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Milk Fish and Garlic Rice

Seriously serious pie in Seattle

Cristina Peralejo
Jan 3rd, 2011

My new year's resolution?  Get back down to Serious Pie for round two.

This weekend found my best friend and I roadtrippin’ down to Seattle for a little art.  SAM (Seattle Art Museum) was hosting works from the Musée National Picasso in Paris.  What ensued was a truly memorable weekend; a treat for all the senses as the works we saw were only heightened by a little food art we found at a place called Serious Pie.

Serious Pie is a restaurant by Tom Douglas, a Seattle chef and restaurateur who has opened a number of differently themed restaurants around Seattle and its environs, such as the Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s Seafood and Palace Kitchen and Lola’s.  Serious Pie is his most recent addition to the Douglas family. 

What makes a great pizza?  I break it down into three categories:  crust, ingredients and flavour combinations.  Serious Pie rates well in all these categories.  It boasts a light, crispy crust that isn't soggy with a tinge of chewiness around the edges.  Of course, only the best charcuterie and artisan cheeses are selected for these amazing creations.  However, I would have to say that in the flavour combinations category, Serious Pie wins hands down.

Christmas bread in Vancouver

Cristina Peralejo
Dec 22nd, 2010

Chef Kev's amazing stollen

After living in North America for most of my life, I moved to a hot climate where every single day was about 30 degrees.   While living in warm weather definitely had its advantages, the one time of year when I had difficulty appreciating it was during Christmas.  Somehow it became absolutely impossible for my mind to picture snow, reindeer, and fat men in snuggly suits as I was surrounded by palm trees and mangoes.  That was when I first fell in love with stollen; and I learned how taste can powerfully conjure up memories, images and feelings.   

For me, stollen tastes of Christmas.  Perhaps this is because this Christmas loaf originated in Germany. It has a dense consistency and is speckled with currants, dried fruits, nuts and orange zest.  My favourite type comes with a thin ribbon of marzipan in the centre, and it is finished with a fine dusting of powdered sugar.   One bite of its spicy sweetness and I am immediately transported to one of those outdoor German markets (something else we’ve appropriated in Vancouver!)

Japanese yatai at Bridgeport: mobile food at its best

Cristina Peralejo
Nov 29th, 2010

BYOB:  Bring Your Own Bowl at Shoryumen

What is it about mobile food that is so intriguing?  From snacks on road trips, to running for the ice cream truck, there’s something about food on wheels that simply gets the stomach growling.  Hence, my tribute to the Japanese yatai that is stationed across from the bus loop at Bridgeport Station.  Most of us are too busily caught up in the hectic exchange from buses to trains to make a pit stop, but I assure you, it is well worth the effort.

In Japan mobile food comes in the form of yatai, which usually come out at night, catering to hungry businessmen and late night party revellers.  For Vancouver’s own version of yatai, step off at Bridgeport station, and head towards the bus loop where the word FOOD spelled out by a string of Christmas lights will point you in the right direction. Crossing the street, you’ll come across an odd little conglomeration of trailers selling temaki, ramen and bakadanyaki. This is the yatai's new location (you would have found them a few meters from the Olympic Oval last year).

My evaluation of a Vietnamese Restaurant: Pho Thai Hoa in Richmond

Cristina Peralejo
Jun 29th, 2010

Pho Thai Hoa has one of the best salad rolls I've ever had

A friend of mine is into a car show called Top Gear and had me watch an episode recently in which three bungling British fellows receive the impossible task of getting from one end of Vietnam to the other, solely on scooters and motorbikes.  While I enjoyed their dry British humour and slapstick comedic style, what I  appreciated most about the show were the scenes where the characters shared meals. The outdoor cafes and quaint little restaurants provided much more of a lure to come and explore Vietnam  than any of the beautiful scenary shots did. It got me seriously craving Vietnamese food. 

