Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebration of Lights - Battle of the Champions

celebration of light china

celebration of light battle of the champions china

I always thought that fireworks were magical and wouldn't miss a chance to see them.  The Celebration of Lights is an annual event in Vancouver - this year it is the Battle of the Champions.  China, Spain and Canada will be putting up a show each so it should be a few very good shows.  Each show lasts 30min and is choreographed to music.  We caught the first show by China last night.  What a treat!!  

Check out for more details.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky date pudding served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
I've always liked Sticky date pudding and finally came across a recipe that I wanted to try on The Little Teochew.  Check out her page for more photos, details and tips for this recipe.  Besides raiding my mum's recipe book, my mother-in- law's and my sis-in-law, C's recipes,  her page is one of my go to pages when I am looking for new simple and easy to do chinese recipes that remind me of home.

Anyways,  I stored away the recipe till I started seeing dates in the supermarket and promptly bought a pack.    Luckily dates keep rather well in the fridge and after a few weeks, I finally got down to making the sticky date pudding.

I think it turned out rather well considering what I've tasted before. The Little Teochew reduced the sugar in the pudding (thank goodness) but I still thought it was a bit too sweet for my taste so I may try to reduce it further the next round.  D thought it tasted more like a very sweet, moist muffin - not quite to his liking but hey to each their own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle

My friend and her family has just relocated from Beijing.  She is going to do a Masters at UBC.  I'm so glad that she's here!!! We headed out to Aberdeen Centre to shop at Daiso and TnT supermarket which is just across the road to help her stock up on Asian some groceries and knick knacks for the house which Daiso is so good for.  We needed a quick meal and headed to Chef Hung.
Cold Mixed Beancurd
You'd' think that Chef Hung serves just beef noodles but they do have quite a few side dishes to choose from.  To start, we had the cold beancurd and marinated beef wrap.  The beancurd was tasty - can't really go wrong here.   However, the marinated beef wrap had something lacking -  the sliced beef was rather dry and I think it needed some sauce.  The crispy pancake was good though.
Marinated Beef wrapped in crispy pancake 

Next we had some tofu with preserved egg and pork floss which I found a bit too salty for my taste.
Preserved egg with pork floss on tofu and oyster sauce
The Dumplings got a thumbs up from my friend's almost 3 year old daughter -  she finished all the dumplings and asked for more.
We tried the vermicelli, rice noodle and flat noodle beef noodles and decided that the flat noodle was the best choice.  The broth was OK and not too spicy but lacked oomph,  if I do come here again I would try the fire chilli soup instead.  The portions were hearty and good sized, lots of beef, tripe and tendon served with pickled vegetables which helped enhance the flavour.
Flat Noodle with Champion Beef Shank, Tendon and Tripe
Flat Noodle with Beef Shank
2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way
RichmondBC V6X
Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle 洪師傅知味園 (Aberdeen Centre) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meyer Lemon Macarons

Meyer Lemon Macarons
When I found Meyer lemons in the supermarket, I was super excited.   I had read about them but never seen or smelt them before.  These are a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon.  Intrigued yet?  The smell is wonderful, a bit tangy, a bit sharp and a bit sweet.  I'm sure I'm not doing any justice to them. 

I found this wonderful recipe for lemon curd and macarons on Cannelle et Vanille who has a lovely site and gorgeous photographs.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Roli Roti - San Francisco

Roli Roti, short for Rolling Rotisserie serves up one yummy roast pork sandwich - the porchetta, a traditional Italian street food.   Pork loin rolled into the belly with the skin on and roasted for 3 1/2 - 4 hours.  The low temperatures and long cooking times ensure that the roast is super juicy and the pork skin has crisped up.

We already had coffee, some mexican food and various snacks when we stumbled upon Roli Roti -  ooh roast pork sandwich - we couldn't pass on that.  When I was in line,  even though I was relatively full, the heavenly smell of the roasting pork and chicken made my mouth water.   

As they cut into the pork, the juice runs and they quickly mop it up with the bread.  A bit of pork loin, a bit of pork belly and of course a bit of the crispy pork skin topped with caramelized onions and a pinch of rosemary salt.
Roli Roti Porcetta Sandwich
Bite into the sandwich and it is crunchy, juicy and tender all rolled into one.  Delicious and well worth the wait.
Porchetta Sandwich Roli Roti San Francisco
Brownie enjoying his share of Porchetta
They also serve roast chicken and potatoes - next time if I have more space in my tummy,  I will try the potatoes which is cooked in pork and chicken fat dripping off.

