Posts Tagged ‘Yaletown’

Chef Grace Rerksuttisiridach

Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.

Chef Grace Rerksuttisiridach

Last month I spent the afternoon with Chef Grace Rerksuttisiridach at Simply Thai Restaurant in Yaletown. I have known Grace for many years, ever since I first visited her restaurant over 10 years ago.

As a teenager Grace learned cooking from her mother. She graduated with an Economics Science degree. In 1991, she went to cooking school in Bangkok, Thailand and in 1992 moved to Vancouver. She started as a cook at Sawasdee Restaurant on Main Street and was then promoted to Sous Chef, after 7 years there she returned to Thailand to research the market and find the new herbs. In 2000 she opened Simply Thai in Yaletown.

What style is your Thai cooking?

Bangkok a little south and a little north.

What are the most difficult to find ingredients?

  • Panda leaf
  • Galango

Chef Grace Rerksuttisiridach (L) & Chef Youngyut Aepkham (R)

Who carves your Vegetables?

Myself and my other Chef Youngyut Aepkham hand carves our carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers which we use to garnish many of our dishes.

Chef Grace Rerksuttisiridach (L) & Chef Youngyut Aepkham (R)

How did you learn Vegetable Carving?

I learned from a book first, then I took a class with Penpan Sittitrai, teacher of Royal Thai Chefs for the Royal family of Thailand.

What do you think Thai cuisine is like around the world?

I have travelled to Europe and Thai cuisine with the best quality is in Vancouver.

1st dish:

Flower Dumpling (Cho Maung)

 What makes the spice?

Chili Pepper –if you want less spice you cut it down, if you want more you add more.

2nd dish:

Coconut Soup

What makes your Coconut Soup sweet & sour?

Fresh lime juice, lime leaf, palm sugar and lemon grass.

What is your Favourite Cuisine outside of your own?

Japanese

3rd dish:

Stuffed Chicken Wings

I understand you have had many Celebrities visit your restaurant over the years, who are some?

  • Tom Cruise
  • Suri Cruise
  • Katti Holme
  • Russel Crowe
  • Jason Statham
  • LL Cool Jay
  • Samuel Jackson
  • Jessica Alba
  • Harrison Ford
  • Ryan Felco
  • Wesley Snipes
  • Chad Crother from Nickelback
  • Chef Hart Smith of Oprah Winfrey
  • Mat Sundin of the Vancouver Canucks

4th dish:

Red Curry Chicken with fresh young Coconut Chicken & Prawn

What is the secret to your Success?

Quality, cook with passion, cook from your heart with your love.

5th dish:

Garlic Beef

What are your favourite wines to pair with spicy food?

  • Mission Hill Pinot Noir
  • Dirty Laundry Pinot Noir
  • Hester Creek Merlot

What do you like to do in your off time?

  • Go to the movies
  • Thinking of new dishes
  • Carving
  • Read cookbooks

8th dish:

Pad Thai

How often do you go and visit Thailand?

Every 2 years I visit my family and my teacher.

9th dish:

Grapapaon Gai with fresh basil

Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.

By: Richard Wolak

Fall Tasting at Glowball Grill

I revisited Glowbal Grill recently for dinner to taste some of Executive Chef Jason Vallee‘s new dishes!

Beet Salad

Dish #1

Beet Salad with red and yellow beets, arugula, pecorino

 

Satay selection

Dish #2

Satay selection with yummy Buttermilk Chicken, Moroccan Lamb, Tuna Tataki

 

Lobster Ravioli

Dish #3

Lobster Ravioli with Parmesan crisps, truffle cream & lobster oil

 

Risotto Toscana

Dish #4

Risotto Toscana with roasted chicken, peas, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet pea purée

STEAK 8oz Tenderloin

Dish #5

STEAK 8oz Tenderloin, with 4 cheese Baked Potato

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Dish #6

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Chef Jason Vallee invited me in and presented me with a selection of his newest menu creations.

Each dish had a different flavour profile and was fairly rich, I especially loved the Lobster Ravioli with the thin and crunchy parmessan crisps in the truffle cream and lobster oil as well as the Risotto Toscana. The steak was perfectly cooked to my liking, tender and juicy, the potatoes that accompanied the steak were served a cast iron pan which enhanced the presentation of the dish. The bread pudding was a little too much for me after such a rich meal and took the rest to go.

Glowbal Grill

1079 Mainland  Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-602-0835

Web:  http://www.glowbalgroup.com/glowbalgrill/

Twitter: @Glowbal_Group #GCGlowbalGrill

By: Richard Wolak

Fall Dishes Tasting at Goldfish

I revisited Goldfish recently for dinner to taste some of Executive Chef Scott Practico‘s new dishes! Most of these dishes were on their Fall menu!

