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Seasonal 56

28 Aug

Sorry for the little break there between posts.  I went away on vacation for a bit, and it was nice to almost totally disconnect from the internet and real life, and just relax.  But now that I’ve returned, it’s back to business as usual.

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to Seasonal 56, which is a fantastic restaurant in the Aldergrove area. A friend and I get together for a nice meal out every few months or so, and since she had a Groupon she needed to use for this place, I happily agreed to her suggestion (I paid full price for my meal).

The restaurant is on 56th, near the Hwy 1 exit for 264th St.  It’s in a very unusual location – the area is fairly industrial, and as far as I know, this is the only restaurant in that neighborhood.  However, it makes good business sense for them to be located there.  As their chef writes on the blog portion of their website, there are several reasons why they are where they are: It keeps the costs of their entrees down (since they’re closer to their suppliers), they’re close to the freeway, and they are able to have a bigger kitchen.  Makes sense to me!

Seasonal 56 uses all fresh, local and seasonal foods, so their menu is constantly changing.  After I left, I lamented the fact that I didn’t take a picture of the menu that night, as pretty much everything sounded so fantastic.  It was so hard to decide what to eat!

As we were mulling our options over, I had a Champagne cocktail. Mmm!

I was feeling rather ravenous that night, so I decided to have an appetizer.

The mushroom soup is fantastic!  I’ve been eating mushrooms a lot lately, and this soup used them excellently.  Even if there hadn’t been mushroom chunks in there, the base alone would have been phenomenal.  Very creamy and flavourful.

For my main course I went with the salmon dish.

The combination of cherries and pinot noir was different but excellent.  The chard and potatoes below were cooked in a bacon saute (I believe – I didn’t write it down at the time), and the flavour and crunchiness of the almost burnt bacon added SO much awesomeness to the chard.

At this point I was pretty full, but the dessert selection sounded so tempting that I had to splurge.

The chocolate was rich and decadent, and I couldn’t finish it all.

We were there on a gorgeously sunny night, so there was only one other table in use at the time.  I felt so bad for them, as the food was absolutely unbelievable, but business was so slow.  In talking with the owners as we were leaving, they said that they’re normally quite busy, so that was reassuring to know.  With the summer we’ve had here this year, I’m not surprised people were outside and taking advantage of the sun while it lasted.

I highly recommend visiting Seasonal 56, as it’s very easy to get to from the freeway.  The food and service are impeccable, and I will definitely be returning again sometime soon.

Seasonal 56 on Urbanspoon

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Dining Out in Pitt Meadows

15 Jul

A few weeks ago I spent 10 days in Pitt Meadows, house and dog sitting for a friend.  I decided to eat out for most of my dinners while I was there, as there were so many fantastic eating options within walking distance.  I thought it might be fun to share some of my experiences with you.  No pictures, unfortunately, as I got most of the food to go, so it wasn’t exactly presented very prettily.  The one time I actually stayed in a really gorgeous restaurant, I forgot my camera.  Whoops!

Most of the restaurants don’t have websites, as they’re small establishments, but they all have reviews on sites like Dine Here, so you can get alternate opinions on the food, service, etc.

Kabuki Sushi:  I had their Chicken Teriyaki Dinner Box.  There was SO much food – it was unbelievable!  The chicken teriyaki was okay (I’ve had better elsewhere).  It also came with Ebi Sunomono (fabulous), Miso Soup (one of the best varieties of this that I’ve ever had), Tempura, Green Salad, Gyoza, Dynamite Roll and Nigiri Sushi.  There was also a few pieces of chicken that I believe were Chicken Karage (it wasn’t listed on the description) that were phenomenal!  Overall it was an excellent dinner box for a good price.

Mona Pizza: I’d been told it was the BEST. PIZZA. EVER. LOL.  It was pretty good, but I’m really really picky about pizza.  The crust was a bit thicker than I like (I prefer thin crust), but the toppings were excellent, and the cheese didn’t overpower the pizza, which I’ve found is common when you order pizza from a restaurant/delivery place.  As someone who’s lactose intolerant (I can have a limited amount of dairy each day), this was great.  It even tasted good cold the next day (and the day after), which is one of my favourite ways to eat pizza.