1 Ferry Building
San FranciscoCA 94111
(510) 780-0335
Roli Roti on Urbanspoon
Check their schedule for where the truck will be, we were at the Ferry Terminal Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hawksworth @ Hotel Georgia - Summer Tasting Menu

I was really looking forward to having dinner at Hawksworth after having 2 amazing lunches there.  Check out my previous posts here and here.  After one of the lunches,  I told them about my next reservation which was a special occasion and had requested a quiet corner.  Sure they had said and even told me the table number.  Cool.  When we got there, I heard them say the table was not ready and they switched tables - not an issue.  They walked us through the restaurant only to find the other table they wanted to sit us at was occupied as well.   We had to walk back through the restaurant to reception while they figured it out.  I really wanted the night to go off well but despite booking the table more than 1 1/2 months in advance,  dinner was off to a bumpy start.

After looking at the menu, we decided on the summer tasting menu with the wine pairing.  For the chef amuse bouche, we had deep fried sushi rice topped with salmon with a drizzle of wasabi mayo(I think).

Followed by the seared tuna with tomato broth.  The tomato broth is pale and almost colourless but has a strong tomato flavour which goes well with the tuna.
Seared Tuna with tomato broth
The seared sable fish with beech mushrooms, carrots and tom yum broth came next.  The fish was perfectly cooked- crisp on the first bite and tender after, so tasty when paired with the flavourful tom yum broth.  I enjoyed the tom yum broth so much that I wanted to lick the bowl clean.  
Sable fish, beech mushrooms and tom yum broth
Next up, the pork belly.  I have a soft spot for pork belly and so does D.  This was the dish that tipped me to try the tasting menu.  Melt in your mouth tender ....yummy!
Fraser valley pork belly, chorizo, tumeric, pea tendrils
I requested a change in the lamb dish which they kindly accommodated and served the beef tenderloin done medium rare from the a la carte menu.  The beef was good with the chimmichurri sauce and the wild mushooms.  Some people might not eat the bone marrow but it was an interesting addition to the dish.  It was crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside with quite a strong flavour.

Beef tenderloin, smoked marrow, wild mushroom , cauliflower, chimmichurri 
D had the lamb loin and said that the date sauce went very well with his lamb.
Slow cooked lamb loindate, rye berry, saffron turnips, pomegranate jus
Lastly, dessert - pretty presentation - almost too pretty to eat. The raspberries are super fresh and the almonds were nice and brittle.  Nice crunch from the meringue cookie with the soft cream and raspberries - a light summery dessert to end the tasting menu.  
Raspberry macaron meringue base, raspberries, almond brittle, sago
After dessert was served and cleared, we decided to have some mint tea and a coffee.  I was very tempted by the macarons - should I?  In the end I caved ....
(L-R) Top - Hazelnut chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate
(L-R) Bottom - Passion fruit, Sesame with Yuzu, Pistachio 
We started off with the Pistachio macaron.  It had that crispy shell yet soft and chewy inside, good flavoured butter cream  - the perfect macaron for me.  However, it went downhill from there and the rest didn't really live up to that.  

Despite the hiccups in seating us at the start and the very lively atmosphere (ie hard to hear your dining partner), the food is undoubtedly good, my favourite was the sable fish.

801 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6C
Hawksworth on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gary Danko- San Francisco

Everything and I really mean everything was fantastic.  We had 2 meals at Gary Danko in a space of 3 days.  D insisted - he made reservations 2 months in advance as he said it was the best meal he had in SF.  I was skeptical and wanted to try other restaurants since we only had so many meals in SF.   In the end, I was won over half way through the first meal :)

We had the 4 course meal both times and the photos below are from the 2 meals.  Looking at the menu, we found ourselves in a dilemma as we wanted to try almost the whole menu and were hard pressed to decide as there were so many interesting options.
Gary Danko Foie Gras
Foie Gras and Vanilla Rhubarb I think?
I started with the foie gras which was nicely seared - buttery and creamy inside while crisp on the outside.  The sweet vanilla rhubarb was a good compliment to the foie gras,  as was the wine pairing of Heiss Rose Ice Wine.
Gary Danko Seared Scallops
Seared Sea Scallops with Asparagus-Pea Purée, Pickled Radish, Spring Onions and Sauce Maréchal
The scallops is one of the best I've eaten.  Nicely seared yet super succulent.  Wished I had ordered this but I couldn't resist the lobster.   The lobster didn't disappoint either as the meat was sweet and tender.
Gary Danko Lobster
Roast Maine Lobster with Potato Purée, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Edamame and Tarragon
I had a taste of the pork belly and the tenderloin.  I liked the pork belly better but both were good.  The duck was well done and I really didn't want to share.
Gary Danko Roasted Pork Belly
Roasted Pork Belly and Tenderloin with Potato Ramp Puree, Cauliflower, Fava Beans and Maple Cider Glaze