Thai Chicken Pizza

Thai ChickenPizza ($7) peanut sauce, scallions

Big California Roll

Big California Roll ($13.95) sushi rice, dungeness crab, avocado, cucumber

Ginger Prawn Gyoza

Ginger Prawn Gyoza ($10.95) grapefruit ponzu

Beet and Spinach Anti-Oxidant Salad

Beet and Spinach Anti-Oxidant Salad ($12.95) quinoa, chickpeas, feta, sunflower seeds, berry vinaigrette

Salmon Wellington

Cannery Classic Sockeye Salmon Wellington ($29.95) pinot noir butter sauce

Short Rib & Mash

Short Rib & Mash ($24.95) braised beef, cashew brittle, radish, scallions, mash potato

Lava Cake

Lava Cake ($7.95) roasted marshmallow, cashew brittle, caramel gelato

Iced Vietnamese Coffee

Iced Vietnamese Coffee ($4.25) chilled vietnamese coffee, condensed milk

Goldfish recently changed their focus to feature more seafood and chops as well as to add some dishes from the former Cannery Restaurant. You will also find some of your favourites from their sister restaurant Joe Fortes on the menu at Goldfish. I was invited in for dinner to indulge and I chose the above mentioned dishes which were all very good.

Browse their menu online here

Goldfish Seafood is located at 1118 Mainland Street in Yaletown and on twitter @goldfishseafood

By: Richard Wolak

New Dishes Tasting at Society

I revisited Society Restaurant recently for dinner to taste some of Executive Chef Alfred Contiga‘s new dishes! Most of these dishes were new and about to be added to their Winter menu!

Smoked Salmon Twinkie

1st Dish

Smoked Salmon Twinkie 

Beef Short Rib Ravioli with chutney, grapes, peas and carrots

2nd Dish

Beef Short Rib Ravioli with chutney, grapes, peas and carrots

Meat Lovers Pizza

3rd Dish

Meat Lovers Pizza

Cajun Salmon on a bed of cauliflower purée with lobster

4th Dish

Cajun Salmon on a bed of cauliflower purée with lobster

Flaming Vanilla Creme Brulee

5th Dish

Flaming Vanilla Creme Brulee

 

Chef Alfred Contiga invited me in and I had my friend Gerry join me, for most of the dishes we had our own serving and shared the pizza.

Each dish was well presented and all were good. I have dined at Society Restaurant on a few occasions previously, see one of my previous visits here. The Beef Short Rib Ravioli with chutney, grapes, peas and carrots was a standout dish for both of us; the Smoked Salmon Twinkie surprised me as it was filled with delicious salmon making this a fun tasty appetizer. Flaming Vanilla Creme Brulee arrived to the table and chef then torched it in front of us and in 15 seconds the brulee was finished – voila!

Society Restaurant

1257 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-629-8800

Web: http://www.glowbalgroup.com/society/

Twitter: @Glowbal_Group #GCSociety

By: Richard Wolak

Chinois Restaurant Opening

Executive Sous Chef Christopher Chabot (L) & Executive Chef Ryan Mah (R)

On Wednesday, November 9th I attended the opening party of Chinois Restaurant in Yaletown.  Proprietor Peter Girges of Rocksglass Concepts was on hand to greet media and other invited guests as they opened Yaletown’s only Chinese restaurant.

X.O. Fried Rice

The menu is made up of traditional Chinese dishes that have been jazzed up or fused if you will, from BBQ to meat, Seafood, Poultry to rice, noodles and vegetables.

Jumbo Prawns with candied walnuts

Prawn Toast

Out of all the appetizers that I tried my favourite was the Jumbo Prawns with candied walnuts in a creamy spicy sauce followed by the Prawn Toast.

White and red wine was being poured along with champagne and some house cocktails.

Executive Chef Ryan Mah, formerly of Goldfish and Joe Fortes is working alongside Executive Sous Chef Christopher Chabot also formerly of Goldfish. General Manager is Gordon Fai.

The David Nichol designed room is dark with Gold shining lights taking their cue to the old Chinese Lanterns that you may find in Chinatown.

Chinois Restaurant is located at 1035 Mainland Street in Yaletown, the restaurant is open for dinner nightly.

Call 604-629-8808 or reservations. On the web at http://www.chinoisrestaurant.ca

By: Richard Wolak

Brunch: Christopher Gaze at The Flying Pig

Brunch is a favourite past time shared by many and should be an extraordinary experience, one that you will cherish. Vancouver has some wonderful places for brunch. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes. I am on a journey around the city to find these extraordinary places and, at the same time, I will be joined by a notable personality who may be a Film Producer or Director, Musician, Arts Festival Director, Actor or other well-known individual for Brunch at restaurants in and around Vancouver.

