Dine Out Vancouver 2017

Dine Out Vancouver 2017: Notch8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver by Jenn Chan

Notch8

 

After a treacherous 3 minute walking commute from Jenn's apartment we bellied up to our lovely, intimate table and were approached by our very gracious server Sherrie with a cheerful "hello Ms. Chan!" A very good start! I would be remiss to forget to mention the grandeur of the beautiful Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, my personal favourite building in the downtown core, nay the province! Its signature blue roof now boasting colour changing LEDs at night and its castle-like exterior projects strength and stability. As the automatic doors from another era 70's Star Trek-style slide open you're struck by the height of the ceiling and the elegance of the marble floors as you pass windows of Louis Vuitton and Gucci displays. I myself stopped to drool over some lavish, embroidered Gucci blazers. My closet is already bursting with suits, some 30 or so, but I'd have traded 10 or 20 for this particular white and black emblazoned jacket! Notch 8 doesn't boast huge windows with views, but the size, opulence and sophistication of the room can leave you dumbfounded.

 

 
Notch8
 Notch8 Dine Out Menu

Notch8 Dine Out Menu

 

At Sherrie's cajoling Jenn ordered the Fra-Gee-Lay which is served in a foot tall leg lamp glass à la A Christmas Story. Ya. Happy to report she didn't shoot her eye out! I ordered the Lagonitas IPA which wasn't very photogenic, but delicious! Quick on the heels of our refreshments came our appetizers and a little surprise from Chef de Cuisine Will Lew. Half the surprise was his presence at our table, what a nice man, and the other half of the surprise was that he brought with him a pet project. A large marble bowl with moss and rocks that had been filled with water and frozen like a winter pond! It was made to carry two very special oysters; Kusshis with cured salmon that were simply delicious. 

 

Our appetizers followed: the Savoury Macaron and Forest Mushroom Tart. The macaron, semi sweet, came piled with caviar, smoked salmon, scallop mousse, roe, crème fraîche, tiny, edible flowers and micro dill. It was delicious with a little bit of sweet and the explosive flavour of the smoked salmon, incredibly fresh, and the delicious crème fraiche. It was very satisfying! If you're a regular reader you know that I hate mushrooms. Bad childhood experiences with those horrid canned 'mushrooms' coupled with a traumatic visit to a mushroom farm *shudders*. BC Winter Mushrooms, as served in this decadent tart, may have saved me from an upbringing of fungal fear, but, alas, the past can't be rewritten. Add in the fromage frais, chestnuts, wild onion, yet another childhood nemesis, sweet elderberry and spruce and this tart is incredible! The mushrooms had a lovely flavour and texture and blended wonderfully with the cheese and onion, worth a trip on its own! These dishes were expertly paired with a Cedar Creek Pinot Gris 2012 and was the perfect start to our culinary adventure. 

 

 

 Fra-gee-lay

Fra-gee-lay

 Lagonitas IPA

Lagonitas IPA

 Savoury Macaron, Forest Mushroom Tart + Frozen Pond

Savoury Macaron, Forest Mushroom Tart + Frozen Pond

 Frozen Pond - Kusshi Oysters wrapped with cured salmon

Frozen Pond - Kusshi Oysters wrapped with cured salmon

 Savoury Macaron - caviar, smoked salmon, scallop mousse, roe, créme fraiche flowers, micro dill

Savoury Macaron - caviar, smoked salmon, scallop mousse, roe, créme fraiche flowers, micro dill

 Forest Mushroom Tart - BC Winter mushrooms, fromage frais, chestnuts, wild onion elderberry spruce

Forest Mushroom Tart - BC Winter mushrooms, fromage frais, chestnuts, wild onion elderberry spruce

IMG_7543.jpg

 

The entrées came out with a lovely Cedar Creek Pinot Noir 2014 which was beautiful. I ordered the Wagyu Short Rib and JC had the Maple Ash Lingcod. The lingcod came with a king crab bisque, smoked oyster cream, shallot petals, sunchoke, violet endive and dulse. The king crab bisque and smoked oyster cream could have been a meal all on their own, incredible! The fish was browned perfectly and was a very lean, fresh cut. It paired well with the Pinot Noir, but the Notch 8 sommelier Jean-François was gracious enough to come to our table and suggest a Reisling that paired perfectly with Jenn's Lingcod. She of the white wine preference was very grateful to get it and the Tantalis Reisling 2015 from Kelowna was a bit sweeter and delicious. 

