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Italian Kitchen by Glowbal Group Fall Menu by Jenn Chan

Italian Kitchen by Glowbal Group

 

There's no little old Italian lady in the back of this restaurant!

It's not that grandma's recipes aren't delicious and comforting, but they have a time and place and a trendy dinner on Alberni Street is neither of those things.  The stylish setting starts right from when you walk in the double glass doors and the hostess offers to take your coat.

The dim lighting is modern and a creates a romantic balance amongst the greys and metallics found in the remaining decor.  It's the perfect setting for an intimate date or birthday dinner with a group of friends.

Travel upstairs and you're transported to a slightly brighter setting with red walls and a central bar.  Great for business meetings or dinner with the folks.

Our meal started early on a Wednesday night to accommodate my newly adopted older lifestyle.  We sat near the floor to ceiling windows on the second floor where we could view neighbouring restaurants and the now famous Alberni Street and it's must see clientele.

First things first, you don't go for Italian food and get out of there without having a bomb ass red wine, which is exactly where we started.  We shared more than a few glasses of the Campofiorin (the 50 year celebration bottle) as recommended by our lovely waitress.   I've been a red wino for a while now and it's always nice to find a good bottle, with a fresh palette, and a fair price tag to boot!

Our first course was a delicious arancini with a spicy sauce.  The amuse bouche was amousing.  If you aren't interested in puns I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum but can't make any promises.

 

Amuse Bouche - Deep Fried Risotto Ball

Amuse Bouche - Deep Fried Risotto Ball

Masi Campofiorin

Masi Campofiorin

Masi Campofiorin

 

Round 2 of 4 was carpaccio.   The complexity of flavours created a depth you don't anticipate from/thinly shaved beef.  In my view the unique aspect of this dish was escalated with the crispy polenta,  pickled onions, and Dijon sauce that accompanied some more standard elements of a good carpaccio.  The true star of this dish was its ingenuity, too often carpaccio is served with day old crostini's which leaves a desire for creativity at the beginning of your evening.  Polenta with carpaccio!  It doesn't matter how fleet your resident Italian grandmother is, the only way she's serving your carpaccio with crispy fried Polenta is if the polenta's taking up space in her fridge.

 

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

 

Round 3.  We shared two mains the Wild Salmon and a Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs.  Did I mention the truffles?  Not just truffle oil, but real, fresh shaved truffles!!!  Topped of course with fresh shaved parmesan.  Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had your waitress ask you to "say when" while referring to fresh Parmesan?  On this occasion we definitely pushed the limit!  Cheese like snow on top of our perfectly cooked pasta.  Typically meatballs aren't my go to but these had such flavour and played perfectly with the marinara that I would definitely order it again.

I don't want to leave the salmon as second place because it deserves better than that.  Served with crispy skin and accompanied by golden beats, grilled onions, and olives with a agrodolce (Italian sweet and sour) sauce. The salmon skin was perfectly executed and not oily, the onions were sweet and tasteful but not overbearing.   You wouldn't think by glancing at the menu that this would be a full entree but it holds true.  The portion of fish was sizeable and at the end of the shared two entrees we were full (even took some to go).

 

Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs | truffle cream, herbed ricotta

Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs | truffle cream, herbed ricotta

Truffle Spaghetti with Meatballs
Wild Salmon | grilled onions, olives, golden beet, agrodolce, salmon caviar

Wild Salmon | grilled onions, olives, golden beet, agrodolce, salmon caviar

Wild Salmon

 

Dessert!  Even on a bad day dessert has an opportunity to steal the show.  Perhaps it's just the kid in us knowing that we shouldn't indulge but that no one can stop us.  I'm happy no one stopped us this night and even happier that we didn't pick the dessert ourselves.  Selected for us by Freddie the restaurant manager was the Zeppole - homemade chocolate ganache filled "mini" doughnuts.  The not so miniature doughnuts were a delight to all of our senses.  They looked and smelt so good the table next to us ordered theirs before we even tasted ours.  The taste and fun of cutting open a powdered doughnut filled with rich chocolate ganache was far better than any cheesecake in town...I'm willing to run the comparison.

