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Buck Brand Citrus Bliss

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Buck Brand Finger Lime at Thrifty Foods

Buck Brand Finger Lime at Thrifty Foods

There is something truly special about tasting fresh produce while chatting with the farmer that brought it to fruition. When I heard that Lisle Babcock of Deer Creek Heights Ranch would be handing out samples of his terrific Buck Brand Organic Citrus at my local Thrifty Foods, I made a date with my mother to meet the man behind the oranges that we can’t get enough of every winter.

Lisle Babcock of Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

Lisle Babcock of Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

With his cowboy hat and many, “Ma’am”s Mr. Babcock was generous and genial with the samples of the many types of organic citrus that are currently in season on their ranch. Thrifty Foods has an exclusive deal to carry Buck Brand Organic oranges and some of their 80 different varieties of citrus fruits in British Columbia.

Buck Brand at Thrifty Foods

Buck Brand at Thrifty Foods

I go through bags and bags of their navel oranges every winter and supplement my citrus cravings with grapefruit, tangerines, pommelos, blood oranges, sweet limes and anything else that is available throughout the citrus growing season.

Buck Brand at Thrifty Foods

Buck Brand at Thrifty Foods

Until February 25th, when you buy a 4 lb. bag of Buck Brand Navel Oranges at Thrifty Foods, they will donate $1 to BC Lions Society’s Easter Seals Camps to fund kids camp fees at Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan and Camp Squamish. Plus you’re supporting a 5 acre family owned organic farm with almost 1000 citrus trees, including many heritage and hybrid varieties.

Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

While all the citrus samples were delicious and juicy, I was most interested to try the Finger Lime, I’d seen all the pretty pictures on the internet and I was curious to see if they tasted as fascinating as they looked. Originally from Australia, Deer Creek Heights Ranch has been growing them in Terra Bella. California for 4 years. Lisle cut one in half and gave it a gentle squeeze to make the tiny little juice packets bubble up to the top, to be enjoyed like an ice cream cone. The flavour is similar to a very floral lime, quite tart and tangy, but it is the texture as the little pearls pop inside you mouth that is so delightful. I bought a 50g package to bring home and enjoy at my leisure and to share with my son.

Lisle Babcock of Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

Lisle and Mary Lou Babcock of Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

We had a great time chatting with Lisle and Mary Lou and I really appreciate that they make such an effort to share their luscious fruits and take the time to interact with Canadian consumers.

Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

Buck Brand Citrus at Thrifty Foods

I now have a nice selection of citrus beautifying my kitchen counter and I’m faced with the delicious dilemma of incorporating them into a recipe or just enjoying them as nature intended.

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What is your favourite citrus fruit outside the holy trinity of lemon, lime and orange?

Burdock and Co

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Cherry Leaf Cured Scallops, shiso rice crackers, cracked cherry pit ice

Fresh Oysters, finger lime caviar, fresh breakfast radish, chickweed, apple & verbena sorbet, kasu emulsion

Trying a brand new restaurant is just about our family’s favourite thing to do and when the chef/owner happens to be Andrea Carlson (Sooke Harbour House, Raincity Grill, Bishop’s, etc), who is not only an a fantastic cook but a long time friend, we get downright excited! So, we made sure the three of us were at the corner of Main and E 11th Ave for the very first public service of Burdock & Co.

2702 Main Street

2702 Main Street

After admiring the space (the former home of Cafeteria), we sat down and ordered some drinks. I had one of the two non-alcoholic cocktails, from a list designed by Lauren Mote of Kale and Nori Culinary Designs, the Cascadian Cooler.

Apple & Fenugreek, Lime, Mint, Denman Bitters, Gingerbeer

Apple & Fenugreek, Lime, Mint, Denman Bitters, Gingerbeer

The menu featured dishes showcasing local and seasonal ingredients in imaginative combinations that made it difficult to narrow down our selections, so we ordered almost the whole menu to share family style!

Cherry Leaf Cured Scallops, shiso rice crackers, cracked cherry pit ice

Cherry Leaf Cured Scallops, shiso rice crackers, cracked cherry pit ice

We started with the scallops and oysters (both requested by our 10-year-old son, Young Fresh Chef) which were delicate and delicious like a cool spring morning on the West Coast. We even nibbled on the cherry blossoms as instructed by our charmer of a server.

