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Jan 31, 2009 08:41 PM

Visiting Vancouver soon! Help Moh eat More!

Greetings Vancouver Hounds!

I am very excited to be coming to Vancouver for the first time in several years, and I was hoping for some help in making some food decisions. Unfortunately, I have limited time. I also will eat anything, but in particular look forward to eating some decent sushi and soup dumplings, which are hard to find in Montreal. I also love British Isle type foods, which are very hard to find in Montreal. Would love your suggestions. Here is the Itinerary so far, but it is subject to change depending on availability of family and friends.

Fly in Wed. morning, weather permitting. I would love a suggestion for a lunch in Downtown, open to suggestions of anything good.

I would love suggestions for a good coffee joint for Wed. Afternoon. Is Artigiano my best bet for a quality cup of java?

Wed. early evening: This may be my only chance to eat in Vancouver proper. I am torn. I am craving good sushi, and I see that Octopus's garden is closed Wed. I am considering Lime or Tojo (I have eaten at Tojo in the past and loved it). I am intrigued by the homemade noodles at Lime, I always love noodles. But here is my dilemma. I would also love to try the Izakaya joints as well, as we have no such experience in Montreal. What do I do? I have this half-crazed idea of hitting a sushi joint, trying to eat moderately, then trying to get in a few stops at the Izakaya places as well. Is this too much food? Would this take too much time? Complicating the matter is the fact that I am staying on Bowen Island Wed night, and so I'll have to get a ferry earlier rather than later to get to Bowen. I would love opinions on whether I should go for the sushi, or if I should do the izakaya thing.

I am likely going to try Shanghai River Restaurant in Richmond on Thursday for lunch, for soup dumplings. I have heard very good things about this place from a Chinese friend of mine. But I am open to suggestions. In particular, I search out soup dumplings filled with delicious broth and with thin wrappers.

I then head up to Whistler for a few days, and I was wondering if there are any suggestions of good places to eat in Whistler. I recall having sushi up there that was very good, maybe if I can't get sushi in Vancouver proper due to lack of time, do you think I could make up for it in Whistler? Also, any suggestions for nice lunches in Whistler would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday looks like it might be busy with family visits. I will be out in the White Rock region. Any suggestions for a nice simple lunch on Monday before I head to the airport?

It is a little bit of a crazy itinerary! And I guess I am actually spending very little time in Vancouver proper. Very sad about that, I will have to head out again sometime when I am less booked up and eat proper.

I am very open to any type of cuisine, although I do get very good french food in my home town, so I am less interested in that. I do love eating locally when can, so if there are any nice suggestions that might be open for lunches (when I have the greatest flexibility), it would be great. I am also always interested in Vancouver specialties, sweet or savoury. Thanks very much for your help!

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  1. I never got to try this place when i was in Vancouver because it didn't exist yet and you've most likely heard of it already but a trip to Japa Dog might be in order. Not only do you get to try something unique but you also get to eat some street food which is forbidden here!

    1. Hey moh!

      Lunch downtown...Japadog is closed for the season, IIRC. How about dim sum at Kirin's Alberni location? Shanghai Chinese Bistro is also close by.

      On your Sushi/Izakaya dillema: I suggest you eat sushi downtown and then do an izakaya crawl. I suggest Okada (which is right downtown)...then head over to Robson St then crawl down the hill...Guu (2 locations), then Hapa, then Zakkushi, then Kingyo. Have a drink or two and a couple of apps at each location. It will be epic but worth it. Hopefully weather permitting...the walk is a bit long. Make sure you have good shoes. What time is the last Bowne Island ferry?

      Shanghai RIver is a good choice for XLB...I finally had the XLB there a couple of months back (I wasn't able to take pics, unfortunately)...try the one with crab as well. Vancouver has many places that serve good XLB.

      Whistler: Bearfoot Bistro and Sushi Village....there are more, I'm sure, but I don't head up in that direction often.

      British Isle about The Irish Heather for some Bangers and Mash.

      Coffee: Artigiano is good...and might be your best bet downtown. Wicked and JJ Bean as well. If you make it out to Commercial Dr, my faves there are JJ Bean, Prado and Bump 'n Grind (they have a Clover). Elysian Room is also very good - but not right downtown. The coffee scene here is quite competitive and there are many places that are worthy.