For my first brunch in this series, I was joined by Actor & Bard on the Beach, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze at The Flying Pig in Vancouver!

Christopher Gaze

Christopher Gaze is the founding Artistic Director of the annual Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We chatted over a wonderful brunch at The Flying Pig Restaurant in Yaletown.

After a successful 2011 season, Christopher is hoping that his festival will become more like Sussex as it grows. This will allow for people to mingle beforehand over a picnic and then start their Bard experience before the show begins making it more of an event.

Berry Fruit Smoothie

Christopher and I both had an Organic Berry Fruit Smoothie  ($4).

How do cast members perform in two productions during the same season?

The actors love it and you don’t often find repertorary theatre other than Shaw, Stratford and Bard.

How do you find actors for your productions?

We rarely go outside of Vancouver looking for actors as Vancouver has such a good selection of actors. We select 30 actors but they have to be experienced in Shakespeare before they audition. We tend to hire actors who have performed with us in the past. At least 50-60% of the actors return to Bard though that may not be consecutive it may be over a period of time.

The audience enjoys seeing regulars and new people as well. Actors have  to commit for 6 months.

Chef Erik’s Croque Monsieur

Fried Back Bacon

Christopher had  Chef Erik’s Croque Monsieur ($11) and a side of organic and local Fried Back Bacon ($6).

When do you begin working on the 2012 season?

Well we already auditioned for the Mainstage for 2012 this past August and now we are looking at auditioning for our Studio theatre.

Did you Imagine your festival Bard on the Beach would become so successful?

No – Just new it had potential to grow organically just like a restaurant. Quality experience, great location and price.

When did you add a performance in conjunction with the Fireworks?

Well the Fireworks in Vancouver began in 1990 at the same time Bard launched a performance with fireworks. In 1994 we then added dinner to go with the Fireworks to greaten the experience.

Where did you begin your acting career?

I studied acting in Bristol at the Old Vic Theatre School in 1970 for 3 years, in 1973 I left and came to Canada. Douglas Campbell had an acting career in Canada (Stratford) and he encouraged me to come to Canada, he basically set me up to go to Canada.

Wild Mushroom, Asparagus Chevre Frittata

Crispy Hash-Browns

Richard had the Wild Mushroom, Asparagus Chevre Frittata ($12) served with organic greens and a side of Crispy Hash-Browns ($5) made to order lyonnaise style.

Outside of Bard on the Beach and your theatrical career, what else do you do?

I put on 20 concerts per year with the VSO, speaking engagements, MC Galas and so on.

I understand your 2011 season was the first that you did not act on stage, why is that?

I was involved in the fundraising aspect of adding our new BMO theatre and felt that I could not do both well, however I attended almost every performance during the season, we had 220 performances in this years season.

Will you be returning to the stage in the 2012 season?

I am not yet sure if I will be back on stage in 2012 we shall see.

How does the Youth of our community take part in Bard on the Beach?

We hold workshops for kids in our Young Shakespearean series for 300 kids over the summer. During the school year we also visit 250 schools to meet with the kids to change the way Shakespeare is being taught in school. Our kids program started in 1993.

How do you select the kids to participate in your summer program?

Thousands of kids apply to be a part of our summer program, we have a lottery which is the only way to be fair on who gets selected.

Do the kids in the summer program perform as well?

Yes after 2 weeks of daily participation we held a performance on a Sunday that their friends and family attended. Best way to train and welcome the youth is to make it accessable to them.

How many kids attended your performances in September of 2011?

We had 10,000 school aged kids attend, enriching their lives.

What do you do in your spare time?

I have a glorious marriage with my wife Jennifer, wonderful children and grand-children. My wife leads me in Fitness, which means that over the last 10 years I have been more and more active in fitness, I run 4 marathons each year, 3 of those in Vancouver and 1 in New York, as well as numerous 10 k’s. I bike all over the city to get around, I love food, good wine and dining in restaurants around the city. I serve as a board member at The Vancouver Club as well.

What is your favourite food?

Italian

Which restaurant are you looking forward to dining at next?

La Quercia that is if I can get a reservation.

What is your favourite neighbourhood restaurant?

The Sunset Grill in Kitsilano –they welcome you and look after you.

What are some of your Food Musings?

I like Seven Seas on 4th Avenue where I buy their off cuts of smoked salmon, I love it and could eat it every day.

I love breakfast with homemade preserves, I often bring my own jar of homemade preserves to breakfast when I dine out in restaurants.

I love wine and specifically a full bodied shiraz.

