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Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Lovely Simple Dinner Recipe

One of my aunts made this dinner when I was a child.

I loved it and could not have enough of it.

Decades later, I tried to replicate the recipe.

It turned out exactly as I remember it.

Make a bechamél sauce - melt 2 Tbs of butter and add 2 Tbs flour.

Add 2 cups of milk and whisk continuously on low heat until it thickens.

Turn the heat off and add chopped spinach - use lots for a mix that is more spinach than bechamél.

Using the most plain white bread you can find, cover the sliced with a thick layer of the spinach mixture.

Add a slice of ham on top and bake in a 450 oven until the bread is toasted and the ham is turning a bit crunchy and starting to burn at the sides.

Delicious. Enjoy.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Saturday Night on the Town

Saturday night on the town was dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

The Gastown location opened on March 22, 1970. I arrived in Vancouver 20 years later. And took me almost another 20 years to try it.

An experience not to be missed for sure. It is semi Disney Land. An uncomplicated menu and easy food preparation ensures fast service for the diner.

But for the workers, according to my date who worked at the restaurant years ago, the model caused them spagmares.

This is how the evening went.

The "It's All Included" menu means that a warm bread, with regular and garlic butter, appears at your table.

Very quickly, the salad is there; served on the original plates from the 70s.

The food is sizeable but simple in both taste and spicing sophistication.

To get the full experience, I ordered the Manager's Favourite where one chooses two of the sauces.

"It's All Included" meant their signature Spumoni Ice-cream.

And all of this "It's All Included" was $11.95.

Not bad value for a Saturday Night out on the town.

The Old Spaghetti Factory
53 Water Street
Vancouver, BC

The Old Spaghetti Factory on Urbanspoon

Friday, 29 August 2014

Quadruple Carbs

I relied on catsess to count how many varieties of carbs were served tonight. She claims 4. I am not sure about that.

Well, let's count. (1) Pasta and tomato sauce; (2) potatoes with sausages bake leftovers; (3) potato dumplings; (4) perogies (Catses must have only notice this portion of the table given the sausages).

Then leftover pizza from yesterday's Wacky Pizza Competition.(we are now up to either 5 or 7 carbs if you count each type of pizza as a separate item)

And then there were two more forming a middle east peace treaty - Lebanese Fatayer and Isreali Knish sharing one platter.

So how many carbs in total? It is too late at night to count again...

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wacky Pizza Competition

Six months ago we had a Wacky Pizza Pageant. Tonight, the same rules, some of the same and some new contestants; with Domino Pizza's Barry completing the quality control (who did the quality check on our previous pageant - is he for real?).

Contestant JK presented the same Pizza of six months ago, but the name changed from Hawaiian Garden Party Pizza to Rainbow Party Pizza.

Contestant MK The Woman went all out with a Croque Trudeau Pizza.

Contestant MK The Man, after dealing with lawyers over chicken being against the law in the last pageant, decided to go vegetarian this time with the Phoenician Delight Pizza.

Tasting begun. Then invasion of the pizzas drove results.

And the tally spoke for itself - our stomachs clearly voted for a winner - the Croque Trudeau.

Who came second started a whole dispute that, in some countries, would have lead to a civil war. Here, we decided to just stick with a civil court.

I wonder if Justin Trudeau will be serving this pizza on his campaign tour...


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dear Peaceful Restaurant

Dear Peaceful Restaurant

I keep on writing you (please click to read my FIRST and SECOND letters), but you still refuse to deliver to my neighbourhood even though I am barely 3 KMs away.

But I always forgive you and come back. I even dragged a friend of mine to introduce her to you. 

She took over the ordering. This meant that I got to try some of my favourites and some new discoveries, which, as usual, are exceptional.

Here's what we had.

The chicken and clear noodle salad was very refreshing, tasty and texturey.

The beef roll was my idea - it was very dainty this time, not as stuffed with beef as usual which allowed us to enjoy the texture of the dough much better.

The Shanghai Stir Noodles were very good, with the secret your tasty home made noodles I think.

And of course, you know I cannot resist the best Xiao-Long Bao buns in the city.

Peaceful Restaurant
43 East 5th
Vancouver, BC

Peaceful Restaurant 和平飯店 (Main) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Not Minami 炙 Again

Why not? As I wrote after my last visit to Minami - I am addicted to Minami.

Despite its limited menu, it seems to always have a surprise waiting for me, if not two.

Today, I discovered that Minami has an outdoor patio; a really pleasant and private outdoor patio in fact.

The other surprise was the Brussels Sprout Chips - I don't know how I missed them.

I think they are simply deep fried Brussels Sprout with spice sea salt, but they are as addictive as their sushi rolls.

The other menu item I love are those non-alcoholic drinks that you design by choosing a soda, a flavour and a juice. I just love them.

Okay, back to the food. As usual, the order revolved around the specialty rolls.

The Sunset Roll with spicy tuna, smoked salmon and topped with a red onion salsa.

The Red Wave Roll with crab and avocado and covered with red tuna and matakeh sauce (whatever it is, it is delicious).

I will be back for sure, sooner than later.

1118 Mainland Street
Vancouver, BC
Minami 炙 on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 August 2014


"Fistok" is the Lebanese word for pistachio.

But are those shelled pistachio, you ask?

No, those are green fresh pistachios.

What you see in the picture are pistachios with a layer of green skin that, I think, eventually turns into the shell that the pistachio is in (or I think that is what it is - I never passed biology).

In Lebanon, those would be bigger, redder, and fresher.

They will also be much cheaper.

I indulged despite the price and the lack of freshness, simply to show them off.

Below are two pictures - one of the pistachio with the skin and one without the skin, ready to eat.

They taste nicer than the dried pistachio, less crumbly with a completely different texture. And they are addictive - this is the first time I see them in Vancouver.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

More Baking with Replacement Chef

Baking weekend with Replacement Chef continued (Read Baking with Replacement Chef), but this time I relented the kitchen.

Replacement Chef's specialty is a perfect white cake. To get it perfectly smooth, the top of the baked cake is taken off, but not wasted. Today, the top layer of the cake was covered with white frosting and apricot jam, turning into delicious per-dinner dessert rolls.

Thank you again Replacement Chef!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Baking with Replacement Chef

Replacement Chef is known for perfectionism. So it is difficult to try to make a chicken pot pie without Replacement Chef taking over. But, I have to admit, there is no way I could have perfected a perfectly round dough to cover the pie.

Turning the leftover dough into cookies was against the law of Replacement Chef. So I had to stretch my imagination as to how to use a small piece of leftover dough. Another (not so perfect) circle of dough was made. I covered it with two jams I had and fresh blueberries and topped the 'filling' with small fingers of dough. I was proud of myself...

Thank you for the inspiration Replacement Chef.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Seafood @ Dockside

I tried the Dockside Restaurant on Granville Island for their Christmas buffet few years ago (Read Story of a Christmas Buffet).

They do buffet really well. Their a-la-carte is good, but you are definitely paying for the spectacular view and location than for the food itself.

The forno flatbread is worth its $12 dollars and highly recommend as a starter. The crab cakes can be skipped.

The chilled prawns with lime, cilantro and sugarcane I enjoyed.

The grilled Steelhead salmon served over fennel, peas, red and yellow beets and potatoes is a great choice.

For $30, the amount of food won't fill you up. So you better order that forno flatbread to start.

Dockside Restaurant
1255 Johnston Street
Vancouver, BC

Dockside Restaurant on Urbanspoon