 

Zeppole al Cioccolato | italian style doughnuts, chocolate gianduja, vanilla crème anglaise

Zeppole al Cioccolato | italian style doughnuts, chocolate gianduja, vanilla crème anglaise

 

Whether you're looking for a dinner, business lunch, or a fun night our with friends Italian Kitchen has got you covered.  It's upscale dining in a price range that means you can celebrate life's little moments and still afford to pay rent.  I recommend a reservation and if you're going with a big group inquire about the platters.  If you decide to follow my recommendations and order the Zeppole for dessert make sure you get an extra seat because I may just show up to share it!
 

 

 

 
Words: Amanda Scott
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Seattle Dining: Brunch at Scout by Jenn Chan

Scout at Thompson Hotel

Scout at Thompson Hotel

If Grizzly Bears in the wild were a patchwork of different plaids I think they would be less terrifying. Don't get me wrong they would probably still maul you and rip you apart Revenant-style, but their warm tones would relax you before your untimely demise. When you enter Scout at the beautiful Thompson Hotel the first thing you see is just such a whimsical Grizzly Bear. It's a first impression that stays with you as you're guided to your table past immense 10 seater booths and gorgeous tables entrapped in elegant, twisted wood bird cages. A lovely space!

Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout Brunch Menu

Scout Brunch Menu

 

Kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, lime and apple juice doesn't sound like a flavour experiment in which my participation would be deemed voluntary. Healeo, a local Seattle company, makes a very nice cold pressed juice it dubs the "Green Drink" which I found refreshing and invigorating. I also ordered a mimosa which is also invigorating, but for more traditional reasons.

Healeo Organic Green Cold Pressed Juice

Healeo Organic Green Cold Pressed Juice

 

I can always tell immediately whether you've made your Hollandaise sauce from scratch or prepackaged. Don't get me wrong I don't mind either, but you can really tell the difference when fresh ingredients are used and care is taken. At Scout they care about their Dungeness Benedict. Like a lot. Forgoing the usual English muffin for a crab cake base with a poached egg on top they nailed this dish. Hints of cilantro, subtle onion and lime zest round out this plate which also boasts some very lovely fried potatoes.

Dungeness Benedict

Dungeness Benedict

Dungeness Benedict

 

$2 beers are always a good idea! I'm not sure how profitable it is, but at $2 it wouldn't break the bank to have 10. Maybe 20? At Scout you can enjoy an ice cold, frothy Miller High Life for a twoonie. That's a $2 coin for my American readers. It's a brunch special with real potential to make an indelible impression!

I ordered a fried chicken sandwich with kettle cooked potato chips. "You can taste that it was made inside... (long pause) the kitchen". Yes, Jenn, you sure can! What I think she was meaning, folks, was that the chips were made in-house. She asked nicely I not include this in the blog, but I felt to get the true sense of our meal it was essential. And funny. Honey dominates this chicken burger, in a very good way, and the bun, also made in-house, was very fresh and tasty. The slaw added a nice crunch to the burger and it disappeared quickly. Jenn ordered an avocado toast, as she is prone to do whenever she see it's on a menu, and it was buttery and rich and the togarashi gave it a nice kick and, with the crunch of the pine nuts, rounded out a lovely experience. Avocados contain good cholesterol, give it a Google, and is a very healthy addition to any diet.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

 

The Scout cinnamon bun is more like a cinnamon dog bed. A chihuahua or a Shih tzu would have a comfortable sleep atop this behemoth! It is worth a trip all by itself. Cinnabon has got nothing on Scout! My only experience at Scout is their delicious brunch, admittedly, but I perused the dinner menu and, knowing their propensity to make everything fresh, in-house and with top notch ingredients, I can say without reservation that it would be a good culinary experience regardless of the time of day. Speaking of reservations you might want to make one as the word is out and Scout is in!

