5.31.2010

Enjoying Vancouver One Sweet Bite At A Time


Vancouver is a city that will instantly capture your heart. Fresh air, clean streets, flowers blooming all around you. There are spectacular mountain views from every angle and a sea that seems to encircle you, with big beautiful buildings and gorgeous parks for miles and miles. What isn’t there to love about this city?

Vancouver is the perfect city for visiting gastronomes with a culinary concept of terroir that will satisfy any palate. Each meal is an adventure around the world from Japanese gyozas to Indian curries to Pacific Northwest seafood. The multicultural influence of produce and cuisine are astounding and refreshing. The abundance of fresh, diverse seafood is inspiring. Beyond the savory selection, Vancouver offers an impressive selection of sweet options. We are not talking your average cupcake or tiramisu, there are extraordinary desserts from across the globe, with more choices then one would know what to do with. Dining in Vancouver is a complete, well-rounded and gratifying experience.

Here are a few unassuming places to find great sweets in Vancouver:

Salt Tasting Room

45 Blood Alley Square
vancouver, BC V6B 0C4, Canada
(604) 633-1912


Among the magnificent array of charcuterie and cheeses, Salt Tasting Room offers one seasonal dessert that is impossible to forget. On my visit to Vancouver, rhubarb was in season and available in abundance. It was the star ingredient in Salt’s dessert tasting, a stellar trio of rhubarb cheesecake, rhubarb pudding and a rhubarb crumble. The presentation highlighted the beauty and creative genius of the menu at Salt Tasting Room.


My favorite of the desserts was the rhubarb cheesecake. The graham cracker crust was moist and crumbly. The cheesecake was lush and silky. The rhubarb compote top was unfailingly juicy and vibrant. The combination was an explosion of flavor. If not just for the dessert, I highly recommend a visit to Salt Tasting Room if you are in Vancouver.


Pourhouse

162 Water Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, Canada
(604) 568-7022


We came to Pourhouse for some after-dinner cocktails, however after glancing over the menu to find our drinks of choice we discovered a dessert menu that included house-churned salted caramel ice cream. Warm chocolate cake with house churned salted caramel ice cream to be exact. Full as I was, I could not pass it up.


The chocolate collapsed under my fork to reveal bittersweet liquid gold! Ribbons of caramel sauce danced across the plate. To the side lay the salted caramel ice cream. It was magical, buttery to no end with an undeniable salty presence. Paired with a nice artisan beer, this dessert is sexy!


Medina Cafe

556 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC V6B2L3, Canada
(604) 879-3114

Since the moment I first discovered the ‘true’ Belgian waffle known as a liege at Le Pain Quotidien in Los Angeles, I fell in love. Perfectly golden brown, with a gooey doughy center, these waffles have sugar pearls hidden inside each fold and square of dough. I haven’t found another liege since - that is until this visit to Vancouver.



Café Medina in the Gastown district of Vancouver specializes in liege waffles. A steaming cup of coffee and a waffle in the morning - what more could you ask for? Café Medina offers an assortment of accompaniments to the liege from white chocolate pistachio to mixed berry compote. I gave a few toppings a try, but I have to admit I am a purist at heart and I enjoy my liege unsullied and unadorned. The sugar pearls give you all the sweetness you need. Take note: just one waffle won’t be enough - they are so good you will need to order two or three!


New Town Bakery

158 Pender Street EastVancouver, BC V6A1T3, Canada(604) 689-7835


One of my all time favorite desserts are sweet sesame balls. Imagine my delight when walking down the quiet streets of Vancouver’s Chinatown on my last Sunday in the city I stumble upon a window full of hot, fresh (and may I add gigantic) sesame balls. I had stumble upon New Town Bakery a Chinese Filipino bakery with a dessert case of sweets that will make your mouth water.

A sesame ball is mochi rice flour that is deep-fried and rolled in sesames. The crust is so crisp, almost like a brulee; one delicate touch and it folds into itself revealing a sweet, sticky, starchy inside. Dig even deeper and you reach a center of sweet red bean paste. The combination of ingredients is idyllic, not too cloying, just pure soul satisfaction.

5.24.2010

Big Things Are Happening...

photo credit: Burnt Lumpia www.burntlumpia.typepad.com

I know I haven't been posting much lately, but I have a GOOD reason for it. Unfortunately I cannot tell you the reason yet, but trust me, some big things are in the works. So please stay tuned because you are not going to want to miss what I have coming! For now you can take a peek at this (and maybe guess what it is). The big news will be announced in a little less than two weeks. I can't wait to tell you!


xo,

LetMeEatCake

5.11.2010

Hatfield's




For a very special birthday dinner, R surprised me by taking me to Hatfield’s. This was my first experience enjoying a meal prepared by Quinn Hatfield and all of the reviews ring true- the food is phenomenal. Now let’s move on to dessert!




Coconut Custard “Macaroon” with marinated pineapple and vanilla tapioca. I changed the sorbet from elderflower to blood orange, since I'm not much of an elderflower fan. The blood orange was zesty and tart and provided a nice contrast to the sweet flavors of the custard. Sweet tapioca pearls for the base for a delicate and smooth coconut custard. A thin disc of a meringue with toasted coconut crowns the custard. Surrounding the dish is small chunks of sweet, almost boozy pineapple. Gather this all in one bite and the textures are amazing. There is a little bit of everything – chewy, crunchy, creamy, soft and juicy. This dessert packs a fascinating complexity of flavors. There is a depth to the pineapple and a hidden ingredient in the custard. The whole experience will leave you mmm-ing and sighing

5.04.2010

It's Like Winning the Loteria!

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner. How are you going to celebrate? My suggestion, margaritas and flan at Loteria Grill!

A few months ago I had an amazing lunch with my food blogging gal pals at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles- Loteria.

Owner and Executive Chef Jimmy Shaw opened Loteria Grill as a stand in the Original Farmers Market. It was nestled in the middle of a buzzing culinary labyrinth. Despite the distraction of numerous food stands around it, Loteria is a favorite among market visitors, myself among them.


In 2008 Loteria opened a second location on Hollywood Boulevard in a grand space. Lofty windows, floods of light – this was a full-fledged restaurant. The stand still remains, but if you want a sit down dining experience the restaurant offers the same menu and the same quality.


Loteria has a great classic margarita, but if you are more adventurous than we are the restaurant offers countless tequilas to choose from. We stuck with the classic in pitcher form. The more the merrier!


As a starter, Loteria always offers chips with chipotle salsa. This salsa is amazing. It will be hard to stop yourself from devouring the whole basket and leave room for tacos. The tomatoes in the salsa are almost creamy with a mild heat and smokiness.


To start we ordered the chihcarrone de queso, also known as a cheese hat. As Jimmy explained to me, this is a larger version of the crispy, salty bits of cheese that ooze out of a quesadilla and cook on the griddle - everyone’s favorite bite. The queso is crunchy and savory and it has the same appeal as tortilla chips. Bite after bite you can’t stop yourself.


The cochinita pibil taco is unlike any other: Bold zesty flavors cradled in a soft corn tortilla, dripping with sweet sauce.


Delicious tacos aside, one of the main reasons I love Loteria is the flan de cajeta. It is made with goat’s milk that adds a nutty depth to the flan. As a perfect flan should be, this flan is velvety with exuberant caramel flavor.


On this visit I discovered what could best be described as the most incredible union of desserts - cake layered with flan. This is a sweet and spongy vanilla cake that is layered with thick creamy flan and topped with a caramel frosting. It is miraculous. The pairing was glorious.


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