 

The short ribs came out accompanied by truffle, marrow-pumpkin puree, chanterelles, red winter wheat berries, huckleberry-black garlic-aged balsamic and cipollini. Unbeknownst to me wagyu is Japanese for 'Japanese cow'. Yup. I've eaten wagyu many time and always assumed, like Kobe beef, it was named for some region of Japan and received Daily sake massages, but that is not the case. The beef gets its reputation, not to mention its incredible taste and luxury price point, from its predisposition to marble. Marbling is the way the fat spirals throughout the meat and leaves the meat incredibly tender as it melts during cooking. This dish is a near perfect 10/10, stop reading and head to Notch 8 right now!

 

 

 Maple Ash Lingcod - king crab bisque, smoked oyster cream, shallot petals, sunchoke, violet endive, dulse

Maple Ash Lingcod - king crab bisque, smoked oyster cream, shallot petals, sunchoke, violet endive, dulse

Maple Ash Lingcod
 Braised Wagyu Short Rib - truffle, marrow-pumpkin puree, chanterelles, red winter wheat berries, huckleberry-black garlic-aged balsamic, cipollini

Braised Wagyu Short Rib - truffle, marrow-pumpkin puree, chanterelles, red winter wheat berries, huckleberry-black garlic-aged balsamic, cipollini

Braised Wagyu Short Rib
 Wintery Field - winter roots & greens, milled grains-oats-corn grit polenta, blue juliet, pumpernickle crumb, goat cheese 'snow'

Wintery Field - winter roots & greens, milled grains-oats-corn grit polenta, blue juliet, pumpernickle crumb, goat cheese 'snow'

Wintery Field

 

The desserts came out with a 2014 Cedar Creek Merlot which was very smooth and hit the spot. Notch keeps it simple only offering one dessert option. If you've been to Notch's Dine Out you know that dessert is like putting one more straw on a camel's back before it breaks, so much food! They served us each a Brie Walnut Ice Cream which they made in-house. It comes with black current gelee, nut wafer and fingerlime and to say it is good ice cream is like saying Michael Jordan was a good basketball player or that Wayne Gretzky had good hands with the puck. It is great ice cream, amongst the best I've ever had, and works wonderfully with the the nut wafer and fingerlime. 


 

 Brie Walnut Ice Cream - black currant gelee, nut wafer, fingerlime, paired with Cedar Creek Merlot

Brie Walnut Ice Cream - black currant gelee, nut wafer, fingerlime, paired with Cedar Creek Merlot

 

All of a sudden, before we realized 3 hours had passed, it's 10 o'clock and the lights go down at Notch 8. No, we aren't being asked to leave, but we are being asked to enjoy the sexy, sultry vibe as dinner hour makes way for cocktail hour. The live musician takes his cue and smooth jazz fills the air. We sip contently on our Merlot as an elegant, embroidered box passes by. "What is that?" we wonder to ourselves. Literally one second later Sherrie comes to see how we are doing and we ask her. It's Notch 8's Old Fashioned Dice Game. Roll 3 die and the first dictates the whiskey, the second the syrup and the third the bitters. Well we better try. Just for the completeness of the review. An old fashioned is one of those cocktails that your grandpa probably liked and wouldn't be out of place in a 1920's speak easy, but is making a comeback in a major way because of its simplicity yet complex flavours. There's no wrong roll as both mine and Jenn's drinks were very good plus if you roll 8 during Happy Hour the drink is on the house! 

 

 Old Fashioned Dice Game

Old Fashioned Dice Game

Old Fashioned Dice Game
 
 

Dine Out Vancouver 2017: CIBO Trattoria by Jenn Chan

CIBO Trattoria

 

A cozy, yet opulent atmosphere. Large, reclaimed wood beams line 2 walls supporting bottles and magnums of wines to get the imagination running. The floors are all original from 1908 and an exposed brick wall beckons from one side draped in an incredible 10 by 12 foot painting featuring a woman covered with various geometric shapes. Against the fourth wall a large gas fireplace, a gigantic mirror, that looks like it weighs 1,000 pounds, and a huge glass wine cabinet. We were warmly greeted by manager Mark and bubbly server Terri. Terri is a service veteran and it showed immediately in her kind manner and extensive knowledge of Cibo's offerings. She recommended for Jenn their Fallen Angel cocktail, Cutty Sark 'Prohibition' Whiskey, Falernum, Lemon & Denman Bitters. I decided to warm up with a glass of Domaine de Vedilhan Viognier, which was the pairing for the first course. It has a lovely note and is smooth and not too sweet, a credit to France! Mark popped out with some fresh baked, in-house daily, focaccia with a golden brown crust and it was very good and just what we needed to cure our incredible hunger.