I love a really good salad.

I understand you are also involved with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, how so?

I run the Tea and Trumpets series of concerts we have 6 concerts per year.

Where was your most recent trip?

This past summer I was invited and spent 4 days at the Sonora Resort in Desolation Sound, it was an outstanding experience.

Where is your next trip?

In October, we are driving to Ashland, Oregon to attend the Ashland Shakespeare Festival.

Quebec Maple Sugar Pie

To finish off our brunch, a little dessert was in order, we both shared the Quebec Maple Sugar Pie ($7) with maple bourbon filling, and walnut ice cream. Christopher had a black coffee and Richard had a double espresso.

What do you think is missing in Vancouver specifically in the arts community?

You know we host a festival in the amazing setting of Vanier Park. I think someone should create another type of festival that is held in a similar setting by another arts group.

Who are your Mentors?

I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my life, specifically,

  • Douglas Campbell
  • My father

I look for wisdom in older men, constantly searching for wisdom. I encourage young people to do the same “elder guides and their friends”.

I am a born collaborator – comfortable reading, but I like to have people work to have the same goals as me.

What happened last night at your company party?

One of our actors created and showed a film –Todd Thompson -called- Bardumentary –showed last night at end of the season. It was just for us, though perhaps it could be edited to show to others.

I understand tonight is your last performance in the 2011 season, anything special happening?

Well tonight after our last performance of ‘As You Like it” we are having a big party in our village where I will present a sword to the most outstanding company member, figuratively of course, about 10 years ago I was given a sword which has quite the long history, moreover it came from Dorothy Somerset.

Style: A La Carte

Attire: Smart Casual

Time: Brunch is offered 10:30am – 3pm Saturday & Sunday

The Flying Pig

1168 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

Menu: http://theflyingpigvan.com/brunch/ 

For Reservations, please call 604-568-1344

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Brunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

Tomatoes at Provence and Provence

Last night I dined at Provence Marinaside for their 2nd annual Tomato Festival, it is a 3 course menu promotion being offered through August at both Provence Marinaside as well as Provence Mediterranean Grill.

Provençal Heirloom Tomato Tart

Grilled Halibut

Candied Cherry Tomato and Fresh Strawberry Sundae

There were 3 choices of Appetizers as well as 3 choices of Mains followed by dessert. I had the Provençal Heirloom Tomato Tart with greens which was delicious, for my main I had the perfectly prepared Grilled Halibut with lightly-spiced tomato salsa and for dessert the outstanding and simple Candied Cherry Tomato and Fresh Strawberry Sundae with crema di balsamico.

This 3 course Tomato Festival Menu is $48 at Provence Marinaside and $45 at Provence Mediterranean Grill and runs throughout August until the 31st

Provence Marinaside (Yaletown) 1177 Marinaside Crescent at the foot of Davie St., 604.681.4144

Provence Mediterranean Grill (Point Grey) 4473 West 10th Ave., 604.222.1980

www.provencevancouver.com

You can reserve for Provence’s Second Annual Tomato Festival by phone at 604-681-4144 or 604.222.1980.

By: Richard Wolak

Summer Splash at Goldfish June 22

Goldfish Pacific Kitchen heats up for charity swimwear event, Summer Splash

Third Annual Fundraiser to benefit the Vancouver Native Health Society

 

Sports Illustrated – Anna Kosturova (holding glass in centre)

The weather this year might have had you thinking summer would never arrive – but that couldn’t be further from the truth at Yaletown’s Goldfish Pacific Kitchen.  The venue is again hosting their annual Summer Splash event, on Wed, June 22, 2011 from 7 to 9:30pm. This summer beach fashion and cocktail event will benefit the Vancouver Native Health Society (VNHS), a non-profit organization doing much needed work in the Downtown Eastside.

This is one of my favourite events of the year, see my coverage of last years event.

Artist, Tiko Kerr, has donated a canvas painting valued at $6,500 for the event’s live auction; as well, attendees can bid on a coveted chance to dine one-on-one with Mr. and Mrs. Kanke to find out what it is that makes them some of the most successful business owners in Vancouver’s restaurant scene.

Summer Splash features all the necessary trappings for a great summer evening – light refreshments in the form of wine, beer and martinis, delectable appetizers prepared by Executive Chef Curtis Webb of Goldfish Pacific Kitchen, DJ Leanne, professional salsa performances, and the latest trends in swimwear from local designer Anna Kosturova.

“Summer Splash has made its mark on the Vancouver social calendar and it’s a great event that gets everyone talking,” explains Andrea Mestrovic, Goldfish Director of Marketing & Sales. “But we do this for one reason only – to raise funds for the Vancouver Native Health Society.  We hope to keep growing each year, raising the bar and the donations every time.”

