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Everything posted by Chocoholic

  1. Let's see...there is a new place in Granville Island called Edible Canada at the Market, just outside the market next to the parking structure. It has a good patio and an interesting kids menu, great duck-fat fries, etc. This would be a good eating option after a visit to the waterpark. The Little Nest is a good kids/family oriented place, on the Drive. There is a playground closeby so that would work. The Rocky Mountain Flatbread company has kid's pizza making that is always a hit. Not near anything park/attraction like though, 1st and Burrard. There are other locations though. Lastly there is the Jericho Sailing club restaurant, the Galley. Nice patio, right off the beach and very kid-friendly menu. Good luck, hope you find some good places!
  2. I'll be there next weekend and will be checking out the spots mentioned here. Any good brunch places for Father's day? Something nice and fancy will work
  3. I'm taking the wife to SF for a weekend on her 40th birthday in October. Two evenings for dining, one will be spent at her favorite which is The Slanted Door, the other is still open. We love contemporary Japanese / West Coast so Ame looks like a good one. Budget isn't an issue, just a good place, nice room, good service and of course great food. We'll be staying at the Fairmont and can taxi it to anywhere in the city within reason. We are from Vancouver Canada btw. So given the above, if you had one evening for a meal in SF...where would you go?
  4. re cocktails, George is not that bad re scene-y-ness, especially early on weeknights. Another unassuming but quite good place I like for cocktails and some good desserts as well is Diva in the Metropolitan Hotel on Howe street. They do some innovative cocktails in a relaxed, quiet lounge in front of their dining room. Unless you are hell bent on the Chinese, I would avoid Richmond. Lots of traveling time and not much in return. Perhaps try something different like Wild Rice. Not classic Chinese but a nice modern lounge style Chinese inspired restaurant. If dining takes priority over skiing I suggest a local mountain. They are very weather dependent but if you get a good snow day, Cypress can be spectacular. And it takes 30 mins to get up there from Vancouver. But for the world-class skiing experience Whistler is a must, crappy under-construction highway and all.
  5. I have been going to FoF for years now, it seems to go back and forth between the UBC farm and Vista D'Oro. Location wise Vista D'Oro beats UBC but UBC is way more convenient to get to. Given the perfect weather and ample food offerings I enjoyed it as usual. I second the Rare and Chambar offerings, pulled pork aways wins in my book! My 4 year old loved the balsamic injected cherry tomatoes from Aurora though. We got there at 1:20pm at which point it was still fairly quiet with few lineups, good for getting some of the prime tastings. Feenie was offering his salmon in the beginning but later had some very good Proscuitto he was handing out. My son got into things and proclaimed he wanted to be a chef when he grew up, something he repeated to Feenie which generated some smiles. After spending 20 minutes last time in line for Gelato with a cranky 2 year old I went there first to get him his fix which was good since they ran out about halfway through the event. The longest line up was to be found at Pair Bistro who offered baked Oysters with corn on the cob, the cactus club smoked salmon with Sushi rice in a soy bean curd pocket were great and I liked the sandwiches at Terra Breads. I couldn't resist the year's worth of chocolate from Chocolate Arts offered at the silent auction so I swooped in at the end of the auction and scored a winning bid. I now have 12 vouchers, each good for a treat from Chocolate Arts every month for the next year. Can't wait for October for my pumpkin truffles and chocolate pumpkin Not many people seem to bring their kids. That's too bad since our son had a fabulous time rolling around in the grass under the sun while being fed all sorts of goodies.
  6. Read Kitchen Con, it will all make sense. I read restaurant reviews for their entertainment value, not to decide if I am going to eat somewhere or not. I will be my own judge. I have eaten at Metro twice now and will most certainly be back.
  7. I had dinner at Metro about two weeks ago with my wife Connie. I concur with all that was said above in terms of great quality room, food and service. What we liked a lot was the menu card, it is ingeniously folded. Every time you open another flap you discover another list of items. We will return tomorrow evening with friends to try some more dishes...looking forward to it.
  8. I just went over there and got the 'bacon bits' bar, it was the most unusual one I could find. It was very good, dark chocolate, hazelnut mousse and crunchy caramelized pieces of crackling. Not the bacon flavor I imagined but sweet and crunchy. I also had one of their tequila filled cones, bite off the top, shoot the booze and eat the chocolate. Brilliant! Walking distance from my house....yet another temptation added to the list....
  9. Fuel is great food and service wise but if your idea of a romantic dinner includes mood lighting, Fuel's bright lighting may not work for you. I second Rare, the food and atmosphere in there are perfect. Plus you get a personalised menu when you book, they must print menus every day and include names of guests on them. Very nice touch. Depending on the special-ness of the occasion I will let the restaurant know. Good places will go the extra mile to make things perfect.
