconut shrimp” was panko shrimp in their secret tiki recipe. It was crispy and plenty tasty.

The “Poke crunch” were deep fried cubes of ahi tuna and onion topped with furikake and Japanese mayo. It was an interesting take, incorporating the popularity of deep frying onto another popular food trend. However I didn’t like how the frying inevitably cooked the salmon and changed the ideals of poke altogether. I would have advertised it as fried fish or just left it as regular poke.

I found the “Maui sliders” a little dry as was. The pineapple buns filled with braised short rib and a kale slaw were best taken with a scoop of the shredded pickled cucumber that it came with. And a nice sweet mayo or tomato would have been great additions to inject some moisture into the mini burger.

By contrast, I much more preferred the “Bao dan”, especially with the use of the chewy, white dough buns. They were stuffed with braised pork belly, and pickled daikon and carrots. It was tender meat with briny vegetables, in a fluffy hamburger bun. No complaints.

My table mates weren’t as thrilled with the food overall. Whereas I invited them to look at it through the windows of a bar. This isn’t a restaurant, it is a tiki bar, which are typically known of their drinks. And like many bars, the food comes second. The idea is that you take down a couple of drinks, and follow it with plenty of salty and carbo-loaded hand held snacks. And the above were ideal for accompanying beers, and plenty of sugary cocktails. And if you look at it in this light, everything was as expected and terrific.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked the how wholistic the entire experience was. From start to finish you walked in and were immersed in the well cultivated tropical setting. The drinks take you in and the live entertainment keeps you. I will definitely be coming back with a bunch of friends in the near future. This was so much fun, and will definitely make a great escape this cold and wet winter season. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SNEEKI TIKI
1100 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2B6
604-690-8454
sneekitiki.com

Gon’s Izakaya

After a day out at Stanley Park, attending a music festival in the rain, I was more than ecstatic to end our night within the warmth of this fushion Asia Restaurant.

Given how much I liked the food, I was surprised to see it so empty on a Saturday night. But this is also how I felt about the last three restaurants that held this space. Maybe it’s the location? -A far walk from Robson’s main strip, but then again they are next to a popular dessert cafe that has only flourished with its tenure. None the less we had plenty of room to enjoy this Japanese inspired izakaya, sharing raw seafood, saucy noodles and deep-fried vegetables amongst three.

At the entrance was a lengthy share table centred with some decorative bamboo and stones. Around the corner were additional seats lined up against the wall, a row set parallel to chairs along the bar. We grabbed a corner at the former and began amassing food and drink, starting with a bottle of white wine.

The menu is easy to navigate with pictorials. Their “Spicy red nabe”, was declared a must try, highlighted on its own laminated sheet. This was their house special hot pot with Japanese nappa cabbage, bean sprouts, tofu, eggplant, chicken, and pork belly: cooked in a miso broth flavoured with red pepper and paprika. You had the option of choosing how spicy you wanted it from a scale of one to five, I went for a one to be able to enjoy the dish.

It is cooked table side over a electric coil. It comes as a tower of raw ingredients in the aforementioned broth. Then as the brew boils and the steam seeps out, your server returns to peel back the layers of pork belly, and shift vegetables around to uncover a foundation of beansprouts. This opening is used to stir in a paste and a chilli sauce. Then the serving is allowed more time to boil and cook. The result is a wonderfully fragrant hot pot, one of the best in flavour with the fermented pickling providing a natural umami to the mix. This was definitely my favourite dish of the evening and one I would order again, should I return.

A close second for very different reasons was the “Tempura curry Udon”. I would order this one again too on my next visit. I was looking for something rich in sauciness with the proper carbs to soak it up. This sweet Japanese style curry with chewy fat udon noodles did not disappoint. The flavours and the textures of this are all ones I personally gravitate towards, if I am ordering for preference. I want another serving just writing and re-reading this.

The “Gon’s original kara-age” is Japanese style deep fried organic chicken. These were an easy win, tasty nuggets of juicy chicken you could easily pop into your mouth. Best with an beer to balance out its saltiness.

