Sunday, May 21, 2017

West Restaurant + Bar (Vancouver)

West Restaurant + Bar on Granville Street serves contemporary Pacific Northwest cuisine, and it is one of seven restaurants in the Toptable Group restaurant group. Helmed by Executive Chef Quang Dang, West came highly recommended by my good friend Mijune of Follow Me Foodie. Even though it was not on my Vancouver restaurant "hit list", I was more than happy to try out West given that Mijune and I have very similar taste in food.

West's sophisticated dining room boasts a temperature-controlled wine wall (on the right), a Werner Forster installation from the ceiling (Forster was a well-known Vancouver architect), etched stone tabletops, and Mario Bellini designed original chairs found at MoMA. There are also two chef's tables for guests who like to see all the action in the kitchen.

Pretty pink cocktails to start. Forgive me but I don't remember what spirit and ingredients were in them. All I remember is that they were very tasty and, contrary to how they may look, not crazy sweet.

Bread course.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Winners of the Lobster Clam Jam Giveaway are...


Congratulations! You've all just won a PAIR of tickets to the first annual Lobster Clam Jam Food Festival taking place on Saturday May 20th & Sunday May 21st at Cabana Pool Bar. Please email me at to claim your tickets!

A big THANK YOU to the 24 people who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjclcj hashtag from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first person to enter the contest. To enter, the person had to tweet "Please take me to #lobsterclamjamto at @cabanapoolbar @foodieyu! #fjclcj #lobsterclamjamto". Each person could tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Once the contest was over and everybody's entries were accounted for, I checked to see if they followed me (@foodieyu) on Twitter. Below are the 38 valid entries:

I used "True Random Number Generator" from to pick five winners for me.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hawksworth Restaurant (Vancouver)

I finally had a chance to visit Vancouver last month, a city I haven't been to in more than 20 years (I blame the ridiculously expensive airfare). I spent one very chill week in and around Vancity just eating, drinking and hanging out. It was exactly what I needed; I came back home very well rested (7 lbs heavier!) and I didn't feel like I needed another vacation from my vacation (I hate that feeling). Anyway, researching which restaurants to check out naturally became my main mission before the trip. My final list consisted of around 7-8 places, with Hawksworth being on the very top of my list.

Hawksworth Restaurant (Instagram: @hawksworthrest, Facebook: Hawksworth Restaurant) has received an impressive number of awards and accolades since it opened in 2011, some of which include Best New Restaurant from enRoute Magazine, Canada's Restaurant of the Year from Maclean's Magazine, Second Place in Canada's 100 Best list, Chef of the Year, Sommelier of the Year, and Best Upscale Restaurant from Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, etc, etc. The list goes on and on (click here for the full list of awards). So, to say I was "excited" when my friend Mijune of Follow Me Foodie snagged a reservation there is clearly an understatement.

Located in the gorgeous Rosewood Hotel GeorgiaHawksworth serves contemporary Canadian cuisine. The restaurant's menu is seasonal and features local Canadian ingredients. We left it up to Chef de Cuisine, Chris Stewart, to feed us that evening. It's always better that way, trust me.

Iberico ham, liquefied fat trimmings

Take a look at that iberico. Thinly sliced with a dark-ish red hue and some natural fat infiltration, the 48-month old iberico had a sharp flavour and an oily texture (amplified by the liquefied fat trimmings). The fried beef tendon puff had an intense crunch that quickly dissolved on the palate. Yum. I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the meal.

Wine Director, Bryant Mao, leads the award-winning wine program at Hawksworth. Here is Bryant pouring Mijune and I our first glass.

Buttermilk poached halibut, fresh peas, pea puree, pea veil, pea tips, pea powder, edible flowers, puffed rice.
Pairing: Little Farm Riesling 2015, Mulberry Tree Vineyard, Cawston, BC. 

So much yes for pea season! Nothing symbolizes the sweet, light, and freshness of spring quite like peas. Underneath the velvety pea puree, the poached halibut was soft and flaky, and the puffed rice added just the right amount of texture to the plate (or bowl). Beautiful flavours, textures, depth and colour. This was a wonderful representation of the terroir of Vancouver, with land and sea uniting to form a perfectly made dish. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lobster Clam Jam Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away 5 PAIRS of tickets to the first annual Lobster Clam Jam Food Festival taking place on Saturday May 20th & Sunday May 21st at Cabana Pool Bar. Each pair of tickets is worth $50.

Lobster Clam Jam (Instagram: @lobsterclamjam, Facebook: Lobster Clam Jam (Toronto)) is a highly acclaimed outdoor food festival. Not just for seafood lovers, this affordable culinary showcase offers guests the opportunity to experience the creations of a variety of renowned local chefs and restaurants. Already a must for fans of Montreal’s world-class food and festival scene for the past four years, and deemed “One of the Top Canadian Food Festivals to Visit This Summer” by Food Network Canada, Lobster Clam Jam will feature delicious creations from well-known restaurants from Toronto and Montreal such as Patria, Weslodge, Oliver & Bonacini, Jae Anthony of Seasoned Dreams, Blowfish, Notre Dame Gourmet, Queue de Cheval Steakhouse and Raw Bar, Buster’s Sea Cove, The Food Dudes, Bac Ky Pho, Buonanotte, Boehmer and Cherry Street Barbeque, plus many more. Guests will be treated to a culinary experience by each restaurant along with a freshly shucked oyster station. The Festival will also feature their very own signature whole or half lobsters. Mixologists will offer signature flavoured Mojitos, Bloody Caesars as well as a wide assortment of beer, wine and other libations.

Lobster Clam Jam is a family-friendly event, with a variety of activities for children to enjoy, including bouncy castles, face painting and caricature artists. Free admission for children 12 years of age and under. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to SickKids Foundation.

Date: Saturday May 20th & Sunday May 21st
Time: 12:00pm - 9:00pm
Place: Cabana Pool Bar, 11 Polson Street, Toronto, ON.
Prize: Two tickets, each ticket valued at $25.
What is included: Your tickets include complimentary entry. Food coins not included. Winners can only redeem for one day.

1) You MUST be following me (@foodieyu) on Twitter
2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown, nothing before or after it: 

Please take me to #lobsterclamjamto at @cabanapoolbar @foodieyu! #fjclcj #lobsterclamjamto

1. For your entry to be valid, you need to tweet the above sentence exactly as shown.
2. You may tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Re-tweeting others do NOT count as a valid entry.
3. Contest is tracked by the #fjclcj hashtag. If you don't see your tweet in the hashtag stream it means there is no entry from you. Read this to find out the possible reasons why your tweets are not showing up.

Contest starts on Saturday, May 13th, and ends on Thursday, May 18th at 12PM. 
Five lucky winners will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^