Urban Digs Egg, wild cress, hazelnut & blue cheese granola, brown butter & potato vinaigrette

Urban Digs Egg, wild cress, hazelnut & blue cheese granola, brown butter & potato vinaigrette

The flavour and textural combination of the poached egg and the savoury granola was my favourite of the night and I may have Mmmmmmmed out loud more than once! The peppery wild cress presented a nice contrast to the luxuriousness of the rest of the plate.

Fire Roasted Green Farro, spruce tips, black garlic, sorrel

Fire Roasted Green Farro, spruce tips, black garlic, sorrel

The vegan farro dish was my meat-loving husband’s top pick of the meal and the plate was scraped down to the ceramic glaze. The depth of flavour from the black garlic was earthy and sweet adding a soulful umami element to the farro.

Fried Chicken & Pickles, crispy skin, charred chili vinegar

Fried Chicken & Pickles, crispy skin, charred chili vinegar

Our son most enjoyed the fried chicken and he said that he could taste the love that was put into the preparation. The crispy skin was like chicken bacon and the accompanying pickled vegetables helped cut the richness of this dish.

Harvest Pork Belly Ramen, Candied Bacon, nori, fried egg

My husband and I were slowing down at this point, but the boy went full boar (pun intended) into the bowl of ramen.

Wheat Berry Risotto, sunroot, mustard greens, castelvetrano olives, Farmhouse 'Fermiere', smoked crema

Wheat Berry Risotto, sunroot, mustard greens, castelvetrano olives, Farmhouse ‘Fermiere’, smoked crema

The risotto was delicious and since the smoked crema would be good with almost anything, it just made the dish that much better. While this was a vegetarian dish, the dairy components gave it a rich taste and mouth feel.

Halibut, braised spring radish and hop shoots, pine mushroom and burdock tea, fried burdock, hop salt

While we should have been getting full after so much deliciousness, my fellas had their forks into the halibut before I could take a single photo! Like everything we tried, the dish was a tantalizing combination of ingredients with an excellent balance of flavours and was seasoned to perfection.

Gluten Free Cookies

Gluten Free Cookies

We still had a bit of room for dessert and we really enjoyed the gluten-free cookie selection by the soft glow of candlelight.

IMG_2728

We left with full bellies and hearts already plotting our return.

 

Burdock & Co

Open 7 days a week

from 5pm for dinner

no reservations

2702 Main Street

Vancouver, BC V5T 3E8

604-879-0077

email: eat@burdockandco.com

twitter: @burdockandco

website: www.burdockandco.com

Which dish pictured appeals most to your taste buds?

Kitchenette’s Kitchen

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View from a fridge

View from a fridge

While pieces of my kitchen have appeared in the background of pictures of food, I thought it was time to put the work space front and centre. We redid the kitchen JUST in time to host our families for Christmas 2011. I wouldn’t recommend cutting it as close as we did, wee bit stressful. We replaced the stove and fridge, added a dishwasher, recovered the existing cabinets and added more counter space and open shelves.

The reno is sinking in

The reno is sinking in

We kept the sink and counters, as we were trying to keep the budget down. The faucet is new can be pulled out to fill large pots. By leaving the counter we saved a bundle and figured it would be easy to do later if we changed our minds.

Our sexy stove

Our sleek stove

We were going to get a glass top stove, but the sales rep basically talked us out of it. Our dream stove would be gas, but this isn’t our forever house so we kept it electric.

The cosy fridge nook

The cosy fridge nook

The fridge was the fanciest upgrade in the kitchen, with side by side compartments, ice machine and filtered water. It was larger than our previous refrigerator, but just by removing a bit of moulding and a dusty shelf it fit like it was custom-made.

Let there be light and a light breeze

Let there be light and a light breeze

The light fixture with fan is the priciest light fixture in our house, with all the rest coming from Home Depot, but it’s also the prettiest! Combined with the new hood any smells and smoke are whisked away in a quiet gust.

Stove top with pretty pots

Stove top with pretty pots

We added some butcher block counter top to the right of the stove to give us a larger work space. It was really a one person kitchen before, now it’s a 2 adult and a growing chef space.

Dishwasher that replaced me

Dishwasher that replaced me

The butcher block is in an L shape and covers the dishwasher and some open shelves for small appliances and bakeware. The Pacojet has since found a new home, where it will be used more than once a month.

Dry goods shelves and produce corner

Dry goods shelves & produce

My husband, Exec Chef designed these floating shelves that hold my spice jars, grains, beans and other dry goods. We always have a fruit bowl on the counter for quick snacks and garlic and onions out for easy access since we use them daily.

