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Everything posted by wattacetti

  1. Well, I'm going to echo the others: those are some of the best seafood photos I've seen. I went out and had seafood tonight rather than the original duck confit. Somewhat pathetic as I sort-of sat there and pushed the grilled fish and cephalopods around on my plate because they didn't look like your photos.
  2. 1. I'll curse you now. I'm no longer in the mood for what I had planned for dinner. 2. Isn' this the same restaurant that's frequented by Adria?
  3. Depends on whether a qualifier (e.g. "tuna") is in that sentence. I've had budget sushi before: the lab once ordered a $25 tray which gave up about 50 pieces of maki (something like 4 egg, 4 salmon, 42 cucumber but I digress…).
  4. wattacetti

    Battered Halibut

    I just can't see anyone whaling away at a cowering flatfish, but that could just be a lack of imagination. Anyway, I don't think tempura batters (or panko) quite mimics what comes out of a typical fish & chips shop. Unless Marlene frequents a chip place that serves halibut tempura with Peruvian blue potato fries? (hey! recipe idea)
  5. It might as well have been; I vaccilate between ennui, pity and the giggles whenever I look at the photo. Photo #10 isn't the Northern Lights roll. What I had was definitely vegetarian: taku-an, asparagus, avocado, pickled cucumber and ume paste wrapped in cucumber. I'm particularly envious of that halibut with rock salt (now I have a gripping need to go back). Don't suppose you could recall what the other plates were?
  6. Will you post some photos? I'm most curious in seeing the 180 mini-spinach quiche in particular and what a $200 spread for for 65 people looks like in general. My last service for 7 cost around $200 ( ) so a lesson in economy might be in order.
  7. Not a problem at Globe@YVR: they hand out dark napkins for those of us whose clothing color pallets end with black. [Might I add that this is one Vancouver establishment that has done everything mostly right every time I'm holed up at the airport.]
  8. Feenie's crab maki happy face pretty much seals my nomination for this thread. Noise is one thing I'd expect in a bistro (especially one that's being so heavily marketed) and I was also prepared for ambivalent and/or indifferent service just by scanning the room when I first entered. I didn't expect "stunned into inaction because it's too beautiful to touch" plating for the $14 this plate goes for, but I do think that it should have been better than the "Amateur Night on West Broadway" effort put in by Rob's B Team.
  9. wattacetti

    Battered Halibut

    Anyway, I don't oil-fry fish, but I suspect that a beer batter would be acceptable for this purpose (others will probably chime in with receipes and such). Deep frying would work best if you are attempting to replicate a fish and chip shop, though the "special flavor" might not come through given that you're using clean oil. Halibut has bones if you buy halibut steaks. If you buy filet pieces, it's boneless. Best bet would be to talk to your fishmonger and describe to him/her what you want to do with it.
  10. I dare any HR person out there to use this in an interview.
  11. wattacetti