A little too similar was the gathering of deep fried vegetable and homemade fishballs. Tasty, but together with the chicken above this was too much deep fry and not enough pickled vegetable or creamy sauce to break things apart.

The “Seafood donburi” came as a set with miso soup, a side salad with vinaigrette, a steamed egg dish, seasoned bamboo, and a dish of tangy pickles. You felt you got your money’s worth with this one. Plenty to mix and match flavours with, and enough to leave you full. The raw fish over the sushi rice was a collection of sashimi that included red snapper, yellow tail, tuna, octopus, and sweet spot prawn. It was a seafood lover’s dream given how fresh it all tasted.

The “Takoyaki poutine” made good drunk food. Fries, gravy, and parmesan cheese topped with four balls of takoyaki, flavoured with its normal dressing of sweet mayo and bonito flakes. It tasted exactly as it sounds.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I really liked this place, as I naturally gravitate to asian fusion and smaller plates that allow you to order lots, try plenty, and sharing everything. If this was by my work I would be frequenting them more often. But sadly its not that close to make a trip out to, nor is parking easy by it. But if you are ever in the area and are ever given the option, I would definitely suggest snacking with them. Don’t deny your cravings

 

GON’S
854 Denman Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 2L8
604-559-6404
izakaya-gons.com/denman

Davie Dosa Company, revisit

I love dining with others, taking their preservative and incorporating it into my writing allows me to see a different side to things. To learn and reevaluate what I once thought and/or know, to be able to review it in a whole new light. This was the case with today’s dinner at “Davie Dosa”. To check out my original review on “Davie Dosa Company”, click the link below, then come back to continue reading my new and much more in depth thoughts.

Davie Dosa Company

 

My original intention of revisiting was to come in to try their limited edition sangria, a must as one of Vancouver Foodster’s sangria challenge judges. However, I won’t be reviewing the drink here as the contest is still running, instead I suggest visiting all six competing locations yourself, and dawning the title of judge, yourself. Try all competing concoctions and help vote for the people’s choice by placing your ballot in for your favourite based on originality, taste, and presentation. You can do so by clicking the link: https://1.shortstack.com/XhdsPW

Then come back to vieamaggi.com after the competition has concluded on the 7th of October to see who has won and how I voted.

 

Now seeing as today was a Monday, I thought it would be a great idea to go #meatlessmonday for the occasion. And one of the best places for an all vegetable meal is at any Indian restaurant. I find Indian food done right, with plenty of spices and fresh ingredients result in a meal so encompassing and so filling that you don’t even remember to miss meat. This was definitely the case today. My guest is a long time vegetarian and her favourite cuisine is Indian, this made her the ideal dining companion to bounce thoughts off of and to have her help navigate the direction of this post.

When first walking in, she immediately commented on how welcoming the restaurant was. The exterior is wide open to let in the sun and circulate the air, and an alter greets you at the threshold. The space is set up with no expectations. It isn’t pretentious nor is it trying to force feelings of ethnic exoticness on you. There are a few Indian artifacts scattered around, key pieces lovingly collected as our social host and owner of the restaurant, is taking his time in redecorating.

We grabbed a table by the opened front. It was framed with flowers and greens. An ideal vantage point for people watching and to be watched by those passing by. Bowls of fresh water sat at our feet, allowing dogs to say a thirsty “hi” as they passed on by. Despite the extra noise caused by the drive by traffic outside, we were able to chat and hear each other just fine. The music was a relaxing instrumental of East Indian melodies, set low enough, as to not have us fighting to speak over it.

I can’t speak to the Sangria here, but I can rave about their seasonal blueberry mojito. Our owner/host was once the bar manager for the Vancouver convention centre, over 14 years gave him plenty of practice in mixing his own unique cocktails. This mojito spoke to his experience. Like the sangria, another summertime classic, utilizing fresh blueberries hand picked by the owner and his family at one of those u-pick berry farms in BC. This was a solid drink, shame the chalkboard sign outside advertising it, really didn’t do it justice, it didn’t mention the real fruit berries, nor did it feature a photo or chalk sketch of the glass; because how great it looks is what draws you in. It made for a great sipper, it wasn’t too sweet, sweeten naturally with the fruit’s sugars.

