A Splendid Time at EBO: Chocolate Truffles & Cookies Class

February 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Posted in Chocolate, Cookies | 4 Comments
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“O Romeo, Romeo, where art thou Romeo?”

Oh, he’s in Vancouver all right. In fact Romeo can be found at EBO Restaurant and he’s known to make beautiful and delicious desserts.
During the first weekend of February, I attended the Chocolate Truffle & Cookie making class at EBO Restaurant.  The class takes place in the kitchen, which allowed my classmates and I to have hands-on experience in making the truffles and cookies. The talented and amicable pastry chef, Romeo Maghirang, was instrumental in teaching and guiding us in the truffle and cookie making process.

Romeo Maghirang, Ebo's Pastry Chef

I’m actually quite content that EBO Restaurant at the Delta Hotel Burnaby offers these classes as it allows guests and local residents a chance to make some sweets during the holiday season and throughout the month of February, as well as to mingle and make new friends. Perfect for foodies or anyone in the city who loves chocolate and sweets. :)

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Whisky Truffles, White Chocolate Passionfruit Truffles and Basler Brun Cookies

 

So instead of rambling on, I’d rather do a photojournalistic post instead. Here are the highlights of the class:

Making Chocolate Truffles

Making the ganache

Pouring chocolate ganache into syphon to fill the chocolate shells

Filling the truffle chocolate shells with the ganache. Everyone had a chance to fill the shells.

...including yours truly. :)

Chocolate is piped onto the truffles to seal the ganache in.

Chocolate truffles in process

The truffle balls are set free and are dipped into chocolate to get the design.

...or they can be hand rolled in chocolate.

TA-DA!! Beautiful chocolate truffles!

Making Basler Brun Cookies

Romeo sifts the ingredients

Sifted ingredients :)

After mixing dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, cookie dough is rolled out flat and is ready to be cut into shapes.

In this case, the shape we used was a circle.

Basler Brun Cookies!

Overall, the chocolate truffle and cookie making class at EBO was fun, educational and delicious! I totally recommend trying out a class either by yourself, with a loved one or your best friend. ;)  The classes take place every Friday for the month of February from 5:30pm-6:30pm, followed by a plated dinner (which includes a chocolate dessert buffet!) at 7pm with your fellow classmates. The price is $65 per person, which includes a dozen truffles and a dozen cookies to take home.

EBO Restaurant
Grand Villa Suites – Delta Burnaby Hotel

4331 Dominion Street
604-453-0788

ORU: Beautiful and Foodgasmic

February 4, 2011 at 12:44 AM | Posted in Pan-Asian | 1 Comment
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“I just can’t resist” was the message I sent out to my friends after I was tipped by a few friends and coworkers to try out Oru Restaurant, located in Fairmont Pacific Rim, which is also the location of my favorite gelato place, Bella Gelateria.

Oru is a sleek and sexy restaurant that serves Pan-Asian cuisine. The restaurant has a stainless steel and marble open concept kitchen and floor to ceiling windows that offer a sweet view of the Convention Center with the wonderful backdrop of the North Shore mountains. Before I continue on, I’d like to say that the entrance to the restaurant and the interior of the restaurant is just so beautiful that it reminds me of the beautiful hotels that I’ve been in Las Vegas. This is one sexy hotel in Vancouver!

Oru is part of the Dine Out Vancouver and has a price point of $28 for a 3-course meal. Since I was excited and couldn’t resist trying it out, I invited Vegemite Girl and R.Co to join me on this food adventure.

Once we stepped into Oru, we were kindly greeted by the servers and led to our seats. As we walked, I took in the captivating interior design of Oru. After snapping a few shots of the restaurant, we ordered our items.

 

Vegemite Girl ordered the Crispy Squid & Spicy Sausage with ponzu mayo for her appetizer. The squid was lightly battered and crispy. It was aromatic from the garlic and scallions and had a slight kick to it. When the squid was dipped into the ponzu “sauce”, it provided a slightly tart contrast to the natural sweetness of the fresh squid. The reason why I called the ponzu sauce a sauce rather than a mayo is because it was a really runny dipping sauce, rather than the creamy texture of mayo.

