Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Events, Food, Restaurants

After our tour in the Royal BC Museum, we took a Harbour Ferry across the bay to Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. I believe we were supposed to have had a tour of the Bay, but the Ferry lost our reservation or something like that. On our lunch, we were joined by a rep from Tourism Victoria, who helped to set up our lunch and visit at Spinnakers.

Image: miss604

Spinnakers sits on a huge piece of land overlooking the harbour – their property includes the Brewpub, as well as a number of Guest Houses (they operate like a B&B for these) we also had a chance to tour. I was expecting, for lunch, that we’d all just be ordering off the menu. Not so! There was a huge meal planned, with 5 courses of food, 3 wine pairings, 3 beer & chocolate pairings, and liquor and cheese pairing to finish off. Crazy!

The lunch started off with a plate of cheeses & fish, followed by a salad, mussels, clams, and pork & risotto (miss604 has great photos of each dish). If you’re thinking this doesn’t sound like food a pregnant woman should be eating, you’re right! After the plates started coming out, we had to ask that a special meal be prepared for me – I got to eat a cheese-less salad and a mushroom & chicken pasta. Most of the ingredients at Spinnakers are local or organic, and the herbs are even partially grown on their guest house properties!

New Media in New Victoria

While I did miss out on all the fantastic wines and beers, I did have a chance to enjoy the O de Vie, a mineral water that bubbles up from an aquifer 225ft beneath the brewhouse. Delish. And I have to say I probably wasn’t the only one who felt spoiled after such an elaborate lunch – ok, everyone else probably felt it more than I did, what with all the wine & beer consumed, and the fabulous service we had while there!

Spinnakers, as Canada’s first purpose-built brewpub, has a long history of making beer. They produce at least 10 types of ale (no lager) on-site, and take great pride in the process. I know Ianiv had a couple of glasses of their Nut Brown Ale, with the Hefeweizen being a crowd favorite as well.

Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to try their Malt Vinegar, and I swear I mentioned that several times after I left there. Note to self: when pregnant, satisfy cravings! I’m going to need to go back sometime for their fish & chips so I can have one of their naturally brewed vinegars!

Not making the same mistake twice, we stopped at the Spinnakers giftshop on our way out to load up on cookies and toffees and more of the truffles that were served with the beer. Why not, right?

Goldfish Restaurant Review

Posted in Around Vancouver, Restaurants

Last week Ianiv & I went for lunch at Goldfish in Yaletown. It’s a gorgeous space, very modern and huge! Check out the gallery of photos here. We ate lunch out on the patio in the beautiful sunshine. The service was amazing – very prompt & courteous, and loved the touch of the chef’s sample of a cantaloupe gazpacho. Very tasty.

For our lunch we shared the Wok Tossed Squid, Duck Spring Rolls, Halibut Sandwich and Wok Beef. The spring rolls were amazing, and I liked the novelty and crisp taste of the suggested eating method of wrapping the roll in the lettuce with a mint leaf. Very neat. The squid was cooked to perfection, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the way it was served. I love the wok squid at Sandbar in Granville Island because they serve it unbreaded with very minutely diced spices & veggies, so you can eat it all together. Here the (uncooked) onions & peppers were too big to eat.

The halibut sandwich was amazing – so juicy! – and the fries to die for. I wasn’t as thrilled with the wok beef, which I found over-seasoned and a little overdone. The rice, while I was thrilled to have the choice of white or brown, was a little too plain with not enough sauce to mix in with it.

In our cheque we saw a notice that there is a 3-course chef’s menu for lunch for $25. We didn’t know about this before-hand, as it’s not mentioned on the menu (hint, hint), but that may be nice to try sometime.

It’s definitely a place I’d recommend for lunch – try the halibut!! – or a relaxing cocktail after work. The last time I went there for drinks it was very busy, but I’d love to return some time to try the dinner menu.

Restaurant Details:

1118 Mainland Street (at Helmcken)
Vancouver, BC. V6B 2T9
T 604.689.8318
Online Reservations
Free Valet Parking for Lunch

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Taste of Yaletown

Posted in Around Vancouver, Food, Restaurants

A restaurant promotion event is upcoming in Vancouver – Taste of Yaletown.

October 13 – 29, Yaletown restaurants are offering a 3-course set menu for $25, $35 or $45.

I would like to try Brix or Villa del Lupo perhaps. Seem to have the most unique menu items.

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Most Expensive Cookbook

Posted in Art, Books, Food, Recipes, Restaurants

“El Bulli : 1998-2002″ by Ferran Adrià of El Bulli Restaurant is the most expensive cookbook. Period. It’s $350 at Amazon (on sale now for $220).

Why is it so expensive? Well, some consider that the El Bulli Restaurant is the best – in the world. So, with that, why wouldn’t the cookbook be the most expensive in the world?

“El Bulli : 1998-2002″ (Ferran Adria, Juli Soler)

Ferran Adria is widely considered to be the most innovative, most influential, and indeed the greatest chef in the world today. Culinary giants like Thomas Keller venerate him. El Bulli, the restaurant where he creates his masterpieces, has become a pilgrimage site of sorts; food connoisseurs from around the world journey down a dizzying coastal road to Roses, Spain to experience his unconventional tasting menu — often consisting of 25 or more courses. But if you want a reservation, get in line.

In El Bulli 1998-2002, Adria and his collaborators have created a completely unique guide to cooking which raises the profession to an art form never captured before. This volume, filled with full color photographs, presents not only El Bulli’s unparalleled recipes, but also an analysis of their development, philosophy, and technique. Visually stunning, El Bulli 1998-2002 is presented as a boxed set that includes the main volume, along with a detailed Users Guide and an interactive CD that contains each recipe, numbered and catalogued by year. El Bulli 1998-2002 is truly as awe-inspiring as the meals served at its namesake.