As for food, we went through the menu, being able to reference photos and translate with the English description under each dish. My guest was pleasantly surprised to not see a list of the typical Indian dishes that you can find at any Indian restaurant, including westernized versions at popular chains. The following are a handful of dishes that peaked our interest as either something we have never heard of or tried, or something that just sounded delicious.

“Idly” is a steamed cake made from rice and lentils, it is typically an accompaniment to a traditional Indian breakfast. These white rounds are spongy in texture, with a flat flavour that is ready to absorb any of the side sauces it comes with and gets dipped into. I suggest mixing and matching with the collection of sauces and chutneys you gather across all your shared small plates. They all compliment one another, yet are strikingly different to keep things interesting.

The scoop of white was a sweeter coconut dip. It gave the cake above and the doughnut below a dessert feel. Although it was my least favourite of the sauces. I would have liked to see it featured in a flan-like pudding instead. And the tomato chutney gave you some heat and some tang. I really liked vegetable and lentil soup dip. It was flavourful and thick enough to use as a dip, but so warming and hearty that I preferred it as a soup. Green bean, carrot, potato, and onion. It gave you heat and a slight tingle at the back of your throat.

As I mentioned earlier the “Medhu vada” was a deep fried lentil doughnut that was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. You could dunk a ring into anything, or cut it open and use it as a sandwich, it was a versatile base with a flavour of its own. I found I liked it best, dunked into the tamarind and mint dips of the cauliflower appetizer below.

The “65’s South Indian style marinated deep fried cauliflower” was my favourite dish of the night. They held up great, remaining crispy even when cool, and they served as the perfect vehicle for gooier dips. The tamarind flavours combined sweet and heat in one syrup-like dip. This I found worked well with the cake and more so with the doughnut above. The mint chutney gave you a refreshing break between heavier flavours, offering a palette refresher hidden behind a sharp vinegary-ness.

You honestly can’t visit “Davie Dosa”, without trying one of their 100% gluten free and nut free Dosas. Like everything else, they are made in house, but as you order it. A “dosa” is a savoury rice and lentil crepe, served curled and so crispy that it snaps with a crack when you go to tear yourself off a chunk. This too came with dips, but the filling (that you have chosen), scooped on to the centre of the dosa curl is the best accompaniment. Here we had the eggplant dosa and it came with the eggplant mixed together with potato cubes and onion.

To conclude our meal we had a trio of all their in house made desserts. This was the first time I heard of and tasted “Kesari”. It is made with semolina, a type of gluten that is sweetened with sugar and saffron. It was most memorable for its interesting texture. Within each bite you are able to make out every round of wheat. It is the same wheat used to make cous cous, and as a result has the same round pearl-like mouth feel as cous cous. For the texture alone, this is a sensation worth trying. Although I did find it a little sweet on its own, I would suggest pairing it with the kulfi below, giving your a cake and ice cream-like pairing. This would be fun done as an Indian sundae.

The “Homemade pistachio kulfi” is traditionally prepared as a popsicle. But here, it is served as whipped cream scooped into balls, making it easier to share. It wasn’t quite ice cream, instead it reminded us of frozen lassi. It had the texture of icy shards, surrounding a centre of crushed pistachio nuts. I liked the jags of ice, but could have done without the crushed nuts distracting from them, or simply just less of it, may be just a pinch sprinkled on top instead. Although without the additional nuts you get more of a condensed milk flavour from the dessert, and not pistachio as was the intention.

“Gulab jamun” is a very iconic Indian dessert. It tasted as I remembered it to be: a cakey timbit soaked in a sugary syrup. Served warm with a coating of shredded coconut for texture. One is plenty, as I found this far too sweet for me.

