Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vancouver Tasting Trip

Shannon, Shannon's brother Mike and I all went on a three day trip to Vancouver to show Mike the Pacific coast and to eat at L'Abattoir. Chef Lee Cooper's first attempt at restaurant ownership. We really, really wanted to just spend three days eating and that is what we did.

The downside of living in the South Okanagan is the lack of quality restaurants and not just fine dining. We were just as excited to eat good ethnic foods as we were to eat at any higher end restaurant. As a result we were rather gluttonous.

Right upon arrival we went to a sushi shop on Robson to get the cheap sushi fix out of the system as fast as possible. Mission accomplished. Nothing spectacular, unfortunately the place we were looking for was closed on Sundays which left us to find the nearest joint possible. I forgot to get the name of the place but it was good, better than anything within a couple hundred kilometers.

For dinner we went to Lupo. Why Lupo? Well, two of the best cooks that I have had the privilege to work with were both products of that kitchen. The restaurant, which used to go by the moniker "Villa de Lupo" was sold and then bought back by the same people. This was my first opportunity to dine in this old house located on Hamilton in the Yale Town district of the city.
We were treated to some great food and wonderful service.

First course:

Ricotta gnocchi
Braised pork cheeks
"sugo" di pomodoro

Second course: (feature)

Duck confit & ricotta raviolli
Truffle sauce


Veal Scallopini Friulano
Fontina, Prosciutto, Marsala
mascarpone polenta

Roasted Chicken Lupo
Roasted Beet Farrotto
Porcini Mustard

BC Sablefish
Grappa & Orange Marinade
Baby Spinach




Apricot Tart

Post dinner we went for a short walk to the marina so that Mike could dip his feet in the Pacific and then it was off to Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar for some post dinner sushimi

Sushimi Platter

Torched Hamachi
pickled ginger
yuzu broth

The following day we went to Rangoli for lunch. This is the small "bistro" which sits next to the mother ship that is Vij's. Perhaps the best Indian food outside of India. We shat the bed with the camera on this one but I assure you that our lunch was outstanding. Nothing like watching 8 Indian women making your lunch in an open kitchen.

For dinner that night we finally made it to L'Abattoir. So very excited, and in no way were we disappointed. Considering that this restaurant has been open for no longer than 3 weeks at this point it was running very smoothly from where we were sitting. The room is beautiful and welcoming. We sat for nearly four hours and a no point did we feel anything but comfortable.

We ate a lot of food. Instead of giving a critique plate by plate I will just say that everything was really tasty and even more reasonably priced than I was expecting.

Salad of chicken and lightly pickled cauliflower
Foie gras flavoured mayonnaise, lemon & parsley vinaigrette

Poached egg, quinoa and swiss chard
Homemade ricotta cheese, tomato sauce

Confit of albacore tuna
Smoked pork fat, egg, crispy bits

Summer bean soup (broth style) with or without ham
Fresh and dried beans, vegetables, gruyere cheese croutons

Dungeness crab and chickpea toast
Toasted brioche, light crab custard, carrot pickles

Crispy mushroom turnover
Broccoli, mushrooms, pecorino & truffle fondue

Roast flank steak and sweetbread
Potato fondants, charred onion, fried peppers

Leg of lamb cooked with Indian spices
Coriander fritters, slow cooked tomato, raita

Poached halibut with mussels and spinach dumplings
Ragout of early summer vegetables and basil, garlic sabayon

Ricotta cheese tart (savory)
Lemon & thyme sorbet

Chocolate yogurt custard
Compressed strawberries, caramelized phyllo shards,
cocoa nib sauce

Rum Baba
Citrus confit, golden raisins, currants & Chantilly cream

Limonade (fizzy lemonade)
Blueberry sorbet, tapioca pearls, mint granita

Apricot mousse
Shortcrust, apricots, lemon meringue

yes yes yes. All of this was spectacular. Next time you're in Vancouver Check it out.

So, aside from a few other snacks the following day, that was about that. Not much more to say other than, longest blog ever. Can't wait to have options to eat at hear in the Okanagan. Soon enough I hope.


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