Showing posts with label italian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label italian. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One of the best Neopolitan pizzeria in Vancouver, Via Tevere

When I arrived at Via Tevere, I was greeted by a sea of people swarming aimlessly outside the property and we knew our wait would be long.  This did not break our resolve to try the pizzas here that night and we proceeded to join the queue and put our names down with the premise that our wait time would be around an hour.  It was around 7 pm and we were not about to sit around and torture ourselves.  So, off we went, adventuring what other establishments on Commercial Drive had to offer until our main course.

Two hours later, we already had a snack at Memphis Blues and a couple beers from Biercraft.  It was close to 9 pm when we headed back to Via Tevere, and although the line ups had gone down, our table was still not ready! It was not until almost half an hour later that we were actually seated.  Had we stayed around, we would've sat there and waited over 2 hours for dinner.  I would've starved and my temper would've flared.  It wouldn't be a pleasant scene for anybody.

We already had our drinks and appies, so once we sat down, we just went straight to business.  Authentic Neopolitan pizza was what we came for, so we ordered 5 kinds; prociutto e funghi, capricciosa, prociutto e rucola, vesuvio, and quatro formaggi.  The prices were more than reasonable, ranging from $16-19 per pizza with quality ingredients.  That's around the same price as many less-than-mediocre places serving frozen pizzas (but caling them "gourmet"), the kind I would never set foot back in again.   I haven't had a pizza this good since Chef Daniel Costa, now infamous for his Corso32 restaurant, at a humble Italian cafe, Cafe de Copa back in Edmonton in 2007.

I had a chance to try them all, and aside from the quatro formagi, the components on all the pizzas were all similar.  All tasty, nonetheless.  The features that make Via Tevere's pizzas more amazing than most Neopolitan pizza joints out there are:
1. the dough, which they import the double zero flour directly from Italy.  It's got a great texture with the right amount of air in the dough.  It also only takes 60 to 90 s on average to fire in the oven, which was also imported from Italy.
2. the tomato sauce.  It's freshly made and not processed out of a can from Costco.
3. Their fior di latte mozzarella that melt beautifully and creates this nice, chewy, gooey texture when you take that first bite.
4. the fact that they fill up their toppings.   I've had many great pizzas which had a sparse wasteland of toppings at the centre, and that's a real deal breaker for me.  Via Tevere is generous with their portions.  They don't cheap out and that, my friend, is integrity.


It's near impossible to choose a favourite pizza here, but the fresh arugula really gives the pizza a refreshing kick.  The quatro formaggi was also really something special that you wouldn't find at any other pizzeria.  It had all the famous Italian cheeses, all with different flavours; fior di latte, ricotta, smoked provolone, and parmigiano.  Cheese lovers won't be disappointed.  


 

Whether you have trouble deciding, or you want to try all their desserts, the nice folks have figured that out for you.  Tris di dolci is their dessert trio sampler that let you try all 3 desserts; flour-less almond and walnut chocolate cake, fritter topped with Nuttella, and tiramisu.  I'm a huge fan of tiramisu and this one was really light, creamy and not too sweet.  The fritter was melt-in-your-mouth amazing and it reminded me of churros when they're done right.  The torta caprese would be perfect if you're on gluten-free diet. 


It's been over a week since I dined at Via Tevere and I still dream about their pizzas everyday.  One of the best pizzeria in Vancouver, by far.  I will not wait another 2 hours, though.  Going when they first open, or around 9:30 pm after drinking and snacking would be best for quick seating.  
Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Siena

Monday is the best day to go to Siena simply because all wine is 50% off.  We took advantage and 2 hours later,  I found myself still swishing down our third bottle of wine for the night and having too good of a time. Our Gewurztraminer wine from Spain after discount was only $15.  It was crisp, easy to drink and pair with so we had to keep it coming all night long.  By 8 pm, I can honestly say that almost the entire restaurant was tanked.  Imagine being in a noisy restaurant, then transform that into a sports bar when a game is on.  That's how loud it was.  

Siena's spin on classic Italian fare and casual dining ambience actually reminds me of Corso 32 in Edmonton.  The daily specials are written in full details across a large chalk board visible from anywhere in the restaurant.  Our very social server was more than happy to elaborate to us in more detail about the courses.  The great thing about dining in a larger group is that you're free to order more and sample more variation of food.  