      White Rock...hhmm...I haven't been in a while. I have heard good things about Pearl on the Rock - it gets raves. I have not been.

      14 Replies
      1. re: fmed

        Hey moh -- as usual fmed is giving great recs, and you will be closer to the ferry downtown than on Commercial if you choose izakaya but you've set yourself a tight schedule. I notice the last ferry to Bowen leaves Horseshoe Bay at 9:35 pm which doesn't leave you a ton of time for a crawl but you could fit in a couple of places if you're willing to start right at opening and you're walking on to the ferry.

        If you have more time on Wed day and want to drift a bit further afield for lunch and coffee, may I suggest a quick cab ride over to 4th Avenue for Fuel, Gastropod or Bistrot Bistro (though the last is French) who all hew to a local focus followed by a visit to either Elysian per fmed or my current favourite, 49th Parallel's flagship store? It doesn't appear to be in the links so here's the 411: 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters (604) 420-4900 2152 West 4th Avenue btwn Yew and Arbutus.

        Wicked is also great but further east though still on the same side of the bridge (you can check out their nifty copper counter too and there are lots of art galleries along Granville to look in whilst you sip your coffee if you get it to go).

        Wicked Cafe
        1399 W 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6H, CA

        Fuel Restaurant
        1944 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1M5, CA

        Bistrot Bistro Ltd
        1961 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 1M7, CA

        1938 W. 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1M5, CA

        Elysian Room
        1778 W 5th, Vancouver, BC V6J1P2, CA

        1. re: grayelf

          A new Wicked location on Hornby St opened recently....I haven't been yet.

          A 9:35 sailing does not leave a lot of time. Perhaps sushi can wait for another day. Just do a couple of izakaya (you can get sushi at Hapa, Kingyo, etc.)

          1. re: fmed

            Right you are, fmed, sorry to be confusing!

          2. re: grayelf

            Greyelf, I am very mobile! I saw the websites for Fuel and Gastropod, and they lloked fabulous! I must say I was very drawn by the menu at Gastropod, But I think they are only open for dinner... Still, between the two, which do you prefer? And There is a very high chance I shall be hitting 49th parallel! I have been loving their beans here in Montreal!

            Re: Izakaya crawl: I am planning to start the minute they open. Realistically, what is the shortest reasonable time to spend at one of these places? Do you sit for hours to really get the vibe? Or is it tapas bar like where you can spend 30-45 minutes per spot, trying the specialty, then on to the next spot for their speciality? Is this unrealistic?

            1. re: moh

              On izakaya - the food and beer come fast. You can spend as little as a half hour at each place. Some places are more authentic in vibe than others (Guu, etc.). Hapa and Kingyo, for example, feel more like restaurants than bars (if you know what I mean). I say make an attempt to do a crawl and move quickly without rushing yourself.

              If you are going mid-week, you will not have to endure a line up at any of these places - so you can walk right in, sit at the bar and eat. However, the vibe mid-week is also much tamer than on the weekends so you'll have to adjust your expectations.

              1. re: moh

                >> I saw the websites for Fuel and Gastropod, and they lloked fabulous! I must say I was very drawn by the menu at Gastropod, But I think they are only open for dinner... Still, between the two, which do you prefer?

                I like Fuel over Gastropod...but that opinion is based on preference and not quality. They are both very good and you will experience the cooking of two star chefs (Robert Belcham and Angus An).

                1. re: moh

                  Fuel serves lunch, I believe only on weekdays. And it kicks ass.

              2. re: fmed

                Fmed, I may have to try the izakaya thing as you suggest. Nothing like that back home...

                Re: Shanghai River and soup dumplings, how did it compare to your previous favorites that you posted on the soup dumpling thread? I am willing to travel for excellent soup dumpings! But my friend mentioned the crab dumplings at Shanghai River, and also recommended them. I do love crab!

                Hoo, Irish heather looks great! How are their fish and chips? Might be able to convince my friend easily to go there for lunch... Are they open every day for lunch? I can't tell from their website.

                1. re: moh

                  The XLB at Shanghai River is in the top five for sure: Lin's (Vancouver), Wang's (Burnaby), Chen's (Richmond), Long's Noodle House (Vancouver), Shanghai River. Shanghai RIver is the fanciest of the lot. I have to get back to Shanghai river soon to take pics and update that thread.