Cinnamon Sticky Bun

Cinnamon Sticky Bun

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Notch8 New Spring Lunch Menu at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver by Jenn Chan

Notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

 

"Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came." I'm blessed to be able to gaze upon the beautiful Fairmont Hotel Vancouver as I lay in my bed. We're neighbours and I'm lucky to get to spend a lot of time at Notch 8! So when Sophia welcomed us by name it felt nice. When Kristina greeted us at our table with a warm "you again?" it felt nice. Dining at Notch 8 feels nice.

 

notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

 

Our lunch started off with a couple of cocktails, but don't judge us it's after noon. The Lavender Corpse Reviver and Lillooet Daisy helped to shake the cobwebs from a Sunday spent touring Vancouver's craft brewery district. The former a gin centric tipple with citrus undertones and the latter a well balanced blueberry and elderflower dominant offering. Delicious!

 

Lillooet Daisy & Lavender Corpse Reviver

Lillooet Daisy & Lavender Corpse Reviver

 

Close on the heels came our starters; the Sunchoke Soup and Roasted San Mariano Tomato Soup as well as Notch's world famous honey wheat bread. Chef Will came out personally to grate fresh truffle on the Sunchoke Soup which Jenn found very "hearty and Earthy". It was loaded with truffle and artichoke and had a very nice broth. The tomato soup is a revelation! Campbell's soup ain't got nothing on this, sorry Andy Warhol. Sweet, fresh and served piping hot. An added bonus happens every time your spoon returns from the depths loaded with Notch's incredible fromage frais!

 

Warm Honey Wheat - honey loaf, fig, walnuts, Fairmont honey butter

Warm Honey Wheat - honey loaf, fig, walnuts, Fairmont honey butter

Roasted San Marzano Tomato Soup - tomato oil, fromage frais

Roasted San Marzano Tomato Soup - tomato oil, fromage frais

Roasted San Marzano Tomato Soup - tomato oil, fromage frais

Roasted San Marzano Tomato Soup - tomato oil, fromage frais

Sunchoke Soup - truffles, artichoke,sunflower butter

Sunchoke Soup - truffles, artichoke,sunflower butter

 

At Kristina's suggestion, executive order really, I partook in the Canada 150 Maple Leaf cocktail. Bourbon, maple syrup, lime and apple. Way to perpetuate Canadian stereotypes Notch... Everyone already knows Canadians love lime. As I was enjoying my first sip out comes out entrées: Prawn and Crab Risotto, Lingcod and Steak Frites. Yes, Jenn, all 110 pounds of her, ordered two entrées. My California cut steak came out the perfect rare, first box checked, and the meat was exceptionally tender and fresh. The fries, thin in the MacDonald's style, were unsalted and crisp; very good. In all the dish is a near perfect 9/10! Jenn claims the risotto was the best of her life: "flavourful, filling and the seafood is super savoury". Well summed up! The Lingcod, also a Jenn Chan selection, was very "flaky and it melts in your mouth". "The combination of garden vegetables that surround the Lingcod adds a certain depth to the dish". The pea and nasturtium velouté formed the perfect base of the dish and it disappeared quickly!

 

Canada 150 Maple Leaf - Bourbon | Maple Syrup | Lime | Apple A toast for our birthday!

Canada 150 Maple Leaf - Bourbon | Maple Syrup | Lime | Apple
A toast for our birthday!

