Minami Japanese Restaurant

Minami Japanese fine dining restaurant opened their doors this Spring and it has become my go to restaurant this Summer.

Minami Japanese Restaurant, located in Yaletown and sister restaurant to Miku, a fine dining Japanese restaurant in the heart of Coal Harbour meets high expectations. I’ve been to both, the menu is very similar but, the atmosphere and décor is much nicer at Minami.
The service was impeccable right from when we entered to when we left.
It is a rare treat, when all the dishes scored between 4 -5 out of 5!

Now the Food…

We started with the Shiso Mojito Watermelon and Citrus Cured Scallops, mojito infused watermelon, montchevre goat cheese, micro greens, pickled celery, cucumber, a light salad to prepare our paletes. Creative ingredients that melded so well and gave a refreshing blend of flavours. 4.5/5

watermelon and scallops
We were recommended to try the calamari, everyone that went to Minami raved about this dish.

Calamari, nori tempura batter, brussels sprout chips, pickled tomatoes, tosazu sauce. The batter was heavenly, so light, not the usual American calamari. This is one of their popular dishes. 4/5

calamari

Miso Baked Duck Breast, ginger braised carrots, watercress, sweet potato fondant, orange reduction. This dish is slightly different from the one offered at Miku. I much prefer the duck breast at Minami. Again, this dish was able to hit my entire palette, sour, sweet, spicy, salty. 4.5/5
Duck Breast
Minami and Miku are known for their Aburi Sushi, a roll that is pressed and then lightly seared and, topped with the secret Miku sauce. We tried dissecting the sauce, the two ingredients we all agreed on were sesame and soy sauce but, that is a given, it’s the base of almost all Japanese, Chinese sauces.

Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi, pressed local salmon, jalapeño, miku sauce, my favourite dish. It was sooo good. 5/5
aburi salmon sushi

Aburi Saba Oshi Sushi, pressed mackerel, miku miso sauce. Once again they hit this out of the ball park, a terrific dish. 4.5/5.
aburi saba sushi

I keeping my fingers crossed, Minami will stay open longer than the other predecessors at this location, Goldfish being one of that recently closed. Their dishes were made with creativity and detail. The ingredients were fresh and, I will be recommending this place to my picky foodies.

Minami on Urbanspoon

Fable Kitchen – Top Chef Canada Runner Up Trevor Bird

Appies

Canned Tuna – preserved lemon, salt canned in-house  Fable Kitchen’s server rightly described it as “The best canned tuna you’ll ever eat” and, she’s right. It was bit on the heavier side but, the flavours were creative blended well together.

Canned Tuna

Chickpea fritters, pickled red onion, shoots, curry mayo. This was good but not the highlight 3/5

Spaghetti and meatball, Duck meat ball, tagliatelle, mushroom sauce in the middle. 5/5. I rarely give 5 ‘s but, this dish deserved it. I understand why they made this an appie instead of an entrée, it is very heavy. My friend remarked, if he could dunk his head in this  it’ll be the best thing EVER.

Spaghetti and meatball

Entrees

Duck Breast, scallion pierogi, fiddle heads, cauliflower. 4.5/5

Duck

Steak, an asian inspired sauce, ginger, black bean, soy sauce. 4/5
Steak

Potato Crusted Chicken and ratatouille. The crust had an interesting texture, reminded me of potato hasbrowns from McDonald’s. It’s not a bad thing just different. Chicken itself was tender. 4/5

potato wrapped chicken

Featured Entrée Slow cooked local salmon with Gnocchi, kale, leeks, spinach puree. The gnocchi was doughy and dense. The salmon was good, the dish other aside from the gnocchi was executed nicely. 3/5

Slow cooked local salmon

Desserts

Lemon Pot de Crème, lemon granita, gin foam. Holy cow this was soooo good. A nice refreshing end to our heavy meal. 4.5/5

Fable Lemon de pot cream

Peach Melba, sable. Sable which I apologize to my highschool French teacher translates to shortbread. Of course!! 2.5/5
Peach Melba

Fable Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Jean Philippe Patisserie – Chocolate Porn At It’s Best

Vegas to me, is about partying, sleepless nights and food, great food.