    New Zealand Wines

    Shoot. This serves me right for not checking diligently on threads I create. I forwarded Carswell's information along to the travelers before they left, but chances are slim that they'll want to check mail while vacationing. Well, maybe I'll get lucky. Thank you Helen and Carswell for the additional information.
  12. How much depends on how far along you want your omakase experience to go plus whatever you want to drink with your meal. Budget as you would for Lumière or de Canck's La Chronique, more if you want to have more than the 9 items (+ dessert) that I did. Better photos of previous Tojo's omakase creations are of course available on www.tojos.com.
  13. Lesley wrote about Joe Beef a couple of weeks ago, so I'm presuming that it's just opened. When I read her blurb, I couldn't help but think that McMillan's channeling John Burton Race but I am interested in someone's (anyone's) preliminary impressions of this new kid on the block.
  14. Could be corn starch (my original thought), but then I started wondering about arrowroot, potato and rice as thickeners. I'm wondering if it's not something like a glace made with chicken and thickened further with a starch. I did ask what it was, and the answer I received was "secret sauce".
  15. I couldn't place the sauce. There was a slight fish and chicken undertone to it, but I spent most of the time trying to figure out how it was thickened (rice starch?). The halibut itself is coated in rice crackers. The Golden Roll is raw prawn, scallop and squid wrapped in a thin egg sheet (uniformly yellow, no brown bits) and topped with tobiko. A variant of it (crab, salmon, scallop, prawns) is available on Tojo's standard menu. Must stop drooling now.
  16. My Granville Island adventure is now over and I typed this post on the return flight as an attempt to beat down the nausea from the turbulence and the odors of Air Canada’s extra-special chicken cacciatore (mmm…). I managed to get another whack at cooking for my friends since we couldn’t really decide where to go for dinner on my last night in Vancouver. They had additional invitees so it was back to Granville Island to scope out more food for a service for 7. Purchases Armando’s: magret de canard Long Liner: halibut cheeks and spot prawns Organic Connection: shiitake and ginger South China Seas: shiso, lemon grass, golden chanterelles and radish sprouts Sunlight Farms: cucumber, parsnips and broccolini Stock Market: chicken stock and demi-glace I spotted some really nice octopus but I wasn’t sure if they were seriously into tentacles and I didn’t think they wanted to see me taking a rolling pin to it to make it tender. [Aside: what gives with the exorbitant pricing in BC for duck? The magrets were almost double what I’d normally pay in Montreal] Wines for the night came from Village VQA again and consisted of an unoaked Chardonnay from Crowsnest Vineyards and a Jackson-Triggs Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Merlot. The Chardonnay was a nice balanced white with soft fruit and caramel tones while the latter (opened to breathe for nearly 12 hours and decanted for service) was all blackberry, earth and tobacco. Rillettes de canard I cheated here: the rillettes are a product of Canard Goulu and was brought over during this trip. I served it with toasted multigrain bread and radish sprouts. Chilled cucumber soup I originally wanted to make this with some horned melons (wow! an ingredient that also serves as a bowl!) that I spotted at the market but the melons turned out to be quite past their prime (squishy is not good). I took a blender to peeled and seeded cucumbers, chicken stock, a Royal Gala apple, a white onion, ginger, lime; sugar, salt and black pepper. Plain rice bowls of the resulting mash were topped with sautéed spot prawns and shiso chiffonade. Halibut cheeks with sautéed mushroom Stole this idea from my dinner at Tojo's though it’s obvious that my name isn’t Tojo Hidekazu and that my variant needs considerable tuning. Halibut was dusted with a bit of cornstarch and panfried, while the chanterelles and shiitake were finished off with demi-glace. I have no idea what the clear stock used in Tojo’s dish is made with so I elected to go with a chicken stock flavored with lemon grass. Big mistake. 