 

 

R.Co and I ordered the Sake Kasu Sablefish. The sablefish was accompanied by gingered tomatoes and sweet miso sauce. The sablefish was melt-in-your mouth delicious. The tomatoes had a bite and a sweetness to it as it had been marinated in ginger juice. The miso sauce was light and mild and provided a umaminess to the sablefish.

 

 

For the entrée, Vegemite Girl and R.Co chose the Tandoor Roasted Lamb Loin with squash risotto. The lamb was cooked medium and was quite fragrant (with a touch of smokiness), tender and juicy. The squash risotto was creamy and had a hint of sweetness to it and savoriness from the parmesan cheese.

 

 

For my entrée, I chose the Roasted Scallops and Lobster Dumpling. I chose this because I wanted something light and seafood. The scallops were cooked perfectly, tender in the middle and slightly crispy on the outsiede. The lobster dumpling was delicious and when eaten with the black garlic emulsion, the taste of the lobster was enhanced.

As you can see in the picture, the lobster dumpling is full of filling. And underneath the salad, there were chunks of lobster. This dish was a perfect balance of sweetness, tartness, umaminess and savoriness.

 

 

For dessert, we all chose different desserts to try. Vegemite Girl chose the Dark Chocolate Pudding with passionfruit purée and sesame cracker. This was served with crème fraiche. Of all the desserts, this one was my favorite. It tasted like heaven in my mouth, especially with the creamy dark chocolate and the tartness of the passionfruit purèe.

 

 

R. Co chose the Vietnamese Coffee Pannacotta. The pannacotta had a really rich coffee flavor and was really creamy. It wasn’t too sweet as well.

 

 

I’m not really a cheesecake person but I ended up choosing the Coconut Cheesecake with lychee purée and mango caviar. The cheesecake was rich and slightly tangy. When combined with the lychee purée, it provided a sweet balance to the cheesecake.

I’m not sure if you notice this, but all the dessert pictures have some kind of crumb on the side or on the dessert. It’s interesting but not really necessary. I think they put the crumb to provide a textural component to the dessert.

Overall, Vegemite Girl, R. Co and I enjoyed Oru. It is one sexy place with a beautiful view and serves up beautiful and delicious food. From all the “Mmm’s” and foodgasm faces from my friend(s), this place is definitely a place I would definitely re-visit to check out their other menus.

Oru at Fairmont Pacific Rim
1038 Canada Place
(604) 895-0612

Oru at Fairmont Pacific Rim on Urbanspoon

Food:
Service: – Thanks to Kadiga for being an excellent server!
Value: Since this was DineOut, with all the elements combined, it was definitely worth it.
Ambience: Chic, casually elegant. Right by the water with floor to ceiling windows, this place is sure to impress.

PetiteFoodie’s Holiday Cookie Adventures – Part 2

January 3, 2011 at 12:24 AM | Posted in Cookies, Recipes | Leave a comment
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Sooo…what mishaps happened on this adventure? No mishaps, just good cookie adventure with an *ahem* “fun” twist. Let me warn you, some of these cookies are a bit PG-rated so please cover the youngin’s eyes!

Of course, anything goes with PetiteFoodie’s Holiday Cookie Adventures! Last time, in my Holiday Cookie Adventures, Grease Monkey and I made Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies.

This time, Vegemite Girl joined me in a cookie adventure and decided to make 2 kinds of cookies. The first cookie is a buttery shortbread. She was inspired to make this since one of her coworkers brought shortbread to the office and she was craving for some. Since the shortbread cookie was short and quick, we decided to make another cookie with a citrus twist.

The first cookie we started making is the Lemon Wreath Cookies. Initially the cookies were made into shape of wreaths. After making the first baking sheet of wreath cookies, the wreaths started taking other forms. We started making a tray of other “creative” shaped cookies. Despite the funny shapes, these cookies have a buttery and lemony base. With the lemon glaze, the sweet and tartness of the cookie balances out with the lemony fragrance of the cookie.