Shelves next to the stove

Shelves next to the stove

We also added two small floating shelves, of the same design, to the right of the stove. The lower shelf holds our kosher salt-cellar, pepper grinder and butter bell. On the upper shelf, I displayed some orange themed implements.

KitchenAid in the Corner

KitchenAid in the Corner

To the left of the sink, we have our knife block (away from little visiting hands) and my beautiful KitchenAid mixer, which I may not use everyday but it does make me smile.

Breakfast Central

Breakfast Central

To the right of the sink, we have our DJ station, bread box, toaster and blender. Which covers breakfast in our house on many mornings! The bottle matches my spice jars and is full of fantastic olive oil.

Thanks for taking a virtual tour of my shiny kitchen, it will never look this tidy again!

What is the one thing you wish you could most change about your kitchen?

Bay Leaf Bonanza

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Kitchenette Finds Bay Laurel Leaf

My favourite part of our kitchen, since our renovation, is the shelf that cradles my collection of spices and herbs. I can travel the world just by inhaling the heady aromas enclosed in the purple apothecary jars that preserve the flavourful treasures within. I’d like to share some of these seasonings and why they make me so giddy!

My tasty collection

My tasty collection

The scent of Bay Leaf always takes me back to the California coast where groves of California Bay Laurel trees fill the air with a heady scent as the trees sway in the constant ocean breeze. My other strong scent associated memories of California are the night-blooming jasmine in Napa and the ever-present scent of Ranch Dressing in the capital city of garlic, Gilroy. While the leaves of the California Bay Laurel can be used for seasoning dishes, the more subtly flavoured Bay Laurel that is native to the Mediterranean is more commonly used in cooking and more widely available. There are also other varieties of Laurel trees outside of Europe that are used in local cuisines, including: Indian Bay Leaf, Indonesian Bay Leaf, West Indian Bay Leaf and Mexican Bay Leaf. Each has a different flavour profile, but they all have a similar appearance.

Bay Laurel Leaves

While dried Bay Leaf can be purchased at any grocery store, it’s always better to dry the fresh leaves yourself for maximum flavour. While I have never been lucky enough to have my own Bay Laurel, I have been the recipient of branches from generous friends and neighbours who have. My most recent bough was overflow from a bushel given to my mother. The fresh leaves are quite mild and need to be dried for several weeks to reach their full flavour capacity. I like to use the newly dried leaves as I find the flavour is more buttery and rich. In the photo below, the leaf on top is one from the branch above and the bottom leaf was purchased.

Bay Laurel Leaf

I use Bay Leaf in almost every soup and sauce that I make (including Cranberry Sauce), as it works well with most other spices and herbs adding a slightly floral complexity. I always use whole leaves and fish them out near the end as they are inedible unless ground to a fine powder. You can also place the smaller pieces in a tea ball or muslin bag, which can also be improvised with cheese cloth. As with many herbs and spices, bay leaves have long been used for their medicinal properties, but the leaves of the laurel tree are most often associated with the laurel wreaths worn by Olympians in Ancient Greece and victors of war in Ancient Rome. Bay Leaf is always a winner in my books and I will continue to rest on my laurels when I’m looking to create a more complex flavour.

Bay Laurel BranchWhat dishes just wouldn’t be the same without a hint of bay leaf?

Hilltop Diner Cafe

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Family Lunch Order at Hilltop Diner Cafe in Langley, BC

Family Lunch Order at Hilltop Diner Cafe in Langley, BC

Sometimes you just want the classics: a clubhouse sandwich with roasted turkey, a juicy burger or a straight up breakfast. On a lazy Sunday, when this mood strikes us, we pile into the car as a family and take a leisurely drive to the Hilltop Diner Cafe in the middle of nowhere part of Langley. Picture perfect enough to be a constant shooting location for TV shows and movies, they even have a scrap-book that they love to pull out and show off, the food is just as authentic. But it’s the service that makes it the real deal, it’s casual but caring. They are a busy bunch being open 7 days a week from 8:00 to 2:30 since 1946. Their full breakfast menu is served until 11am and then they still have a small list of morning staples available, as well as their crazy mega burgers (with names like Everest burger and Anarchist burger they are ridonkulous) until they close.