Gary Danko Lemon Pepper Duck Breast
Lemon Pepper Duck Breast with Duck Hash, Green Garlic Purée and Vanilla Poached Rhubarb

Gary Danko Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras
Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras, Mushroom and Quinoa, Braised Artichokes, Peas, Prosciutto & Olive Butter 
The quail - was stuffed to the brim with goodness - quails are delicate but can you see how fat it was?  The stuffing was extremely flavourful and I savoured every mouthful.
Gary Danko Chocolate Souffle
Baked Chocolate Soufflé with Two Sauces
Gary Danko Stawberry Souffle
Non-Cholesterol Strawberry Soufflé with Berry Sorbet and Strawberry Sauce
The souffles were light and airy and were the perfect end to a wonderful meal especially the strawberry souffle which had berry sorbet to complement it.
Gary Danko Petite Fours
Petit Fours
Gary Danko Peppermint Tea
Peppermint Tea
D ordered some dishes that were so good, I only had a bite - ok it was a generous bite but I hungered for more so I ordered them again the next time we were there.  They were the scallops, quail and the non cholesterol strawberry souffle.  The dishes were very consistent.

Complimentary Hor D'oeurves to Start off the 2nd Meal
Isn't it a nice, thoughtful touch that we got complimentary hor d'oeurves for coming back so soon?
Risotto with Lobster, Rock Shrimp, Shimeji Mushrooms and Peas
D has a soft spot for risotto and enjoyed this dish.
Coconut Thai Curry with Lemongrass, Calamari, Lobster, Scallops, Scallions and Shiitake Mushrooms
I had the thai coconut curry which was very fragrant.   The curry very often overpowers the taste of the seafood but I found it well balanced and could still taste the fresh flavours of the seafood.
Branzini with Tarragon Gnocchi, Artichokes, Asparagus and Shimeji Mushrooms   
The branzini skin was super crispy and the fish was excellent.
Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb with Moroccan Lamb Sausage, Hummus, Spiced Eggplant Stew and Mint Yogurt
Crème Fraîche Cheesecake with Caramelized Pecans, Tangerines and Raspberry Sorbet
D had the lamb and finished with the cheesecake, both of which I didn't try as I don't really like lamb and can't eat cheese but he said that they were both very good too.
Brownie dressed up for the meal 
Apparently Gary Danko is in the house every night making sure everything goes smoothly - no wonder his restaurant has such a high standard consistently.  It's nice going to a restaurant knowing that the owner/chef is around don't you think?

What were the best dishes?  It is difficult to say as everything was good but if I had to choose, try the scallops, lemon pepper duck, the stuffed quail and the strawberry souffle.  Gary Danko will be on my list every time we make it to San Francisco.

P.S Gary Danko is opening a Brasserie across the road at Ghiradelli Square - I will be looking forward to it.

Gary Danko
Fisherman's Wharf
800 N Point St
(415) 749 2060
Gary Danko on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bouchon Bakery - Yountville

When I walked into Bouchon Bakery, I was overwhelmed by the variety of pastries.  Immediately I drooled over the macarons.  They were huge, about 4 times bigger than the french macarons you find in Paris.   I thought I'd order only 2 but I couldn't decide and ended up with 5 (sigh...I have no self control when it comes to macarons).  Then I saw the almond chocolate croissants - ooh I had to try that too.  D got the pineapple croissant, chocolate black cherry scone and a raisin scone.

Bouchon Bakery Yountville

Bouchon Bakery Napa
We went outside where they had some benches and tables set up to enjoy the sunshine and snacks.

bouchon bakery yountville
Impatient Brownie
Yup this was all for us.  The macarons were slightly crisp yet nice and chewy on the inside where the buttercream flavours melded with the shells.  They were a bit too big to eat in one go especially when we had so many other pastries to try.   The chocolate almond croissant was flaky and buttery yet crisp, we really enjoyed it while the pineapple croissant had a very sweet concentrated pineapple flavour.  The chocolate black cherry scone was amazing while the raisin scone was only so so.  I will be back for the croissants and the chocolate black cherry scone.  It's good place to stop for coffee and a snack in between wine tastings.

Bouchon Bakery Yountville
6528 Washington Street
Yountville, California 94599 
(707) 944 2253
Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 15, 2011

Roast Pork Loin

I'm always searching for easy to do, quick recipes that don't compromise on flavour. This recipe fit the bill with minimal fuss and preparation.   If you skip the brining, it can be at the table in an hour.  However,  the brining makes a lot of difference - it makes this cut of pork juicy and tender even when it oh so very lean.
Roast Pork Loin Recipe
Browned roast 
Roast Pork Loin
Roast Pork Loin with Apple Cranberry Sauce


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