Thyme To Indulge Bistro – Whimsical and Delicious

Thyme to Indulge Bistro is so whimsical like stepping into an old school Parisian patisserie. They are also a catering company and restaurant hours are open from Wednesday – Sunday. Weekends are reserved for their brunch only.

thyme to indulge bistro
thyme to indulge bistro

We sat near the window on a sunny Sunday watching hipsters walk by with their JJ Bean coffee and donuts, while indulging on Thyme to Indulge wild berry pancake bombsButter milk pancake spheres filed with wild berry compote topped with confection sugar with a side of warm maple syrup. Yeh. Yeh. I was in pancake heaven.

stuffed pancake - Thyme to Indulge
stuffed pancake – Thyme to Indulge

The only down side was that this took quite a while for it to come out, approximately 20 minutes wait after we ordered. Our server came over and apologized twice.

I was eyeing the benny’s on the table beside us, they looked hearty. I will definitely be back for that.

Thyme to Indulge Bistro on Urbanspoon

Mancakes – Cupcakes Made For Men

chocolate wine cupcake
chocolate wine cupcake

I love a man that can cook and bake but they seem to be as rare as blackberry’s lineup of buyers. So instead, I happily turn to Mancakes, cupcakes with a distinctly manly twist, which doesn’t mean girls won’t enjoy it either.

Unique flavours that screams of Sunday football, buffalo wing cupcake with a swift kick, is what comes to mind. Cupcake was topped with hot sauce butter cream and crispy chicken sprinkles. There are 10 varieties to choose from including tequila pineapple, whiskey lime, and my ultimate favourite chocolate red wine.

You can purchase them individually at the store on Robson or buy them in a pack.

Mancakes - night pack
Mancakes – night pack

Day Pack – Buffalo Wing, Breakfast, Apple Brie, Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit, King Kong and Bacon Chili Chocolate.
Night Pack – Buffalo Wing, Breakfast, Rum & Coke, Whiskey Lime, Tequila Pineapple and Chocolate Red Wine

They also deliver, a man delivering boozy cupcakes to my door! Yes, please can I have some more!

ManCakes Bakery on Urbanspoon

Prestons Taste Of Canada Menu Preview

Canadian Beer Fact

80% of alcohol consumed by Canadians is beer

The Prestons Taste of Canada event was an industry and media reunion for me. People I haven’t seen for months gathered to preview Prestons Chef Bruce Nollert’s newly launched Canadian inspired menu.This new menu features classic comfort dishes with a modern twist and locally inspired ingredients from each province. Each province’s menu was paired with selected beers from Molson Coors (Nope, not Coors light).  Molson’s has a huge portfolio of beer brands, from Creemore, to Granville Island Brewery and Rickards.

bar preston
Prestons bar

We were greeted by a lovely server, I fall in love with people who serve me a great cocktail with a smile.

greeted wtih caesars and a smile
greeted wtih caesars and a smile

The restaurant was littered with cool Canadian facts alongside, their bowl of popcorn and truffle chips. DAMN those truffle chips, I think I demolished a whole bag that night. So I will randomly incorporate some fun facts throughout this post.

Canadian players make up 56% of the NHL roster

The detailed beers write –up is by Simon Wong my partner in crime for that night. To sum him up, he is a beer evangelist / proselytizer and an all around food connoisseur. (In honesty, I finished up his summary with a zinger that made him sound like a food snob but, I figured he did such a great write-up and did nothing to deserve my witty zingers)

Thank You.

The Westcoast: Fresh Oysters paired with Wayne Gretzky endorsed wine from the Peller winery in Okanagan.

freshly shucked oysters
freshly shucked oysters
Wayne Gretzky Wine - Peller Winery
Wayne Gretzky Wine – Peller Winery

I can always be found at local Happy Hour’s buck a shuck, sipping on some wine with a dozen oysters in front of me, so it’s not a surprise I loitered for more than an hour around this table. Followed by house cured blueberry salmon on rosemary bannock and finished with Nanaimo bar with hazelnut Ganache.

house cured blueberry salmon on rosemary bannock
house cured blueberry salmon on rosemary bannock

The Westcoast course menu was paired with Granville Island Honey Lager.