Eggs, Farmer's Sausage & Toast at the Hilltop Diner Cafe

Eggs, Sausage & Toast at Hilltop Diner Cafe

Since it is a bit of a drive for us, and it’s hard to hurry on Sundays, we haven’t made it for the full breakfast menu yet. I think I’m stuck on the clubhouse because of the in-house oven-roasted turkey that is so thinly sliced and nestled in the lightly toasted bread with the perfect amount of lettuce and tomatoes and beautifully crisped bacon. I switch between the excellent french fries  and the impressively fresh side salad.   All the sandwiches and burgers that we’ve tried have been exactly as we would want them to be. Their milkshakes and floats are fantastic and big enough to share and share and share. My other regret about the menu is that we STILL haven’t tried any of their amazing looking pies as we are always too full after our sandwich and burger feast. I guess we’ll have to keep going and keep trying things, it’s a tough life!

Hot Turkey Sandwich with Gravy and Cranberry Relish at the Hilltop Diner Cafe

Hilltop Diner Cafe

23904 Fraser Highway

Langley, BC

(604) 514-9424

Open Daily from 8:00 to 2:30

Full Breakfast Menu served until 11am

Closed on Holiday Mondays

Urbanspoon Reviews

Follow Me Foodie Review

Yelp Reviews

Dinehere Reviews

I’m Busy Eating Review

Feast and Fare Review

What’s your favourite classic diner?

Maui Maniacs

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Maui Maniacs

Maui, Maui, Maui! I’ve been hearing nothing but lovely things about this island since I was a little girl. Last Spring it was finally my turn to see for myself. After scouring the internet and reading all the reviews I booked a one bedroom suite at the Hanua Kai Resort and Spa in Kaanapali. Then began the restaurant research, I emailed friends and family for recommendations and tried to read through the lines of online reviews. Going on vacation can be a lot of work!

The resort was gorgeous, right on the beach and well maintained. Duke’s Beach House is on the resort property between the three pools and the red sandy beach. We ate once at Duke’s and the best thing I can say about the food is that it was forgettable. Wish I could say the same for our first meal in Hawaii at Maui Tacos. Good thing that the resort was so fabulous, because the food hadn’t been that impressive. But, these choices had been more about convenience than anything.

While the grocery store across the road had decent local produce, there was a nice selection at a farmer’s stand by the ticket booth for the Sugar Cane Express. We took the Sugar Cane Train from Kaanapali to Lahaina for the day, another disappointing lunch at one of the interchangeable ocean front restaurants was fixed by a trip to Hula Cookies & Ice Cream where you get to design your own ice cream sandwich that can be enjoyed in the nearby park under the banyan tree.

On other visits to Lahaina, we enjoyed brunch at Mala Ocean Tavern and a lunch at a mixed plate place, can’t remember the name but we wanted to go to Aloha Mixed Plate. For afternoon treats we sucked back some Jamba Juice and couldn’t get enough froyo at Island Froyo. One more meh place and then we’ll move on to the good stuff: David Paul’s Island Grill looked good from the outside, but you shouldn’t judge a menu by its cover.

When we headed over to the fancy side Maui to check out Wailea our luck changed. We tried out a brand new restaurant called Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman. The decor was bright and fresh, the service was professional and warm, we felt right at home. The food was locally sourced, clearly fresh and prepared with care.

Based on our positive experience at Monkeypod, we made a reservation at Merriman’s the upscale sister restaurant located in the Kapalua Resort. It was a delightful experience with a completely open dining room and top notch service provided by our server, J.J. Again, the freshest ingredients treated with respect.My husband, Exec Chef, enjoyed it so completely that he bought a gift certificate on the spot for family members that would be honeymooning in Maui a few weeks later.

Another hit in the Kapalua Resort was the oceanic treats of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi, fantastic local fish and great service in a busy room. After some memorable meals we feel like we are on a roll, hitting our stride and walking on sunshine.

Our best brunch of the trip was worth the 45 minute wait in the balmy ocean breeze. The Gazebo is just that, a round roof over tables and a kitchen right on the beach. The fluffy pancakes are served with coconut syrup and I have to recommend  the fried rice as a must share plate.

One of our favourite spots on Maui was a little town called Paia. We had a nice dinner at Milagros Food Company, but the best part was shopping at Wings Hawaii, a lovely shop filled with beautiful jewellery and clothing all made in Hawaii.

