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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Brunch in the Garden

A beautiful brunch in the garden. And I'm not referring to my humble jardin. This was at Shaughnessy Restaurant at Vandusen Gardens.

Brunch hosted by a great old time friend and his lovely family (thank you again); it was a perfectly pleasant experience.

The service is the first thing that strikes you. From the reservation process to the welcome to everything else afterwards, the restaurant obviously has its service processes buttoned down.

The menu selection and food was as impressive as the service.

As we pondered what to eat from the varied menu selection, a tray of freshly baked blueberry muffins showed up at the table.

It boiled down to a vegetarian crepe or a brioche french toast.

I typically never eat french toast but a strawberry rhubarb compote and house made pork sausage medallions with apple sage could not be missed.

Everything on the plate was just excellent.

Then came time for dessert. Again, I am not typically a dessert after meal kind of eater, nor a major chocoholic, but the item on the menu read...

Black & White Collebaut Chocolate Pyramid with milk chocolate and pistachio mousse.

I thought, just for the blog, I should try this.

Unique it was. The pyramid was beautifully crafted, but hard. Once cracked open, you could see the pistachios in the mouse, but the taste was definitely chocolate. Well done.

Very pleasant indeed.

5251 Oak Street
Vancouver, BC
Shaughnessy on Urbanspoon 

Friday, 29 June 2012

Back to Transylvania for More

Legend has it that once you've experienced a vampire, you're hooked. Fact is once you've experienced Transylvania Flavour Restaurant, you're completely hooked.

This all started 1.5 years ago with Knights & Maidens in Medieval Transylvania. And I have been dreaming of going back since.

Wondering if vampires will come out from behind curtains, I'm distracted by the genuine welcome of the family that owns the place, cooks and serves. This family's care is reflected in exceptional attention to detail in both the food and the service.

Everything on the menu is appealing and very quickly you'd be lost as to what to order. Solution: Knight's Platter for Two.

One of the best schnitzels in the city topped with Mititie (Hungarian sausages).

Served with a dish of excellent mustard, a very fine Caesar salad and addictive paprika dusted cut fries.

Also yam and Fruilano cheese perogies, cabbage rolls, polenta croquettes (my favourite) and very elegantly made meatballs.

All artistically drizzled with roasted red pepper sauce and sour cream.

Yes, the full platter was devoured, including the mustard dish. You see what I mean getting hooked on Transylvania Flavours Restaurant?

But wait, there is still room for dessert. I had this dessert here before and back for more - the deliciously made-by-the-owner's mom creme schnitt. I lucked out with the last piece of the night. I think I'd order a full one for my birthday.

Transylvania Flavour Restaurant
2120 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Wacky Green Onion Planting

Warning: This is a 4-steps wacky way of planting green onions. If you are the skeptical type, either don't read or commit to trying it for yourself.

Step 1: You dress up for garden work

Step 2: You buy a bunch of green onions with their roots showing up. Chop those roots off and keep aside.

Step 3: Bury the roots in the ground. Give it a few weeks and see green onions grow.

Step 4: Recycle - once you pull one out of the ground, chop its root off and put it back in. You'd never be short of green onions.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Eating on the Job

It has been a long time since I talked about eating on the road. And rightly so given my new job these days where I'm more likely to eat at home than on the road. But today reminded me of the old days...

First my favourite breakfast at my cubicle - odwalla mango juice and the hub's whole grain trail mix bar.

All for $4.75, which is what I typically pay for the juice alone at Starbucks.

Two hours later, a celebration for one of the team members included Meinhardt's delicious cup-cakes.

Dark chocolate butter cream for the boys and pink cream cheese for the girls.

Wait, that was not all.There was a box of delicious Meinhardt macarons. 

I've not tried them before, but a European among the crowd supported that those are as good as the ones you find in Paris.

Lunch was eaten in the (parked) car over a conference call (and not while driving).

A delicious hub's chicken feta cranberry salad and freshly made potato chips.

The end of day meeting had this waiting for us.

Peanut butter cookies were home-made. Almond and coconut cookies from Saman bakery. Really good, particularly the coconut ones that look like...

Home at last, welcomed by cat's special chicken stir fry.