Jean Philippe Patisserie located inside Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, is all about bright colors. It’s food porn at it’s best. We began salivating just looking at the desserts. Everything was visually stunning.

img1

The chocolate dragon and cherry blossoms display is a masterpiece.  I wanted to go inside the display and frolic.

dragon chocolate sculpture

You ready for some food porn?

I’ll start with the savory, the sandwiches although I did not get to try it, was very popular amongst the tourists.

sandwiches

Ok, that’s enough savory….

Ice cream galore and baked goods…

icecream

Colorful Rice Krispies Balls…it’s Christmas all over again.

colorful rice krispies balls

Now here’s the star…..

Chocolates, Chocolates and MORE CHOCOLATES

I’d say it beats Thomas Haas chocolates and you can forget about Thierry. One bite, and I was giddy from a choco-gasim. I had about 5, I was sooo happy.  The flavor was intense. I don’t remember which ones I ate but, I clearly remember how I felt. It might have been because I was semi-awake and running on adrenaline, or because I was so dehydrated but, these were the best chocolates I’ve ever had. My euphoria lasted for about an hour.

fruit chocolates

chocolates

Chocolate shoe sculpture .. you get me, you really get me!

chocolate shoe sculpture

Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie (Bellagio) on Urbanspoon

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour – Happy Hour Under $5

Hapa Izakaya version 4.0. By now Vancouverites should be very familiar with Japanese tapas. Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour formerly known as Hapa Umi, is popular amongst the after work crowd just happy to relax with cheap food and drinks.

hapa umi

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour used to be a upscale hapa but, I guess Vancouverites got so used to Hapa’s original menu and prices that it just did not fly. Now they have a menu very similar to all the other Hapa’s

Happy Hour Details:

3- 6 PM

Monday to Friday

Everything on the Happy Hour menu including the house wine and beer is under $5. I know UNDER $5!!!

Now the food…

Starting with my favourite dish the Ika, grilled squid, sake soy garlic marinade. The smoky flavour really came through. It was cooked perfectly, the texture was still crunchy.
Ike

Ebi Mayo, was overcooked and the batter was too thick.
shrimp Tempura

Chicken Karaage, it was juicy and tender on the inside but the outside was not as crispy as I would have liked

Chicken karage

Beef tataki, lacked flavor, I’m not a big fan of any dish squirted with a thick blob of chilli sauce.
Beef tataki

Rennkon Gyoza, minced pork layered with lotus root and tempura. This was surprisingly nice, the lotus root added a crunchy texture.
Deep fried gyoza

Overall, it stood a little above pub food but, the atmosphere and service was so fun. The servers were hot. We sat in a booth so I was eye level with the server’s busty boobs. I couldn’t help staring at them, they were everywhere.  It may be raunchy but, take it as it is, Hapa Izakaya doesn’t claim to be a Michelin star restaurant, it’s more along the lines of Cactus Club. If you are complaining about girls and guys flaunting their bodies (I might add, it wasn’t distasteful) go somewhere else.

Hapa Umi on Urbanspoon

Reflections – Chic Rooftop Patio Lounge

Reflections is a chic rooftop patio at Hotel Georgia, it is definitely one of the nicer rooftop patios in Vancouver.

Reflection rooftop lounge, patio

The time I went it was packed with the work crowd sneaking off early to start their weekend binge. I went around 3PM on Friday and, by 4PM it was packed.

Don’t let the picture fool you, I snapped it when I arrived and this is only half of the patio, the other half is uncovered.

Didn’t get to try the food but, the drinks were good. Standard sky-high hotel cocktail prices $12. This particular drink is the Hotel Georgia, Plymouth Gin, Lemon Juice, Orgeat Syrup, Orange Blossom Water, Egg White, Nutmeg. I just came from the gym and one drink was all I could enjoy otherwise I’d fall out of my seat.

Hotel Georgia Wine Lounge

Atmosphere is relaxing, almost like I’m on a Vegas vacation sipping cocktails under the sun. Also like Vegas, it is a meat market. The girls are hot and there are plenty of men.

Reflections on Urbanspoon

Cartems Donuterie – Claim to Fame

DONUTS. This word is enough to induce Homer Simpson into a trance-like drool. Lately this word is on the tip of most foodies’ tongues.

How so?  One donut company that has been on my radar is Cartems Donuterie. This donuterie is known to use fresh, locally sourced, and organic ingredients. Their claim to fame is their handmade donuts are offered in a variety of creative flavors and are one of the shops that offer vegan and gluten-free donuts.

