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 

Mak N Ming | Dining in Vancouver

Well what a treat this was! Last week, we visited Mak N Ming, voted best new restaurant of 2016 and we are delighted to introduce them to you all! Makoto Ono and Amanda 'Ming' Cheng are the owners of this French-Japanese fusion restaurant. The restaurant is in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Ono was the previous owner of Gastown's PiDGiN restaurant, and Amanda also came from the same establishment. The food is forever evolving and innovative. As our first time at Mak N Ming, we were spoiled with the chef's tasting menu - note there is only a choice of two set menus: the chef's menu being seven courses or their demi menu of four courses.

Our first bite was a smoked cheddar cheese ball - hot and a great start to the evening. Following, we had kombu cured snapper in tofu sauce. Then we treated ourselves to the additional course (because why not?). The feature was uni topped with a citrus yogurt & foam, miso compressed carrot and charcoal choux crumble - talk about WOW! The flavours worked so well together and the taste was like nothing we've ever had. We then had their mushroom chawanmushi (which we hoped was a little hotter), followed by pork chop with black truffle and cauliflower rice. Then as if that wasn't enough, we were presented with a Dungeness crab noodle soup - very well executed. Their bread dish of the evening was a seaweed crusted bun with spicy mayonnaise - a nice kick to the dish. The dessert was preceded by a pre dessert of a pistachio and honey cigar with milky hot chocolate - very decadent - the dessert feature was a hibiscus pear pavlova, which was refreshing, clean and tasteful. And to complete our wonderful experience, the chefs prepared petit fours of grapefruit pâte de fruits, chocolates and almond cakes. 

Be sure to order a bottle of sake from their drinks list and share with friends whilst tasting their menu. There's quite the selection of beverages at Mak N Ming, so make sure you pair to your dinner with some of their quality wines.

Let's just say, we will definitely be back again at Mak N Ming once the next menu is in! 

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Food: Smoked cheddar cheese ball, Kombu cured snapper in tofu sauce, Uni topped with a citrus yogurt & foam, miso compressed carrot and charcoal choux crumble, mushroom chawanmushi, Pork chop with black truffle and cauliflower purée, Cauliflower rice, Dungeness crab noodle soup, Seaweed crusted bun with spicy mayonnaise, Pistachio and honey cigar with milky hot chocolate, Hibiscus pear pavlova.
Made by: Mak N Ming
Location: 1629 Yew St., Kitsilano, Vancouver

Chambar | Dining in Vancouver

If you're looking for a great place for brunch, lunch and dinner, well Chambar is one of the many options in Vancouver. It's great for those who are about to see a show at Rogers Arena, as it's just minutes away from the restaurant. Perfect for cocktails and a great meal.

The menu isn't always changing but it's definitely always consistent with their flavours and service.

The restaurant had a huge makeover - and I mean enormous, as it's now got a huge patio and two floors to the public.

The old fashion is always a great drink at Chambar, as well as their seasonal cocktails that they offer. The frites are real yummy with the aioli that it comes with. With a French influence throughout the cuisine, mussels are always a staple at this restaurant. There seems to always be a duck dish whenever I go, and that's exactly what I get. This one particular time, they served the best cherry clafoutis I've had... it was to die for.

There are plenty of small plates for sharing as well, like the shrimp you see below in a delicate sauce. Overall, the menu is filled with choices for everyone and their tastebuds.

Jacques Bistro

Set in Yorkville, Toronto, Jacques Bistro has been known for its omelettes and french cuisine for many years.  Both my mum and I went to the restaurant for lunch, as she was the one who told me she used to dine there many times with her father. Walking up a narrow staircase and into a small dining room, the waiters greeted you in proper French (and English if you could not converse in their tongue). We were sat against the window and amongst an older crowd (but don't fret, it's the food that makes it all the better if you're a foody and a youngin' like my mum and I). There are many specials offered and a lot of choices to pick from the menu. I ordered an onion soup, and the Bonne Femme omelette (bacon, mushrooms and onions). My mum ordered escargots and an omelette for herself too. Simple foods, but this is exactly my kind of thing - if you can make something so simple taste so good, you are in my good books.

Jumping back to when we first came into Jacque's Bistro (who by the way still works, cooks and runs the place) my mum told me that they were known for their floating island - a soft meringue floating on English custard, almonds, caramel and fresh fruit. My mum is never wrong about desserts, and boy! Jacque's île flottant was to DIE FOR! You have to go and try for yourselves.

I highly recommend for anyone who loves french cuisine to pay a visit to Jacques Bistro. The service was fantastic, the waiters were friendly and I even got to practice my French. Students: Jacque's is definitely affordable and the portions aren't exactly small either (rich in flavours for sure). Bon Appetit!

Richmond Station

As a first posting to The Hungry Hippo, choosing the newly opened restaurant "Richmond Station" would be pretty gutsy... oh well, here it goes! IMG_9546

Richmond Station has been unavailable between the hours of 5pm to 9pm every day since it has opened, and I somehow managed to get a reservation for 5:15pm. The train station-like restaurant, is located in downtown Toronto on Richmond St. and Yonge - narrow and long as you walk in and has a hidden section at the back, with a view of the kitchen that has been left open for their guests to see into. Many reviews have raved about the up and coming restaurant with chef, Carl Heinrich (a winner from last season's Top Chef Canada) and Marben's Ryan Donovan (they actually both worked at Marben earlier this year). They have teamed up to create a modern and simple menu that include a Coq Au Vin with bacon, potato puree and mushrooms ($24), beef tartare as a special tonight, the Stn. Burger ($20) and plenty of seafood options (like that of a lobster bisque ($9), oysters on the half shell $3.25 per piece, Grilled Sea Bream $21). They also serve a daily special charcuterie plate ($14) recommended for the table to share.

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I decided to order oysters on the half shell and as a main, the Coq Au Vin. My girlfriend ordered the beef tartare but unfortunately wasn't all to her liking: and I quote, "it's good but it's slightly chewy... I could possibly make better"... which says a lot! (Like I said gutsy.) The Coq Au Vin was presented quite nicely but was lightly overcooked. It could have been a little more on the juicy side. Luckily, the bacon definitely made it all the better. I would like to return to Richmond Station and try the other items like that of the polenta fries ($7) or even the Boar Ragu ($23) which sounded delicious! Portions were just right and overall we had a good time. Cocktails ($12 and up) aren't too original but tasty nonetheless. It's definitely a place that has character (as it is set up like a station) with table tops to enjoy drinks, a long bar and many tables. Staff was friendly and accommodating, but make sure you really tell them how many oysters you'd like (I received a dozen oysters instead of a half-dozen like I asked even though I was very clear).IMG_9545

Richmond Station is a great place for a simple and tasty dinner. They are also open for lunch, if anyone has been let me know!