Tuesday, June 7, 2011

4 Words = Double Crusted Lemon Pie

I have never tasted a pie that was so damn good. Tartine excels in their pie making. Especially when it comes to the crust. Imagine the most flaky, buttery, thick and crunchy pie crust. Wait, hold for it. THEN DOUBLE IT UP. I need to shake the hand of the genius that came up with that idea. Next step, fill the inside with a sweet, tangy, lemony custard-like filling and sprinkle the top with giant sugar crystals. UNBELIEBABLE (typo intended)!!!

I've had me a few other pie flavors there (strawberry rhubarb, maple boston cream, etc.) but my heart belongs to this one. The pie gods really did do a number on this one. I truly believe you can't go wrong with any pie at Tartine so please try a few and report back to me on what you think!

No pie should ever be enjoyed without a side of vanilla ice cream! It would be a pie-eating sin!

Friday, June 3, 2011

How to Pack a Punch - Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

Again, shout out to my friend MR for introducing me to the wonderful world of quinoa. Such an amazing, healthy, substitute to rice. Recently, I've learned to flavor my quinoa which makes it that much more appetizing to eat! One time, MR fried it with a bit with kale, green onions and a few spices and it was SO delicious! Even cooking it in veggie/chicken stock makes a huge difference. And here LC goes again, impressing me with her newest concoction - quinoa and turkey stuffed bell peppers. Watch out, the size is deceiving ... this bell pepper sure packs a huge punch in a small package!

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp herb de provence (or any other seasoning you like for poultry)
  • 2 jalapenos, diced and seeded
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Cheese, any kind
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 bell peppers, cleaned and cored
Here's how:

Preheat oven to 375F. Cook onion and garlic until soft. Add turkey, Worcestershire sauce, herb de provence and jalapenos to pan. Slowly cook and add tomatoes and quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste (adjust seasoning if need be). Spoon mixture into peppers and place into deep pan for baking. Add 1 cup of war water to the pan. Cover tightly with foil. Cook for 40 minutes and uncover (watch out because the steam is realllly hot!). Top with cheese and cook additional 10 minutes until melted. Voila! Fancy meal at your table - just like that.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Roll Factory Delivers in Fresh Sushi and Great Value

Being Shota's fairly new baby sister restaurant, I knew Roll Factory was going to be super fresh and tasty. Plus I bought a coupon online ($5 for $10 worth) so I really couldn't go wrong with this. Their combos are fantastic in that they include one specialty roll, a choice of your salad and miso soup. In our case, we also finished off lunch with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with mango syrup included in the coupon. Here you see my absolute most favorite, The Maple Roll. Spicy white tuna mixed with tempura bits (the bits make such a big difference, adds a nice crunch), topped with spicy sockeye salmon and masago. And of course, the sweetness from the maple sauce mixed in, is the cherry on top of this unique roll. I usually prefer a wakame salad but this time opted for the ebi sunomono which was equally as good.

Regularly priced at $8.99, this combo for lunch leaves you satisfied and energized to finish off that work afternoon. Support this restaurant readers, as this resto belongs to a dear friend of mine MH. Watch out for a later post on Shota, where my family and I literally tried all of their specialty rolls!

I just also wanted to include that I appreciated their cute and clean tea cups. Most Japanese places have the usual old looking off green/brown cups and this was refreshing to see and drink out of.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes Done Right: My Ultimate Favorite Side Dish

One of my favorite side/carb dishes ever is my sister's scalloped potatoes. The simple yet perfect blend of cheeses, butter and thin slices of potatoes bubbling in the oven is my idea of the best comfort food. I'm told that it depends on the sharpness of the mandolin (LC uses an Asian brand purchased from Ming Wo) that truly makes this dish. Whatever it is, I always go back for a second helping, no matter how BULL I am! So, from her kitchen to yours, here's the recipe:

  • 4 large potatoes (russet or Yukon), thinly sliced
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Butter, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Milk
Cooking Instructions:

To assemble, begin by layering the ingredients in a square pan starting with potatoes, butter, S&P and cheddar cheese. Repeat until you reach close to top of pan. Then pour milk about 1/4 of the way up the pan (about 2 cups). Top with Parmesan cheese. Tightly wrap foil around edges and bake in 375 F. oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes at 400 F. until golden brown. Let sit for 15 minutes and serve in squares. Yum!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

'Charmed' by Thai Tea Ice Cream

Wow, just look at this beauty. Our ingenious (and piggy) idea of combining two desserts created this breathless moment.