 

(1) Pre-baked Lemon Wreaths (2) Pre-baked "Other" shaped cookies (3) Baked Lemon Cookies pre-glazed (4) Baked Lemon Cookies with lemon glaze

Lemon Wreath Cookies

Makes 6 dozen. Adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • FOR THE GLAZE
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 7 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white nonpareils, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Pulse sugar and zest in a food processor until combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Beat sugar-zest mixture and butter in a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until combined.
  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon dough (or use a 11/8-inch ice cream scoop), and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4-inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer rings to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, as you work. Bake until pale golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.
  4. Make the glaze: Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting excess drip off. Return cookies to wire racks, glaze side up, and sprinkle with nonpareils. Let dry completely.

The second cookie that we made was Irish Butter Shortbread. This cookie recipe is simple and requires only 3 ingredients! Yep, you heard right, 3 ingredients! The shortbread was delicious, not too sweet and definitely melt-in-your mouth! It also tastes really yummy with the lemon glaze that I made for the Lemon Wreaths recipe.

Melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread

 

Irish Butter Shortbread

Makes 3 dozen. Adapted from Martha Stewart Show.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Irish unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour. Continue mixing until dough comes together to form a ball.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness, dusting rolling pin with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Using a 2 1/4-inch round, fluted cutter, cut out dough. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Gather up any scraps, gently re-roll, and repeat cutting process. Take care not to overwork dough.
  4. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until shortbread just begins to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Shortbread may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Happy Baking everyone!

2010 has been one HELL of a year… & PetiteFoodie’s back again!

December 31, 2010 at 10:16 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hello friends! How’s it’s been?

It’s been such a long time since and I do sincerely apologize. Some of you have missed me and some of you are craving my food adventures. ;) How do I know? When friends see me eating or equipped with a camera (or both), without hesitation, they ask  “So how’s your blog?” or “You’re putting that on your website/blog, right?” and “When/Where’s your next adventure? Let’s go!

I’d admit that I felt guilty putting my blog on hold. To be honest with you, I was a bit hesitant about writing this entry as well.

What happened PetiteFoodie!?!?

A few things happened during the year that made it one HELL of a ride.

Dental Work
I had a root canal that was to be completed earlier in the year but took ages because the endodontist canceled 5 appointments on me and did a half-assed job for my root canal. I’m a really patient person and the thing that ticked me off was when he canceled on me when I walked into his office. That was the last appointment that I had with him. Ever.

Braces was the next chapter but was a life changing experience ever for me. It was quite a humbling experience for me. Auntie M was really supportive and made me fish congee & turkey congee and mango Jello (with little mango chunks) on the first day I got braces. <3 you! After a few weeks of eating soft foods, she told me to suck it up and eat normal foods. HAHA That’s when she gave me a pair of scissors to carry around so I can cut up my food into little pieces. Having no shame, I went to town (even at restaurants) cutting up steak, dim sum foods, chicken, vegetables, etc. I had to do that for a few months since my teeth were shifting from a slight underbite to a normal bite. Nowadays, I can eat normal food, except for biting into an apple and using my teeth to crack the crab.

Loss of a good friend
Losing someone that you care about is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with. To my dear friend, I just wanted to tell you this:
Thank you for all the wonderful memories we shared. Thanks for all the laughter and the tears. I’ve never met anyone that shares soo much in common, and I’m glad it’s someone as unique as you. It’s too bad that certain circumstances had led to this loss. I miss you and will never forget you. I never got a chance to say goodbye…Goodbye till we meet again.
“There’s this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your hugs still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It’s the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.”

Car Accident
I was driving in Richmond when it happened. Like most motor vehicle accidents happen. Thank goodness the passenger and I was okay. It was my first accident and it totally shook me up to the core. With a lot things going on at the time and feeling like the world was crashing down, the first thing I did was burst out crying. After that, I felt much better. However, I’m stuck with dealing with ICBC. :(

After all the bumps and bruises, sweat and tears throughout the year, I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful for all my supportive friends and fellow bloggers (you know who you are!) for being there for me and helping me get through all the tough times. Thank you!!!

On a side note, I admire people with humble beginnings and how they overcame hardships to become the successful people they are.

Farewell 2010! It has been one HELL of a year.

Happy 2011! Happy New Year to you all! Are you ready for some new dining adventures? :D

Celebrating the holidays @ HML

December 25, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Posted in Chinese | Leave a comment
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One of the things that Grease Monkey’s family likes to do is to go to HML Seafood Restaurant for dim sum and family dinners either when they feel like it or for holidays or celebrations. I’ve been invited there so many times than I can remember. We’ve been there so much that the owner/manager Tommy Zhao knows us by the first name basis, especially with Auntie M.

