RSSArchive for January, 2007

Dine Out Vancouver 2007 – A Kettle of Fish

Updated 9th Nov 2010: This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.ca.

We booked a seating to a seafood restaurant. A Kettle of Fish, or more affectionately known as “the Kettle” is located on 900 Pacific St on Hornby in downtown Vancouver.

A Kettle of Fish

The Kettle is known as perhaps one of the best west coast style seafood restaurant in the city. Although their menu consists mainly of seafood, they do have limited selection of meat and pasta. The names of their dishes off the menu reads of lobster, sockeye salmon, tiger prawns, scallops, dungeness crab, clams, mussels, artic char, tuna, alaskan black cod, and so on. Doesn’t that make you hungry?

A Kettle of Fish

For once in this year DOV events, we have sort of graduated from “water only” meal to … Virgin Margarita! :-) I had the Virgin Strawberry Magarita which is sweet and served in a sugar coated glass rim. Suanne ordered the Virgin Lime Magarita. It was lightly salty and and tastes like plum juice.

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One of the appy we ordered was the Oven Baked Oysters Rockefeller with Spinach, Pernod Scallions and Smoked Maple Bacon. There are two large succulent oysters which taste reminds me of cockles which I like a lot. This is good especially with a squeeze of lemon on the crisp topping.

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The other appetizer is what is known as the Pear, Celeriac and Irish Cashel Blue Cheese Vichysoisse with Creme Fraiche and Chives. Well, it’s easier for everyone if they name this simply soup. The soup is rich with a sandy texture. This is probably due to the mashed pear in it.

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Suanne ordered the “Steamed corn husk wrapped rainbow trout stuffed with spiced masa harina and served with a mild ancho chilli and corn relish” … a.k.a. the Trout. This main is unique in that the trout is wrapped in a corn husk. The corn relish on the side was surprisingly spicy.

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There ia a sourish taste to this and the flesh tastes like flavourless mushy potatoes, even powdery. Moreover there are bones in the meat. This looks good but taste-wise, I would not describe it as good.

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My main dish is that Capetown Hake braised in san marzano tomatoes, saffron, paprika, onion, white wine and served with garlic herb roasted baby yukon gold potatoes — another long descriptive name. Hake is a kind of a white fish like sole with flaky meat.

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The roasted baby potatoes hidden underneath the fish was good.

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For desserts, we had the … hear this … “Stacked layers of creamy chocolate mousse, light cocoa meringue and dense chocolate brownie complemented with a cranberry caramel sauce”. There is a rich mix of different types of chocolate sweetness in layers. I can taste 3 distinct textures in each mouthful. Very nice … very good.

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The other dessert was the Warm brioche and sweet dried apricot bread pudding with a cardamon creme anglaise.

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This is a $35 per person meal. So the total bill came up to $93 including tax and tips. Drinks was $7. In all, other than the really bland trout, this meal was really good. It was relaxing and I enjoyed it a lot.

I was so full but was really tempted to order their lobsters. I saw a neighboring table having lobsters. They looked so good. The Kettle have half-servings of these lobsters for $19. This is definitely a place I would love to make a return visit.

Kettle of Fish A on Urbanspoon

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Dine Out Vancouver 2007 – Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse

We went to the Sequoia Grill at the Stanley Park for our next Dine Out Vancouver 2007 event. I’ve always enjoyed the drive down wide Georgia heading to the world famous park. It’s just never ceases to amaze me that I will driving down the heart of downtown Vancouver with high-rises on each side and down the street is the 400 hectare park. Stanley park has millions of tall trees that are hundred of years old.

Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse

At Stanley Park you have the best view of downtown Vancouver. This is a must stop place for any tourist. Everyone gotta take a picture from this spot to prove that they have been-there-done-that. What I hate about the scenery is the ugly Chevron gas station right smack in the middle of the Coal Harbour. This scenery will undergo some dramatic changes over the next few years once the Shangrila (a new tall building being constructed along Georgia) and the new waterfront Convention is completed.

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The Causeway to the Lions Gate Bridge cuts right across the park. This suspension bridge, built in 1938, is very much a Vancouver landmark as Canada Place and Stanley Park.

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A few weeks ago a huge storm ripped through Vancouver and destroyed quite a bit of Stanley Park. We learnt about the destructions on the TV and in the papers but what I saw in person really broke my heart. I have always seen Prospect Point to be dark and full of trees. You can now see the sky. I heard that it will take $9 million to clean this up. Stanley Park is going to be slightly different but time will heal it.

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The Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse is located in the western side of the park.

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It has one of the best view of the North Shore and English Bay. It was very chilly and dark when we were there but on a warmer day this is a great place to go for a walk after dinner.

