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Everything posted by BCinBC

  1. Nondual, do you have any Thai recommendations (in the area or not)? Maenam has been getting a lot of good "press," the official kind and the online kind. Having said that, there have been a small number of less-than-impressed opinions, yours is not the first. Again, I haven't been yet so I don't have an opinion - only high hopes.
  2. I haven't been yet myself, but you might want to check out Maenam, the newer, Thai-er incarnation of Gastropod. (Also on Opentable.) Chef Angus An worked under icon David Thompson and supposedly brings a lot of that to us in Vancouver. Coincidentally, Alex Gill reviewed Maenam in today's Globe .
  3. Thanks for the info. No, I'm not looking specifically for small plates. I was originally going to book Terroni, but they don't accept resos. JK was my second choice, but same deal. Though I now notice that JK at Gardiner does accept resos for Friday nights. Any thoughts on this outlet, and anywhere within walking distance to go for drinks afterwards? (They close at 8:30.)
  4. Hey folks, sorry for yet another Where To inquiry, but. Am looking for a place for tomorrow night, three sets of out of towners converging on Toronto. Probably in the vein of JK or Nyood, and closest to the Casa Loma neighborhood would be best. I would reserve at JK except for the fact that they don't take resos for dinner. Should I just stick with Nyood? Thanks. PS: Any thoughts on Kultura? These names sound immeasurably pretentious, which is kind of scaring me off. Otherwise the food looks good.
  5. BCinBC

    Home (Vancouver)

    Safe trip home (or home away from home), Peter. And don't worry, it never snows in Richmond.
  6. "Legacy participant." Don't worry, he's still on the internet, as is everyone else - just not here.
  7. That actually is one of the coolest things about Hunan spice, besides the endorphin rush, how it pretty much dissipates once the eating stops. My favourite dishes, besides the lamb and cumin, are the beef with pickled chilis and the house-cured pork belly with garlic bolts. Also, try it on the big heat next time, it will be even better!
  8. As investigated by fmed, the Xiang is still there, it has just undergone a reno and rebranded as Alvin's Garden. Phew.
  9. Hey, I went by the Xiang today to pick up some lunch, and they were all papered up. Was driving so I did not bother to stop, but does anyone know what's the what?
  10. Rare is currently closed, but I would sub in Parkside in a second. In fact Parkside should be on your first team, period. Aurora is west-coast-centric in ingredients and wine, which will probably prove interesting to you as you can contrast it to ON. Vij's is an institution, and although I hear we don't hold a candle to [just about anyone] for Indian food, think of this as a highly successful marriage of Indian and BC. Remember they don't take resos so you may want to keep this one for the least busy night that you are here. If you want to stay close to downtown, go to Kirin on Cambie and 12th instead of SSW for dim sum. Otherwise go to Richmond.
  11. I agree, high alcohol wines have a limited appeal to me. (I like alcohol just fine, don't get me wrong - but burning hot wine is generally not the way I like to administer it.) My take is that they are modeled after big sellers from the US (California), presumably in reaction to the market. Which is fine - there are still other, smaller BC producers that continue to make very good products at decent value that I can continue to support. And as you say, Spain always presents excellent options as well.
  12. BCinBC

    La Buca

    Caution: this is a cross-post with WF, so don’t blame me if you read this bloated crap twice! N and I were lucky enough to grab a reservation at La Buca for last night. We arrived just before 7, and right off the bat I had a star-spotting: one Mr Sean Heather and I believe his lovely wife (whom I've never met, so Sean please excuse me if this assumption if it is wrong). He kindly stopped by later to say hi, and had good things to say about his meal. The room. No offence to Henry, but the room is much nicer than what was there previously. You know how Parkside exudes an understated elegance, well La Buca is similar but kind of “understated casual.” Cream coloured walls with brown trim, and dark red curtains cutting accents through in a few spots. It is still a little shoeboxy, tightly packed with tables yet completely uncluttered. We got the end of the room table beside the FOH station / kitchen and it's separated from the others, but if you got seated at one of the tables on either long side, you might feel close-elbowed to your neighbor. However this is a necessity of the space, and the optimist would call it “cozy.” We were presented with “local” water (as opposed to sparkling, ha ha) and fennel bread sticks, to help while perusing the menu. For her starter, N ordered the buffalo mozarella and shaved fennel (and grilled raddichio and pine nut and...) salad, which I believe was slightly different than what appears as Antipasto on the current online menu. Tried one bite - nice dish, the cheese is beautiful. I