Lingcod - lavender honey ash crusted, green pea & nasturtium veloute, spring vegetables, meadow flowers

Lingcod - lavender honey ash crusted, green pea & nasturtium veloute, spring vegetables, meadow flowers

Prawn & Crab Risotto - BC shrimp, dungeness crab, spring peas & beans, goat cheese, micro shiso

Prawn & Crab Risotto - BC shrimp, dungeness crab, spring peas & beans, goat cheese, micro shiso

Prawn & Crab Risotto - BC shrimp, dungeness crab, spring peas & beans, goat cheese, micro shiso
Steak Frites - California cut striploin, shoestring fries, pepper jus house steak sauce

Steak Frites - California cut striploin, shoestring fries, pepper jus house steak sauce

 

Our most avid readers would hypothesize that now is the time when we move onto some random smattering of mouth watering desserts. Notch won't let you down in this regard either! A quick google of their website shows several selections, many really, that I would fill a child's ball pit with and dive in. Normally we would indulge, but, as previously mentioned, I had occasion to visit no fewer than a half dozen craft brewers during the annual Vancouver Hop Circuit and my bed was beckoning me home. Satisfied we hugged our server goodbye, as people do, and skipped merrily out. We'd be back was out comforting thought and, hopefully, we'll see you there!

 

 

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Lobby
 
 

Afternoon Tea Series: Bacchus at Wedgewood Hotel by Jenn Chan

Bacchus

 

The Brut from Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars is a wonderful sparkling white with a dry, citrusy finish. We had been sitting no longer than a few minutes when Mr. Kyle Johnstone, the energetic Bacchus manager, brought us a couple of glasses of Blue Mountain's finest. Sitting in opulence, dark wood panelled grandeur, we sip our sparkling wine and watch our fellow patrons laugh and enjoy their meals. To say the atmosphere is upscale, the drink program amazing and the food way above average wouldn't be putting it firmly enough!

 

Blue Mountain Sparkling Wine

Blue Mountain Sparkling Wine

 

We are at Bacchus to preview their afternoon tea ahead of Mother's Day and decided on the Thunderbolt Darjeeling and Lavender Earl Grey. Mr. Johnstone has been covertly trying every afternoon tea around town to get inspiration for Bacchus' offerings and it shows! The presentation is top notch, the food hearty and plentiful and the tea is magnificent! I found the Thunderbolt Darjeeling more fruity than floral and it's packed with caffeine. There's a bit of a dryness, happily, to it that I found very satisfying and I thoroughly recommend it. For a period of about a decade I would not dry my clothes without a lavender scented dryer sheet. Ditto dish soap requiring a lavender hue. Shampoo, air freshener, body lotion... you get the idea. Having bucked the compulsive trend I still find myself partial to the sweet, soothing smell. The Lavender Earl Grey is as good as it sounds; the perfection that is Earl Grey augmented with the delicious, curative lavender. Worth a trip all on its own!

 

Bacchus Afternoon Tea Menu

Bacchus Afternoon Tea Menu

Thunderbolt Darjeeling & Lavender Earl Grey

Thunderbolt Darjeeling & Lavender Earl Grey

 

Three tiers of deliciousness are then placed in front of us.  Egg salad sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese spirals, tandoori chicken sandwiches, shrimp salad sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches make up the bottom tier. I have had some bad experiences with egg salad. Think of the apprehension you have of tequila the next time you partake after it has done you wrong... this is the hesitation with which I took my first bite, but it was the best I have ever had and quickly disappeared. Smoked salmon is incredible, I think that's universally recognized? Cheese is amongst the best things on Earth and when you combine the two, as one should, the result is a perfect 10/10 sandwich; delicious! Tandoori chicken runs a close second to butter chicken in the hierarchy of Indian food according to Scotty and this sandwich doesn't disappoint. The shrimp salad sandwich was excellent and you can tell the shrimp was very fresh and supple. While I am a self proclaimed carnivore I have to admit that I found the cucumber sandwich very delicious. A cool, crisp and refreshing offering!

