Wednesday, June 20, 2007
While you are stuck invigilating exams all day on a beautiful sunny day like today, it is your obligation to treat yourself to a glorious lunch. So, Cara and I headed over to our locally famous pastry chef, Thomas Haas', cafe for lunch and of course, a little chocolate delight.
I first heard of Thomas Haas when an ex boyfriend, who knew about my culinary obsession, impressed me with a birthday cake from Senses, Haas' famed bakery and restaurant. It was a chocolate champagne cake that was so sinful....When presented to a lover, I guarantee, you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.
Anyways, back to Thomas Haas. He is the kind of inspiration that we all need once in a while when we are stuck at our desks doing monotonous things like regurgitating comments for report cards. Born in Germany, Haas travelled around the world to learn and perfect his craft: pastry arts. He did various stints as culinary instructor and executive pastry chef for some famed establishments before settling down in Vancouver and realizing his dream of opening up a chocolate and pastry shop.
His shop is so well received that even though it is tucked inside an industrial area by the North Vancouver auto mall, it is still busy with patrons ordering sandwiches and desserts. Cara ordered the Turkey Brie on Cranberry Bread while I had the Thai Crab Salad Ciabatta. The sandwiches were both grilled and very tasty. As much as I would have loved to finish my meal off with a piece of their stilton cheesecake, I was so stuffed that I only got one of their signature Sparkle cookies, and accompanied it with an Americano and two beautiful little pieces of chocolates.
Now, those little chocolates are truly pieces of art. Not only are they delightfully tasty with flavours like banana ganache and french tea, they are also beautifully decorated and completely sensual. The Sparkle cookie was rich and chocolately, and delicious when washed down with one of their strong espresso drinks.
Life is good when chocolates are around.
Thoms Haas Patisserie and Cappucino Bar Unit 128- 998 Harbourside Drive North Vancouver 604-924-1847
Sunday, June 17, 2007
For Father's Day, I decided to make the most succulent, tasty ribs to honour the best father ever.
Here's my recipe:
4 lbs (2 kg) pork ribs (cut into individual pieces)
1 C brown sugar
2 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 C ketchup
1/4 C spicy bean sauce
1/2 c dark rum
Line a roasting pan with a double thickness of foil. Place ribs in pan and seal tightly in foil. Bake at 350 F for 45 mins. Unwrap ribs and pour off drippings.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and dip the rib into sauce and place back into pan. Pour leftoever sauce over the ribs.
Bake for another hour. Serve with a nice salad and buns.
Monday, June 11, 2007
One of the more notable new places I have tried is: Azia. My friend Brian, who I tried this place with, enjoyed it so much that he has been back three times already.
Azia is an Asian fusion restaurant, which provides a modern setting for you to enjoy your fried rice in a pretty dish with a martini. Their menu include influences from Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan. I have never been particularly fond of fusion food because a lot of the time, I think the true flavours of an ethnic cuisine is demoted rather than promoted. But I must admit, whatever the chef at Azia is thinking, he/she is thinking along my lines. The food pretty much stayed within its original form and are accentuated by just a twist of creativity.
We ordered the Mussels in Ginger and Cumin sauce, the Peking Duck Spring Rolls, Scallops in Spicy Fish Flavoured Sauce and the Mongolian Beef Strips. I thought everything tasted fairly good, of course, little improvements can go a long way. An example would be to use fresh instead of frozen mussels in that divine sauce.
Overall, the portions were good, and for a downtown restaurant, the prices are decent. It is a good restaurant to take a date to, especially if you are off to the movies and want to eat somewhere quieter than Earls.
Taste: 3 out of 5
Creativity: 4 out of 5
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5
990 Smithe Street (right beside Paramount Theatre)