                  The Heather is great...(I have to admit that it used to be much better at their old location - both in food and ambiance). I've never had their Fish and Chips....but if that is your thing - you might want to check out Go Fish at Granville Island.

                  1. re: fmed

                    I just spoke to someone at the Heather who said brunch starts at 11:30 and lunch at 12 and he thought it was all week but you might want to call and confirm this later with FOH as he sounded a bit unsure. I second fmed's rec to hit Go Fish if you want f&c (I love their fish, chips are good also) or their excellent tacones (go for a white fish if they have it on offer and ask for extra hot sauce on the side instead of coleslaw which comes in the tacone already -- the salmon I find a bit heavy).

                    I assumed Gastropod was open for lunch which appears to be a bad assumption. I have in fact only been to Fuel for lunch so I think I can recommend it!

                    If you are craving 49th Parallel, it is also served at other outlets (obviously, or you wouldn't have it in Montreal!). I know of a couple on the west side (Elysian, Dolcetto and the Edge come to mind) but I'm guessing they must be downtown also. If you have time might be worth a call to their head office as they suggest on their website 604-420-4900 x101 . I think I started a thread on this a while ago so I'll dig it up as well... ah, here it is:

                    1. re: fmed

                      I aggressively second the recommendation on Go Fish over The Heather. Their fish and chips are excellent.

                  2. re: fmed

                    Japadog's website says they reopen on January 30th.

                    1. re: blond_america

                      Thanks for that update blond_america.

                    2. re: fmed

                      I was at the Sutton Place Hotel last Friday and Japadog was up and running!

                    3. Thanks everyone for the great replies and suggestions!

                      I have heard great thing about Wicked cafe, so i shall no doubt spend some time drinking java there. Still hoping to hit 49th parallel, which will depend on what I do for lunch. If my friend can join me, we'll do something close to work, like Irish Heather. If not, I shall boot down to Kitsilano and check out Fuel. Is it hard to get reservations for weekday lunch? If I get to Fuel, then 49th Parallel is more realistic.

                      Looks like we shall try to fit in some sashimi, and Izakaya after all! Very excited. I love the Japadog suggestion from Blonde America, I shall at least try to swing by, it looks very amusing.

                      I am a little worried about the amount of food I am going to try to eat on Wed, it could be bad. Still, can't let this opportunity go to waste!

                      I shall definitely report back. Thanks again Hounds! I knew I could count on all of you!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: moh

                        Getting a table at Fuel for lunch is easy. The schnitzel sandwich is unreal.

                        1. re: Cancuk

                          The lunch menu looked great! It is a win-win situation, either i get to eat lunch with my friend, or I get to go to Fuel for a lovely lunch on my own...

                          1. re: moh

                            If you are on your own, sit at the bar up front to catch the action.

                      2. Well the Vancouver/Whistler trip was a huge success, thanks to the many great suggestions from the Vancouver Hounds! Here is a report of the eating frenzy that took place this weekend. I shall break it up into sections and days. Sorry for the length of this post!

                        Wednesday: Landed in Vancouver, and immediately went downtown to meet my good friend for lunch. We decided to check out The Irish Heather, as it was close to his workplace and we could walk there. We had a bit of trouble finding it at first, as there is a lot of construction on the street in front of it.

                        When we went in, my friend said, “It’s really changed since it moved from the old location.” He feels the atmosphere isn’t quite as cozy or authentically Irish-Pub-like.
                        We proceeded to share the fried cauliflower and hummous appetizer, followed by the Heather Pot Pie. The fried cauliflower was a real hit, perfectly fried, with a wonderful cauliflower taste, but without too much grease. The accompanying hummous was very good, but it took me a few moments to warm to the concept of hummous with the cauliflower. I don’t really understand my reluctance, as fried cauliflower usually goes great with hummous in middle eastern cuisine. But in an Irish pub? It was a little discordant. But after a few bites, I began to really enjoy the combination. By the end, we were fighting over the last few bites. It was $7 for a very large portion that can easily be shared by 2-4 people as a small appetizer. It would be a lot for one person.

