Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hapa Umi

Hapa Umi's ambience is understated, a lot of dark wood and greys with an open concept kitchen.  A good casual place for first dates.  We ate rather early on Friday evening so it wasn't too crowded which is exactly the way I like it.

Dynamite -  Tempura white prawn, green beans, kaiware, mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce
Umi Roll - Dungeness crab, avocado, mayo, ahi tuna, pickled onion vinaigrette
Spicy Chopped Scallops - Scallops, cucumber, egg crepe wrapping
The rolls were excellent, very fresh and had well balanced flavours.  A slight twist from the usual rolls you find at Japanese restaurants here.
Fanny Bay Tempura Oysters
I was expecting the oysters to be very crisp but the tempura oyster batter was a bit chewy and reminded me of the agedashi tofu batter.  I think because there was sauce drizzled over it, it lost a bit of the crispness.  The oysters were very tasty but some were not as fresh as I would have liked.
Chicken Karaage
The deep fried chicken was very tasty as well and I enjoyed it very much.  D didn't really know what to make of the chimichuri sauce but I thought it went quite well after the first few bites.   The coleslaw was a nice touch but was a tad too salty for my taste buds.
Kakuni and Scallop
I can't resist pork belly and scallop so when I saw they combined the 2 in 1 dish.  I had to have it.

Overall, the presentation was very pretty and it was a decent meal.  I think it'll be a great place for supper as they open till late.  A huge plus is the excellent service.  By the way,  the lunch menu has additional lunch sets and fish tacos and apparently the fish tacos are very good.  I enjoyed the meal here so I'll be back to check out this place soon during lunch.

Hapa Umi
909 West Cordova St
Waterfront Centre Office Tower 
Tel: 604 420 4272
Hapa Umi 海 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Italian Pot Roast

It's been awhile since I've had time to try a new recipe.  This Italian Pot Roast recipe is great for feeding a family or a crowd especially if you serve it up with some pasta.  Great for this holiday season if you're entertaining.  We also use the leftovers to make sandwiches.   Its easy to prepare and then just leave in the oven while you do other things.  It also keeps well frozen.  Definitely my kind of recipe.
Italian Pot Roast
Browned bottom blade roasts
Cooked vegetables till just softened

Italian Pot Roast

Italian Pot Roast Recipe

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Italian Pot Roast
1 boneless beef chuc-eye roast (3 1/2 - 4 pounds) tied (I used a 2 pc bottom blade roast)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 pound white mushrooms
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes ( I used a large can 796ml of diced tomatoes and omitted the tomato sauce)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water ( I used chicken stock from my chicken rice instead)

1 cup red wine
1 large head of garlic (take off the papery skin and half it)
1 spring fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
  1. Season roast with salt a day before if you have time and then some pepper just before cooking.  If you don't have time, just before cooking, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oven to 300F and adjust rack to the middle.
  3. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown roasts on all sides, about 2 -3 minutes a side.  Transfer roasts to a plate. 
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, celery, mushrooms and tomato paste until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 min. 
  5. Add whole can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (I omitted this), sugar, water or chicken stock, 1/2 cup wine, garlic and thyme.  Add the roasts back to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. 
  6. Place foil over pot, cover with lid and transfer to the oven.
  7. Cook about 21/2-31/2 hours till fork tender.  Flip roast after an hour.
  8. Uncover pot and let it rest for 20min. 
  9. Remove the garlic heads and skim fat.  Allow to rest another 10min.
  10. Transfer roast to carving board and tent with foil.
  11. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine to the pot and bring to boil over medium high heat and cook till the sauce thickens - about 12min.
  12. Squeeze the garlic from halves and mash into paste.
  13. Add rosemary to pot and simmer till fragrant, about 2 min.
  14. Remove rosemary and thyme sprigs, stir in mashed garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  15. Remove twine from roast and cut meat against grain into 1/2 inch slices or pull apart into large pieces.  
  16. Serve as is or with pasta. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Aura Again - Whistler

Just photos this time...

House Cured Charcuterie Board and Crisp Breads
Smoked Pickles, Red Onion, Garlic Scape 

Chicken Oysters Roasted in Garden Coriander Seed and Lemon
Black Garlic Cabbage, Kurri Squash, Crispy Rice

Seared Diver Scallops, Pork Tender, Pulled Mushrooms and Pineapple
House Made XO Sauce, Turnip Griddle Cake, Scallions 

Cocoa Nib and  Mushroom Braised Beef Short Ribs, Fall Veggies
North Arm Farms' Savoy Cabbage, Fried Onions 

Quails' Gate Optima and Vanilla Parfait
Granny Smith Apple Sabayon, Saskatoon Berries & Pecans

Banana, Bitter Chocolate and Dark Rum Cake
Chocolate Trio, Mission Fig Ice Cream and Crispy Yogurt 

Aura Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vancouver Christmas Market

It's been a gorgeous week in Vancouver, sunny and dry and everyone is out to take advantage of the great weather.  I went for a couple of walks along the seawall in the morning - take a look at these views.
I also decided to take a look at the outdoor Vancouver Christmas market.  This is the second time they've put up this Christmas market and is based on a German Christmas tradition.  They have stalls selling handcrafted german christmas ornaments which are very unusual.  If you're looking for christmas ornaments, this is the place to check out.  They tend to be a bit pricer than those made in china but these ornaments are the kind you can envision passing generation to generation.

