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 

Soy House | Dining in Bellingham

Who would have thought that Bellingham had a hidden Pho gem (I most certainly didn't)!
Soy House is ran by Tony and Angie Nguyen, and they grew up in Saigon. Their flavours and Vietnamese delicacies are delicious. This restaurant has very tasty spring rolls as well as their Honey Walnut Prawns - these are lightly battered and served in a cream sauce on top of cabbage, with roasted walnuts and peanuts. They were something else.

The noodles, their Pho, were served al dante, never soggy, and the soup broth was clean and not oily. The Combination Pho was very good, there was plenty of meat involved and a great amount of noodles and soup.  The Kobe beef pho was quite the presentation, with your server pouring the soup over your rare meat. Their vietnamese coffee was also surprisingly on par. 

Overall, Soy House was a great suggestion by friends and I would highly recommend it if you find yourself in the Bellingham, WA area and are craving Vietnamese cuisine.

Food: Honey Walnut Prawns, Kobe Pho Bowl, and Combination Pho Bowl.
Made by: Soy House Restaurant
Location: 400 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA.

Etto | Dining in Dublin

A fantastic spot in Dublin, Etto serves great food in its cozy restaurant. This was a place recommended by my friend, Diala Canelo (who by the way has a fantastic blog, be sure to follow her on social media!). Etto had fresh ingredients that were well prepared and they have a great cocktail menu too. The choices are different between lunch time service and dinner. It's a great place to share your plates and enjoy a bottle of wine if your heart desires. 

The panna cotta was my absolute favourite dish both times I went when I was in Dublin last year (yes I tried lunch AND dinner - you had to!) 

They do deals for 2 courses and 3 courses for lunch time. A new menu almost every day.

Highly recommend this gem if you ever find yourself in Dublin. This is for foodies. 

Food: Vitello Tonnato, Cheese Croquette, Cheese Salad, Cold Cuts, Rabbit ravioli, Rabbit ragout pappardelle, Rhubarb pistachio panna cotta. 
Made by: Etto
Location: 18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Marukame | Dining in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

If you’re looking for a quick fix of udon, and you’ve found yourself in Waikiki Honolulu, Marukame is THE place to go. An array of udon bowls and tempura to choose from, Marukame serves the best tasting udon in the area. The texture of the noodles is unlike any other (of course if you go to Japan I’m sure you will find even more yummier noodles, but we’re keeping it real in Honolulu).

When you see the crazy long line up outside the door, don’t be alarmed as it actually goes by real quick. The way it works is like a canteen: you line up, pick your meal, pick your tempura, and pick your sides. Finally you’ll reach the cash register and then find a seat to enjoy your udon. The tempura is fantastic – crispy, crunchy and tasty. You can choose from veggies to prawn to an assortment and more. There are so many options for noodles: bukkake (cold), curry, ontama (egg) bukkake, and more. The one you see in the picture is Kamaage udon, where the noodles have come straight out of the boiler and doesn’t go through any cooling process. This makes the noodles have more texture – and it is delicious. It’s served with a bukkake sauce but it’s hot. There is so much flavour from the sauce that it adds to the noodles perfectly. Beware, it is a BIG bowl of noodles – but under $4 if I remember correctly! I can never get enough of udon, so this portion was perfect.

And the best part? The sides. I think this is where I had the best tasting spam musubi.  You can choose from other musubis too but nothing beats their spam musubi. You have to at least try it once in your life – you have no idea what you’re missing. The spam is marinated in I guess their secret marinade… not sure what is in it but I have never tasting any other spam musubi like it.

You can get all this for a seriously good price. Be sure to head to Marukame if you’re in the area!! 

Food: Kaggame Udon, Shrimp Tempura and Spam Musubi
Made by: Marukame
Location: 2310 Kuhio Ave, Suite 124, Honolulu, HI

B&G Oysters | Dining in Boston, Massachusetts

Last May, I got to travel with my boyfriend and his family from New York to Boston for a few days. It was another great trip I got to enjoy early last summer.

Oysters were definitely number 1 on my list of foods to eat when in Boston. B&G Oysters was one of the fine restaurants I got to check out while I was there. Oysters were fantastic – fresh and a huge assortment to try from, east to west coast (mostly east which is what I was looking forward to.)  The menu is filled with seasonal seafood dishes were definitely delicious. I had a halibut tartare as well as the oysters and some raw clams (different but had to try!)

B&G was a fun experience, as we got to sit semi at the bar on a table for six. Watching how their delicious fries were made and all sorts of dishes made us salivate while we waited for our meals. A very popular spot, make sure you get there early or make a reservation. You can’t go wrong in an establishment like B&G! I cannot wait to go back to Boston and visit B&G once more.  

Food: Oysters, Clams, Halibut Tartare
Made by: B&G Oyster
Location: Boston, MA

The Sardine Can | Vancouver Restaurants

Happy New Year!

What a great start in the restaurant world - I finally got to try The Sardine Can in Gastown here in Vancouver.

Known for their spanish tapas, I was very impressed by the level of cuisine that was presented. It really brought me back memories of when I have been in Barcelona. The Gambas was to die for - the sauce was a revelation!! Could not stop dipping my patatas in the sauce... The baked burrata special was so creamy and soft. Wrapped in a ham, it was fantastic to spread on a piece of toast with a prune compote to go with it. Another special served were their veal cheek and potatoes stuffed empanadas - talk about holy yum! Vancouverites: you seriously need to get yourselves to The Sardine Can.

The restaurant is also owned by renown chef in Vancouver, Chef Andrey Durbach and business partner Chris Stewart (La Buca, Pied à Terre, and The Abbey.) I can finally check off all four from my list!

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 Feature: The Sardine Can

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.

 

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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