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Saturday, 31 March 2012

That's a Lot of Vegetables In One Day

This is a great book for vegetable lovers. The recipes are not straightforward, but definitely interesting and different than other vegetarian cookbooks.

Tonight's production based on this script included Stir-fried Cauliflower with Mediterranean Accents (page 38) and Salad with Candied Walnuts and Papaya Nests (page 50).

The recipes are more complex than one can fit in a blog article, but happy to share with anyone interested - just drop me an email.

The dinner production journey, though, is worth writing about. 

Let's start with the cauliflower dish. Steps and steps of prep.

The walnuts had to be boiled, then roasted. The sun-dried tomatoes had to be covered with boiled water and soaked. The olives had to be chopped.
More bowls started accumulating on the counter. A bowl for the oil, garlic and shallots; another for the basil, vegetable broth, chilli and lemon zest.

Now it was just a matter of stir frying, steaming, tossing.
The final product looked amazing, tasted mediocre and was weak on texture.

If I repeat this, I will deep fry the cauliflower then drizzle with all the yummies. This will deal with texture and taste yet keep the look.
The salad required as much production time and details. But it turned out delicious. 

The walnuts are boiled with chili flakes then roasted. The dressing included 10 different ingredients.

Papaya, fresh lettuce (or endives), goat cheese - all mixed nicely with the dressing of 10 ingredients.

I should remember to try this dressing again - lots of work, but worth the taste.

Let me know if you want the recipes!

Friday, 30 March 2012

You're Definitely Welcomed at Luke's Corner

Throughout your experience at Luke's Corner Bar & Kitchen, you cannot miss, let's call it a motto or a slogan, You're Welcome Here

And Luke's Corner Bar & Kitchen sure delivers. It was very flattering to be personally introduced to and welcomed by the owner. And the welcoming feeling transcended to the servers and the hearty, warm, fun and value priced food.

Not only is the food good, but it catered extremely well for my fascination with the unique and different when it comes to food. To choose one of the 5 Bucks appetizers was difficult, but the wok seared Sichuan Beans with chili sauce and prosciutto was an excellent choice and the beans were fresh and crunchy - yum. Next time I am going to go to the extreme of trying the P & P (fried pickles and peppers).

Many options of main dishes from the regular burgers and steaks to the options of 3 different Luke's Natural Dogs (maple thyme, spicy chorizo, mild Italian) and the (next visit's choice) Auntie Erin's Chicken Club with humus on a crusty baguette. But just look at this gorgeously carnivorous seducing House Made Veggie Burger I had.

Quinoa, eggs and almonds come together with wild mushrooms and black beans to generate this thicker and fluffier than any veggie burger I have ever eaten. Taste, texture and substance enhanced with a brioche bun and those perfectly done yam fries.

And this was only lunch. I can just imagine the buzz this place has in the evenings. I understand they are starting a Real Housewives of Vancouver nights on Wednesday nights. 

Or, if you are are planning a theatre date, check out their Tuesday's Theatre Date Night with over 30% savings on dinner and Stanley Theatre show.

Luke's Corner, I sure felt welcomed and enjoyed the food. I will be back again soon.

Luke's Corner Bar & Kitchen
2996 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
Luke's Corner Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Thursday at Work

If you read the Thursday entries on the blog you'd note that Thursdays are the wild fun days.

So why change it today. My team wants to see The Hunger Games. Everyone is under stress. Well, let's go to the movies.

But no one at work can do anything without food involved and watching movies on an empty stomach is no fun.

So off we go to one of six Guu restaurants in the city.

And apparently, every one of those six Guu restaurants have a different approach to feeding guests.

This was Guu Original (838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC) with a very limited lunch menu.
 Guu Original on Urbanspoon

If you are vegetarian, don't go to this one for lunch. Those weird pickles I left untouched is your only choice. 

The grilled mackerel was not bad, but filled with bones.

Now off to the movies. We bought our tickets then realized we had 1.5 hours to kill. 

Nothing better than a team meeting with some refreshments to feel productive and kill time.

The Hunger Games was worth all the wait eating and drinking and the media hype around it. 

I have read the book and the movie was very true to the book. Their depiction of the Capitol inhabitants was exactly how my wild mind imagined them while reading the book. On the other hand, some characters appeared more refined and civilized than how I imagined them from the book.

But this is not a movie blog, so will leave my critique to this and recommend the movie. As for Guu, I should leave my final verdict until I give one of the other five locations a try.


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Two Chefs and a (very small) Table

Tucked in a quiet residential street corner north of Chinatown is this charming little restaurant called Two Chefs and a Table.

It is so charming that even on a rainy Wednesday lunch hour the place was packed shortly before 12. And they so know their charm that you cannot go early and reserve a table (nor make reservations for lunch) since they only seat when "all members of the lunching party arrive". Thank God they "let it slip this time" and  got me in 6 minutes before my guest arrived.

The lunch menu is fascinating (click Here to see it). Mac & Cheese, Meathook Chili or Southwestern Fried Chicken salad? 

Alternatively you can choose from one of their 8 burgers covering land and sea. 

And let's not skim over the most unique dish I have seen in a while - Chicken and Waffles.

After much mental processing, I settled on the home made lamb burger. The meat itself was amazing, but the experience was taken a step up from regular burgers with their pesto and feta cheese. Of course they come with fries.

This is not a place to go for a discrete business deal or on a first date given how tight the place is (there are only 2 tables for 2, 4 tables for 4 and 1 or 2 community tables all cramped in a space as big as your bedroom).

