Showing posts with label fusion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fusion. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sushi salad and Thai seafood salad recipe



Here's another delicious way to incorporate as much greens into your daily diet as possible.  I created this recipe out of my love for sushi and what's available in the fridge; mostly salad boxes.  What's great about this dish is you can still have the same satisfying flavours you love from eating sushi.  Only half of it is carbohydrates, so it will keep you full while the other half is raw green veg so it is lighter on calories and high in vitamins and nutrients.  Shiso, which can be found at Korean or Japanese grocery stores, is a great ingredient to use as it gives a pleasant minty kick .  You can pretty much tweak it and get creative by adding pretty much anything you want.  

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked Japanese rice
6 large prawns
2 cups organic baby kale and arugula 
1/3 cup finely sliced onion
5 shiso leaves, finely chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 tbsp. tobiko (fish roe)
sesame seeds

sauce/dressing:
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. shoyu 
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
Optional:
Japanese mayonaise 
toasted nori

Preparation:
Season rice with 2 tbsp. rice vinegar and 1 tsp. salt.  Poach prawn and cut into halves. In a separate bowl, combine kale, arugula, shiso, avocado, onion and add dressing to the salad.  Add rice and shrimp and mix the ingredients well.  You can opt out of drizzling yummy Japanese mayo on top as it is off the chart in calories.  As for me, it makes life wonderful so I used it.  Top with tobiko and sesame seeds.  If you have nori, that's a bonus.  It's like eating an unassembled maki.   Mix everything together again before and enjoy!



Thai seafood salad is very similar to a ceviche; acidic, heavy with herbs and raw ingredients, and the main focus is on showcasing the natural flavours.  Again, it's very low on carbs but can be satisfying and filling. Because of its zesty and refreshing characteristics, this dish would also make a great  as a summer dish.
Ingredients:
1 tilapia fillet
4 large prawns
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. chopped green onion
2 tbsp. cilantro
1/4 cup mint
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. sugar

Preparation:
Poach tilapia and shrimp for several minutes until cooked.  Careful not to overcook! Cut into bite sizes and plate.  Top seafood with herbs. In a small bowl, combine minced garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.  Season to taste.  Add red chilies if you want to make the dish even more exciting.  Drizzle sauce over the salad and serve.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Better Than (you know what) Chocolate Fondant at Cafe de L'Orangerie

A little heaven in a cup..

I'm not a big fan of desserts.  My sweet tooth is small and underdeveloped, and, at times, my dessert would consist of something savoury.  But this seemingly typical chocolate cake was so special that I am compelled to dedicate a post for it.   The chocolate fondant cake at Cafe De L'Orangerie, a small homestyle Euro-Japanese cafe in Marpole area, arrived at our table in a ramekin with a side of light whipped cream.  It took a while to arrive, but it was well worth the wait. 


 Dusted with powder sugar icing, I dug my spoon into a light and fluffy cake batter.  The top layer was had a bit more crisp in the exterior and very airy.  The overall texture was more puffy and loose like a souffle than a spongy cake.  Underneath was a warm, oozing liquid chocolate that was not overly thick or sweet, it was just right.  The first bite of the decadent chocolate sauce combined with the cocoa-rich cake was such an intense gastronomic experience that drove my palette into a frenzy. 
The last bite was just as amazing as the first.  I scraped every last crumbs off the dish, savouring every bits of it.  If you had a bad day, order one of these and I guarantee you'll feel better.  

Now that I got the best part out of the way...

 Allow me to back track and walk you through some of the other dishes.  Cafe de L'Orangerie specializes in Euro-Japanese cuisine, including fusion pasta, hamburg steak, curry, panini, and desserts.  We tried out several dishes and the mentaiko spaghetti with extra bacon just hit the spot for me.  The pasta, tossed in cod roe and mayonnaise, had a nice creamy and savoury flavour.  With added smokiness from the bacon and shredded nori, I had no problem finishing up the entire plate alone. 

A small bowl of soup of the day and salad came with one of the sets


Hamburg steak is the ultimate comfort food for Euro-Japanese cuisine.  The oroshi hamburg steak was served with a fried egg on top.  A total homestyle, hearty meal.  They left the yolk runny just the way we love and it was satisfying with the succulent patty.  The oroshi sauce was a combination of shredded daikon and ponzu sauce which was really zesty and gave the steak a zing.  They were generous with the amount of sauteed mushrooms too.  We also tried the hamburg steak with curry version. While the oroshi was good, the Japanese curry had so much more depth and flavour for the hamburg steak.  Again, you won't notice how full you are, you would want to keep on eating.  
 
Two things I wish this place had was 'doria', or baked rice, and 'omurice', or omelette wrapped fried rice.  Instead, I ordered the seafood mac n' cheese gratin, which is almost the same as a doria but with macaroni instead of rice.  The top layer of baked cheese was so satisfying.  It was thick, hot and gooey, wrapping around the scoops of macaroni drenched in cream sauce.  Again, you know this is not good for your heart, but it is good for the soul.  
 