had duck proscuitto with green beans, potatoes and arugula (similar to the Bresaola di manzo on the online menu). Another nice salad, keeping with the understated theme – which surprised me with the presence of duck proscuitto. Also tempting us from the appetizer list were the mussels and chorizo, La Buca’s take on the Caesar, and the fisherman's soup. I then opted for an intermezzo, a half-order of tagliatelle alla panna. Super good, and not a bad sized “half portion” either. Looking around the room, the main sized pasta portion was very generous, and I could see myself putting my face into a bowl of the tagliatelle with regularity. The proscuitto / pea / parmesan combo is unsurpassed in my books, and as Andrey said they not trying to reinvent the wheel, just present simple dishes with top notch ingredients. And isn't that what Italian food is supposed to be? I came that close to trying one of the bolognese, the vongole and the gnocchi with hunter's style chicken ragu too. In fact my new mission is to one day go in for a massive carb overload, those plus the mushroom risotto – 5 full servings – then immediately fly to Dr Atkins' grave to say “howdy.” Mains were the aforementioned wild mushroom risotto for N (naturally), and the osso bucco with saffron risotto and green beans for me. Mushroom risotto is outstanding! First taste is porcinis, but there were also a bunch of others in there (chanterelles, oysters, ah I forget what else but a bunch). Wonderful creamy consistency. Before the osso bucco came out, our waitress / busser delivered to me a marrow spoon. Good sign! And then it arrives... A massive portions of veal covered in a rich red wine sauce atop beautiful risotto, and possibly some gremolata? (I got a bit of orange peel.) The meat is still firm though tender, the surrounding tissue all broken down and gelatinous, and the marrow! Due to sheer richness, I eat osso bucco maybe once a decade, but it is always worth it. And did I mention the massive portion? I came nowhere close to finishing it, the remainder is waiting to be eaten for lunch minutes from now, after which I will surely have an open-eyed nap. Dinner was accompanied by a bottle of Renzo Masi Basciano Chianti 2004, which when opened and tasted sucked the moisture not only from my mouth, but the surrounding air within a 3' radius of me. The waiter asked how it was; I paused and said “tannic.” Yet it went beautifully with the food. We did not need dessert, but I had to ordered a coffee and and apple strudel (with whipped cream and caramel) anyway. Surprisingly I did not order the panna cotta, but this was only because it was with guava – of which I am not a big fan. Other options were tiramisu or biscotti. Strudel pastry was nice and crispy, but the best part may have been the apple chips on the side. As Canucklehead would say, Delicious! They have dessert drinks too, including Moscato – or grappa, if your liver really deserves a haymaker. One day, maybe after the 5-pasta extravaganza. What else? The wine list is well done, succinct and almost all bottles are available by the glass (both of these points I admire). The service was really enjoyable, the room is such that the small FOH staff can keep a close eye on what's going on. From walking in the door to waddling out, our meal was just about 2 hours on the dot (during a peak time with a full room). The total for our meal was $136 nic tip, which really for the quality of the food and the service is outstanding. I stopped by the kitchen before departing to say hi, thanks and good luck to Andrey; and to lament to him that he wasn't able to secure the old Coco Pazzo / current Senova location. This IMO is the pinnacle of the “CFD” concept, screw the other pretenders. Plunk this concept into that space, and N and I would have made a standing weekly reservation as it would be so easy to drive over – or ride our bikes in the summer – for a glass of wine and a salad or a big bowl of pasta on a Friday evening. As it is, I'm pretty sure we can afford the 15 minutes worth of gas to get to this location regularly. Nice one guys!
  13. Anchoress - by "East Indian" I am assuming you mean "Indian" as in the subcontinent of India, as opposed to Eastern India (vs North vs South vs West). Not that I am an expert in any, just want to try to make sure I'm answering your question. We live in the Nanaimo/1st neighborhood and have been ordering delivery from Ashiana Tandoori (originally tipped off about this place by our neighbor Mooshmouse). To be honest they are hit and miss, but I chalk that up to being a fact of life with delivery food, any delivery food. And they are more hit than miss. I do think Indian travels better than other traditional take out such as Chinese. Ashiana tends to shine with their curries, and (IMO) falls short with their breads. We've tried their naan and roti and both, though leavened, come out more like tough crackers than puffy and chewy bread. But yeah give one of their Goa curries a go, it's something I really enjoy from them as it gives the familiar "Indian" curry flavours with a coconut milk base. Timely thread though; I was thinking about Indian take out tonight, maybe we'll give Saffron a shot.