My lovely pregnant sister LC and I met up at Charm Modern Thai in Yaletown for a quick lunch and wanted something sweet to finish up our meal. We decided to have their deep fried banana dipped in vanilla sauce with a side of their homemade Thai tea ice cream. LC is usually quite a 'phan' of Thai iced teas so this intrigued her. Unlike the common heavily battered deep fried whole bananas from other Thai restaurants, Charm's lighter version is a mixture of tiny pieces of half mashed bananas, wrapped in a thin skin and dipped in a creamy vanilla sauce. GREAT IDEA! And their Thai tea ice cream was so refreshing and delicious that we asked if they sold them by the pints but the server advised us that it was a homemade secret recipe by their in-house chef. Sweet and savory at its best people. This Phan fave is another must-try!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Phancouver! Best Meal of the Year Award Goes to La Régalade.

Sniff sniff, I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I started this whacky food blog adventure. I remember it like yesterday … sitting around, dreaming up a catchy name for myself with RW and SC, having that ‘Eureka! moment’ when the name ‘Phancouver’ was born, writing down a list of Vancouver’s best and posting my first blog on Swiss Chalet. AND, til this day, I rave about that place. Heck, I even had it for dinner on Saturday with my homie LW! Some things never change. Especially my love for food. Before I begin this post on the most fabulous French food OF MY LIFE, I want to give a special shout out to one of my BFFs SC. She has been a strong supporter of my desire for food, creativity to blog and she designed my new Phancouver banner which I am debuting to all you lovely people tonight! And, of course I can’t forget all of my other wonderful friends, family and readers aboard this Phancouver food train for this incredible year of encouragement, inspiration and foodie quests to blog about. I couldn’t have done it without y’all. From the bottom of my satisfied stomach, THANK YOU!!! :)

Now, back to La Régalade. I’ve had my fair share of French food in the city, spanning from my favourites La Faux Bourgeois to Mistral French Bistro, but this contender knocks the competition out of the park. This is THE go-to restaurant for ultimate food flavour extravaganza. The service is impeccable. The taste is like you’re high on food ecstasy. The portions are unforgivable and the overall experience is enchanting. It feels like you’ve been mindfreaked after. It really is, THAT magical.

My dining companions, CS and SC traveled to West Vancouver on a cold January evening to find ourselves cozily seated in France. We started off with their Mussels Marinieres which consumed every ounce of us in their buttery, white wine broth. We shucked, slurped, and dipped (and repeat) to our heart’s content. Honestly, by the end of this appetizer, we already felt well fed and happy with our experience there. We had no idea, just what we were getting ourselves into …

I opted for the succulent and perfectly cooked Beef Shortribs in Peppercorn Cream Sauce. Imagine a nice plump, generous cut of meat, juicy in flavour and tender in just the right places (look at that, a little naughty comes out on Phancouver’s anniversary). Soaking in a bath of rich, creamy goodness and quoting CS, ‘the best damn carrots I’ve ever had in my life’, this meal truly took my breath away. I also love the fact that these entrees come in a unique cast iron pot, as if it came straight off the stove of a chef genius and plopped right on to your lap for instant enjoyment. Paired with crispy fries for dipping, this French country fare really hit the spot.

Next up on this magical journey, their bountiful ½ Roasted Duck served with Sautéed, Glazed Apples - a combination of SC’s favourites. Arriving on a hot skillet, this giant duck portion rests atop a sweet and tangy mixture of perfectly cooked apple bits. This dish is excellent for the duck lovers of French food. Paired with a side of potato gratin, 1/3 of this meal was able to satisfy us 3 gals. One of the best things about this experience was lunch for the day after! I LOVE LEFTOVERS!!!

And of course, a staple in French cuisine, the dish that made Julia Child who she is, the Beef Bourguignon. This was actually the first time I tried this dish and I’m so glad I experienced it here. This dish needs no words, it’s simply comfort food at its best. Coupled with their light and fluffy mashed potatoes, this meal had CS begging for more!

