Friday, July 27, 2012

the PEAR TREE in suburban Vancouver is indeed a perfect tradition(7-25-12)

Our final night in Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as out last

night of a month-long journey was indeed the perfect choice and oh so

traditional, yet oh so, local.

The PEAR TREE ( is about 10 minutes (with

no traffic) from downtown Vancouver in the first eastern suburb of


It has been run by the delightful husband and wife team of Scott &

Stephanie Jaeger for well over a decade and has become an intimate

institution. The small well appointed dining room holds only about

twelve tables and it is quiet and relaxed with top notch service. It

was indeed a welcome change after several meals in quite noisy


Samuel perused the drink menu and chose the FIREBOLT made from Coke,

Lime & Grenadine declaring it tasted like a Coke as we enjoyed a

divine bottle of SILKSCARF Unoaked Chardonnay from BC's now-well-loved-

by-us Okanagan Valley which had huge melon overtones (think casaba) as

well as rich peachy flavors. You really get so much fruit when the

wine is unoaked in these northern climes.

Warm house baked brioche bread was a treat, as was the tasty butter.

Samuel started with a super CAESAR salad and now loves Romaine while

Will had a tasty Local PRAWN CAPPUCCINO which was a light bisque with

foam with a Dashi Custard of BC Prawns. My Orange Caramelized SCALLOPS

with Double Smoked BACON RISOTTO was indeed rich, but of top quality

and perfectly cooked to boot; a perfect pairing with the chardonnay as


Wine number two was the same vineyard SILKSCARF, but their 2008 SHIRAZ/

Viognier which was a soft Syrah and a perfect blend for out meat


My Twice Cooked "Berkshire" PORK BELLY had virtually NO fat and was

crispy, crunchy divine. It came with SPOT PRAWN & TOMATO Cassoulet

made from the tiniest of flageolet beans with a dollop of eggplant


Will had the Braised "Peace River" LAMB SHANK which was boneless with

seared SCALLOPS & Roasted Pear RISOTTO--again the cooking here uses

the best of local ingredients in a classic style, yet with great flair

and taste.

Samuel chose the Slow Poached "Maple Hills" CHICKEN BREAST & BRAISED

LEG but insisted no mushrooms (honchu--we asked to have these on the

side for us!) and the sauce on the side which was a light Blanquette

which he chose not to use. A yummy POTATO ROSTI occupied the center of

the plate and Stephanie even brought over some tasty "chicken

chips" (think shrimp chips from a Chinese restaurant, but with chicken

instead). She also brought out an extra veggie pate of Sauteed PEA

SHOOTS which I know Samuel loves, but he would have none of--we ate

them all.

Dessert here was a treat and I could not resist. Will had the Fresh

LEMON TART with Sour Cream Sorbet and I had a light yet fruit-filled

BC FRUIT SOUP with fresh Pavlova (Meringue cap) and Strawberry/rhubarb

sorbet. The soup was loaded with black currents, blackberries,

raspberries, cherries, strawberries and I think blueberries....a real

treat. Samuel chose the PEAR SORBET and was so enthralled asked for


I mentioned to Stephanie that I often like cheese, but did not want to

indulge and also chose the Fruit Soup as it was so local and the

cheeses were French. She whisked out a plate with "frill-curled" TETE

DE MOINS, fruit crisps and fresh pear slices in a mini-cheese course,

and I was in heaven.

Dinner was completed with creamy/crispy HAZELNUT MACAROONS and we

headed back to our hotel fully knowing that we had indeed saved the

best for last on this long journey. On the way out we had the

pleasure of meeting Chef Scott, a participant in the world famous

Bocuse d'Or competition in 2007 as well as a winner of oh so many

awards in BC and Canada for his expertise in the kitchen. He is a

quiet, unassuming guy and it shows in his quiet, unassuming

restaurant; a gem of a find not to be missed.

make it the MALLARD LOUNGE for lunch in Whistler (7-25-12)

We ran up to Whistler, BC on our last day in town and boy what a gorgeous drive. We had lunch at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler overlooking the mountains on gorgeous sunny day.

The RASPBERRY SENSATION drink of sparkling apple juice and raspberry puree is a great choice if you have to drive 2 hour back to Vancouver; we all loved it.

Will had the huge "Old School" TURKEY CLUBHOUSE Sandwich with red pepper mayo and a huge farm fresh salad with amazing tomatoes, enoki mushrooms and more. Samuel's Margarita Flatbread was gone fast and my LOCAL BC SALMON Plate was a treat with Candied Salmon, Cold Smoked Salmon, House Smoked Salmon and a Red Onion Marmalade with tons of capers on the side. Some tasty flatbread was a nice cracker for the amazing local smoked treats.

I look forward to returning to Whistler as this places oozes good food and fun.

Vancouver's HAWKSWORTH is hip and hopping cuisine(7-24-12)

We opted to dine in our hotel (www.hawksworthrestaurant) the second night where uber-Canadian star chef David Hawksworth holds court. The place is not so large, but it is NOISY and was crowded with a number of large boisterous parties yelling a lot and even cursing at some points; a number of them looked like slobs in baggy shorts, T-shirts and more; so much for fine dining.

We settled in our oh-so-uncomfortable corner booth as the table is quite a ways from the booth and even the pillows supplied give no back support. I am so glad my orthopedist told me to always take the chair and avoid the booths. The decor is SLEEEEK, with beautiful alabaster-looking (they are glass) tables yet once again marred by silly golden woven placemats (is this a BC bad trait?).

Samuel was delighted with the non-alcoholic drink menu and opted for the BLUEBERRY LAVENDER made from pure blueberry juice, fresh lemon, lavender and soda as we settled in to a divine bottle of ROAD 13 JACKPOT 2011 made from Viognier/Rousanne/Marsanne, a superb Rhone blend from the Okanagan that was creamy, rich and smooth.

The amuse was an 18 year old Prosciutto that was melt-in-your-mouth superb with crispy polenta (Samuel asked if he could have ours, so now he likes corn polenta croutons we assume), heirloom tomatoes and burrata. The manager Chad brought these over and said he was going to evict the noisy obnoxious group at the next table as soon as they paid their bill; we loved him instantly.

The water is "house-made" and the sparkling lacks fizz, so you might want to ask if they have San Pellegrino or whatever.

Samuel promised us he would eat a salad and our ever-so-sweet-and-even-more-cute-you could eat him up---server, Brody, brought him an arugula salad that he declared was not to his taste----gee, surprise!

He did gobble up his Canadian STRIP LOIN with smoked OXTAIL, Potato Rissole and even a Chioggia beet here and there with Natural Jus.