                        The heather pot pie is a huge steak and Guinesss pie served with mash potatoes and brown gravy. The portion is very generous, and I was quite relieved we decided to share this plate. This is a satisfying pie, comfort food in all its glory. We don’t get very good meat pies back home, we have excellent tortiere, but it is very different from British and Irish meat pies. There were tasty chunks of steak and carrots and peas in the pie. The brown gravy was very soothing, although perhaps I would have liked a bit more flavour as it was a little bland. The mash potato was very comforting as well. $14 for the very large portion. It was perfect for 2 of us to share with the appetizer.

                        My friend had to return to work, so I wandered off to find Japadog. I didn’t realize it was a hot dog cart! I was looking for the address, when I noticed a bunch of people standing in line in front of the cart. Very cool! I wasn’t all that hungry, but how could I pass on the chance to try these things? I ordered the Okonomi dog. It is a kurobuta pork sausage covered with Japanese mayo, a brown sweet sauce, shaved bonito flakes and fried cabbage. Despite the fact that I was not at all hungry, I finished the whole dog. Dang! I wish we had such great street food in Montreal! It was really delicious. The bonito flakes and the fried cabbage works very well to flavour the hot dog, although I wish they had put a bit more fried cabbage on the dog. The fried cabbage gives a sweet crunch to the dog, and the bonito adds a lovely umami flavour, very unique.

                        Then I wandered over to Wicked Café on Hornby, one block over from Japadog. Vancouverites are truly spoiled by the choice of great cafes, you all have it very good. The espresso and macchiato were excellent, made with Intelligentsia Black Cat beans.

                        I then met my friend again, and the real crazy fun started. Keep in mind that I had all my luggage with me as we trotted from place to place, trying to fit in some good eating before we had to catch the ferry to Bowen Island…

                        We took a cab to Lime on Commercial Drive, and got there as the doors opened. We quickly ordered some sake and a beer for my friend. We also ordered the following items: Mackeral nigiri sushi, Dynamite roll, Hamachi (yellowtail) and sockeye salmon sushi, toro sashimi and zarusoba.

                        The toro sashimi was astoundingly delicious. Thick luscious pieces of fatty tuna, they melt in your mouth and the flavour is exquisite. As I ate my first bite, I realized that I would no longer be able to eat sushi/sashimi in Montreal. There is just no point. $18 for 7 generous pieces, and I feel it is worth every penny. A minor quibble: I found the pieces were a little uneven in their shapes, thin in some spots, thicker in others. I also found two small bones in one of the pieces.

                        The dynamite roll consisted of shrimp tempura, asparagus, spicy mayo and golden tobiko rolled with sushi rice. We ordered this on request of my friend, and I am very happy we did. The sushi rice was nicely seasoned, the individual rice grains were distinct, yet still held together nicely. The shrimp tempura was still warm, and the shrimp was sweet and juicy, so much better than most of the shrimp we get back home. The asparagus was very fresh, excellent texture. The tobiko was also extremely fresh, no fishy oily taste, just pure essence of the sea. Eating this roll reminded me why dynamite rolls were so popular. Good ingredients make such a difference! This roll is so far above the pre-made cheap rolls I usually have access to, again, it may not be possible for me to order dynamite rolls back home ever again. $8 for 6 pieces.

                        The nigiri sushi (mackerel - $5 per piece, sockeye salmon $2 per piece and hamachi, $4 per piece) were also outstanding, the quality of the fish was amazing. I had forgotten what real non-farmed salmon looked and tasted like. Of course, the pickled ginger was also delicious and it was nice not having the bright pink colour. The rice was excellent. This is a very minor quibble, but I found the rice ball a little small. You can see from the picture of the salmon nigiri that the rice ball is miniscule compared to the size of the fish slice. The rice is so nice that I wish there had been a little more of it in the nigiri. I am nit-picking here. But when you are so close to perfection…

                        The zarusoba (cold hand-made soba noodles with a dashi dipping sauce) were such a lovely treat. You could tell they had been made by hand, and that they were fresh. They had that wonderful texture you can only get in hand-made noodles. We dipped them in a dashi broth that we seasoned with grated daikon and green onions. After we finished the noodles, we diluted the dashi broth with liquid that the noodles had been cooked in, and drank the broth. The dashi broth was delicate and haunting. Again, a small quibble: some of the noodles were uneven. This suggests that there are minor knife skill issues in the kitchen. Soba noodle making is an art, and in Japan, the apprenticeships can apparently be quite long. Part of the expertise involves cutting the noodles into aesthetically pleasing pieces, which takes great skill and practice. I know, I am really nit-picking now. Please understand that the food I had at Lime was really one of the highlights of my year! These are very minor issues.

