March 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A miniature road trip:
Who: Table of 2
When: Saturday March 10th
Where: West 10th and pretty much UBC
Why:  their Baguettes (avail. at Urban Fare),  my Groupons were going to expire …
(^^): Love the look. There’s something about businesses who are willing to invest in the exterior of their establishment that makes me anticipate what goodies lie inside. On the flip side, businesses who only focus on packaging and fail to deliver what’s important, makes the disappointment all that much more devastating. Thankfully, Pane e Formaggio was able to deliver.
The inside of the shop is quite narrow with 2 cheese coolers in the far back and 4 display coolers that separate the staff from the customers. They offer a fairly variety of Italian Deli products,cured meats, cheeses, Panini’s, desserts, breakfast pastries and of course, bread options.
(^^): As more customers filter in around lunch time, it becomes quite crowded and even the quick, experienced hands of the staff have trouble keeping up with both dine-in and take-out orders.
Temptations – next to the Cashier
(^^): See those Apple Crostada’s on the right? They were calling my name the entire minute we were waiting to pay for our order. Unfortunately, by that time I was 3 desserts in from the night before (at Red Star) AND we had already asked for a full-sized lemon tart to go. To add insult to injury, I noticed that 3 of the tables around ours had ordered Crostada’s.
*note to self: go back for the Crostada’s! (*´∩｀*)
(ㆆ∼ㆆ)a : I guess I forgot to mention the gelato – another item “to try”
What we DID order…
Panini #1 – Bocconcini, Tomato… and if I remember correctly.. prosciutto? (I’m 75% sure a deli meat was involved)
(^^): A “soft chew”. The bread was fluffy and plentiful and the sharpness of the balsamic glaze went well with the bocconcini (aka. unripened mozzarella balls). My one complaint was the speed of sogginess.
Panini #2 – Turkey Breast
(^^): This one was more substantial and reminded of of a “work” lunch. Something slightly gourmet, sustaining and fast. The sweetness of the embedded fruit was a great touch.
(^^): oOoooo foamy – that was the best part actually. The cappuccino itself was a little mild and forgettable.
(^^): Even MORE tame than the cappuccino and slightly more forgettable.
What’s in the box.
Lemon Tart Slice
(^^): Tart! and by tart, I’m talking about the acidity level, not it’s physical form. It wasn’t overly sweet which is always a good sign but the acidity was to the point where it left a bit of sting on your tongue. What helped balance out the acidity was the crust. While I can’t be 100% sure, I do believe they used shortening and not butter. I’m not really one to argue the use of one over the other, I just simply don’t buy shortening out of shallow personal bias. Overall though, I still enjoyed it. I would suggest serving in smaller potions (1/6 is quite a bit lol!) and perhaps having some fresh fruit or ice cream on the side ^^
Deli Item: Grilled Eggplant with Sun-dried Tomato and a big chunk of __________ cheese.
(^^): Pricey! I think 8 pieces came to $10 or $15 but the Carn.H and M quite enjoyed it. The eggplant had a great flavor but I found the cheese a little too dense and sort of reminded me of cardboard (or at least the smell of). Then again, I’m really not one to judge cheeses as I only enjoy a select 1/4 of the cheese family.
Overall Sentiments: I liked it, but I didn’t love it – but I want to love it. It’s complicated. I’ll still buy their baguettes and I’m definitely going back for that Crostada. They have a great atmospheric feel to them and it’s a great place to visit, sit and chit chat. It’s just that I’ve had better coffee and better panini’s. Their cheese is a little more on the pricey side but they do offer an excellent selection of meats, cheeses, deli products and baked goods.
Likelihood of Revisiting: 65%
Culinary Mindset: Cafe Style
March 23, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A new-ish Panini/Wine Bar in Gastown:
Who: Table of 4
What: Wine, Cheese, Cured meats, Panini
When: Saturday March 3rd
Where: Notturno Paninoteca (Gastown)
Why: Carn.H’s Birthday
Menu (If you can read it that is… First time shooting in an “atmospheric ambiance” with my Galaxy Note – I had a choice of either blinding everyone at the table with an insanely long flash time or end up with something like this … (><) )
Pesco Piatto (sp?) – House Cured Salmon, Smoked White Salmon, Smoked Albacore Tuna, Fennel Rubbed Albacore Tuna, Tuna Crudo Fennel ($16)
(^^): We all really liked smoked flavors and the supple textures of the cured fish. I felt that the House Cured Salmon fell a little flat (a tad watery tasting) but the other three variants were delish.