 

Afternoon Tea Set

Afternoon Tea Set

Tier 1: Cucumber, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Prawn, Egg Salad, Tandoori Chicken

Tier 1: Cucumber, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Prawn, Egg Salad, Tandoori Chicken

Egg Salad Sandwich & Prawn Sandwich

Egg Salad Sandwich & Prawn Sandwich

Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwiches

 

Tier two boasts a lovely English Fruit Cake, Almond Tart, Lemon Chiffon Cake and Fruit Tart. Fruit cake isn't to be feared. This isn't your aunt realizing her fruit bowl is going bad and using up everything in a "fruit cake" and freezing it to give as Christmas gifts 5 months later. This is fresh, fluffy and sweet fruit cake and I would have eaten a pound of it. Almonds are filled with protein. 21 grams of the stuff per 100 grams onto be exact. Ahhhhhhh so this is how vegans don't waste away to skeletons. I love them and this tart made me want to eat a garbage bag full! The chiffon cake was the perfect sweetness of lemon, not too tart and not diabetes inducing and the fruit tart was delicious and packed with vitamins. Who said dessert wasn't healthy?

 

Tier 2: Mini Bakewell Tart, Seasonal Fruit Tartlet, English Fruit Cake, Lemon Chiffon with White Chocolate Ganache

Tier 2: Mini Bakewell Tart, Seasonal Fruit Tartlet, English Fruit Cake, Lemon Chiffon with White Chocolate Ganache

Mini Bakewell Tarts

 

Tier three, the top tier, is where the Atkins diet goes to die. Carbs, with carbs and some sugar. Scones, eclairs and macarons  with a heavenly Devonshire cream and fruit preserves. I have often waxed poetically about Devonshire cream and Bacchus does it as well if not better than most and it really complimented the fresh scones. Eclairs are luxury donuts, long johns packed with surprises. In this instance a rich cream that was so incredibly thick and fresh, delicious! The macarons were expertly done and the flavours, as is sometimes not the case, were well balanced. I mean at some places you'll see 'rose petal, watermelon, pineapple, crab apple, road apple, lemon, chocolate macarons'? Just stop.

 

Tier 3: Chocolate Éclair, Freshly Baked Scone, Devonshire Cream & Fruit Preserves, Macaron

Tier 3: Chocolate Éclair, Freshly Baked Scone, Devonshire Cream & Fruit Preserves, Macaron

Chocolate Eclair

 

The Wedgewood Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel just off Robson and Burrard in the heart of Downtown Vancouver and across the street from the Supreme Court of BC and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Bacchus Restaurant, as Wedgewood's prestigious lobby bar, is frequented by lawyers, doctors from the nearby hospital, businessmen, professionals and celebrities. It is an excellent place to people watch, eat and drink or just sidle up to bar and watch the game. I would very highly recommend checking it out and maybe make a night of it, book a room upstairs and go wondering the paradise that is Vancouver!

 

 

Bacchus at Wedgewood
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Seattle Dining: Loulay Kitchen + Bar with Chef in the Hat by Jenn Chan

Loulay Kitchen + Bar

 

There's something about high ceilings that really opens up your mind. The dining room at Loulay boasts 30 some odd feet of mind expanding beauty. A tasteful, modern colour palette contrasts with the red neon of the auspicious Loulay sign and disco ball chandeliers. The seasoned wait staff flash warm smiles and turn out to be a wealth of knowledge on the Loulay experience!

 

Loulay Kitchen + Bar Interior
Loulay Kitchen + Bar Interior


Our dining experience starts, as all good experiences do, with cocktails. The first 'and the beet goes on' is not just a delicious dad joke and solid pun, but is also quite a delicious use of the cantankerous beet. My family recently inherited an 320 acre farm from my maternal grandfather. What are we growing you ask? Why on Earth would I bring it up you ask? Beets; good old fashioned, Dugald, Manitoba beets. This cocktail made me think of my grandfather and the trials and tribulations he faced as a POW in Stalag Luft III, made famous by the movie 'The Great Escape' before being rescued on the Nazi Death March in 1945 and returning to Canada after WWII. Beet infused Skyy Vodka forms the base of this refreshing, citrusy concoction and it is very good. The 'Fallen Angel' is a man's drink. An good bourbon makes for an incredible drink and this cocktail gelled very well, extremely, and the light Ramazzotti touch complimented it perfectly. The 'Eldarossa' is the best of the theee and the difference you sense between a well highball and top shelf depends on your palate. As a teenager, well into my 20's really, I could drink hair spray or Grey Goose and my taste buds (and liver) didn't whimper a single complaint. As we age and as we get used to the finer things hair spray no longer doubles as a libation and the difference between Smirnoff, top shelf in many establishments, and Ketel One means a lot. As soon as you sip the Eldarossa, without even looking, I knew the ingredients were top shelf. Upon studying the menu I realized everything at Loulay is. The Ketel One base provides the perfect building blocks for the St Germain and fresh lime juice to make a very good cocktail!