                        We then grabbed a bus back to Robson (with my luggage in tow). The first place we found was Hapa Izakaya. Another order of sake, and a few dishes. We ordered the chawan mushi, a delicate savoury custard with pieces of chicken, edamame, scallop, fish cake and crab. The texture and delicate flavour of the custard was very good, and I quite enjoyed this dish, although my friend was not as impressed. I found the crab to be underwhelming, it didn’t taste as fresh as the other ingredients. We also got the kakuni, pork belly served with steamed bread on the side. The pork belly was soft and rich, and the bread was a lovely vehicle with which to transport the sauce and pork to one’s mouth. I found it a bit too rich to eat a whole one myself, it was a good serving to share. The atmosphere at Hapa is very urban and chic. Service was friendly and helpful.

                        We had time and stomach space for only one more place, so we went onto Kingyo on Denman. Our bartender was very friendly, and we had a great time chatting with him. We ordered another sake, which was my favorite of the evening, unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the name of it. I also had a yuzu gin and tonic. It was a good gin and tonic, but I was underwhelmed by the flavour of the yuzu. We only had room for the ebi mayo, deep fried shrimp served with chili mayonnaise. The shrimp were very sweet and succulent, expertly fried, and the mayonnaise was very spicy. I loved this dish! It comes with a deep fried lotus root, which I thought was a lovely touch. I really loved Kingyo, and wish we had been able to try more dishes.

                        Well, that was only Wednesday…. I’ll get other reports out soon. I don’t think the other posts will be quite as long…. There is no way I could continue eating at this pace.

                        Picture number 1: Irish Heather pot pie
                        Picture 2: Okonomi hot dog, Japa dog
                        Picture 3: Sushi/sashimi at Lime: Dynamite roll, mackerel nigiri, sockeye salmon nigiri, hamachi nigiri
                        Picture 4: Toro sashimi, Lime

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: moh

                          Few more pics:

                          Picture 5: Zarusoba at Lime
                          Picture 6: Chawan mushi, Hapa
                          Picture 7: Kakuni, Hapa
                          Picture 8: Sake at Kingyo

                          1. re: moh

                            One last pic:

                            Picture 9: Ebi mayo, Kingyo

                            1. re: moh

                              Well done moh. Glad that the trip was a success.

                              I'm also very happy you enjoyed Lime. It is still flying under the radar in this city.

                              Looking forward to the rest of your reports!

                              1. re: fmed

                                Thanks Fmed and Maplesugar for your kind feedback! I will be putting together a new installment soon, most like tomorrow night. Sorry for the delay, it has been busy.

                                I really loved Lime. I hope it gets more press soon. Such a treat to eat such lovely food. I think it gets looked over because it is out on Commercial, rather than being close to downtown. I'm already angling for reasons to come back to Vancouver soon, so I can eat more from their menu.

                                1. re: moh

                                  I too hope Lime becomes a success as I live just around the corner.

                                  1. re: fmed

                                    Great report, moh. Your capacity to snack is awesome (and maybe a bit scary!).

                                    I agree 100% on the okonomi dog -- just had my first one on Monday. Though very tasty and highly recommended, I too wish there was just a leetle bit more cabbage, for the crunch. Side note: I approve of their use of sesame buns as the seeds add a wee bit of extra Japanese flavour IMO. The price tag might scare a few people ($6.25) but I thought it was worth it for the extra porky goodness of the Kurobota.

                                    I've not had the pleasure of trying the kakuni at Hapa, an oversight I must rectify as it is one of my favourite izakaya-ish dishes.

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      I think you should definitely ask for a bit more fried cabbage next time! It is so good on the okonomi dog! I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the bonito flakes.

                                      As for the Kakuni, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of it. I adore pork in all its incarnations. But I found this prep a little sweet and so rich that even I could not finish a whole helping myself. Now from what I've read about kakuni, I think this is the style of this dish.

                                      1. re: moh

                                        Moh, I actually asked for my okonomi-dog without bonito flakes (hangs head in shame) -- I've just never developed a taste for them, though I love the way they "dance" on hot dishes.

                                        I think that's kinda the way kakuni is supposed to be, though I'm no expert. Definitely a dish to share!