On to other desserts on the menu:

This impressive looking parfait consisted of edamame paste, vanilla, ice cream,  red bean, rice balls and puffed rice.  The edamame paste was a bit dry and not very sweet. It was an interesting texture to pair with the vanilla ice cream.  This was a heavy duty parfait.  The bean paste and the whole combination was really filling just after a few bites.  

Green tea pudding parfait was pretty awesome and I would love to get it again.  The pudding was very soft with a distinct matcha flavour.   Again, the red bean was present to complete a wholesome Japanese dessert. They loaded up the rice balls pretty good for this one.  If you eat all of them (which I almost did), you'll feel pretty stuffed.  

Cafe de l'Orangerie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dining with royal round 2; Secret Location

Secret Location's concept combines everything trendy from food, luxury, fashion, art, and contemporary design. Located right beside the ever-buzzling Chill Winston in Gastown, this not-so-secret spot is actually really hard to miss as its white open space with fluorescent lighting would turn heads for any passerby.  Not an average lounge in the city, it is worth stopping by if you want to indulge in the ambience of the glitz and glam.  Of course, when dining with His Majesty, one wouldn't expect for anything less. 

 

 
Secret Location's got great selections of specialty cocktails.  I ordered one which has the name associated with a kimono.  The cucumber taste was quite prominent, but I found it light and refreshing. Sir A&W ordered a very mean looking 'Arsenic', an indigo-coloured concoction served in a tall glass like the ones the evil queens drink from in fairy tales.  It was as mean and stiff as it looked, and worth every penny.


 
Plowman's Platter was a great plate to share with a group.  It arrived with a basket of  I'm not sure if I remember this correctly (the Kimono got to me), but I think it was 'duck tongue' terrine, which I really liked. It was smoky, sweet and salty like Chinese char siu pork.  The aged cheddar was sharp and wonderful, while the homemade mustard was delightful pairing with the other charcuterie.  The one lone pickled Romanesco broccoli was peculiar and fascinating to look at as it was my first contact with it.    
 
 The Qualicum beach scallops with parsnip and  bone marrow ravioli, chanterelle mushrooms, and carrot butterwas an art on a plate.  It actually looked prettier than it tasted.  The ravioli dough was on the extreme end of al dente.  Though His Majesty loved it that way, I found it too chewy and hard for my liking.   
This dish looked like it came straight from the garden; Italian burrata, Okanagan peach and nasturtium salad.  The grilled peaches were so sweet and juicy, it made me miss Okanagan and the summer very much.  The salad itself was crisp, the burrata was soft, yet incomparable to the ones served at Cru and Siena.  
 
Daily selection of canapes that night came with chicken consomm√©, quail, a dollop creme fraiche, and a cocktail shrimp.  That's the best description I could give.  The quail was very tender, but the other three bites were not so memorable.  
We loved the truffled organic deep fried egg and grilled asparagus, and fontina fondutta.  The black truffle was really faint, but the deep fried egg had a very crispy exterior and soft, runny yolk, which when mixed with the silky cheese sauce, was just delicious.
I stole a bite off Lady Chang's crispy skin Polderside duck, another art on a plate.  Cooked medium rare, it was very similar to the duck I had the previous night at L'Abbatoir, but with less sauce.  Again, when they say 'crispy' skin, I really wish they took it to heart and made it really crispy! 
My pick for main entree, grilled AAA striploin with peppercorn sauce and potato zucchini galette.  Though the striploin was much too chewy for my liking, despite being medium rare, I absolutely loved the zucchini galette.  Thin, crispy layers of golden brown potato pastry with even thinner alternating layers of sliced zucchini.  There were interesting components on there; the fava beans, and the pecorino stuffed squash blossom which strangely tasted very much like a dessert. 
Artichoke and black truffle gnocchi with English peas and Reggiano parmesan sounded excellent.  In reality, it was really dry.  The texture of the gnocchi was what's expected, and slightly on the chewy side.  It tasted great the first few bites, but, even with the truffle, it wasn't enough to keep us interested.  
Lady Chang finished her meal off with Petits Fours of the Moment, the passion fruit tart on the lower left corner won her over.  

At Secret Location, you can indulge on the aesthetics; elegantly presented food, and chic atmosphere.  
Secret Location on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dining with royal round 1; L'Abattoir

For those who don't know, "L'Abattoir" sounds like a trendy, upscale place to come for drinks.  While it is true, the name also has a darker meaning, translating to something along the line of a 'slaughterhouse'.  While the restaurant pays its homage to the neighbourhood's history of being a meat packing district, the ambience is still very chic, combining the essence of classic, industrial structures and contemporary designs, giving the restaurant a unique character.  