 

Loulay Wine Menu
"And the Beets Goes On.." + "Fallen Angel"

"And the Beets Goes On.." + "Fallen Angel"



The Dungeness Crab Salad consists of pickled celery root, grapefruit, tarragon crème, micro arugula and is served with crostini. I have never had bad Dungeness Crab. I've had King Crab that tasted like a sweat sock, I've had soft shell crab that I wouldn't feed my dog, and I don't even like her very much, and I've had Snow Crab that I would have rather toss into a snowbank, but Dungeness has never let me down. It maintains its perfect record under the watchful eye of Chef Thierry. Chunks of grapefruit offer a tart juxtaposition to the sweetness of the tarragon crème and the crab itself and I could have eaten four orders of this!


The Scallops with Fiddlehead Ferns also featured spinach and mustard seeds. Our gracious server, Ryan, was bold enough to recommend the Pinot Noir from the Patricia Green Cellars, in Oregon's Williamette Valley, to go with the scallops. "Red wine only with red meat is a myth" was his assertion as we washed down a bite of the tender scallops with the lovely red wine. A very good pairing, a very good seafood plate and a very, very good suggestion!


Loulay Dinner Menu

Loulay Dinner Menu

Dungeness Crab Salad - pickled celery root, grapefruit, tarragon crème, micro arugula, crostini

Dungeness Crab Salad - pickled celery root, grapefruit, tarragon crème, micro arugula, crostini

Organic Scrambled Egg + Eldarossa

Organic Scrambled Egg + Eldarossa

Organic Scrambled Egg - lime créme fraiche, white sturgeon caviar

Organic Scrambled Egg - lime créme fraiche, white sturgeon caviar


The Butter Poached Halibut comes with roasted cauliflower, spinach, barley, kumquat preserve, green garlic and cultivated mushroom. In 2016 the price of cauliflower skyrocketed because, well, I don't know. But it did. A quick Google showed that it was scarcity that was the first reason for the price increase and the something strange yet eerily predictable happened. People couldn't have it so they wanted it even more.m and demand skyrocketed. The fish was very fresh, no doubt procured fresh from Seattle's port, and could not have been softer. The cauliflower compliments the deliciously fresh halibut very well and the butter poaching really elevates the dish!


Butter Poached Halibut - roasted cauliflower, spinach, barley, kumquat preserve, green garlic, cultivated mushroom

Butter Poached Halibut - roasted cauliflower, spinach, barley, kumquat preserve, green garlic, cultivated mushroom


The Carlton Farms Pork Chop dish is served with red cabbage, black garlic, carrot and Beecher's cheddar yukon potato in peppercorn sauce. Meat makes all the difference. That's why Wagyu beef, with their sake massages and pampering, tastes better than a Big Mac with its mysterious composition and origin. I imagine Carlton Farms is a wonderland where the pigs are treated as pets and sleep in the bed with their owners. Tender and fresh and paired perfectly with the peppercorn sauce and heavenly mashed potatoes. My favourites the dish of the night!


Carlton Farms Pork Chop - red cabbage, black garlic, carrot, beecher's cheddar yukon potato, peppercorn sauce

Carlton Farms Pork Chop - red cabbage, black garlic, carrot, beecher's cheddar yukon potato, peppercorn sauce


The Northwest Bouillbbaisse has fish, clams, mussels, tomato saffron broth, preserved lemon and grilled bread with Harissa. If they made tomato/ saffron shampoo I would buy it. Diddo on toothpaste. It's very good; extremely good. The seafood is very fresh and flavourful, but you could put this broth on a spare tire and I would eat it, excellent dish! As a Pacific coaster myself, from Vancouver, BC, I think I am equally spoiled by the freshness and quality of the seafood pulled from our shared waters. I believe firmly that someone from Idaho's head would explode at first bite!


