Burdock & Co. | Vancouver Dining

Chef Andrea, who used to work at Bishop's (another one of my favourites), offers refined dishes at Burdock & Co.  The restaurant uses organic produce and fresh resources from all over Vancouver. I've been twice already: one for an event with That's Life Gourmet and the second time with friends (which is the feature of this post). The menu is always changing, but every customer of Burdock & Co. are impressed by the creativity of the dishes and how delicious they are. I had a fantastic experience from beginning to end with the company of good friends.  I highly recommend that you visit Burdock & Co. as you will enjoy the cozy atmosphere, attentive wait staff and mouth-watering dishes.

From Aug 6

from top to bottom:

cheese and crostini (no longer on menu) the infamous burdock and co. grits ribs (literally falling off the bone deliciousness) burdock's version of ramen (very good surprisingly, egg is key) and for dessert, milk and cookies (cookies that were HOT and milk was smoky!)

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Restaurant Burdock & Co.

 

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.

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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.

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     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.

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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.

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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.

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Patria | Toronto Dining

One of my first meals back in Toronto, I spent a lovely evening at Patria. Spanish food and spanish wines, it brought a few memories back from a summer spent in Barcelona. To start, Sangria was a must: white wine sangria with crisp apples and mixed apple cider and poached apples, with a lemongrass reduction. It was so refreshing for the first night of fall in Toronto.

To eat, small plates were the way to go:  from foie gras stuffed  buns to Jamón croquettes, the little bites were absolutely delicious. We then had Estrella to enjoy, a spanish beer served in a wine glass. It was very citrus tasting on its own, and had to be drank with food. The pairing was just wow. Take a look to find out more about Estrella Inedit.

We had a pasta dish with clams and bacon and melted cheese - it was my favourite dish. I could not put my fork down. Unfortunately the photo I took in the dim light was too dark and a bit wobbly but I wanted to include it anyway so you could see for yourself. A potato hash dish with a fried egg on top was very much like comfort food - a dish that is popular in Spain too.

Patria specializes in Paellas: your traditional seafood paella, a meat paella and a medley. There was one chef who worked on only the paellas that night and I believe that's all she did. It is a bit of a wait to have the paella but definitely worth trying. It was very tasty.  If you've never had paella before be sure to order it from Patria.

Dessert: Churros con Dulce De Leche and a Mousse De Dulce De Leche Conchocolatey Crema Fresca. WOW. The best part of the experience was the desserts. I am a fanatic for dulce de leche. The texture of the mousse was so smooth and the churros were crispy and not too sweet. Dipping them into the dulce de leche just made the world.

To say the least, I was extremely pleased with my visit to Patria - thank you for your hospitality and knowledge that you shared with us on food and wine. It was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Your love for food and drink really showed. I can't wait to come back next time with new friends and family, who can enjoy the wonderful and warming atmosphere at Patria.

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Food Photography | Vancouver Food Photographer

What consists of taking a real foodie picture? Well, to keep it short, LOTS. Lighting, glossing, you name it. It took almost four hours to photograph 4 objects. Insanity!! Here's a look at just what I got to learn about food photography in one afternoon and the results. Featuring Thomas Haas specialties and Hakkaisan Sake.

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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.

 

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Enoteca Sociale

An absolute favourite. Italian, family styled dining is one of my favourites. I of course have to blog about Enoteca Sociale because a) it's definitely a number one of mine in Toronto and b) it's just so good! IMG_8637

Opened not long ago, this Enoteca has so many things working for them. They are welcoming, the service is superb and they know what they're talking about! Moreover, if you want to taste the best of italian food (or as close as you're going to get to it) with local produce, Sociale has it all. The menu has changed every time that I've been and has not failed me once. From antipastis like their house-cured meats, to their home-made pastas (which is a huge seller for me), everything is delicious.

The last time I went I got to enjoy bone marrow - decadent and so worth it - as well as various pasta dishes from spaghetti to ravioli... Pork chop was another entrée that I got to taste (simple dish but juicy nonetheless).IMG_8638

That evening, a sticky toffee pudding (the best in Toronto might I add), a lemon pudding, and a butter tart with a chocolate filling was offered on the menu.

I highly recommend Enetoca Sociale, but make sure you make reservations WELL in advanced (I usually book at least two weeks in advanced!) Enjoy!