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This place used to be called the Teahouse. They underwent extensive renovation and converted their menus from English teahouse to cater for a more contemporary crowd. There are great views all around with large windows out in the direction of the waters.

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The Sequoia Grill is surrounded by tall sequoia trees. Many trees fell all around the place but the restaurant was not affected.

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We saw that there are three separate dining rooms — each with it’s own fireplace. We were early again and were ushered to a great table by the window with a great view of the ocean.

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Windows all around. Even the roof is glassed. Its setting is dim and romantic with a great view of the sea. One thing though, this place was really noisy once it is filled.

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On to the food. When we booked for this place, they had their $25 fixed price menu on the website. However, we were presented a menu with an option of either the $25 or the $35 menu. We chose the $35.

It started with the usual bread. They were served warm and is really flavourful. They have a nice crunch to the crust. They were so good that we asked for more.

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For appetizers, Suanne had the Teahouse Mushroom. There are three pieces of large mushrooms, each of them stuffed with crab, shrimp and mascarpone. The stuffings were baked and crispy.

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The appetizer for me is the Steamed Mussels. They are cooked in white wine, shallots and parsley. It does not have much of gravy though. I like to dip bread into the soupy gravy.

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However, the mussels were really fleshy and succulent. Hmmm … nice. This is really a promising start.

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My main dish is the 8oz Aged New York Strip Loin. It is served with Fondant Potatoes, Gorgonzola Butter and Madeira Demi-Glace. The Gorgonzola is like blue cheese — I did not like it. The steak was tender and juicy, cooked medium rare.

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Suanne had their Roast Lamb Sirloin with minted demi-glace, winter vegetable gratin. Four medallions of tender lamb meat.

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One thing though, the platings were really good. They were beautiful arranged and the chef took great care with fine details. For instance, they tied up the brocolli with the baby carrots with chives or green onion so that they all stay intact even when moved. Nice touch.

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Suanne ended the meal with the Sunburned Lemon Tart topped with Berry Sorbet. The tart had a creamy lemony filling with a layer of glazed sugar. We can’t figure out what the sorbet was made of — tastes like raspberry though.

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The Creme Brulee was good. Not much to say about it except that is is custardy and included a shortbread biscuit. Creme Brulee is always good for dessert.

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That’s it for today’s entry. Food wise this one is better than Heron’s by far.

Sequoia Grill on Urbanspoon

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Dine Out Vancouver 2007 – Herons Restaurant & Lounge – The Fairmont Waterfront

The Dine Out Vancouver 2007 event is held from January 19th to February 4th. One can enjoy delectable three-course prix fixe (fixed price) menus at some of the hottest restaurants for $15, $25 or $35 per person. We went to only one event last year (see here). This year we planned for quite a few. This is our series on Dine Out Vancouver 2007.

The first restaurant we went to was the Herons Restaurant and Lounge. It is at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel which is located just across the street from Canada Place.

Herons Restaurant & Lounge - The Fairmont Waterfront

Locating the place is easy but finding an affordable parking space is not. Count on paying something like $10. We booked for a table two weeks in advance for a 5:30pm seating.

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We have never been here before. Herons is quite large with tall ceilings and windows all with a view … of the street! They opened at 5:30 pm for dinner. We were the first there.

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Table setting were elegant. We noticed that even the table cloth is embroidered with the Fairmont Hotels logo. The service was prompt and attentive, despite the fact that we are one of those “water only” customer. I always hated to see the service change when we did not order drinks. This place is different.

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We started off with the usual basket of bread. The butter was perfectly soft.

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For appetizers, I ordered the Wild Mushroom Cappuccino. This is served in a unique dual plate — with one “cappuccino soup” and the other a brioche shaped like a spoon with watm mushroom salad.

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The waiter came by and described in detail what is it that was served and told us how to eat them. We were to put the brioche spoon with the mushroom salad into the soup. This gives extra texture to the soup. The soup is foamy and had a hint of hazelnut. This is one of the best appetizers we had.

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Suanne order the Butter Lettuce Salad with Oven Roasted Pears, Walnuts and Blue Cheese. It was a pretty ho-hum salad. The blue cheese tastes terrible. We are not a fan of blue cheese and as hard as we try to enjoy it, we just can’t understand why some people consider this a delicacy. We’ll stay away from blue cheese next time.

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For the second course, I had the Roasted Strip Loin, Mushroom Ragout and Chestnut Bread Pudding. The bread pudding is flavourful, made from broiche and egg white. We were told that the Mushroom Ragout (pronounced ra-goo) took 30 hours of reduction of Veal stock and Chardonnay. The color of the ragout looked very appetizing with the mushrooms and asparagus.