Will started with the Caramelized SQUID, Salsa Verde, Artichoke, GUANCIALE & Orange, while I opted for the Crispy Quebec QUAIL, glazed Sweetbreads, Romanescu, Moroccan Couscous and Preserved Lemon. When Brody placed this in front of me, I joked that the quail looked like a meatball and he seemed a bit upset...OOPS. It was a tasty "ball" of boned quail and the little puddles of lemon gelee were superb flavor with each ingredient whether alone or combined.

We switched to a FOXTROT Chardonnay 2010 "Coolshanaugh" from Maramata Bench in the Okanagan which was not as big as the superb Road 13 Rhone Blend and while it was fine with our fish, was a letdown after the first superior wine.

LOIS LAKE STEELHEAD with Olive Oil Sabayon, Parisienne Gnocchi, Asparagus and Chili was an amazing piece of local fish and I loved the sabayon that was made with an odd, but novel, squid-ink hard flat bread crackled on top (it looked like truffles with a crunch!); Will did not care for the creamy sabayon with the fish.

Pan Roasted PACIFIC SABLEFISH was in a Lap Cheong broth with braised daikon, pea tendrils, pickled shiitakes and crispy yam and again revered the superb fish.

The one thing you should avoid is the Salted Herb Bread at $4 a tiny basket and is really something that should come with the meal.

LEMON CREMEUX was Will's dessert choice with Rhubarb and Strawberry, while I went the cheese route, alas for the last time this trip:

BEDDIS BLUE from nearby Salt Spring Island was a treat beyond compare

Blackburn Cheddar was from France (though the name is clearly not)

CORNISH YARG is a cheese I shall always ask for if you have read my UK food reviews

LE CLAIRON was a nice French creamy

these all came with poached rhubarb, hazelnuts, micro greens, fruit bread and apricot puree...a winner of a cheese dish and presentation.

Chad brought out some complimentary mini-chocolate fondants and then

Samuel, now ordering from the adult menu chose the full-size CHOCOLATE FONDANT with Praline Glaze, Toasted Hazelnuts and Citrus Meringue--what a hit.

We finished with Strawberry Gelees, Cherry Marshmallows and even three loafs of blueberry cake for breakfast the next day. These were left behind and I asked Will to run down and retrieve them, but he bumped into Brody on his way up to deliver them. YUM YUM!

don't go for GARDEN VILLA when seeking Chinese cuisine in Vancouver (7-24-12)

We asked around where the most traditional dim sum was as Vancouver is noted for it's Chinatown. We headed to GARDEN VILLA SEAFOOD in Chinatown (127 E. Pender) and I strongly suggest you avoid dining here at all costs.

We though we were in for a great treat as there were tons of Asian folks and many large family/special event parties when we arrived, all made up of mostly elderly Chinese speaking their native tongue. Boy, were we wrong.

There are no longer dim sum carts from which you can choose, so it's all off the menu. Samuel loves spring rolls and dumplings so asked for these, the latter made with pork.

We noticed the sad decaying dining room, filthy (guano-encrusted) windows and the layers of multiple plastic white tablecloths (they must remove one as each party finishes) and our spirits began to sink.

Will and I tried to be adventurous and that amounted to trying the PAN FRIED TURNIP and Chinese SAUSAGE (as opposed to the Chicken Feet!). It was a decent dish (but Will hated it) that was a gelatinous fried turnip paste with some tiny pieces of sausage. Will managed to find a huge hair in his piece.

The GOLDEN DUMPLINGS of crab, corn and shrimp were heavy and pasty and Samuel's spring rolls were as greasy as you can imagine. I loved the way the woman who served the dim sum used a pair of scissors to cut each piece in half. When she brought the dumplings she said "shu mai" and I said, "no, pork dumplings," to which she responded, "this it." Samuel cur open the dumpling as specifically indicated he wanted pork, not pork and shrimp, which is "shu mai." we had to return them for pork potstickers, which he loved, but they were a bit greasy too.

The one hit dish was the garlicky GREEN BEANS with minced PORK.

The place is a bit dirty and the rest rooms are almost, avoid Chinatown in Vancouver in the future if you are looking for dim sum, but do be sure to head across the street to the NEW WORLD BAKERY for some fine APPLE DUMPLINGS or a divine ALMOND lattice stick stuffed with cream and coated with chocolate!

Ay Ay Ay for Vancouver's EL CAMINO (7-23-12)

After all the heavy duty meals on Vancouver Island, we decided out first night in Vancouver would be at EL CAMINO(, a truly noisy, tiny hip joint on Main Street just south of downtown. We arrived and Tanya immediately brought out some lime salted popcorn which was gone in seconds. Monday is Margarita Monday and they are $5.00 apiece, so Will and I indulged as the wine list here is mostly South American/Spanish/Latin and we needed a change.

EL CAMINO has tapas style plates and we ordered a bunch:

CHICKPEA FRITAS are blow your mind long ground chickpea fries with a Smoked Paprika Aioli that would make you give up french fries forever.

Samuel chose the CARNITAS-slow roasted pulled pork soft tacos served on cute little wooden boards with pickled vegetable escabeche (which we asked for on the side, so we could eat it-it was a slaw of fennel, cabbage and jalapeno!) queso blanco and of course, an order of papas fritas. The Carnitas were such a hit, he ordered a second portion!

Will and I noticed these special "shot" drinks and inquired of Tanya (she was oh so informative) and I ordered up an INFIERNO-chilled jalapeno infused tequila shot with a sangrita (tomato,lime,corn juice) chaser and Will chose the EL TIGRE-ice cold tequila blanco shot with verdita (mint,cilantro,jalapeno, pineapple) chaser. These were fun and tasty (although I preferred to savor and sip my jalapeno tequila) and Tanya said if we wanted more Margaritas we should try the $5 special JALAPENO MARGARITA which used the same infused tequila and had a chili-lime-salt rim on the glass--OMG....we had a couple of these. EACH.

The small room is made of exposed concrete block and one wall has the phrase "Nada como una revolucion, para curar la sed y el hambre...." and we asked Samuel for some assistance as I did not know that sed & hambre were thirst and hunger...hence, nothing is like a revolution to cure thirst and hunger...." We were really proud of him as he had volunteered translation assistance for the first time without us begging.

There were so many food options, but we trusted Tanya and started with the COCONUT MUSSELS (from nearby Salt Spring Island) with smoked chili-fresh herbs and onion in a sauce that even Sam begged to mop up with the large pieces of accompanying grill bread.

A huge ARUGULA SALAD came with Quinoa, Beets, Popped Pepitas, Feta and a divine Cumin Vinaigrette that I want to bottle and sell.

We moved on to our final two large, yet still tapas-style, plates of tasty melt-in-your-mouth CERVEZA BRAISED SHORT RIBS with Onion Gravy, and the OMG oh-so-decadent Columbian PAPAS CHOREADAS which are potatoes smothered with cream, cheese, tomato and onion.