HML Entrance (photo courtesy of Chowtimes)

HML is a big and well kept restaurant. It was very busy when we arrived around 11am. Thank goodness we made a reservation.

Inside HML Restaurant (photo courtesy of Chowtimes)

On this visit, it was during the holidays and we all wanted to get together. It was when LightsOut was introduced to us. He’s quite an awesome guy. He’s willing to try anything once! Being politically correct here, LightsOut is a westerner with an adventurous appetite. He’s even tried the Phoenix claws (aka. chicken feet) and durian!

As our party of 6 sat down, we started to order items from the sheet. Please be warned, even though we are a party of 6, we ordered a total of 22 items on the menu! (plus more because some of them were multiples) That’s a lot of food! Maybe that’s why Tommy loves us. HAHA

After giving our order in for the savory items, and chatting for a bit. Our food arrived.

I call these the usual suspects because these are the items we usually order at dimsum. From left clockwise, the items are Steamed Shao Mai Dumplings, Superior Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow), Rice Rolls with Dried Shrimp & Green Onion (with hoisin and peanut dipping sauce), and Congee with Shredded Pork & Thousand Year Eggs. The har gow and shao mai were plump and had a nice spring when you took a bite into it. As for the rice rolls, it was quite nice. The congee was delicious.

The other items we ordered as well are (from left clockwise) the Fried Rice with Dried Scallops & Egg White, Taro Cake with Dried Shrimp & Preserved Sausage, Steamed Pork Dumplings, and Steamed Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce. The fried rice came in a plentiful portion and was a nice “filler” dish. The taro cake was delicious as it had a nice crisp from the pan fry. The pork dumpling, I can’t quite remember except that it had a lot of filling. Ahh…and let’s not forget the chicken feet. The chicken feet is an acquired taste, as it’s just skin and cartilage. LightsOut tried it and thought it was okay.

The next items that came were the Steamed Rice Rolls with Shrimps & Chives and Steamed Rice Rolls with Beef & Vegetables (watercress). These taste really delicious with the sweet soy sauce poured over top.

Another family favorite is the Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf (Lo Mai Gai). The rice was fragrant from the lotus leaf and had an abundance of filling. One thing I would like to let people who are not familiar with this item is not to eat it like a dolma. I have heard some of my friends’ friends have made this mistake and thought that it didn’t taste that great. :)
Once you open the Lo Mai Gai (as in the picture on the right), you will see an abundance of tasty fillings such as Chinese sausage, minced chicken and a salty egg yolk enveloped in a fragrant sauce on the glutinous rice.

For the last of the savory items, we ordered the Superior Shark’s Fin Dumpling in Soup and Steamed Rice with Preserved Fish & Sliced Pork.

Now on to dessert! YAY!!!

For dessert, we ordered (from left clockwise) Egg Crepe with Honey, Shredded Coconut, Deep Fried Yam Rice Flour Balls Topped with Shredded Peanuts, Baked Tapioca Pudding stuffed with Taro Paste, and Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo Pulps. The crepe was nice and light and not too sweet. The yam balls had a nice light yam taste to it. Not to mention we had a great time making jokes about the balls. HAHA
As for the tapioca pudding and the chilled mango puree, both tasted good on its own. CorCor, Dick’s cousin suggested that we mix the two together (he’s a foodie known to mix different food together). OMG, this is the best combination ever!!! Slightly salty, sweet, crispy and hot from the baked tapioca pudding and the sweet coolness from the chilled mango puree, it was delicious. I totally recommend you order these two items and put them together!

The next items that we ordered for dessert were the House Special Baked Egg & Milk Tarts (Dan Tat) and Rice Flour Balls with Black Sesame Filling. The egg and milk tarts were served hot. The crust was nice and flaky and the egg and milk filling was really creamy and smooth. As for the rice flour balls, they had a nice soft chewiness with a slight sweetness.  The black sesame filling was fragrant and slightly hot as when you bite into it,  and it oozes out like molten black sesame lava. YUM!

