I Can’t Believe This is Homemade

Every once in a while I feature home cooked dinners. To qualify, the meal has to be extraordinarily scrumptious. My friend Gio, Michelin star chef in his past life, did just that.

He is big on spice, in fact his spice cupboard takes up 1/3 of his kitchen. Spices are imported directly from around the world in its raw state and then he grinds them up. I saw a jar of saffron, I can’t imagine the investment he has put into his spices. So you can imagine the explosion of flavours in the dishes he creates.

Also big on the quality of the ingredients, from the meats the vegetables and grains. Everything was fresh, no canned or preserved crap in his meals.

This was a homemade dinner that could rival any fine dining restaurant in Vancouver. His passion for cooking really shone through in each dish. He believes meals should be enjoyed together, “filling your stomach and soul“.

Moroccan spiced chicken with marsala wine. You could always try re-creating this dish with this chicken marsala recipe

Quinoa and chickpea salad, with cucumber, tomato, cilantro.

Chicken Marsala and salad

Pepper crusted bison steak with Chimichurri sauce. I am in love with the sauce. Look the picture of the meat on the bottom right, doesn’t that make you salivate?

Bison steak

3 way veal lamb pork meatball with marsala wine sauce, topped with ricotta cheese.

Lamb meatball

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed pepper

The night was finished off with new york style cheesecake.

Always the gracious host, well after he plates. In the kitchen, he is like a mad scientist, brushing off any attempts of assistance and harping at anyone who dares enter the kitchen.

JJ’s Restaurant – Best Lunch Deal

VCC culinary school is one of my favorite lunch spots and, definitely on my list of best lunch deals. It is delicious, cheap and usually booked up a week in advance. It took many attempts to get a table of 6. Apparently the buffet needs to be booked 2 months in advance. Yea, it’s that good.

What I love about culinary school’s or cooking schools is that they make everything from scratch, no processed shortcuts.


Charred Vancouver Island Octopus, Chorizo and chick pea stew $4. A damn good deal! It was good and the portions were similar to Hawksworth entrée sizes.

charred Octopus

Roasted vegetable soup was hearty and healthy $2.50

Roasted vegetable soup

Salmon, prawn and scallion cake with Thai lemongrass sauce $4 had a nice layering of flavors.
Salmon cake


Scallops with truffled potato gnocchi and crispy artichokes $10. This creamy dish was very filing. My friend who can usually eat for 2 was full. I would have preferred if the gnocchi had more buoyancy, it was too soft.

scallops with truffled potato gnocchi

Slow cooked leg of lamb and pan roasted loin, rosemary jus $10. The meat was tender and flavourful. It’s $10 for lamb and loin!

Lamb leg and loin

I had to call attention to the sides, Cucumber and squash was pretty and delicious.

Cucumber & Squash

Related Lunch Deals:

Hawksworth at Georgia
Fairmont Hotel Waterfront – Herons
Joe Fortes

JJ's Restaurant (VCC) on Urbanspoon

Burger Joint at the Parker Meridian Hotel

Parker Meridian Hotel Lobby Midtown, east, New York, USA. Popular burger joint. Part of Food Persuasion taking on NYC.
burger joint

You need a freaking map to find this burger joint but it’s worth it.

Burger Joint is situated behind curtains in the corner of the Parker Meridian lobby, right beside the concierge desk. There is large sign and you have to walk through a dark makeshift path.

Inside the decor reminds me of a midtown local dive bar, although I doubt anyone here was a local. Most look like tourists. Furnished with wooden bar benches and booths and, celebrity photos and autographs and strewn throughout the walls.
packed house

It was packed, so we decided to take it up to our rooms. (Special thanks to Eman for hooking us with a gorgeous 1 bedroom suite on the sub-penthouse floor at the Parker Meridian)

The burger was juicy, so much more than I expected that the juice squirted all over the front of my shirt. The fries are norm, not anything special the patty itself is a must try.


Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon

Black and Blue – Trendy Steakhouse

Glowbal Group Black and Blue

Black and Blue, another Glowbal addition to Alberni’s entertainment corridor receives a successful start.  The decor and atmosphere reminds me of Tao in New York, dark, posh and full of pretty people.

Trying to compete with high-end steakhouses such as Gotham and Hy’s, Black and Blue just misses the mark.