I got to the market just past 11am and there were already quite a few people walking around.  There was also live entertainment, it had a very festive atmosphere and I think it would be nice in the evening and everything is lit up.  There were some activities for the kids as well, decorating gingerbread men, candles and the little carousel.  

The pork knuckle on the rotisserie at Hendl and Haxn Rotisserie looked amazing so I decided to go for the pork knuckle sandwich as I didn't think that I could finish a whole pork knuckle.   The sandwich was the most pathetic looking sandwich I've seen, hardly any pork knuckle and could have passed off as a vegetarian sandwich.  It was so disappointing and so unsatisfying that I had to go get something else to eat. 

I walked round the market and decided on a Bavarian smokie from Black Forest Meat and Sausages.  Now that hit the spot. 
After that I was just right but I eyed a couple of desserts at the market, the artisan chocolate shop, the chocolate fondue and the waffles place but I resisted.  I also thought that the warm apple cider would be great to sip as you walk around the market too. 

Check out all the other food places at  If you go during lunch on a weekday from 11am-2pm, there is a 2 for 1 deal where you pay only $2 for admission for 2 but you have to go to the website to print out a lunch pass

Vancouver Christmas Market
Nov 24 -Dec24, 2011
Open Daily 11am-9pm
The Plaza at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Montana's Cookhouse

We started off with the wings which were hot and spicy and great with beer. Followed by D's standard order at Montana's is the Honkin beef rib - terribly tasty, tender,  fall of the bone and as the name suggests quite large.  You'll be hard pressed to finish 2 ribs especially since they come with 2 sides. 
Doubledusted Chicken Wings
Honkin Beef Rib (Large)
I had the sliders the last time round and was set on a burger but they have since taken them off the menu so I settled for the firecracker burger.  It satisfied my craving just as well - I liked the finely sliced fried onions  and the hot sauce that topped the burger.  
Chipotle Firecracker Burger
Update: D went recently and said that the ribs weren't as tender as they were usually so not sure if the standard has slipped. 

Montana's Cookhouse
Montana's Cookhouse (Coquitlam Centre) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Alpine Cafe - Whistler

Our usual brunch place was super busy and we were so hungry that we didn't want to wait for a table. We drove a bit out of the village to this quaint place called Alpine Cafe.   I'm glad that we did because we had a good and satisfying brekkie without having too long of a wait.  We were lucky to get a table as this place is pretty small so if you hit a busy period, it'll be awhile before you can get a table.  We did see lots of people doing take out too.

They have a good variety on the menu and I think they make their own breads -  I liked the toasted thick cut wholegrain toasts as well as the bread that they used for the french toast.  Definitely try their french toast.  It was delish!  This place is nothing fancy, but serves up good old fashioned breakfast well.

The Alpine Cafe
 Alpine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bearfoot Bistro - Whistler

A week after I came back from Singapore, we took off for a weekend in Whistler in early Novemeber.  Given that it was off season, the drive up was extremely pleasant.  The village was eerily quiet - I've never seen it so empty before.  Parking was a breeze. 

I decided to start with some oysters.  I like my oysters with just a splash of lemon juice and these were perfect as they were extremely fresh.  The horseradish and the red wine vinaigrette was  a good complement too.  
Oysters on Half Shell, Fresh Horseradish and Lemon
D had the fennel cured artic char, it was a nice meld of flavours and the puffed quinoa gave the dish a nice crunchy finish.
Fennel Cured Artic Char
Preserved Lemon, Whipped Yogurt Compressed Cucumber,  Puffed Quinoa
We had a yummy palate cleanser before starting on our mains of buffalo and beef cheek.  Again, nice flavours that highlighted the fresh produce.   I always look forward to dessert and the desserts sure didn't disappoint.  I'll definitely be back again. 
Cranberry, Lychee and Champagne Granita
Peace County Buffalo Bavette
Ragout of Spaetzle, Pancetta and Green Olivekale, Oven Dried Cherry Tomato
Slow Braised Heritage Angus Beef Cheek
Butternut Squash Puree, Brown Butter Veal Jus Brussel Sprout and Hazelnut Salad 

Praline and Citrus 
Gianduja Cream, Candied Hazelnuts, Banana Citrus Sorbet
Apple and Caramel
Maple Smoked Salt Parfait, Apple Pave Sour Cream Sherbert,  Bacon

Bearfoot Bistro
4121 Village Green
Whistler, BC, Canada
V0N 1B4
Tel: 604 932 3433

Bearfoot Bistro on Urbanspoon


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