Nothing spells Westcoast like a honey lager on a nice sunny day!  This GI honey lager does a good job of balancing its subtle sweetness with a light hop.  It complemented the sweetness of the fresh oysters and cured blueberry salmon quite well.

Granville Island Honey Lager
Granville Island Honey Lager

 

The Prairies: Peace River Bison carpaccio with crisp bannock and pierogies with crème friache. I am still trying to figure out how pierogies associate with the Prairies.

Peace River Bison carpaccio with crisp bannock
Peace River Bison carpaccio with crisp bannock

Paired with Rickards dark English-style porter ale. This is a rich and creamy porter weighing in at just under 5% abv.  Its medium body ale with dark malts of chocolate and caramel balanced out with a slight hop.  The creaminess of this brew worked well with the bison carpaccio and pierogies.

Canadians consume 23.41lbs of cheddar cheese per person annually – WTF??

La Belle Province: Poutine with Granville Island maple cream gravy, my favourite the trio. Montreal smoked meat on bagle chips with Dijon aioli and house-made butter tats.

Poutine with Granville Island maple cream gravy
Poutine with Granville Island maple cream gravy

Menu paired with New Castle Brown Ale

Traditional brown ale that pours dark orange but has a light to medium body.  You can taste hints of the caramel and dark malts which paired especially well with the richness of the butter tarts.

The Maritimes: Lobster Rolls, it seemed to be everyone’s favourite. Prestons kept on running out of it. We tend to be a greedy bunch if we like something.

lobster rolls
lobster rolls

Traditional seafood chowder and blueberry grunts. Beer pairing was Creemore Springs Pilsner. A refreshing pils with a slight floral hop to it.  It’s smooth on the palate with a dry and slightly bitter finish.  You want something lighter and crisp with seafood and this pilsner was a big winner with the lobster roll!

Creemore Springs Pilsner
Creemore Springs Pilsner

 

Event Photos:

photographers

Prestons on Urbanspoon

Highly Anticipated Mosaic Grille French Tasting Menu

Highly anticipated Mosaic s Bar and Grille French tasting menu is now available.    When I think of French food I think of sensory indulgent, heart attack inducing goodness. Yes, I was right.

Foie Gras Parfait, rougie quebec foie gras terrine with a waffle biscuit on the side, plated on marcona almond butter. Marcona almonds, from Spain are heralded as the best almonds in the world, thus the exuberant price tag. The plate was sprinkled with calvados fluid gel and chives blossom. The parfait was very dense in texture and rich in flavor.  A little too dense to eat on it’s own but, would go great with biscuit or crackers.

foie gras parfait - mosaic bar and grille
foie gras parfait

Escargot, burgundy snails, shallots, roasted garlic and parsley. Pomme puree underneath the shells to keep them in place. The sprinkle of fine pumpernickel crumbs give it a nice grainy texture and, finished off with a drizzle of parsley oil. It was very garlicky on the noise yet it was not overpowering on the palette. Overall, the texture and the flavor of the dish was very well rounded.

escargot
escargot

The reaction that I get when I tell someone I cannot eat lobster or crab is comparable to if a hamster had died. Oh….tragic, my condolences.

My co-eater gleefully and albeit revengefully ate up two lobster dishes.  Chef Heinrich’s Lobster Thermidor, atlantic lobster tail, kale nori and lobster roe pomme puree. The lucky bastard also commented the lobster roe pomme puree was to die for. Yes, of course it was, it had lobster in it, I get it.

lobster thermido
lobster thermidor

I had the scallop version, it was very nicely browned and perfectly cooked. Sans lobster.

Scallop Thermidor - Mosaic Bar and Grille
Scallop Thermidor

Duck a l’orange, a classic French dish. The duck had been sous vide in orange juice brine. Plated with celery root puree, orange fluid gel, duck jus, and orange roll up and tarragon. He kept flavours to a minimum, the orange and tarragon flavours were repeated throughout the entire dish to enhance it’s concentration.

Pièce de résistance! Layers of pastry with salted chocolate in the middle, ice cream and baby poached pear.

mille-feuille
mille-feuille

Not overly sweet, love how the fluffy layers of pastry gives this dessert the illusion that it’s somewhat lighter. Mille – Feuille is a class French desert, light desserts just doesn’t exists in French cuisine.

