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! 

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

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.

Apples from Bristol, England | Beverages

Did you know? 
Apparently Britain makes the most cider in the world, using 57% of apples from England. Here are some more fun facts about cider in Britain:

I absolutely love the cider Britain has to offer. This is where I discovered, Ashton Press Cider. Made from all British apples, and is pressed and conditioned IN Bristol. It's a medium dry, potent and deliciously superb quality cider. I personally like really dry ciders, but Ashton Press has this fantastic and intense apple quality to it. A perfect pint! 

To find out more about Ashton Press Cider, click here.

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. 

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Cocktails made by The ECC in London.

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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