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Thursday, May 22, 2003

We had a delicious pizza at Mozzarella di Bufala in West Portal this week. The cheese was smoooooth and very soft, not stretchy or rubbery as it cooled, but fresh and creamy. We had the Vege I pizza, a straightforward bell pepper, mushroom, onion, and olive combination, but it was perfect. Just the right thing.

So I think this place earns a spot on my list of preferred pizzarias. Venice Pizza & Restaurant on Mission near Geneva is also delicious (especially their pizzas with pesto and veggies).
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:22 PM

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

On the happy note of fermenting animals within animals, I should mentioned that the restaurant I dearly loved, but which I haven't yet gotten to in my list of Vancouver restaurants is Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant in Vancouver's Chinatown.

There are absolutely no seals stuffed with anything at this place. The food is delicious and the portions are VERY large, even at lunch. The wonton soup was perfect; the country-style tofu (deep fried and very fresh) in a spicy sauce was addictive. Everything was just what I wanted.

It's just across the street from one of the entrances to the Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which you should also visit. More about that when I get around to finishing my separate Vancouver feature.

posted by Arlene (Beth)9:54 PM

Monday, May 19, 2003

Okay, okay. If you must know, the birds referenced in the previous entry are auks.

There. Now you have the full recipe.

I'll go back to nursing my allergies now.
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:46 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

[WARNING: slightly gross entry follows. ]

I've been distracted from my Vancouver food reporting by a lovely book about Greenland. It's called This Cold Heaven, and it makes sub-zero temperatures and the freedom to explore the arctic throughout the winter over glowing snow sound quite liberating.

But then there's the issue of food.

Reindeer stew. Seal. Seal and potatoes. Stewed seal and potatoes. And a reference to a famous anthropologist and explorer dying after consuming kivioq, not the famous hero of myth by the same name, but rather certain puffin-related "birds... stuffed, whole, into eviscerated seal carcasses, and buried in the frozen earth for later consumption."

You can see why I haven't been writing about restaurants.

Also food of the far north: poutine, a popular (?) Canadian dish of rumor, consisting of French fries in a brown gravy covered with cheese.

Yeah. I can't eat now, either.

posted by Arlene (Beth)10:16 PM

Sorry about that. I mean, it's technically about food. But... But... I am SO GLAD I live where veggies grow!

posted by Arlene (Beth)10:15 PM

Saturday, May 10, 2003

One of my colleagues, also a great lover of food, went to Italy recently, to spend some time in Venice. He went with 3 friends of his, all either professional chefs or owners of food-related shops, all of whom had traveled and eaten in Venice before, and who not only knew their way around, but who are known to local chefs. There they met up with a local Venetian, a native speaker of the local dialect and well versed in local restaurants as well.

They would visit local restaurants, experience a very warm reception, and then be served the best each kitchen had to offer. And even for little things they bought from street vendors and delis, their local guide negotiated for them, so they got the best items at local (non-tourist) prices.

My colleague KNOWS how to experience the best foodie vacations ever!


Speaking of foodie vacations, I enjoyed eating in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada very much.

Vancouver has more going on than just food. I feel full of knowledge about Canada's provinces, hockey, the First Nations peoples of British Columbia and their art, how the western citizens feel alienated from the federal government, the Vancouver transit system, where to find the chain of Death By Chocolate shops, SARS, arbutuses, and how the beloved Canucks are doing in the playoffs. (Sadly, they have been eliminated, blowing a 3 game lead in their 7 game series. Sorry, Vancouver.)

But in between learning all of those things we ate quite a bit. We had fabulous Malaysian tofu (tahu) goreng, decadent white chocolate mousse, plentiful and filling Buddhist vegetarian Chinese food (but they didn't give us oranges OR cookies afterward), good Thai, excellent and just passable Italian, expensive museum cafe food, and a Greek veggie pizza that had pineapple on it, and yet didn't suck.

So it was a mix of food and other aspects of life. We saw those sandwich press grills put to good use, Starbucks diagonally across the street from each other (such was their density), blue rhododendrons (which we are completely obsessed with), tulips large enough to beat others physically into submission with, gorgeous islands, extremely cool many-ton sculptures, the paintings of Emily Carr, and the cheesiest ski resort film imaginable.

We even played in snow at a resort half an hour from downtown Vancouver, and ate a reasonably priced meal with a gorgeous view of Vancouver, far, far below us.

I think I will write about the restaurants in the order I ate at them, and only later organize these thoughts a bit more tidily for a more permanent guide on where to eat while visiting.

Sitar Indian Restaurant in Gastown: delicious stewed dishes served in generous portions. We asked for 'spicy' and got reasonably well spiced food that warmed us up. (I was tempted to ask for 'scorching,' but one of these days I'll actually get that, and I'm not sure that's what I really want. There was a time I ate at Indian Oven here in SF on Fillmore, and their scorching hot vindaloo actually was. I had a hard time tasting the other dishes for a few minutes.) The rice was a bit dry, but the sauces covered that and the naan was delicious.