 

Have you ever thought someone was staring at you, but weren't sure? My peripheral vision is, thankfully, incredible. It's one of the main advantages I have that helped propel me to Team Canada for ball hockey in 2000. Our gold medal in the 2000 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic is a story for another time, but the affable Spanish couple, on their honeymoon, at the table next to us is today's yarn. Jenn kicked me and flashed her phone which was open to a picture of Adam Rodriguez from CSI Miami. Give it a google, they're doppelgängers! The couple was very sweet, but spoke next to no English. They were able to mime that they went to Whistler for skiing. We suggested Cypress Mountain only "trente minuta" from where we sat. I'm 50% sure they understand what I said. We tried to Google translate the menu for them, but they ordered before we could and we spent the rest of the meal miming and asking if their dish was "bueno?" The answer was always an enthusiastic nod!

 

 

 Domaine de Vedihan Viognier & Fallen Angel

Domaine de Vedihan Viognier & Fallen Angel

 

The Cibo Trattoria offers a very nice menu for their 2017 Dine Out Vancouver. To start I ordered the Bolito Misto, a cold terrine of short rib and Cornish hen in aspic, mostarda and salsa verde. You know when you have a great meal and aren't able to finish it? You take it out of the fridge the next morning and maybe you're too eager to wait for a microwave or fearful what the radiation might do it. So you eat it right out of the container, over the sink, sometimes with your hands? No? Only me? Okay well this dish, served cold, is reminiscent of those delicious, sloppy fistfuls. The Cornish hen was succulent and the braised beef a hearty cut of grade A meat. The salsa verde was the perfect compliment and Jenn and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish! Jenn ordered the Mixed Chicory Lettuce, delicata squash, pumpkin seeds, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a very lovely, house made lemon vinaigrette. Chicory is widely eaten as a sleep aid.... zzzzzzzz... kidding, I'm awake! The tart yet sweet lemon vinaigrette envelopes everything and tricks you into thinking the slices of squash are sweet little chunks of lemon. Jenn said she "felt healthier after eating it." I only had a few bites so we'll take her word for it.
 

 

 Bolito Misto - cold terrine of short rib and Cornish hen in aspic, mostarda, salsa verde

Bolito Misto - cold terrine of short rib and Cornish hen in aspic, mostarda, salsa verde

 Mixed Chicory Lettuce - delicata square, pumpkin seeds, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon vinaigrette

Mixed Chicory Lettuce - delicata square, pumpkin seeds, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon vinaigrette

 

For entrées we ordered the Red Wine Braised Beef ‘Delmonico’ and Pan-seared Branzino. The beef spent a luxurious 4 hours braising in its red wine jacuzzi! It was served with polenta, roasted romanesco and parmesan and no knife is necessary. It jumps off the bone. It even seemed to crumble a bit when I glanced at it and it certainly came apart when the fork grazed it. The meat was flavourful and mixing the au jus with the palenta and a bite of the romanesco is amazing! Romanesco are Brussels sprouts cousin, but tastier. Roasted to perfection! I got to try one and then JC stole the rest. I managed to keep my fingers though, that's a win! Cibo paired their entrées with the Luccarelli Negroamaro and it was very nice; fruit forward, earthy and paired very nicely. The Pan-seared Branzino came with purple cauliflower, fagioli purée, roasted garlic chips and pickled fennel. The fish was crispy, well browned and deliciously flavourful. Jenn "doesn't eat the skin but it goes perfectly well with the meat". The fish probably thought they worked well together as well...


 

 Red Wine Braised Beef 'Delmonico' paired with Luccarelli Negroamaro - polenta, roasted romanesco, parmesan

Red Wine Braised Beef 'Delmonico' paired with Luccarelli Negroamaro - polenta, roasted romanesco, parmesan

 Pan-seared Branzino paired with Tolloy Pinot Grigio - purple cauliflower, fagioli purée, roasted garlic chips, pickled fennel

Pan-seared Branzino paired with Tolloy Pinot Grigio - purple cauliflower, fagioli purée, roasted garlic chips, pickled fennel

 

By this time we were feeling satisfied and this would have been one of those times when you politely decline a dessert menu and request your cheque, but this is Dine Out! Out came my Flourless Chocolate Cake and Jenn's Affogato, vanilla gelato and espresso, each served with a delicious 10 year old Tawny Port. The cake came with pickled berries and house-made mascarpone and was amazing! The Affogato was like a strong cup of coffee with a vanilla ice cream accompaniment and not vice versa. It was a very refreshing and invigorating dessert and it disappeared quickly! If you've never been to The Cibo Trattoria, Uva Wine and Cocktail Bar, Redcard Sports Bar and Eatery trio of restaurants attached to the beautiful Moda Hotel in the downtown core you need to go! Yesterday!