Tickets are $75. For more information, please visit www.goldfishkitchen.com, or call 604-689-8318.

Dinner at Sweeney`s

I am one of those lovers of Sweeney`s lunchtime sandwiches, recently I heard  Chef Glenn Saunders started cooking dinner and the menu was his take on rustic home cooking, I had to try some dishes and that I did last week.

Chef uses the freshest local ingredients to prepare healthy, never boring food and delicious desserts (using only a convection oven and a couple of induction burners –they do all this without a grill, a deep fryer or even a full oven).

Here are the dishes that I enjoyed during dinner with my dining companion.

Baked Goat's Cheese

Spinach Salad

Roasted Mushroom Pizza

Trinidad Chicken

Chocolate Mousse

Crème Brulée

We started off with Baked Goat’s Cheese ($11) with a Red Pepper and Artichoke Humuss served with a warm Flat Bread

Spinach Salad ($12) Fresh Spinach, Tiger Blue Cheese, Pecans, Roasted Red Peppers and a warm Bacon and Sherry Vinagrette

Roasted Mushroom Pizza ($18) Roasted Mushrooms with Asparagus and Tellagio Cheese Pizza

Trinidad Chicken ($18) Citrus Honey Glazed Chicken Breast, stuffed with Orange & Ginger Sweet Potatoes

Chocolate Mousse ($8) accompanied with a Ganache Brownie & Guinness Foam

Crème Brulée ($8) served with a Peach Vanilla Ice Cream along with some of their Maple Goat Cheese Ice Cream (by special request)

So now we are up two for two, both lunch and dinner are delicious, perhaps they may want to add breakfast too and go for three for three!

Sweeney`s is located at 1091 Hamilton Street in Yaletown, reservations for dinner are suggested http://www.sweeneysyaletown.ca

Review by: Richard Wolak

Charm Modern Thai Celebrates 2 Years

Desmond Chen - Proprietor (middle)

On Wednesday November 3rd, I attended the 2nd Anniversary party at Charm Modern Thai in Yaletown. The wine and cocktails were flowing all night long, as soon as the tasty Thai food arrived to the table it was devoured within minutes, the chefs were busy keeping up to their hungry guests. DJ Skilla was mixing up loud music all night long, keeping guests entertained.

DJ Skilla

My favourites of the evenings eats were the Chicken & Noodles in Yellow Curry and the Crab Bisque.

Chicken & Noodles in Yellow Curry

Crab Bisque

Charm Modern Thai has a patio up front, they are located at 1269 Hamilton Street in Yaletown and online at http://www.charmmodernthai.com/

By: Richard Wolak

New Dishes Tasting at Goldfish

Yesterday I attended a media tasting at Goldfish Pacific Kitchen to try some of their new menu creations, 90% of the menu is new and this came about due to a new chefs team at the helm. These guys are far from new, both are experienced chefs who were previously in the kitchen at Joe Fortes and many other fine restaurants around the world. This menu is creative and vibrant and it is obvious that Chef Curtis Webb & Chef Ryan Mah know how to create dishes with bold and unique flavours with a little fun thrown in to the mix.

Chef Ryan Mah (l) & Chef Curtis Webb (r)

Here are some of my favourites from the tasting.

Cheeseburger Spring Rolls

Tuna Poke

Jumbo Tiger Prawns

Miso Sablefish

King Crab Tempura

Chef Ryan Mah and the Kurobuta Pork Buns

Lime Kafir Panna Cotta & Cheesecake

Note: The dishes that I tasted were tasting size not regular size as you would order from the menu.

Browse their menu online here

Goldfish Pacific Kitchen is located at 1118 Mainland Street in Yaletown.

By: Richard Wolak

Taste of Yaletown

The tastes, treats, sips, sights and sounds of Vancouver’s most desirable neighborhood will come alive again at Taste of Yaletown 2010! The 6th Annual Taste of Yaletown event will take place October 13 – 31, 2010.

The popular community-based event invites the public to discover and enjoy culinary offerings and delectable wines from over 20 of Yaletown’s best restaurants, each presenting an exclusive three-course menu at pre-fixed prices of $25, $35 or $45.

Once again, a portion of the profits from each participating restaurant will be donated to The Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Since the event began in 2005, Taste of Yaletown has raised over $100,000 for the food bank.

View the online menus of the participating restaurants here

Urban Thai Celebrates 10 Years

Executive Chef - Urban Thai Bistro

On Wednesday September 15, I attended the 10th Anniversary party at the Urban Thai Bistro. There was a Monk Blessing Ceremony taking place as I arrived and soon after a beautiful Thai Dance Show as guests mingled over wine, sangria, and tasty Lychee Martinis.

