Local Dining: Dock Lunch

Your Window to Home Cooking starts here…

Photo: d. king

Well actually it starts at home.  However if you have an opportunity to have as good or better a meal in a restaurant that resembles your grandmother’s home, then look no further.  The owner appropriately refers to it  as “my apartment café” as the exact location was her home.

Our charcuterie starter included parma prosciutto and a whipped feta with olive oil. Photo: d. king

Noticed the heritage building with the inviting sign out front by accident during the summer when I was on Main Street. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed at the time.  A few of the surrounding business owners who were sitting out front raved about the regular lunches that are served only by RSVP and then received at the takeout window.  Elizabeth; the owner and chef, used to reside at what is now the restaurant, specializing in lunch and brunch menu.  I called to make a reservation and was told they were opening for dinner (and would continue to on occasion for private parties) starting September 10th.  Voilà!  Went with my friend Janice on a lovely evening where we sat outside.  The inside is very tiny with only a few tables that were already reserved.  Lucky for us the weather cooperated.  The food is local, sustainable, creative, comfort food.  Of course I had to check it out.

 

Photo: d. king  Autumn Salad with crispy Kale and homemade Spaetzle with local mushrooms.  Excellent!  Wish I had a bigger appetite for the Rib-Eye and Steelhead.
Photo: d. king
Elizabeth; the owner. This photo: Vancouver Sun

Our Menu

The cake was delicious.           

Text 604 655 7050 to make a reservation

Another review from none other than Bon Appetit:

https://www.bonappetit.com/city-guides/vancouver/venue/dock-lunch

Food: Diversity in Dining

ANCORA Waterfront Restaurantancora6

ancoraancora9Vancouver dining with a view and a twist.  This is what happens when you mix West Coast influence with inspiring Peruvian and Japanese cultures.

When I go out for lunch or dinner I prefer to order something I’m not likely to make at home.  Ancora restaurant (previously “C” directly across from Granville Island) fit the bill perfectly. *I also take into account restaurant patios that accommodate dogs adjacent to your table.

At Ancora the cuisine’s manifesto hinges on sustainable seafoods, locally sourced and international ingredients, while also drawing inspiration from the Pacific Northwestern surroundings. 

Aside from one glass of wine here is what my friend and I ordered on a sunny afternoon last week…

Starters:

Halibut Ceviche:

with celery, red onion, cancha, yam, cilantro, aji, amarillo tiger’s milk. Not sure who is milking the tiger.ancora1

Dungeness Crab Causa:

yukon gold, quail egg, avocado, olive, huancaina sauce.ancora2

Main:
Black Rice Paella with Ling Cod:

chorizo, peruvian corn, baby shrimp, smoked paprika emulsion.

ancora3

Dessert:

Pavlova

meringue, lemon cream, fresh fruit, raspberry ice cream.ancora4Wonderful View, Good Service, Amazing Presentation.  I loved the ceviche and the ling cod. The sauce was delicious.  The sauce the crab was served on was unfamiliar and likely a developed taste.  If you like meringue you’ll like the pavlova.  My friend loves meringue – I don’t.  The lemon cream, berries and ice cream were very tasty.  The beef short ribs seco was not a hit. The ribs were grizzly but the salsa criolla was quite good. You’re better off sticking with seafood here.  Overall it was a very pleasant afternoon taking in the scenery, relaxing and trying out a new culinary experience.  And of course the company and conversation was most excellent. $$$$ancora7

*There is a rule in Vancouver that you cannot bring your dog inside the restaurant patios. They must be outside the gate and not left unattended.

Photos: d. king

Ancora

2-1600 Howe Street
Reservations: 604-681-1164

Food & Wine – Baccano and Culmina

New Restaurant & Winery Review:20150718_173950Sometimes it’s nice to be among the first to try a new restaurant and sometimes it’s best to wait because they’re still ironing out the kinks. The latter wasn’t the case with the new Italian restaurant Baccano Osteria which was formerly known as “Smoking Dog.” The evening went very smoothly and the friendly service was excellent even if my server didn’t know all the pasta shapes I kept asking about from the menu.  I was among the first people to show up for their soft opening last Saturday having spent the last few months walking by on my way to the gym, talking to owners (Cal & Patrick Corsi of Quattro) and observing their day to day progress.  And anxious to try a good casual Italian place in my Kitsilano neighbourhood with an inviting outdoor space.  Here is what we ordered:

A glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to start (not very Italian but it was hot out).

The bread is made on site and because of that it’s very fresh, nice & crusty.

20150718_180734Jumping ahead to Secondi: Garganelli Spinci with swiss chard, spinach, shallot, butter, pecorino pepate, bread crumbs (very Italian, rich and satisfying).  I would order this one again.

Also tried Due di Maiale – Citrus scented pork belly & grilled pork loin with crispy pancetta, spring peas, faro and pork demi. The belly was more tender and it was a good dish if you love pork but I was not totally crazy about the veggies because I don’t love peas.20150718_185409

Dessert: I had a tough time making up my mind between 3 out of 4 desserts on the menu. I ended up going with Torta al Cioccolato (translation – Chocolate Torte, ha).  Dark chocolate mousse, amarena cherries, licorice creameaux (this sounds more French), panettone cake.   I like this better than regular chocolate mousse because it is a lot denser. In short – rich and decadent – just the way I like it!  I promised to be back before too long and I will keep my promise. Plus, I have to try the other three desserts.

A short while before dinner:

I had the opportunity to try a special wine tasting at Village Wines (a few doors away).  Don Triggs of “THE Jackson Triggs” was pouring wines from his new winery Culmina which is located in Oliver, British Columbia in the Okanagan wine region.

Don holds up the bottle of R&D (for Ron & Don)
Don holds up a bottle of R&D

With a little help from famous winemaker Pascal Madevon (of Osoyoos Larose fame), Triggs has placed an emphasis on pure quality with these wines. The label is already picking up accolades left and right and already selling like crazy.  Legendary tastings such as this one only happen once in a blue moon. He has a lot of stories as you can only imagine and was going fishing after the tasting with his twin brother Ron (on the R&D wine label with him – looks like photo was taken a few years ago).

Here is what we sampled:

Decora – Decora, which by the way is latin for pretty, accurately summarizes this straight Riesling. Perfectly balancing soft acidity with bold, bright fruit flavour, it’s a work of art.

Saignee – Sure, this is a delicious dry Rosé, blended from Bordeaux varietals and displaying unprecedented complexity, but what’s got people talking is its glass cork. Is a cork still called a cork if it’s not made of cork? Focus! This is Culmina’s hottest seller so far, and it’s easy to see why.

R&D – We trust Don Triggs with a big red blend, so we were excited to try this one, which wasn’t around for Culmina’s first vintage. A little more casual in its presentation, it’s Merlot-dominant, rich but smooth.  I purchased a bottle.

Hypothesis – This Meritage is one of the many reasons we trust Don with a big red blend! Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon are handled perfectly here, bringing out as much fruit and spice as possible while remaining finely tannic. In other words, is about as good as a BC red gets.

What a wonderful ending to a sunny Saturday after a nice bike ride over to Folk Fest.  Love days like this.

Baccano Osteria: 1889 West 1st Ave. (at Cypress) PH: 778-379-6920

http://www.baccano-osteria.com/

Culmina Family Estate Wineryhttp://www.culmina.ca/

To purchase in Vancouver: Village VQA Wines – 1811 West 1st Ave. PH: 604-732-8827