You come for the traditional Southern Indian cuisine, but definitely continue to return because of the hospitable owner. Only being in the community for a little over a year and he already has fans who frequent his establishment, and customers he knows by name. You can clearly see in his food and level of attentive service that he is excited to host you, and even more so to share his passion for his restaurant and the authentic and real dishes that comes out of his smaller kitchen. We sat for two and a half hours and were not asked to leave nor were we rushed out on our way. Just meaningful check ins where we discussed what we were eating and if there were any improvements to be made.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
With a handful of options and many variations on their menu, there is plenty to explore. New flavours and new uses for fruit and spices you don’t often see at other Indian restaurants sets them apart. This dinner had my guest declaring that this was the most satisfying meal she has has all summer, having also found a new favourite dessert in the pistachio kulfi. Overall a delicious meal and an easy place to have dinner at when on Davie, especially if your a vegetarian or are going “meatless Monday”! Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DAVIE DOSA
1235 Davie Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 1N3
604-669-5899
daviedosacompany.com

Passions preview

Did you know that this September 26th you can enjoy a dinner hosted by 20 of Vancouver’s most prestigious chefs and the restaurants they represent? The only setting where you can indulge in seafood from “Boulevard” and “Araxi”, sushi from “Tojo’s”, fresh made pasta from “Cincin”, and dessert from “La Glacé” and “Beaucoup Bakery”. “Passions” is one of the largest events in Vancouver that brings food and people together for a night, in benefit of the AIDS Foundation.

Through ticket sales, auctions, and draws “Passions” helps to raise much needed financing for the Dr. Peter Centre, helping those who need the essential care that the institution provides day to day.

This event is made possible by the city’s local culinary community donating their time to this endeavour, and showcasing their skill at this high profile platform. And “Pacific Yacht Charter”, supplying the boat that you will be floating on, on the evening. “Pacific Yacht Charters” is a long-time supporter of the Dr. Peter Centre and their luxury yachts was the perfect backdrop to  the preview of this worthwhile cause, a locale befitting of the excellence of such an assembly.

The origin and good works of “Passions” began in 2002. It started off as a small charity cooking class at “Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks”. A year later, it became more of what we know it to be today. It was then and still is now organized by Vancouver food media personality, Nathan Fong. The inaugural event featured 9 chefs, 100 attendees and raised over $7,000. Under Nathan’s continued stewardship, “Passions” has since tripled in size and has become one of Vancouver’s most popular food and wine events, raising so much more for the Centre year after year.

The “Dr. Peter Centre” is the legacy of local British Columbian, Dr. Peter Jepson-Young. The Centre provides compassionate care to some of the most vulnerable, serving clients who include those living with HIV, mental illness, trauma, addiction, poverty, and unstable housing. The Foundation manages a seven day a week health program, a 24-hour licensed care residence, and an enhanced supportive housing program. They serve over 300 clients regularly, and over the years “Passions” has raised an over $1.4 million in support of this compassionate care.

This year’s event will be hosted at “Performance Works” on Granville Island on September 26th. For those interested in attending and showing their support, general admission tickets at the door with cost you $225. If you are looking to contribute more to this cause you can get a VIP Ticket, which includes first access to all the food stations, a welcoming glass of sparkling wine, VIP gift bags, and an exclusive tasting of Mission Hill’s brand new “exhilarat!on brut”. This access will cost you $300. If you are looking to attend as a group, reserve a whole table: seating for 10 runs at $1750, and/or upgrade everyone to VIP for $950 more.

This year’s event will be emceed by Global TV anchor Sophie Lui, with celebrity auctioneer Fred Lee. The prizes to be won include a Pacific Yacht Cruise, which includes dinner for 20 friends, or cocktails for 50. A weekend at a Sonoma vineyard that includes cooking lessons, wine tastings, and a specially prepared dinner with vintners, chefs, and winery owners. These are just two of the bid items available, and the chances of winning are high, given the exclusivity and size of the event.