The CARNE ASADA TACOS were also a treat with tender grilled flat iron steak pieces, horseradish jack and Guasacaca. This latter dish (and yes, I know the name is not attractive) is a Venezuelan Guacamole with cilantro and lime and the apparent secret ingredient of green pepper. Who knew?

As always, Will insisted on ordering dessert and I had one forkful of the tasty Pastel de TRES LECHES crusted with Pecan Praline (our friends Mel & Juan would ove this southern and Latino marriage of food!).

Tany must have been worried that we ordered the wrong dessert or perhaps we were too thin (is she blind?) and sent out a dish of her favorite dessert, the FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE with Coconut Gelato and Chocolate Ganache(I seem to recall this was deep friend, but my notes may be misleading), which I must admit was spectacular

The MARK is on the mark at the Grand Hotel Victoria in BC(7-22-12)

We had planned in advance for dinner at a French bistro in Victoria, but were saddened to find that it was closed on Sundays. I accessed my Zagat on-line and other internet food sights and chose THE MARK (, just two blocks from the Fairmont Empress where we were staying. It was a great find and a nice quiet evening as the intimate 24-seat fine dining spot was virtually empty minutes after we arrived save for one couple nearby.

Our server Orielle was sweet and very helpful as we were moving away from those dreaded children's menus and trying to get 1/2 portions for Samuel off the regular menu. It worked!

A superb amuse of DUCK CONFIT with Fingerling Potato Crisp, Fennel Relish and Pickled Cucumber arrived and Samuel declared he loved duck! He then moved on to GAVIN's GREENS & Butter Lettuce which had crispy chickpeas (not a hit) and Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette (always a hit).

Will and I both had the GAZPACHO with Goat Cheese Mousse and Petite Tomato Salad which was actually peeled cherry tomatoes, sliced carrot, herbs and chervil in the soup; it was very refreshing and the light start we needed.

Orielle let us taste the GAMAY NOIR from Sandhill 2009 in the Oliver region of BC as it is served by the glass; we immediately ordered a bottle of the full bodied red with tons of fruit (it was the recommended pairing with the Gazpacho) and were thrilled to have such a tasty Gamay as it can be so drab and thin. Our main course wine was harder to choose as we had duck and fish. The sommelier suggested a BLUE MOUNTAIN 2009 Pinot Noir from the same Oliver region in the Okanagan Valley and while it was nice and medium bodied, we had been so blown away by the Gamay, it was a slight disappointment.

The fabulous warm breads arrived: Cornmeal Pumpkin Seed, Whole Wheat, and Poppyseed and Nordic Onion. These came with sea salt, Tiger Blue Cheese Butter and Orange-Fennel Butter...spread it on!

Samuel's entree was the Grilled VEAL STRIPLOIN with Butter Poached Yukon Gold Potatoes which he loved so much, he asked for an extra order of these crusty potato delights. The sauce was a Lemon & Pine Nut Puree and Madeira Demi-glace; Samuel skipped the Cippolini onions.

Will had the ARCTIC CHAR with Spot Prawn RAVIOLI, PRAWN Veloute, Tarragon Puree and Roasted Pettipons (mini-zucchini) which was simply luscious. My Roasted BROME LAKE DUCK BREAST (from Quebec) with Wild Rice, Corn Blini, Arugula Salad and Sour Cherry Gastrique was nothing short of miraculous.

I was feeling more than full, but Will tried the SOUR CHERRY & AMARETTO CHEESECAKE with Hazelnut Crumble Crust which was nice and had the rarely encountered in North America "L'amour en cage" or gooseberry as a garnish.

Thomas Haas Raspberry Truffles Stuffed with Blueberries arrived for all as a mignardises and we gobbled them up and waddled back down the street.

I should note here that while Will lost 25 pounds and I lost 15 in the months prior to this journey, we noticed on the hotel scales that we have only gained back approximately 4-5 pounds each so far....but more is yet to come.

no need to bother taking High English Tea at the Empress in Victoria (7-22-12)

Will being English, he wanted to experience the Empress Hotel's High

Tea and I can't blame him. We also thought Samuel might enjoy the


Well, returning after 20 years, it has changed a bit and while the

"meal" itself is tasty and quite filling, it is really way too pricey

at $60 per person plus tax and tip!

In the summertime Victoria is jammed and reservations are a must; tea

runs from like noon to 5pm, so there are plenty of spaces. Service

ain't what it used to be, and we were constantly pouring our own tea

(hot chocolate for Samuel, which was boring and wimpy).

There are many tea leaf options, and while Will chose Earl Grey, I

have to say the Empress blend of Assam & Kenyan is quite excellent;

they even give you a complimentary box of it to take away (well, for

$60, they should give you a whole shopping bag full).

As you sit down, a small bowl of fresh strawberries with whipped cream

is plopped in front of you; Will kept wondering where the clotted

cream of dear old England was!

The three tiered tea tray arrived with sandwiches of SMOKED SALMON


Free Range EGG SALAD Croissant and a Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade on


Kids are allowed the same tea at 1/2 price, which is a deal, but

Samuel opted for the Prince/Princess Tea which had some more kid-

friendly sandwiches, which he really didn't care for anyway.

Our middle level of the tea tray had the always present SCONE with

"Empress Cream" and Strawberry Jam, not a touch on clotted cream, for

sure (the Canadians love the phrase "for sure"). The top tray had

pastries: LEMON Curd Tartlet, Chocolate & Pistachio BATTENBURG CAKE,

Sable BRETON & PEAR CHEESE CAKE, Chocolate Shortbread and a Parisian-

style Macaroon, a highlight of the sweets.

If you seek the "tea experience," I would recommend many other places

before spending the big bucks at the Empress, as I said, it ain't what

it used to be!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Victoria's vivacious CAFE BRIO gets bravos (7-21-12)

Our first night in Victoria, BC was at CAFE BRIO (
and when we arrived at 8pm, Will was taken aback at the loud noise and
music on top. We were tired from the long drive, but luckily within an
hour the place almost emptied and became quite nice.
Our server, Renee, was an aspiring "belting" mezzo-soprano, so we
talked opera, and the owners Greg & Silvia came by often to chat and
often dwell, making us feel at home. We liked the idea that almost
every dish was available in 1/2 portions and we started ordering two
starters to share:
SQUARE ROOT PEA TASTING which was English Pea Pannacotta/Sugar Snap
Salad/Sauteed Snow Peas/all in a Garlic-Ham Pea Broth with a hint of
mint. This showed off the local vegetable to amazing effect and was a
superb dish to boot x4 parts!
POTATO & HERB VICHYSSOISE came with Crispy Duck Confit was another

Samuel ordered the Roasted LAMB CHOP & Torchon of SHOULDER with Potato
& Carrots, Snap Peas & Fava Beans and ate all but the beans an carrot,
so we allowed him another 1/2 portion of the PENNE PASTA with Green
Beans, Potato & Basil Pesto which he promptly devoured.