Bartender - Garrett

Their team of chefs were serving up their authentic Thai appetizers and my favourite was the Chicken Satays with Thai Peanut Sauce.

Monk Ceremony

Urban Thai Bistro has a patio up front, they are located at 1119 Hamilton Street in Yaletown and online at http://www.thaihouse.com/urban/

By: Richard Wolak

100 Days Opening

On Friday night August 27th,  I attended the opening party for 100 Days at the Opus Hotel in Yaletown.

Cocktails

Kobe Beef on potato crisp

Guests were treated to tasty cocktails, wine and tantalizing appetizers and dessert bites throughout the night.

This is Vancouver’s newest pop-up restaurant that will serve diners for 100 days. The talented chefs at One Hundred Days will dish up a tantalizing menu of urban diner meets Mediterranean cuisine, all inspired by the art surrounding them.

Graffiti Artist Vince Dumoulin

Graffiti artist Vince Dumoulin has transformed the room both inside and outside into a fun and colourful restaurant that exudes high energy and creativity. I caught him on camera as he was putting the finishing Graffiti touches on the outside of the restaurant as the party was underway.

I loved the menu on the large blackboards throughout the restaurant, the Graffiti bar, the DJ spinning and most of all the room on the corner of Hamilton & Davie with the large windows. One Hundred Days promises to be high energy and the most unexpected and thrilling dining experience to be found in Vancouver. After 100 days the restaurant will again be transformed into a new and exciting concept restaurant to open in early 2011.

Go for breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night, the restaurant is located inside the Opus Hotel at 322 Davie Street in Yaletown.

http://onehundreddays.ca

By: Richard Wolak

Tomato Festival at Provence thru August

Ahhh tomatoes – the ultimate summer food – ripe, juicy and brimming with sunshine goodness. I had dinner the other night at Provence Marinaside to taste their special 3 course Tomatoes inspired menu.

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Sun-dried Tomato and Caper crusted Sabelfish

I loved the Heirloom Tomato Tart which was served over a bed of tasty greens to start, this was followed by the moist Sun-dried Tomato and Caper crusted Sabelfish for my entree in a tomato broth with greens.

Strawberry Franzipan Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

For dessert I had the choice of the Sundried Cherry Tomato Upside Down Cake which I did not select, instead I had the delicious Strawberry Franzipan Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream. This 3 course Tomato Festival Menu is $48 and runs throughout August until the 31st

As an added incentive (as if you needed one) Provence will donate $3 from every Tomato Festival Menu sold to support Growing Chefs, an organization that teaches school children about growing and preparing food.

Provence Marinaside is located in Yaletown.

You can reserve for Provence’s First Annual Tomato Festival by phone at 604-681-4144

By: Richard Wolak

Thai Cooking Classes at Urban Thai Bistro

With many cooking classes taking place around the city, I wondered what the differences were between each of them, and what made each standout. Some classes include copies of the chefs cookbooks, author signings, have celebrity chefs, or are fundraisers for non profit groups. I decided to set out on my own adventure and partake in some classes around the city.

Here is the thrid of many classes that I will be taking. Urban Thai Bistro is a restaurant located in Vancouver.

Participants and the Chefs

On July 17th, I was invited to participate in a Thai cooking class, all I knew was that it was going to be a hands on experience. This new series of Thai cooking classes is being offered by Urban Thai Bistro in Yaletown to celebrate their 10th year of their restaurant. The idea is brilliant, and I truly hope anyone in the city who loves Thai food will partake in one or all of their classes.

I have been particpating in a series of cooking classes during the past few months and this was one of the most unique I have done thus far. There were 6 of us in the class with 2 chefs so that ratio is very good. At the beginning we all sat at a round table and were provided with a very well organized booklet that described the cooking class, the menu for the days class, a dictionary of Thai herbs along with the recipes of the dishes we were about to create. We were each presented with a fancy apron which we were to keep after the class to use in our own kitchens.

Kaeng Kari - Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken

Each of us assembled at our own cooking stations, all the ingredients were pre-measured and set out in front of us making this step easy for all of us. I began to follow the chefs instructions for the 1st dish and cooked up a storm and voila my Kaeng Kari – Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken was finished.

Making the Soup

Tom Yum Goong Soup

On to the 2nd dish and to cooking the Tom Yum Goong Soup adding a dash of this and a dash of that to make it sweeter or saltier of course depending on each of our individual tastes.