The last items we ordered for dessert were the Chilled Mango Pudding and Baked Durian Puff Pastry.

The chilled coconut pudding and was light and had a nice coconut flavor.
The baked durian pastry had a nice flaky crust and the filling was smooth and creamy. This is when LightsOut and I had started our love affair with durian. Durian is known for its distinctive smell, and it’s creamy flesh. People are known to either love it or hate it. In this case, LightsOut and I loved it that we ate everything durian such as fresh durian, durian candies, and durian shakes. Mmm…

HML is a nice place for dim sum and for dinner. The staff are quite diligent and friendly and Tommy is hilarious!
By the end of this meal, we were stuffed to the point that we needed to be rolled out. HAHA

Happy Holidays Everyone!

 

HML Seafood Restaurant
#200-5890 No. 3 Rd
Richmond, BC

HML Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Food:
Service:
Value: Decent. Has good selection of dim sum.
Ambience: Busy bustling restaurant during dim sum hours. Has a nice ambiance during dinner.

PetiteFoodie’s Holiday Cookie Adventures – Part 1

December 24, 2010 at 9:30 PM | Posted in Cookies, Recipes | 1 Comment
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Ah…the days before Christmas. It’s when Superstore is open for 24 hours. Shoppers make their last minute shopping for their groceries and other items. Well, that’s what Grease Monkey and I did when we had our Holiday Cookie Adventure. He went shopping for ingredients at the last minute and forgot the ginger! Oh noes!
Poor dude had to drive back to Superstore to get a ginger root around past midnight and the cashier thought that he was nuts for buying a ginger root that cost around less than 15 cents! :) <3 you for joining me in my Cookie adventure!

Hey anything goes with PetiteFoodie’s Cookie Adventures! (That’s why it’s divided into another part because I did another Cookie Adventure!)

The cookie that we made on this Holiday Cookie Adventure is the Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies. This recipe was given to me by a coworker that swears that this cookie is one of her family’s favorites. I hope that this will become one of yours too. These chewy cookies are chewy with a nice hit of ginger and molasses. The semi sweet chocolate provided a chocolaty sweetness to the gingerbread cookie.

Here are some shots of the Cookie Adventure!

PetiteFoodie hard at work! :)

 

From left clockwise: (1) Mixing all the dry ingredients (2) Creaming the sugar and molasses (3) Mixing the dry ingredients (4) After the mixing

(1) Cookies before baking (2) Cookies after baking (with pasta sauce on the side :)) (3) Cookies in a sexy shot

 

Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

Makes 2 dozen

  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

 

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Cookies.

Giving This Holiday Season

December 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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For the holiday season and other times during the year I believe in giving. I believe that some people deserve a second chance in anything in life. Whether it be donating money (or other things) to a specific cause and lend a helping hand in an association that I support I believe that supporting and donating to a greater cause will help those in need and show how grateful we are to have such associations.

One of the causes that caught my eye was the Vista D’oro “Cookies for Kids” holiday tin in the post by Tiny Bites about her 2010 Christmas Giveaway.

One of my family members was a patient of BC Children’s hospital and we are grateful for the care and expertise that they had provided and the “Operation – Cookies for Kids” was a great way to donate to them.

Vista D’oro “Operation – Cookies for Kids” is  an annual massive fundraiser organized by Lee & Patrick Murphy from Vista D’oro Farms in memory of their loved ones. 200 holiday tins are put together, each containing a 200ml jar of Vista D’oro preserves and 2 dozen cookies baked by a variety of local purveyors. This year I donated $50 towards a tin and hope you will consider getting some too.

The Vista D’oro’s cookie tins contain:

  • Spiced vanilla bean sugar cookie from Beyond @ The Century Plaza Hotel
  • Coconut macaroons from Culinary Capers
  • Strawberry cookies from Krause Berry Farm
  • Triple chocolate cookies from Les Amis du Fromage
  • Chocolate sparkles from Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver
  • Chocolate and vanilla spirals from O’Doul’s, Listel Hotel
  • Chocolate dipped shortbread & Melting Moments from Pane E Fromaggio
  • Gingerbread stars from Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver
  • Coconut Cranberry Almond Cookies from Pourhouse Restaurant
  • Ginger Cookies from Terra Breads Bakery
  • Oh La La Grand Marnier chocolate cookies from Toast of the Town Catering
  • Brown sugar shortbread from Raincity Grill
  • Rosemary butter cookies from Bishop’s Restaurant

Where to buy

Each tin can be purchased with a minimum donation of $50. 100% of your donation goes direct to BC Children’s Hospital.