 

 Flourless Chocolate Cake paired with Graham's 10yr old Tawny Port - pickled berries, house-made mascarpone

Flourless Chocolate Cake paired with Graham's 10yr old Tawny Port - pickled berries, house-made mascarpone

 Affogato - vanilla gelato, espresso

Affogato - vanilla gelato, espresso

 Affogato paired with Graham's 10yr old Tawny Port

Affogato paired with Graham's 10yr old Tawny Port

 Affogato

Affogato

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Dine Out Vancouver 2017: Bridges by Jenn Chan

Bridges

 

We think we got lucky at Bridges, our waiter, André, was fantastic! Our blog posts can sometime become tales of gluttony and sloth. If you enjoy those particular sins then read on, if you don't stop now and click around on your computer and find some funny squirrel videos or vegan s'more recipes. Our adventure started off with the classic 007 martini; the Vesper. Tangeray, Stoli, Lillet with a lemon twist. A tasty Tangeray dominant cocktail with a sweet lemony kick. Jenn partook in the 5 C's: Hendricks Gin, muddled cucumber and lemon, cranberry juice and soda. We asked what 5 c's meant, we've seen it in a few restaurants, and after scratching his head and going back to the kitchen to, presumably, ask someone or Google it we got our answer. The Cranberry, Curtis, Cape Cod Cooler. A very nice mélange of flavours that Jenn found "Refreshing, like I'm in a spa"


 

 Dine Out Menu

Dine Out Menu

 

Sipping contently André came back with some oven fresh focaccia served with a nice light oil and a fantastic Modeno balsamic vinegar from the beautiful Modeno region of Italy. There is a thriving market for balsamic vinegars these days with some bottles fetching thousands at specialty shops and auctions and this bottle, though likely not with the $10,000 price tag, was absolutely divine! As we munched our bread our Dine Out appetizer choices arrived: Winter salad and BC Mussels. The salad boasted poached prawns, avocado, walnut, radish, butter lettuce, radicchio and an airy basil emulsion. A bite of prawn, some avocado, walnut and butter lettuce  and wash it down with a mouthful of the pairing from their menu, the Mission Hill Terroir Viognier 2015, and it's simply heaven. Top 10 salads of my life! The BC Mussels came in a tomato wine broth with chorizo, cilantro, corn and braised celery. Wonderfully salted tomato broth with fresh, plump mussels straight out of BC waters! Chorizo is the greatest. Full stop. Why don't I eat more chorizo? Bridge's offering was spicy and delicious and washed down with the Mission Hill Terroir Syrah 2012 it was simply worth the trip on its own!

 

 Winter Salad & BC Mussels

Winter Salad & BC Mussels

  BC Mussels - tomato wine broth, chorizo, corn, braised celery, cilantro

BC Mussels - tomato wine broth, chorizo, corn, braised celery, cilantro

  Winter Salad - poached prawns, butter lettuce, radicchio, avocado, walnut, basil emulsion

Winter Salad - poached prawns, butter lettuce, radicchio, avocado, walnut, basil emulsion

Between courses, and with an empty glass, I again leaned on André's extensive knowledge of all things Bridges and ordered a Shifting Sands: Tanqeray, grapefruit, soda and cherry brandy. Tart, yet fruity with a satisfying and refreshing grapefruit kick. It seemed I'd had no more than a sip when my Grilled Flatiron Steak was placed in front of me. It came the perfect blue rare, I was feeling a bit vampirish, And was delicious! It came with a Madeira jus and Chimchurri. It came out grilled to absolute perfection and was a truly lovely cut of meat. The jus complimented it perfectly and it disappeared quickly! Jenn ordered the Argentinian Prawns was served with preserved lemon & white wine butter. "Obese, these prawns are obese!" Jenn exclaimed after André was out of earshot. Their parents must have been lazy parents and gotten comfortable placating them with food so they would be quiet. It was delicious and the wine and butter sauce was bathing worthy. I would bathe in it. Yes.

 

Bridge's does Dine Out a bit differently as they offered a selection of sides to accompany the entrées. Jenn chose the Butternut Squash Fritters w/ corn and scallion. These little sumabitches are incredible! Even though some diners might be thrown by the fact they're called Butterbut Squash Fritters on the BridgesRestaurant.com menu they're still worth checking out! I went with the Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes and the velvety texture and savoury flavour with the perfect compliment to my almost live cut of beef.