I've read about L'Abattoir while it was featured in enRoute magazine while I was traveling, but this was the first time I finally visited the restaurant.  When you dine with a royalty, there's no holding punches.  L'Abattoir was our first destination out of the 5 this past weekend.  I braced myself and kissed my salary goodbye.  

I was so glad I ordered the El Camino, a specialty cocktail.  Tasting like the last drops of summer, this drink's got everything a girl like me could ask for; watermelon-infused tequila (yes, please!), Campari (si), lime (me gusta) , grapefruit pop (fancy!), and salt thats brimmed all the way down the glass, which made it harder to lick without looking awkward.  The best part was the fresh slice of watermelon that's completely saturated with alcohol by the end.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pre-dinner at DamSo

 
On one hectic Monday evening, we arrived Ma Dang Coul, a popular Korean restaurant on Denman, for a huge dinner feast.  As we were the first few to arrive, half an hour deemed too long to be waiting around with no food.  So, we decided to head over to Damso, a Korean fusion restaurant nearby known for their modern spin on traditional Korean dishes.  

There were so many appealing dishes on the menu.  Like always, we put our brains together but ended up using our gut instinct to pick out words that stood out best for each of us.  They included my preference for beef tongue, B's usual craving for dok-bokki, and P's carnivorous appetite for beef ribs.  We were really tempted to order Kalbee Osso Bucco, which seemed to be a popular item amongst the diners there.  It was visible at almost every table.  Just watching the guy next table sucking on the juicy looking meat off the bone on an empty stomach proved almost too much to bear.  However, we resisted the temptation as a bigger feast was awaiting us in half an hour at Ma Dang Coul.

The first dish to arrive was B's pick, chicken kalbee dok-bokki.  Who knew that these Korean rice cakes now a common staple were once only served as Korean royal court cuisine?  The dish was what you would expect from dok-bokki from anywhere.  The rice cakes were soft, yet chewy.  The sauce was a bit tangy and more sweet.  There were small bits of chicken in there and a lot of onion.  Size wise, it was a pretty good dish to share and very filling too.  
 
Now, this was a version of carpaccio I had never tried, kalbee, or beef short rib, carpaccio.  The first thing I noticed and only thing I didn't enjoy about this was the texture.  The beef ribs were nicely marbled and marinated, but when I chewed into it, the meat was also completely frozen.  I'm not sure if that's how it was meant to be served.  Nonetheless, despite the frozen meat, I was still able to appreciate the different elements that made up the whole dish.  The use of crisp Asian pear, jalapenos, sesame, and some kind of really refreshing and citrusy dressing worked well altogether.  

 
The last tapas dish was my absolute favourite.  The beef tongue, served in some kind of a sweet sauce, was extremely tender.  And I can't stress that enough. I loved the flavour of the sauce, a harmonious blend of sweet and savoury, which complemented the beef tongue nicely. When I think back of the other beef tongue I had, I couldn't think of one as memorable.  Next time, I honestly wouldn't share this with anybody. Y'all get your own tongue.

Damso is serious about being creative and innovative with their dishes.  I would definitely love to come back again not only to eat more beef tongue, but try out other dishes like the Osso Bucco, bulgogi burger, stuffed calamari sausage, and almost everything else on the menu.

Damso Modern Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Above Eleven

 
When I heard about the concept of Above Eleven, a new restaurant/sky bar opening at Fraser Suites, Sukhumvit, I knew I had to check it out before I leave Bangkok.  After bringing a few friends and checking it out, I was certainly glad I made the right choice.  Above Eleven brings yet another level of  sophistication to nightlife, and a new dining adventure to Bangkok's savvy food scene.    

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Audrey Bistro and Cafe





Pic of waitress in uniform as per reader's request
 

Located in the heart of Thonglor, Audrey is currently one of the "it" spot to be for socialites and celebrities alike (we spotted Jiab and Pim).  The waitresses are dressed in cute french maid uniform (and conservative not the sexy halloween-type costume).  The interior is sophisticated and elegant with simple black and white colour scheme, coupled with vintage-inspired furniture.  Of course, it's a hit for the ladies to take cute photos!  The Christmas decoration is also very pretty, however, it is now approaching the end of January... I think it's time for a new decoration?  The tables with sofas along the the walls are usually the ones that get filled up first, and fast too. Not only are they picture worthy, but also extremely comfortable.  Those who get it will most likely sink in for a good dining session for at least 1-2 hours.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Goldfish

Every once in a while, I would feel like dining more on the atmosphere than going for the quality of food and this was an example.  It was probably because I was in Yaletown on evening, surrounded by all the trendy and elegant boutiques and restaurants.  After walking by and peaking in at the Goldfish Seafood & Chops, the decision to dine there was solely based on its outside appearance.  The ambience was inviting, vibrant, and lively.   The restaurant specializes in West Coast cuisine and seafood, blending flavours of East and West.  The two of us were pretty open to try anything innovative and creative.