  10. I take my toddler to Thomas Haas instead. He knows Thomas now as the man who makes chocolate. A visit to Thomas' shop is a great way to wrap up a north shore visit, some hot chocolate and a chocolate lollipop to take home are better ways to spend $16 if you ask me!
  11. I finally made it out to Fuel last night with two friends. Even though I booked for two and Tim said earlier a third person woud be hard to accomodate (the place was packed at 8:45pm) my friend decided to bring a third anyway. Not my choice but it was handled gracefully at the front and less than 10 minutes later we were seated. We decided to go for the 6 course menu with wine pairings. After our likes and dislikes were communicated to the server dinner got off to a good start with some warm bread, butter and flaky salt on a small slab of black marble (or granite, we argued about that one ) We had pumpkin soup with toasted sunflower seeds and a scallop, a romaine salad with a poached egg and tiny potato cubes, some lemon risotto with smoked tuna (very nice touch with some tuna almost cooked by the heat of the risotto, some raw on the edge of the bowl), lovely trout with hazelnut butter and thin sliced beets and potatoes, a very simple but effective dish of spinach and braised beef shin was our last course before dessert of a bruleed apple cake with apple puree and frothed apple juice on the side. I think the food isn't overly adventurous in terms of ingredients, all very familiar things on the plate but it was executed very well, all flavors coming together nicely, the risotto well cooked, the beef shin meltingly tender, the dessert sweet but not overly so. The wine pairings were especially well done, all white (Pinot Gris, two types of Gewurtz and a Chardonnay) except for a Malbec with the beef and some Tawny with the apple cake. The service is an interesting mix of the quiet and reserved (the petite French accented waitress) to the boisterous (the tall bald guy who used to work at Glowbal) which works since given the loud nature of the minimalist room, it is not a place for a quiet romantic meal. I love the open kitchen at the front of the restaurant, people walking by on 4th can see the cooks plating dishes by the windows. The only thing that I think could change things for the better would be to tone down the lighting a bit, the combination of spot lights, over the table lights and a chandelier in the middle of the room makes the place very bright. Especially at 11pm when the place starts to quiet down it became very apparent. Other than that I felt my $170 for 6 courses, wines, tax and tip were well spent.
  12. We returned yesterday from what turned out to be a wonderful stay in SF over Christmas. The weather was extremely cooperative so we did a lot of walking (including some serious uphills!) and saw a lot of the city. Some of the highlights: Visiting the Ferry Building, certainly a foodie paradise. Recchuiti chocolates were fantastic and the lunch we had at Slanted Door was great. On the way back we found the Sur La Table in Maiden Lane where I scored a Chef's Choice electric knife sharpener. Hard to get in Canada and a lot more expensive so I splurged. My knives are now razor sharp again After checking into babysitting services and concluding that the total bill would come to well over a hundred dollars for a few hours we changed our dinner plans. We decided to take our little one along instead, after some research and advice decided to go to One Market. Great choice, the place is big and boisterous enough that a 3 year old blends right in but the food was of great quality. I still remember the starter I had, an 'egg and bacon' salad with a poached egg and the best pork belly I have ever had. The cocoa-rubbed duck breast was also delectable. On the 24th we expored the Golden Gate park / Haight area and ended up at Absinthe for a small bite and some drinks. I love that place, I wish we had something like it in Vancouver! At the end of the day we nipped back to the Ferry Building to get some supplies for Christmas day since we planned a leisurely morning in our room with some improvised breakfast (which was good with a loaf of bread, some quality cheese, salami and jam) and opening some of the presents we brought along. We had dinner at the Grand Cafe, a restaurant next the hotel we were staying in (hotel Monaco, very nice place). It was good, not anything spectacular, the beef stew I had was tasty enough. Christmas dinner was held at the Grand Hyatt, on the top floor restaurant. The food was what can be expected from a buffet but some of the dishes were quite good and I enjoyed my carved slab of prime rib. My son loved it as well, being able to pick his own food and the trip to the dessert table was eagerly awaited. The tourist factor of watching the day fade over the city and the myriad of lights unfold below you is something special as well. On our last day we decided to follow the Chestnut Street advice and headed out there, a slight miscalculation in cable cars meant we had to slog it up the hill, which when pushing a 35 pound toddler in a stroller becomes quite the workout! We were rewarded with a lovely neighbourhood to stroll around and found a great place for lunch called The Dragon Well on Chestnut street. Great Asian themed food, a big steaming bowl of wonton soup, some tea smoked duck breast and potstickers certainly hit the spot after all the walking we did. It was a great way to spend Christmas, thanks again for the help, I had the printout of this thread handy during our travels through the city. We intend to repeat the experience some time next year in the summer.