We ordered a bottle of 2011 Cassini Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay "Golden
Mile Bench" which was quite nice with our starters and the shared
excellent fish 1/2 portions:
GRILLED RARE ALBACORE TUNA came with Heirloom Tomato/Fennel in a Red
Wine Brown Butter Sauce and
Pan Roasted HALIBUT with Crispy Scallop Gnocchi, Summer Vegetable
Ragout and Citrus Emulsion only needed a little fresh pepper or maybe
a dash of more citrus flavor.

We moved on to a CLOS du SOLEIL 2008 "Signature" from the Similkameen
Valley which Greg recommended and it had a nice spice to it from the
blend of 52%Merlot/26%Cab/13%Cab Franc/9% Malbec.

Our 1/2portions for the meat course were:
Roasted VENISON LOIN which came rare and tender with Roast Scarlet
Turnips, Endive and more yummy Mushrooms in a Red wine-Cocoa Sauce
(which was just a hint of cocoa).
DUCK CONFIT CANNELONI came with Creamed Spinach, Braised Greens,
Ricotta, more English Peas (yay) and a Cinzano jus. This was a yummy
dish, but might have benefited from a bit more flavor from the duck
than the cheese and spinach.

Will could not resist the DATE STICKY TOFFEE Pudding with Vanilla Bean
Ice Cream and it was up to par (from the English standard), and Samuel
loved his super fresh STRAWBERRY SORBET. I went the cheese route as
usual and tried
CHEVRADA-a semi-firm goat from Salt Spring Island just across the
strait that had a bit of an after kick that I loved.
ERMITE BLUE from Quebec was superb, but too blue for Will.
Sat. Damase was a washed-rind cow from Quebec that oozed flavor.
I am often not a fan of the accompaniments on a cheese plate, but this
was the best TOMATO CHUTNEY ever.
We left just after 11pm and the place was dead. Silvia said that
Victoria is a sleepy town at night, so we went home to sleep after
another wonderful Canadian repast.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

lunching in Tofino & Ucluelet-don't be clueless try SHELTER or the FLOATHOUSE (7/20 & 21/12)

Should you end up in the Pacific Rim National Park way out on western Vancouver Island and don't seek haute cuisine or high prices there are many other options.

We had lunch in Tofino at SHELTER on our first day and Will's SHRIMP SANDWICH was perfect and my CORTEZ ISLAND MUSSELS with CHORIZO in White Wine Cream

Sauce and Garlic Bread were simple out of this world.

The next day as we headed back to civilization we stopped in Ucluelet at the south end of the road (Tofino is at the very north end of the peninsula) at the FLOAT HOUSE and had another super

lunch. Sam wanted only the grilled chicken with fried and these were huge steak style fries that crunched throughout. I have never had such huge had cut fries that are not mushy in the middle.

Will and I split the CRABCAKE SANDWICH and it was mighty fine (even us spoiled folks from DC would love it) and the PULLED PORK BBQ SANDWICH made with Root beer!!

This place is hard to find, so google it up before you ,and dress warmly, because if you want to sit outside on the water it can be chilly, though scenic.

Next stop, VICTORIA.

Tofino's top place, The POINTE at Wickaninnish Inn, Relais et Chateau par excellence in BC

We were very happy to head south to the land where the sun sets and be
on our own for a week in British Columbia. Our first two nights were
at the remote Wickaninnish Inn(, a Relais et Chateaux
property at the westernmost end of the road on Vancouver Island (3
hours from the ferry) literally at the beginning of the wilderness
(the Clayaquot Wilderness that is).
We arrived late and ended up eating later than we had hoped, but as
soon as we sat down in the dining room with its floor to ceiling
windows overlooking Long Beach and the remote Pacific Rim National
Park we knew it would be a glorious evening. Samuel spotted a bald
eagle swooping down for dinner and it stayed perched on a tree just
above our table for almost half an hour. One of the servers saw how
excited he was and brought over a printout on bald eagles and their
habits! We ordered our first bottle of wine from our superior server
Jorge who knew all the wines on the list intimately. He offered us a
taste of JOIE, "A Noble Blend" 2011 from BC (everything is served in
Riedel here, so I felt very much more at home), which was a little too
sweet for our buds. We went to the MISSION HILL VIOGNIER "Reserve"
from Kelowna in BC's Okanagan Valley which had lots of mineral acidity
and a creamy finish.
A Tuna Tartare amuse came with nori wrap, red onion, radish and
mushroom. Samuel surprised us all and ate it all save the mushroom.
The breads arrived and they were apricot spelt (slightly sweet),
hazelnut white (never did get to taste this, despite our asking for
more several times--the bread lady seemed to keep skipping our table,
and then said she ran out) and a tasty cornbread.

Will & I split a 1/2 dozen of the "Outlandish" (that's the purveyor)
OYSTERS which are actually local Blakc Pearl Oysters from Vancouver
Island with a salad of organic beets and fresh horseradish with
caraway croutons on the side; they were petite yet full of flavor.
Samuel started with a salad which included many things, but would not
eat the watercress, orange or frisee (well, I can't blame him for the
latter). He did taste Will's SHORT RIB & SPOT PRAWN PANZANELLA which
had very had house made focaccia croutons, divine ribs, tasty prawns
and pile of local arugula (with a long hair in it--OOPS!) and a
Shellfish Emuslion. We got the plate replaced quickly with an
explanation from the kitchen that it had to come from the farm pickers
as it was so entangled with the greens! As I was saying, Sam loved the
dish so much, he ordered it for his starter the next night when we
returned, but then made a miny fuss about not liking the shorter end
of the shrimp. Who knows??
My SPICY PACIFIC OCTIOUS with Chili Glaze, Sesame, Seaweed Salad and
Crisp Sushi Rice had a Sracha sauce that was sublime and the huge
portions of sliced octopus could not have been more tender.
A Raspberry Sorbet with Fresh Thyme came served over cocoa nibs for
crunch and support.
We moved on to a QUAIL'S GATE "Stewart Family Reserve" 2008 Chardonnay
also from Kelowna that was medium bodied and perfect with the two main
TOFINO SALMAN TANDOORI is made with apricot, a divine burnt eggplant
puree, red lentil crisps, caramelized onion, scallion and cilantro.
The fish was sublime and the preparation a nice change from the
simplicity we had had for several weeks.
Slow Baked HALIBUT was another perfect fish with English Peas,
Lettuce, Braised Pork Hocks in a Mustard Beurre Blanc which truly
respected the fish.

