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

The Bar Hemingway in the Hotel Ritz Carlton Paris | Bar in Paris

It's a fancy affair at the Hotel Ritz Paris. Come here for a fancy cocktail or dinner experience - but you must come and discover Bar Hemingway. The bar opens early in the evening, and there will always be a line. Approximately 25 people can fit into this charming establishment. Bar Hemingway (if you haven't already figured it out) was named after Ernest Hemingway. Back in the day, he apparently used to write some of his infamous works of literature in this particular bar. Filled with a unique persona and items that he admired, Bar Hemingway welcomes all.  The cocktails are all original and the bar tenders are extremely knowledgeable in mixology. Most of the cocktails we tried were quite potent - so one or two will already have you relaxed or get you ready for your upcoming dinner reservation. It is definitely a one of a kind experience! We highly recommend you take a sip or two at Bar Hemingway. Santé!

Location: Paris, France
Made by: The Bar Hemingway 

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.

One of a kind at the ECC | London, England

Hidden in London’s Chinatown, there lies a secret cocktail club… the ECC is one of many cool places to be sure to visit when you’re there. I’m sure there are many other cocktail bars that are just as fabulous as this one, but here are a few things you need to know:

The Experimental Cocktail Club is necessary to make reservations for on the busier days of the week; they are open from 6pm – 3am. Bookings are only by email and they have a certain time of day their reservation desk is open. There is a cover charge after 11pm, but I highly suggest going for a pre dinner drink in order to enjoy the atmosphere in this institution in a more comfortable manner. It is a one of a kind spot for that inventive cocktail you’re looking for. If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, ask your server. Or better yet if you get to be at the bar you can have in depth conversations about your favourite bitters and flavours from the bar tenders themselves. Perhaps they'll put a twist on your cocktail. 

Lastly, it’s not a knock on the door some days. When they are really busy and maybe full, the Maître D will be standing outside on the street – which you’ll be told to find through your reso that you’ve made.

But seriously though, for you cocktail lovers out there this is a bar you cannot miss. Every month, their menu changes and it’s always a pleasant surprise. 

ECC Cocktail BAr.jpg

Cocktails made by The ECC in London.

Woods Restaurant & Bar | Toronto Dining

Apologies, for it has been a while since I've written. However, today's finding really surprised me. I had an overdue lunch with a good friend at Woods Restaurant & Bar, somewhere we both had yet to try.  I was intrigued by the write-ups and words that Toronto Life had to offer.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

While I was browsing online, the cocktail list was what really caught my eye. After I was sat down, I ordered their Canadian Caesar. I had  no idea there was a freshly deep fried pickle involved, as well as a bacon bit rim. It was absolutely delicious.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

     The menu included many seafood choices such as Tuna Tartare, Scallops, and a Smoked Fish Trio. Moreover, Steak Tartare, Foie Gras, and Duck Breast were also tasty sounding choices. In the end, I ordered the Muscovy Duck Breast, which had a really crispy confit underneath each slice as well as duck egg béarnaise.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

For dessert, we shared their Raspberry 'Macaronnade', which consisted of Marscapone mousse, basil ice cream, a macaroon, raspberry tuile and salted pine nuts. Quite an obscure mix of flavours but it all came together really nicely. The ice cream was very impressive.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Woods Restaurant met my expectations and beyond. We had to wait a little while for our food, a service in the kitchen was running slow. But we were compensated for our wait by having our drinks taken care of and the waitstaff were amazingly friendly and knowledgeable.  Expecting to have a tasty cocktail, my friend ended up disliking the one she had ordered. Hesitant to change her cocktail, she finally asked our waitress who gladly exchanged her beverage. It was such a friendly atmosphere in the restaurant, we loved our experience.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

West | Vancouver Dining

I hadn't been back to West Restaurant in a couple years.

West was packed and has definitely turned into a hip place for drinks. Turns out the bartender had one an award at some point in their career (I was impressed!) The Mint Julep was very tasty.  The other cocktail that you see below the julep is a signature cocktail made by the award winning bar tender. Check out the cocktail list here.

For dinner, I had all appetizers (as that's what seemed to catch my eye as I was going through the extensive list).  We started with an amuse bouche, followed by our courses we ordered:

pea soup, beef tartare, and lastly a seafood risotto of prawns. 

I highly suggest making a reservation, as West is one of the popular choices in Vancouver (it's also great if you don't have to cross a bridge into downtown to dine if you plan on having a beverage or two.)

I would definitely go back in a heartbeat (it is a little more pricy) but this is because West is fine dining in Vancouver (rare to find in the city these days...)

A take on canadian, western cuisine with a modern twist. West, thank you for a pleasurable dining experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the knowledge you offered about my dishes or the cocktails I got to try.

 

IMG_1610 IMG_1611

IMG_1615 IMG_1618 IMG_1621 IMG_1624

IMG_1626

IMG_1631

IMG_1632

Hopgood's Foodliner

Comfort food on the East coast. Hopgood's Foodliner recently opened in the last year or so and offered simple foods with complex tastes. Some things were bang on, and some others just really simple tasting. Many of the food items (like the tuna tartare, the sweetbreads) sounded like they were yummy foods to eat. Yes they were yummy, but unfortunately, there wasn't much of a wow factor. Prices were a little higher than I had thought they'd be, considering what was offered. On the contrary, the desserts were delicious and so unique. Their special "bar" was definitely special! The cocktails were fantastic - the bar tender had much passion that went behind making each and every one. My favourite was the Lucy Bijou. The menu does seem to change every now and then, I have yet to go back but you can check it out online here.  I would be back in a heartbeat for the cocktails and desserts. Hopgood's Foodliner really is simple and comforting food. There is a very homey, ambiance offered in the dining room, or sit at the bar and watch the cocktails be made with TLC. Enjoy!

Reflections

IMG_8294

Reflections in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, is a trendy bar in Vancouver that is only open during the spring/summer time.

The rooftop bar is open until 11pm and serve food as well as cocktails. Delicious and pretty, the cocktails are fun and are reasonably priced. Wine and beer is offered in addition to the signature cocktails. With pools of water, tents and fire places, Reflections offers an intimate setting that is great for a girls night out or with your partner.  Service is good and the lounge chairs are super comfy. Blankets are also a nice touch if it's a tad chilly out. Enjoy!

IMG_8298

IMG_8304My girlfriends and I at Reflections.

L'abattoir

Also known as a slaughter house, this chic and funky restaurant in Gas town, Vancouver is a hot spot. Cocktails are super unique and fun to drink as their bar tenders are very friendly – if you’re not sure what to do drink, they’ll for sure help you out. Food is superb and very well presented. Service is great and you will be wowed the second you walk through the doors of L’abattoir with its original structure – a bar downstairs and the restaurant up top, as well as in a deceiving back room behind the bar with large windows. It’s almost like a house that you walk into. Enjoy the photos! Cocktails, Bread basket, Sturgeon carpaccio, Pork shoulder, Watermelon infused with tequila cocktail, Coffee and custard, and Caramelized pain perdu with lemon parfait.

IMG_6455

IMG_6461

IMG_6456

IMG_6457

IMG_6458

IMG_6462

IMG_6465