Birthday Celebrations

IMG_3517.JPG Before it opened its doors, Boulevard was pronounced by multiple social media outlets as being Vancouver’s newest hot spot. The man handling the position of executive chef is no other than Alex Chen himself, setting high expectations for many interested diners. After catching sight of the Vahlrona soufflé on one of my news feeds, I knew I had to make a visit for dinner. With my birthday not too far away, I knew I didn’t have to deliberate anymore on which restaurant to choose – Boulevard would be the verdict. The whole night unwounded smoothly (minus my glass dropping and shattering), with the presence of impeccably well-mannered staff. I could not have been more pleased. The space was bustling, enchanting, and the food didn’t disappoint either. The mussels were simply perfect: briny, meaty, and juicy. Though the burrata won’t be a dish I would re-order as I wasn’t a big fan of their version, the ingredients were so fresh with a strong connection to seasonal availability at home. I have to say though, the highlights of the meal were the risotto and soufflé. From presentation to the execution, I could not have been more happy with my decisions… IMG_3519.JPG burrata peas, mint, frill mustard greens, heirloom tomatoes, white balsamic IMG_3514.JPG summer vegetable risotto summer beans, peas, fennel, chanterelles, braised artichokes, tomato fumet, parmesan IMG_3515.JPG oceanwise oysters a seasonal selection of west & east coast oysters IMG_3516.JPG spaghetti alle vongole sawmill bay clams, wild white shrimp, basil, fresno chile, d.o.p. san marsano tomato IMG_3512.JPG grilled beef ribeye balsamic onion, chanterelle mushroom, béarnaise, red wine sauce IMG_3513.JPG alpaco chocolate souffle valrhona alpaco chocolate, creme anglaise

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Main Mall Harvest Feast 2014

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I love the concept of community dinners. It’s an incredible opportunity to connect with individuals who share similar passions as myself on eating good, sustainable food. When I heard about this event, I was ecstatic! It was like a re-visit to Diner en Blanc, which is… impossible to put into words. Nonetheless, along with two of my friends, we dined famiglia-style with a few others at our table and seriously had a grand ol’ time catching up! It was the perfect mid-week treat that we all needed… If you see another event happening like this one, I would highly recommend it. For the price of $18, it was a steal.

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Wild Mushroom and Zucchini Pasta

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Chorizo and Roasted Vegetable Penne

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Butternut Squash and Kale Fall Salad

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UBC Farm Blueberry Crumble with Whipped Cream

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Okanagan Apple and Fraser Valley Cranberry Pie

Nothing Says Fall Better….

IMG_3414.JPG It’s that time of year again – the clean, crisp air, the golden sunlight, the sound of leaves crunching as you are walking, oh, and the remarkable array of pumpkin goodies available throughout bakeries. Most of the time, all I can dream of is cozying up on my couch, wrapping myself in furry blankets, while re-watching my favourite childhood movies with friends. Oh, and enjoying all that comfort food that has been shelved since the spring season started… I seriously love this time. With that said, I do acknowledge my lack of posts recently. My instagram @longlivefeasts is more frequently updated since it’s much easier taking a photo then finding the time to write an entire post about a certain place. As well, I’ve realized that I want to slowly transition this blog into something more personal. Not just a long review with photos, but a place where I upload photos I’ve taken of recently, of sentimental value and wish to write a little blurb about… Anyway, aside from that long spell, here is my recent visit to Butter! Seriously, I could not imagine being anywhere but here on a Saturday morning. Enjoying one of their house-made cinnamon buns or something off their daily menu, it epitomizes brunch with it’s charming set-up and jaw-dropping sweets. A little girl’s wonderland, it’s a corner cafe that every neighbourhood wish they had, like Le Marché St. George. IMG_3413.JPG IMG_3412.JPG IMG_3410.JPG My friend and I decided to share a tomato burrata sandwich and the french toast of the day (with vanilla butter and strawberry sauce)… not the best brunch fare I’ve had, but it was such a treat being in their space! IMG_3409.JPG Of course, my visit there was prompted from all the pumpkin goodies they were offering (darn Instagram!), so of course, I couldn’t resist trying one of their offerings. I’m not going to lie, if you are an indecisive person, it’s painful trying to make a decision. Everything on display looks too tempting! Nontheless, I chose their pumpkin pie and a package of their pumpkin biscotti! Their biscotti I’m really digging (as I’m eating one currently), but their pumpkin pie was underwhelming. It wasn’t as flakey as I presumed and it just didn’t feel right without a scoop of vanilla ice cream…

