Tags: beef tataki, chicken, duck, Japanese, miso soup, photography, sablefish, sushi, Vancouver
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!!! 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!
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.
The first dish we ordered was the Beef Tataki Carpaccio ($12).
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)
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).
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).
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).
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.
Value: Not worth it. Some items are hit and miss in terms of quality.
Ambience: Sports bar style izakaya in Coal Harbour.
Tags: cabbage, duck, European, foie gras, Gastown, gastropub, Irish, Irish Heather, long table series, mushroom, pilsner, potatoes, R&B Cream Ale, Vancouver
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.
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.
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
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.
Hi Everyone! Happy New Year!
I hope you have all had a charming and memorable 2009. It had been quite a year for me. Although the start to the middle of the year wasn’t that spectacular for me, I was glad that some wonderful things in my life happened near the end of the year. I’ve met a lot of amazing people gained some valuable friendships. AHH…What a wonderful start to 2010!
With all that being said, due to family dinners, friend meetups and a blogger meetup, it’s been one heck of an awesome holiday! I’ve been MIA, so therefore the lack and delay of my posts.
Hey, at least I’m well rested and relaxed and ready for this year. Are you?
Don’t worry, there will be a storm of posts coming soon!
Much love, health, and happiness for 2010! xoxo