  13. Thanks for the replies everyone, great information. We plan to make this a eating/shopping/relaxing trip and this helps a lot. And yes, I will be going on a chocolate hunt
  14. We (wife, 3 year old son and myself) decided to do something different this year for Christmas and will be spending it in San Francisco, December 22-26. We will be staying in Hotel Monaco, which is close to Union Square. One evening we will get a babysitter and go out for dinner (this will be the evening of the 22nd or 23rd), I have been looking for a good place for that. The 'best of SF' threads all seem to be quite old (the most recent post I could find was from April this year) so I wonder if I can get some fresh info. So far 'Ame' looks good and 'Zuni Cafe' seems to be a favorite. We are looking for something upscale and interesting that represents SF food. For those familiar with the Vancouver restaurant scene, something like 'West' or 'C'. In addition, I am looking for good kitchen/gourmet food stores for the inevitable shopping we will be doing while we are there. Anything in the downtown / walking distance area (we don't mind long walks) would be great.
  15. Robert, Try Wild Sweets, they have some very interesting chocolates you can order on-line.
  16. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this event and it was surely an evening to remember. The food was wonderful, for me the pumpkin ravoili, the duck soup and tenderloin were favorites and the wine pairings were spot on. My little group of friends did well in the auctions, the BBQ for 20, the wine tasting for 20 and the whistler ski trip all went to my friends. I won the bottle I had my eye on all evening, a 1991 Sumac Ridge Steller's Jay Cuvee. This is a very happy addition to my modest collection. Most of all though, the people who organised this event and the countless volunteers deserve the kudos, they did all the hard work and showed how the Vancouver culinary community has a very warm and caring heart. Thanks! Stefan
  17. Through a very fortunate set of circumstances I ended up eating at West twice in a row this week. Wednesday I went with a friend for our monthly dinner out, he had never been to West and we felt like splurging. The West tasting menu was sublime, light and refreshing, perfect for a late summer evening. Then the next day a last minute business dinner was arranged at West, I felt very lucky indeed, walking through that door again. Everyone had the tasting menu, since I had it the night before I was going to ask for something a la carte however the waitress informed me I could get a different tasting menu, courtesy of the chef. I ended up getting 7 completely different dishes, improvised by the kitchen. Needless to say I was blown away, the food was superb and the dishes imaginative and meticulous. Still my absolute favorite!
  18. I just remembered we had some great times on the patio of the Beach House in North Vancouver with a couple of small children. They gave us some simple pieces of salmon and rice for the kids upon request as well. Plus the enclosed patio is a good toddler roaming arena. Nice spot for a late lunch after some North Shore activities. The Sequoia Grill in Stanley Park was also the location of a successful lunch with the kids not too long ago.
  19. My wife and I are avid foodies and restaurant eaters and my son Kai has been coming with us to restaurants on a very regular basis. When he was really young we timed it with sleeping and he would be snoring in his stroller while we ate well, I still remember him parked at a table next to us at West and getting nothing but positive interest. Now he is almost three and I regularly take him to places like Earls (they said no to you? Strange), Memphis Blues, Sushi restaurants, Indian restaurants, Thai, etc. Anything that isn't overly formal will work and at lunchtime anything goes. I guess it really depends on the parent/child, since he has been going for most of his life and knows what to expect and how to behave, 95% of the time it goes without incident. In fact he is usually better behaved and a lot more quiet than the big tables for the stag/birthday/etc parties. We will be well prepared with strategic deployment of noiseless toys like crayons and books to keep him occupied between courses. One thing, I usually leave a bigger tip since even when he is on his best behaviour he still makes a big mess and I know the staff will need to spend extra effort cleaning the table for the next seating. Daniel, I understand your post but I think it only narrowly applies. If I go for a special occasion dinner with my wife to a place like C or West on an evening where we got a sitter and a toddler at the table next to us is throwing tantrums I would not be pleased and give them the number of our very nice babysitter on the way out. But kids have to eat too and Kai very much enjoys his restaurant outings and I will risk the very occasional bad behaviour and inconvenience of my fellow diners for that. PS both my wife and I have European families and anyone who has spent time there, especially in the Mediterranean countries will understand this. My sister lives in Spain and it is not unusual to have little ones running around patios at 10pm.
  20. Oyama sausage in Granville Island sells good weisswurst and I have also seen curry ketchup there. The ketchup may be the Dutch vareity in a tall red bottle with a yellow cap. In Holland, fries and sausage with curry ketchup are also very popular. Usually the first thing I eat when I visit the family!