For appetizer, we had the salt spring mussels in Thai sauce. Though it was quite mild, I liked their take on the Thai sauce which had a hint of lime and garnished with chopped up scallion, chilies and cilantro.  It was actually kinda Thai...  The size of the mussels were minuscule though.

I didn't imagine I'd be eating fried rice tonight, but there I was.  The first batch of a fairly large side of bacon fried rice topped with fried quail eggs arrived incredibly mundane and bland.  It's seldom that I send any food back, but I had to with this one after the first bite.  The waitress (with piercing eyes) came back to inform us that the chef tasted it and agreed "it tastes like shit", and he would make a new batch for us.  Shortly, the second batch arrived with a lot more seasoning, and not as dried.  Maybe some hot sauce would go a long way.  There wasn't any other exciting ingredients in there except the obvious, bacon, and some chopped scallion.  The quail eggs sunny side up were cute to look at, and the runny yolks served their purpose being there.  Though it tasted a lot better the second time, it was still a dish one could make at home.


Half portion of smoked cod
For main entree, we split the smoked Alaskan black cod served with kale, fingerling potatoes and a poached egg.  It was a combination of flavours I seldom come across.  The creamy egg yolk tamed down the smokiness and saltiness of the flakey smoked cod.  The mustard cream was fairly light.  There were lots of different textures in the dish which all worked well in harmony.  I probably would not order this dish all the time, but it was definitely a nice to try something new. 

For the dessert I had citrus creme brulee in which the caramelized sugar crust was thick and crunchy.  The custard underneath was also thick, smooth, and not too sweet.  However, I could hardly detect any citrus or ginger flavour that was supposed to be in there.

Overall, I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant.  At the same time, it also felt very 'corporate'.   The service was prompt, while price is on par.  For the quality of the dishes and execution I gave them 7/10.  I'd probably would still return in the future, but probably more for the drinks and happy hour.

  Goldfish on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Base Eat + Drink


 
Last summer, I often came to E-Hwa for late night snacks, particularly for their delicious yangnyum chicken.  This year, the restaurant has changed to Base Eat + Drink.  It was completely transformed into a lot cleaner, more modern izakaya drinking place.  I still miss the old E-Wha for its eclectic decor, the loud crowd, and comforting korean munchies to go with the alcohol.  We walked in to Base around dinner time on a Saturday night.  It was fairly quiet and it seemed they just opened.  Not quite sure if the place usually picks up later at night.


The menu offered a variety of korean and fusion dishes.  I love that they have many selections to offer such as salads, appies and tapas, barbecue meat, soups, even risotto and pasta as well.  
Let's start off with fried chicken! We ordered the smaller size ($7.50) with 6 pieces of chicken in spicy sauce topped with ground peanuts.  The chicken came with a side of salad and pickled daikon. Although the spicy sauce more sweet and not exactly spicy, but it was still pretty good.

  
I was torn between ordering Spagetti alla vongole (clams and olive oil, $15.40) and de mare (seafood with cream sauce).  Between the two, vongole seemed less fattening.  There probably wasn't much of a difference, but that mentality made me feel a bit better.  The dish arrived with several Manila clams with shells on, while the others did not have any shells.  I'm guessing the rest came straight from the freezer as they tasted dry and not very fresh.  The pasta also had a lot of excess olive oil and tasted very bland.  

 
Next up was the grilled barbecue beef short ribs or kalbi ($17.95).  While the marinade was good, the cut was much thicker and tougher than the regular beef short ribs.  When I mentioned that the beef was very thick and tough, the waitress informed us that the chef had ordered a different cut of meat that day.  I didn't like the idea that they used a different cut, which made a lot of difference in the texture of the meat, and didn't tell us earlier.  I ended up sending it back as it too hard to chew and was not at all what we expected.  Nonetheless, I do appreciate the fact that our waitress was very accommodating about it and took it off the bill.  

We substituted the beef ribs with grilled chicken skewers ($6.95 for 4).  They were tender and slightly charred.  They were not bad, but again I wish they had more marinade or seasoning. 


I wanted something to drink and ordered the Korean rice wine makgulri ($10).  When it arrived, I noticed that it had a thicker consistency than other makgulri we have had and it also had a very powdery texture.  I did not enjoy it at all and could not force myself to finish a drink either.

The verdict
Yangnyum chicken wasn't bad......................

The waitress was very attentive and asked if we were enjoying the food.  Unlike most asian restaurants, she was willing to take feedback and take the food back when necessary.  I think some fine tuning would go along way for the restaurant.  But then again, maybe Base is more of a drinking/partying spot with less emphasis on the food.

   BASE Eat + Drink on Urbanspoon