I've tried arancine, or deep-fried risotto rice balls, elsewhere, but I was never too impressed with the taste or texture.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh and crispy rice balls du jour at Siena that night.  Underneath the golden brown Panko crust was creamy risotto with leek, cheese, and Pernod. I could've easily devoured four balls by myself.  

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Il Terrazzo, a romantic old world Italian restaurant

With a rustic cottage-style decor, there was something about the ambience that was really alluring at Il Terrazzo.  We were seated in a lovely indoor patio with a warm fireplace nearby and surrounded by brick walls.  Thank goodness because despite being summer already, it was really freezing out.  The restaurant was at its full capacity on Canada Day with people constantly coming in and out.  It was absolutely chaotic inside.  Nonetheless, I was thoroughly impressed by how quickly the food came out altogether from the kitchen.

My initial impression of the restaurant was that they would be serving traditional rustic Italian fare, but, in fact, their creations were much more redefined than I imagined.

We were offered a basket complimentary bread with tasty mixed olive tapenade.  If only we could take a jar home too.
Some of our favorite dishes had Asian influence in flavors and I shall start with the marinated smoked ahi tuna salad with perfectly seared scallops and seaweed salad, cucumbers and tomatoes. It was absolutely scrumptious. It was acidic with slightly sweet note and salty from shoyu.
Funghi fried mushrooms were earthy in flavour. We dug into a heap of spinach dressed in light olive, balsamic vinegar and a generous amount of pine nuts, prociutto, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, shaved parmesan.
Something warm and hearty at the table; a tomato soup with basil and gooey mozzarella chunks.  The bread quickly disappeared as I dipped it into the soup.
One of our favorite dishes that stood out the most was the mussels in what appeared to be tom kha gai-inspired broth.  Tom Kha Gai is a coconuty Thai soup with a ton of herby flavours, much like its famous cousin Tom Yum.  The creamy sauce was still rich, but not overwhelmingly so.  The pickled jalapeƱos, sundries tomatoes kept everything balanced and all the flavors really came through. I think we all savored every last drop and I'm going to try to recreate a similar version at my kitchen.

The heavier dishes started to arrive.  Misto Di Carne a la Casa, a trio of cabbage roll, duck confit, and lamb chop. The duck was tender and flavorful with crispy skin served on top of mashed potato, brocoloni, and lentil.  The lamb chop was too well-done since B requested medium rare.  Nonetheless, she still complimented on its excellent seasoning. The cabbage roll was filled with veal and wrapped with crispy prociutto.
The next dish, Carre D' Agnello,  ordered by P, a roasted rack of premium Australian lamb with rosemary jus.  This time the lamb was really too well-done.  P, the biggest carnivore, refused to put up with it sent it back. When it came back out, it was medium rare, exactly she asked for.  The lamb was served on top of Tuscan white bean ragout and grilled asparagus.

Linguine Marco Polo was a unique pasta dish and a rather large portion. It was a very vibrant dish with many textures and flavors coming together; the pesto, sweet mangoes, crunchy cashews, acidic tomatoes, roasted peppers.   We didn't finish this but it made a great leftover for the next day.
Another one of our favourite dishes was pulled pork cannelloni with cheesy cream sauce.  It was a dish absolutely to be savored. The pork was tender and very well seasoned baked with fresh pasta and swimming in mozzarella cream.  It was topped with sauteed bacon, red onion, and what appeared to be a tart cranberry sauce.  All I gotta say is, "Mmmmmm".
Despite we were at food coma at this point, passing on the famous tiramisu was still something we couldn't compromise. And were we glad we didn't settle. The tiramisu was one of the best we ever had. It was moist, smooth, and rich in coffee flavour, but enough that one would probably finish a large piece by themselves.

Il Terrazo offers a classic old world vibe with a unique spin on traditional Italian dishes.  We would definitely call it a go-to place when in Victoria.

