Birthday dinner #2 – forage

Forage was a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try so I took the opportunity of my birthday to ‘gently suggest’ to Fannypack to take me there on a separate occasion to celebrate (as that is our thing), so that brings us to birthday dinner #2!

As we were quickly told by the extremely attentive server, the plates here are meant to be shared (although you are welcome to hoard it all if you so choose to), so we (I) picked a few items to share.

On another note, Hitman lost these pictures too so the ones here are courtesy of Fannypack also! Lifesaver much??

forage: Kale and Apple Chips

First up the Kale and Apple Chips ($5).  There’s a mix of purple and green kale which created a very aesthetically pleasing presentation.  The chips were salted just right but I did find them a bit greasy as I suspected them to be deep-fried (I roast mine at home).  Found out from Mary’s blog post about Forage as I was writing this that they’re baked in a convection oven so that’s not so bad then.  I would be happier if there were more apple chips though.

forage: Marinated octopus

Next was one of my choices: Marinated octopus ($15) with roasted garlic crostini, gribiche, and pickled yellowfoot chanterelles.

The octopus was extremely tender and flavorful.  I liked to eat them by themselves as I found the gribiche (a sort of egg-based tartar sauce) too tart and overpowering when combined with the delicate octopus.  The gribiche presented itself like your usual egg salad.

Speaking of tart…the pickled chanterelles were quite up there!

forage: Foraged and cultivated mushrooms

I can eat mushrooms all day, so the Foraged and cultivated mushrooms ($12) was of course another one of my picks.  It had a mix of crimini button, chanterelle, shimiji and oyster mushrooms.  Topped with Happy Island goat’s cheese, it was served with caraway rye bread.

I much enjoyed the mushroom-y parts but I did think this was on the salty side.  It was also really rich.

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Tableau Bar Bistro

After weeks of planning and rescheduling, SheShe and I finally got together for brunch. She was really wanting to try chicken and waffles, which seem to have seen a rise in popularity as of late. I of course was not one to object… I mean it’s fried chicken come on! So we looked into the best in the city and decided on visiting Tableau Bar Bistro.  They were also one of the few that actually take reservations for brunch!

Tableau: Mimosas

What’s brunch without Mimosas ($10)?  We ordered some to start.  It’s your usual fare.

Tableau: Chicken and Waffles

The Chicken and Waffles ($15) were served with maple syrup.  I would’ve like the waffles to be thicker, perhaps the Belgian type.  The chicken was very nicely battered and crisp and juicy.  However as good as fried chicken was, I didn’t get the big WOW from this dish.  I think I was disappointed by the thinness of the waffles.

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Brunch at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

There comes a time in your life when it really dawns on you that you’re growing up.  Or old.  This is that year for my high school friends and I as we’re all turning 30 this year.  “Luckily”, my birthday isn’t until the end of the year so as of now I’m still the youngest of the bunch and I take every opportunity to milk that 😉

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro exterior

For Cat’s 30th birthday, she originally wanted to have a celebratory dinner.  However one of us had plans the evening of, so it got changed to a brunch instead.

Cat got to pick the restaurant and she chose The Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kitsilano.  They don’t take reservations so be prepared to wait.  For the 5 of us we waited 35 minutes at noon.

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro Interior

Open Faced Corned Beef Sandwich with overeasy eggs, sauerkraut, dijon and home fries at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

I picked the Open-faced Corned Beef sandwich, overeasy eggs, sauerkraut, dijon and home fries ($14).  First the good: it was LOADED with meat.  I mean, there was so much corned beef slices on there I could’ve easily made another sandwich.  It was pretty tasty and not overly salty as it could easily have been.

The bad: the bread was really dry.  And thick.  It was not very tasty to eat overall.  The eggs could’ve been runnier too…it was too well done for my liking.

The good again: The bread softened overnight (I packed it) and when I had it for lunch the next day it tasted much much better.

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro: Brioche Muffins with Maple Butter

I ordered a side of Brioche muffins with maple butter ($5).  They were served fresh and warm and fluffy.  A bit savory, and the maple butter wasn’t overly sweet.  I was full from this so I had my sandwich packed to go.