  1. Vista D’Oro Farms: info@vistadoro.com or call 604-514-3539 to ensure tins are set aside for you
  2. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts: bakery101@picachef.com or call 604-734-4488 to ensure tins are set aside for you
  3. Edible BC: info@edible-britishcolumbia.com or call 604-662-3606 to ensure tins are set aside for you

It’s a party @ Me & Julio’s!

March 14, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Posted in Mexican | Leave a comment
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When my best friend Vegemite Girl reached a birthday milestone, she decided to have a party close-by to her home. Vegemite Girl lives by Commercial Drive, so it makes sense she choose a restaurant on the infamous block. Commercial Drive known for its friendly neighborhood and its abundance of choices for food, especially Italian food and Latin food.

So which restaurant did she choose? Me & Julio’s of course!

Me & Julio’s is a modern Mexican funky cantina known for it’s good and fun vibes and its delicious food made from scratch. It is known as the East Side sibling of Lolita’s South of the Border Cantina, located on Davie on the West End. Me & Julio’s stands out from its sibling due to its modern take on its Mexican plates as the flavors of the fresh ingredients jump out at you (creating more or less a party in your mouth) and its inviting and festive atmosphere.

I’m usually the person who doesn’t arrive late, but on that day, my ol’ partner in crime, Grease Monkey (aka. Dick), and I arrived fashionably late (aka running on Dick-time HAHA). Were we late? Nope, half the party came a bit later than us. *whew* Vegemite Girl and some friends had ordered some beer and appetizers already. They ordered Guacamole Classico, a layered avocado & black bean dip with warm chili dusted tortilla chips and Platanos con Crema, crisp plantain ribbons with fresh crema & salsa verde. Even though I managed to get a little sample of each (both were delicious and fresh BTW), I wish I had taken pictures of these but the appies had been wolfed down by the time we arrived.

Since Grease Monkey wanted to try out most of the items of the menu, we ordered some appies and entrées to share.
The first item we ordered was the Ceviche Habanero. With a name like this, you’d expect this ceviche to have a citrusy burn in my mouth. Surprisingly this ceviche wasn’t spicy at all. This ceviche was delicious. The shrimp was sweet, the scallops had a nice spring to it and the salmon and halibut were fresh and the citrus marinade did not overpower the taste of the seafood. The guacamole provided a creaminess to the citrusy marinade of the seafood. The Ceviche Habanero was a wonderful mix of textures and flavors that go together so well.

Ceviche Habanero

The next item that we ordered was the Beef Taquitos. The taquitos were rolled up tortillas the size of really huge Cuban cigars stuffed with slow-roasted beef brisket with smoky BBQ salsa and served with pico de gallo salsa and salad. The smokiness of the tender slow-roasted beef brisket and the crispy taquito shell provided a contrast of taste and texture. When eaten with the pico de gallo salsa, it added a refreshing component to the smokiness of the taquito.

Beef Taquitos

Knowing Grease Monkey, he usually orders more than he can eat so the next item that came was the Julio’s Corn Tacos. As you can see, the plate was colorful and had a healthy serving of greens. The taco on the left is the pulled achiote chicken with salsa verde and crema. This taco was slightly smoky, mildly spicy and had a bit of a nice tang to it. The red cabbage along with the salsa verde and crema provided a creamy and refreshing element to this particular taco.  The taco on the right is the crispy pan-seared halibut with mango salsa. The mango salsa was sweet and mildly tart and complimented the halibut. Altogether, it didn’t make the taco too fishy. The red cabbage provided a refreshing crispiness to the taco.