But they sure pull it off with the nice decor, the buzz and the quality food. Who else could I treat for lunch next to go back there again?

Two Chefs and a Table
305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC

And now a second location in Richmond!
Two Chefs and a Table on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

somerville kitchen Original

Tonight I made up my own recipe - a somerville kitchen original that I am sharing with all.

First, cook 1 cup of wild and/or brown rice and put aside.

Cook sausages and cut into 1 inch slices.

Feel free to use any other meat or seafood (chicken breasts, shrimps, sliced beef, etc.). It will still be a somerville original.

Chop vegetables. I used onions, celery, carrots, green peppers.

Stay away from starchy vegetables (e.g., potatoes) - they take longer to cook; and softer vegetables (e.g., zucchini) - they turn into mush.

Fry the vegetables in hot oil and season with home made New Guinea spices (that is what makes this a somerville kitchen original). There is nothing else you can replace to bring out the right spiciness and colour.

Mix in the cooked rice, sprinkle with some oil, mix and fry a bit with the vegetables (but don't let it turn crunchy). Add the sausages and serve. 

What to call my dish? Please provide suggestions in Comments.

Monday, 26 March 2012

O'Doul's for Lunch? Not sure

Two friends decided to meet up for lunch and discuss their respective career changes. Thinking men statues made O'Doul's a perfect choice. After all, I always enjoyed my visits to O'Doul's; the last was 3 years ago.

The lunch menu reads well, but unfortunately failed to deliver.  We shared an arugula and mulled wine-poached pear with candied Agassiz hazelnuts and Poplar Grove tiger blue cheese (told you the menu reads well). All those ingredients tasted great individually, but the dressing that tied all together was extremely salty and overwhelmed the varied promised tastes.

Another amazing read on the menu was the ancient grain vegetable biryani with quinoa, spelt, red fife wheatberries, lentils, butternut squash, mushrooms, sun dried cranberries, smoked tofu, flat breads and raita. Talk about over promise and under delivery. Grains not well cooked, no spices to warrant a biryani name, the flat breads was rolled and messy when crunched into and the raita was this little white drizzle you see in the middle of the picture below.

Dare I say more? 

O'Doul's Restaurant & Bar
 1300 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
O'Doul's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 25 March 2012

My Sunday Ritual

My Sunday ritual begins with a 35-minute stroll along Fraser Street. Those of you who don't think Fraser is cool enough, check out this site.

I turn left on 51st and there is the most charming Church in the city - St. Raphael Old Catholic Church established in 1921 (Read more at

An hour later, after the most beautiful mass and lots of talk about tolerance and love, I stroll back to Al-Watan Tandoori (6084 Fraser Street - Read more at Weekend Lunch Pakistani Style).

I am welcomed like an old friend. I don't even have to order any more - within five minutes a fresh platter of Chicken Biryani and a glass of Mango Lassi show up at my table. I just hang out, eat, and read for an hour or so.

In fact, I usually get so involved in my book and the delicious Biryani that a platter for four is cleaned up by one. 

Now I am ready to go back home to grumpy cats waiting to join me in my Sunday afternoon nap.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Places One Finds on Main

I have not yet dedicated a full article to one store. But this market on Main Street is so intriguing, entertaining and fun to shop at that is worth an article on its own.

910 Supermarket at 4355 Main Street it is. Don't look for the name to find it (too small). Just look for the bright orange awning and the fresh looking fruit with bright handwritten signs everywhere.

The owner is a friendly young entrepreneur that believes in local foods and the community. He runs the store, the cashier and writes the signs by hand.

Examine this picture closely and get a feel of his business philosophy.

The produce he carries is great and very reasonably priced given most is local.

Today I picked up three bags of produce for $16.98 covering 12 different fruit and vegetables.

My bounty included those delicious looking green mints and Thai basil which you can count on finding at 910 Supermarket at any time of the year.

He also carries other groceries - bread, tofu, eggs, dairy, canned goods.
So support a local entrepreneur, local farmers and our diverse Main Street community by shopping at 910 Supermarket at 4355 Main Street.

Make sure you have a chat with the owner - a good, honest, down-to-earth guy that is there to help you with anything you need.

I just love his note about avoiding using VISA or MC - when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

I will see you again next week my new friend. All others reading, hope to see you there too next week.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Celebrate New Beginnings

Spring brings on new beginnings to celebrate. And a celebration it was with a delicious Indian Chinese feast.

The place was Green Lettuce, an icon since 1999 on 1949 Kingsway (Vancouver, BC).
Green Lettuce (Vancouver) on Urbanspoon

Manchurian Beef is the star. It is not on the menu but a wise blog follower once told me about it and if you ask you'd get.

The taste is unique and definitely spicy. But the flavours are not clearly Indian or Chinese.
The Vegetarian Hakka Chow Mein came in a huge pile.

Fresh, a bit spicy, not packed with soy sauce. The noodles were the right crunchiness and the vegetables plenty. The huge pile did not last long.

The Boneless Chicken curry had thin potatoes, red peppers, onions and small chunks of cauliflower all cooked in a closer-to-Chinese than Indian curry flavours. I loved it.

No matter how great the taste is, the service experience even outdoes the taste. From in to out, you are greeted immediately, served politely with a smile and respect. Despite their popularity, they handle the volume well.

And they had the cleanest chilli container in any Asian restaurant I have been to. I am so going back.

This was definitely a nice, tasty and fun celebration. I am not sure the promised great excitement of tomorrow can beat this meal.