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Home-cooking Recipe: Stir fried Veggies with Mochi Fishcake; Steamed Egg Tofu

Stir fried Veggies with Mochi Fishcake and Steamed Egg Tofu

I actually cook more often than this blog would have you know.  I enjoy cooking, and I’m proud to say that more often than not, my creations are edible and actually yummy.  You see, I’m the type to just throw in whatever condiments/seasonings I have on hand in whatever amounts I think is right.  I think I got that from my parents, mostly my dad, who is a far better cook than my mom (sorry mom!)

Another reason why I cook so often is simply…I find my stuff is more tasty than Hitman’s!!!  I much prefer Chinese cooking than Caucasian, but we do have pasta quite often as it’s very easy.

I would like to share more of my cooking on here..it’s not easy as it’s difficult to take pictures while you’re busy stirring or chopping and your hands are all dirty.  But here’s a start.

Recipe: Stirfried Veggies with Mochi Fishcake and Steamed Egg Tofu

Stir fried Veggies with Mochi Fishcake

Stirfried Veggies with Mochi Fishcake

Note:  I got the Mochi Fishcake at T&T Supermarket, where you get the various hotpot fishballs and such.  I think this is their creation.  You can for sure substitute any other ‘meats’…this particular night this was the only easy-to-thaw ‘meat’ I had on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 Fishcakes, cut into 3
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6-7 dried shrimps
  • 2 cups frozen veggies
  • approx 2 tbsp Somen Sauce (a type of sweetened soy sauce)
  • approx 2 tbsp Low-sodium soy sauce

(Again, I didn’t measure the condiments…I just splashed them on to taste).

Instructions:

  1. Soak the dried shrimps in a little water till tender and cut in half. Save the water.
  2. Spray pan with olive oil spray and heat on medium. Meanwhile, microwave frozen veggies according to directions (4 mins for me).
  3. When pan is hot, add onions and cook til tender.
  4. Add dried shrimps (without water) and heat till fragrant.
  5. Add fishcakes and stir till hot.
  6. Add microwaved veggies.  Stir till hot.
  7. Add the Somen sauce and low-sodium soy sauce and the shrimp water.  Cook until everything’s heated through.

Steamed Egg Tofu with Garlic Black Bean Sauce

Steamed Egg Tofu with Garlic Black Bean Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg egg tofu
  • 1/2 tsp garlic black bean sauce
  • 3/4 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil for steaming.
  2. While waiting, cut open package of egg tofu and slice into 3/4 inch rounds.  Assemble on a platter.
  3. Mix together garlic black bean sauce, cold water, and corn starch. Pour onto the egg tofu rounds.
  4. Sprinkle half of the green onion and half of the cilantro on top. Save the rest for afterwards.
  5. When the water is boiling, place the platter into the steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes, take the platter out and sprinkle the rest of the green onion and cilantro on top.

Bon appetit!

Raincity Grill

Raincity Grill

Groupon had a tasting menu deal for Raincity Grill, a place I had yet to visit, where 2 can dine for $95.  Wendy had taken her mother out for a previous Groupon tasting menu at Raincity and really enjoyed the meal, and since my mom was coming to visit I decided to do the same.  My mom has never been to a small plates restaurant so I’ll pass the review over to her for a fresh perspective on the evening:

Raincity Grill Buns

I was pretty excited when I found out what type of meal this would be. The first plate to arrive was of course the bread and butter, little buns that could have been warmer but were nonetheless very tasty. The dish of salt was a nice surprise but maybe a tiny spoon to scoop it with would be helpful. Could be my inexperience but I wasn’t sure how to get just enough.

Raincity Grill: West Coast Oyster with raspberry & shallot mignonette

West Coast Oyster with raspberry & shallot mignonette

This is a little embarrassing to admit but I had never tasted a raw oyster before. I wasn’t about to get squeamish so I quickly slurped it up and it was amazing, so fresh with a hint of tartness from the raspberry. Alas there was only one but I could become a devotee of the oyster.

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