  14. Thanks for letting us know CH. The jellyfish and sharks fin salad looks to be the most intriguing dish to me, a true departure from a more traditional Chinese plating. Did you get a chance to ask the chef about his steamed live crab dish? I'm still trying to understand how he does this for less than say 4 people (given the serving sizes that appear above). Unless he does not use dungeoness?
  15. I like the range because it has 5 burners including a simmer (none of them turn off when you set them to the lowest setting, so the 16,000 btu burner will still boil on its lowest setting), the convection oven is good (though I am still learning roasting times with it), it had the best grate configuration IMO, and it was the most aesthetically pleasing of all the mid-high end units. Basically the best bang for the buck that I could find. For wok hei, to be honest I don't know if you can ever truly replicate commercial Chinese in a home kitchen (without buying something like this). You know when you see Chinese cooks working those gas valves with their knees while flames are leaping into the hood? I'm pretty sure those valves are 3/4" minimum. Even if they are only 1/2", compare that to what is likely a 1/2" feed to your entire range (probably totaling about 70-80,000 btu) - the amount of gas going to one restaurant wok is, well, a lot. The previous link said even that home wok ring produces 100,000 btu's. But the Frigidaire range works for me, the 16,000 btu burner gets pretty hot - and I'm pretty sure it was the highest heat rating that I found in the comparable model range. Plus if you got a heat diffuser / ring to concentrate the heat on your wok then I'm sure it would produce pretty good home results. For cabs, we went with Liljestad - the colour is very rich, and even though it is dark, we get enough natural light (south facing kitchen) to offset. You know what, though - unfortunately the pic on the website is not very flattering, now that I look at it. PS - Above I meant to say Coast Appliances gave us a very good quote on appliances, not Trail.
  16. I don't think the local scene in general is insulted or threatened by DB's arrival. At the intro lunch last week there were quite a few big local names in attendance (so I've read, Fiona was there and has more details). As I recall the list included Hawksworth, Vij, Pino, etc. Apart from Neil Wyles, that is about as grand a list of chefs as you can find in the city. So I think the local industry is actually excited to see what happens. When it comes to individuals' reactions, though, that is where I think we're seeing the full spectrum: some are very excited, some less so.
  17. GP - just out of curiosity, HD was cheaper than who? In our case, we actually discovered the product at HD, got it priced, then found the same product with a small guy (Kingsland) who priced it a lot more reasonably. YMMV of course, market forces and workloads and all that, but yeah just curious. I always feel like I'm not necessarily getting the best deal on stuff at HD, that I am paying for a measure of convenience - but good to know that sometimes that may not be the case.
  18. We reno'ed our kitchen last summer, and went with Frigidaire pro or gallery series just about everything (except the microwave / hood, which was a Panasonic). I didn't want to go overboard with the appliances; function and form were both important, but in that order. Once you step up to the Vikings, Wolfs, Sub-zeros etc, well that is a completely different tax bracket that I'm in. I'm very happy with what we got. Frigidaire CPLGF390DC gas range Trail gave us a very good quote, that is until we got a contractor's line at another place. Another plug: we got Silestone counter tops from Kingsland Stone Works in Richmond. Very happy with these - they are "engineered quartz", which is like granite except they are not porous so if you spill say red wine on them, they will not stain. They don't have a website, just a small company - but their quote was a fraction of everyone else's and they did a quality job including install. Good guys. Google map for Kingsland Stone Otherwise it was Ikea for cabs (note: other friends were reno'ing concurrently and they went with a "custom" cab millwright. Not actually custom, from what I gathered they do basically what Ikea does, which is make cabs in several standard sizes, and then work with you to fit what they have into what you have. But they worked out to be a similar price point to what we got, which was I think about as high end as you can go with Ikea), Home Depot for floor tiles / drywall etc. Oh yeah and these guys for faucets, refered by our very own Snacky_cat: Save More on Kingsway And a lot of blood, sweat and beers. (Ha, on that crappy joke of a note, remember to turn up Classic Rock 101 when you are working the Skil saw.) And yes some sage advice from the ex-Daddy-A. Good luck.
  19. Great article by Fiona. In that short column, she managed to answer a lot of questions that seemed to be floating around. And although I did love the full on Lumiere tasting menu when I had it, it's true that it was too special-occasion. Even a four or five course menu spells "occasion" to me, just one that is more accessible multiple times a year.