For his main course Samuel chose the House Made HOT DOG which would
truly be a non-event, but this was a Relais et Chateaux dining room
and it was on a home made brioche roll and was a sausage like dog with
gorgeous fries.

I asked Jorge how often the menu changes and he said that if guests
stay three nights or more, the chef will call them to ask specifically
what they wish to eat so that repetition isn't a problem. We had two
nights and we already looked forward to number two. Other than the
hair, the only thing I would eliminate (and another server said they
were going soon) was the woven mats on the tables that constantly
slide around the gorgeous wood and are really unnecessary. Also, the
rest rooms should have tissues.

For dessert Will chose the RHUBARB with Rhubarb Walnut Buttermilk
Mousse, Rhubarb Sorbet and Confit Rhubarb Ribbon, Walnut & Nougatine
Wafer. It sounded better that it was overall, but all was redeemed
with the superb cheeses and dessert wine.
Jorge suggested the QUAIL's GATE (same winery) OPTIMA, a sweet rich
late harvest. I loved it with my 4 cheeses:
PAILLOT de CHEVRE an earthy goat from Quebec
RIOPELLE de L'Isle, a divine raw cow triple creme also from Quebec
HERCULES de Charlevoix another raw cow from Quebec, but less exciting
BLUE BENEDICTINE a super, yet mild pasteurized blue

Well, we knew we would be back the next night and headed up to the
room very late only to return earlier on the next day so as to get
some more sleep for a change.

As we sat down, Jorge brought over two glasses of complimentary crisp
fresh BLUE MOUNTAIN Okanagan Brut sparkling and a glass of local
Ginger Beer for Samuel; we were happy to be back. The amuse was an
Asian slaw of jicama, cashew, and soy glaze that was nice, but the
tuna from night one was still in our minds.
We ordered a 1/2 litre of FAIRVIEW CELLARS 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
(sustainable) and it is nice that many restaurants out here have not
only half bottles and glasses, but 1/2 litres! We had planned for meat
tonight and wanted to splurge on a bottle of BLACK HILLS "NOTA BENE"
and The Pointe had 2007 which was 46%Cab/39%Merlot/15%Cab Franc). A
gentleman sitting next to me on the plane to Vancouver weeks earlier
mentioned this as well as the Quail Ridge Winery from which we had
wines the night before. It was a treat and Jorge said it was one of
his favorite "top 3" wines from BC. It's my favorite red with
intensity, but needs to breathe, and he knew that.

Samuel did start with the hairless version of the PANZANELLA and a
Shirley Mojito...a Shirley Temple with lots of mint leaves, that is
his new drink of choice. Will started with the Albacore TUNA TARTARE
with Cucumber Sorbet and while he said it was delicious, he still
insisted mine at home is better. YAY! I had the most superb POTATO
CRUSTED CORTEZ ISLAND OYSTERS which comes with Sweet Corn Nage, Wild
Mushrooms, Summer Truffle and Creme Fraiche and is rightfully a
signature dish here. The mushrooms were local and totally dreamy and
the oysters come wrapped in shoestring potatoes first and then deep
fried. OMG! Samuel loved the look of the potatoes and I explained,
they came with a slice of oyster if he wanted a taste. He was game and
said it was okay; good try.
The breads were Rye, honey hazelnut and bacon cheddar rye and we took
all three to start so we were sure not have a bread lady issue. They
were okay, but get no raves. Samuel loved the rye and kept mopping up
the seafood emulsion on his starter.

Tonight's sorbet on cocoa nibs was yuzu-mint with micro arugula and
was quite refreshing.
Samuel had a Artisan Vegetarian Pasta entree which was farfalle with
locally grown and foraged vegetables in and organic roasted heirloom
tomato sauce topped. The veggie turned out to be cippolini onion and
he didn't really care for them, but he loved the sauce, pasta and
mahon cheese on top.
Unlike the previous evening where Will and I split entree's halfway
through tonight he wanted all his Boneless SHORTRIB AAA Heritage ANGUS
BEEF with Bone Marrow, Summer Beans, Potato & Truffle- I don't blame
him, it was great, and oh so perfect with our divine red wine.
My Rustic Peace Country LAMB was cooked sous-vide and served with
oregano, aubergine, olive honey(like a sweet jammy dip on the side),
caramelized yoghurt and endive. I am not a sous-vide fan, but this
worked well and came cooked perfectly. The best part was between the
ribs! Small battered deep fried garlic confit balls were a treat to
pop in the mouth and while I am not an eggplant fan, these were three
local heirloom varieties that could not fail to impress anyone.
We were getting full and decided to split one dessert to finish with
our remaining dessert wine from the previous night:
CHERRIES/GUINESS was a fun dish that really was a change from the
RHUBARB the night before. It came with Black Pepper Meringues, Sour
Black Cherries and Ranier (they come from the Okanagan Valley)
Cherries, Cherry Sorbet & Guiness Sorbet Dome, cocoa nibs and a super
fun Cherry Soda with Guiness Foam Shot which Samuel adored he asked
Jorge for a second one. Since it had Guiness, Jorge brought Samuel a
small Cherry Soda Float with Vanilla Ice Cream and we each of us
gobbled the Chocolate Macaroons with Chocolate & Black Pepper Ganache
that he brought as a farewell.

It was sad to leave, but Jorge gave us some ideas for Vancouver dining
this week and I'll report later on how that goes!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When in Whitehorse, hit the KLONDIKE RIB & SALMON (7-17-12)

Tonight we have a buffet supper at the hotel for a farewell dinner, so we chose the most fun place in all the Yukon last night and headed across the street with our new friends Gwyn & Sandy to the cool and cooky KLONDIKE RIB & SALMON ( As the largest city in the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse has more dining options than anywhere else, but most are pretty sad as you can guess. We arrived and we met Emily at the door who said the wait was about 20 minutes, but in all honesty probably 30. Our faces dropped and Sam ran up to her asking if she could do it more quickly. There was no bar to get a drink and it was wet, chilly and clammy out. She suggested we head to our hotel bar, but to check back in 15 minutes. Well, 17 minutes later we were seated in a "tent" with walls and decor that simply can't be described. Old books, photos and green and white checker tablecloths are found here with Mason jars used for glasses (I hate those things on the rims when drinking wine!).
Our server Holly was a hoot as we all introduced ourselves and she made a point of saying, "Alan.....this or that" whenever we had a comment or question.
Copper Moon Shiraz N/V from somewhere in Canada was the only red choice that was full bodied, and it was decent, especially with the BBQ house specials.
Gwyn & Sandy split the HUGE "Simply Sensational Stampede Spinach Salad" with fetam red onion, dried cranberries, golden raisins, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with raspberry vinaigrette. Sam discovered he likes spinach a bit now, but feta alot.
Will and I split two starters:
KLONDIKE CAKES made from 3 "full body" prawns with cheese, spicy aioli and a small arugula salad which were tasty and filling.
KIKACCIO-Klondike style ELK CARPACCIO which was thick and rich tenderloin with herbs, spices, capers, parmesan, red onion, earthy yet subtle truffle oil and the subtitle "GET WILD" and we did.

