French cuisine

p1140597-w500-h500.jpgÇa Va Brasserie by Todd English   
310 West 44th Street (Cross Street 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 803 4545  or reserve online

p1140596-w500-h500.jpgDuring my brief stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for evening dining before I was to once again board Cunard's majestic Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. The QM2  features a Todd English restaurant as their fine dining alternative. On previous trips I had dined several times at this restaurant and tried many of the menu items. I was curious to compare the Todd English  Brasserie in New York (which serves French cuisine) with the current menu items of the on-board restaurant.

So before heading off  to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical we had dinner at Ça Va Brasserie. It was only a short distance away from the theatre so we could relax over an early dinner.

p1140356-w500-h500.jpgMarseille
630  Ninth Avenue (cross street 45th)
New York, NY 10036
Ph: (212) 333-2323 or Reserve online

On my way back to the hotel after picking up theatre tickets at the box office, I passed a plethora of eating establishments from pizzerias to fine dining. The menu outside Marseille caught my eye and I decided to drop in for a light lunch.

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Absinthe Bistro
1260 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Ph: 604 566-6903

Absinthe Bistro on Urbanspoon

We were going to see The God that Comes at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. Looking around for a different restaurant in the vicinity of the Cultch, I came across the Absinthe Bistro and thought we would give it a try. It was a good choice. A cosy, friendly, very busy restaurant, they offer a fixed price menu although you can also order the items  a la carte.

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. 

Loire Restaurant
19 Harbord Street,
Toronto. Ontario
Ph: (416) 830-8330  or Reserve Online

Loire on Urbanspoon

Three of us met for a celebratory and farewell dinner at Loire Restaurant. We were seated on the outdoor patio where a light breeze kept us comfortably cool despite the 20° temperature.

After some discussion we decided on a bottle of the 2010 Chinon Rosé from Domaine Bernard Baudry in the Chinon region of the Loire Valley. Derived from Cabernet Franc it was a light refreshing sipping wine and a good accompaniment to the variety of dishes we chose.

We all chose different starters. My pick was the Lobster Bisque. The  other two guests chose an Arugula and Endive Salad served with feta and an Ice Wine dressing;  and the Maple Cider Glazed Pork Belly on flat bread.

The Pork Belly was served on a crispy flat bread with caramelized apple, sweet onion puree and shaved parmesan.  We each had a taste and it was deliciously rich and flavourful. 

I liked the lobster flavour which came through strongly but to me a bisque should be richer and creamier than this soup was. The arugula and fennel salad was substantial and tasty.

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