Bruschetta – I believe this was the Tuna Crudo that was a part of the above Platter.
(^^): Perfectly Crisp Crostini – I think the little black balls that you see on top, are gastronomic forms of olives. They were a little too dense and plastic-like so I preferred them off my “bruschetta”
*correction: cucumber and balsamic pearls according to Sean from Sean’s Adventure in Flavor Town
Pico Bruschetta – Blue cheese Aioli, Fig, Black Olives, Walnuts ($6)
(^^): Great for blue cheese lovers. I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese so I thought the flavor was quite overpowering but the others at the table loved the balance.
back: Tartufo Panini - Prosciutto, Artichoke, Capers, Black Truffle Aioli, Pecorino ($9.5)
front: Fumo Panini – speck (smoked prosciutto), gappa poached pear, taleggio ($9.5)
(^^): Loved the flavor combinations! The Tartufo was savory and delectable and the Fumo was sweet and light. I was pretty impressed with the different uses of textures and you can tell that quality and freshness of ingredients is important to them.
Our waitress was kind, though we did have to repeat our drink orders a few times and I didn’t quite understand why she explicitly expressed the inability to cut the panini into 4 pieces – even though we never asked – and I was quite able of doing it myself with the table knife 30 seconds later. My only guess is the proportioning of ingredients made it hard for equal distribution (the artichokes were by the halves and the meats didn’t quite spread from edge to edge).
The wine list does need to be expanded and perhaps a Sommelier lesson is in order as I found their whites to be quite bland, a forgiven flaw as I was there more for the food and the company.
Ambiance: Quaint but tight. Other than being elbowed and knocked into by the other customers we liked the decor and the intimacy of the space.
Likelihood of Revisiting: 85%
Culinary Mindset: A nice snack/light dinner
March 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Our long awaited King Crab Dinner:
Who: Table of 13
What: King Crab, Peking Duck, etc.
When: Friday March 9th
Where: Red Star (Granville & 66th)
Why: Co-worker Recommendation/It’s King Crab Season!
Appetizer Platter: Pork Hock, Jelly Fish, Crispy Suckling Pig, Soya Chicken
(^^): Pretty standard but well prepared. The flavors were there but not overpowering
Steamed Garlic King Crab
(^^): Sweet, Supple and Plentiful. Cooked perfectly – so the fresh flavors of the crab really came through.
Peking Duck: 1st Course
(^^): Serving shortly after the crab, it was probably a bad judgement call by the kitchen as both dishes need to be had “at the moment”. Of course the crab, being the highlight of the night, got most of the attention. The skin was crisp but the wrap was much too thick and too large for portion of duck given. (Each plate was served individually).
Pea Shoots w. Egg White Sauce (1.5 servings)
Salt and Pepper Sea Bass
(^^): My fav dish of the night. The fish was really creamy and the batter was light and crisp. My only complaint was the lack of salt and pepper.
Peking Duck: 2nd Course – lettuce wraps
(^^): The lettuce was fresh and I didn’t see any browning spots which is always a good sign. The filling was crunchy and the oil was under control – another well-made dish.
Mayo Shrimp (1.5 servings?)
(^^): The shrimps were a tad under-cooked but pretty close to perfect. A bit too mayo’d though.
front: Choy Sum w. Egg Tofu and Mushrooms (1.5 servings)
back: Beef Tenderloin in what seemed like an orange flavored sauce (1.5 servings?)
(^^): tasty ^^ the beef was tender and the sauce would be great with rice
Crab Sauce Noodles
(^^): Overcooked and didn’t taste like much …
back: Lotus Rice
back: Lotus Rice, revealed
(^^): Fragrant and flavorful. A fairly heavy dish as the rice appeared to have absorbed a fair bit of preserved duck fat.