The photo used in this post is not my own. I will be attending the dinner on September 26 and will be reviewing the event after, on this blog, and then all the content will be my own.

So hopefully you will be able to make it down too, to enjoy dinner! Do it for the charity and do it for the ability to taste and try from the following participating restaurants: Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar, ARC at the Fairmont Waterfront, Boulevard, Beaucoup Bakery, Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Chicha, CinCin, Forage, H2 Rotisserie, Honey Salt, Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House, La Glace, Maenam, Market by Jean-Georges, Minami, Notch8 Restaurant & Bar, Pacific Yacht Charters, Provence Marinaside, The Observatory, Tojo’s, and West.

The price of the ticket well covers the value of the evening with all exceptional restaurants participating. I have been to many of them and can definitely reassure you that none of them slouch when it comes to churning out beautifully tasty and dynamic plates. I am thoroughly excited to attend this event and to be able to bring you live coverage, although I much more prefer to see you there as well!

 

PASSIONS 2018
1110 Comox Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 1K5 604-608-1874
www.drpeter.org
Facebook: DrPeterAIDSFoundation
Twitter: @drpeterAIDSfdn
Instagram: @drpetercentre
#Passions18

 

Crowbar

Today I was reunited with a handful of my favourite food bloggers. We gather together once every 1-2 months to share a more adventurous meal and to discuss it, Here, two of our passions come together in a similar mindedness: trying good food and reviewing it.

“Crowbar” was chosen for its menu which included organ meats, and their use of neck and blood as ingredients. Where else can you try and enjoy such delicacies prepared so deliciously?

The space and the restaurant’s name doesn’t really speak to the menu. An all black exterior that suits the “crow” in the title. Inside, it is a lot more inviting, like a modern rustic cabin. The worn wooden planks underfoot with its rustic tone parallels the paneling on the bar, the planks above the kitchen, the waxed wooden tables, and the crates that made for great makeshift bar shelving.

We helped ourselves to the high top booth by the window and got going with a round of drinks. Their bar is cider focused, so one of us indulged in a bottle of “Tod Creek Co.” dry cider. Another took advantage of their happy hour pricing and enjoyed a negroni cider sbagliato made with cider instead of gin.

And I got the “Cher Horowitz” cocktail. Lemongrass infused beefeater gin, giffard watermelon, lime, green strawberry bitters, and sparkling wine. It was a summer time refresher with the flavour of watermelon coming through. The other drink I the photo above is of a non alcoholic punch, so I won’t be covering it.

There were so many dishes to try and we here here to do just that, so we decided it was in our best interest to go for the tasting plate menu at $60 per person, 5 of us total came to $300 plus for the gathering of ten dishes including desserts. This rounded pricing did not include the drinks above, two burgers we shared, and a bottle of sparkling wine for the table.

Their burger special was a “67 day aged burger”. We got two to make sharing easier between five. This is a burger with an aged beef patty left to linger, left to the moment of moulding. The result is a patty with bite: one that I found had a more acrid flavour. Sour from the aging, with some tangy after notes, like what you’d get with an aged cheese. It made for an interesting taste, but it wasn’t something I could relish, nor was it something I would go out of my way to try again. Although I don’t have much experience with aged meats and therefore can’t appreciate the fact that it’s been left for one of the longest amounts of time. It was too salty overall, leaving me looking for additional condiments some tangy mayo or sweet relish, maybe even some crispy onion.

As for the tasting plate it took from the menu and the chef showed just how creative he could be with it.

Our meal began with a delicious loaf dipped into a mix of shallot oil and black vinegar. It tasted as earthy as it smelled, full of onion and warmth. The meal to come was promising given how delicious this bread was. We ate it like we have between without carbs for a month.

Our first course wasn’t much to look at, but where it lacked in presentation value, it made up for things in taste. “Roasted beets with cuttlefish ink and guaillo”. You couldn’t tell that these were beets, they were completely transformed from colour to taste. It wasn’t sweet like beets, but instead had a hickory, smokey kind of sweetness to it, followed by a vinegary tag. It surprisingly carried well on its own, and you really didn’t need much more to round this dish out.

