Mangia Bene Ristorante
27281 La Paz Road,
Laguna Niguel, CA
Ph: (949) 831-0140
Why you may wonder would I choose a plate of garlic bread as the primary picture for Mangia Bene? it's because it is simply the most sinfully satisfying garlic bread ever - and the servers keep the supply coming until you beg them to stop.
When I first moved into the Yaletown area four years ago, La Terrazza was literally a two minute walk from my rented apartment and I enjoyed several meals there. But I had not been back for more than a year, since I moved to my new home a few blocks further away. Each time I drove up Cambie on my way to dance class, I would make a mental note that it was time to check out La Terrazza again - but my mental notes seemed to get misfiled!
Then one rainy Vancouver night I had tickets for a performance at GM Place and it occurred to me that this would be the perfect time for a pre-show dinner at La Terrazza. From there it would be a quick walk to The Garage.
4397 W. 10th Avenue
Ph: (604) 222-6881
Being South African by birth, I was naturally intrigued when Enigma was suggested as a before-theatre dinner spot. The proprietors are from South Africa and my dinner companion suggested that the menu featured several dishes of African origin. We were on our way to see Ivanov at the Jericho Arts Centre so the location of Enigma at 10th and Trimble, just up the hill from the Centre, was perfect.
As well as "foodie" I am very much a "wordie" so naturally I wondered about the name. Enigma is an unusual name for a restaurant. But the Buchmans explain - "how could such delicious food possibly be so affordable?" Hmmm.... That's setting my expectations high.
Of all the restaurants I have eaten at on this trip, this turned out to be the best surprise.
I was meeting a friend for a light Sunday lunch before going to see a new play, Emily at Theater Row. I left it to him to pick an eatery nearby the theatre and he liked what he read about this Thai-French fusion restaurant. So we agreed to meet there shortly after noon.
Walking down the west side of 9 th Ave., on my way to met my friend, I noted a number of eateries in a row. It was a warm day and several of the restaurants, including Breeze, were open to the exterior. From the outside, Breeze looked to me more like a casual cafe than the type of establishment that would serve "fine" food but appearances are often deceiving, as I found out.
338 West 46th St., between 8 and 9th Ave., New York
For my last Saturday night in New York, we had managed to get tickets to Burn the Floor, the ballroom and Latin dance spectacular that so blew me away, that I had to see it again.
For dinner we decided to try Sangria 46, a relatively new restaurant serving traditional Spanish cuisine, a few blocks away from the theatre. I got there a few minutes early and sipped from a glass of Castillo Medina Sauvignon Blanc as I waited for MIke to join me. The place, that can seat about 125 people, filled up amazingly quickly and the numerous waiters attractively dressed in black pants, white shirts with red scarves, were soon kept very busy.
A bread basket with crusty baguette slices was brought to the table and I munched on a couple of slices until Mike arrived. He ordered sangria to sip while whe studied the menu.
243 E. 4th street, New York
Ph: 212 -253-2038
Perbacco, enoteca e cucina, describe themselves as a casual restaurant and wine bar in the East Village. When we arrived there close to nine pm on a Friday evening the place was crowded and we had to wait a while for our table to be cleared.
As I confess in my Travelblogue, New York, New York 2009 – Seven Days of Theatre, Food and Dance: PART III, I was tired and very hungry whe we arrived there - it being three hours past my usual dinner time - and the loud conversational noise level and cramped table - where I managed to knock over my glass of wine - did little to make me relax. As well the low ambient lighting made it impossible for my tired eyes to read the menu.
1221 Avenue of the Americas, @ 49th Street,
I guess it is an excellent sign of restauranteur imperturbability when a guest arrives breathless at your reception desk, announcing that she has a reservation for 6 pm and without blinking an eye, you take her to her table - although she is obviously blissfully unaware that it is 5 pm rather than 6 pm. For how this particular guest managed this feat, check out New York, New York 2009 – Seven Days of Theatre, Food and Dance: PART II.
As I learned, this restaurant is part of the Livanos group of restaurants that the family has run since 1992. In this new location Oceana has been open since August 17th and the official opening is planned for September 15th. Hmmm... this is the third restaurant that I have been to that will "officially "open on the 15th.
135 West 42nd Street, New York
As I was walking along West 42nd Street en route to my dance lesson and enjoying my Seven Days of Theatre, Food and Dance in New York, I glanced in at Aureole as I walked past. Something about the look of the place attracted my attention and on the spur of the moment, I reversed my steps and decided to see if I could still get lunch. The decor was inviting with warm copper tones and an usual lighting fixture. I took a seat in the outer Bar Room rather than the main restaurant. I liked the touch of the red-gold orchid on the table.
Sarina brought me the lunch menu which includes a section of bar snacks, appetizers and main courses, served in both the restaurant and the Bar Room area. As it was just over an hour and a half before my dance class I did not want to overeat and just selected two of the appetizer dishes.
The first was a foie gras torchon served with brioche, wild strawberries and anise hyssop. Both the latter are very strong aromatic herbs that I thought might overpower the foie gras but not at all. I savored every lingering taste of the dish. Foie gras is definitely one of my weaknesses. I would choose it over cake and cookies anytime.
DBGB Kitchen and Bar
As mentioned in Part I of my New York 2009 travelblogue our lunch visit to DBGB Kitchen and Bar was spur-of-the-moment as we walked by the restaurant en route to pick up our luggage before heading off to Brooklyn Terminal for a four night Labour Day Getaway Ballroom dancing cruise. On hearing that we had only a short time for lunch, the staff seated us at a comfortable table, promptly brought water, bread and the menu, and assured us that whatever we ordered would be right up.
We were seated in the outer bistro section. The decor was simple with a minimalistic style that appeals to me. The menus were painted in white on large wall mirrors round the room. Our waiter, Frank, told us that this bistro in the Daniel Boulud group of restaurants, had only been open since May.
We decided to share four appetizer dishes, all of which were quite delicious.
The tuna tartare was served with a sesame-harissa sauce. Harissa is a hot red chili pepper sauce of North African origin, and it added a nice kick to the dish. The tuna tartare was served with sliced cucmber, radish and crispy rice.
Our other fish choice was the DB smoked salmon with crispy potato latkes and sour cream - nice but the portion seemed a bit small. Or maybe the plate was too large!