Sam's entree was Smoked Alberta PRIME RIB with Klondike Fries. It came with Chili butter, but he skipped that and gobbled up most of the most.
Sandy had the North American 8 ounce BISON RIBEYE STEAK with Wildberry Sage Reduction that was tender and tasty.
Gwyn, Will and I all overindulged with the HOUSE SPECIAL-RIBS & SALMON comprised of Two "divine" BBQ salmon skewers and 1/2 rack of pork ribs. The salmon was tasty and the rib meat fell off but was moist and tender. It was nearly impossible to finish the huge platter which comes with oven roasted veggies and a choice of fries, rice or super garlic mashed potatoes. Every dish comes with a monstrous piece of wonderful rosemary focaccia, which we wrapped up and ate today for breakfast!
The place was noisy and the music was even worse, but we had tons of fun and met the owner Dona who invited Gwyn and Sandy to come next February for the Yukon Quest, similar to the Iditerod, as volunteers and they immediately agreed!
I know they'll be eating here again soon!
Next stop-Vancouver Island.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

: Dawson City's KLONDIKE KATE's is the Yukon's yummiest cuisine(7-16-12)

Our final night in Dawson City we had already chosen KLONDIKE KATE's
and when we walked by the night before and saw the menu, we knew we
were in for a treat. When we did pass by Sunday night the place was
jammed and heaving and folks were pouring into the streets, thought
mostly to smoke.
That said, we arrived on Monday and the place was much quieter and we
were indeed glad. We had invited our tour escort, Hillary to join us
and we all indeed had a superb dining experience in this simply cozy
middle-of-nowhere spot with wooden tables, chairs and local art on the
We started with a bottle of HESTER CREEK PINOT GRIS 2010 from British
Columbia as we are trying to imbibe Canadian wines while here. It was
a great choice with lots of crisp tones and some nice fruit essences
of pineapple as well.
Will wanted to try JOE's JUNK which was home fried tortilla chips
(red, blue and yellow corn) slightly spice dusted served warm with
Joe's Junk Salsa. The salsa was medium heat and some of the best ever;
I asked who Joe was and nobody seemed to know!
Samuel had the house salad minus the lettuce which came with shoots,
carrots, tasty fresh radishes, cucumber and tomato with ranch garlic

Our server Mysa was very helpful, but needed to ask the boss about the
red wines and we ultimately chose the GANTON & LARSON PROJECT Winery
Red Willow Shiraz 2008 from BC as well and it was a perfect choice
with our heavy duty main courses as well as the huge list of BBQ
dishes on the menu.
Samuel had a yummy KATE's BURGER with fries, cole slaw and pickle and
Hillary chose the VEGGIE BURGER made from local wild mushrooms, oats,
garden herbs and parmesan which she said was the best one she ever
had (and she is a vegetarian)!

CRANBERRY SAUSAGES, slow cooked in Yukon Gold Beer and finished in the
char broiler with fried onions, nasturtium kale aioli and housemade
"Lead Dog" beer mustard. Tghis dish tasted even better that it sounds
and we savored every single bite. What is even better is all the main
dishes come with TWO BBQ sides. Will chose the excellent Garlic
Ciabatta Bread and the top quality FatKid's Roasted Veggies made up of
carrots, broccoli, onions peppers and more, all indeed from a local
farm. It was so nice to have all these local ingredients as so many
paces seem to import all the food ingredients up north. My sides
included the same tasty veggies and Guiness Beer Battered Onion Rings
served with Alder Smoked Ketchup, which had to be some of the
crispiest and tastiest onion rings I have ever had; not a drop of
grease in sight!.

Klondike Kate's motto is "BBQ down south, north of 60" as we were
south of the Arctic Circle, but still north of 60degrees latitude. I
must also add that not only was this some of the best food we have had
so far, but in general, the service and friendliness of the staff up
north is super. Mysa was such a sweetheart and we asked about her
background and how her family came to western Canada generations ago.

Before we took off, Will could not resist the housemade MAPLE PECAN
CHEESECAKE which not as heavy as it sounds as the base was crust and
maple pecan with only a thin topping of cheesecake. We all tasted and
did agree, it was a fine finish to a spectacular meal.

Even the bill came with Mysha carrying the European-style credit card
machine to the table. I forgot we were in Canada, and said this was
the first time I had seen this now age-old gadget in the USA. So now
that we know Canada has them, the USA is still far behind in this
ingenious innovation for restaurants.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Belinda's at the Westmark Inn in Dawson City does cope(7-16-12)

Our first stop across the Canadian border was in Dawson City in the Yukon Territory famous for its 19th century gold rush and now a quaint tourist attraction for the most part. Dining options here number more than a dozen, but we were quite tired and chose BELINDA's in our hotel, The Westmark Inn.

It was decent, and there were some good and bad points.

I asked our server, Kevin, a student from Toronto, if the Elk Stew was good and he said they would not let him taste it: not a good sign. We saw our friends Gwyn and Sandy and they raved about the ARTICHOKE & TOMATO SALAD and it was great; big enough for Will and me to split and it came with a "pesto" dressing yellow and red tomatoes, piles of artichoke hearts and a sprinkle of chopped pistachio nuts with a slice of crunchy pancetta.

Sam gobbled up the Greek Salad, but asked to cut the onions and feta making it basically tomato, olives and cucumber. His Shirley Temple was indeed a presentation, but I was quite shocked at the $5.25(Canadian) price tag!
Our bottle of PELLER ESTATES Proprietor's Reserve N/V Chardonnay was much better priced and super dry with nice crispness for an Ontario wine.

Sam's main course was the VEAL SCALLOPINE with Marsala Cream Sauce which he liked, to our surprise. It came with several choices and he went for rice and veggies, but ate mostly the meat which had two slices, one a bit tough sadly.

Will's Baked ARCTIC Char came from the Yukon and nearby Arctic Ocean and was served with herbs and a butter gremolata. My dish was the hit. The special of the day was the same YUKON ARCTIC CHAR with Tomato Risotto which was very well done and super-lemony, but quite a delightfully good surprise.

Will tried the TIRAMISU for dessert which Samuel discovered he now loves and it was pretty good save for the hard a rock biscotti-like lady finger poked into it.