 

 

 Grilled Flatiron Steak with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes + Argentinean Prawns with Butternut Squash Fritters

Grilled Flatiron Steak with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes + Argentinean Prawns with Butternut Squash Fritters

 Argentinean Prawns - preserved lemon & white wine butter

Argentinean Prawns - preserved lemon & white wine butter

 Butternut Squash Fritters - corn, scallion

Butternut Squash Fritters - corn, scallion

 Grilled Flatiron Steak - sorrel & citrus cream

Grilled Flatiron Steak - sorrel & citrus cream

 

For dessert I had the Bridge's Sundae: vanilla gelato made in-house, Lindt chocolate sauce and coconut macaroon. Silky smooth vanilla ice cream complimented near perfectly by Lindt's chocolate mastery. I had the Chocolate Fudge Cake w/ Raspberry Coulis. Anytime I see raspberry anything I get gleeful. Thick, decadent, glistening chocolate cake with beautiful, semi-sweet raspberry coulis. It was excellent, a near perfect 9/10! It may have inspired my after dinner drink, the Nuts n' berries. Stoli Raspberry Vodka, Frangelico, Chambord and cranberry. Delicious. A new go-to; a raspberrygasm! Jenn indulged in the Mint Chocolate Mocha, self explanatory, and said it felt like a "warm fuzzy hug at the end of an amazing meal". The perfect nightcap to a wonderful evening at Bridge's! If you've never been just picture a 180 degree view of False Creek and its many beautiful yachts, 30 foot ceilings, huge exposed beams and equally beaming staff, a must see!

 

 Chocolate Fudge Cake - raspberry coulis with Mission Hill Late Harvest Vidal 2012

Chocolate Fudge Cake - raspberry coulis with Mission Hill Late Harvest Vidal 2012

 Bridges Sundae - housemade vanilla gelato, Lindt chocolate sauce, coconut macaroon

Bridges Sundae - housemade vanilla gelato, Lindt chocolate sauce, coconut macaroon

 Nuts & Berries + Mint Chocolate Mocha

Nuts & Berries + Mint Chocolate Mocha

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Dine Out Vancouver 2017: Bambudda by Jenn Chan

 Bambudda

Bambudda

 

The boys at Bambudda know cocktails! The Post Opium is a 3-year rum, passionfruit purée, lime, Bambudda's own brand of bitters, zephyr white chocolate, calvados and sherry foam. The sweet foam contrasts the bitters perfectly and this is one delicious drink. Head mixologist at Bambudda, Tarquin Melnyk, consulted for the brand new Sports Bar at Rogers Arena, home of my faves the Vancouver Canucks and is a lead contributor to JustCocktails.org. It shows! Jenn tried the Koi Pond, a beautiful gin, Aperol, cucumber, lime and elderflower cordial. In Hong Kong last year Jenn indulged in nothing but elderflower apple cider, the 7-11 street drink special, for almost an entire week so I knew she's LOVE this. She certainly did! My Post Opium seemed to disappear quickly, because you know thirst, so Tarquin suggested a Campfire Gin & Tonic: Black Moon Gin, Stump Gin, charred cedar bitters, lemon juice, gin marshmallow. They like to say it's like drinking a gin & tonic fireside and, having had a similar smoked drink a few days earlier, I would say they nailed it where others have half faltered!  Not too smoky and the mix of gins really cut down on the tinniness I usually taste in Tangeray.

 

 

 Bambudda Menus

Bambudda Menus

 Post Opium - this daiquiri is better than dope. 3 year rum, passionfruit purée, lime, bambudda bitters, zephyr white chocolate, calvados and sherry foam

Post Opium - this daiquiri is better than dope. 3 year rum, passionfruit purée, lime, bambudda bitters, zephyr white chocolate, calvados and sherry foam

 Koi Pond - this koi brings you luck with a healthy buzz. gin, aperol, cucumber, lime, ederflower cordial

Koi Pond - this koi brings you luck with a healthy buzz. gin, aperol, cucumber, lime, ederflower cordial

 Powell St Sour - a sour that made it in new york, given some gastown love. smoky scotch, smooth scotch, lemon, sugar, whites, cab sauv float with house vermouth air on top

Powell St Sour - a sour that made it in new york, given some gastown love. smoky scotch, smooth scotch, lemon, sugar, whites, cab sauv float with house vermouth air on top

 Campfire Gin & Tonic - "if you drink a g&t in the woods and nobody is there to see it, did it happen?" Stump forest gin, charred cedar bitters, lemon juice, gin marshmallow

Campfire Gin & Tonic - "if you drink a g&t in the woods and nobody is there to see it, did it happen?" Stump forest gin, charred cedar bitters, lemon juice, gin marshmallow

 

 

That first paragraph is almost not even long enough to contain all the goodness that is Bambudda's cocktail program, but, being a Dine Out Vancouver review, I must switch gears to the appetizers though as tipsy as I felt I would probably have ground them! The gears that is. The Lobster and Shrimp Dumplings with curry kumquat mayo are as good as they sound! Very little 'filler' with the lion's share of the flavours coming from the extremely fresh and flavourful seafood. The delicious lobster flavour swims along with the sharp shrimp notes; simply delicious! The Manila Clams in a black bean sauce, black bean sauce being a staple at Jenn's favourite, old world, authentic, you-think-you're-in-China restaurant; the Congee Noodle House. The clams were fresh and plump and the sauce was the perfect match!