Mosaic Grille & Bar on Urbanspoon

Cache Bistro & Lounge – A Brilliant Dining Experience

Cache Bistro & Lounge – A Brilliant Dining Experience

cache restaurant

I had the pleasure of tasting Cache Bistro’s new fall menu last week with several other bloggers (Scott from WFLBC, Amy from Food Queen, Jen from Mashed Thoughts, Mary from MaryinVancity, Robin from eatwith.RobinLeung, and Amy from PopcornMedia).

Right from the outset, were greeted by Zoey, the manager of Cache. She passed us the tasting menu for the night and told us a bit about the restaurant. Cache is Chef Alex Mok’s debut restaurant. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Chef Mok has worked in several prestigious restaurants and worked under the private chef of the late King Leopold of Belgium. With Cache, Chef Mok aims to marry classic French cooking with unique Asian flavours.

It looks pretty small from the outside, but Cache Bistro has a spacious interior. I would say the restaurant’s décor has some European flair.

bar area 1

Cache has a big bar area and seating space for larger parties. On the other side of the bar, there are booths and smaller tables.

bar

The spacing was a little tight, but it works. It’s sort of cut off from the other patrons, which I think makes it a really nice space for a birthday event or group dinner – you don’t have worry about ruining someone’s date night!

They’ve got plenty of booze available here! We didn’t get to try any, but Cache also has German beer on tap.

Here’s the tasting menu for the night. The front lists the dishes that we got to taste.
menu front

On the back, there is a description of Cache and Chef Mok’s background as well as some contact information.

chef mok background

We also got to take a look at their new fall menu.

It looks like there’s tons of stuff on there, but it’s really because they combined the drinks menu with the food menu. Cache serves a lot of different wines, cocktails, and beers, so the menu looks very packed.

cache menu

The first thing we started with was booze! Cache’s expert bartender whipped up some Xfour Classic Martinis for each one of us.

Xfour Classic Martinis

I had mine with a twist. This martini used Xfour vodka.

Xfour vodka

Never heard of it before, but the martini was really smooth. The vodka seems pretty similar to Grey Goose.

a virgin cocktail

Jen from Mashed Thoughts doesn’t drink, so Cache prepared a virgin cocktail for her instead.

Immediately following the martinis and drinks, we were served some bread. The bread was good, but the real kicker is the two butters accompanying the bread. The first butter is a truffle infused butter and the second butter is a peanut butter butter; they both have the consistency of whipped butter and are made in-house.

truffle butter

The truffle butter is very light and delicious. The truffle flavour was much more subtle than I expected. With the peanut butter butter, it was out of this world! Never had anything quite like it – the flavour is reminiscent of peanut satay sauce that one would find with hotpot dishes.

The starter that we got to sample was the Paris Picnic, which included samples of Oyama Sausage’s cured meats, house made foie gras mousse, mixed olives, a blueberry compote, crostini, and house pickled vegetables.

paris picnic

Oyama Sausage is based in Granville Island; I’ve never had their meats before, but they were spectacular. Unlike some of the cured meats I’ve tried before, Oyama Sausage’s were not overly salty and had a really fresh taste.

oyama sausage

The fois gras mousse was really interesting. I’ve never had fois gras before so I didn’t know what to expect. It had a really creamy texture and a decadent duck aftertaste.

foie gras 2

The rest of the plate was good, but nothing else stood out.

Untitled

Amy from Popcorn Media is vegetarian, so Cache served her a house salad. I have no clue what’s in it, but it sure looks pretty and delicious. The beats were apparently really good.

house salad

I forgot this handsome chap’s name, but he was a really funny host. After the starter, he introduced the wine that would be paired with our first main.

handsom chap

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvee Violette VQA ’11 BC was the red wine paired with our first main, the Aldergrove Mok Ribs.

le vieux pin syrah

I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, so I’m not even going to try and describe it. I just know that it paired really well with the ribs!

