Bits and Pieces of Vancouver

Friday, August 31, 2012

Vu and I spent last week in the Pacific Northwest, soaking in the summer sun, fresh sea breeze, and scent of the pine forest.  We are sharing some of our favorite finds in Vancouver. 

Our first stop was Le Marche St. George, a charming and rustic café/pantry down the street from Vu’s cousins’ house.  

It’s a hidden gem of Vancouver.  The shop is stocked with products made from local artists as well as an impressive collection of teas, pasta, olive oils, honey, and pantry items.   

While Vu and our lovely tour guides were enjoying their delectable pastries, coffee, and tea, I was snapping pictures after pictures.   

What a lovely cafe.  I can spend every morning here even though I don’t drink coffee. 

Our lovely tour guides.

Our second favorite store was Old Faithful Shop in Gastown.   

The owner and genius behind Old Faithful Shop, Walter Manning, sources beautiful products from around the world, whether they are enamelwares from England, syrup from New York, coffee from San Francisco, or home grown products right in the heart of Vancouver.   

And of course, I couldn’t walk away empty handed.  I bought a few items for our kitchen. 


With limited time, we made a quick stop at the Granville Island Public Market for some tasty pates from Oyama Sausage Company.   

I was amazed at their diverse selection of pates, prosciuttos, salamis, and sausages.  We ordered the duck prosciutto and four different types of pate which we thoroughly enjoyed. 

Unlike our past trips, we focused more on exploring Vancouver and less on the culinary scene.  There were a couple restaurants that were memorable.   

For our last morning in Vancouver, Vu’s cousins took us to Santouka for ramen which did not disappoint. 

It’s comparable to our favorite ramen restaurant in San Diego.  The broth was flavorful and the meat was tender.  

For one of our dinners, we went to Blue Water Café and Raw Bar.   The appetizers were not impressive, but the scallops and sable fish entrees were delicious.

Thanks to Vu’s cousins, we had a fabulous time in Vancouver.  We are already planning our next trip!  Until next time Vancouver!   

Summer Berries Crumble

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In a blink of an eye, July was gone.  I felt cheated.  Summer is almost over.  I am savoring all the fruits of summer, particularly berries.  Strawberries.  Raspberries.  Currants.   

Strawberries  and raspberries are abundant in summer while currants, whether red, white, or champagne, have a short season, appearing for a brief time in July.  If you get lucky, you might catch them in August.   

To celebrate these wonderful berries, I am tossing together a crumble.  The fragrant of berries bursting with juices permeated the kitchen.   

Vu and I were in for a treat.  It was our first time tasting a crumble.  Our only regret was the missing ice cream.  Vanilla ice cream would have been perfect.  We’ll have to try the crumble with ice cream next time.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Summer Berries Crumble (adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater)        

For the filling
1 cup of currants (red, white, or champagne)
2 cup of strawberries, hulled and diced
2 cups of raspberries
½ cup sugar

For the crumble
8 tbsps unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond meal (ground almond)
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup turbinado sugar 
3 tbsps water

1. Preheat the over to 350˚F.
2. Toss the fruits and sugar in a overproof dish.
3. With your fingers or using a food processor, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
4. Stir in the almonds, turbinado sugar, and rolled oats.
5. Shake the water over the crumble mixture.
6. Pour the crumble over the sugar fruits and bake for an hour, until the fruit juice bubbles through the crust.
7. Let it cool for 15 minutes and serve with ice cream.