Frying the Spring Roll Stuffing

Separating the Rice Paper Wrappers

Rolling the Spring Rolls

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

On to the 3rd dish, making the Vegetarian Spring Rolls I had to make the stuffing first by frying up the rice noodles, vegetables and spices. I then separated the rice wrappers and filled each with the mixture and then rolled each spring roll carefully, I had quite a knack for this process having had made many cheese blintzes years ago.

Som Tum - Papaya Salad

On to the 4th dish and the last dish of this Thai meal the Som Tum – Papaya Salad. In a huge clay pot bowl, I smashed garlic and red chilli paste along with peanuts and other ingredients.

After we all finished cooking our dishes we regrouped and ate our way through each of the wonderful dishes. This was my first time cooking a home cooked, well almost home cooked Thai meal. Personally I hope you all take one or more of these cooking classes offered by Urban Thai Bistro. The classes are being offered every Saturday morning at 10:30am throughout the Summer, make sure you reserve in advance.

Ticket prices range for the classes. For tickets and info call 604-408-7788, Urban Thai Bistro is located at 1119 Hamilton Street in Yaletown.

By: Richard Wolak

Photo Credit: Noam Dehan

Yaletown Best Burger Competition July 1

Judges: Richard Wolak (@vanfoodster), Erin Ireland (@erin_ireland)John Chow (@johnchow)and Raul Pacheco-Vega  (@hummingbird604), & Cassandra Anderton (@goodlifevan).

Participating Restaurants:

  1. SOCIETY Dining Lounge
  2. Earls Yaletown
  3. BBQues
  4. The Hamilton Street Grill
  5. Section 3
  6. The Hub Restaurant
  7. Glowbal Grill

Yaletown Best Burger Competition on Canada Day

Head on down to the 1200 block of Hamilton on July 1st and celebrate Canada Day Yaletown style. The highlight of the day is going to be the Yaletown Best Burger Competition being held in front of SOCIETY of which yours truly Richard Wolak (@vanfoodster) will be judging along with fellow celebrities Erin Ireland (@erin_ireland), John Chow (@johnchow), Raul Pacheco-Vega  (@hummingbird604) and Cassandra Anderton (@goodlifevan). The burger competition begins at 4pm, get there early to find the perfect viewing spot.

Canada Burger

All restaurants located in Yaletown were invited to submit their burger into the competition and I truly hope for tastebuds sake that there are some of the tastiest burgers in the competition. There are some rules that go along with this competition and one of them is that the burgers can not contain any form of Pork.

Participating Restaurants include:

  1. SOCIETY Dining Lounge
  2. Earls Yaletown
  3. BBQues
  4. The Hamilton Street Grill
  5. Section 3
  6. The Hub Restaurant
  7. Glowbal Grill

The burger competition is one of several events taking place during the Canada Day Street Party on Hamilton Street in Yaletown.

See you there!

By: Richard Wolak

GANACHE PATISSERIE

1262 Homer Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-899-1098

Web:  http://www.ganacheyaletown.com/

Advice: Come by after 11am daily for the fresh baked from the oven Almond and other Croissants.

Almond Croissant

Known for their pastries and spectacular wedding cakes, they are also a morning stop for many regulars who visit for their croissants as well as a coffee or other sweet specialties. I have had their outstanding delicious Almond Croissants ($3.25) as well as their delicious Pain au Chocolat ($3.00), a fellow by the name of Gaston swears by these pastries and he had suggested that I visit and that I did. The pastry case is filled with beautiful looking cakes, cheesecakes and pastries that range in price. They also have a variety of treats packaged on the side to go in this Parisian-style patisserie. There are seats inside as well where you can order an espresso or other beverage to accompany your sweets.

Review by: Richard Wolak

Poisson D’Avril at Provence Marinaside

Chef Jean-Francis Quaglia

In for dinner with friends on April 1st specifically to partake in their Poisson d’Avril festival of fish celebration. At one point early in the evening I discovered that someone had put a paper fish on my back and that some of the others in my dinner party had also received such fun colourful fish, I knew that there was some madness and that I shouldn’t pre-judge the evening. With paper fish on our backs, it turns out that while we in Canada celebrate April 1st with frivolity, in France they too enjoy some fun and on the 1st day of April all over the country, people attach paper fish cut-outs to the backs of family and friends and they often shout ‘Poisson d’Avril’.

From April 1st through 30th, join Provence Marinaside in Yaletown for some finny fun and fine food at its second annual Poisson d’Avril. The good folks at Provence Marinaside believe you can never have too much of a good thing and have extended the fun to encompass a month-long celebration of all things fishy.

The celebration comes with its own ‘fish forward’ three-course menu offering a ‘school’ of choices for only $45. On it you’ll find fish of every description prepared in a myriad of ways. From sardines to salmon, confit to bouillabaisse there is something to please every fish lover on the extensive menu. For an additional $5 you can also order the Whole Fish of the Day, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and seven-grain rice. Then end on a sweet note with a choice of something decadent from Provence’s regular menu of hand-crafted desserts. Can you say ‘French lemon tarte?’

