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The Oyster Bar is on the Gourmet Food floor of the Bellavita complex by the Taipei City Hall MRT station. It boasts a very sleek look especially for a food court kiosk restaurant. Their specialty as you can probably guess, is oysters. We ordered two Ecailles oysters that were said to have a fruity taste – and boy, did they! Never had an oyster with such a unique taste that’s for sure.
Not too far away from the SoGo department store in the Zhongxiao Dunhua district is the unique VVG Bon Bon (13, Lane 161, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei 台北市敦化南路一段161巷13號). One of the most interesting places I have been to in Taiwan so far, this spot is great for a leisurely afternoon lunch or for high tea. The decoration inside, the general vibe and the clientele (from what I saw today) here is almost too cute for words. Housing an eclectic collection of items (silver glitter antler horns, a smiling child sized giraffe, several foot tall wooden nutcrackers, plastic cakes etc.) that would otherwise seem tacky or overdone on their own, VVG Bon Bon finds a way to make the pieces work together to create a fun atmosphere.
The Sheraton Hotel (Lai-Lai Fan Dien) houses a number of renowned restaurants, including the Japanese Momoyama. Just a few steps away from the Shandao Temple MRT Station, the hotel is conveniently located. We ordered a set menu that included a variety of savory items, starting off with a sour vinaigrette salad with raw salmon and scallops which was really great – I loved it.
Alibi Room is a Gastown staple known for it’s unbelievably large selection of craft beers on tap. Having around 26 taps going at a time, the pub rotates new beers in all the time and posts beer related updates via Twitter. Although the beers are the main draw here, the food menu is formidable and diverse – featuring everything from Smoked Sablefish to Lamb Sirloin to Red Coconut Vegetable Curry.
To accompany our beers, we ordered Smoked Albacore Tuna salad with crutons, carrot, daikon, pumpkin seeds & creamy miso dressing along with BC Bison cheese steak with spiced bison flank, peppers, onions & cheddar. Pumpkin seed ‘slaw and fries and BBQ Pork Belly sandwich with beer braised onions, jalapeno ‘slaw & fries.
The smoked albacore dish was a large portion and had a great summer taste with the miso dressing, pumpkin seeds and daikon. The Bison Burger (one of the more popular dishes) and the Pork Belly sandwich paired perfectly with our beers and tasted great. The Pumpkin seed slaw and Jalapeno slaw were welcome additions as well.
Mitsui is elegant, sophisticated and chic. With slick black granite floors and tables, stylish wood/glass partitions and an understated, minimalistic decor, the restaurant is known to cater to celebrities, mobsters and famous politicians as well as the local elite. The service is impeccable here. The ratio of the wait staff to the clientele is almost one to one – that is how well taken care of each individual at the restaurant is. Or at least that’s how it feels, and that’s what counts. The minute we sat down, we got bowls of tea, wet towels to clean our hands with and additional cutlery to match what we ordered. Our bags and jackets, leaning on the backs of our seats, had black bags put over them so as to ensure nothing would get dirty.
Almost every time I have gone to Chez Nick’s there has been a line up backing the place up from the inside out. This time, perhaps because it was a Monday, there was less foot traffic and we were able to get a spot immediately. One of the most popular diners in the Westmount area, Chez Nick’s is busy chiefly because of its historical past (founded in 1920) as well as its Kosher friendly menu options – the restaurant serves traditional food for a higher than traditional price. But that’s a given, considering the location in which it is.
Chu Chai is one of the few Asian vegetarian restaurants in Montreal, and a good one at that. Serving a fusion of Thai and Chinese influenced food, Chu Chai has the fine dining area of the restaurant along with the terrasse sectioned off from the Chuch bistro (variation of Chu Chai) next door, which offers more of a take out sort of deal. The latter also features a bring your own wine policy.
Mundo Trattoria is probably the ‘hottest’ restaurant in the West Island – the place to see and be seen, if you’re into that. The outdoor seating area is limited (fits less than ten) but is quite pleasant to look at, what with an immaculately manicured patch of grass and perfectly trimmed bushes. The windows stretch up to the ceilings – at least twenty feet high, giving the restaurant the illusion of being bigger than it really is (not a bad thing).
Exhausted after sunning ourselves all day and swimming in the lake (I know, hard life right), we had to have something that was going to fill our empty stomachs and wake us back up. While enjoying the beautiful view of our backyard, we started with a tomato and watermelon salad with feta, dill and mint. The first time this dish was made was for my parents – for their joint birthdays back in April. Since then, it has become a house favorite for the summer, despite the seemingly uncommonly put together ingredients. The watermelon brings sweetness to the dish, the tomatoes weight, the walnuts a crunchy texture and the mint and dill a surprising twist. The recipe can be found here.
For the grilled vegetables, all you need is fresh produce. Cut up a few eggplants, asparagus, red peppers, artichoke and whatever else you fancy and throw them on the grill. Easy!
The challah bread is store bought, so just head to your closest Kosher bakery and pick up a loaf.
The ribs are perfect for a summer BBQ. Juicy, tender and oh-so-delicious. The ribs have to be pre-cooked for three hours until the meat is falling off the bone. It must then be marinated with Diana Sauce and grilled for five to seven minutes.
Check out this link to get the details on how to make the rhubarb strawberry oat crumble. This is also a relatively easy recipe to get through. Throw all the ingredients together in a baking dish and put it in the oven. Good to go![flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626900447500″]
Last night, we ate according to the weather. Cool and grey, the humid spring temperature brought the black flies and the mosquitos out of hiding and out into the open, forcing us to abandon any hope of staying outdoors. Scampering inside to avoid the pestering swarm, we contented ourselves with making a delicious home-cooked country meal.
The leek and potato soup required we ‘sweat’ the vegetables (carrots, celery, leeks and onions) in order to extract the flavor for the soup base. Thickening it with cream and potatoes, we finished the dish with salt and pepper and served it with a dash of cayenne pepper for a hint of spicy flavor.
For the salad, we used a spring mix with arugula and added orange slices, sliced avocado, chopped red onions and dried cranberries. The dressing was half a lemon’s worth of juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple yet tasty!
The main meal had us sautéing the onions, carrots with added spices of cardamom, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. The chicken slices were done in a similar way with raisins, plums and oranges, later baked in the oven for 60 minutes. The Israeli couscous was boiled and mixed in with the chicken and vegetables. All in all, a great meal! For the next time, I would serve smaller portions of the soup and the main as they are both heavier dishes. The Israeli couscous must be boiled for at least fifteen minutes (don’t treat it like regular couscous – that takes around ten minutes) otherwise the grain comes out a little tougher than most people like.
Good luck and enjoy!
Close to Concordia University, La Panthère Verte offers fresh and organic food, a healthy alternative to the multitude of fast food restaurants close by. Firmly entrenched in promoting a green lifestyle, the Panthère not only supports locally grown produce but also offers the city’s first ever organic meals-on-(bike)wheels service.