The Brasserie in the Seagram Building
100 E. 53rd St.,
For a late-morning brunch in Mid-town Manhattan, my dining companion suggested The Brasserie, as much for the look of the restaurant (see New York, New York: Part I) as for the brunch menu.
As I followed the hostess down the green glass steps, I appreciated my friend's choice. We were shown to one of the booths lining the wall. Each booth comfortably seats four and pale green leatherette walls create the illusion of privacy.. I admired the foam green resin tabletop which my friend told me a class mate of hers from Parsons Design School had a hand in making.
Soon after we were seated, our server brought water and a whole crisp baguette with a mound of butter.
A frequently used derogatory reference when I was growing up - eons ago before more graphic terms became common usage - was "he is too dumb to walk and chew gum at the same time." The implication being that not only could the maligned victim not multitask, but he or she couldn't even multitask at two such fundamental activities.
I thought about this as I stood in my kitchen sadly surveying the potatoes I had just boiled for potato salad. I actually can't remember the last time I made a potato salad - it is that low carb thing - but I wanted to make something for our strata barbecue and I did not want to make yet another green salad or roasted vegetables - my usual contributions.
Into my mind popped the fantastic potato salad my friend Jan made during our Reunion Weekend on Vancouver Island, and the thought would not go away no matter how much I tried to reject it. Well, potato salad it would have to be. And it would have to be the perfect potato salad. I still have not got over that drive for perfection although I had better work harder at it, as you will see.
One of the best kept secrets in Vancouver is a little gem of a restaurant that is located on the south side of Granville Street between Helmcken and Davie Street. It has a warm and welcoming ambience, great service and excellent food at reasonable prices. I have eaten here on two occasions now and both experiences have been great.
Bay Moorings Restaurant
6330 Bay Street,
While waiting for our ferry sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, we stopped off at Bay Moorings Restaurant for a light supper. We left our luggage in the conveniently located rack near the front desk - I guess they do a roaring business with travellers waiting for ferry sailings.
Our table on the patio overlooking the harbour was shaded and pleasant, despite the warm weather. The servers were cheerful and efficient.
We both opted for the cod with fries and a Greek salad. The cod came in a crispy batter which was thin and delicious, and was accompanied by tartare sauce. The fries were also great - it was hard to stick to my resolution to leave a few on the plate.
During my long career in medicine, I would make a point of visiting hospital laboratories, especially in children's hospitals, whenever I visited a country or a city that boasted of a paediatric hospital. And generally I returned to Vancouver with a renewed pride in the quality of care we provided in the laboratories of our own Children's and Women's Hospital here in BC.
Now that my second career centres on theatre, food and travel writing, I likewise take every opportunity I can to see theatre, and wine and dine in great restaurants wherever I travel. Each time I return to Vancouver whether I have experienced superb meals in London, Capetown, the Languedoc or on my recent trip to Chicago, I realize anew how lucky we are to have the fresh food bounty from earth and sea, that we have here in British Columbia.
Prompted by an absolutely outstanding dining experience with the Chef's Table selection at Goldfish Pacifc Kitchen last night, and looking back on the variety of restaurants I have reviewed since I began posting my reviews to Supping in Vancouver, I realized that I need to develop some sort of a rating scale to distinguish an outstanding dining experience from an excellent or a merely really good meal.
Goldfish Pacific Kitchen
1188 Mainland Street,
Ph: 604-689-8318 or Reserve online
Vancouver is a truly a foodie's paradise. Top quality ingredients daily are sought out by innovative chefs to produce a bounty of fresh taste sensations. So much so that I rarely have a restaurant meal that I don't enjoy. But every now and then along comes a dining experience that stands head and shoulders above even the many excellent meals I have recently enjoyed. Completely unexpectedly, last night I had such an experience, thanks to the "Chef's Table" concept at Goldfish Pacific Kitchen and the magic touch of new Food Development Chef, Ryan Mah.
Goldfish restaurant has been open at least as long as I have lived in Yaletown and I have previously enjoyed both dinners and lunches there. But looking back on the restaurant reviews in my archives on ReviewFromTheHouse.com, I realized that I had not dined there since I introduced the Sipping and Supping section of the website. It was time to review this restaurant, I thought. Planning a relatively early supper, I noted that Goldfish was once again offering a prix fixe meal between 5 pm and 6:30 pm. With a choice of an appetizer, an entree and a dessert for $25.00, it seemed like really good value, so we thought we would check it out.
For our Monday night dinner, my friend chose Perennial on North Lincoln Avenue. We were delighted that it was open as it appears that, in the same way that most theatres are dark on Monday nights, many restaurants here chose not to open on Mondays.
We decided against ordering a bottle of wine as I wanted white wine and my friend wanted red so instead we each ordered a glass of wine. I chose the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier from California and she ordered a Babich Pinot Noir from New Zealand.
Chicago Burger Company
301 E N Water St
Normally I wouldn't really bother to write up a burger cafe but I was so pleasantly surprised by my riverside lunch that I thought it warranted some comments.
This was Day 3 of my Chicago 2009 visit. I had checked into the Sheraton Hotel and was wandering around the area. The Chicago Burger Company Cafe is located on the river side of the hotel, with tables on a patio, and more tables down on the river walk itself.
When I found myself a table next to the water's edge, I noted that the place was quite busy but I was in no hurry and wanted to enjoy a relaxing meal outside. The burger menu offers a the ability to design your own burger. You start with a choice of four basic burgers for $9.00; beef, turkey, salmon or veggie. Then you can pick one cheese out of 4 for a dollar, and two free toppings. I picked Gorgonzola blue cheese, guacamole and caramelized onions. The burger comes with tomato, lettuce, red onions and pickle and is served on a corn dusted bun. Fries are extra.
Monday, July 20th - Day 2: Visual Art, Culinary Art
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of yogurt, homemade granola and berries, with coffee brewed in a very impressive looking Miele Coffee maker, and set off early on our explorations. First stop was McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in North America. This was the main site of the conference, although meetings and events were also scheduled in several of the downtown hotels. I had pre-registered but wanted to pick up my registration materials and programs to check out times and places of the events I planned to attend.
This is probably my 5th time attending a meeting at McCormick Place and the third since 2001 and it seems larger and more impressive every time I come. Anyway I dashed in while my friend waited in the car. Luckily my last name starts with L because at that particular time, the G to L booth was the only one without a lineup. Within minutes the friendly people manning or perhaps one should say womanning the booth had got me my badge, conference bag and materials, and I was riding down the long steep escalators to the exit.