After we ate ourselves into an obvious food coma, the server invited us to browse their dessert bar. We somehow got our ‘roly poly’ selves up to feast our eyes on the wide selection of drool inducing sweets, laid out all nicely for us, essentially calling out our names. The pleasant pastry chef behind the counter even took the time to describe each and every delight to us but we three piggies were way too BULL to even consider dessert. BUT, to our surprise and winning them 100 brownie points in my books, he sent over a Floating Island to our table, boasting how this airy, light dessert wouldn’t even make an impact on our already overly stuffed stomachs. Like the eating champions we were, we picked up our spoons and continued our indulgence in this meringue, guarded with a caramel and almonds crème anglais moat. In the center of this island was a sweet vanilla-like custard and he was right – this ended our meal splendidly.

La Régalade was such an amazing, euphoric dining experience and I truly recommend you all to visit this restaurant. If you’re in need to impress your luva, friends or family, make a reservation and prepare them for a beautifully rich, all-consuming meal here. I must admit that when I’m eating good food, it’s one of the happiest moments of my life and I love sharing this with you. Girl, you know it’s true. Oooh Oooh Oooh, I love food.

La Régalade on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beard Papa's Vanilla Cream Puff. That is All.

Need I say more? Now that they've opened up multiple Beard Papa's locations and I don't need to haul ass to Richmond and stand in an annoying long line up to buy a case of these bad boy cream puffs, I'm a happy camper! Though they have many different daily flavors, my heart belongs to their original vanilla oozing, airy fairy puff of magic. AND their new mini size is perfect for that little afternoon delight. Scrumptious, I say!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Looking For That Plump and Juicy Shrimp Burrito? I Found It!

I've had me a few burritos around town but I'm settling down for this plump-and-juicy shrimp burrito from Salsa and Agave in Yaletown. Introduced to my by new new pals at McCrea & Associates, this fat burrito is stuffed with aromatic Mexican rice, and crunchy cut up shrimp sauteed with garlic, onions, cheese and their original pico de gallo sauce. Served with guacamole and sour cream, this reasonable $8 lunch is perfect for both dine-in and take-out (as you can tell from my pictures)! Yum in my tum. Once again, gotta love that Blackberry Bold camera!

And here are a few specialty drinks of theirs. A nice milky, cinnamon-y 'horchata' to the left (think of a liquid churro, MMMM) and their 'Jamaica Juice' to the right (made from the Hibiscus flower!).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fluffy the Donut - By Lee's

If I could talk to this donut, I would say: 'Hi Fluffy. You are the fluffiest donut in the whole entire world. Perfection is you. Dipped in honey and flaked with sugar, you and my mouth are partners in crime. I could have half a dozen of you. And I'd kiss you before every bite. Thank you for being in my life." Love, your biggest Phan, Phancouver.

My dear friend SS and co., surprised me on a work weekend with Lee's donuts. They arrived nice and toasty, traveling just a few minutes from Granville Island, across the water on the ferry. As soon as I saw the nice grease marks on the brown bag, I started salivating. Haha. Lee's Donuts top Krispy Kremes any day. Give them a whirl people, you are missing out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Seafood Pancakes from the House of Suh

My silly friend SS lovesss spreading good cheer and good food. It's an innate quality in her and the entire Suh family - they love to give. In fact, they follow my food philosophy 'sharing is caring' to the tee and I'm very lucky to be a constant recipient of their generosity. So thank you to the House of Suh for enriching my knowledge of Korean food. :)

This is my second post on homemade food by the Suhs. The first time being delicious kimbap by LS and now seafood pancakes aka heh mool been deh duk by SS (or really, just her mama). Most of you have probably tried this crispy, crunchy, doughy delight in any Korean restaurant but how many of you non-Koreans can say you've had it homemade? I can!!! The base ingredients consist of Korean pancake mix, green onions and egg.This version is tossed with imitation crab, octopus, squid, oysters, onions and zucchini and then pan fried to a golden brown. Then dipped in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce. Yum! I also recently got to sample kimchi pancake by my friend HS which will be posted shortly. :)

SS was super thoughtful in that she had her mom also prepare me some of my favorite Korean side dish - stewed potatoes in sugar, soya sauce, sesame oil and sesame. Oh and probably the best ingredient, love!