 

 Lobster and Shrimp Dumplings - curry kumquat mayo

Lobster and Shrimp Dumplings - curry kumquat mayo

 Manila Clams - spiced black bean sauce

Manila Clams - spiced black bean sauce

 

For our main courses we went with the Braised Pork Cheeks -and the Confit Five Spiced Duck. The pork cheeks were served with a Calamansi tomato fondue, cilantro pesto and pappardelle.  Very tender and a bite with a bit of pappardelle, some tomato fondue and you will be rushing back to Bambudda as will we! The duck was served with white bean, Chinese sausage and dark cherry sauce. The Savoury spice of the duck with the sweetness of the white bean and the sharp high kick of the cherry sauce was simply divine. I've had occasion to have some fatty duck. We've all been there, but the duck I had did Pilates or maybe hot yoga; lean and delicious!

 

 

 Confit Five Spiced Duck Leg - white bean, chinese sausage, dark cherry sauce

Confit Five Spiced Duck Leg - white bean, chinese sausage, dark cherry sauce

 Braised Pork Cheeks - calamansi tomato fondue, cilantro pesto, pappardelle

Braised Pork Cheeks - calamansi tomato fondue, cilantro pesto, pappardelle

 

 

The Coffee brûlée reminded Jenn of her childhood favourite See's candy. She devoured it and made lustful noises so I'm guessing it was good! I tend to dislike coffee flavoured everything, I've had maybe 50 coffees in my life, but I did try a nibble and they struck a nice balance of flavours between the coffee and cream. I had the Choca Trio and White Chocolate Parfait and it was marvellous! The lava cake was perfect and the parfait even better! Bambudda is an up and coming culinary hotspot and the cocktail program is amongst the best in Vancouver and you can really tell they spend a good deal of focus on it! While we dined several parties cozier up to the bar for a cocktail or two and frittered back into the night satisfied and happy! Head in and tell Tarquin we sent you and let him make you whatever he wants and sit back and watch the show and enjoy the bounty!

 

 

 Choca Trio - chocolate lava cake, white chocolate parfait, coffee brulee

Choca Trio - chocolate lava cake, white chocolate parfait, coffee brulee

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Dine Out Vancouver 2017: MARKET by Jean-Georges by Jenn Chan

MARKET

 

Service is the key to any dining, shopping, travelling or well anything really. "It's hard to find good help" is the old cliché muttered by blue-haired socialites as they lament the departure of the first housekeeper "worth a damn". Our server Kanis is one of the good ones. The Restaurant Manager, Starr, as well: bubbly, congenial and accommodating. When Kanis' parents named her, with the best of intentions, they were under the impression that Kanis still meant, as it always had, the prophet's followers, but, unbeknownst to them, had been adopted to include servants. Sadly our lovely Kanis was teased as a child in Bangladesh, but if anyone in Vancouver looks at her sideways I promise you a headache!

 

MARKET

 

Jean-Georges is a world class brand, in Paris or New York or Mexico or Vegas or here in VanCity, and you can always expect a fantastic culinary experience. Do yourself a favour and indulge in the $40, 3 course 2017 Dine Out menu! We started our experience with a Corpse Reviver II. Yes, far superior to the Corpse Reviver I. It is a melodic mix of Tangueray, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, Lemon Absinthe and orange. You feeling more awake reading that? It was a jolting, lemony concoction and, though I wasn't a corpse when I got to Market, I certainly levelled up! Jenn decided to try the 2013 Tommasi Viticoltori Le Rosse Pinot Grigio and didn't turn back! "Notes of fruit, tastes like summer". Yes, Jenn, you had a lot of white wine this summer.


 

 Corpse Reviver II & Pinot Gris

Corpse Reviver II & Pinot Gris

Dine Out Menu

 

The Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna is amazing! Dipped in the oil for only 15 seconds, just kissed really, and is served with Srirachi Aioli, amazing, AND dollops of actual Sriracha! Sriracha Aioli seems to be everywhere, but it's always struck me as a half measure. I love Sriracha, I would brush my teeth with it, wash my hair and it isn't the timid Chef who deigns to utilize it; hats off Jean-Georges! 

 

 Rice Cracker Crust Tuna, Cirtus - Sriracha Emulsion

Rice Cracker Crust Tuna, Cirtus - Sriracha Emulsion

Rice Cracker Crust Tuna

 

Lois Lake, I'm told, is a Mecca for  the people of Powell River, BC in the summer. The Lois Lake Steelhead Sashimi was served Oishi sushi style on a crisped rice log instead of traditional and with a tangy chipotle emulsion. Very fresh sashimi, generously proportioned, but "the emulsion is really what makes it tick." From the mouths of babes folks!