                              2. re: moh

                                Some threads you read, you think "neat" and move on.. this thread I bookmarked. Thanks moh, I look forward to the next update :)

                            2. Thursday:

                              As you may recall, we took a water taxi out to Bowen Island after the end of our sushi/izakaya crawl on Wed. night, as my friends live out there. After a too-brief visit, I took the morning ferry back the next morning. We caught the 7:30 ferry, and while waiting for the ferry, we stopped by the Snug on Bowen Coffee House. They open very early! It is a good thing. You need to grab a coffee and some breakfast while waiting to get the ferry, and this is a very fun place to do so. The proprietors are very friendly. I bought a couple of sausage rolls and Cornish pasty to go with my java. How I love British Isles meat pies! These ones were particularly delicious. I haven’t had this good a Cornish pasty in many years. The pastry is light and flaky, and you could eat this pastry with nothing else and still be satisfied, it has fabulous texture and flavour. It is even better when paired with the delicious meat filling, with some potato and peas. The meat is nicely seasoned, and this pie is fabulous. It is good hot or cold, but better hot, and they are kind enough to warm it for you. The sausage roll had the same delicious pastry, and a savoury sausage filling, very tasty. I am sorely missing these fine pies. The coffee is reasonable filter coffee, nothing special, but very quaffable. If you are ever out on Bowen, this place is a lovely place to stop for a snack or light meal.

                              Once back in Vancouver, I spent a quiet morning at Café Artegiano on Granville, where I had an excellent café latte. I also had the chai latte, which is good, but they make it from a syrup. I am not usually a fan of chai made from syrup, they are often too sweet, but this one wasn’t overly sweet, and they sprinkle cinnamon on top. Still, I always prefer chai made fresh from tea and spices. But I was starting to get a little buzzy from all the coffee, and thought tea might be a wise choice. I also had a very nice yogurt with berries and granola, one of the better versions I’ve had. I felt fairly virtuous eating the yogurt, which just goes to show you how deluded I can be.

                              I then met up with my cousin, and we headed out to Shanghai River Restaurant in Richmond for soup dumplings for lunch. Soup dumplings may be one of my favorite foods ever. Dumplings stuffed with meat and broth? How can that be anything but yummy? The pork soup dumplings were delicate, with a nice thin skin, rich savoury broth and a flavourful pork filling. With the black vinegar and slivers of ginger, these were little pouches of heaven. The skins were not as thin as some I’ve had, but they were thin enough to impress me with their delicateness. The crab dumplings were also very good, but I felt the broth was not as rich and fatty as I usually like in a soup dumpling. I preferred the pork dumplings. We also had the hand-pulled Shanghai noodles with pork and cabbage. Hand-pulled noodles are such a luxury, they really have a different texture than premade noodles. These noodles were very comforting and satisfying. We also ordered a cold poached chicken dish marinated in a Shaoshing rice wine based sauce. The texture of the chicken was nice, but I found the wine flavour was overly-dominant and not well-balanced by the other ingredients in the sauce. Perhaps this is intentional? I am not sure, but I was not a big fan of this dish. We then saw some deep fried desserts passing by to other tables, and they looked so good, we had to get an order. They were described as Korean red bean balls, well, I am Korean, and I have never seen anything quite like these desserts. It was fun to have a dish which was a Chinese version of a Korean dish for a change. The dough is a very airy affair, no doubt made fluffier by whipped egg whites in the batter. The batter surrounds a core of red bean paste, and the whole thing is deep-fried until the batter puffs up. They sprinkle additional sugar on top. The resulting pastry is very light and eggy. Somehow, we managed to finish them all up. We also finished every last soup dumpling, but my cousin took a fair amount of noodles home as leftovers. The price for all this food was very reasonable, about $50 after tax and tip. We ordered way too much food. So much for virtuous.

                              I then rolled out of the restaurant and headed onto a shuttle bus to Whistler. I’d like to report that I took a break from eating, but some friends had some nice nuts and candies and some boxed red wine on the shuttle. As you can see, I tend to surround myself with people who also like to eat….

