Cha Le Tea Merchant | Dining in Vancouver

A newer tea bar has opened in Yaletown Vancouver - trendy, bright and a very modern atmosphere - all while bringing you the best quality teas. It's a great spot for a business meeting, catching up with friends, and enjoying a light meal to go along with your hot (or cold) caffeinated beverage. Cha Le Tea offers friendly service and much knowledge about the teas that are available. Green, White, Oolong, Pu'er, herbal, and black teas are offered and they all have unique flavours and history. The sophisticated teas will bring you distinctive flavours and aromas and will awaken your senses (claims their website) and we definitely enjoyed our Matcha Latte ($4.75). You can even asked to have it unsweetened (which we highly recommend doing so in order to taste the matcha). Head on into the chic Cha Le Tea Merchant Café, where you can not only enjoy a tea but perhaps a snack like their hand peeled shrimp on toast with avocado and shredded nori, or their truffled ricotta and hazelnuts on toast. If you're more of a sweet tooth, try their chocolate toast or salted caramel and banana on toast with brown sugar and cinnamon mascarpone - the choices are endless! 

Gourmoo blog (1 of 7).jpg

Location: Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe 
Beverage: Matcha Latte (unsweetened)

West Restaurant | Dining in Vancouver

West Restaurant always offers a classy, dining experience. Prepared to perfection and always plated elegantly, chef Quang Dang really knows how to treat a customer right. The West coast flare in each dish is really well integrated - whether it be the use of local ingredients, west coast oysters, or the use of forest greens, the menu is filled with British Columbian options. Fish has always been perfectly cooked, never overdone, and the appetizers are always a great way to start your dining experience at West. The cocktails are fantastic - originals and classics are offered on their drinks menu, as well as an extensive wine list that you can have by the glass or bottle or even half bottle. The menu is always changing to keep up with what's in season. We love West!

west restaurant blog_-2.jpg
west restaurant blog_-3.jpg
west restaurant blog_-5.jpg

Cocktail: Midnight Manhattan
Food: Land Tasting Menu (always changing), Crispy Duck Salad, Foie Gras Pâté, Braised Fraser Valley Pork Cheek in bone broth, Roasted Lamb Loin with black olive jus, Pineapple Cake with passion fruit parfait and pineapple custard, chocolate cake dessert from the Sea Tasting Menu.
Made by: West Restaurant
Location: 2881 Granville St. , Vancouver

The Laughing Gravy | Dining in London

One night in London, we decided to scout a spot to grab a bite to eat before seeing an off-broadway show (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead - which you must see!) We turned on our Google Maps app, typed in "restaurants near me" and voilà! The Laughing Gravy was where we found ourselves, quickly serving us with a cocktail and an impressive menu for a restaurant and bar. The food was outstanding - flavours were all there, the variety offered on the menu was plenty and cocktails were on par - talk about a hidden gem in London! Michael Facey, chef of The Laughing Gravy, presents each dish with finesse and full of flavour. The lamb braised dumplings were thin skinned (which is like a HUGE plus because who likes thick skinned dumplings, really?) and very juicy. The entrée duck and lamb were fabulous, cooked to perfection and each jus were a great touch to both dishes. To top it off, talk about a huge surprise with dessert!! Pineapple upside down cake with a coconut parfait on a coconut sponge with pineapple custard and vanilla ice cream - HEAVEN! The flavour of the coconut with the textures of the slices of pineapples, parfait and sponge... it was just a wow dessert. 

To the Laughing Gravy, thank you so much for graciously hosting us. We will definitely be back!

Food: Cocktail of the day was a Champagne special, Braisde lamb with wild garlic infused dumplings, kidney bean purée and lamb broth, Duck breast, Lamb and croquette, Pineapple upside down cake, coconut sponge, coconut parfait and pineapple custard with vanilla ice cream
Made by: The Laughing Gravy
Location: 154 Blackfriars Road, London

Jamie's Italian | Dining in Covent Garden, London

If you're looking for a spot to grab an enjoyable and casual bite to eat, Jamie's Italian never fails in London. Their Carbonara pasta is our go-to as well as their cocktail selection. The cocktails are always on par and the specials are changing with the seasons. The fries never disappoint, the pork crackling is airy and crunchy, and on top of that their calamari is superb. 

2017-04-17 14.05.07.jpg

Food: Calamari, Pork Crackling, Cobbler Cocktail Special, Spaghetti Carbonara, Fries, Gin & Elderflower Cordial Cocktail Special, Panna Cotta with berries and crumble.
Made by: Jamie's Italian
Location: Covent Garden, 11 Upper St Martin's Lane, London

Kissa Tanto | Dining in Vancouver

Voted 2nd best in Vancouver, and ranked in the top 20 in Canada, Kissa Tanto has quite the reputation, but does it have the consistency it takes to stay on top? We took a chance on this odd but uniquely decorated location. As you walk in, you're taken into a retro chic world. The service is friendly and very knowledgeable - everyone was such a foodie!

The appetizers were quite tasty; we experienced their wagyu tartare (carne crudo), which was quite decadent for a starter, and then had the eggplant fritters which were quite largely sized deep fried balls. The porchetta agnolotti was really well made - the pasta was cooked perfectly and the thickness of the agnolotti was precise. The insides however did not entirely taste of porchetta, more of a ham than the smoky and meaty flavours we had hoped for.