  21. I went there last night with some friends to check the place out. The room is very impressive, a cavernous space with Arabic style chandeliers, long banners and alcoves full of candles. While waiting for our table we spent some time debating how they light these candles every night since some of them are a good 8-10 feet off the ground. The big open space also means it is loud and boisterous, definitely not the spot for a quiet romantic dinner but more for a group's night out, especially given the type of menu they offer. Everything comes in trios of little dishes on wooden planks. The menu offers themes, 'beef', 'scallop', 'lamb', etc. For example, order the beef and you will get a braised short rib on lentils, a daikon salad with small strips of tenderloin and two ravioli filled with minced beef in a cream sauce. There were four of us so we ordered six items, resulting in 18 dishes being offered up. This resulted in a table that was jammed with food and people busy reaching and spilling food all over the place. They definitely have to find the pacing for this, after a fairly long wait without much at all we suddenly found our table overflowing with food. The food was good though, the plates interesting and with lots of different flavours and combinations. The eastern/oriental theme of the room isn't really reflected in the food, it was more a tour of modern west-coast/Asian with some mediterranean bits thrown into the mix. Desserts come in the same trio fashion, I liked the baked yoghurt with cardamom, the merengue and passionfruit rice/chocolate sushi roll. The bar serves suitably eclectic Martinis, I didn't spend a lot of time looking at the wine list but it has some serious champagne on it. No doubt the owner of the $350,000 Ferrari parked in front was sipping on one of those. That brings me to the crowd, maybe it is the Yaletown pedigree (the owners also run Glowbal and Coast) but the place was filled with expensive looking people wanting to be seen, plenty of cosmetic surgery and g-strings were on display. The bouncers/greeters in front of the door fit right in with the burly nature of the lower Granville area the place is located in, between Helmcken and Nelson. Worth a visit, on a boys or girls night out where a party atmosphere and a steady flow of alcoholic beverages are imporant!
  22. For a different perspective, I avoid eating out altogether during DOV. The crowds, reservation hassles, limited menus, fixed seating times, etc. don't do it for me. I'm not trying to be snobby here, I guess I am a different kind of customer, more limited by availability (busy job + kid = no life) than budget or other considerations. I will resume my restaurant visits after DOV so there is no love lost. My usual dining partners are of the same conviction. I understand the appeal of it, but there are people out there that don't care about DOV one way or the other.
  23. I am more or less abusing this thread to make a quick post after a long absence. A major promotion at work means I have no time left for idle browsing and posting, I barely have time to lurk. The new job however means a lot more eating out for work . Memorable meals in the last little while include offerings from Cru, Shiru Bay and Savoury Coast. I am now on Christmas break and am about to put the turkey in a brine for tomorrow...have a good one! PS I went to Granville Island this morning at 9am sharp...what a madhouse!
  24. Well I was going to pipe up and quote myself for a bit but Andrew beat me to it, many posts up. That night was about 2 weeks ago now and I was joined by some executive style people who are let's say well off, well traveled and very well dined across the globe. I took them to Diva and like I said, the food was top notch. No complaints from either of them, in fact they were happily putting away the food and drinking the wine. I will definitely repeat the experience any time. Diva still does it for me.
  25. Phew, just cooked and ate a quick pasta dinner while preparing for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast. The applie pie is baked (the house smells amazing) and the turkey is sitting outside in a cooler, brining away. Anyway, last week I went to Diva at the Met for a work dinner. I hadn't been there in quite a while, it used to be one of my regular places. We were happily surprised to see a $75 6-course tasting menu as a special for the evening. It came with a $35 wine pairing as well. We went for it and I have to say it probably was one of the best value for money menus I have had in quite a while. Now $110 for dinner and wine isn't cheap but considering the quality of the food and the wine we got that night, I think it was a steal. I am glad to see good old Diva still delivers the goods. Monday was the Beach House waiterblog dinner. There is a separate thread dedicated to that. It was great! On Tuesday I was wandering around the neighborhood with Chocoholic Jr., wondering what to eat. We passed Red Pepper, that 'modern Thai dining' place that was under construction for many months on Broadway and Hemlock. It then opened and prompty got rammed by a car and is still half boarded up. I guess luck isn't on the owner's side here. I decided to pop in and have a curry. The coconut milk chicken soup was good, pretty traditional Thai and quite tasty. Jr. took one sip and decided he didn't like it though. Next up was the Massaman vegetable curry with tofu and brown rice. Jr. really liked this one and happily munched away on the various veggies and rice drenched with the curry sauce. It was pretty decent, flavorful curry and a good variety of vegetables that were crispy and not cooked to a mush like some veggie curries I have had before. The place was deserted however and there was only one person manning the house. I have a feeling that this place will not be around for very long. Too bad, the room is nicely decorated and the menu has a few interesting items on it. It isn't 'modern' enough to fully separate it from the Thai staple however, a Wild Rice approach to Thai food would probably fare better in this city. Work is madly busy these days, leaving little time to cook. Much take out food is consumed in the Chocoholic household, Rangoli being a staple and today's lunch was courtesy of Picnic which always suits me since they have lovely chocolatey sweet things behind the counter to much on during the walk home. Now excuse me while I mentally prepare for tomorrow's cooking marathon and subsequent turkey devouring excercise...
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