We ended our trip on a high note with a dinner at Mama’s Fish House in Paia. It was a picture perfect setting for an Elvis movie and it’s been around since he was the king. While the view was amazing and the food was excellent, it is the only time I’ve heard Exec Chef say that a dinner was overpriced!

 Mahalo!

Estrella’s Montreal Deli & Cafe

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While the restaurant review website Dine Here is mostly good for laughs, rather than reliable restaurant recommendations, I have made a couple of welcome discoveries.

I haven’t yet had an opportunity to visit Montreal, but I feel I’ve somehow come a little closer since eating at Estrella’s Montreal Deli & Cafe in Langley. Their Reuben is fantastic, stacked high with their own smoked meat and stuffed with swiss cheese and sauerkraut. The Dijon gives it a kick and the rye has that touch of chewiness that keeps it all together. The pickle spear has a nice crunch and a well-balanced brine. The coleslaw is shredded finely and slicked with a sweet/vinegary dressing.

Young Fresh Chef and Exec Chef are both fans, but Little Chef skips the mustard. They both know to hand over their pickle spears to me immediately. Estrella’s has a selection of beverages, but Little Chef goes for the Cherry Coke. Yep, it’s a smoky slice of Montreal right in Langley.

Estrella’s Deli & Cafe

5932 200 St

Langley, BC

(604) 539-9988

Open Monday-Saturday 9:00-5:00

Closed Sundays & Holiday Mondays

Yelp Reviews

UrbanSpoon Reviews

TripAdvisor Reviews

Snackimals

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SnackimalsWhen visiting Richmond, once I’ve filled my belly with Dim Sum at Fisherman’s Terrace , I like to wander around the Aberdeen Centre rubbing my belly. I took a friend there a while ago and she was fully in awe. Yes, she is from the Northern Territories, so anything other than Canadian Tire is pretty exciting to my friend Raisinette.  So, the reason her excitement was notable was that she had just returned from a multiple week vacation in Japan.  But to see the sparkle in her eye as we entered Daiso you’d think she’d never been outside the Communities of the Yukon. I have never been to Japan, but I guess I always assumed it would be MORE exciting than a store in Richmond that sells the majority of its stock with a two dollar price tag. Judging by Raisinette’s reaction, this is not the case.

Some of my previous $2 finds have included: a child-size chair, a stainless steel mug with a yellow plastic handle, soy sauce containers shaped fishies and cutesy chopsticks. Our big find on this trip were the Fruit Picks. Another way to get kids to eat more fruit (or anything really), skewer it with a cartoony animal pick. It makes snacks less messy and more fun (always a winning combo with small children). We also bought kid-size chopsticks with a case for Young Fresh Chef’s lunch kit. He has already taken cucumber rolls in his lunch (which was my first attempt at sushi rolls, I don’t think Tojo has anything to worry about).

Our other stop in the mall was Qoola. Young Fresh Chef and I had already been to their Denman location to sample their wares. So, we already knew to order the mochi as a topping on their tangy frozen yogurt. The nice thing about Qoola is that it is not a direct rip-off of Red Mango, like a certain colour & fruit monikered chain. Qoola also offers waffles and slushes and has more of a health/eco ethos.

To balance that, we also hit Beard Papa up in the food court (best food court in the known universe, at least the parts of the universe that I’ve  known). Beard Papa is right next to Frappe Bliss, a Taiwanese shaved ice milk treat that Young Fresh Chef and I tried before, but haven’t been back. I think the proximity of Beard Papa MAY have something to do with that! Anyway, Beard Papa sells fresh oversize cream puffs. I remember asking Exec Chef if he knew why it was called Beard Papa, I got my answer the first time I saw our son dive into one. When he came up for air, the lower half of his face was covered in whipped-cream custard and icing sugar, the only thing visible was his huge grin. Raisinette was pretty hyped about the cream puffs, apparently, she hadn’t encountered any of their 230 outlets in Japan. I was starting to doubt that she had actually been there at all.

Of course, she did bring back gifts as proof. Manga stickers for Young Fresh Chef, and for me, she knows me so well, fruit picks topped with hearts! There was her evidence, there’s no way you could find anything like that outside of Japan, right?

