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    Langley, B.C.
  1. My husband and I dined at Citronelle on Saturday night. I made the reservation two months ago because we knew we'd be in D.C., so I had been looking forward to this night out for a long time. Unfortunately, both my husband and I were disappointed with the meal and the service. We did very much enjoy our first course: I had the tuna napoleon and he had the foie gras. Both were excellent. We also loved the desserts (chocolate three-way, and pear and fig crumble). For the main course, I ordered the lamb rare--but it arrived medium to well-done. My husband's venison was served rare but the chestnut risotto was bland. The thing that upset me the most was that our server did not quality check our table after our mains were served (ie: "Is everything to your liking?" - at which time I would have pointed out that my lamb was overdone). It seemed like we were completely ignored at this point--our wine and water glasses sat empty and we refilled it ourselves. We both left food on our plates. I think our server tried to rectify the situation by giving my husband a generous pour of sauternes during our dessert course, but the evening had already been very disappointing for us. Maybe it was just an off night for them. Even so, we visit Washington DC every year in October on business, but we won't be dining at Citronelle again. Sorry.
  2. I'd love to have a KitchenAid mixer, gas stove and an oven big enough to bake baguettes. The KitchenAid mixer is coming soon. 'bout time.
  3. Oyster Guy, I'm so sorry for mentioning that. I posted that right after I arrived home from Whistler, and I was still so thrilled and over-enthusiastic about being able to attend the Cornucopia event, that I was too indiscrete by mentioning details here. Please accept my sincerest apologies. I hope you didn't get into any trouble because of it. It was, however, great to meet you and the kitchen crew.
  4. Agreed. I dined there on a visit to Kelowna last June--the service was excellent. Also exceptional service from Richard Toussaint and his staff at Bouchons (the corner of Water and Sunset Drive in Kelowna). The best service I had in Vancouver: Lumiere, Bishop's, The Fish House in Stanley Park. -Christine
  5. Umami My husband and I walked in the pouring rain without an umbrella from Robson all the way to Davie. By the time we got to Umami, we looked like a couple of drowned rats. Despite our disheveled appearance, Hiro was as gracious a host as ever. I shared four tapas plates with my husband: Dungeness crab and scallop spring rolls with an avocado grape salad and wasabi mayo dipping sauce; Maple and soy marinated sablefish with yam potato pancake; Foie gras with barbecued eel on a slow-roasted slice of daikon in a honey ginger dashi broth; and grilled lamb chops with rosemary. Everything was exquisitely prepared and perfectly cooked. We both had a glass of the Township 7 Merlot and the Wishing Tree Shiraz. For dessert we split a Japanese Tiramisu. Pho Number One. I went straight from the dentist to this little cafe on Denman Street because I needed a pho fix. Afterwards I went a few doors down to Cupcakes for dessert: a pink "Diva" cupcake. Le Gavroche for my birthday dinner. Strangely enough, it ended up being a veal-themed dinner for us. My husband had the veal sweetbreads for an appetizer, then the veal tongue and cheek for a main course. I had a couple of slices from a wild boar and pistachio terrine for an appetizer, and veal chop for my main course. We shared a bottle of Domaine Saint Gayan Gigondas (1998) with dinner. For dessert we each had the Crepe Suzette. -Christine
  6. Interesting to see a trend toward "nose to tail" cooking... I had my birthday dinner at Le Gavroche on Sunday night and my husband had the braised veal tongue and veal cheek dish (the meat was braised until very tender, and it was served with a demi sauce). ssherwood, let us know when your Fergus Henderson tribute dinner will be on. My husband and I would definitely be interested in trying more "nose to tail" cooking. -Christine
  7. When the weather gets cold and the skies are grey for days on end, I get cravings for soups, hearty stews, and spicy foods. Today I had some Indian food (we prepared a banquet of different curries, condiments, Chai tea, chappatis, samosas, and fragrant basmati rice at school). It made me realize that it's been far too long since my last visit to Vij's--it's on my list of must-do restaurant visits this winter. On a recent rainy Saturday I treated myself to a big bowl of Pho. During the winter months, whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant I usually order a bowl of udon or ramen soup instead of cold sunomono or soba noodles. My favourite place for ramen is Ezogiku Cafe on Robson right across from the Library. Another great wintertime favourite of mine is cassoulet--a one-pot wonder of beans, sausages, and duck confit. I'll probably go to Cafe de Paris sometime this month or in January just to have their cassoulet, (are there any other restaurants in the Lower Mainland that serve cassoulet??) or I might try and make my own at home instead. -Christine
  8. I've always made a reservation whenever I've wanted to go because it is a small-ish club. I think you can casually walk in without a reservation, depending on the night (Fri-Sat nights are busier obviously). It's a really nice, intimate club with great acoustics. I haven't been Katzenjammer, but thanks for the tip! I'll definitely check it out someday. I was in Steveston yesterday and bought 2 pounds of spot prawns right off the boat at the Fisherman's Wharf for 8 dollars. Yumminess. -Christine
  9. I like The Cellar jazz club on West Broadway. Great music and the food is pretty good too. My husband has been complaining lately that he can't find a decent veal schnitzel, goulash or spatzle anywhere. -Christine
  10. That's great news! Thanks for all your work on this, Malcolm. Here's a link to the Globe news story. -Christine
  11. During PMS time, I get cravings for super-salty foods, such as Miss Vickies Salt & Vinegar chips. I just finished eating half a bag's worth right now.