We then had a taste of the slow-cooked wagyu steak. This was definitely a wow! Everything you're looking for in a wagyu: a melt-in-your-mouth experience. The special that evening was a pork belly - which was massive but it was divine. Lastly, the dessert of the night was tiramisu. Airy, light, fluffy, not too sweet and just purely indulgent; the tiramisu won our hearts.

We highly recommend you make a reservation (well in advance) to dine at Kissa Tanto. The wine list includes all sorts including sake, as seen in the carafe in the images below. Kissa Tanto's fusion of Asian and Italian cuisines, proves that fusion culinary can be done.

Food: Carne Cruda - Snake River Farms wagyu, pearl onion petals, salt, charred scallino sauce, parmesan, arima sansho, fresh herbs, gnocco frito, Frittelle di Melanzane - garlic eggplant fritter, Porchetta Agnolotti, Wagyu Lifter Steak - 24hr slow cooked, fermented cabbage, Calabrian chili and parmesan, Special of Pork Belly, Dessert Special of Tiramisu.
Made by: Kissa Tanto
Location: 263 East Pender Street, Vancouver

Bar Oso | Dining in Whistler

Bar Oso screams hip, fun, and gorgeous food. As part of Vancouver's TopTable Group, Bar Oso is just what Whistler needs. A place for gathering with friends for après, to enjoy not only very good tapas but top notch beverages ranging from wines to cocktails and so much more. Finally the restaurant scene in Whistler is climbing its way up to more-than-mediocre standards. Bar Oso definitely brings a finer side of dining to Whistler, even when it's simply a bar for small plates. Their charcuterie board (fresh & cured board) is absolutely massive but it is without a doubt a must-have. You get a mix of salumis, pâté, rillette, terrine, cheese and more. Their classic pintxos include anchovies, spanish omelette and of course Iberico ham. There's a great mix of seafood and meat, and vegetarian options; something for everyone! As for handcrafted beverages, their gin + tonic list is certainly unique. BC, UK and Scottish distilleries are all included on the list, sometimes even a mix of the two in one cocktail. The bar is all about using fresh ingredients in their drinks, like their sangria with options of peach or classic red. Of course, craft beers on tap and bottled are available for your enjoyment. If you find yourself up skiing or snowboarding in Whistler, be sure to head into the village to have your après and happy hour at Bar Oso.

Food & Beverage: Brockmans + Phillips Philosopher's Brew Tonic - blueberries, balckberries, murcian orange peel, sweetened tonic with citrus notes of lemongrass and orange peel | Pintxos: gilda - anchovy, olive and piparras and iberico ham - manchego cheese and tomato | Fresh + cured board - house made foie gras parfait, rabbit rillette, pheasant pate, ham hock terrine plus prosciutto san danielle, salami, serrano, chorizo and wagyu bresaola | Beef tartare with aji chillies and chives | chorizo sausage with salsa brava, soft boiled egg and potatoes | Jamon iberico de bellota
Made by: Bar Oso
Location: 150-4222 Village Sq, Whistler BC.

The Pig & The Lady | Dining in Honolulu

A new hotspot in downtown Waikiki, Honolulu. The Pig & The Lady serve up vietnamese fare and it's hot and delicious! Their pho was tasty, their chicken fat rice was super hot, and their appetizers were all delicious. A line up outside the door means this place knows what they're doing. You can definitely make reservations, so don't think you have to wait an hour for a table. The cocktails were inventive, the staff were lovely, and the restaurant itself was bumping. It's a little on the louder side, but you'll be busy eating and stuffing yourselves. 

At their chinatown location, located in Downtown Honolulu, the food was superb tasting, and the ambiance was lively. The cocktail featured in our first image below was a rum, coconut, chili pepper and lime cocktail, topped with a basil leaf. It was definitely a unique drink, be sure to ask for a straw... it's a little difficult to manoeuvre with the excess amount of delicious coconut foam. The caviar on ramen eggs were to die for. They were our absolute favourite of the evening. A soft, marinated boiled egg with fried chicken skins and pickled shallots and topped off with caviar - the perfect combination! Find out all the foods photographed at the bottom of this post.

Food & Beverage: All In The Reflexes Cocktail - kohana rum agricole, coconut, lime, chili pepper, basil. Shakshuka - a middle eastern spiced tomato and pepper sauce, soft egg, smokey eggplant, goat gouda cheese, zataar spiced baguette. Crispy Soft Shell Crab 0 inspired from the famous fish dish from Hanoi, marinated in turmeric-galangal, aromatic herbs of dill, shiso, rau ram and mint, house pickles, roasted peanuts, rice vermicielli, mam tom bac sauce. Special: Uni pasta - absolutely to amazing. Sides: Chicken Fat Rice and Chicken Fat Bread - WARNING IT IS EXTRA HOT as it is both made with hot chili oil. P&L Pho - 12 hour roasted brisket, rare beef, stewed bone marrow, fresh ginger, calamansi, scallions, sawtooth herb, chili pepper water, fresh rice noodle. Vietnamese Ice Coffee. Yuzu Semifreddo - cocoa coffee crumble, fresh strawberries, charred pavlova, sugar cured yolk, strawberry yuzu sauce.
Made by: The Pig & The Lady
Location: 83 N. King St / 808.585.8255