Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I'll also document my past blog favourites here, and when they randomly held the esteemed spot. They tend to be places I have a desire to go back to over and over again. The exception was Rare, as I never got the chance to go back to it (and changes have taken place since then, so I can only really talk about that one great time).
January 2005 - October 2005: Guu with Garlic (15 + visits)
October 2005 - November 2006: Yuji's Japanese Tapas (10 + visits)
November 2006 - January 2008: Rare (only based on one visit. Still a regular at Yuji's)
January 2008 - ?: *Today's Mystery Restaurant* (2 visits so far)
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The new place is a big (really big!), open, comfy space with pleasant lighting and has at least one exceptional server. I'm not sure how the others were, but the one waiter we had was perfect. He was enthusiastic, prompt, refilled our water glasses, and was exceptionally polite. For example, my dining companion asked for the "cream brulée", and I watched as the server quickly stifled the urge to repeat "crème brulée" to avoid correcting him. I also saw that he was checking on us throughout the dinner, yet trying not to be obtrusive or interrupt conversation. He even automatically refilled our bread basket without asking if we needed more. (For those of you thinking this is a given, I once had a waiter at O'Doul's who had the audacity to ask me if I wanted more bread or do I want to skip the empty filler. He made some other comment later about restraint with dessert, I think too. If I wanted to be nagged about my weight or my eating habits, I'll just go to a nutritionist or a doctor. That's not what I pay for when I go to a restaurant!). To be honest, I would go back simply because the service was so good. I also talked to a very pleasant woman on the phone when I called ahead to see if I should make a reservation. However, I was greeted by one of the other servers, and I suspect that I was lucky and wound up getting the best server that evening.
I enjoyed my meal, including a Raspberry Ma Ma, one of their two cocktail specials for the night. It was something that I was expecting to be on the syrupy sweet side, but turned out to be quite the "grown-up" cocktail, and very nice. It was early, so quite quiet in the big restaurant, and perfect for conversation with my friend, Hamburglar.
I had this yummy starter dish of veggies: roasted tomatoes, long stem artichoke hearts, grilled asparagus with feta, hazelnut oil and grainy mustard dressing ($9).
Then I had more veggies: The Westcoaster is a dish of warmed Indian candy smoked salmon, sweet peppers, organic celebration greens and goat cheese, tossed in maple balsamic dressing ($15). I polished it all off and enjoyed it, but it is a dish of sweet upon sweet upon sweet, so it is probably not for all tastes. The maple balsamic glaze is a bit cloying, so I think I would have enjoyed a little bit of lightness or acidity to counter the sweetness of the salmon and sweet peppers, but I should have expected it with the description. I really liked the chewy Indian candy.
Hamburglar's cannelloni stuffed with ruby chard, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan baked in a savoury tomato sauce ($17, or $19 with chorizo). I had a taste of the sauce, and it seemed quite nice and bright with lots of fresh basil.