Monday, August 29, 2011

Aura - Whistler

Aura's patio overlooks both lake and mountains.  Since it was a lovely summer day, we sat outside and enjoyed the serene view of the lake - people canoeing and dogs playing on the pier.   Though most of the tables outside were taken, the tables were well spaced such that everyone still had their privacy,  it was a very pleasant dining experience.  
View from our table
To start, we had a refreshing gazpacho with herbs from their roof top garden.
Gazpacho Amuse Bouche
For the appetizer, I decided on the black garlic cappellini which tasted rather Asian and I quite enjoyed it.  The little bits of black garlic melts in your mouth with such complex flavours - a bit sweet, a bit garlicky, even a bit fruity - yummy. 

Black Garlic Cappellini and Spicy Cuttlefish in Broth
King Oyster Mushroom and Scallions 
D had the foie gras bombe which was very decadent coupled with the marbled brioche and amarena cherries - so smooth, so rich, so buttery and so fruity...I was left wanting more.  I'll definitely order this the next time.
Vidal Ice Wine and Quebec Foie Gras Bombe, Marbled Brioche
Celery and Pumpkin Salad, Amarena Cherries
For our mains, I had the halibut.  Super fresh, it had very intense smoky flavours that on its own were a bit too much for me but together with the bulgar, chorizo and spinach, the taste actually grew on me.  

Wild Pacific Halibut Roasted in Black Cardamom and Paprika
Toasted Bulgar with Chorizo and Dill, Sautéed Spinach 
D ordered the bison shortrib -  he said it was good and very tender.
Glazed Bison Shortrib and Pemberton Potatoes, Tokyo Turnips
Tiroler Bacon, Swiss Chard, Shaved Horseradish 
We finished off the meal with textures of chocolate and an espresso and bourbon baba.  The textures of chocolate was interesting - so much going on on the plate.  Where to even start?  Mmmm... the creamy chilled chocolate on the left, with a bit of the crunchy chocolate, a bit of the aerated chocolate and strawberries with some chocolate sauce.  A good combination.  I didn't quite like the white chocolate and okanagan chevre though but overall, an enjoyable dessert.

Textures Of Chocolate
Chilled Bitter Chocolate Soufflé, White Chocolate and Okanagan Chevre, Salted Chocolate and Peppered Strawberries, Agassiz Hazelnuts 
D's espresso and bourbon baba was heavenly.  The cake is dipped in espresso and bourbon, those flavours combined with the dark chocolate ice cream and orange foam coupled with a nice crunch of dried bananas - just so much going on yet everything compliments each perfectly.  

Espresso and Bourbon Baba
Orange Curd, Chocolate Ice Cream, Smoked Banana Crunch, Coconut Molasses 
Textures of Chocolate from the Tasting Menu
Espresso and Bourbon Baba
Nope you're not seeing double ....  the desserts were so good that I decided that I needed to have one more - the expresso and bourbon baba.   I had to satisfy my craving if not I would be dreaming of it.   D was nice enough to accompany me so that I wouldn't look so greedy.  The couple sitting in front of us overheard us ordering dessert No. 3 and were hesitating a bit about ordering the dessert from the tasting menu, they gave their stamp of approval for the tasting menu dessert and told us we won't regret ordering it - they were right!!!  That chocolatey dessert was sooo good.  If I had the space,  I would have gone for another.   
Petit Fours
This was my best meal in BC.  Aura gets top marks for innovation and originality.  Thank you for the memorable meal.  Compliments to the executive chef, Tim Cuff and the restaurant chef, Owen Foster.  Tim, our server also gave great recommendations for the food and wine pairings, he also offered up little bits of information about the food - it's nice that he was so knowledgeable.   I'll definitely be back again to try their 5 course tasting menu and maybe the 10 course one too.  Apparently since they introduced their 10 course tasting menu, there have been 18 people who have tried it.  Would you?

2131 Lake Placid Road
WhistlerBC V0N
(604) 966-5700
Aura Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Snacks in Whistler

Classic Poutine

First stop Zog's at the base of Whistler.  This is my favourite snack in Whistler.  French fries with cheese curds and gravy.  You can get it with sausages too.  The hot gravy melts the cheese curds and makes it all gooey.  Soooo good.  Loads of people come here for their hot dogs too.  You help yourselves to the fried onions to top off the hot dog - it must be delish - just look at the queue. 
Zog's Dogs on Urbanspoon

We take the poutine and watch people biking down the mountain with all their protective gear, once in awhile you see the ambulance coming down the mountain.  We see quite a few people in casts and crutches too.  Not too much activity as it must be lunch break.
There is a festival going on and Whistler Village is packed.  Many more people milling around than in winter.  I suspect that it is because of the gorgeous weather too, it hit 30C.  

To cool off we head off looking for some gelato.  We spy Bocca Gelato right next to La Bocca.

I decide on a double scoop hazelnut and a chocolate based one with walnuts, brownies and fudge.  Definitely helped cool off.  If you're a chocolate lover, the chocolate one is the way to go.  The hazelnut didn't have much taste as the strong chocolate flavour probably dulled my taste buds.
La Bocca on Urbanspoon
We wandered around some more and stopped by some of my favourite shops.  Hatley now serves up gelato as well.

I was tempted to try a scoop but will save it for another trip.  Don't you just think that these T-shirt slogans are just hilarious.  We couldn't resist and got a couple of T-shirts.