  20. just...wow. If a restaurant were to fail in Vancouver, you would blame the city/diners? It's not up to the chef and the management to position a restaurant effectively for a given market? the Vancouver dining scene has much to be proud of. Even if "world-class classical French" turns out to be a dimension in which Van doesn't excel, I don't think it's a condemnation of the scene as a whole. It isn't as if that genre is Vancouver's only food claim to fame or a genre the city in which the city should excel. I should add that I'm not saying that Chef Boulud's involvement is bad (I can't see how it could be). I just think it's odd to consider a hypothetical restaurant failure as being a failure of the city. ← First off, I agree with you - that when a restaurant fails, that it is most likely the concept or some other factor - and not the audience - that is the root cause. "Blaming" someone for not subjectively liking something is, of course, silly. The idea that I'm throwing out there is, if DB walks away from the city in a couple years, does that mean that we are too small town for the likes of big New York guns? A parallel might be, again hypothetically, if Tiffany decided to close up shop on Robson. Would that mean anything? Just thinking aloud, but yeah I think it would make some sort of statement. (Maybe that statement is, Vancouverites don't have enough disposable income.) Now if that were to happen, would I care? Not really. As you have noted, our city has much to be proud of. We have home grown some of the best talent in the country. Feenie and Hawksworth are both native to the city, and returned to it to shine. Same with a lot of other folks. There's plenty of stuff out there left to explore. I'm merely speculating - and have probably dragged this out long beyond what it was worth in the first place. With the dough being thrown into this venture, plus DB's marquee value, the soon to be ex Lumiere will probably be just fine.
  21. I'm confused by this comment. Why should Vancouver or its restaurant scene be embarassed if a hypothetical Lumiere-under-Boulud closes within a few years? The scene at large certainly isn't responsible for the menu or business decisions that Boulud / the Sidoos will make. I'm probably missing some subtext...too early in the morning. ← What I was trying to say was if we (Vancouver) could not support such a world class chef, wouldn't that be a confirmation of what a non world class town we were? *added missing word from orig post
  22. I'm getting a little scared for having to agree with Andrew twice in a week, but - exactly. Olympic revenues are one thing, but how embarrassing would it be for the city, not to DB himself, to have a location close within a couple years?
  23. Will all apologies and respect to Chocoholic - I cannot, in good conscience, let the Wild Rice recco stand. If you were here for a month then maybe, but for 3 days or less, just... don't. Go to Richmond, and try say Chen's for dim sum / lunch, then Aberdeen or wherever to kill the afternoon, then Sea Harbour for dinner. All Lower Mainland drivers are bad, so what the hell. It's only one day. And it will be an experience you will not be able to recreate in NYC, or anywhere else in North America for that matter.
  24. I finally had a Beard Papa puff. Very good custardy filling and chocolate topping. And I didn't even have to wait in line. All good. And I hope the hype is still going to encourage them to open more outlets.
  25. Oooh...I just went by this place last week. It looked good, but I had no idea it was the Crystal Hunan folks. Thanks for the tip canucklehead! I'm going to try to hit it this week. ← Finally got a chance to drop in at The Xiang this week at 4850 Imperial @ Nelson in Bby. I had the Mala Niurou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodles) and came away very impressed. The room is nothing special, as I would have expected for its location. The server I had was friendly and attentive, which was a happy surprise. I initially asked for medium-spicy, but was advised that I should try mild, since medium was a real Hunan medium. Oh yeah, the mild was spicy enough for me. Hooo~! But it's a good spicy. You know those meals where the spice lingers in your mouth and you have to eat rice to try to cool your mouth down? Hunan spices aren't that way at all. It's a quick spice hit which doesn't sit and burn your tongue. Price was $6 for a big bowl with lots of meat. It took about 15 minutes to arrive, and the waiter actually apologized for the wait, saying that as the noodles were made to order it took a bit longer. No worries! I'll go for fresh over speed every time. He said that if you're in a hurry, the dishes with rice are the best bet. Hours are 11-3 and 5-9 seven days a week. Well worth visiting if you're in the hood. ← So I finally tried The Xiang last night and was also very impressed. Apart from being delicious, I also felt like I was getting an authentic glimpse of this under-represented region of China (I say authentic, having little frame of reference). My favourite dishes were the sliced cold beef brisket, the lamb and cumin dish, and the beef with preserved chilis. The heat is interesting, I found it quite different than Szechuan or other SE Asian cuisines. It just kept building and building on the roof of my mouth, and it was addictive. I resisted the rice as long as I could, but broke down about 2/3 of the way into the meal. Couple of Tsing Taos also helped. The very interesting thing, as you kind of noted Kentan, was about 15 minutes after I was done eating, the heat was gone. The heat came back this morning though.