The pork tendon in a hot and sour broth with cabbage and potatoes was a beautiful soup of sorts. The salty beef gave flavour to the light broth. I avoided the leafy lettuce, but appreciated the freshness it provided, along with the chewy potato cubes.

This dish of juicy tomatoes, creamy burrata, and gritty cannalini beans was described as having wild boar in the mix, however I wasn’t able to taste it outside some possible saltiness. The freshness of the vegetables came to life coated in the peppery olive oil. This was a wonderful tomato salad to transition with.

The “Braised & Grilled Beef Tongue” was one of the dishes I wanted to try, given how adventurous the protein was. I have had my fair share of beef tongue, but I am always down for trying a new way to prepare such a unique ingredient, a delicacy if done right.

Gigande bean, turnip greens, and beef tongue; all in a beef fat vinaigrette. The slices of tongue were serve warm, a nice contrast to the chill of the crisp salad and cold beans. This was my first beef tongue salad, and the first time I have had a creamy dressing made from beef fat; thus making this the most luscious salad I have ever had. I just could have used a nice crispy element to round the plate out. This was a hit with our table, a “western way” of enjoying tongue.

But I much more preferred this cheesy pasta as a side to the juicy slices of tongue. Or really any side to change the taste with. This was just salty and chewy with cheese on top of cheese, I wanted some shredded cucumber or tomato slices for freshness. Great as a side, lacking as a main.

As a table we clapped when the “Smoked Bone-In Pork Belly” arrived, and then continued to clap as the dishes to come got more and more impressive. This pork was prepared in a Korean hyssop glaze. The presentation was impactful with the meat cut for easy consumption, but still lining the bone. It was black like ink, fattier cuts, flavoured with Chinese herbs and hints of ginger. One of my guests described it as tasting like “what a pregnant woman would eat”. It makes sense given the practice is to eat and drink warmer fluids, especially with ginger, to help comfort and soothe your growing baby, (should you be pregnant). We each got two pieces and truthfully I found it plenty. I couldn’t imagine enjoying it as much with a third.

Our next course had us indulging in a whole smoked duck. Giant meaty pieces that was a little medicinal in taste. Here, I would have liked some sweet and salty plum sauce, to change the dominating flavour, and brighten up the dish as an elective.

Another one that I am excited that I got to try was their  “Marinated Duck Hearts”. They didn’t just serve you a plate of organs. Instead it was the whole organs sitting in a bed of soft and chewy risotto. The others didn’t quite like the sticky texture, but I thought it did well to give the dish some character, along with the fragrant use of a fermented garlic mayo. I especially enjoyed it as a side with even more duck from above.

For dessert we shared the “Roasted Rice Panna Cotta” with crushed pistachio and papaya curry seasonings. The sweet melon played off of the aromatic spices well for a balanced dish that wasn’t too sweet.

But I was much more excited to dig into the “Brown Butter Blood Nougat” with white chocolate, almond, sea salt, and whipped coffee. The idea and use of “blood” was a creative novelty, but truthfully you couldn’t taste blood past the chocolate and espresso flavours. I liked it more for the sensation of textures it provided: velvety cream and crispy almonds.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Overall this was great meal, there were so many interesting flavours to try, and so many more new combinations to explore. Truly a meal for the senses and a treat for those with a more daring appetite. And even more amazing is that it all comes from a one man kitchen. Not only was the chef able to feed our party of 5 in a timely manner, he was also able to keep up with all the other orders of a full restaurant. If you are looking for something new, I strongly suggest giving “Crowbar” a try. Come with a bigger group and try as much as we did, as dishes are meant to be shared and will arrive as it comes. But be warned modifications and substitutions are politely declined. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CROWBAR
646 Kingsway, Vancouver BC, V5T 3K4
604-336-2769
crowbareastvan.com
Crowbar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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