Northwest Bouillabaisse - fish, clams, mussels, tomato saffron broth, preserved lemon, grilled bread

Northwest Bouillabaisse - fish, clams, mussels, tomato saffron broth, preserved lemon, grilled bread


The Duck Confit Sliders is topped with an amazing, aged sherry dressing and profiterole. Duck is a delicious bird. It goes: turkey > duck > chicken > game hen. When duck is done right, and is a healthy, lean cut, it nudges very close to the heaven that is turkey. Turkey cannot be surpassed. Because science. But these sliders were amongst the best I've ever had and the cute, little buns, made in-house of course, pâté à choux to be exact, were amazing! You need these in your life.


Duck Confit Sliders - aged sherry dressing, profiterole

Duck Confit Sliders - aged sherry dressing, profiterole


The Seared Polenta is plated with assorted mushrooms, vegetable demi-glace, and a cheese crisp. A very Earthy flavour with an excellent variety of mushrooms. A hearty version of Jenn's beloved cream of mushroom soup and she quickly devoured it before I had a chance to taste it for this blog s we will all have to take her word for it.


Seared Polenta - assorted mushrooms, vegetable demi-glace, cheese crisp

Seared Polenta - assorted mushrooms, vegetable demi-glace, cheese crisp


Chef Thierry showed up to our table next with their Seared Foie Gras in a tart cherry reduction. I can recall being forced to sit at the dinner table for hours as a young boy. Eat everything on your plate or don't leave the table until you do. Liver and onions, a staple of my dad's Scottish upbringing, was a tough night. Foie Gras is not that kind of liver and Chef Thierry's Foie Gras is a cut above that even. Soft enough to cut with a stern look it very near broke apart in my fork as I raised it to my mouth where it liquified into a cacophony of rich, buttery flavours. I have had Foie Gras at 3 and 4 diamond restaurants, mom and pop cafés and family diners and Chef Thierry's, at the renowned Loulay, is the best of them all! Worth a trip on its own, trust me.
Acting as if we were still very hungry, and not at all like he was trying to kill us through vicarious gluttony, Chef Thierry arranged for two exquisite desserts to be served as he scampered out the door to attend to his other highly regarded restaurant; Luc. Presumably to mingle with guests, answer questions and put his personal touch on Luc's diners' experiences as he had ours. First to arrive was the Lemon tart with huckleberry compote and lime crème fraiche, baked vanilla meringue and pink peppercorns. Think lemon meringue pie moving to and learning the culture of a mythical, unicorn capital city. This is the capital of lemon pie deliciousness. I've waxed poetically many a time on this blog about my dear Granny, Frances Allan, who would make the most incredible lemon pies, everything from scratch, and like a heroine junky I have been searching all my life for the same feeling that first hit gave me. This is as close as it has come, but out of deference for my dearly departed paternal grandmother I have to say it's not quite at her level. Hers was at a 13/10and this is a solid, very solid, 9/10!


Seared Foie Gras - rhubarb and spring onion bread pudding, tart cherry reduction

Seared Foie Gras - rhubarb and spring onion bread pudding, tart cherry reduction

Scallops

Scallops

Port Trio
Valrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauceValrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauce

Valrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauceValrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauce

Lemon Tart


The Valrhone Caramélia Torte is a white chocolate hazelnut malt candy with espresso sauce. The hierarchy of nuts is hard to pin down. For me it goes something like: pecan, walnut, almond, hazelnut then the rest but for some, many maybe, hazelnut is at or near the top. Nutella and this dessert are two of the reasons why. Rich, but not too sweet. Soft yet perfectly baked this is a must try. If cocktails are the perfect way to start a meal then port is the perfect way to end it! I rate my overall experience at Loulay as a solid 9/10. I always like to leave room for improvement for the venerable Chef in the Hat to ever chase the dream!