Crepe Cafe, a chain that appears on Robson, Granville, and other streets around town. The menu doesn't list very many options for savory crepes, but a spinach and feta crepe with mushrooms added from the options list is satisfying. The crepes are very similar to crepes we had in Paris, and the hot coffee drinks and other beverages finish the meal well. [Warning: for some reason, the Robson store forbids cameras. I didn't notice this going in, and so played with my camera quite a bit while adjusting some of the exposure settings. Ooops.]

Banana Leaf Malaysian Restaurant, on Denman and one other location in town. This branch of the main Banana Leaf won awards in the local tourist magazines. It is SOOO GOOD. I was put off at first, because the only overtly vegetarian dishes were side dishes, but there was a little chard leaf symbol that meant that dishes so marked could be made without meat or fish/shrimp paste, and so we went in. It was SOOO GOOD!! They served us the best tofu/tahu goreng I've ever tasted: fried tofu in a lovely sour dressing with chili sauce and crunchy salad items like cucumbers. I wish I had some right now. Yum yum yum yum yum. We had two other dishes, and were completely full and happy when we finished, so the serving sizes are good. I recommend this place highly.

Death By Chocolate, multiple locations including Denman. Amazingly, profoundly decadent desserts. We had our final Vancouver meal there, because they offer a few non-dessert foods, including tasty soups (such as a vegetarian harira with tender lentils) and sandwiches melted in one of those fancy grill-presses, that both squeezes and toasts a sandwich at the same time (feta, tomato, and pesto, yum!). My favorite dessert experience there: a white chocolate mousse with huge shavings of white chocolate and segments from grapefruits, limes, and tangerines. Mmmmmmmmm. I also recommend this place highly.

The Templeton, a charming old-fashioned diner on Granville. Slightly greasy but very tasty egg and potato breakfasts, including huevos rancheros, farmer's skillet's of veggies and eggs served over potatoes, and other tasty things. Pleasant service. They apparently show movies on their screen over the counter if you eat there weekend nights.

Vancouver Art Museum Cafe. Wonderful sandwiches grilled with one of those presses, a wide array of salads, roasted veggies, quiches... It has an extensive menu for a museum, and everything I tasted was both well presented and very good. It's even reasonably priced! And there are lots of people behind the counter, so your order is handled quickly. If only it wasn't raining, we could have even had a lovely view of Robson Square from their large patio...

Capone's, an Italian restaurant in Yaletown. My linguini in wild mushroom sauce was WONDERFUL. I remember loving the salad, but the pasta was just fabulous. This place is one of countless Yaletown restaurants with high ceilings and outdoor dining in a former warehouse district: the dining patios are on what were once loading docks, but made charming with brick and nice awnings and other such stuff. Window shopping in the area is a hoot. Oh, and my wine was great, but I didn't keep adequate notes, so I don't remember which Pinot Noir it was, but it was Canadian.

The University of British Columbia's Sage Bistro was advertised as one of UBC's best kept secrets. Considering how long it took us to find it, despite having a map that clearly indicated it, it is no surprise. It has NO signage. It's hidden in a building that claims to be a hall associated with some particular field (aging studies, perhaps?), and it isn't until you burst into the building that you realize it's the former faculty dining facility, and that there's a restaurant down the stairs. It's a very charming restaurant - we ate in the lounge, with a big, friendly fireplace and a view of the rest of the facility and its garden outside. Everything was delicious. My entree was a simple black bean dish with chipotle, fresh cornbread, and a sprinkling of veggies, but it was PERFECT. The service was excellent; the wine was excellent; it was very relaxing and pleasant to eat there. It was a bit expensive, and the menu was quite short (perhaps 5 entrees at most?), but all were attractive choices for omnivores, and there was my fully veggie choices. We were the only guests for the first part of our meal. It's within easy walking distance of the Museum of Anthropology, which is part of why we went. I'm glad we ate there.

Well, it's gorgeous outside, so I'll continue with my Vancouver restaurant report later.

posted by Arlene (Beth)10:38 AM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The knuckles on my left hand object to typing, so I'm trying to let them heal from whatever it is that ails them. But I have to put in this quick entry:

Mango Martini.

Gaylord's India Restaurant serves a drink of its own making, the Gaylord Mango Martini. It is delicious. Fruity, amazingly sweet, and wonderful. I recommend it highly.

posted by Arlene (Beth)9:38 PM

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Wow. Blogger works again, and is publishing my backlog!

This is rather shocking. It's been dead as a doornail since March 25th, and I was preparing other arrangements for publishing. My my. I'll gather my other materials, and resume publishing shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Please see my lengthly April 6th entry (which didn't publish at the time) which includes my recipes for pear pie, chili, and blue cornbread.
posted by Arlene (Beth)3:21 PM

Blah blah blah... Test... test... cookie? Cookie? Polly wanna cracker?
posted by Arlene (Beth)3:18 PM

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