The Aldergrove Mok Ribs is a full rack of pork back ribs cooked using Chef Mok’s secret BBQ sauce. Accompanying the ribs is a side of sesame cilantro red cabbage coleslaw.

ribs

Described to us as the best ribs in town, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ribs were indeed really damn good.

ribs 3

Chef Mok’s fusion of Asian flavours was clearly portrayed in this dish. The ribs were a tad on the sweeter side from the sauce’s incorporation of (what I think to be) hoisin sauce. They were also fall-off-the-bone tender. The slaw was phenomenal – the taste is incredibly similar to Chinese pickled daikon. I’m certain this slaw was the best I’ve ever had and likely will ever have.

rib 4

Moving onto the second main, we were served Church & State Cabernet Franc V2A ’10 BC as the wine pairing.

church and state cab franc

The flavours of this wine were much bolder, so I could make out the lingering spiciness. I remember hearing some of the others mention notes of vanilla and citrus.

I thought it paired really well with the Peace Country Lamb Chop, which was a grilled lamb chop with navy bean ragout and a roasted house made fennel lamb sausage.

lamb 1

I really like lamb, so to see a dish with both a lamb chop and lamb sausage had me pretty excited! The chop had a great sear and was incredibly tender. Excellent lamb flavour and a nice horseradish kick.

lamb 2

Cache’s house-made sausage was a real winner; I’ve never had such a good tasting lamb sausage. It was packed with lamb flavour! Unfortunately though, the bean ragout didn’t appeal to me as much as the lamb. I found the beans harder than I’m used to – it’s more of a personal preference thing though.

Finally after the mains, we reached the pièce de résistance – dessert. We were served the Cache S’more, which had house-made marshmellow, chocolate ganache, and croissant pudding.

Cache S’more

There’s only one word to describe this marshmellow – perfection. It was super gooey and delicious.

Visually, this dessert was also really beautiful.

s'mores 3

The dessert is just bordering on being too sweet, but it straddles that line pretty well. Having this with a cup of black coffee was just the perfect way to finish up the meal. Everything was at the perfect level of melty-ness. If you’re into s’mores or gooey food, this is the dessert you should try.

To finish off the night, Chef Mok came out and briefly chatted with us about his menu. He seems like a cool guy.

chef mok

Overall, Cache Bistro & Lounge serves up some real quality food. It’s by no means a cheap place to go to, but it’s definitely a fabulous place for great food and drinks. I’m putting Cache on my date-night list!

Guest Blogger:

Chris Yeh from Our Food Adventure @ OurFoodAdvent

Caché Bistro & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Grain Tasting Bar Launches Their Brunch Menu

grain tasting bar - hyatt hotel

I am always looking for good places for brunch. Grain Tasting Bar, a newly renovated lounge, inside the Hyatt Hotel, just launched their brunch menu. Any restaurant where I can enjoy a great benny and a cup of coffee on a nice patio, downtown is going to be on my Go-To Brunch list.

Now the grub

They serve a range of Benedict’s on their menu, Oyama, Dungeness crab, prime rib, grilled chicken and smoked tomato bruschetta, tomatoes are from Chef Thomas Heinrich’s favourite local farm G.B.E farms.

I chose the Oyama Benedict, I was drawn in by the red wine prosciutto, any excuse to get away with having a little bit of vino in the morning.  Yes, it is THAT Oyama, they have been popping up on menus all over town. Aside from Two River Meats, this is one of my favourite cured meats places.  Perfectly poached eggs wrapped with red wine prosciutto, on a bed of Oyama Pamplona chorizo and arugula with a side of potatoes. Suffice to say, with the indulgent hollandaise sauce, this is a very rich dish, the saltiness from the cured meats cut through the richness a bit. I recommend  a cup of black coffee to help you digest this one.

Oyama Benedict
Oyama Benedict

I was told it is Hyatt Hotel standards to only use free range eggs and real cured meats.

Know Your Bacon

Commercially available bacon you see at supermarkets contains harmful nitrates, which have been linked with cancer, according to a study done in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sodium ascorbate or erythorbate are added to accelerate the curing and stabilize colour.

I checked out what Oyama had to say about nitrates from their website:

“A word about nitrites…

Oyama products which are not part of our Green Label line may contain sodium nitrite as part of the traditional curing process. However, the amounts contained are typically less than you would find in many green-leafed organic vegetables!”