Julio's Corn Tacos

To finish off our meal, the last item that we ordered was the Gaucho Steak. It was served with grilled serrano chimichuri butter, mexican style cob corn with a lovely helping of oaxaca cheese & avocado red nugget potato mash, buttermilk battered onion rings. Doesn’t it sound great? These are the sides that I’d want with my steak. The steak was cooked medium rare by request and had a grilled smoky BBQ flavor to it. The onion rings were crispy and lightly battered. The potato mash had a great texture to it and was light, creamy and had a little cheese flavor to it. Now this is what I call a steak dish! :D

Gaucho Steak

All in all, the food at Me & Julio’s was delicious. The company was even better. What better way to celebrate with friends is with delicious food!

Me & Julio’s
2095 Commercial Dr
Me and Julio on Urbanspoon

Food:
Service:
Value: Slightly expensive for Mexican food.
Ambience: Dark and cozy. Great atmosphere to hang out with friends for some drinks and steak!

Irashai Grill: Looks better than it tastes…

January 20, 2010 at 11:36 PM | Posted in Japanese | Leave a comment
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During the winter holidays, Kim invited me to attend a food photography workshop during the first week of January. At the time, I was in the process of purchasing my first dSLR and was kind of in a tizzy in figuring out the logistics of the camera prior to the workshop. Before New Years, my new toy arrived! YAY!!! :D Fresh out of the box, I quickly assembled it and got ready in taking test shots and took it to one awesome restaurant in the north shore on New Year’s to take some food pics. (Which I will post sometime later) :)

Once the day of the workshop arrived, I was joined by Sherman, Kim, and Victoria. The photography workshop was taught by Jackie Connelly and was held at Irashai Grill. Let’s just say that that day, I learned a lot about photography techniques and styles. I just need more time to practice as I am still learning!

Jackie Connelly

 

After the workshop was completed, we were given the option of staying at Irashai Grill for lunch or to go else where if we wanted to. Since I haven’t been to the restaurant and have heard some talks about this restaurant and wanted to practice our photography techniques we learned in the workshop, we decided to stay for lunch.

Everyone took a picture of this as a test shot...

 

The first dish we ordered was the Beef Tataki Carpaccio ($12).

Yumminess Rating:

This dish was thinly sliced seared beef on top a bed of daikon, greens and carrot and was drizzled with herb olive oil and citrus ponzu sauce. When presented a beautiful dish like this, you’d expect the beef to be tender. Let me tell you that it was not, it was rather chewy and made me wonder what cut of beef it was because it tasted like a big chunk of steak seared lightly and cut into thin slices. I could not taste the “beef” meat taste and the citrus taste. It seemed like all I could taste was the oil, no citrus, even when I tried dipping the beef into the dressing.

The next dish we ordered was the Summer Roll. ($13.50)

Yumminess Rating:

The Summer Roll consists of prawn tempura, cucumber, mayo, masago with marinated tuna and avocado on top with sweet soya drizzled all over. The rolls were aesthetically pleasing and it was tasty. After taking a bite into one of them I could taste was the creaminess of the avocado and sriracha kick (see the red dot on the avocado?) complimented the tuna and the shrimp. What I found lacking is the contrast of textures for this roll. Even though it has prawn tempura in it, it didn’t have a crunch to it. The rolls held up well but I found that it was too much rice for a roll.

When the Oyako Don was served, it came with a miso soup. Since I was still in the mood for taking even the most mundane pictures of food, I took the picture of the miso soup and thought out loud how I would make miso soup look “sexy”. Now, making the food “sexy” and “work it” are part of our conversations in food photography.

Oyako Don is comprised of chicken, egg and onions on top of rice ($9).

Yumminess Rating:

To be honest, this dish was disappointing as I felt that it was lacking an element to this dish. I would expect the rice to have at least some kind of flavoring such as a touch of mirin, dashi and soy or sauce from the chicken and onions. This dish can easily be replicated at home.

The next dish to arrive was Aigamo Duck ($16).

Yumminess Rating:

The Aigamo duck was grilled tataki style duck breast with chef’s secret sauce. OMG, this is one tough duck. I’ve never had a duck that was tough and chewy like a piece of overcooked steak. Mind you, the duck was cooked to how we wanted, medium rare. We were all wondering why such a piece of duck that is tender be so tough? We pondered if it was the way it was cooked or the way it was cut. It still remains a mystery to us.

The last and best dish to arrive was Grilled Sablefish served with yuzu miso sauce ($14).