Butter Baked Goods on Urbanspoon

Empire Seafood Restaurant

Time after time, I always enjoy coming here because provided by their extensive menu, there is always room for me to try something different. If you know me well, even if I have discovered a favourite, I usually tend to order new items. I love developing my palate and being able to become inspired… Anyhow, below are some of the dishes offered here. If you are a fan of baked tapioca pudding, this is the place to go. The dessert isn’t typically offered at many establishments for dim sum, mainly for dinner service, so I’m happy to see that they serve it here! Especially since it’s a fantastic representation of what it should be (minus the taro).

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Steamed Mushroom Dumplings
Not as good as I remembered them being. The skin was too thick for my liking.

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Baked Tapioca Pudding
The crust was exactly like a pineapple bun topping; it blended in with the custard base. It wasn’t too sweet and the portion was large enough for 2-3 people.

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Baked Egg Tart
Their egg tarts are much bigger than what I’ve been served at in any restaurant. They shell was super crispy, in fact it seemed like it was spent in the oven a little too long. They’re decent, but I prefer Kirin’s hands down.

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Buddha’s Feast
I would pass on this. The only place I’ve enjoyed this dish so far is at Dynasty on Broadway.

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Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls
These were really good! They weren’t oily, with ample filling of shrimp and garlic.

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Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
I didn’t try these because I’m not the biggest fan of shrimp dumplings… I guess I grew up eating them way too much.

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Pan Fried Tiger Prawn and Egg Plant
Super flavourful with the sweet and salty sauce coating the dish. The prawns were batter-fried first so they had a nice crunch to them but it also allowed the sauce to be more easily absorbed.

Empire Seafood Restaurant 帝苑皇宴海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

Kirin Seafood Restaurant

Everyone in Vancouver has heard of Kirin. It’s a go-to institution acclaimed for their consistency, their multiple branches a representation of their success. Their Richmond location is one I frequent often, especially for dinners. This is one of the few restaurants in Richmond where reservations for dim sum are required. Trying to find a table by showing up is almost impossible because they always are at “full capacity”. Strangely, once seated, you see many empty tables around you… I’m not sure why that is though. Nonetheless, for well-executed plates, Kirin is a safe bet. Their dim sum menu is more creative though they still keep the basics. Take note, each establishment under the chain has something different on their menu, so some of your favourite dishes from one location might not be available at the other.
Still, their signature plates of BBQ pork pies and egg tarts are not to be missed out on if you see a server carrying them out. They’re baked fresh daily and are absolutely delectable with their crispy golden skin…

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Pork Knuckle in Chinese Vinegar

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Pork Dumplings

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Tofu Stuffed with Minced Pork

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Rice Noodle with Minced Fish, Shrimp, and Squid

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Steamed Prawn Rice Roll

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Baked BBQ Pork Pastry

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Baked Egg Tarts

Kirin Seafood Restaurant 麒麟海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

The Golden Dumpling Cook Off 2014

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Off to Chinatown my friend and I went for a taste of the Dumpling Competition put on by Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie. It’s only on its second year and it has already gotten quite the rep for being one of the most highlighted events in Vancouver. Boisterous and chaotic, the smell coming from the booths (there were 20 restaurants participating) was tantalizing, and most definitely alluring. We couldn’t wait to sample all those stuffed juicy balls of dough!