And I will end this post with an irresistible donut 'qua beh gee' from the Korean supermarket, H-Mart. Made with rice flour 'chap sal', twisted and fried and topped off with sugar and cinnamon, this amazing pastry is reminiscent of something I compare to a beaver's tail from Londsale Quay or zeppole from Scuie. Scrumptious!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Part 2 of Carribean 'Tings' at The Reef

Continuing on from my last post in June 2010 on The Reef, here's an update on two more of their delectable 'tings'. Their Moca Burger as you see above is a great option for a non-meat burger (and my healthy food loving friend KL decided to give it a whirl). Take it from me, someone who definitely enjoys a juicy chicken or beef burger over the veggie patties. This jerk-seasoned hefty slice of tofu is topped off with grilled pineapple, provolone, salsa and greens and let me tell ya, that cheese really brings out the flavor of the tofu. Served with succulent yam fries and a spicy mayo, this meal is complete. Can't wait to get my hands on that burger again.

I on the other hand, ordered their Ackee and Saltfish since I was craving it from my few bites of this dish when my friend DC had it a while back. It wasn't AS good as I remembered but it still made a good impact on my impression of Carribean food. Known as one of Jamaica's national dishes, this meal is made with ackee fruit, salt cod, onion, tomato and peppers. Tasting similar to a mushy egg omelet with the listed ingredients, it paired well with the rice and coleslaw. And of course, plopped smack in the middle of the dish was a Phan Fave - Johnnycake. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Life Doesn't Get Any Better Than a Loaded Baked Spaghetti Dish

For a lovely birthday treat last year, my dear friend AK baked me a 'nasty' loaded spaghetti to celebrate foodie style. This was my first sampling of her home cooked goodness and she did not fail my satisfaction scale one bit. This dish had everything a pasta lover could dream of: al dente strands of spaghetti, a perfect blend of Italian spices, mushrooms-a-plenty, meat & veggies and LOTS OF CHEEEEEESE!

Even though this was one of the heaviest pasta meals I've had in my life (thanks to the delicious whipping cream), my stomach neglected to send signals to my brain and I just kept scooping more and more servings until I became damn stuffed! But no regrets pals, take a side view look at that monster of a dish. Way to go 'Paris'!

Luckily for us piggies, our third musketeer and health conscious friend AY, paired out meal with a light and tasty salad of greens, almonds, strawberries, avocados and cheese - dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette. Delightful :)

And to top it all off, the organized and neat teacher AK, wrote out the ingredients and recipe on her Martha-Stewart-like cooking sheets and passed along her secrets for me to share with all of you! Give this a whirl y'all as it will impress your carb-lovin' friends.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take this 'Golden' Opportunity, to make S'mores!

These Golden Grahams S'mores will grant you the title of 'Everybody's Favorite Friend'. Soft, chewy, gooey, chocolaty goodness that is sure to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth. Literally only taking 5 minutes out of your busy schedule to make, it is worth every second. Big thanks to my pal MC for introducing me to these tiny bites of heaven.

It's easy as 1-2-3 steps, 4 ingredients, and 5 minutes to make! SO SIMPLE, it's on the back of every box of Golden Grahams! You can't go wrong! Well unless your initials are JY. =P

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thai Hang - Where I Like My Vietnamese When Mom Ain't Around

I have to give a shout out to my fellow piggie friend DC for introducing me to this spot! She raves that their beef stew over noodles is the best in town and since she's pretty much had every beef stew dish around, I trust her! Thai Hang is located smack on East Hastings street, across from DQ. The restaurant is your usual hole-in-the-wall dodgy place; bad and fast service, food comes quick and the taste is all there. However, there is one perk that differentiates this spot from the rest, you get FREE DESSERT with your meal! Good dessert too, not the nasty stuff! Usually a sweet bean or jelly warm soupy treat. Yum!

The three dishes featured today are what I call 'safe bets for satisfaction' at Viet restos. They pretty much will taste the same everywhere but Thai Hang beats the rest of them out by providing huge portions, lots of meat and the perfect side pairings. The dish you see above is their BBQ pork skewer & deep fried spring roll combo on vermicelli. Super tasty and fresh on a hot summer day.

The middle dish here is for the meat lovers. Also a fave of the BBQ master chef MR, whose food you see talked about in the previous post. I told you he can't get enough of those BBQ marinated short ribs. This meal, along with a BBQ pork chop too!

And last but not least, my favorite! BBQ lemongrass chicken, shredded pork (which is essentially thin strips of pork skin mixed with Vietnamese ham and tiny speckles of ground pork - DELISH) with an egg cake and pickled veggies. I love steamed egg cake with filling! All topped with that special fish vinegar sauce and we are all happy campers. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Feast Fit for All Food Lovers

This is a MAN's dinner (but fit for ladies too). Master BBQ-er chef MR treated us during the Xmas holidays for a meat n' carbs kind of meal. Just the way the Phans like it. :) The steak was done just right for me, a super-juicy-medium-rare with the trimmings all in tact. I'm hoping for an invite back soon to re-live this gloriously carnivorous moment.

Our 'sides' included take-out from his favorite Indian restaurant, Dhoom. A creamy, rich butter chicken, perfectly toasted naan and aromatic basmati rice. Who wouldn't want to indulge in these ethnic 'sides'?

On the right, we have our third meat of the evening, my momma's famous marinated ribs. Much like her spring rolls, this recipe for success is kept safe in the Phan vault . Those who are fortunate enough to steal a taste are lucky. And lucky enough for MR, he got to savor a freezer full of them!

He also let us sample his secret recipe for roasted potatoes. Although, I will disclose that his 'secret recipe' consists of printing off a recipe online and using ONLY the ingredients he has in the house! Best trick in the book, I suppose. LOL. Give it a whirl sometime guys, and let me know how it goes!

And last but NEVER least, President's Choice lychee pop! This stuff is AMAZING. So amazing, he gifts 24 cans of this stuff to me every Christmas! Super refreshing carbonated soda with a lychee kick. The perfect marriage to one hell of a meaty night.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

If You Really Love Baked Potatoes ... You'll Love Mr. Kumpir!

My two gal pals RHM and SC decided to brave this new restaurant concept with me as we took a stroll down Denman Street with a one-track mind: to try a baked potato from Mr. Kumpir, a new food joint that ONLY specializes in baked potatoes. Yup, this place really does exist. Despite the neon green and yellow colors you see above, this savory delight was surprisingly NOT BAD. We opted for their stuffed chicken and added corn, olives, honey mustard and pickles (you can count on the Lebanese sista to choose these toppings). It was an interesting experience as there were many toppings to choose from, including a hot dog wiener, but it was $8 for this hunk of starch! I probably wouldn't come back again but it was a pretty hilarious adventure. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Taste of Tuscany (on Bowen Island)

Okay foodie Phans, brace yourself now for the mother of all blog posts! Three of my closest girlfriends JG, KL, MR and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Bowen Island for the weekend to relax and clear our minds (which indeed we did). However, I definitely did not foresee the amazing foodie adventures we stumbled upon! Just an inexpensive boat ride away, was a land of tasty treats! My absolute favorite dish of our mini getaway is the pulled pork eggs benedict I had at Artisan Eats. Imagine that! I don't know why I never thought of this combination before or why I haven't come across this in all my brunching years!!! There can be no wrong done with this satisfying dish. It's a MUST for food lovers and it truly paves the way for all the other bennys out there. WOW. DROOL.

Another scrumptious dish we devoured there was their lemon ricotta pancakes. UNHEARD OF, I KNOW! Super fluffy and perfect in texture and flavor, this morning was a blasphemy of indulgence. Seriously, I would pay the ferry ride over to Bowen Island just for this exact same meal.

And of course, a lovely carrot and goat cheese soup as well. This restaurant was so lively yet quaint and offered a beautiful view of the water. I stared at their menu and counter top offerings for a good while before I made my decision, I'll tell you that.

Now Artisan Eats is the sister cafe of their famous Tuscany restaurant. (Trust me, you'll want to make reservations in advance for this place.) Nestled right on their 'busiest' strip in a romantic old wooden house essentially, this dining spot sure was happenin'!

JG and I shared a hearty and decadent lobster bisque to start the night off right. Mmmm, Magnifico!

Now these two photos look exactly alike because they are both baked and smothered in cheese but let me assure you, they were very different. Above, you will see a portobello mushroom cannelloni (my favorite of the night) in pesto tomato sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella. Serve me any dish that includes a wide mixture of mushrooms and cheese and I'm yours!

Below is a baked eggplant Parmesan with basil pesto and crushed tomatoes, topped off with bread crumbs. Such a staple in Italian eats.

And we had their special vegetarian pizza of the evening smelling of sun dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke, basil and everything 'healthy and delish'!

Finally we ended the evening with a few scoops each of their vanilla panna cotta topped with pear, pomegranate seeds and drizzles of caramel. Be envious my friends ... now go and have yourself a meal there! :)