Our trip to Vancouver, British Columbia started with cool but sunny weather, with clear skies and not much wind. It was probably one of the best weekends we’ve spent in Vancouver since we’ve been going there in the 80’s. When the weather is this perfect, the city not only shines, it sings!
I must admit that I have always found this city to be so blessed with easy access to all the wonderful gifts that nature can give you, almost within arm’s length of desire. Within minutes, we could be facing the Pacific Ocean. And within 20 minutes from the city, we could also be high up the mountains and heading for the ski slopes. The city itself is the picture of restrained elegance and modern design with its skyscrapers built as if to fawn over the English Bay in quiet piety.
My sister lives in the Kerrisdale area where we have always enjoyed walking around the side streets and their “downtown.” They have quite the variety of shops and restaurants. Last Sunday, we went over to Avenue Grill Restaurant for the requisite brunch. The menu had quite the variations to the classic Eggs Benedict. And so, we decided, we would have an “eggy” brunch. We each ordered a different version. I ordered the Eggs Blackstone. My sister ordered the special offer for the day, an Eggs Benedict using a spinach and goat cheese brioche topped with smoked salmon, the poached eggs and then the Hollandaise sauce, of course.
The Hollandaise sauce was made to be light, airy, with the right lace of acid at the end, neither heavy with thickener nor sticky. (The latter are marks of poor quality, even fake sauce!). The portions were just the right size and the accompanying crisp salad was a welcome contrast to the rich main event. The restaurant was full soon after we were seated but the service continued to be unhurried and accommodating, very fitting for a lovely Sunday morning.
On another meal, my husband and I ventured towards Kitsilano for dinner. After walking up and down the main road, looking over menus and peering into windows, we decided, (after concurring with our sister by phone and text of course), on Bistro Pastis, a French restaurant that boasted of quite a few of the French classic dishes we so loved.
After evaluating the menu, we decided on some of our classic favorites. I started with La Frisee et Les Lardons. It was a cold frisee (French curly endive) with sliced crisp smoked bacon, some small crunchy cubes of fried potatoes, some cherry tomatoes and a poached egg on top, dressed with a very light dressing. This was followed by L’Agneau et Le Cassoulet, a grilled lamb sirloin served resting on a lamb merguez (North African lamb sausage) and butter bean cassoulet, and topped with peeled and seeded poached tomato. It was the melding of two great dishes into one.
My hubby had a foie gras appetizer followed by a Le Canard et Le Confit, a duck breast and leg confit (cooked in fat!). We both had a glass of a medium bodied French red for the meal.
We noticed that although the dishes were classic, the chef had his signature style and flair injected into them without taking away from the essence of what each was and also availing of the treasure trove of ingredients in Vancouver. Our server was very helpful and attentive and the restaurant lacked pretense and off-putting snobbery. In fact, the atmosphere was quite warm and quietly inviting.
If we were staying a little longer, we’d go back to sample the other offerings on the menu. There were just too many good ones to try out. But, we will have to forego with that plan for the next time we go north again. I am hoping it will be sooner than later. For the time being, I better get off this chair and start working off the added pounds!
- An ode to poached eggs (newsroomtonursery.wordpress.com)
- Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon & Spinach in South Beach with Julia Child’s Hollandaise Sauce (cookingwithsherlockspice.wordpress.com)
- Kitchen Cheats: Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon (epicurienne.co.uk)
- Vancouver, I’m back…oh how I’ve missed you! (cbarzo.wordpress.com)
- Inspired by the sun (and the fog) (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada. (whatjothinks.wordpress.com)