  Il Terrazzo on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cute Pig's guide to best food and wine of Okanagan

Like Napa Valley, Loire Valley, and Tuscany, the Okanagan Valley is no less and one of the most beautiful places Canada has to offer. Frankly, I can't think of a better place to be around here during summer time.  Dry climate, picturesque scenery, and abundant in vineyards and orchards.  The fresh fruits from the Okanagan are some of the sweetest and best tasting you'll ever find.  I recently made my second trip this past May Long weekend and hope to come back for some fresh peaches and cherries.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina, Las Vegas


 My trip in Vegas went by in a flash.  On our last night, we wandered around and came across Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina, located inside Crystals at City Centre.  After a quick survey, the featured wood-oven baked pizzas along with other rustic Italian classics led us to a consensus to give it a go.  Also, they had a pretty good deal for happy hour which could only be ordered at the bar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Todd English's Olives at the Ballagio, Las Vegas

One of Todd English's most well-known restaurants, Olives, located at Bellagio resort & casino, offers refined Mediterranean inspired dishes at reasonable pricing and extremely generous portion. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Italian food in Bangkok: Italian Proudfa

Ken Teeradej
Serving Italian fare with a Thai twist, Italian Proudfa is not only a sister restaurant of the famous Chef Tanom, but it is also run by the brother of Chef Tanom himself.   Located in the commercial area of Town in Town, this modest establishment brings a vibrant variety to the neighbourhood at a reasonable price.  A little story behind the name, I was told by the manager that the restaurant was named after the chef's daughter, Proudfa.  

We arrived the restaurant a little before lunch and there was only one other table beside ours.  The manager greeted us warmly and made recommendation on their signature dish.  Mid-way through our meal, as I noticed the customers at the other table leaving.  I was starstruck to find famous Thai actor Ken Teeradej had been sitting nearby the entire time *o*  So he is a fan of this place too.  What a great sign *__* <3  My stalking skill wasn't up to par as I couldn't figure out what he just had earlier.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Italian food in Bangkok: Grossi Trattoria & Wine Bar

Located inside Intercontinental Hotel, Grossi Trattoria is rather formal and higher priced to be called "trattoria" by definition.   Regardless of what category it should be called, I love the space and setting of this place with natural lighting coming through the tall glass walls, dark colour scheme furniture, hardwood floor accented with black and white tiles.  The restaurant is quite popular amongst businessmen and travellers as it is often filled up during the lunch rush.  I discovered one of the main reasons why this place is always so busy during lunch.  There's an incredible lunch deal very few would pass on.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wine Republic

 
Located at the heart of Thonglor, Wine Republic is one of the go-to wine bar and bistro in Bangkok.  For most people getting to WR (or anywhere in Thonglor actually), the best way to go is buy taxi.  There's very little parking space in this area and when there is, it can be quite expensive.  Valet parking is available for 100 bath, and you get a coupon for a barbecue skewer (yayyy).  

Lamb skewer yum!
Like most bars and lounges at Thonglor, the ambience is appealing to BKK socialites age 20 + and foreigners.  The vibe is mature, yet hip and casual.  I love the atmosphere at WR as it is spacious with 2 levels and a large patio, which often gets filled up fast on the weekends. Around 8 pm there would be a dj spinning live music ranging from old school hip hop, top 40, and techno.  

Since this is a wine bar and restaurant, we had to ask the server, "where's the wine list?"  She replied that they don't offer a wine list, you can go inside to the front entrance of the restaurant which is a bar, as well as a wine store.  There, stood a helpful gentleman who would help you select the wine bottle that would suit your taste.  I guess the point is for the customers to have a unique experience of walking through the selection, shopping, and be advised of the flavours rather than just looking in the menu.  I find it neat, yet tedious at the same time.  With over 170 selections of wine to choose from, I nominated Mz. J, the wine connoisseur to help us pick out a winning bottle for the night.


Happy hour  happens Sunday to Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  Everything on the classic cocktail menu is buy 1 get 1 free.  The price range is around 220 - 280 bath.  I tried the lychee martini and lychee mojito.  Definitely fell in love with the lychee mojito which came in a generous size!

The menu consists of tapas and pub fare with selections of pizzas and pastas as well.  I find their food to be tastier than other wine bars and the prices are reasonable.


The caesar salad is a moderate portion with large chunks of bacon pieces.  The dressing is house-made and delightfully rich and creamy.  They don't hold back on the grated parmesan either.  You would think you are being healthy eating a salad, but definitely not this particular one.