Still peckish and looking for another snack we stumbled onto Ingrid's - a good place for take away sandwiches and wraps.  They have quite a large menu and seemed like they had a good choice of veggie burgers too.  We settled on a Hot Reuben - nicely toasted, a little thin on the meat but tasted good with the mustard, cheese and sauerkraut.  
Ingrid's Village Café on Urbanspoon
Finally,  nicely filled up and satisfied, we head back to rest up for dinner at Aura.

Monday, August 22, 2011

La Rua - Whistler

La Rua brings back fond memories for me.   When D and I were dating, this was the first restaurant that we went to in Whistler.  I enjoyed the food then and I enjoy the food now.  It has a warm and cosy atmosphere.

We were off to a good start with the simple but tasty amuse bouche and bread.  The seafood salad that followed was light and refreshing.  I admit I wasn't too adventurous but I was feeling like having seafood today as I think it makes for a lighter meal.
Seafood Salad
Chilled spot prawns, scallops and squid with shaved fennel, frisse, pimento  shallots, fresh lemon basil olive oil
D ordered the tuna which was well seasoned and seared.  I've not heard of Singapore slaw before and was curious to see what they would serve. Again this was a very refreshing dish and I thought the lime ginger vinaigrette and ponzu sauce went well with the tuna.    
BC Albacore
Togarashi spiced rare tuna, Singapore slaw, lime ginger vinaigrette; ponzu sauce
For the main, D had the duck x 2 and I have to admit that I was eyeing the duck through the meal.  A very hearty portion plus you get some risotto too which is one of D's favourites.  This dish give you the best of both worlds with the crispy duck confit and a duck breast.   What's not to like?
Duck x 2
Honey and thyme glazed breast, confit leg, scallion risotto; orange sour chili sauce
I had the bouillabaisse and while some of the seafood wasn't as fresh as I would have liked, it had a very good broth that we soaked up with the bread and crostini.  The crab legs can get rather messy to eat but D was a darling and peeled the crabs for me :) I'm allergic to peeling shellfish.  Really!!!
West Coast Bouillabaise
Crab legs, shellfish, prawns; local fish, tomato saffron broth, espellette pepper rouille and crostinis
To finish we had the ice cream sandwiches and a peanut butter and jam bar.   The ice cream sandwiches were ok but the PBnJ bar was ooh sooo good.    I don't really eat PBnJ sandwiches but I really liked this dessert and for those who love PBnJ, this dessert will be right up your alley.
Young Again
Chocolate, Strawberry and vanilla ice cream sandwiches, crunchy pearls
PBJ Bar 
For me, the best dishes were the tuna, duck and the PBJ Bar.

4557 Blackcomb Way
WhistlerBC V0N
La Rua Restaurante on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 18, 2011

True Confections

It is impressive when you first walk in and see the rows and rows of giant cakes and lovely pies.  Oooh which one to pick?  We already had a full meal at Chef Hung but wanted something sweet to end off the meal.

I let D choose since he'd been here before and was reminiscing about his university days :)  He settled on the Black Savannah, an angel food cake with kahlua and 3 berry sauce which complemented the cake well.  It was a nice treat but nothing that special that I would crave it.
Black Savannah
The good thing about this place is that it opens till late for when you have late night sweet cravings.

3701 W Broadway
VancouverBC V6R
True Confections (Broadway) on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Roaming Dragon

It was one of those rare summer days where it was gorgeous out so we went in search of some street food.  We got a baguette from Bun Me then headed over to Roaming Dragon where  D had already done a preliminary taste test a couple of days before.   He picked out these 2 as the best dishes and boy were they good.  
Deep fried rice balls - sauteed chinese vegetables mixed with italian risotto rice then deep fried.  Topped off with teriyaki and curry aioli and curry salt.  Super tasty.  Bite through the crispy exterior into a soft ball of  tasty rice.  

We also got some pork belly sliders.  The soft bun is steamed and the fatty pork is braised then seared to give a crisp bite.  It is then topped with pickled cucumber, the slider is messy to eat but oh so worth the mess.  

Roaming Dragon Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

San Francisco in 4 Days

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge 
We've both been to San Francisco before and didn't really plan to do the must see things in SF like Lombard Street, riding the cable car, Coit Tower etc but we took it easy and just wandered along from meal to meal.

Day 1
Drove up from Napa
View Golden Gate Bridge
Wander around Union Square
Dinner at Gary Danko

Day 2
Palace of the Fine Arts
Fisherman's Wharf
In and Out Burger
Ghiradelli Square
Wander around Union Square
Dinner at Kuleto's

Day 3
Breakfast at Dottie's True Blue Cafe
Ferry Terminal Building
Dinner at Gary Danko

Day 4 (Saturday)
Coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee (Mint Plaza)
Walk through Chinatown to Ferry Terminal Building (Farmer's Market Day)
Snack at Dynamo Donuts
Ice Cream at Humphry Sloughcombe
Snack at Tartine Bakery
Dinner at Stella Alpina Osteria

There were lots of other restaurants that were on our list like Benu, Flour & Water, Baker & Banker, Slanted Door etc  but I guess that will be for another trip.... so many good places to eat in little stomach space.

Check out the hotels at a Top Romantic Destination: San Franciscoand use this coupon to save $20 off with 3 night booking!


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