Sipping & Supping

The  Verandah Restaurant on deck 2 at the Grand Lobby of the Queen Elizabeth features French cuisine from Cunard's Culinary Ambassador, Jean-Marie Zimmerman. Dining is a la carte but the prices are reasonable for the quality of food and service provided. The ambience is sophisticated and elegant with quietly efficient service. 

Once seated and your meal order taken, you are presented with an amuse bouche. When two  people are dining, each receives a different amuse bouche. 

On my second day in Athens I woke to another warm and sunny day. Highs were predicted to be around 24ºC. The first task on my mind was to find the local Post Office and buy stamps for the postcards that I planned to  mail to my grand-children. I gave them a map of the places that the cruise will take us to and hopefully getting the picture postcards will mean something to my grand-daughter, who has studied the continents and the various countries and their capitals.Today is the day of the big transit strike so I was curious to see what difference this made in the traffic through these narrow streets.

As I exited the hotel ready to walk in the direction of the square where the Post Office was located, the first thing i noticed was about thirty policemen on the opposite side of the road. They were just milling around and it did not look as if anything serious was happening but I wondered. 

Kuzina,
Adrianou 9 (Thissios),
Athens, Greece

We finished our Hop On Hop Off Red bus tour of Athens around 5:30 and although it was really early, we were both famished and ready for some good Greek food. The restaurant Kuzina had been recommended to us, and although we passed restaurant after restaurant as we walked along Adrianou Street, we persisted until we found it.

It was still quite warm although late in the afternoon so we chose to sit outside and enjoy watching the passing throngs. Being Friday and the end of the week, people were out in droves, walking and shopping and people watching was fun.

The service was prompt. We decided to start with the obligatory Greek salad. Interestingly this version had  arugula and caper leaves with luscious red tomatoes, capers, cucumber, olives and feta cheese. The croutons were of  crispy Greek bagel. And the dressing was olive oil.

Miku Restaurant
1055 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, BC.
Ph: (604) -568-3900 or  Reserve Online

Miku Restaurant on Urbanspoon

After enjoying an excellent lunch at Minami, the sister restaurant  to Miku that recently opened in Yaletown, I arranged to meet a friend at  Miku for a sort of follow up lunch. The aburi style of saba and salmon that I enjoyed so much at Minami was introduced first at Miku. My friend was late so I enjoyed a glass of Three Blancs wine while I waited. Although the menu only listed it as from Okanagan Falls, I believe it is the blend of Pinot Blanc, Gewürtztraminer and Muscat from the Tangled Vines Estate Winery, one I have yet to visit. Anyway the wine was a perfect summer sipper, light and fruity, just to my taste.

Minami Restaurant
1118 Mainland Street, Yaletown.
Ph: (604) 685-8080 or Reserve Online

Minami on Urbanspoon

We were strolling down Mainland Street on our way back from the Vancouver Public Library and on impulse, decided to drop in to Minami Restaurant for lunch. It opened in June in the space that was previously occupied by Goldfish Restaurant, where I had enjoyed some great meals in recent years; (Goldfish Pacific Restaurant and Goldfish Restaurant Reprise). Minami is the new sister restaurant to Miku on West Hastings. I was so impressed with this lunch at Minami, that I plan to visit Miku for lunch next week.

Glancing over the menu we noted the aburi sushi. Aburi refers to the lightly seared / partly raw fish topping on the sushi rice. This is a specialty of the restaurant. We decided to try the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi and Aburi Saba Oshi Sushi.

The first is pressed local salmon with jalapeno pepper and miku sauce. The second is house cured mackerel served with  miku miso sauce. The picture top-right on this page is a close up on the two types. Both were tender and bursting with flavour. We both loved each type but my favorite was the Saba. Exactly what miku sauce is I don't know. Perhaps I will find out when I go there for lunch.

As far as salad greens go, I confess to a minor addiction to arugula - or rocket lettuce- as it is sometimes known. Recently at the urging of several friends, I decided to add baby kale to my diet and so I was excited to find Lavinia, from Fern Alley Market Garden in the Squamish Valley, selling fresh microgreens and kale-based salads at Granville Island Market.

Among the microgreens they harvest are sunflower, bull's blood red beet leaf, Red Russian kale, white stem Pak choi, black Tuscan lacinato kale, red mustard and arugula, soil grown in the open air. Their signature salads are kale-based with Red Russian kale and include mixes such as The Trio; Sweet Greens; Spicy Blend and Flash Salad.

They are at Granville Island Public Market on Thursdays and Saturdays; Whistler Farmers Market on Sundays; Ambleside Farmers Market on Sundays and Squamish Farmers Market on Saturdays so look our for them.

lamb with white gazpachoIt had been months that I and a friend had been trying to get to an underground dining dinner at NFA with Steve (of [email protected]) but my travel schedule and Steve's seating availability didn't mesh. So when he let me know he had one last space open for a Friday night I decided to accept and despite some minor trepidation, just go on my own.

As it turned out I was glad that I took this opportunity. The other guests that were there that evening were congenial and fun and I had a great time.  Two of the groups had come because one or two of their members had previously enjoyed a meal with NFA. One couple and myself were newbies. Everybody there was a "foodie" to some degree, and there were lots of recommendations for good dining flying around the table. 

Roast chicken is one of my favorite home cooked comfort foods.  It evokes memories of my mom-in-law's famous Sunday lunches where my husband and his brothers would vie to top each other's stories, and we would sit around the table and laugh till our sides ached. A great way to roast chicken at home is to use a rotisserie. You can flavour it with your favorite herbs and spices and control the fat and salt content.

Yonge Street Grill at the Courtyard Marriott
475 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON.
Ph: (416) 924-0611

Yonge Street Grille on Urbanspoon

After an intensive three days of farewell get-togethers and long walks in warm humid weather, I was ready for an early  quiet and solitary supper during which I could enjoy reading the novel I had just begun on my Kindle.

So I took the elevator down from my room and moseyed on down to the hotel restaurant, The Young Street Grill. I was seated at a window table where I could observe the passing parade on Yonge Street.

Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill
33 Yonge Street & Front Street,
Toronto, ON
Ph: (647) 260-2070 or Reserve Online

Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill  on Urbanspoon

It is ages since I enjoyed an incredible dinner at Canoe Restaurant and had wanted to try other restaurants in this group. On this visit I planned to meet a friend to discuss next year's upcoming high school reunion back in Cape Town and a quiet relaxed lunch at this downtown restaurant seemed just the place.

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