The plates were hot when served and I mean really hot.

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The AAA quality strip loin were a bit too tough and lean for us. Are strip loin supposed to be tough? I thought that they are one of the better cuts and tender.

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Suanne ordered the Pan Seared Artic Char with Roasted Fingerling Potato, Briased Cabbage and Gribiche. This one looked so good when served. We moved the plate too fast and the decorations fell over.

Never heard of Char before today. Apparently, it is a kind of trout with a salmon-like pinkish flesh. The char is pan seared and then finished in the oven to lock in the juice. This gives the outside a hard crusty and chruncy texture.

The Char is topped with Creme Fraiche and Artic Char Caviar. The rich gravy us made of corn chowder with baby root vegetables and fennel. This dish was absolutely delicious.

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We had no choice for dessert. The dessert today was the Chocolate Mint Dome with Crystallized Spearmint and Matcha (powdered green tea) Creme Glace. The Green Tea ice-cream was OK but the chocolate dome was something else.

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The outside is a chocolate mouse with a chocolate cake base. Inside the dome is a creamy, minty filling with some black tasteless “thingy” — can’t figure out what it is exactly but perhaps is just some chocolate sprinkles to add texture. This is garnished with a crystalized spearmint.

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We had a great time out. The service was top-notch. We were always addressed by our names which I felt was a good touch on their part. The waiter was really patient and offered to explain the food presented to us. This really help us appreciate the food better. The food was great for some part but admittedly is unexciting in others.

The total bill including tips came up to $85.

Herons Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

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Szechuan Pork Chop

Yvonne’s second dish is Szechuan Pork Chop or more likely as Spice Salt Pork Chop. Yvonne got a great deal from a grocery store which offers buy one get one free pork chop. She made a big platter of Pork Chops.

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The Pork Chops were served over Fusilli pasta and fried skewered sweet peppers and steamed brocolli. The drippings from the baking of the Pork Chops made a great sauce for the pasta.

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Yvonne also made a sweet potato and yam soup as dessert. I love dessert soup.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of pork chop
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons spice salt
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons ‘Sar Geong Fern’
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, minced
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • juice from half a lemon

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Skewered Chicken

Yvonne made two dishes in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Yvonne is an experienced cook. She worked in many places before like Pizza place, factory which supplied food concentrates to restaurants, etc. She also attended cooking schools in her early days in Vancouver. She is a lady with many talents.

One of Yvonne’s dishes is Skewered Chicken. She served the Skewered Chicken on Fusilli pasta and accompanied with Skewered Sweet Peppers which has been briefly fried.

Skewed Chicken

Yvonne is a person who emphasized on presentation. She presented her dishes with garnishes using cucumber, tomatoes, blood orange and lemon. It certainly made the dish more appealing.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch of fresh rosemary or substitute with 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablepoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Mirin or rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

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Oven-fried Parmesan Chickens

Jean’s second dish is a very kids friendly dish. It is Oven-fried Parmesan Chicken. I know, Arkensen will absolutely loves this dish as he loves fried chicken and Parmesan cheese.

Oven-fried Parmesan Chicken

The Oven-fried Parmesan Chicken is a wonderful dish for picnic. Its not messy and transports well after the chicken is chilled and kept in an insulated container with ice packs. You may even use this to make chicken burgers with some mayonnaise, sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuces and sliced onions.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk or milk of your preference
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 pounds meaty chicken pieces, skinned (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • Snipped fresh oregano (optional)

Jean used boneless and skinless chicken thigh which is more flavourful and moist.

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Swiss Pepper Steak

Jean started off her Gilmore Park Church community kitchen with two meat dishes. She made Swiss Pepper Steak and Oven-fried Parmesan Chicken.

Jean is a good leader by showing a good example in leading the cooking class. I noticed that many of the members of the cooking clubs are very humble and quite shy to show off their cooking skills. It is always a challenging task to fill up the schedule of who to demonstrate in the coming cooking class in the beginning of every session. Nevertheless, the schedule has been filled up to April and its a good start.

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Well, back to Jean’s dishes. The Swiss Pepper Steak is a great one pot dish which is even better when eaten the next day for the flavour to mellow. It uses the less expensive cut of meat as the long and slow simmering will break down the tissue of the tougher cut of meat.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 lbs of large round steak or sirloin steak, cut into chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 8 white button mushrooms, sliced
  • flour for dredging

Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 3 heaping teaspoons of chopped garlic

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Having Sushi in Japan

I just found this very interesting YouTube video on eating sushi from this site.  I just gotta share it.  Enjoy!

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