1. Stock Market’s chicken stock isn’t clear, so I had an opaque sauce. 2. The stock has flavor but very little protein so it doesn’t thicken at all when reduced (1 litre reduced to 150 mL); adding a thickener didn’t help the final product. No one made awful gurgly choking sounds but I chalk that up to wine and hunger. This one was a learning experience that I’m probably not going to try again in public without a whole lot of practice. Magret de canard By this point, I ran out of white plates and lost an eater to the wine. Straightforward preparation: magrets were rendered under very low heat for about 15 minutes, finished and tented. Parsnips and new potatoes were boiled and mashed with heavy cream and ground mace, and the broccolini was sautéed. The lacque was made from 500 mL demi-glace, 1 glass of the J-T Merlot, ginger root, blackberries, black currant jelly and pepper. I didn’t bother with dessert because there was cake and I was getting tired. All in all, I didn’t poison anyone, it was fun to work in a newly renovated kitchen, and I had a nice time with my friends. If I had to do it again, I’d bring more knives, an immersion blender, some ring molds and my own stocks and demi-glace. I would also set up to properly photograph. I ate peaches (they were great) but I never did get a chance to use any. I do thank all of you for your great tips and suggestions.
  17. Okay - silverbrite (I knew that there was a possibility of misspelling). I chose it because I wasn't in the mood for moo and I had previously tried every single fish that was available on the menu that night. Silverbrite was the only the only different thing. Now that I know that silverbrite = chum, I can say that I chose it because I had never had chum salmon that didn't come out of a can. But seriously, it was quite overcooked. Yes. but I still don't agree with her oyster preferences.
  18. Ah - so that's what it was. It's a great variety, but I'm going to heed Zucchini Mama's words of advice if I ever get another chance to use them. They tasted even better than they smelled - just a great product. Apart from the concassé, I only managed to save a slice for myself (the others kept eating them). 3M Nexcare bandages helped quite a bit and the elevator's still broken. Hopefully will have full function back over the next week.
  19. After three days Vancouver dining highlighted by the Feenie’s crab maki happy face, A&W (my Teen Burger was nicely assembled and complemented the diet root beer ) and the delights of the Vancouver General Hospital cafeteria, it was time to turn things around. Lumière – gun-shy after Feenie’s. West – full. Tojo’s – space available for omakase. Woo! Once I finished my afternoon of watching little plastic pots be filled, I parked my POS rental Impala at the Holiday Inn and headed up to the second floor. I had never eaten there before because Tojo’s was either fully booked or closed during previous trips to YVR. However, it’s definitely the experience. Loud boisterous greeting reminiscent of the noodle bar scene from Tampopo. I was very cordially (and formally) welcomed by the maitresse d’hotel and brought to sit at the middle of the sushi bar. Tojo Hidekazu is very friendly but I thought it was interesting he still has to tell clientele that everything is made at the premises and without MSG. Made me wonder what kind of troglodytes would be sitting beside me during the evening, but I put that aside and settled in. Marinated tuna sashimi. Organic shiitake mushroom with scallop. Smoked sablefish en papillote. Chuutoro nigiri (2 pieces). Golden Roll (3 pieces). Unagi suinomono (I kick myself for taking a blurred photo). Hamachi and tai nigiri. Halibut cheek and chanterelles. A "palate cleanser". Certainly the best two hours I've ever spent in YVR - you Vancouverites are lucky that he's so accessible to you.
  20. The buffalo you can get from Armando's is wet-aged for a bit longer than the buffalo I can find at say, the Atwater Market. I found it very lean and quite tender, but it had a much milder in flavor than I anticipated.
  21. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2005