Austin Fish: FABULOUS! I ate here twice, as their fish & chips were amazing.  Very authentic, and similar to what you get in the UK, which is hard to find around here.  I spent a semester overseas in my early 20’s, and I was SO spoiled with the fish & chips there.  At this place I had  halibut and chips (and tartar sauce), along with coleslaw.  The batter on the fish was tasty, it was hot and made fresh, and totally drool-worthy.  They even wrapped it up in newspaper!  Two thumbs way up.  If you’re ever in Pitt Meadows, definitely give this place a try.  It’s absolutely worth it.

Enjoy Garden: Excellent Chinese food!  I ordered a lot, so that I could have plenty of leftovers for lunches for the next few days.  Chicken Fried Rice, Wonton Soup, Deep Fried Prawns and Satay Chicken with mushrooms.  I assumed the chicken satay would be on skewers, as that’s how I’d always had it in the past, but it was a dish of fabulously tender and tasty chicken with stir fried veggies (including mushrooms).  That dish was far and away the best of the bunch.

Firehall Bistro: Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!  The food here is extraordinary.  I went alone, and the owner gave me a raised eyebrow at first, when I stated that I was on my own, but that didn’t diminish the quality of service, thankfully.  The waiters were very attentive, and came by at appropriate intervals to ensure I had enough water/wine and to see if I needed anything.  I was given an amuse bouche to start off with – an olive and honey mini bun which was fairly non-descript, and chicken pate on a crostini with a salsa of some sort. The crostini was incredible and so flavourful.  I started out with a shrimp bisque which was piping hot, but very tasty.  It was thinner than most bisques I’ve had in the past, but that didn’t matter at all.  My main course was an herb encrusted cod with angel hair pasta and a porcini sauce.  WOW.  The fish was perfectly cooked.  It flaked away with no effort at all, and the herbs added fabulous flavour.  My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough porcini sauce – I could have had a vat of that!  There was plenty on the plate, but I would have loved more!  For dessert I had an apple crumble with homemade ice cream.  The dish was VERY tiny, but oh so tasty.  I’ve found that it’s easy for that dish to either taste like really bland apples or that it’s too sugary.  This was absolute perfection.  A great mix of apples, cinnamon and sugar.  Very heavenly!  I just wish I hadn’t forgotten my camera at home, as the presentation of each dish was beautiful.  I can VERY highly recommend this place.  It’s fairly small, so reservations are probably a good idea, unless you get there right when it opens (6pm), as I did.

Jolly Coachman: Great little neighborhood pub.  I’d been told about their wings, so I had to make a stop one night to test these out.  Definitely go on Thurs – Sat, when the wings are on special (20 – 25 cents each).  The wings are simply cooked (crispy and flavourful), and then you can order whatever dipping sauces you want to compliment the flavour.  One comes with your order, but additional sauces are just 50 cents each.  What a bargain!  I ordered a ton of these throughout the night, along with a bunch of sauces, and it was fabulous!  There are a ton of TV’s, so it’s a great spot to watch a hockey game or whatever big sporting event might be on at the time.  The featured cocktail on the night I visited was a Caesar, and as I’d never tried one before, I decided to give it a shot.  It was excellent!  They were small but delicious.  The waiters were on top of their game, despite it being a busy night – I never felt neglected or had to wait long to get another drink or more food.

So there you have it!  Pitt Meadows may not strike you as a particularly happening place, but I was pleasantly surprised by all the excellent eating establishments.  If you’re ever in that area, I recommend trying at least one of these restaurants!

Ki at the Shangri-La

10 May

On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to attend a restaurant preview before it opens to the public.  A friend’s husband works for a company that had been taking care of the restaurant’s AV needs, so he was invited to check the restaurant out along with a few guests (myself included) for a free dinner.

I normally won’t be reviewing restaurants in Vancouver, since there are enough people covering that and I aim to focus only on the Fraser Valley.  However, since I had this opportunity, I thought it would be fabulous to start this site out with a review of this place.