Special because it had pepper flowers - stems of a pepper plant with small tiny peppers and their flowers. Great idea cats.

Good to be home.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chutney Anyone?

Amidst a block packed with some of the most interesting murals in the city lies a villa.

Chutney Villa
147 East Broadway
Vancouver, BC
Chutney Villa Fine South Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon 

The villa's fame comes from the generous amounts of chutney. Banana (my favourite), mango (even though I love the fruit, not really good), tomato (good) and coconut (alright).

The Aachi Varuval (cauliflower fried in peppery lentil-rice batter) sure needed chutney to moisten them.

The Dosa, crispy lentil rice flour crepes, looked weird, tasted even weirder.

One was stuffed with potatoes, peas and carrots. Tasty stuffing, but difficult to enjoy given the un-rolling dosa shape.

The Madras lamb curry was the best choice we made for this meal.

Spiced southern Indian style, it's a different flavour than northern Indian or Pakistani curries I had (I prefer the latter two though).

Some bloggers raved about the Biriyani with onion pachadi and eggplant. Not a repeat (the egg saved the dish).

Boring ambiance, slow service and uncomfortable seating did not help either.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Jardin Sunday Dinner

In yesterday's Jardin Sunday, I featured five jardin crops and offered a cookbook for anyone guessing how they were used in Sunday dinner.

Lazy readers; none of you even tried. You could have been the owner of a brand new cookbook by now.

Well, here is how each of the five crops were used.

First, the parsley. 

A piece of veal was cut into slices, pounded to a fraction of an inch thickness and made its way into becoming a Wiener Schnitzel.

Most likely the messiest production, highest in cholesterol but the tastiest.

Where does the parsley fit in you ask? A garnish on a hot dish as was one of the options considered in yesterday's article. 

The dill? A yogurt dill dip of course that went very nicely with the fried potatoes.

Which is the lead in for that tiny jardin potato. It sure was fried and you can see it as the tiniest slices in the platter to the left.

The Gai-lan

They were turned into a mini appetizer - a touch of butter, a squeeze of lemon, a bit of water in a pan. 

So fresh, they cooked in less than a minute.

As for the strawberries, they kept on multiplying and eaten fresh on a nice after-dinner walk.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Jardin Sunday

Kitchen cats having a lazy Sunday to balance my busy Sunday.

But the weather too good to ignore jardin, so I decided to check out my crop and plan a dinner around jardin crops.

The lovely parsley. 

Dad bought me two parsley plants in mid-April. Those have been growing and giving since then. I barely chop them for them to come back again - stronger and even tastier.

It is amazing how tasty fresh jardin parsley is compared to what one buys in stores.

Now what to make with the parsley? Will it turn into tabouleh? Lebanese potato salad? A garnish on some hot dish? A green smoothie? Add to a salad? Hmmm, will have to think about it.

Moving along...

I planted dill seeds for two years and they never grew well. This year, dill is popping up on its own throughout jardin.

So I chopped a branch and now decision time. Add to a soup? A yogurt dill dip? Not sure.

An unplanned potato plant is obstructing more interesting crop.

It was pulled out revealing a tiny potato. Wondering where it would stand out from store bought potatoes - fried? gratin? mashed?

Gai-lan were planted from seeds last summer and produced lots (see Jardin Chow for the older sisters of those in this picture).

The plants survived the year and they started growing again in spring. Two of them had tiny florets ready to be used. 

Not enough to make a full dish out of, but a shame to leave them go bad waiting for others to grow. So I cut them and deciding whether to fry? Steam? Add to another vegetable? Make a mini appetizer? Oh those decisions are making my head hurt.

And in between all this green, beautiful red poked its head.

A gift from my favourite blogger of beespeaker saijiki and potluck canuck, this tiny strawberry plant gives daily.

Should those go into vitamin water? Eaten fresh? Dessert? Beginning of a jam?

Now that I have my crops, I will be making dinner. And given that it is already Sunday night, this dinner was made and you will see it tomorrow. But till then, if anyone is interested in guessing what I am doing with each crop (all hints are in the crop decisions' questions above), go for it. The first who guesses at least four right will receive a surprise cookbook.