                              We had reservations at Rim Rock Café in Whistler for later on that evening. The atmosphere is perfect for a relaxed evening out, you really feel like you are in a ski chalet. Our waiter was very friendly and professional, and his suggestions were helpful and informed. We started with raw Kusshi oysters from Baynes Sound in B.C. These are small but meaty oysters with the typical rich creaminess of Pacific oysters, with cucumber and mineral flavours. These oysters were so fresh and delicious that they only required a tiny squeeze of lemon. Oh, yes, and some Taittinger NV champagne :) Champagne and oysters, not too shabby a start to the evening. The oysters were so good we ordered seconds.

                              We then shared the seafood antipasto plate. This appetizer fires on all cylinders, it is aesthetically pleasing and well executed. There is a selection of different dishes, and although none of the dishes are particularly original, the ingredients are all fresh and everything was very tasty. We had the following items:
                              - Fried soft-shell crab with ponzu sauce: One of my favorites preps. Delicious and fresh, perfectly executed.
                              - Oysters Rockerfeller with spinach, parmesan and lemon
                              - Ahi poke (Hawaiian tuna tartare seasoned with Asian seasonings such as black sesame seed, mirin, sesame oil, etc.) – This was outstanding, it brought me right back to Hawaii
                              - Spring salmon tartare, very good, but not that exciting compared to the ahi poke.
                              - Poached prawn with spicy cocktail sauce. The prawn was very sweet and succulent, so although it is not very original, I still enjoyed eating it.
                              - Smoked salmon and smoked tuna with crème fraiche, dill, lumpfish caviar and tortilla. Good, not exciting, but tasty.
                              - Sablefish ceviche with lime, cilantro, red onion, cucumber, red pepper – very well-done, very refreshing.
                              We had the Loimer Gruner Veltliner 2006, which had bracing acidity and mineral/citrus flavours. It went well with most of the appetizer items.

                              I then ordered the spring salmon entrée with lobster mash potato, balsamic reduction and lemon beurre blanc. This was accompanied by nicely done vegetables, broccoli, green bean, carrot, snow pea, yellow beet and a wonderful sweet potato and yam puree with cinnamon and nutmeg. Unfortunately, the salmon was slightly overcooked for my tastes. I like my salmon on the rare side, so I found this a bit dry, which was a shame, as it is a lovely piece of fish. To the restaurant’s credit, they offered to replace the salmon with a different piece, but I hate wasting fish, so I declined, and finished the piece I already had. It was still good, but not exceptional. It did however go beautifully with the Soter Beacon Hill Pinot Noir 2005, so I was still quite pleased with the dish. I did sample a piece of my friend’s sablefish seared in a macadamia but crust, and I have to say, this was an astounding piece of fish! Next time, that is what I will order.

                              By this point in time, I was so completely stuffed, I had to pass on dessert (This is an incredibly rare occurrence). Perhaps I was too full, but nothing really grabbed me off the dessert menu. I really enjoyed Rim Rock café, but it isn’t the most original or interesting menu. But their strength is in sourcing excellent ingredients, and allowing these ingredients to shine in all their glory. And when you can get such wonderful seafood, I think this approach is ideal.

                              Well, that was Thursday. You would think I would stop eating, but no fear, there are further reports to follow. Stay tuned…

                              More pics:

                              Picture 1: Cornish pasty, Snug on Bowen
                              Picture 2: Pork soup dumpling, Shanghai River
                              Picture 3: Crab soup dumpling, Shanghai RIver
                              Picture 4: Shanghai noodles, Shanghai River

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: moh

                                More pics from Thursday:

                                Picture 5: Chicken dish, Shanghai RIver
                                Picture 6: Red bean dessert with bite taken out so you can see the filling
                                Picture 7: Kusshi oysters, Rim Rock Cafe
                                Picture 8: Seafood Antipasto plate, Rim Rock Cafe

                                1. re: moh

                                  Last pic form Thursday:

                                  Picture 9: Salmon, Rim Rock Cafe

                                  1. re: moh

                                    Moh, another great report -- I like your writing style and choice of details to include.

                                    Re the overdone salmon, I've had this happen so many times I've given up ordering it when I go out and instead I order... sablefish!

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      ... or arctic char... it's everything I want salmon to be.

                                      1. re: twinkienic

                                        That's funny, twinkie, I almost added char, but I've developed a bit of a guilty complex about my love for it. It's pretty much replaced salmon, even for home cooking, which makes me feel weirdly unpatriotic for ignoring our "national" fish :-).