Ki is a Japanese restaurant inside the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver (unfortunately there is no website to be found that I can link you to).  The decor inside is gorgeous!  I really should have attempted to take pictures, but I felt self-conscious enough taking pictures of our food.  Anyway, it has high ceilings, really funky lighting, dark wood paneled walls and these awesome looking high and round-shaped chairs in a few areas.  We had a booth, which felt very private and away from the rest of the guests.  The women’s bathroom was very nice, even though the doors slammed loudly behind you.  I especially loved the different style of sinks and faucets.  There were high quality disposable hand towels for drying your hands on, and each one had the restaurant’s name printed on it.

Our server for the evening was Alan, and I have to say he did an incredible job.  He was understandably nervous at first, but once we started asking him about sake and for his recommendations, he warmed up and was a pro throughout the rest of the evening.  Apparently they go through 3 days of training on the sake alone, so these waiters are extremely knowledgeable about their menu.  All the people who attended to us were so attentive – we were offered hot towels to clean our hands before the meal started, our water glasses were never empty, and we were offered a fresh glass of sake each time our glasses were beginning to run low.  Our chopsticks, silverware and plates were exchanged for fresh ones about four times throughout the 4 hours we were there, which was very impressive.  Once our dishes were finished, they were immediately whisked away.

We decided to order a variety of dishes throughout the evening and to share most of them, so we could try some new things and really get a feel for their menu.

I took pictures of the majority of what we ate, so be prepared for a barrage of photos.

Nori-wrapped Tuna.  Unfortunately this dish was a bit boring.  I enjoy tuna, and it was cooked excellently, but the flavour in this dish was quite bland.

Chicken + Leeks.  The chicken was absolutely perfect. I’m not a huge fan of leeks, but they were rather tasty.

Pancetta Wrapped Unagi. This was fabulous! I’d never had eel before, but the crunchiness combined with the softness of the pancetta was so delicious.

These rolls were beautiful.  At the back left you have a Futomaki roll, on the right is a Spicy Avocado roll and up front is a Lobster Tempura Roll.

The Futomaki was comprised of goji berry, spinach, braised shitake, cucumber and Pretz sticks. Very interesting flavour. Kinda weird to have pretzel sticks in sushi, even though they were only in the top 2 rolls.  I didn’t try the Spicy Avocado roll, but according to my friends it was definitely not spicy.  The Lobster Tempura roll was my favourite.  It was melt in your mouth incredible.  The nuttiness of the lobster, combined with the avocado and the dipping sauce provided was heavenly.  I could have just eaten that roll all night and been a happy woman.

Miso Chowder with seafood chunks. The combination of miso flavour and seafood is excellent.  The soup was so tasty.  The amount of seafood chunks was a bit disappointing, but the flavour of the lobster and shrimp were definitely noticeable.

Duck Confit.  This was my second time having duck, and this was very good. I really liked the pickled green beans and cabbage.  The miso vinaigrette added a lot of excellent flavour to the duck.

Spider Roll.  This roll was disappointing (to me at least).  The rolls weren’t rolled properly, so they fell apart pretty easily.  I don’t like mango, so the combination of that plus the softshell crab which was a little over-cooked made for an uninteresting roll.  Normally this is a roll I love, but this one fell a little bit short.

In the background, Pork Loin, which I didn’t try.  In the foreground, Black Tiger Shrimp Tempura.  The tempura was served with normal tempura dipping sauce, as well as roasted garlic mayo.  The mayo would have been good with fries or another dish, but with tempura it was really strange – I just stuck with the brown sauce.

There were several other dishes that we tried that I didn’t take pictures of, but those are the majority of the main course dishes we ate throughout the evening.  We all thought the food was excellent, and were impressed with the attentiveness of the staff.

We each had different desserts.  I had the Flourless Chocolate Cake which was decadently rich, and tasted like fantastic chocolate mousse.

Overall it was a fabulous experience, and I’m so glad we got a chance to test out the restaurant before it opens.  I highly recommend visiting if you’re looking for a nicer evening out on the town.  I’m not sure when the restaurant officially is open to the public, but I’m sure it will do well.

Ki Modern Japanese & Bar on Urbanspoon