Suggestions for the Summer Night Market in Richmond 2010

Cristina Peralejo
Jun 13th, 2010

Summer brings plenty of fun events to Vancouver—the Alcan dragon boat festival, the Illuminares festival at Trout Lake, and of course, the Summer Night Market in Richmond. Since its inception in 2000, the night market has become one of those perennial summer favourites that marks the arrival of finer weather and celebrates the diversity of Asian food in Vancouver.

Food tripping at Balilicious Modern Indonesian Cuisine

Cristina Peralejo
Jun 6th, 2010

Balilicious Nasi Goreng

One of my favourite expressions that Filipinos have coined is the term: “food trip.”  The expression is not to be taken literally, as in traveling with the intention of cultural exploration through food.  Instead, going on a “food trip” means enjoying a dizzying array of food with friends and family.  The food may be local or foreign, at home or in a restaurant, and the only goal is to eat until one’s belly is stuffed and one’s palate is overwhelmed by all those fantastic flavours. 

My most recent food trip adventure occurred on Cambie St. at Balilicious Modern Indonesian Cuisine.  The name is a mouthful to be sure, but it is exactly as it states: a small cozy place that serves very tasty Indonesian cuisine with a modern twist.  Indonesian food is an exotic blend of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisine that still retains its Southeast Asian roots.  I find that it draws on flavours quite similar to Thai or Malaysian cooking.  

Bonchaz: Vancouver's version of the coffee bun

Cristina Peralejo
May 16th, 2010

If you regularly frequent farmer’s markets around Vancouver, you won’t be a stranger to the name of Bonchaz.  Fortunately for bread lovers around the Lower Mainland, they have set up a permanent stand in way of a coffee shop along Hastings St.

No prodding necessary to get me to the Cattle Cafe

Cristina Peralejo
May 9th, 2010

Hot, savoury noodle combinations await you at the Cattle Cafe.

The story starts with a sore throat.  You know the kind: like swallowing razor blades unless it’s some hot soothing liquid that calls mum’s chicken noodle soup to mind.  It wasn’t that I suffering through the tortuous ordeal, but a good friend of mine.  Having just undergone a week of being ill while traveling, however, I could commiserate.  In order to soothe her achy throat, we decided to try out a suggestion from another friend of hers which involved warm savoury soups.  

Her instructions directed us to a brightly lit small café with a line up coming out the front door.  Cattle Café indeed!  Nevertheless, turnover was speedy and after a very short wait, we were seated in a cozy corner perusing their meal line up.  The menu at Cattle Café is large, random, and a little surprising.  Case in point: the menu lists “Ice cream on cattle french toast” just under ‘Two kinds of meat balls with vermicelli in soup.”  And if you are squeamish about internal organs or exotic meat, you might want to have a friend screen it for you. 

Eat like an Egyptian

Cristina Peralejo
Apr 12th, 2010

Falafels for breakfast? Bring it!

These last two weeks have seen this food junkie traipsing through the temples and tombs of Upper and Lower Egypt.  And even though we kept up a hectic and tightly-packed schedule in order to cram thousands of year of Pharaonic history into our brains, Rudy and I still managed to find a way to cram our mouths with some of their tasty and timeless street fare.

Feasting on Falafels (aka Ta’ miyya)

Comfort Me With Congee

Cristina Peralejo
Mar 17th, 2010

Sliced Fish Congee from Congee Noodle House.

It’s soft, warm and slips down easily. Within its milky whiteness you find bits of salty goodness— crunchy peanuts, juicy wontons, or slivers of fish. It’s particularly nice on a sore throat and heaven to eat on a chilly rainy day. It warms your belly and soothes your digestive system. And I have it on very good authority that it is just the thing for hangovers. Congee, or rice porridge, is truly the ultimate Asian comfort food.

 

The great thing about congee is that it can be made to suit any taste. From century egg and pork blood to simple tender chunks of chicken, congee can be custom designed to fit anybody’s palate. Personally, I have always been partial to congee with fresh slices of fish and a handful of peanuts strewn on top. Although it is traditionally eaten for breakfast, congee can be availed of during any meal of the day or as snacks between meals.

 

Each place you frequent has its own distinctive way of garnishing its congee.

 

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