Next up we ordered the Prime Rib Benedict with blue cheese, pickled onions and horseradish. We really enjoyed the thicker piece of prime rib, typically it is shaved. The rib was not overly rich and was nicely cooked and seasoned. The pickled onions would have been a nice touch to cut through the richness of the benny but, they forgot it L and I didn’t notice it till after the fact.

prime rib benedict
prime rib benedict

I would definitely be back, I love the casual and modern environment. I could sit here for hours…well I did. My favourite of the two was the Oyama Benedict, it’s so indulgent that I could only finish one of my benedicts.

Check out some of their daily specials.

grain tasting bar daily specials
grain tasting bar daily specials

I had their $6 vanilla sky and $6 oyama sausage

— Grain Tasting Bar (@Grain_Bar) September 10, 2013
Grain Tasting Bar on Urbanspoon

Eat Chicken Wraps – Mouthgasm of Epic Proportions

chicken wraps food cart
chicken wraps food cart

Eat Chicken Wraps is a fairly new food cart hanging outside the open patio on Robson Square. Bringing in their Chinese cultural background and marrying it with multicultural inspirations in Canada, the husband/wife duo, Dan and Sammy, have created fusion menu that focuses on wraps, rolls, and hotdogs.

Based on the pictures and the name of the cart, I’ve skipped past the cart a few times thinking that it wouldn’t be unique – Chinese people making wraps? Didn’t sound like a winner to me.
Well, I got an invitation to try their more Asian-inspired dishes, the Hoisin Chicken Roll and the Kung Pao Chicken Wrap, and left impressed!

I received the Hoisin Chicken Roll ($7) first. It consisted of “crispy Chinese pancake, five spice chicken, Asian salad, pickled radish, green onions, and hoisin sauce”. The brilliance of this wrap is the fact that they use a Chinese pancake as the wrap instead of pita! This totally changes everything.

Hoisin Chicken Roll
Hoisin Chicken Roll

Not only was it a great idea to use a Chinese pancake (like the kind used in Taiwanese beef onion pancake rolls), theirs was amazingly crispy and not crazy oily. If you’ve tried the beef rolls from places like Wang’s Beef Noodle House or Beefy Beef, you’ll probably know what I mean by oily beef rolls.

Fantastic pancake, I would just eat it on its own! The hoisin sauce was good; it wasn’t too salty or too bland, which means they used the good Asian stuff. While the salad in the roll wasn’t anything amazing, it added freshness to the whole roll and added even more crunch. The five spice chicken had a nice grill taste to it and was very tender.

The Kung Pao Chicken (2 for $7) was not bad. It didn’t impress me as much as the Hoisin Chicken Roll.

It had chicken, kungpao sauce, sesame chilli oil, and more on iceberg lettuce. I really liked the little fried bits of noodles. It added a nice crunch and texture that isn’t typically found in Asian lettuce wraps. Besides that though, there wasn’t much flavour that I could really make out besides the sesame chilli oil (it was a bit on the spicy side!).

Kung Pao Chicken Wrap
Kung Pao Chicken Wrap

Eat Chicken Wraps also has a ‘secret’ menu item for their social media followers – the Poutine Al Pastor (7$). I highly recommend this one!

It’s a poutine with the toppings found in their Al Pastor Chicken Wrap: Mexican roasted chicken, pico de galio, guacamole, grilled pineapple, cilantro, lime juice, lettuce, and onions. In other words, a mouthgasm of epic proportions!

Poutine
Poutine Al Pastor

The fries were good nice and crispy, but the toppings really made this poutine stand out. It’s a pretty huge poutine and it’s bang on delicious. I loved the guacamole sauce they put on this!

If you’re in the area, definitely try them out. They’re one of the few food carts that actually stay late enough to serve dinner (they’re there seven days a week from 11am-9pm, which means that you can grab a delicious Hoisin Chicken Wrap after a heavy session of dancing at the Robson Square Dance or after work!

Blogger: Chris Yeh, Our Food Adventure,

Twitter @ourfoodadvent

 

Eat Chicken Wraps on Urbanspoon