Caroline (Food Persuasion) and I set out on this tasty adventure and found out that we should have waited at the shop when we first arrived. When we came back a few minutes before opening time, she was shocked to see a line up form in front of the shop.

Since the shop is located on Hastings and Carrall (edge of Gastown), you’re bound to find some very interesting characters there. Some of the interesting passer-bys thought that we were crazy lining up for a $3 donut. Damn, these donuts should be tasty!

Another interesting character to note was the man on a bike near the door. He was a hoot! He blurted out that he doesn’t believe in lining up but rather go in and grab what he needs and leave. “This is how I got this muffin!”, he boasts. Then HE went on to say how good the donuts are at Cartems. One guy in the lineup pointed out to the man that he had a muffin (mind you, it was a Superstore sized jumbo muffin). The man scoffs, “This thing? Meh!” and pretends to throw it over his shoulder. Everyone in the lineup had a good laugh before proceeding to buy the yummy donuts.

Initially, my intention was to get the Maple Bacon Bourbon. After hearing that the first 2 people in the line bought all of them, my heart was broken.

what was left

Caroline and I decided to get different donuts to try, instead. I got The Campfire and the Earl Grey and Caroline got the Breakfast donut and the Triple Chocolate threat.

After purchasing the donuts, we went to International Village to sample our goodies.

The first donut we tried was the Triple Chocolate Threat. This is a chocolate donut dipped in chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crisp Callebaut chocolate pearls. This chocolate donut was slightly dense and dry. It wasn’t as rich as I expected. However, I loved how the chocolate pearls gave texture to this donut.

Triple Threat Donut - Cartems Donuterie

The next donut we tried was the Breakfast donut. This was a baked whole wheat donut with organic figs, flax seeds and honey. Densely packed with healthy ingredients, this donut tasted like a healthy pancake. It also had pockets of honey which was a pleasant surprise.

Breakfast donut - Cartems Donuterie

The third donut we had was The Campfire. It was a chocolate donut dipped in chocolate ganache, sprinkled with graham crumbs, and topped with a handmade vanilla marshmallow that’s drizzled with chocolate. This was the ultimate s’mores donut! This donut was light and chocolately and not sugary sweet. It was my favorite chocolate donut! The handmade marshmallow was definitely a nice touch.

Campfire Donut - Cartems Donuterie

Last but not least, was the Earl Grey donut. This was an earl grey cake donut with an earl grey glaze, sprinkled with mallow flowers (flowers used in earl grey tea). This donut was slightly dense and the subtle flavour of the tea comes through after one bite. This was my favorite donut of the ones I’ve tried!

Earl Grey Donut - Cartems Donuterie

Overall, Cartems Donuts are definitely worth it! It’s made with locally sourced organic ingredients and are handmade. They come in many creative flavors and are simply delicious! I also recommend visiting the shop as the owners, Rags, was fantastic, as you can see him and his team being passionate in what they do. (Not to mention the interesting characters you’ll see when you are waiting in line for the donuts.)

One day, I hope to try all the flavors.

One day, the Maple Bourbon Bacon donut will be mine! 😛

Cartems Donuterie (Pop-up Shop) on Urbanspoon


Author:

Anita of (Petite Foodie)

A Dynamo Food Blogger with an infectious enthusiasm for sharing her love of delicious food with others. You can reach her on twitter @petitefoodie or check out her blog Petite Foodie

Related Eateries:
Giovanne Cafe
Thierry Patisserie
Ganache Patisserie

Cartems Donuterie – Sneak Preview

Exciting sneek preview of Cartems Donuterie next week. Anita of Petite Foodie and I had a delicious #donuttweetup last weekend. Cartems Donuterie, a popup shop in Gastown has become the hottest place with a cult following. They have creative donut varieties, what?! What’s Tim Hortons? Rex, owner of Cartems, hailed as Vancouver’s Artisan Donut Maker.

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There was a lineup before the doors were opened, we were 5th in line.

5th in line

This was what was left when we arrived at the counter.

what was left

25 minutes later, it was soldout for the rest of the day. Rex, amazed at his success has noted, that they would go through more than 400 donuts a day and sellout everyday by afternoon.

Can’t wait for Petite Foodie’s guest post next week.