Update: Another overly expensive cookbook is this Culinary Encyclopedia: Grand Livre De Cuisine

World-renowned French chef Alain Ducasse believes that food arouses all the senses. In this sumptuous book, he takes us on a culinary journey for both eye and palate. Here he shares the culinary experience, knowledge, and love of ingredients he has refined over the past 25 years.

Today, Ducasse feeds his passion for cooking through restaurants all over the world and a professional-level cooking school. He is now ready to bring his know-how and enthusiasm to American professional chefs and experienced home cooks, providing 700 recipes from French and Mediterranean cuisine that incorporate 100 basic ingredients and use 10 major cooking styles. Each dish is described in full, with recipes for accompaniments included; complete instructions for plating the entire dish are given as well. An appendix offers an encyclopedia of ingredients as well as basic recipes (sauces, stocks, and so on). Illustrated with more than 1,000 photographs and original drawings, Grand Livre de Cuisine will be an indispensable reference-and inspiration-for years to come. AUTHOR BIO: Alain Ducasse is regarded throughout the world as one of the most prominent French chefs. Along with three gourmet restaurants, Restaurant Plaza Athénée in Paris, Le Louis XV in Monaco, and Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York, he has also created more than 15 new concept restaurants worldwide and a professional-level cooking school.

Via bookofjoe

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Sandbar Review

Posted in Around Vancouver, Restaurants

Another great restaurant review from my friend Eugene. This time it’s of Sandbar. On of my favourite restaurants here in Vancouver. I absolutely love the atmosphere, the service is amazing, and the food always fresh and full of flavour. And, in agreement with Eug, my fave thing there is the Wok Squid – huge juicy squid pieces covered in a crunchy spicy topping.

We went there for my birthday party last week :)

Sandbar Review:

You like fish? You’ll love the Sandbar. It’s a big raucous fun place to visit. Our birthday party lucked out and got the table facing the night city lights. Too bad I was too drunk not appreciate the view. Our server was excellent. Free bread + butter appeared out of no where. Water glasses were refilled without asking.

Their martini list was succinct and excellent, with quality ingredients. The wine list could use a little work, only because there were few BC wines, and a small by-the-glass selection.

The food was above par. I had the wok squid, which you GOTTA have. Tender meat, in a light batter, with a spicy garlic and chillis vinaigrette on top. Really good quality, and by far the best I’ve ever had; way better than any Greek place, a bargain at $8.

Even though they have a daily feature sheet with “catch of the day” ($18-$23) with snapper, monkfish, trout, and others, I wasn’t that hungry, so I ordered the warm beet salad with a champagne vinaigrette with blue cheese and walnuts, plus rare seared tuna on the side. Both were excellent.

My bill included 3 drinks and 2 food items and came to just above $50 (plus $10 tip since the service was excellent). Couple of my friends had the salmon burger, which was very good and juicy. One ordered half of roasted chicken, was moist and flavorful. Also seen on the table were a really good fisherman’s stew and a salmon dish.

If you want great seafood at a bs-free place, this would be the one. While this is not the cheapest of places, the quality, the view, and the service make up for the cost. The only time I would not come here would be for a date, as it is a big and open room that is often loud with no table to have an intimate conversation with your partner.

Urban Well Review

Posted in Around Vancouver, Restaurants

Saturday night I went out to get some tapas with Ianiv and a good friend, Eugene. We decided on the Urban Well, mostly since it was close and had good martinis (or so we’d heard).

Anyway, Eugene did up an awesome review and I wanted to share it:

Almost Craptacular!

Went on Sat to the Urban Well in Kits. I was surprised to see that the place was not packed. Maybe it was the cold weather outside, or maybe it’s that the Urban Well has gone down hill.

The service was poor. I don’t usually bitch about the service because I know what it’s like to serve wild animals, excuse me, people. But getting milk and sugar for my friend’s tea should not take 30 minutes. In the waitress’s defense, I told her she was good looking, so maybe that slowed her down.

The food was good for a lounge, although I would not go there for a regular dinner. I had duck confit spring rolls, which were good, even though the plum sauce came out of a can. If making a plum sauce from scratch is too hard for you guys, then open a cooking book and create a different sauce, but the only condiment that should be allowed to be ready-made is ketchup.

Speaking of which, I had the steak sandwich for main. The steak was good, cooked perfectly medium rare, but the fries were OLD and FRIED until there was nothing inside the fry, just the crunchy outer layer. My friends had a shrimp thingy which was ok and chicken satay which looked like it was boiled and accidentally fell on the grill to get the obligatory charcoal marks.

All and all, an alright place to hang out when you’re drunk, but since they are pretending they are in Yaletown maybe they should hire some more servers and look at their menu again, because quantity is rarely better than quality.

Cassis Bistro

Posted in Around Vancouver, Restaurants

A while back, as our podcast listeners will remember, we went out for dinner at a nice little French place called Cassis Bistro. I promptly forgot to write about it. But here I am now.

I was very pleased with the food and the atmosphere at Cassis. Not large portions, but then again I wasn’t expecting anything of the sort. I am quite used to the small but amazing portions I’ve come to associate with some of my best food experiences.

Anyway, my dinner was a funny one. I knew going there I would have the Bouillabaisse – I love it but it’s hard to find here in Vancouver. The only other place I’ve had it was at Chambar. Anyway, after much deliberation, I decided to start with french onion soup. Yes – 2 soups for dinner. I know. But, you gotta go with your cravings. Amazing. Really tasty. The french onion soup was not heavy, as some can be.

Our friends all ordered different things and we all left happy. I think next time I go I will try the Daube de Boeuf.

I’d rate Cassis as 3.5 stars, only low because their bar was out of some items, which made choosing more difficult.

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