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Cork & Fin

 It's all about being fresh. I love being home because you can get the freshest seafood, and have it turned into something delicious. Cork and Fin not only has a great cocktail list, but the food menu shows promise. The oysters (which were a dollar each during their monday event "a buck a shuck",) were super yummy and from the east coast. My mum had their seafood chowder, that came with fish too. For my appetizer, I had the salmon tartare with quail egg and caviar on top (seafood friendly). To finish, I had the lobster ravioli (a bit too thick of a pasta might I add but the lobster meat and cream were fantastic).   Of course we had to have dessert and we ordered the olive oil ice cream with fleur de sel. The ice cream was very different but loved it - except for that there was too much fleur de sel (there were moments where I was trying to have a conversation or enjoy the ice cream, but the immediate saltiness was quite overwhelming at times...)  Overall, I had a great experience at Cork and Fin, I highly suggest you go if you're in Gastown, Vancouver.

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Al Fresco Restaurante Italiano

Al Fresco was such a wonderful experience. Sitting on the patio, enjoying sangria and pasta... with the sun shining, nothing beats Lisbon during the summer. If you're a foodie, well this is a great spot for you!

Below, we have the appetizer of an egg, lightly battered and fried on top of greens, with a side of mushrooms.  The sangria was very refreshing especially in the heat, but as our entrées we kept it hot. We enjoyed vongole (clams in white sauce with linguine) and a creamy mushroom pasta. Lastly, we enjoyed a specialty of the restaurant: a Zabaione, which consists of egg whites, sugar, and a sweet wine (like that of Moscato d'Asti). It's the consistency of a light custard. Very rich, but definitely a must try. If you want to see more of Al Fresco's creations, click here to get to their Facebook page. Bom apetite!

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Ursa Minor? URSA Major!

URSA - relatively new to the restaurant scene in Toronto located on Queen St. West. A take on contemporary Canadian food, but also values the nutrients of its products. Very much like comfort food, the menu offers a variety of meats and fish and plenty of vegetables (as written up on Toronto Life: "Greens are compressed in a vacuum to create the texture and feel of blanching, without the nutrient-harming boiling water.") The dining room is dim and loud, accompanied the bar on your right as you walk into the restaurant. The cocktail menu is great - there's all sorts of cocktails for everyone. The service was fantastic - everyone was super friendly and if we had any questions about the menu, they knew their stuff! One thing that was memorable was a dish with crickets in a salad - wild and fun, and utterly creative. Some might be a bit shocked by the fact that bugs are on the plate but honest to God, they tasted like chips. Even more memorable, the desserts they had to offer were unique and delectable. Overall, I was impressed after the reviews I had heard from friends and family about URSA. I would definitely head back for a second time around. A great atmosphere and the food hits the spot.

Daniel

As you enter through the revolving doors, the delicate smell of flowers swarms the dim lit lobby. Known for having its 3 Michelin stars, Daniel has made its mark in the big apple. Daniel Boulud created an astounding menu, filled with so many choices: fish, meats, and the dessert menu was the hardest of all to choose from. Once we had walked through the lobby, passing the very cool-looking bar, we entered the main dining room. High ceilings, largely arranged, bunches flowers on the back walls, the dining room seated more than 20 tables. There were columns that surrounded the outer section of the dining room. The service was fantastic, as everyone was very accommodating to our needs.IMG_0338 Daniel's cocktail list (pricy) had an array of liqueurs. The White Cosmo was absolutely the way to go - hints of elderflower, lime juice, white cranberry and vodka - not a cocktail to miss! Give the Bitter Blues a go too!

Being my 21st birthday, this experience was the best dining experience I'd had in a while. The food was presented so beautifully and tasted like each ingredient was meant to be there on your plate. It was all to die for! Going with a larger party has its perks: you get to share and try one another's dishes! I had their mosaic of squab - essentially a terrine of squab - followed by a trio of veal. The flavours were there, everything was cooked right to perfection and overall, the dishes that we had ordered were all up-to-par. Be sure to try out their fish on the menu (the turbot is apparently a great hit!)

I have to say, desserts were the wow! factor for me. Not only did I receive a little birthday surprise of chocolate and hazelnut cakes, but having ordered several desserts on top, it was an amazing experience to try all the different sorts of sorbets, meringues, fruits and more... As you'll see in the photos, Daniel really hit it out of the park for me. After having read reviews, heard people say many things about the renown restaurant, Daniel Boulud has made it into my good books - officially! I have to thank the Baptista family for such a wonderful experience and a great birthday celebration.

PS: We got to go into the kitchen to see the chefs at work! Unfortunately Daniel was away but nonetheless, it was very cool to see how things worked.