Thierry Rautureau, Chef in the Hat

Thierry Rautureau, Chef in the Hat

Loulay Kitchen + Bar Exterior
 

Holy Crab! by Jenn Chan

Holy Crab Robson
HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

As you walk into Holy Crab's bright, modern space you're struck by the casual atmosphere not usually associated with their high end fare. Crabs and clams and mussels and lobsters dot the tables as bibs and gloves adorn the smiling guests. Whimsical how-to videos play on a loop on the tv's around the dining room and comical instruction guides 15 feet high dominate the back wall, we're in for some fun!

The Holy Crab
The Holy Crab Drink Menu

The Holy Crab Drink Menu

The Holy Crab Menu

The Holy Crab Menu

 

Our lovely server Crystal was keen to introduce herself and get our culinary adventure started. Evelyn, the manager, was similarly eager to make our acquaintance and, uncharacteristically of us, we let her order our entire meal! Minus the Hurricane IPA I requested, which was delicious, and the Stawberry Pom Mojito Crystal suggested for Jenn; both delicious! Seconds after our drinks arrived the surprises started to come as well. Seafood Chowder, amazing, and Seafood Bisque were first up followed quickly by Deep Fried Frog Legs and Crispy Soft Shell Crab. The chowder has a slightly sweet broth and was packed with seafood and potato; delicious! The bisque has a nice, light broth with a distinct, fresh flavour.

 

Strawberry Pom Mojito

Strawberry Pom Mojito

Ready to get Messy!

Ready to get Messy!

Seafood Bisque & Seafood Chowder

Seafood Bisque & Seafood Chowder

Frog legs are good, they just are! Caked in an incredible Cajun spice these were the best I have ever had! Go now, we'll wait. Good, right? I've yet to ever have a bad soft shell crab. If you haven't tried them you owe it to yourself. There's no messy de-shelling, not that, that isn't super fun anyway, but you simply grab and munch.

 

Deep Fried Frog Legs

Deep Fried Frog Legs

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

 

 

Speaking of the fun of de-shelling crustaceans... Just as I pop a wonderful soft shell crab into my mouth out swaggers Crystal with the main event; a 2.4 LBs Dungeness crab which looked like he probably gave the fishermen trying to reel his crab pot in a fight. Sturdy. The young man was sturdy. As food bloggers we enjoy, and greatly appreciate, certain perks. Our favourite on this night was the opportunity to try all six of Holy Crab's sauces. Generally you'll make a decision and your prehistoric sea creature will be covered in one of their highly doggy-baggable sauces, but we were lucky enough to get a six pack and an explanation of each. I like it hot. Hot, hot, hot. So I tended, when not opting for the tried and true melted butter original, to hover around the super spicy sauce. When Jenn wasn't looking I tried to swap it around for the medium spice, but she eyed the colour difference and my prank, sadly, did not succeed. That failure aside the crab was amongst the best is ever tried. Fresh, well coloured and meaty! I highly recommend Holy Crab if the usual snottiness of high end seafood restaurants draw your ire or if you don't think your kids could behave long enough in one for you to finish. It's a modern, upscale test casual seafood experience and one the whole family can enjoy. Tell Evelyn that Jenn Chan Media sent you and you'll be glad we did!

 

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab, Shrimps, variety of sauces, Nugget Potatoes, Corn, Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab, Deep Fried Frog Legs & Lobster Bisque

Dungeness Crab, Shrimps, variety of sauces, Nugget Potatoes, Corn, Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab, Deep Fried Frog Legs & Lobster Bisque

Prawn-sized Shrimp

Prawn-sized Shrimp

How To Open a Crab

How To Open a Crab

How To Open a Crab
How To Open a Crab
How To Open a Crab
How To Open a Crab
The Holy Crab