 

 Lois Lake Steelhead Sashimi, Crispy Rice, Chipotle Emulsion

Lois Lake Steelhead Sashimi, Crispy Rice, Chipotle Emulsion

Lois Lake Steelhead Sashimi

 

In between the appetizers and the entrées we decided to indulge in some more of the naughty water. At Kanis' suggestion I had my favourite cocktail of the night. The Ginger Margarita is exactly what you think, but better. Reposado tequila, ginger lime, Cointreau, ginger salt and simply delicious! "Hey margarita! Can you put that in the article so people know how funny I am?" Stellar Zoolander reference from JC, stepping her game up!

The Beef tenderloin came with crunchy potatoes which were amazing. The meat came out that sexy pink that catches your eye. Tender, flavourful and oozing personality. Dip it in the smokey tomato compote and it elevates the flavour even further! Jenn ordered the Slowly Cooked Steelhead, which one could assume, again, came from the fresh water paradise of Lois Lake. It came with mashed potatoes and truffle vinaigrette. Very moist fish, soft, buttery and delicious and the subtle hint of truffle really accentuated it nicely. We also got a dish of Foie Gras to share. As I type this autocorrect changed "foie" to "dope" and that's not far off. So tender that it absolutely melts in your mouth and flavourful. There isn't an adjective higher than flavourful, but there should be to describe a good bite of 'fatty liver': decadent, incendiary, heavenly... Bottom line is it's good! Go and purchase some. Today.

 

 Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Slowly Cooked Steelhead, Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Seared Foie Gras

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Slowly Cooked Steelhead, Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Seared Foie Gras

 Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Crunchy Potatoes, Smokey Tomato Compote

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Crunchy Potatoes, Smokey Tomato Compote

 Slowly Cooked Steelhead, Mashed Potatoes, Truffle Vinaigrette

Slowly Cooked Steelhead, Mashed Potatoes, Truffle Vinaigrette

Slowly Cooked Steelhead

 

The Quails Gate Vintage Foch 2012 was suggested to accompany our dessert and it was delicious; sweet and smooth. I ordered the cheesecake with warm pear compote and spiced gel and Jenn had the warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. The cheesecake was incredibly soft and rich and was bathed in the delicious pear compote. The warm chocolate cake is Jean-Georges' take on the ever popular lava cake, but with an upscale French influence. It comes with a frothy vanilla ice cream with the perfect vanilla flavour. The desserts just accentuated our experience and left us satisfied and almost too weak to walk the 100 metres to our home. We did get up and make our way out, reluctantly, and each glanced back and estimated, forlornly, how long it would for us to get back!

 

 Warm Chocolate Cake + Cheese Cake

Warm Chocolate Cake + Cheese Cake

 Cheese Cake, Warm Pear Compote, Spiced Gel

Cheese Cake, Warm Pear Compote, Spiced Gel

 Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Dine Out Vancouver 2017: ARC Dining @ Fairmont Waterfront by Jenn Chan

ARC Dining

 

 

When you enter Arc you are taken by the incredibly beautiful space: 30 foot ceilings, massive columns, dark woods, modern seamless glass railings, fireplaces, marble, fresh orchids, opulent fixtures, and a complete glass wall, 180 degrees in an arch, 30 feet high, the length of the restaurant overlooking Canada Place and the waters of Burrard Inlet. It is IMPRESSIVE; all caps. It was renovated in 2014 to the tune of $3M and you can see where every penny went. It is truly one of the most grand great rooms in the downtown core restaurant or not!
 

 

 
ARC Dining
ARC Dining
ARC Dining
 ARC Dine Out Menu

ARC Dine Out Menu

 

 

The Caesar Meyer is a slam dunk and a fantastic way to start a meal. I give it a 9.2/10 on the patented Jenn Chan Photography Caesar metre, one of the highest scores ever allotted.   It had a delicious flavour and texture reminiscent of a spicy Campbell's tomato soup and I bloody love Campbell's tomatoes soup, Warhol wasn't the only one! Jenn had the Lavender 75, Arc's take on the French 75 and remarked it was "lemony, a bit bitter, but refreshing and not too overpowering." That's high praise gentlemen!

 

 

 ARC Signature Caesar & Lavender '75

ARC Signature Caesar & Lavender '75

 


The meal started with an Arc menu staple, the Beet salad. It had grated goat cheese all over erythang. If you sprinkled goat cheese all over 'Weird' Al Yankovic I would eat him too. Legit. Large, fresh, tangy and sweet beets, both golden and red, and worked marvellously with the cheese.