  12. I'm in Langley too (Brookswood area). My husband and I have been to Melange a couple of times. (19955 Fraser Hwy, 604-530-5228). They're in a building right across from the Burger King on Fraser Highway--I've seen a couple of restaurants die in that location over the years (when I first moved to Langley it was a Japanese/Korean restaurant, then a Mexican restaurant). The last time I was at Melange I had a Moroccan-style lamb roast with an apricot harissa relish and couscous ($18). It was quite good. For an appetizer I had the New Zealand mussels, which was disappointing because the tomato "broth" was more like a really thick tomato sauce that overpowered the mussels. The first time we went to Melange, my husband and I ordered some tapas (smoked salmon, lamb popsicles, tuna tartare, prawns & scallops in Pernod, with a baby greens salad) and a bottle of wine. Everything tasted great but the plates were overgarnished, which is a pet peeve of mine (chopped parsley all over the plate, trees of rosemary everywhere, which make the plate look messy, grrr.) But overall, their food is good and the prices are reasonable. Tonight we're going to our favourite neighbourhood restaurant, Hirame (in Brookswood on 200 Street beside the G&H supermarket). The sushi chef has 20 years experience and I've had some of the best tuna belly (toro) there. edited to add: Last weekend I had some dim sum at Flourishing Seafood Restaurant on Fraser Highway (downtown Langley). Although it doesn't have as many selections as some of the dim sum you can get in Vancouver or Richmond, it's still good and cheap enough to satisfy the dim sum craving I get sometimes. -Christine
  13. I just got back from Whistler. The other Dubrulle students and I had a fabulous time at Cornucopia. The only disappointment was that everything seemed to be so well-organized this year that we really didn't have that much to do. Thursday afternoon was spent working in the kitchen at the conference centre to help out with food prep for the House Party. We helped George from Memphis Blues by baking cornbread and cutting up all the meat: rib ends, pulled pork, beef brisket, sausages, and chicken. It was a lot of fun working for George, he's a really friendly and enthusiastic guy. We had enough food there to feed the 400 people who attended, but unfortunately the wine ran out quite quickly (I think they started to run out of wine after the first hour-and-a-half). I got to schmooze a bit while wearing my chef's whites (it's a great conversation opener because people would see the Dubrulle logo and ask me about the school). We were told to be well-rested before the CRUSH gala because several restaurants would be bringing food and we would be helping with the prep and/or assembly of hors d'oeuvres. Unfortunately for us, everybody was prepared well ahead of time and none of the restaurants needed any help. Our chef instructor said that last year's Cornucopia was really hectic; he thought maybe it was because last year all the restaurants that were bringing food were from Vancouver and needed to do a lot of prep on-site. Whereas this year it was all Whistler-based restaurants, and they would have completed all their prep in their own kitchens. But we did have a booth of our own and made some cheese and fruit platters and bread baskets. The chef at the conference centre kitchen did take notice of us, however, and seemed to be impressed because he asked our chef instructor if he could have some students come up to Whistler when he needs volunteers for big events. There were a lot of students who signed up for this volunteer opportunity to work in the conference centre kitchen in Whistler. So, needless to say, there were lots of students who were really upset that they couldn't go (because we're all looking to get more work experience). Shameless plug: If there are any chefs who need volunteers to work at any special events, just call the school, you'll have at least a dozen of us fighting each other for the opportunity to work in your kitchen for FREE. /end shameless plug On to the fun stuff: After the CRUSH gala, we helped the crew from the Bearfoot Bistro haul their food and equipment back to the restaurant. One of the guys said he would give us a tour of their kitchen. So we went in the back, up the stairs, and into the kitchen...and we got into the party! We had our street clothes with us and changed into them there. I think I've led a sheltered life, because I've never been to a party like that before. There was a woman covered in chocolate fondue sauce and you could dip and eat strawberries off of her. It was unbelievable. I had a fabulous time there. In fact, probably too good a time, because I didn't wake up in time to make it to the Recovery Room. I'd like to go again next year and take my husband along so we can go to some of the seminars, and the Bearfoot Bistro party. -Christine
  14. I'll be there along with five other Dubrulle students. We'll be helping out with food prep for the House Party on Thursday evening and also for the CRUSH gala on Friday night. Hopefully we'll get a chance to taste some wines after our work is done on Friday night. Leaving tomorrow morning. Should be an exhausting couple of days, but lots of fun and educational too. -christine
  15. I just got back from the event at Bar None. Mr. Bourdain stood on top of the bar and addressed the crowd: he thanked us for coming and said that he was only in Vancouver for 36 hours, but already he met a lot of the local chefs and enjoyed some excellent food at a special dinner the night before. He said that many of our chefs here in Vancouver seemed to be pierced and tattooed... A camera was following him around and I was sitting right across from him as he was interviewed briefly on camera (most of the questions were about his short trip to Vancouver, etc.) After the interview, I introduced myself to him, told him I was a student at Dubrulle, and shook his hand. A gracious, (very tall) man! It was a thrill to meet him. Looking forward to hearing about the "Big Night" event...! (woo! my first post here ) -christine
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