All in all, not gourmet, but not bad either. We walked by our dinner spot chosen for tomorrow afterwards and KLONDIKE KATE's look like it may be a miner's find with meat eating delights in the Yukon.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What's up Tok?: FAST EDDIE'S -a find in the AlaskanWilderness (7-14-12)

Our final night in Alaska was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of Fairbanks
halfway to the Canadian border in the east. The population of TOK
(sounds like Coke) is in the hundreds and the dining options are few.
The restaurants aren't even open most of the year as the temps drop to
40 below or more much of the winter. We had heard about FAST EDDIE's
from many other Sourdoughs (that's what they call the locals) and got
quite excited about this place a mile or so from our hotel (we were in
the center of town, and Fast Eddie's is on the outskirts!). There's
only a couple of roads here, but everything crosses the Alaska
Highway, so you can't miss it.

We invited two women we met on the cruise and have been with us on
this post-tour. While Fast Eddie's has a huge menu with many local
specialties and a pretty good salad bar, Samuel had his heart set on
the pizza. He split a 12 piece 15" medium size with Gwyn and while his
half was plain hers was Hawaiian with ham and pineapple.
The rest of us headed to the salad bar where you can fill a huge plate
with tons of yummies for $8.50.
We saw that they had Apothic Red on the menu which we loved several
nights earlier, but the server came back to say they were out. We
chose the CLINE Cashmere 2010 instead as I know the winery and it's
pretty decent. This Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah blend was smooth and
Then came the burgers:
Will went with the BACON SWISS Gourmet (the Gourmets come on a hoagie
bun instead) and Sandy went for the CALIFORNIA with avocado, Swiss &
Sprouts. My PEPPER JACK came on a sesame bun and was perfectly cooked
and more than a meal with the accompanying Seasoned CURLY FRIES.
We were all stuffed and while I am pretty confident I will never head
back to Tok again, we knew we had the best meal in town. If you go, be
sure to wear GOOD mosquito repellent as this town is one of the worst
I have been to in Alaska, and they don't seem to have a way to keep
them out of the dining room either!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fairbanks foodies:Gambardella's is perfect for pasta (7-12-12)

You can well assume that Fairbanks, Alaska doesn't have many choices for fine dining. We looked over many of them and felt that we hadn't had pasta for

some time and chose GAMBARDELLA's right downtown (well, downtown is several blocks long and everything is right there). It was a good choice.

We arrived to a homey feeling with ochre painted wallpaper, if a bit worn down. Tables had plastic cloths and white paper placemats, but they do get

a big plus for the gold linen napkins.

Samuel chose the children's menu full order of Spaghetti with meatballs which could have fed two! He was told he could have salad before and we asked for

a leafless option and our super-smile server Dejan from Serbia delivered a plate full of tomatoes, broccoli, provolone cheese and ranch dressing.

Will and I chose a bottle of Santa Cristina Campogrande from Orvieto which went very well with our starter choices:
CEVICHE of Halibut, Scallop and Shrimp was a bit of a dud having been cut so small the pieces were hard to fork up!

CRAB CAKES with Lemon Beurre Blanc were nice but surrounded by an odd balsamic ring that was not warm like the dish and a bit too strong. While

rich it was a pretty good crab cake.

Our salads were nice but way overdressed with Italian dressing and had lettuce as well as olives.

We moved to a bottle of DOMAINE SERENE Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvee 2008 from Oregon which was superb for the price and was excellent with both our

huge seafood filled pasta plates:

ALASKAN SEAFOOD SAUTE with Halibut, Sockeye, Shrimp & Scallop over Fettucini with a Marsala Cream Sauce. Also rich, it needed only some pepper and

was impossible to finish, Will hit the jackpot with the CAJUN SEAFOOD PASTA made from the same ingredients but adding SPICY SAUSAGE and a spicy

vodka chipotle cream sauce. Again, rich, but decadent and way too filling.

We could not even think of dessert as we rolled home at 11pm in the still super bright sunlit skies near the Arctic Circle.

Alaska's Denali dining:Princess' KING SALMON swings from savory to so-so (7-11-12)

Heading north from Anchorage our next stop was Denali National Park
the home Mt. McKinley, much wildlife and loads of fun, but not
necessarily good food.
Our first night at the Nenana Grill at the McKinley Chalet where we
stayed was uneventful and not really mentionable. The salmon Will had
was good, my Alaskan King Crab Legs were decent and the wine was great-
Apothic Red 2010 that we had for "dessert" when we returned from a dog
sledding excursion after dinner (the sun sets at midnight and rises at
4am, so it's never dark).
The next night we went next door to the Denali Princess Wilderness
Lodge's KING SALMON, definitely the top place in Glitter Gulch (the
not too affectionate name the locals call the hotel/restaurant/
shopping strip outside the National Park). King Salmon gets big points
for its ambiance and views of the mountains, but looses points with no
bread plates for the tasty hot Asiago bread. The wines here are
inferior by far to the Nenana next door and we decided to have some
drinks first - a very smart move.
The Alaskan SMOKED SALMON BLOODY MARY is a divine creation from Alaska
Distillery Smoked Salmon-infused Vodka (think Sunday brunch with a
bagel, lox and cream cheese without the cheese or carbs!), olives and
pickled string beans. Will also liked his McKinley Margarita with
Sauza Gold Tequila, Peach Schnapps, lime and of course, salt.
Samuel ordered the Denali Princess Lodge (must they use this in every
name) Brick Chicken which had a crispy crust that Samuel eventually
loved and a mountain berry compote which was a bizarre choice (and not
used), along with string beans and superb fingerling purple and white
Yukon potatoes.
Will and I split both apps and mains:
Coconut Crusted HALIBUT with Apricot Chutney was tasty as the chutney
was more like a marmalade and not sweet so as to add to the coconut's

The entrees were enjoyed with a bottle of STEELE CHARDONNAY, the top
choice on the menu (and it had 8 whites or maybe 10!). The Asiago
Crusted Alaskan HALIBUT came with a light panko-Asiago-herb crust and
was pan seared perfectly. Sadly the parmesan risotto was ice cold,
although the fried capers were fun. String beans came with every
entree but were called fresh vegetables on the menu; I guess they
change them often.
The most expensive fish on the menu was the restaurant's namesake the
Sea Salt Accented KING SALMON pan seared with gray sea salt atop a
cremini mushroom English pea risotto, which was not cold in a superb
beurre rouge sauce. The fish and dishes were good, but not a touch on
the Crow's Nest in we shall yet see what remains in
Fairbanks and the Alaskan north!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Alaskan cuisine conquers at the Crow's Nest in Anchorage(7-9-12)

Our final night in Anchorage was at one of the city's top rated places (you will recall a couple of places are closed on Sundays and Mondays) and it was a wonderful experience. The Crow's Nest is located on the 20th floor of the Captain Cook Hotel (where I stayed with my parent's on our first visit here 20 years ago) and has spectacular views on through the huge picture windows. Our table was right against the window on the east side facing downtown Anchorage below and the magnificent snow-capped Chugatch Mountains in the distance. We sat down at 645pm and our dinner lasted close to three hours and was indeed a total experience with great thanks to our server Eric and his team. Add to this the crisp linens, fine china and crystal (Spiegelau) and you do have fine dining indeed.

