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Everything posted by Ducky

  1. Old Asia Hand here. Geckos love toasters - where they get to eat the crumbs. Always check the inside of your toaster before using. I inadvertently roasted many geckos over the years.
  2. Should we be able to get to hotels in the village alright? ← My advice would be to take daddy's SUV.
  3. Yes, the highway has been cleared, but it is still snowing very heavily here - and it looks like its staying. We are completely snowed in at our place. Spare a thought for the poor girls who are wearing nothing but bodypaint to the Bearfoot Bistro tomorrow!
  4. If you are coming up for this, make sure you have snow tires and/or chains. We are completely snowed in this morning, and the snow is supposed to continue for the next five days.
  5. PS: The new thing is live baby octopus. Trust me on this. I read it right here.
  6. I take that back. There is Jonathan Manthorpe. Worth the price of a subscription right there.
  7. Once you realize that the Sun does everything badly, I think you'll find the food section won't annoy you quite as much.
  8. Very spooky Blissful Glutton! Not only did you hit the same places I would have on a short visit, but you had the same comments about them. Or...wait...is that you Dolores?
  9. Yes it was a ridiculous explanation of mine. You are quite right to point this out. And I am happy to let sleeping dogs lie on this issue. I have made a note to never again post here when I have been seriously into the cups. There is though, this "sacred cow" syndrome in the Vancouver food scene that I take some issue with. I appreciate the role that "C" plays in this scene. C is important. C is cool. We all worship at the temple of C. etc etc. And "C" is of course just one example. But when you actually go to "C" (three times in a row in our case ) and leave each time feeling hungry, and then when you get the bill, feeling like you have just been worked over by "the gimp" -- something is wrong. And my point is simple. We may quibble about the food and the presentation - but if you are not even well fed after $120 per person - something has gone adrift. Something fundamental. Call me old-fashioned.
  10. The relevance of the Boudrain wittiscism is that surely the principal point of any meal out is to have one's appetite slaked. Just like the principal point of any sex is to have one's desires satisfied. That is not to say you cannot dress things up with whistles and bells, and snorkels and flippers. But all the whistles and bells in the world will not compensate for an appetite that is unsatisfied. Just like all the snorkels and flippers will never really replace a seriously passionate bonk. So, when you get a restaurant that charges you hooker prices, at a very minimum you should have your appetite slaked. Surely! Can you really argue against this? So, to get back to Boudrain, I think the point was that after eating a number of finely presented and fussy and prissy little dishes, they concluded that the Chef didn't understand anything about the slaking of appetites ( ie. he hadn't been properly f___ed in his life). That is close to how we felt after our last dinner at C - although this sentiment may do a disservice to the owners of C. I hope this explanation helps.
  11. I applaud C for all of the reasons you mention although, it has to be said, the ability to "engage my mind" is not one of the criteria by which I generally choose a restaurant. That said, not only didn't I feel that my mind was unduly engaged at C, but, sadly, my jaw was decidedly underengaged. Undoubtedly this town should have a restaurant like C - creative presentations, tiny portions built around a fish theme. A place where dieters and bulimic fashion models can dine with confidence. But as I said, we all felt "had" after our recent meal there. It's almost like the owners asked themselves "how can I get these guys to pay the highest possible price for the absolute minimum of ingredients?" and then decided that a combination of "fussy presentation" and "clever plating" was the answer. There's a wonderful line in the introduction to Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook" where he describes, how unsatisfied he and his mates were after a meal in one of the best restaurants in the US, after many courses of lovely and cleverly presented food. On pondering this one of the company concluded that the chef cooked like he "had never been properly f___ed in his life." That could have been us after our evening at C.
  12. Yup. That is my point. And it is not just Sydney or Barcelona. It is virtually every town anywhere in the Med. You can have a fresh plate of Barbounia with lemon and garlic in any of a thousand (I do not think this is an exaggeration) in the Med., and it will be better tasting, and fresher and better value for money than just about anything we have ever had at C. I just had an e-mail from our friends (from Italy) with whom we dined at C a couple of days ago, and they thanked us copiously for a great visit - but also suggested that we should not take good friends to C in future. They thought it was completely out of line with what they had been led to expect. Indeed they brought with them a clipping from an Italian magazine that claimed C was the best seafood restaurant in Canada - and they just could not believe this. They went on to point out that in San Remo, where they live, C would be considered an eccentric anomaly that would not survive for more than a few months. Harsh words perhaps. But why can no one just do a decent plate of fish in this town - without tarting things up...stuffing things into timbales... stacking things into layers... rolling things into little rolls... or squaring things into little cubes etc? Is anyone really fooled by this? Our European friend don't get it and neither do we. Would love to hear something sensible in response from people who have spent $130.- upwards per person at C (with wine) and would contemplate going back there again. Anyone?
