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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Last night, we capped off our Canada Day festivities at one of Akemi’s favorite pizza places in Vancouver…Chez Rob!

Chef Rob works the dough.

Chef Rob works the dough.

Sous chef Ivon prepares his own gluten-free dough (equal parts wallpaper paste and sawdust).

Sous chef Ivon prepares his own gluten-free dough (equal parts wallpaper paste and sawdust).

The topping ingredients: everything from Peking duck and sausages to apple slices and walnuts.

The topping ingredients: everything from Peking duck and sausages to apple slices and walnuts.

Oscar (aka The Cleaner) on hand to take care of errant scraps.

Oscar (aka The Cleaner) on hand to take care of errant scraps.

The cook!

The cook!

Apparently, some nice leoparding underneath (it's  a pizza term).

Apparently, some nice leoparding underneath (it’s a pizza term).

Apple, bacon, walnut, cheese and arugula (aka The Coopergula!)

Apple, bacon, walnut, cheese and arugula (aka The Coopergula!)

The gluten-free sausage and cheese pizza.  The verdict?  "I didn't mind it!"raved Hillary.

The gluten-free sausage and cheese pizza. The verdict? “I didn’t mind it!”raved Hillary.

Peking Duck with green onions, hoisin sauce, and cheese.

Peking Duck with green onions, hoisin sauce, and cheese.

Barbecue chicken with red onions - Akemi's favorite.

Barbecue chicken with red onions – Akemi’s favorite.

Mushrooms, basil, cherry tomatoes, and cheese.

Mushrooms, basil, cherry tomatoes, and cheese.

And blueberry pie (a la mode, of course) for dessert!

And blueberry pie (a la mode, of course) for dessert!

The top-notch ingredients and genuine pizza oven yielded some superior pizzas.  The ambiance was great as was the service.  Terrific value too (considering all it cost me was the gas for the drive over)!  I highly recommend you check out this place the next time you’re in Vancouver.  Book early to avoid disappointment!

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Resident beeologist Akem Aota

Resident beeologist Akem Aota

Last night, we got together with our foodie friends, Nicole and Lan, for an evening of Bees and Burgers.  Campagnolo supplied the burgers while Nicole and Lan supplied the bees…

1Apparently, they picked them up in Portland (or had them shipped from Portland. I’m not sure how it works).  They keep them in the above-pictured box in their backyard (as opposed to their bedroom which would have showed TRUE devotion).

1The bees gain access through a small hole.  I stepped up to snap a close-up but was warned the bees were irritable and didn’t like people getting too close.  Like Kanye.  So I had to snap this one from a couple of feet away.  Akemi, on the other hand, was taking no chances.  Despite being outfitted in full beekeeping regalia, she steered well clear of any possible encounter.

1A window in at the back of the box allows you to peep on the bees while they’re changing.  And making honey.

I, for one, was looking forward to sampling the sweet stuff – but was informed I would have to wait until next year.  Next year?!  I thought bees were supposed  to be industrious!

Anyway, in addition to checking out the bees, we also got to visit Nicole and Lan’s house which is a mere five minute walk from our house!  Coincidentally (?), they will be moving at the end of the month, deterring any future we-were-strolling-by-and-thought-we’d=drop-in visits.

Having worked up an appetite checking out the bees, we headed over to Campagnolo on Main Street for their famed burger.  They are served upstairs in the casual bar area (sssshhhhh.  It’s a secret!).

The best burgers in town!

The best burgers in town!

Chicken-fried beef ribs

Chicken-fried beef ribs

Spot prawn

Spot prawn

Chocolate-peanut butter parfait

Chocolate-peanut butter parfait

Peter, the bartender, was our affable host and was kind enough to introduce me to a 12 year old Pappy Van Winkle – the smoothest bourbon I’ve ever had.  I’d love to get my hands on a bottle but they always sell out the second they’re shelved. Anybody have friends/family in Kentucky who happen to be close personal friends of the Van Winkles?

My attempt to approximate Akemi's official beekeeper stance.

My attempt to approximate Akemi’s official beekeeper stance.

Yes?  No?  Buzz off?

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Our old friend Gary, aka gforce, is in town for a few days, so we met up for some eats:

Lunch at Nicli Antica (62 E Cordova St, Vancouver) for a parade of pizzas….

111Then over to Cadeaux Bakery (172 Powell St, Vancouver) for a selection of sweets…

1

xxx

1And, finally, back to our place where Gary met the gang – and hit it off with Lulu…

1And, to top things off, Gary was kind enough to gift us a seasonal selection of chocolates from Beta 5 (413 Industrial Ave, Vancouver)…

1Tonight, we met up with our friend Kathy, aka Kathode, for dinner at Sun Sui Wah (3888 Main St, Vancouver).  When I made the reservations, they neglected to inform me that the main dining room was booked for a wedding reception – so we were shuttled to a tiny adjoining room where we enjoyed our meal, serenaded by 80′s tunes and bad karaoke.  On the bright side, Kathy sampled Peking Duck for the first time!

Squab.  The house special!

Squab. The house special!

Crispy duck skin.  The best part!

Crispy duck skin. The best part!

Getting the hang of it.

Getting the hang of it.

Geoduck two ways.  Akemi's favorite!

Geoduck two ways. Akemi’s favorite!

The house special rice.  My favorite!

The house special rice. My favorite!

For dessert, we were presented with a special dessert – tapioca pie – compliments of the Manager.  I felt bad.  I didn’t get him anything. :(

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“I ate like a garbage box.” – Akemi, the other day, after a particularly filling meal.  She has a way with words, no?

These are some of the inspired dishes she’s been packing away…

Summer salad with olive oil, ginger balsamic, and chive blossoms

Summer salad with olive oil, ginger balsamic, and chive blossoms

Pea soup

Pea soup

Onion pie

Onion pie

Eight-hour octopus slow simmered in herbs and olive oil

Eight-hour octopus slow simmered in herbs and olive oil

Last night, we elected to take a break from the kitchen and headed over to our favorite Japanese restaurant: Yuji’s (2083 Alma St. Vancouver).  Some of the highlights of our meal…

Akemi's favorite = the salad rolls.

Akemi’s favorite = the salad rolls.

The maguro-avocado crepe.

The maguro-avocado crepe.

And the sushi.

And the sushi.

We were driving back home when we spotted a dog walking around by his lonesome.  I slowed down and we watched him sniff around, trot across the street, sniff around some more.  There was no owner in sight.  So, I pulled over and we approached the handsome fellow who turned out to be incredibly friendly.  I checked his collar and, fortunately, he had a tag, a name (Ollie!), and a phone number.  I called but got an answering machine, so I left a message and was just loading him into the backseat of my car (Ollie seemed really eager to go for a ride) when my cell phone rang.  It was the owner.  She was in Vietnam!  She thanked me for corralling her dog and gave me her address so I could drop him off.  Her husband was home.  Or so she assumed because when we went over, no one answered the door.  We ended up bringing Ollie back home - our dogs weren’t quite as warmly receptive as we were – and ended up walking him back to his place once the owner’s son got in touch.  Such a great a walker.  He puts my gang to shame.

Ollie needs sunglasses

Ollie needs sunglasses

Speaking of houseguests, tomorrow we say goodbye to Judd after ten happy days. Akemi will miss him.  And he’ll miss our backyard…

The gang

The gang

 

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Last night as the game headed into overtime…

Me: “Who are you rooting for, the Chicago Blackhawks or the Minnesota Wild?”

Akemi: “The Minestrone Wild.”

Alas, it was a sad night in Minestrone.  The Wild ended up losing and were eliminated from playoff contention.

Well, we’re Vegas-bound for a few days.  I was hoping to have everything wrapped up on this new project by now but, of course, things are progressing at a glacial pace because…well, welcome to show business.  That awesome lead time we were looking to take advantage of is gradually shrinking away.  There may come a point when my enthusiasm to face the challenges ahead will wane and I’ll simply have to move on.  Not there yet but if this goes on much longer without definitive word, or I lose any of my key players while we’re waiting, then I’m going to have to start looking southwards.  Again.  And, when I do, I think I’ll be looking at a changing of the old guard.

On the one hand, it’ll be nice to get away.  On the other hand, we’ll certainly miss the dogs.  Especially Akemi who has…maybe not quite “lost her mind” but certainly “shown alarmingly elaborate creativity” in preparing their various snacks and meals, to wit:

Bear cookies (peanut butter, sesame, oats, cinnamon, nutritious yeast, and dried cranberries).

Exhibit A: Bear cookies (peanut butter, sesame, oats, cinnamon, nutritious yeast, and dried cranberries).

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit C

Finally, since we’re on the topic of suspect culinary creations – Akemi has taken a liking to the offerings at a local eatery featuring “health conscious” cuisine, everything from veggie pot pie to chocolate-beet cake (Why you would do that to a perfectly good chocolate cake?).  She’ll stop off every Wednesday, while I’m doing the rounds of my local book and comic book stores, and grab herself at oat bran square or a day-old muffin (Not because she can’t afford the fresh ones but because she actually prefers the drier leftovers).  The other day, she decided to go off-book and picked up one of their cookies.  Check it out:

1As my father was fond of saying: “Who did THAT in THERE?!”.

 

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Thanks to everyone who actually sat down and not only started May’s book of the month club pick, but actually finished it.  And an especially big thank you to those who took the time to offer their thoughts on The Rich and the Dead.  I kid you not – your reviews were infinitely more entertaining than the book itself which, in retrospect, is like a deeply textured masterpiece of awfulness.  With every new review I read in the comments section of this blog, I discover additional narrative contrivances, silly character moments, and just plain dumb developments that I failed to notice the first time.  It almost makes me want to re-read the novel.

Almost.

Better luck next month I guess.

On a more palatable topic – check out some of the inspired creations that came out of our kitchen over the past month…

Akemi's doggy carrot cake and puguccino (peanut butter and sweet potato-based ice cream)

Akemi’s doggy carrot cake and puguccino (peanut butter and sweet potato-based ice cream)

Yak rib-eyes.  Before.

Yak rib-eyes. Before.

And after being cooked sous-vide and seared.  Tasty but notably chewier than your regular beef rib-eye.

And after being cooked sous-vide and seared. Tasty but notably chewier than your regular beef rib-eye.

Braised lamb neck and riblets.

Braised lamb neck and riblets.

Lulu's special dinner.

Lulu’s special dinner.

Jelly's Japanese-style meal.

Jelly’s Japanese-style meal.

Doggy watermelon snacks (made with watermelon, gelatine, and black sesame seeds).

Doggy watermelon snacks (made with watermelon, gelatine, and black sesame seeds).

Tricky to eat!

And you?  What was the most interesting thing you made/ate in the last month?

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Akemi’s birthday…

Picking up a selection of home made marshmallows at Achimallows pop-up stand.

Picking up a selection of home made marshmallows at Archimallows pop-up stand.

The selection

The selection

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Birthday lunch at Bel Cafe.  Banh Mi for me.

Birthday lunch at Bel Cafe. Banh Mi for me.

And spicy chicken salad and a matcha latte for Akemi.

And spicy chicken salad and a matcha latte for Akemi.

And some hazelnut drags to go.  I'm a sucker for those complimentary samples.

And some hazelnut dragees to go. I’m a sucker for those complimentary samples.

New running shoes, a.k.a. new chew toys for Lulu.

New running shoes, a.k.a. new chew toys for Lulu.

Then, over to Main Street to check out the Candy Meister truck.

Then, over to Main Street to check out the Candy Meister truck.

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And, of course, her favorites - and the reason we chase this truck around town - the handmade marshmallows.

And, of course, her favorites – and the reason we chase this truck around town – the handmade marshmallows.

An afternoon walk/roll with the dogs.

An afternoon walk/roll with the dogs.

Doggy bath time.

Doggy bath time.

Sushi dinner at Miku Restaurant

Sushi dinner at Miku Restaurant

Drinks.  For her, some sort of Yuzi liquor.

Drinks. For her, some sort of Yuzi liquor.

For me, the sake sampler.

For me, the sake sampler.

And the "lotus root salad" that was served, completely devoid of lotus roots.  When I asked about this, I was informed that they were out.  Really?

And the “lotus root salad” that was served, completely devoid of lotus roots. When I asked about this, I was informed that they were out. Really? On the bright side, our sushi was served with the expected fish.

And, instead of birthday cake, Akemi opted for birthday gelato at Bella Gelateria.  Yes, it's that good!

And, instead of birthday cake, Akemi opted for birthday gelato at Bella Gelateria. Yes, it’s that good!

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…The Prodigal!

1Another Carl Binder-san spectacular.  I loved this episode even more on repeat viewing.  It’s got action, humor, and high-stakes developments with all of our characters in play (even Zelenka, Lorne, and Amelia Banks).  Fast-paced fun!

And Akemi agreed.  She laughed out loud a couple of times, jumped at others, and seemed just as anxious as Teyla when she was in hiding with her baby.  The night time establishers of the city all lit up never fail to amaze, and the “really cool fighting scenes” in this one wowed her as well, especially the final showdown at the top of the tower (Again, thanks to Mark Savela and our VFX crew and James Bamford and our stunts crew).  Her only quibble with this episode: “I’m so sad I didn’t see any scenes with Jewel.  Where’s Jewel?”  I dunno.  Night off?

She was at her most animated when Sheppard almost tumbles off the tower and is left dangling: “Now Mike Dopud can take over team!”

When Teyla approaches Michael hanging on by his fingertips: “Kick him off.”

And when she does just that: “What?!  He isn’t really dead, is he?”  And when I informed her that, yes, he was: “Wow.  Michael die.  Are you sure?  Who will they fight?”  No one!  The last six episodes of the final season will feature scenes of them sitting around, talking about their feelings.

And a closing observation as the end credits started to roll: “Sheppard never die, ne?  Don’t you think so?  Why not?”

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