Short rib poppers -$12, potatoes, cheddar cheese, horseradish.  If you expected short ribs as the featured ingredient, you will be sorely disappointed, reminded me of bar food. 2/5

short rib poppers

Pan seared foie gras -$19, I love foie gras the tartness from the apricots gave an otherwise heavy dish a refreshing twist. 3.5/5
pan seared foie gras

Steak tartare with quail egg and blue cheese crustini -$16, the grade of the steak was superb but, it was submerged in oil. The blue cheese was so overpowering, I couldn’t taste any other flavours. 2/5
steak tartare


Beef wellington, with mushrooms foie gras and red win jus -$31. Quality of the meat once again was excellent. The pastry was flaky and the steak cooked perfectly.  4/5
beef wellington

Berkshire pork chops -$31, a simple dish that was executed perfectly. Pan seared with s&P, the meat was moist and tender. 3.5/5
berkshire pork chops


Chocolate soufflé was amazing!! This warm gooey chocolate concoction is guaranteed to make you go back. Drizzled with either vanilla our chocolate sauce, we had both. I can’t stop raving about it.

chocolate souffle

Undecided whether we would come back for the entrees, definitely, for the dessert and drinks. They had a few table side options like the crepe and the banana pudding. If there is one thing I know, where Glowbal excels, is the pretentious and trendy. So if you are searching for the next resto  to prowl in your Christian Louboutins and Prada suits, we’ve found your new fave hotspot.

Black + Blue on Urbanspoon

O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar – Where the Rib-eye’s are bigger than my head

Food Persuasion Level : [rating=4]
Value: [rating=2]
Service : [rating=3]
Ambiance: [rating=4]
Price: $$$
Cuisine: Hotel Restaurant and Bar
Location: Downtown Robson, Vancouver


Odoul’s Menu

For my little 2 year old neice’s birthday we decided onO’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar, part of Listel hotel with its rich and dark decor and live jazz music. We got seated in their private dining room.

Happy Birthday Paige-gu


Now the food…

Amusebouche– strawberry jelly, Carpaccio. jelly not sweet. It was definitely creative, I could not decide whether I liked it or not, my buds were too confused.

Dungeness Crab and Pacific Shrimp Cake – $14, pea shoots, celeriac and apple remoulade, mustard caper pure. We loved it; it had larger pieces of crab and shrimp.

Cortes Island Mussel & Frites – $13, Storm Scottish cream ale, tomatoes, leeks, shallots, pomme paille. This was disappointing, the texture of the mussels were rubbery, as if it was previously frozen. This was a full-fledged sodium attack, after a few bites it got bitter.

One of their most popular menu item, rack of lamb – $34, garlic and Dijon herb crust, potato and yam gratin, seasonal vegetables, natural lamb jus. Mustard rub great but, for that price I have had a lot better at a lower price.


Dry-aged Certified Angus Bone-in Rib Eye -$39, roast Pemberton potatoes, shallot “marmalade”, seasonal vegetables, peppercorn sauce. This was huge! I had to share it with one other person and we still ended up taking ¾ of it home.


Although I realize rib eye’s are quite marbled but, it was too fatty for my taste.



Granted it was a large table and several dishes were ordered multiple times everyone’s left over got jumbled up. We had a hunch that would occur so luckily everyone did a quick switch. Overall the experience was pleasurable. Would I go back? Probably for the rib-eye which I would then split into 3. In comparison to other Hotel restaurants, Showcase at the Marriott Hotel, Prestons at Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, Griffin’s Restaurant at Fairmont Vancouver, Herons at Fairmont Waterfront and, finally the last of downtown Vancouver’s Fairmont’s, Lobby Lounge at Pacific Rim, this was one of the better options.

O'Doul's on Urbanspoon

Underwhelming Piece of Cow – Gotham’s Steakhouse and Bar

Fine Dining Steakhouse Downtown Vancouver. Setting the standard of steakhouses in Vancouver.

As a recognized fine dining steakhouse in Vancouver, this was the  foremost crowning underwhelming experience I had the displeasure of sitting through. Sure the prices start at $50 for just the steak but, it does not imply the steak is gastronomic


masterpiece, in fact it was a boring, un-flavourful chewy piece of cow. The Filet Mignon and Lobster combo at $52, was a disappointment, I could have went to any other casual restaurants including Fah’Cactus and received a much better value for their filet, it could not be more than $30.


Gotham’s Prime Rib – $40, very comparable to Sandbar’s prime rib, which comes in a 3 course meal for $30!? How can I compare such a quality piece of meat to that from a casual restaurant? Well, the quality they keep on selling did not exist

The sides range from a heaping side of Mash Potatoes for $5.50 to Spiced Sautéed Mushrooms for $7.50

Perhaps their promising recommendation of their Crème Brûlée will save this dinner but, sadly not only did it not deliver but, the rather uniquely lumpy texture, reminded me of tapioca and oatmeal, with the odd chunks of raw sugar.


As for the service and atmosphere, it was great if you want a place to hold your business meetings, or a place to relax with drinks. Unfortunately for Gotham’s Steakhouse, it is not enough for me to recommend it to my readers.

Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar on Urbanspoon