As soon as we sat an amuse CARROT GINGER SOUP appeared with coriander hints and fresh scallions atop. Warm French bread and Olive bread appeared which was the best we have had on the whole trip.

Our only concern was that the large pricey portions would be too big for Sam. I had checked prior to making a reservation and knew this large hotel offered a children's menu, but it seemed a new chef had abandoned that option. Eric said that he could request anything from the chef, but that the new chef was not too amenable...OH BOY! Eric reappeared after a while and said that our requests would be granted, so Sam had the Tomato and Cucumber Salad (he left the delicious leafy greens) with Balsamic reduction and a tasty vinaigrette (champagne? red wine and shallot? who knows?). The salad was gone in seconds and Will and I gobbled up our fabulous appetizers. Will had the TUNA TOWER of edamame and cucumber marinated ahi with avocado, lime and toasted nori, which while delicious still doesn't come close to my new recipe for tuna tartare at home! My SEARED DIVER SCALLOPS were superb and local as well with a Vegetable Ratatouille (onion, eggplant, squash, red pepper) in and almost deconstructed format shaped in a small square with butter braised leeks in a toasted shallot and vermouth sauce.

We chose a bottle of McCrea Rousanne, but it was sold out, so the sommelier let us taste the McCrea "Sirocco Blanc" 2008 "Boushey Vineyard from Washington's Yakima Valley (40% Grenache/30%Marsanne/20% Rousanne/10%Picpoul) which was a superb creamy blend with a slight acidity from the Picpoul that we were more than happy with. Samuel enjoyed a homemade orange cream soda!

Will and I chose to split the BEET TERRINE made from roasted Alaska Purple and Golden Beets alternating for presentation with Goat Cheese, Truffle Mousse and Toasted Hazelnuts & Petite Greens. While a nice idea, the dish needed fresh pepper as it was bland, and we did get some after we finished most of it; one slight down point of the meal.

We switched to a blow your mind full of flavor and body ROCO 2005 Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley and Sam switched to an amazing homemade Black Cherry Soda.

Our main courses came and Samuel ate a huge portion of his Prime RIBEYE with Pimenton Espresso Crust, Roasted Fingerlings and Bordelaise Sauce, but would not touch the Broccolini. Will adored his ALASKAN HALIBUT braised with wild mushrooms, fennel and corn succotash and a sweet pea beurre blanc. It was divine and we have to say that both our fish dishes were some of the best local fish ever with superb local ingredients. My COPPER RIVER SALMON from way southeast of town with house cured Pancetta, Chardonnay & Caramel Poached Apples, Purple & White Pearl Onions, Brussels Leaves, Fingerling Potatoes and Orange Gastrique. Salmon like this, so fresh and so flavorful, just can't be had at home!

Samuel ordered the Mango Sorbet and loved it but we began to notice that the dining room was freezing cold. Who needs a/c when it's 55 degrees out?

Will chose the BLUEBERRIES MEADOWS which was creamy cheesecake with blueberry reduction, Madeleine cakes, AMAZING Blueberry Ice Cream and a Blueberry Tartlet that was the real dud of the meal as the tart was dry despite the biggest fresh berries inside it.

Altogether, it was an amazing experience that we would love to have again in Anchorage should we return.

Monday, July 09, 2012

SNow City Cafe is open much of the day and Anchorage away (7-9-12)

Today's lunch was at one of Anchorage's most well known breakfast and lunch spots. The do take some reservations, and don't walk in, the line is an hour long or more at noon.
SNOW CITY CAFE at 1034 W 4th is just off the Cook Inlet, but the view is all inside and the place is fun and funky and the food quite good.
Samuel had his first ever grilled panini with Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Roasted Red Peppers and Pesto which he devoured and loved the Lime Soda as well.
Will and I chose the famous SOCKEYE SALMON CAKES which comes with tasty hash brown patty and choice of 2 eggs. I asked our server if poached or scrambled were better
and Will chose fried. Choose something runny like fried or poached as the yolk helps the cake with a sauciness it lacks. I shouldn't have had the scrambled although the eggs were super.
Smoothies here are some of the best with IGLOO CANYON made from raspberry,oj and vanilla Greek yogurt and my perfect POLYCHROME of mixed berries, banana and cranberry.
It's a great spot for breakfast and lunch and people watching as well


At Anchorage's GINGER all goes good (7-8-12)

We arrived here an Anchorage for a couple of days and chose two top
spots, but not our first choices, as the really top spots are both
closed Sunday and Monday and those are our nights here!
Anyway, GINGER ( right in downtown at 425 W. 5th
Ave is a simple cozy Asian fusion spot that gave us reason to rejoice.
Samuel insisted on the POMMES FRITES with Wasabi Mayo (none for him)
which were divine and gobbled up the Fried PORK PURSES with veggies
and Ponzu Dipping Sauce. He did not care for the tasty simple
Vegetable SPRING ROLLS with vermicelli noodles and a yummy cilantro
mint sauce, but he did discover that he now likes shrimp as he asked
for more from our superb GINGER JAMBALAYA with shrimp, scallops,
clams, fish, sweet linguica sausage, red peppers, onions, mushrooms
and rice of course. It had a nice bite and was really a HUGE portion
we could all share.
A CRAGGY RANGE Te Muna Road Vineyard New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was
the ticket for the saucy and spicy foods and we moved to a superb OWEN
ROE Grenache Blend "SINISTER HAND" from Columbia Valley Oregon 2010
that was melt in your mouth perfect (71%Grenache, 24%Syrah &
5%Mourvedre) with the divine Sesame Crusted AHI TUNA Grilled rare and
served over a monster mound of coconut rice with sauteed spinach in a
tamarind sweet chili beurre blanc.
The lighting is low, perhaps because the sun shines outside til
midnight! The tables are nicely lacquered and the place is cozy, but
nothing special.
Tasty seasoned sesame crisps come instead of bread, and Sam chose a
vodka-less virgin version of the Blue Rickey with Sprite, Lime & Dried
Will could not resist the Passion Fruit CHEESECAKE with Macadamia
Graham Crust, Raspberry Coulis and Passion Fruit Anglaise, but I kept
to just one bite.
It was all superb.