 

 Beet Salad - salt-baked beets, apple gel, lotus chips, farmhouse goat cheese, hazelnut dressing

Beet Salad - salt-baked beets, apple gel, lotus chips, farmhouse goat cheese, hazelnut dressing

 

The Tuna Tartare came next and will be featured prominently in Arc's upcoming 2017 Dine Out offerings. It was highlighted the fresh, supple tuna and large chunks of pickled cucumbers. Combined with subtle jalapeño flavour, delicious candied lime and black sesame seeds because, well, they make everything better. Bland soup; sesame seeds, scrape your knee pour some sesame seeds on it, getting evicted; you guessed it, black sesame seeds. "Being targeted by ISIS; black sesame seeds" thanks Jenn for your nightly contribution, but hopefully your input doesn't land us on any no-fly lists! I once had tuna tartare, ceviche or sashimi 10 times in a week. No exaggeration. This ranks in the top 5 percentile I've ever had in terms of flavour combinations, presentation and freshness. 

 

 Albacore Tuna Tartare - egg yolk purée, pickled cucumber, jalapeno, candied lime, black sesame seeds

Albacore Tuna Tartare - egg yolk purée, pickled cucumber, jalapeno, candied lime, black sesame seeds

 Albacore Tuna Tartare

Albacore Tuna Tartare

 

In between the appetizers and main courses the GM Dave Vo, a genuinely nice man, recommended Jenn try the Yuzu Sour. A lovely mixture of yuzu, cucumber and gin that Dave, himself, was responsible for being on the menu. He beamed when he came back and Jenn told him how much she was enjoying it. Our lovely waiter Arvin then came out with the Arc's famous Flaming Rosemary Gimlet. They flame the rosemary, which they grow on the roof on the Arc, in front of you at your table. They really stress 'garden to glass' at Arc, as some restaurants have started to do, but it doesn't get much more direct than the roof of the restaurant!

 

 Flaming Rosemary Gimlet & Yuzu Sour

Flaming Rosemary Gimlet & Yuzu Sour

 

The entrées featured, drum roll please, bread. Fresh skillet bread to be exact sweetened with honey from their rooftop bee hives. Rarely does bread take centre stage, and this is no slight against the charred octopus or braised short ribs, but this bread is good! The Charred octopus is local and caught in the waters of the Pacific Ocean which were visible from our elegant table. The octopus was very fresh and complimented the accompanying chorizo perfectly. Dried olives added a lovely flavour and the summer heirloom tomato ragu was simply heavenly! The Braised Beef Short Ribs, braised agonizingly slowly for a full 6 hours, have a scrumptious coffee and chili glaze. Seldom does an entrée, the main protein at least, pair so well with the wine suggested. The Merlot from Burrowing Owl washed down a bite of the short rib in a way that could only be described as preordained. Have you ever gotten into a fistfight over mashed potatoes? It came very close on this night! Light, airy, buttery goodness. 2 small dollops of heavenly mashed potatoes border the plate and were metered Out like rations for a starving man, so good! The Lingcod had a lovely breaded skin that had a crunch that was divine. It came with fingerling potatoes and a Japanese mayo and was very good.

 

 

 Chared Local Octopus - tomatillo dressing, dried olives, chorizo, summer heirloom tomato ragu

Chared Local Octopus - tomatillo dressing, dried olives, chorizo, summer heirloom tomato ragu

Chared Local Octopus
 ARC Skillet Bread - heritage grain, caramelized honey, lavender butter, rooftop herbs

ARC Skillet Bread - heritage grain, caramelized honey, lavender butter, rooftop herbs

 Braised Beef Shortrib - coffee and chili glazed, roasted baby turnips, parsley

Braised Beef Shortrib - coffee and chili glazed, roasted baby turnips, parsley

Braised Beef Shortrib
 Lingcod - purple kale, heirloom carrots, crispy shallots, potato purée, olive oil sabayon

Lingcod - purple kale, heirloom carrots, crispy shallots, potato purée, olive oil sabayon

 

The Dessert platter was immense! The Hoyne Brewery Dark Matter Choco Cake was rich and delicious, the Pistachio Pot de Crème reminded why I used to eat pistachios by the bucketful as a youngster, the Ice Cream Trio was an eclectic bunch with the smooth texture of homemade and the White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake had a simple yet intoxicating flavour. If you could have finished these desserts you're a better man than I and, sadly, a bit had to go into the ever-shameful doggie bag. Head over to Arc and try for yourself and you'll leave as happy as we did!

 

 

 ARC Dessert Platter - Hoyne Brewery Dark Matter Choco Cake, Pistachio Pot de Crème, Ice Cream Trio + White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

ARC Dessert Platter - Hoyne Brewery Dark Matter Choco Cake, Pistachio Pot de Crème, Ice Cream Trio + White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan