Osteria Savio Volpe

December 3rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

As one may have gathered from precious posts, HG is very fond of dining in Vancouver, Canada’s magical city in the northwest. Because of its large Asian population, there are scores of very good Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian and Vietnamese restaurants. So, when in that city, HG focuses on those cuisines (with a few side trips to Rodney’s for superb oyster platters). HG/BSK’s pals, Jamie S. and Karen C., are authoritative and enthusiastic members of the Vancouver dining-out community. They touted the hottest restaurant in town, Osteria Savio Volpe (have to reserve weeks in advance). HG/BSK joined them there for an Italian meal that combined innovation with tradition. Savio Volpe is a beautiful, gently lit restaurant. Service is both friendly and professional. Everything combined to make the meal joyous and memorable. As suggested by management, the foursome shared a number of dishes. Consumed in this order: White anchovies with grilled leeks, egg, aioli, olives and bread crumbs; kale salad with lemon pepper dressing and Romano cheese. Main dishes: Robust roast suckling pig enhanced by a flavorful sauce; rare top sirloin with charred onion and horseradish crema. HG consumed only modest portions of these mains since HG concentrated on a dish shunned by BSK, Jamie and Karen: Tripe alla Calabrese in a sauce of tomatoes, chile peppers and Pecorino cheese. It was served in a bubbling stew pot with hunks of very good grilled bread (to sop up the sauce). HG is a big fan of New Mexico green chile Menudo (tripe stew). However, HG must confess: Savio Vople’s tripe stew is the greatest tripe dish HG has ever tasted. Yes, better than Tripes a la mode de Caen in Paris and the various tripe dishes served in Bologna or Florence. The festive meal ended with a giant “Tiramisu Sundae” which combined pastry, gelato, hazelnuts and a dash of Marsala. The foursome contemplated their foodie good fortune with snifters of limoncello and grappa. Viva Italia!! and Viva Savio Volpe!!

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Dynasty Dim Sum

December 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

One thing New Mexico does not have is Dim Sum. There are fewer happier sights than a well lit, vast, busy Chinese restaurant serving weekend dim sum. Everything is savory, inexpensive and the little tastes provide a multitude of Asian flavors. So HG is left thinking of his recent trip to Vancouver’s Dynasty Restaurant . The place was jammed when HG/BSK, Karen C. and Jamie S. arrived for a noon feast. There were big tables seating multi generations of Chinese. Other big tables seating a variety of ethnicities. Vancouver is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities and this is reflected in the staggering array of restaurants. A unifying element is that the entire population is obsessed by good food. The HG/BSK party relished shrimp dumplings (har gow); steamed pork buns; turnip pancakes; black truffle dumplings (a first); scallop and tobiko dumplings; pastry stuffed with ground pork; steamed spare ribs with lychee and peppers; fried eggplant with fish cake. Dessert was mango pudding and coconut cream pastry. November rain (as usual) dampened the Vancouver streets but Dynasty was a dry, warm haven of joy.

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Great Food Town

November 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The high rise glass and steel tower, which is HG/BSK’s temporary residence. in Vancouver has a 350-foot pool and a whirlpool hot tub. A big fitness center with scores of varied exercise machines. So, this morning, HG swam one mile and BSK ran, cycled, stretched, etc.. Yes, it is imperative to exercise in Vancouver because the lure of great food is omnipresent. Here are some of the food experiences HG/BSK have enjoyed: Picked up a slab of pheasant pate plus some unctuous duck liver and truffle pate; jambon de Paris and cornichons at Oyama in the Granville Island Public Market. A baguette and grape bread (for breakfast) from Terra Bread and lush Winnipeg cream cheese from the Market’s cheese counter. Oyama is owned and run by French-Canadians and their pates, rillettes, terrines, sausages, hams, etc. beat anything offered in Paris. Vancouver, of course, is a very Asian city so HG/BSK tried a new Vietnamese restaurant, Mr. Red Cafe, in the Kitsilano neighborhood. This is North Vietnamese cooking with many different menu items than the usual cuisine offered in Vietnamese restaurants in the United States. HG/BSK enjoyed crisp-skinned “Turmeric Fish” and mango salad. Went back to Peaceful Restaurantfor a lunch of spicy Dan Dan Noodles and lamb dumplings. These dumplings are very much like traditional soup dumplings. The diner takes a little nibble and drinks the broth before eating the cumin scented lamb. Returned to Congee Noodle House on a rainy day for comforting mushroom and scallop congee. Congee Noodle Hose still makes great congee but the other offerings have gone downhill. Sad. However, the predominantly Asian customers seemed to be relishing various noodle dishes. So, if you get there, confine yourself to congee and noodles. Wide noodles with prawns looked good.

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BSK Vancouver Show

November 21st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

BSK’s show of her hand crafted, one-of-a-kind ceramic vessels, sculptures, expressions and masks was attended by enthusiastic friends, collectors and dealers. Show was at Karen C.’s beautiful Vancouver town house. Much good food. And, generous Jamie S., the co-host, was lavish in pouring a lovely rose, a flavorful white and a robust red. HG/BSK met old friends from HG/BSK’s days in Vancouver when HG/BSK owned a series of lofts and a modernist town house. Conversed with new acquaintances and were pleased to welcome Adam and Meredith C.. Adam is the son of two of HG/BSK/s favorite people, Antony and Claudia C.. Young Adam looks like and sounds like his distinguished Dad. Meredith is a clever sparkler. BSK made some sales, evoked interest from dealers and was questioned about doing custom pieces. A wonderful day that began at 11AM. HG/BSK reluctantly left at 10:30 PM. Jamie was still pouring. Karen was still full of energy and the joyous group was still laughing as tired HG/BSK left. Among the pleasures of the day, besides the joie de vivre of Canadians, was the presence of Kaiser, Jamie’s delightful frisky (but well behaved) Havanese. Made up for the absence of Toby, The Wonder Dog, HG/BSK’s New Mexico companion.

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Vij’s Rules

November 18th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Vij’s is one of the ornaments of Vancouver. It is an Indian fusion restaurant and as close to being perfect as any eatery can be. It was located on 14th Avenue just east of Cambie. When HG/BSK were part time Vancouver residents for some ten years, HG/BSK ate there at least once a week. No reservations. HG/BSK would join a line waiting for the 5:30 PM opening. Only way to get seated without a long wait. Vij’s has moved some blocks south on Cambie into a much larger, luxurious space with perfect lighting and acoustics. As always, there is lovely blend of warm, attentive service and restaurant professionalism. Founder/owner Vikram Vij has always promoted wine as the right accompaniment for his food. This is reflected in a new, vast wine list. Many affordable bottles and rare vintages for high flying oligarchs. HG/BSK drank Beaujolais Villages and dined on grilled vegetables in a mung bean curry; ling cod in a tomato based sauce; Vij’s signature dish of pink lamb “popsicles” in a cream curry. Warm naan slicked with a variety of spices and basmati rice. Palate cleansing kulfi and a creative Indian version of carrot cake were the desserts. Opulent meal. Memorable.

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Tojo’s

November 16th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Tojo’s, located on Broadway in Vancouver’s Fairview neighborhood, has long been acknowledged as one of the best Japanese restaurants in North America. Perfect place to celebrate HG’s 87th birthday. Yes, the political situation in the United States is dismal. However, HG/BSK have much to be thankful for. HG remains reasonably healthy, active. Appetite is robust. Love for BSK is sustaining. HG is grateful to have a brilliant, humane, talented family. So, political woes were left behind as HG/BSK feasted at Tojo’s. Tuna tataki on a bed of shaved daikon. Baked oysters (indescribably delicious). Age tofu (perfectly fried cubes of lush, creamy tofu). Unagi on fluffy rice. Baked Pacific sablefish (black cod) with “Tojo’s special marinade”. Unusual Japanese version of creme brûlée for dessert. Drank a pleasant French sauvignon blanc. Lovely evening.

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Where Freedom Reigns

November 14th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Oh, joy. HG/BSK are in Vancouver, the beautiful, cosmopolitan city in the land of liberty–Canada. Living in a high floor of a glass and steel tower adjacent to the city’s hockey stadium, home of the Vancouver Canucks. Wonderful views of skyscrapers and city lights plus a little terrace facing the mountains and English Bay. Good workout area (BSK’s domain) plus a 350-foot long pool and whirlpool (HG’s hangout). Exercise is necessary since Vancouver is food city of renown. The Asian food is the best on the continent. On arrival, HG/BSK dined at Congee Noodle House. Bowls of steaming congee with sliced scallops and mushrooms. Small plates of “Chef’s Special Chicken”, barbecued duck and, for HG, pork and shrimp wontons. Next day went shopping on Fourth Avenue in the Kitsilano neighborhood. (The most beautiful women in Vancouver shop on this lively avenue)). Lunched at Peaceful Restaurant. Szechuan Ma Po Tofu and string beans with shredded pork. Very tasty with restrained notes of heat and oil. Beautiful, well designed place. Election gloom is beginning to lift from HG/BSK.

SeaBus crtossing Burrard Inlet, Vancouver BC

SeaBus crtossing Burrard Inlet, Vancouver BC

Taco Land

November 13th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, Trumpland is a very strange land. HG/BSK have just completed a three day road trip to Vancouver, B.C.. Glad to be in HG/BSK’s favorite Canadian city (HG/BSK were part time residents for more than 10 years). HG/BSK’s drive took HG/BSK through some of the most exciting landscapes in North America (Utah’s Canyonlands; Washington’s Yakima Valley; the rivers and hills of Oregon; the mountains, waters and low hanging clouds of the Seattle area). Sadness. The land is beautiful but, unlike Canada, liberty has screeched to a halt. Der Trumperer has been quite nasty about Mexicans. However, when it comes to their tummies, his mindless hordes are lovers of Mexican cooking. At every gas station exit on the major highways, there is a taco chain restaurant. Indeed, the taco seems to be running neck and neck with the hamburger as traveling America’s favorite food. Pizza is a distant third (according to HG’s highway observations). HG/BSK stopped for chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce at Chavalos in Mancos, Colorado. Good stuff. Sweet service. BSK steered into the Mexican part of town in Yakima, Washington. The brilliant woman (who has developed a talent for spotting down home road food) parked at Taco El Grande. Real Mexican food. No concessions to the gringos. BSK had a fabulous cheese and pork quesadilla with tomatillo sauce. HG had carne adovado and lengue (tongue) tacos. Home made corn tortillas. Drank ice cold Mexican pineapple soda. Perfect. Thanks, BSK.

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Glorious Tofu

March 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG is very fond of Tofu (bean curd). Made from soybeans, the silken substance is one of the world’s healthiest foods, full of valuable nutrients, low in calories and no cholesterol. Prevents a variety of cancers. It has the virtue of making HG feel virtuous while devouring many dishes. HG’s favorite Tofu dish is Agedashi Tofu. Cubes of Tofu are dusted with potato or corn starch and deep fried to a golden brown. The hot Tofu is served in Tentsuyu (a broth of dashi, mirin and soy sauce) and topped with grated daikon radish. Shohko Cafe in Santa Fe serves a very good version. When living in Vancouver, HG/BSK often enjoyed Tofu with spinach at the Fortune Garden restaurant. Fiery Ma Po Tofu (Tofu, ground pork, scallions, garlic, ginger, hot chile oil, Szechuan peppercorns, peas, peanut oil) was a specialty at Congee Noodle House in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood (restaurant was very close to HG/BSK’s loft). HG/BSK would often get takeout containers of this dish (plus poached chicken or barbecued duck) for casual dinners at home. Here in New Mexico, BSK makes a comforting version of Ma Po Tofu as well as a warming soup of Tofu, spinach (or watercress) and smoked ham. At the pleasant Saigon Cafe in Santa Fe, HG often lunches on Pho, the great Vietnamese noodle soup, with Tofu replacing the usual strips of beef. The eatery also makes a good version of Chow Fun noodles with Tofu. On hot Prince Edward Island summer days, cool comfort is provided by Hiyayakko, a dish of chilled soft tofu flavored with organic soy sauce and grated daikon. Gives HG enough energy for long walks by the seashore and refreshing dips in the sea.

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Dosa Royale

December 15th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

A dosa is a delicious food staple from South India. Basically, it is big, round crepe-like lentil and rice flour pancake. It is freshly cooked on an oiled griddle and served plain or rolled around a variety of fillings–fish, meat, chicken or vegetables. The dosa is dipped into “sambar,” a rich, soupy dip and accompanied by a variety of chutneys. HG’s favorite brunch when HG lived in Vancouver, B.C., was a dosa at Chutney Villa in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. The restaurant, run by a warm and friendly Indian woman, was a hundred yards from HG/BSK’s loft (best views in Vancouver). Few things were more delightful on a rainy (very frequent) Vancouver morning, than eating dosa, sipping chai and reading the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper. HG revived these memories with a Sunday brunch at Dosa Royale on Court Street in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Tucked at a comfortable round table overlooking the colorful street scene and attended by a gentle young waitperson, HG devoured a very large, crisp edged dosa rolled around a filling of spinach and paneer (a white Indian cheese). Very good sambar and chutneys. HG sipped chai, read the Sunday New York Times, people watched. Many young Moms and Dads with their babies. Lots of beards. HG strolled along lively Court Street and then veered over to Smith, anther street lined with shops and restaurants. Bars were crowded on this grey Sunday with loud fans watching pro football games on TV. Much elation over victories by the Jets and Eagles.

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