Dim Sum Dilemma

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Dim Sum Dilemma

My first introduction to Dim Sum gets major points for ambiance, but negative twenty for actual taste. On our first trip to San Francisco (do NOT call it ‘Frisco or San Fran, everyone who lives in Northern California just calls it “The City”) we wandered through Chinatown and soaked in the atmosphere. There were boxes of live frogs squirming together like a plague just waiting to be released, turtles patiently climbing over one another and giant sized vegetables of every description. Stores extended past their doors and windows to encroach on the sidewalks, almost forcing people to walk in the streets, or run the risk of accidently placing  your foot in bucket full of glistening eels. The size, density and variety made Victoria’s Chinatown seem like the tiny little corner that they added into Old Towne in the Royal BC Museum.

Overwhelmed by the hoi palloi, we slipped into some random restaurant and pointed to some Dim Sum items through the finger prints on the menu. My memories of this first Dim Sum consist of a few sensory impressions: cold, dry, greasy and stale. So, it was a dining option we didn’t explore further until years later.

Fast forward about four years when I began venturing out in Vancouver to explore the diversity of Dim Sum, as there are plenty of options. This time I did some research and tried out Sun Sui Wah on Main. A big banquety space with carts racing around and the chatter rising up to fill the high-ceilinged room it was worlds apart from that first random incident. The cart approach is good for first-timers and large groups. You just take a whiff and a glance then point to what you want to try. The hard part is trying to remember what you liked for the next time. It’s a lot of fun with large groups of adventurous friends, or somewhat picky eaters who are looking to expand their horizons. I’ve taken a few Dim Sum Virgins to Sun Sui Wah and everyone got into it. It was fun first foray, but the carts were starting to lose their appeal.

My husband, the Executive Chef of my heart, told me about the Imperial on Burrard. He’d been there with some co-workers and he liked the dishes better than Sun Sui Wah. Wanting to do it right, I organized an upcoming birthday do for my two friendettes with back to back birthdays for a Dim Sum adventure. The Imperial is in a beautiful old building down by the water with a typically gorgeous Vancouver mountain/ocean view. The room was more elegant than Sun Sui Wah and without the perils of being run over by runaway carts. Ordering from the menus wasn’t the sensory experience of having everything brought by for inspection, but allowed more discussion and planning. A word about my friendettes, they get just as giddy over food as I do and it just makes me love them more than I would anyway. My b2b b-day girls were my Sushi Friends back in the day and could always be relied on to join me in a couple of rolls whenever the desire struck.

Back to the Imperial, well I did go back a couple times and the food was better, but I still wanted something more. I liked all the flavours and textures, but I still wasn’t finding the freshness. Eliminating the middle men running the carts was a step in the right directions. But, I was looking for more umami , something that would curl my toes and turn my raincoat red (I don’t know what that means, I just like the alliteration. Also I don’t know that I really want curled toes).

Exec Chef knew a guy who was related to a guy who ran a Chinese restaurant called Fisherman’s Terrace in Richmond (of course! I should have been looking in Richmond all along.). We went for dinner one night and had this amazing crab dish that was a whole crab covered in a dry “sauce” of  crunchy bits of goodness. I could see the glint in his eye that means Exec Chef is gathering inspiration that will result in a new dish. All the dishes were tasty, but what really impressed me was the bright and fresh quality of the flavours. We went there a couple more times for dinner before it dawned on me to try their Dim Sum!

The next time we found ourselves near Richmond around lunch time we headed to the Aberdeen Mall for Dim Sum and Daiso. We had our son, Young Fresh Chef, with us and we had to wait with the rest of  crowd that spilled out into the mall. When we finally got a table and a pot of Jasmine tea, we were presented with a paper menu list and a pencil. I ticked the items that tickled my fancy (including sticky rice and shrimp dumplings for Young Fresh Chef) and passed it to Exec Chef for his perusal. While waiting for the food, they boy and I wandered over to the fish tanks to check out their residents. The restaurant is huge and busy, the atmosphere a cross between Sun Sui Wah’s hustle/bustle  and Imperial’s dignified calm. Back at the table, when the food arrived, I was overcome by the heady scents. I dove right in and only came up for air to help Young Fresh Chef unwrap his sticky rice and give him a shrimp dumpling refill.

This was it! This was what I was looking for! The flavours were big, bold and balanced (the 3 B’s of flavour, according to me). The fried items were hot and crisp, the BBQ Pork Buns were clouds of dough filled with sweet and smokey goodness. There wasn’t a clinker in the lot. All the classics I’d had before were the best version I’d had and the “doughnuts” in a noodle wrapper were a revelation. It’s hard to describe in print, it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. It shouldn’t be good, but it is, IT IS.

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