April 12th, 2013. Chaiyoung’s Getting Married!

casa del pane bakery

casa del pane bakery




My dear friend Chaiyoung finally met the man of her dreams and is getting married!  She had kept everything very low-key so it came quick and sudden, but after seeing her photos with her fiance and hearing her talk, you can’t help but see how happy she is 🙂
casa del pane bakery

casa del pane bakery




Only the best for my Chaiyoung Bebe, I got a pretty Black Forest Cake from Case Del Pane, and Italian Bakery in Newport Village in Port Moody. Delicously decadent with big, rich white chocolate shavings and sumptuously juicy cherries in abundance this cake was just as gorgeous to eat as it was to look at 😀
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February 19th, 2013.  Luncheon @ La Spaghetteria (New West)

la spaghetteria

la spaghetteria

 

 

 

  I was meeting a couple former colleagues at Spaghetteria for lunch.  It had been a while since I’d last seen them and Ms. V had coupons to this place located on New West’s foodie street aka 6th Street.

la spaghetteria

la spaghetteria

 

 

 

 

  This is obviously an older establishment on this well loved street and when I arrived I was almost lost because the store front was going through some renovations.  But find it I did.

la spaghetteria

la spaghetteria

 

 

 The interior definitely could use an update what with the sun faded plastic table cloths, the dusty looking vases and fake flowers.  Everything about the place reads out-dated…including the food.  I wasn’t wowed by the obviously frozen seafood in the pasta, the bland  sauces and the “meh” single-noted-ness of the dishes.  

 

la spaghetteria

la spaghetteria

 

 

 

 

I hope that with all the renos they also update the food!

(Mocha Latte)

September 1st, 2012. Indian Summer Fun 

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

 

 

With the taste of disappointment palpable still on our palates Anita (@PetiteFoodie), Tien (@distienct) and I headed down to Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe for some delicious desserts!

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

 

We ordered a few different things to share: Chocolate Succe (hazelnut meringue+dense chocolate mousse+tempered 70% chocolate with a gold leaf), Fromage Au Mousse Blanc (formage blanc mousse+lemon curd+cassis linzer) & Strawberry Tart (almond sable crust+lemon verbena pastry cream+fresh BC strawberries).

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

 

 

Let me tell you…these desserts were amazing!  I’m on the fence when it comes to Thierry’s macarons, but these little desserts were exactly what I expected them to be!  Rich, decadent, punchy flavors and a delight to the eyes and the stomach.

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

thierry chocolaterie patisserie cafe

 

It’s hard to even choose a favorite because each of them were distinctly their own.  I’d say I was more partial to the formage au mousse blanc because it’s flavors that I absolutely adore, but that strawberry tart had us coming back for more and nothing could beat the richness of the chocolate succe.

 

Full, happy and delighted.  Success! 

La Brasserie Restaurant

February 19, 2013

April 25th, 2012. La Brasserie

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

So, not only is my Cali friend Brent in town, so is my highschool friends Kam and his new girlfriend! Figured I’d kill 2 birds with 2 stones by arranging a dinner meet up with both parties together 🙂 For 2 people from out of town where could we go for a good impresson of Vancouver cuisine? Why not La Brasserie!

 

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

 

The restaurant is in the trendy Davie section of downtown Van and of course people have been talking this place up since it started along with the very famous La Brasserie food cart.  I’ve always wanted to try the place, but had never had the opportunity, so this was perfect!

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

La Brasserie is well known in Vancouver for it’s delicious Franco-German down-home menu items with fine dining sensibilities and the reasonable pricing definitely sweetens the deal for Vancouver visitors nearing the end of their visit 😉 It’s small space is their way of not taking reservations and they have an open kitchen for us foodies who can’t get enough of watching Food Network 24/7 😉

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

 

I arrived a bit early, so I ordered a French Press Coffee with a side of sweetened Condensed Milk.  I’ve never had coffee served to me like this (Vietnamese coffee comes with condensed milk in the cup) and I quite enjoyed it.  The coffee was strong, the milk sweet, just the thing to get my blood pumping 🙂

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

 

What’s really a unique touch here at La Brasserie is the complimentary baguette and rye bread served on a wooden board with smooth butter and a savory chicken
rillette.  Who gives rillette with free bread nowadays?  This was awesome!

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

Okay, so here was my dinner from top left corner clockwise: Smoked Duck Breast served with Grainy Mustard, thinly sliced Spinach Stuffed Pheasant, Chicken Pate, Potato Salad, Chutney, and Pork Terrine.  Don’t let the presentation fool you; everything was very rich and filling and extremely flavorful!  Gamey, rich flavors, tart dijon mustard, sweet chutney, all served with delicious crostini.  I loved the variety and how fulfilling it was!

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

 

Kam’s girlfriend had the ever popular and very French Alsation Onion Tart (caramelized onion, bacon and gruyere tart with a dollop of creme fraiche) served with a side salad. Sweet, savory and deliate with some bold flavors! It was pretty delish and I can see why people keep writing about it 🙂

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

 

Kam had the special of the day which was the house Mussles & Frites with Merguez Sausage in Saffron Broth.  So deicious!  The creamy broth was enriched from the flavor of the mussles and the spiciness of the merguez and made for a hearty and seriously yummy dish!

la brasserie restaurant

la brasserie restaurant

 

Brent went all out with the famous Brasserie Burger and Frites.  As you can see it’s a burger tower piled high with crispy onions, aged white cheddar, bacon and a served with their own in-house truffle aioli and ketchup.  It’s exactly what you’d think from looking at the picture: big, meaty, juicy, messy and complety satisfying!  Total home run!  Brent was a very happy guy with an extremely full tummy 😉

I think my friends enjoyed a nice meal that didn’t break the bank, was a punch of flavor, and unique to our diverse city!

January 16th, 2010. Birthday Dinner at Basta Pasta!!

basta pasta

basta pasta

So for my birthday aunt and uncle invited me out to Basta Pasta for dinner. Now this isn’t your average pasta place. It’s a Japanese pasta place! Sure enough, at a cursory glance the menu looks Italian but upon closer inspection there are some small twists and delightful surprises! For a place that’s been open for over 20 years in the city you know it’s gotta be better than good!

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

The bread!  Served with a healthy helping of fragrant olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a starter we got the Gnocchi di Zucca.  Wonderfully fluffy and light pumpkin gnocchi in a beautiful lemony sage cream sauce. Heaven!  Everyone at the table was impressed and we couldn’t stop eating it!

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

Asparagi Gratinati: yes..asparagus pops up everywhere.  Come on, folks, you know how I feel about this particular vegetable.

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appetizer #3 is the Cartoccio di Funghi Misti: 3 kinds of mushrooms baked inside sealed cooking paper with thyme, garlic and herb infused olive oil.

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

The waiter punctured and opened up the package before our very eyes and then drizzled it with this herb infused oil, which really brought out the flavors of the mushrooms. Aunt and Uncle LOVED it!

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The discussion at the table quickly turned to shop talk: Exactly what kind of paper is this? Is it do-able at Hangawi? What could we use? Hahaha!

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

SPAGHETTI CON PROSCIUTTO E PARMIGIANO: Spaghetti with Parmigiano Reggiano & Parma Prosciutto, served in a half wheel of Parmesan cheese at the table.
(This was for the table next to ours. I would have ordered it as my meal..but I was moonlighting as a vegetarian this night…sad!)

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

PAPPARDELLE ALLA SICILIANA: Homemade pappardelle with eggplant, basil & fresh tomatoes in tapenade. Aunt ordered this dish. If you want a pasta dish that is light, this is the one!

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

Uncle and Cousin Mark both went for the vegetarian version of the SPAGHETTI CON MOZZARELLA, POMODORI E FUNGHI: Spaghetti with shiitake mushrooms & basil in fresh tomato sauce.

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

CRESPELLE CON FUNGHI E RICOTTA: Homemade silk handkerchief pasta with mixed mushrooms, lemon zest & ricotta cheese.

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know, I know, what am I doing with ordering a mushroom dish??!!  I just felt it was the safest bet in terms of vegetarian option as well as being easy to eat and was counting on it not being too carby so I could finish most of it. I was right. And the mushrooms were surprisingly good, too!

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I even got a surprise birthday dessert and song with a ukulele! Thanks, Aunt & Uncle~~ ♥

basta pasta

basta pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, to sum up the dinner?  I can definitely see how this establishment has been able to sustain their business for so long.  The food seems simple but each component is so well done.  From the fresh made pasta, to the ingredients, everything is just so clean.  And the whole vegetarian aspect?  Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.  I actually had a very satisfying meal and enjoyed how fresh everything tasted!

October 2nd, 2010. Cafe Medina: Brunch Mecca!

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

  We’re at it again!  Richard will blurt out some amazing place or thing he wants to try, I’ll confirm that it is indeed a supposed legend and off we go!!  Today’s treasure cove: Cafe Medina in Gastown for brunch! 

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

  With Chef Nico Schuermans at the helm, this little gem truly is an amazing little cafe/bistro.  Actually, it’s on, like a whole different level, with the amazing space they have aquired, the ultra downtown chic decor, and the neighborhood they are fortunate to be in!  It’s no wonder people will wait over an hour for a table here…which is exactly what Richard and I did!  Even getting there at a decent time there was still a long line-up!  As the minutes inched by our stomaches growled louder and louder and we drooooooled with anticipation….!

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

 

  When it was finally our turn we were led in through the narrow front door, past the front cafe area, and through a short brick passageway..into another dining area!  with high ceilings, wooden flooring, tall windows and close seating, it was small, and cozy, yet had the feeling of space and you didn’t feel suffocated.

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

  I love that we just plopped ourselves in the midst of hipsters, trendy Vancouverites and vintage fashionistas and tourists and blended right in.  Above all else, we were all here to worship and enjoy the food

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

  First up were the Belgian Waffles: Literally these can be smelled on the streetside while you’re wating for your table and it is torture!!  Ah, the sweet scent of fresh, homemade waffles…!  These were not overly big, a good thickness and were the perfect density.  A wonderful base for some wonderful toppings!

Our 3 choices of toppings were the Milk Chocolate Lavender, White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater, and the Fig Orange Marmalade.  Delish!!!  Delicate flavors, excellently dippable, and oh, my…so wonderful!!!  Waffles all fancy-style 😉

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

 

 

  The long awaited Lavender Lattes!!  Ah, worth every minute of the wait.  The lavender flavor was light, but still could be discerned through the espresso.  It was kinda of funny, Richard and I delicately sipping our lattes…then closing our eyes in extacy….LOL!

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

 

 

  The Les Boulettes was our main dish: 2 poached eggs, spicy Moroccan lamb and beef meatballs, cilantro, houmus & raita.  Hearty meatballs, zesty (but not overly acidic) tomato sauce, a poached egg to lend a creaminess, and a great bunch of fresh flavor from the cilantro.  Oh, Lord…we were in brunch paradise…!

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

  The focaccia bread and houmus with a layer of raita on top came on the side.  Good toast on the bread, loaded with garlic and herbs, and the houmus…oh, so good!!  The coolness of the raita and the earthiness of the houmus paired well with the Les Boulettes.

cafe medina

cafe medina

 

 

 

  Now, what could make an already amazing brunch even more epic….BACON!  Trust.  This is the best $5.00 we spent on bacon!!  Look at the color, the cut, the fat to meat ratio…can you smell it? taste it? I DIE, I DIE!! So incredibly good!  Savory with a slather of maple glazed sweetness…Mmmmmmmmmmm!  This put everything over the top.  It slayed us, liteally,  We were so in awe of the combinations of foods from this brunch that we barely made the 45 minute long drive back to the suburbs….!

 

 

 

Best. Brunch. EVER!!!!!!!!!!!