    Cooked dinner for some friends (thread here): bison striploin with sautéed chanterelle and shiitake.
  22. The cooking adventure is now over. I'm pretty sure my friends liked it (no one going "argh!" and falling over while eating) but it was more convoluted than I thought. Tuesday 30-Aug-2005 The trip started poorly as I wound up having to pop the elevator doors after being stuck in the building elevator for the better part of 40 minutes. Cut my hand fairly badly so that was the end to anything fancy (and no knife tricks) since the bandages make movement limited. After wrapping my hand, I packed the blades and started thinking about potential menus. Since I still didn't quite know what to expect at Granville island, I planned two potential menus: a scallop starter followed by magret, or prawns followed by a carpetbagger onglet. Dessert would be a pan-roasted pineapple. The bandaged hand let me get on the plane as one of those people requiring "additional time to board" (I miss SuperElite status) and I arrived in YVR to rain(!). Left out the umbrella since Air Canada's cracking down on luggage weight restrictions but the blades made it through the checked luggage experience without incident. After AC's mystery sausage bit and mushroom omelette breakfast and having to drive behind a bus with Rob Feenie's face plastered on its rear, I decided that Feenie's was an idea for dinner. Loud, but no issues getting my table much to the chagrin of the hipster walkups. Decided on Rob's Iron Chef crab rolls and the magret, and went with a bottle of Kettle Valley Gewurtztraminer. The Gewurtz was pretty good - nice lychee and apple bouquet with a fairly long finish. Crab rolls… apart from a nondescript taste, Feenie's kitchen brigade needs to work on its presentation (perhaps by reading this thread): it's pretty hard to eat when the plate looks up at me. The magret was topped with radish sprouts and served on a bed of overly-salty jicama and water chestnuts with a duck sauce reduction; the little bits in the sauce are chopped nuts and it was topped off with radish sprouts. Made me think of a fancified Chinatown roast duck and or the attempt at French cooking at one restaurant I ate at in Taipei. Miss #2. Had the caramel ice cream with fleur de sel for dessert. Nice caramel flavor, but I would have liked a grainier salt to go with it: perhaps the pink Himalayan one or the black salt from Hawaii for a color contrast. Wednesday 31-Aug-2005 Cooking day didn't go. The person I was working insisted on a dinner meeting so I postponed my cooking plans and wound up at Joe Fortes. Eh. Service by our waitress "Amy" was very good, as were the oysters but the room was loud, the wines overpriced, and my silverspring salmon significantly overcooked. I kept thinking I was in Vancouver's version of La Queue de Cheval, only with manageable portions and West Coast types replacing the gangsters. Thursday 01-Sep-2005 Good thing! Got a chance to actually browse the truck farmers' market. Bad thing! The morning's activities didn't finish fast enough so I wound up arriving mid-afternoon when most farmers had already packed up. Managed to snag some Walla Walla onions, heirloom tomatoes, yellow zucchini, cucumbers and a "tiger melon" (?) from a very pleasant woman (hers is the tent in the photo) before heading into the Public Market. Figured onions, tomato and zucchini for my mains, cucumbers and melon for a cold soup. I had this eerie "Iron Chef" moment where I didn't know what my ingredient(s) would be once I entered the market: no fresh scallops (I could see the ice on what was available), no fresh colossal shrimp, no onglet, underripe pineapple. Took well over an hour of walk-through before I could settle on a new menu. Purchases Armando's: buffalo striploin Lobster Man: cherrystone clams Long Liner: halibut cheeks Organic Connection: peppercress, shiitake and kale Oyama: manchego South China Seas: golden chanterellles and jicama Stock Market: demi-glace Unknown vendor: blackberries [tirade] The BC LCB should hang its corporate head in shame for its inability to carry more than a handful of BC wines. [/tirade] I was advised to go to Village VQA Wines, which is quite the find for me since it means less scouring on future trips. Settled on Gehringer Bros. 2002 Dry Riesling and 2003 Optimum Pinot Noir as my picks. Kitchen environment. Had access to a 5-burner Jenn-Air cooktop and a Weber Genesis grill connected directly to a natural gas line. Pots, pans, their well-maintained knives etc. all available though my friends couldn't fine their lemon reamer or a sieve (go figure). Unpacking: knives are at the ready. Shiitake in the bag on the right, zucchini on the left. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the heirloom but they smelled great. Starter: grilled clams with a jicama and tomato salsa. I was underwhelmed with the effort. The salsa was okay (everything cut into brunoise and tossed with lime juice, lemon zest and pepper) but I had some difficulty with the clams and lost much of the clam liquor (that and having discovered a dead one after cooking - ). Starter 2: sautéed halibut cheeks on a jicama and peppercress salad. Nothing fancy: julienned jicama, slivered Walla Walla onions and julienned lemon zest were tossed with a vinaigrette made of sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice and rice vinegar. Halibut cheeks were rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper before cooking. Plat principal: grilled buffalo striploin sauced with a blackberry reduction served with sautéed chanterelle and shiitake, crisped kale. The Stock Market demi-glace was thinner than I expected but it tasted pretty good; I mixed this with an equivalent volume of Pinot Noir, a handful of blackberries, honey and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to make my sauce. No sieve so there were still blackberry seeds in the sauce. Dessert: nothing fancy - the melon, blackberries and the manchego. By this time, I ran out of white plates. Question: what exactly is this melon? It has an intense melon smell, firm silky white flesh and tastes of apple and honeydew. The woman I bought it from said it was a "tiger melon" but this is the first time I've seen one.
  23. wattacetti

    New Zealand Wines

    Brancott I have very access to, but thank you for the suggestion. I'm really hoping to find something from the more obscure New Zealand producers that may have little to no exposure outside of the immediate region.
  24. My event will go on Wednesday so it looks like I'll miss out on the Thursday market event (next time). I've heard of Moonstruck cheese, so I'll look out for that one. However, everyone's suggestion has been great.
  25. Thanks for the reply! Buffalo sounds good for the onglet (well, buffalo in general). I'm shying away from the hot-smoked salmon since I'm there to show what I can do, but that does sound like a nice snack for me. Ditto the blueberry honey, so I better save some space in the carry-on. I'm really looking forward to this shopping opportunity.
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