Below is the round-up of the 20 contenders this year… Let your drooling commence!

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Bestie (Chef Colin Johnson) – Smoky bison wonton with chili jam and kohlrabi slaw

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The Union (Chef Lisa Henderson) – Red Curry Duck and Lychee Potsticker

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La Mezcaleria (Chef Alejandro Cruz) – Braised beef chicharron in a guajillo chili sauce dumpling topped with queso fresco, salso verde, and cream 

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Winner Winner (Chefs Alain Chow, Chen-Wei Lee, and Stanley Yung) – Coastal Dumplings consisting of local crab and shellfish parcels with preserved duck egg yolks and seasoned vinegar 

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Campagnolo (Chefs Nathan Lowey and Joachim Hayward) – Ricotta and kale gnudi, local tomatoes, ricotta salata

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Bearfoot Bistro (Chef Jimmy Stewart) – Duck and Shrimping Dumpling with Lemongrass and Fried Garlic

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Vij’s (Chef Vikram Vij) – Chicken Samosa

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Maenam (Chef Angus An) – Thai Seafood Dumpling in Southern Style Turmeric Curry

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Cinara (Chefs Lucais Syme and Gill Book) – Pork and Swiss Chard Agnolotti

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Cibo Trattoria (Chef Faizal Kassam) – Braised Pork and Fig Agnoli with Taleggio and Crispy Sage

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Wildebeest (Chef Wesley Young) – Foie gras and duck dumpling

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Ask for Luigi (Chef Letitia Wan) – Chicken liver cappelletti in brodo with pancetta and sage

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Railtown Cafe (Chef Matthew Koyanagi) – Xiao Long Bao featuring pork consommé, braised geoduck and water chestnuts

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Merchant’s Oyster Bar (Chef David Jackman) – Braised Duck and Smoked Plum, House Buttermilk and Shiso Sauce

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Bambudda (Chef Scott Korzack) – Fried nest dumpling, spot prawn mayo, seaweed powder

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Pidgin (Chef Makato Ono) – Sweet Potato and Chocolate Dumpling

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Homer’s Street Cafe and Bar (Chef Tret Jordan) – Chicken and leek dumpling

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Guu Izakaya (Chef Yuki Ota) – Pork and shrimp dumpling wrapped with dumpling wrapper and tofu bag

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Harvest Community Foods (Chef Hokuto Yamanaka) – Harvest #39 Dumpling featuring pork ramen in a dumpling

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Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle

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I have a weakness for noodles, but only a specific type. They have to be firm with a bite to them. They can’t be those round slimy ones, that I cannot do. Whenever I want them, I know my mom will always make them the best. That’s because she knows my preference and as she slices them herself, they are always doughier, thicker, and chewier than what any restaurant can ever offer me. Yet, because we needed dinner and the option of her getting her hands dirty to make fresh noodles for me was out of the question, we ended up here.

Chef Hung is an acclaimed chain boasting about using MSG-free broth and hand-made noodles. They serve a variety of small cold plates, dim sum dishes, as well as bubble tea.

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The food here is straight-forward. What I had was exactly what it looked like – beef broth, beef tendons, a few boiled vegetables over flat hand-made noodles. There was nothing surprisingly good about it, in fact, I found it just standard. Sure, the noodles had a great bite to them, but nothing out of the ordinary.

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My mom’s order, consisting of fresh vegetables and flat noodles.

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I’ve had these before as my mom usually brings these home for me when she eats here. Strangely, this time, perhaps I was too full, but I found these rather plain. It was so boring in terms of flavour, in fact it lacked it, and for me, it just seemed so easily re-creatabl at home. I’m a bigger fan of the flakey pastry with the tender radish wrapped inside, available at Suhang or Top Shanghai Cuisine.

Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle 洪師傅牛肉麵 on Urbanspoon