 
I love their pizza! Family-size anchovy fire-oven pizza is obviously an acquired taste.  Most people will either hate or love it.  The pizza itself is delicious, crispy crust with tons of cheese, and they are generous with the ingredients, in this case, anchovy bits on the topping.  Can't choose which one to order?  You can actually order each kind of pizza as half and half in one order.


Their spicy squid-ink spaghetti for 280 bath is to die for.  It is served in a clay pot backed with pizza dough.  Of course, it's not the most appetizing colour to eat and the thought of having black sauce on your lips is not an appealing image.  But the taste is totally worth it.  It's bold and spicy with tons of flavours and seafood such as clams, squid, and shrimp.  Mz. J who is particular with her food, had it for the first time here and said she dreams of this dish and will always come back for more.

My new favourite go-to spot!

Food: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5
Price: $$$
Service: 3.5/5
Value: 4.5/5


Friday, November 18, 2011

Sunday binging trip in SF and Bay area

Shortly after we had an epic brunch at the Fat Lady, we decided to walk to off and went over to Jack London park located just a few blocks away.  Little did we know we would be tantalized by the fresh produce and food stands at the farmers market being held that day -__-''

Look at these beautiful heirloom tomatoes! I wish I could bring them all back with me T_T and they were so cheap too.  The little tubs were only $3 and something.  They also had fresh salsa and it was amazing.  



We knew we were stuffed, our bellies still full of food.  Then, we walked by Copper Top Ovens Pizza with a portable pizza oven.  The fire oven gourmet pizza was made fresh as you order, and my sister's gluttony got the best of her.  Half a pizza for only $6.

She ordered the daily special which had mascarpone cheese, pomegranate, and pear all infused with truffle oil.  How could you resist!! We ate the pizza down by the pier, which, by the way, was so delicious and worth every penny.  If we weren't so full, we would've enjoyed it much much more.  


There were too much food temptations going on at the farmers' market so we started walking back to the car.  On the way, I stumbled upon Home of Chicken & Waffles.  I took a peak inside and this place seems to be the real deal! If I wasn't on the verge of throwing up at this point, I would've gone in and order me some fried chicken and waffles.  My trip would've been complete. So sad...so sad T_T



We headed out to another popular touristy place in SF, Fisherman's Wharf.


We weren't thinking about ordering food, it had been less than 2 hours since a big brunch and half a pizza.  But of course, we ended up snacking again at Nick's Lighthouse and ordered typical seafood snacks popular in this area.
 

Prawn bisque
Crab cocktail
Calamari and fries
Side story: While I was standing on the street munching on calamari, someone threw a piece of food at a seagull.  The poor bird ended up being shoved aside by a seagull bully who caught the food in his mouth instead.  The seagull who got shafted squealed and pecked the other seagull  bully on the bum.  I thought it was the funniest thing how much alike they are to humans.

Nick's Lighthouse on Urbanspoon









After a quick stroll and snacking, we headed to Chinatown, our final spot for SF trip.  We were recommended to try out Golden Star, a vietnamese restaurant best known for their pho.

 
I'd like to point out the fact that I was a bit confused.  In the states, these are called "spring rolls", but in Canada, they are called "salad rolls".  I asked our American friends what you called the deep fried rolls, which are spring rolls in Canadaland.  "Egg rolls", they repied.  Ah, I see.


Those are huge beef balls!  They were pretty good; not overly chewy with a hint of pepper and sesame oil.  The broth was also good, but quite light compared to other pho places in Edmonton, the best location other than Vietnam to go for pho.


Whoa guys, we broke away from the usual pho and vermicelli bowl that day.  Someone actually was hungry enough to order a whole meal to herself, catfish in clay pot with a lot of rice.  This was a really authentic dish and we don't usually find it in all vietnamese restaurants.  The catfish was steamed in the clay pot and as a result, the meat was tender, moist, with lots of flavours and aromas from other herbs and spices. Yummy.
Golden Star Vietnamese on Urbanspoon
We really packed all those meals in a short period of time and our bellies hated us for that.  No regrets though, San Francisco is another city next to New York that offers so much diversity and more culinary adventures are waiting to be discovered.  Until next time!