Archive for August, 2010

The busiest weekend yet!

The biggest weekend of the year came on August 28th this year, a weekend where Allan could have been in Whistler for a wedding, actually attending a wedding and I could have stayed out in Fork Lake Alberta for Colette’s moms birthday! But we had to stay home and cater:

A wedding
A wedding Rehearsal
A Engagement party

Ah, the rarely seen Wedding Trifecta

The events totalled 310 guests three venues: one in North Van, one in East Van and, thank god, one across the street from the restaurant.

The team prepated 6900 pieces of food,  from Seared Scallops to Mac and Cheese.

Sunday – 1000 Polder side duck pates on Brioche, with caramelized apple, micro greens and sea salt

Catered house party for our favorite regulars Douglas and Paul

All in all, it added up to 22 staff members, 240 hours of work!!

In the end, we got lots of compliments and three happy couples and that’s priceless.

We hope that our families and significant others understand why we weren’t able to be around . . .  and know we wish we were there !!!

Happy Weekend to all


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730AM Wednesday, August 18th

Tomatoes on the go

One of the ways we participate in our local community is by using our space to host a monthly meeting held by a group of Strathcona owners who are spearheading some great green and environmentally friendly initiatives in the area. As I was prepping for the meeting, I got word from my parents that there were more heirloom tomatoes coming from their farm.

With that in mind, I went into our cellar and sorted through the ones we still had from the last batch and decided a early morning batch of stewed Italian-style tomatoes with fresh herbs from our rooftop garden was the best way to use them up. I chopped tomatoes up into rough big pieces—it was a colourful batch with all kinds of tomatoes in the mix: green zebra, brandywine yellow, etc .

I first seared them with fresh garlic and then added a fistful of fresh herbs picked from the roof: thyme, fresh bay leaves, oregano and let it simmer till noon when it will put into mason jars and kept until we need it.

Herbs from the roof

Coffee is a good way to start the day but making a batch of fresh stewed tomatoes from scratch using our own herbs and Dad’s tomatoes is better. And there’s always the coffee that comes after the tomatoes.

Good day to all,

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A Visit to Bar Chef

On the second day of our trip to Toronto, we went to Susur Lee’s restaurant Lee. As with most trips, there is always a place that we look forward to the most and this was mine. We got there late but enjoyed a pretty good dinner: the service was a bit off, but the food and the vision were both really great.

We were stuffed after the meal and ready to have a drink so we thought we would check out Bar Chef, which is reputed to be the centre of Toronto’s craft cocktail culture.

It was a short walk, so off we went. We walked in and there were only 5 guests other than us so we were able to get a good spot on the end of the bar. The room was very well designed lots of dark woods with accents of natural woods, damask prints and some old photos from the prohibition era.

The bar was lined with many different jars of bitters and infusions. We perused the list of cocktails which contained a good selection of balanced drinks and even a vodka cocktail, which is rare on a craft list.

We tried a couple of cocktails both were very good and well balanced. The third page of the list was all molecular-based drinks and was a bit intimidating based on price and value–the most expensive drink on the list was a $45 Smoked Manhattan! “No way” I thought as we looked for round 2! Owner and bartender Frankie busted us and realized we were industry . . . I guess the pictures with no flash gave us away . . . that’s our usual bar creeping style.

Al and I got to talking about the craft cocktail scene and agreed there was no one in Toronto even close to Vancouver . . . but the molecular stuff had yet to arrive in front of us.

The first two were a Mad Man and a Margarita.

Second was a small gift of Mojito Sphere…

Then the topper was the smoking Manhattan: fiery wood chips, Crown Royal Extra Rare, let it smoke for 2-3 minutes and enjoy.

All the drinks were exceptional, some may say hokey, but we thought great value, and entertainment–and sometimes we just want some entertainment.

Would I order these all the time? Nope! Would I order cocktails from the bulk of the list? Yes, for sure! Can they replace Bobbi K, Jeff, Josh, JT, Jamie or Steve? Not yet, but it was a close second.

So, cheers to Vancouver and a great culture of cocktails!!!

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Straight from Karl's Dad to Two Chefs and a Table

A few months back I told you about the tomatoes my dad was growing when I went up there for a visit on my MINI wine tour, we updated the progress of the crop. Al and I were recently in Toronto and we got a phone call from my Dad who said that he had some tomatoes ready to go. We couldn’t wait to see them so I told him to box ‘em up and throw them on the bus! To our surprise, “some tomatoes” meant 125 lbs of amazing heirloom tomatoes, like green zebras, yellow and red strawberries, and many more . . . We immediately got to work on the menu for tonight to start making the most of this crop. A couple highlights from the menu are:

–Heirloom tomato and Panzanella Salad–Balsamic reduction, Bocconcini, Olive Oil and micro herbs

–Hecate Strait Halibut w/Prosciutto, fresh sage, fingerling potato and an heirloom tomato broth

There will be more to come and we’ll them as post as they’re created.

They look even better up close

We do want to say thanks to my Dad and Mom and the hard work. It’s amazing what some extra love and attention can get you, and what a proud son I am to serve them in my restaurant! Yes, Friday was one of those days that makes the long hours worth it!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

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