  13. We find it hit and miss. We took some out of town guests there again a couple of days ago. One persons raved about their meal - and four were underwhelmed or disappointed. For one thing this business of taking portion control to extremes seems to be increasingly creeping into C's menu items. As an example I had a foie gras mousse - which was spread flat on my plate, but if you scraped it into a mass it would be no bigger a single piece of penne. My sablefish appetizer - well the fish content was no bigger than my little finger. And I am not referring to the tasting menu. We are not big eaters - but when the entire party is left hungry after a three course meal - you feel like someone is taking the piss. The other point is the one made by wine and roses above. What is the point of this seemingly exclusive focus on methd? Art for arts sake? The triumph of culinary method over customer satisfaction? I made this point in another thread - but we have many visitors from Europe - and none can understand why Vancouver doesn't have a dozen seafood restaurants on the water, serving just fresh fish simply but expertly prepared. There seems to be no middle ground between the Cannery and C. Feast or famine.
  14. An old German proverb has it: "Der eine liebt die Tochter und der andere die Mutter" Translation: One loves the daughter, and the other the mother.
  15. I'm with Pao Pao on this. We went to see what all the fuss was about. And now we know. The food underwhelmed us in every respect. The concepts are interesting - but the execution is flawed. Our dishes all looked far better than they tasted. Our servers also all looked better than they served. In fact the whole place looked better than it actually was. Smoke and mirrors.
  16. Oh hell, this is another one of those places I had hoped to keep quiet. I guess the digital cameras and notebooks will be out in force on my next visit.
  17. Well I continue to use them when travelling in the US. They're reasonably reliable and the slim format works for me.
  18. Oh oh! We are also Mistral fans - but were hoping to keep this quiet!
  19. Must be a slow news day! I mean does anybody care? Portugal has upset England, and France has upset Brazil - and Canada has reduced GST by 1%. Wow!
  20. For Berlin I certainly second Rogacki and KaDeWe. These shouldn't be missed. KaDeWe has lost some of its market atmosphere - this is true - and is now more like a Fouchon in Paris, but it is still unique. Absolutely extraordinary selection of sausages and meats, cheeses, tinned goods etc. But even more fun in my view are the countless little stands where you can order up a small tapas-like plate of some speciality or other with a glass of champagne. A fine place to have a boozy and very eclectic meal in other words. Also at Ka De We they pack just about anything for travel as many of their customers are from the east in particular.
  21. I read the book last week and also enjoyed it very much. The portrayal of Batali is superb - I think - in all of its facets. Here is this self-invented Italian's Italian (almost a charlatan in this respect) who appears to be a brilliantly intuitive chef - but also a shameless self-promoter who is slavishly obsequious towards anyone that might further his career and reputation. What redeems the portrait is of course the man's undisputed prowress in the kitchen. The rest is packaged as a combination of the harmless eccentricity that often accompanies such genius and a healthy dose of good old American ambition. And who can find fault with this? You don't, after all, bite the hand that feeds you Heat is an excellent summer read. Just the thing for the beach or deck chair.
  22. The last time I was in Vietnam, I was thinking that the pho in Vancouver is better than a lot of the pho I ate in Vietnam. Pho in Vietnam seemed to be a quickie, thrown together breakfast meal. The quality of the beef here is much better. I have never made pho, but how complicated can it be? A good broth, some rice noodles and fresh herbs. Le Petit Saigon does kick ass though. And some of their non-pho is pretty fine too, like the curry beef and bahn mi. ← You are generally right about the Pho in Vietnam being of a lesser quality. That is because Pho is generally served as very, very inexpensive hawker food from street stalls. However as the Vietnamese economy develops it brings with it the development of a certain middle-class gourmandism - and this is certainly happening in Vietnam. There are now many restaurants throughout Vietnam catering to slightly more sophisticated palates - and of course many of these restaurants have taken traditional recipes (such as Phos) as their point of departure. I guess this is my wish for the Vietnamese restaurant scene in Vancouver - that someone would take it upmarket. Not the whole scene of course - but handful of restaurants where Vietnamese food is prepared at a higher level - with the freshest possible ingredients. (And ditto for the Greek places in this town.) There are many places like Indochine in Hong Kong and The Perfume River in London that are doing this with great success.
  23. Your sarcasm is completely unnecessary. However, I don't regret my original comments, since it induced a post that I found informative and entertaining. I haven't tried the pho at Petit Saigon but will make a point of checking it out. I would love to learn the name or approximate location of the "little white wooden house" you mentioned, if you happen to remember it. Cheers! ← Yes I apologize for that sarcasm. Always happens when I forget my meds. The little white house - I really don't know the name - even though I have eaten there 5 or 6 times at the insistence of a friend who keeps dragging me to her latest Pho discovery. But this one is very good. It's a funky little white clapboard house on the right side of Kingsway if you are driving from town to New West. My guess is that it is about half-way through Margaret Trudeau's favourite suburb. But if you drive this stretch - you really cannot miss it. Perhaps someone on this board will come up with the name.
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