Dessert: Complimentary Mini Sesame Balls & Lotus Pastries
Dessert (not shown): Baked Tapioca Pudding& Mango Pudding
(^^): You read right, we had THREE desserts – pigs, I know. To keep it short and simple, I didn’t like the Sesame Balls – over-fried I think, the lotus pastries were my fav and the two puddings were a bit too dense for my liking. The Mango Pudding did have a good flavor and the Baked Tapioca had a well made crust but overall – I’ve had better.
Total Damage: $60/person
Likelihood of Revisiting: 100% (almost perfect cook times are pretty rare so ^^)
Culinary Mindset: Seafood
February 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Matchstick caught Carn.H’s eye the moment he saw the bustling movement by Le Faux B. We were both ecstatic when we were able to confirm the new caffeine addition to Kingsway. Other than the Cedar Cottage Coffee House nearby, we didn’t have many options within a walkable distance – being a roasterie was also a plus ^^
The place was PACKED when we went in Saturday morning. We stood at the bar/social counter for 5-10 minutes before a table finally opened up. The cafe was quite reflective, with sounds bouncing off (rather than being absorbed by) most surfaces. You could say that it gave off a pretty social vibe but than again, it could just remind you of being at dim sum.
I got a Latte, as usual, and a croissant to share. The Latte was a bit weak and on the sour side so I’m really hoping that it is not their standard roast.
The croissant – I had a love hate relationship with. The crust was crisp, flaky and quite delish. On the other hand, the flesh was really oily/buttery and and felt weighed down by those two factors – ergo – not a flake in sight.
Carn.H decided on not one, but TWO Macchiato’s. Two reasons: 1) the caffeine felt a bit weak and 2) the foam was just that good.
Likelihood of revisiting: 70% (mostly for the atmosphere and proximity)
Culinary Mindset: explorer mode
For Caffeine elsewhere, click here
February 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
After driving by the foundation day after day on our way to work, Carn.H and I finally made it a point to try them out on Saturday. It must have been the rain b/c the restaurant was only 1/4 full and it normally looks pretty busy on a weekend day.
Carn.H decided on the…
He liked it well enough and would possibly order it again. I thought the salad dressing was interesting in a good way – reminding me of chinese mango pudding/ice cream that had been melted down and chilled.
I decided to go light with a salad. The peanut dressing was pretty good and was anything but light lol~
Halfway through, I noticed that the dressing to salad ratio was getting pretty skewed and the saltiness of the dressing was really coming through, taking the enjoyment level of the dish down a few notches. That said,we still preferred the satay salad over the foundation burger and $9 (hst incl.) for each dish is pretty decent.
Given the choice, I much prefer the Coup in Calgary, but I’d come back ^^
Likelihood of revisiting: 75%
Culinary Mindset: Meatless
February 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
All in all, we really enjoyed the flavors and textures of the tart. It was just the perfect amount of sweetness and unless you had the espresso mousse on its own, the dessert felt creamy and smooth ^^ (if you like to taste the different components independently you will likely notice the generous use of fine espresso grounds)
But lets just say it definitely met my “calorie worthy” expectations and then some. ^^
Price: $3.75 (b4 tax)
Likelihood of revisiting: 100%
Culinary Mindset: mature
- C.Herb -
(( _ _ ))..zzzZZ
February 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Wishing everyone a “Happy (belated) Halloween”, a “Merry (belated) Xmas!”, a “Happy (belated) New Year!” and “a Happy (belated) Chinese New Year!”
I missed a lot in 4 months didn’t I?!?! Actually, I was quite surprised to see that my last post was back in October.
Let’s see… In Oct/Nov I was rushing to finish some photobooks from Blurb b/c my vouchers were expiring – pretty good quality FYI
Nov/Dec I was trying to finish Xmas gifts and it was around this time that my blogpress app
decided to glitch…
Jan was cold/flu season and I had L’s crystal bouquet to complete…
I, on the other hand, will *try to* bombard you with countless mini posts, some full posts and some pretty backlogged posts to try to get up-to-date with my eating.
Due to a failed attempt at embedding my Flickr Photostream, here’s a link for what to expect:
(click on the image for “where” and “what” details ^^)
But to give a general idea…
… I’m only halfway through labelling the 583 pics in that photo set. *yikes!*
- C.Herb -
(( _ _ ))..zzzZZ