Yumminess Rating:

 

The sablefish was tender, flaky and moist. The skin was nice and crispy and the fish had a slight caramelization to the surface. I’d say I’ve never had a bad sablefish ever. You can’t really mess up sablefish.

Overall, I had a great time at the photography class and learned a lot from Jackie Connelly.  In terms of the food at Irashai Grill, it was aesthetically pleasing, but the food didn’t live up to it. To be honest, it was alright, nothing special. The items on the menu were a bit pricey for what you get. Ther are several other Japanese/izakaya places in town that I’ve frequented and would prefer over it.

Irashai Grill
1368 W Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
Irashai Grill on Urbanspoon

Food:
Service:
Value: Not worth it. Some items are hit and miss in terms of quality.
Ambience: Sports bar style izakaya in Coal Harbour.

Long Table Series @ The Irish Heather: Food Bloggers Meet-Up

January 4, 2010 at 2:13 AM | Posted in European | 2 Comments
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Whenever I hear about a food bloggers meet-up, I always jump at the opportunity to meet the faces behind these enticing blogs. How I usually hear about these events is due to my passion for food and frequently commenting on their sites. For a while, I was known as Annie, the frequent reader and commenter. After meeting these bloggers at few other meet-up events and with much support from them, they convinced me to start up my own blog.

Every meet-up is a food adventure and a great way to meet new people. One of the events that I have recently been to is the Long Table Series at the Irish Heather. This has been the second of the series. The first one that I’ve been to served 1/2 Cornish Game Hen with Coleslaw and Fries paired with Steamwhistle Pilsner. What I enjoyed about the Long Table Series (LTS) at the time was that all of us had the opportunity to enjoy homestyle (Irish) food at a communal table setting.

Long Table - Seats about 50 people or so

On the menu for this Long Table Series is Roast Duck Leg With Colcannon Potatoes, Mushroom And Foie Gras Jus served with a 16 oz – Pint R&B Cream Ale, all for $15. Anything that has either duck and/or foie gras sounds good to me! YUM! The bloggers in attendance were Sherman, Kim, Jessica, Mijune, and Viv.

After being escorted to the long table, we were promptly served our drinks and our food. Before we dig in, Chef Lee Humphries describes the dish and kind of gives a description of how the food is cooked. Sometimes he would talk about the beer. Other times a PR representative from the brewery would talk about the beer.

Chef Lee Humphries

As mentioned above, we had a pint of R&B Cream Ale. It tasted like Granville Island pale ale, with the exception of it being a bit malty with a slight hint of bitterness from the hops.

AHH! Now as always…on to the food!

The entrée was a perfectly cooked duck leg on top of cabbage mashed potatoes swimming in fois gras jus. The duck was flavorful, juicy and tender. As for the jus, it was rich and flavorful and had sweetness or umaminess to it due to the rendered duck bones, fat and foie gras. It seemed like the dish was over-sauced, but at the end you will notice that there won’t be any sauce left as the Colcannon mashed potatoes will absorb it all. One random thought popped in my head as I was writing this post: What is Colcannon? Apparently, it’s a traditional Irish dish that is usually served as main dish. But in this case, it is served as a side.
Anywayyy, the potatoes were creamy and the cabbage provided texture to it. Immersed in the fois gras jus was sautéed and caramelized crimini, portobello and button mushrooms with a few pieces (more like 5 or 6 for me) of foie gras. The mushrooms added a little natural sweetness and earthiness to the dish and pairs itself with the sweetness of the duck and the fois gras. It seemed to be lost amongst the other ingredients as I was confused whether the piece was a mushroom or fois gras. I did agree with the other food bloggers that it would be much better if the fois gras was seared to have some crispiness and caramelization going on to bring out some texture and flavor. As for the sautéed spinach, it was the “veggies” portion of the dish and added some color to it.

Overall, I enjoyed the roasted duck at the Irish Heather. It is definitely gourmet comfort food! I also enjoyed the company there and look forward to meeting other food bloggers! :)

The Irish Heather
208 Carrall St
Gastown, Vancouver

Irish Heather on Urbanspoon

Food:
Service:
Value: $15 for an entrée and a beer is definitely worth it! And the food tastes great!
Ambience: Long table where you can eat amongst friends and make new friends.

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