Duo of Smoked Fish

Halibut Cheek Confit

Halibut

Berry and White Chocolate Clafoutis

I tasted a variety of appetizers and most enjoyed the Duo of Smoked Fish along with the Halibut Cheek Confit. For my entrée, I had the delicious and flavourful Halibut and was fortunate to also taste the outstanding Sardines as well as the Sablefish. For dessert, I had to have my favourite Berry and White Chocolate Clafoutis, a french style cake served warm with vanilla ice cream

During April, some Provence patrons will find a lucky Poisson under their plate or pinned to their coat. These Poissons come with a prize – perhaps a complimentary appetizer, dessert or meal discount or a copy of New World Provence or even a chance to win a personal cooking demonstration class in their home with Chefs Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia.

The restaurant will also offer a daily rosé feature by the glass, half litre or bottle.

Poisson d’Avril 2010
April 1 – 30, 2010
Menu

Duo of Smoked Fish
albacore tuna and salmon
pearl onions, gherkins, mixed greens
or
Mackerel Façon Bouillabaisse
poached in fish soup
saffron rouille, gruyère cheese
or
Halibut Cheek Confit
snow pea sprouts, piquillo peppers, tapenade crostini
~
Citrus Dusted Salmon
asparagus, hollandaise, fingerling potatoes
or
Baked Sardine Fillets
Mediterranean vinaigrette, farro, arugula, spinach
or
Halibut
marinated oven dried plum tomato vinaigrette
legumes vert, saffron new potatoes
or Daily Whole Fish
seasonal vegetables, seven grain rice
(please add $5 for this dish)
or
Sable Fish
snow pea sprouts, piquillo peppers
fennel, orange, black olive essence
~
Dessert
choice from our menu
$45 per person

While there is something very fishy happening at Provence Marinaside in April, diners will agree that the Poisson d’Avril menu is no joke!

Provence Marinaside: 1177 Marinaside Crescent (Yaletown), Vancouver 604-681-4144

Information/Reservations: www.provencevancouver.com

Review by: Richard Wolak

2010 Mixlympics Barmen Competition

David Grieg (left-Silver), Mark Brand (center-Gold), Jay Jones (right-Bronze)

George Ultra Lounge was the host of the 2010 Mixlympics held on February 21st with 6 international, 4 Canadian bartenders- competing head-to-head in a black box style event.

George bartender Shaun Layton invited some of the best cocktail creators in the world to mix it up at George Ultra Lounge during the Olympics.  With so much bartending talent in one place, it just made sense to turn it into a competition.

After 3 hours of excitement, the winners announced were in 1st place GOLD Mark Brand of Vancouver (Bartender/Co-owner of Boneta & The Diamond); in 2nd place SILVER David Grieg of London, UK (Bartender at All Star Lanes) and in 3rd place BRONZE Jay Jones of Vancouver (Bartender/Co-owner Pourhouse).

Mark Brand - Vancouver

David Grieg (left) - London

David Grieg and his drinks

Jay Jones - Vancouver

Jay Jones making his drinks

Jay Jones "Tie-Down" drinks

The other competitors from Canada and around the world were:

Joe Stokoe – Bar Manager for all three All Star Lanes, London, UK

Abdul Kpekawa – Bartender, All Star Lanes, London, UK

Ola Carlson – Bartender, Box 101, Stockholm, Sweden

Nicolos de Soto, Bartender, Experimental Cocktail Club & Curio Parlour, Paris, France

Charles Tan – Bartender, China Club, Paris, France.

David Wolwidnyk – Bar Manager, West, Vancouver

Darryl Macdonald – Bartender, Port, Toronto

Nico de Soto - Paris, France

Ola Carlson - Stockholm, Sweden

Charles Tan - Paris, France

The extremely talented judges who had the enviable job of tasting the cocktails and choosing the best were:

Rebecca Bollwitt – Vancouver Blogger, Miss 604

Jay Garnett – President, Whitefish Group

Shaun Layton – Bar Manager, George Ultra Lounge

Andrew Morrison – Editor, Scout Magazine

Neal Mclennan – Editor, Western Living Magazine

George Oliphant – Host, NBC LX-TV

Joanne Sasvari – Freelance Journalist and Mixology Expert

This competition was exciting to watch, all eyes were on these talented bartenders to see what kinds of drinks they could make using the surprise ingredients from the black box. Each competitor had to use the Black Box ingredients in the drinks they were too create.

By: Richard Wolak

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