Category Archives: Contemporary

Gjelina – Los Angeles

What would a trip to LA be without dining at celebrity hotspots?

We went to Venice to lunch at Gjelina, a restaurant serving contemporary American food.

Even though we went at 2pm, we still had to wait half an hour for a table.  We got seated at the WORST table, by the front window.  It was so hot and was SWARMING with mosquitos.  We took turns shooing away the mosquitos.. no wonder they got a B grade from the health department.  I think the celebrities sit in their own special room cause seriously, I don’t think I would be returning if I had to seat in that spot again.

The food, however, was really good!

Tuscan kale, shaved fennel, radish, lemon, ricotta salata and breadcrumb

Santa Barbara uni crudo, horseradish,chives and sea salt….

Grilled radicchio, bacon, fontina and confit tomato

Duck Confit, chicory, persimmon, pine nuts and balsamic….

The whole dining experience (sweating and swatting mosquitoes) made this meal unbearable, even though the food was amazing.  We wouldn’t be returning unless this restaurant can have air-con and be mosquito-free.  For the price we paid, around 100 USD, I do not want to be sharing my meal with mosquitoes.  This is how I eat while travelling in South-East Asia.. at a 10th of the price!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Gjelina

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, United States
Phone:+1 310-450-1429
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Richmond Station – Toronto

For my only lunch in Toronto, I decided to continue eating through Canada’s Best restaurant list and picked  #42, Richmond Station.

It’s opened by a Top Chef winner and should be quite good…..

ginger beer..

quinoa salad… I think I can make this at home…

polenta fries… This is one of their most famous dishes but I’m not digging it.  The texture is weird and was quite dry….

smoked trout hush puppies… can’t describe the taste… was a bit funny too…

grilled summer vegetable sandwich with rosemary fries… a healthy alternative to a burger. loved the rosemary fries…

station burger…. really good juicy burger.. win!

peanut butter vibe…. all things peanut butter.. a bit too sweet

didn’t really like this meal.. the only good thing was the burger…..

hi toronto!

FAIM? un peu….

Richmond Station

1 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H 3W4, Canada
Phone:+1 647-748-1444

 

town. – Ottawa

I was searching for another option for dinner and found a lot of recommendations for Town.  It’s a modern Italian fusion bistro that’s famous for its meatballs.

yes peas cocktail

scallop crudo….

salt cod fritters.… regular croquettes…

grilled octopus salad…. the octopus wasn’t fresh cause it tasted a bit mushy….

ricotta stuffed meatballs…. the famous meatballs! It was actually so good!  The addition of cheese into meatballs made it more juicy and added texture.  The best dish in this restaurant.

Italian Ramen: capellini gratin, mushrooms, pork, 6 minute egg, crispy chicken skin.. let’s just say I prefer real ramen…

I guess it’s because the meal I had at Play Food Wine was so taste-bud blowing that this dinner at town. was less stellar in comparison.

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

town.

296 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1M3, Canada
+1 613-695-8696

Play food & wine – Ottawa

Probably the most interesting and best meal of this trip was lunch at Play.  We tried to get a reservation for Sat night but couldn’t…..instead, we had lunch there the next day.

They have a good lunch deal, 22 CAD for 2 plates.  You can even choose 2 plates of mains! The menu is the same throughout the day so I wouldn’t miss out on what they offered during dinner!

Albacore tuna, aioli, beet and truffle oil…. I love the beet sauce!

Octopus with jalapeño, crème fraîche, smoked fingerling and red wine..

Grilled romaine, apricot, onions, cashew and blue cheese…. I’ve never had grilled romaine before but it’s so good…. crisper and has the grilled taste!

Pickerel with vadouvan, harissa, chickpea, coconut, cauliflower…. the fish was tasteless but the crispy fish skin made up for it!

grilled hanger steak with mushrooms, fries and aioli…. the hanger steak was so flavourful!

Linguini with clams, tomato, parmesan broth, prosciutto and fennel… a bit too salty…

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Play food & wine

1 York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5S7, Canada
+1 613-667-9207

David Toutain – Paris, France

One of my most anticipated meals was lunch at Paris’ hottest restaurant, David Toutain.   Toutain had trained in many famous kitchens and had made a name for himself at Agapé Substance.  In 2013, Toutain opened his eponymous restaurant and has already earned one Michelin star.

The dining area is bright and airy, with a modern yet earthy decor..

I got seated upstairs beside a bookshelf filled with biographies and cookbooks of famous chefs.  Throughout the meal, I read David Toutain’s book to learn about how he came about with opening his own restaurant.  I felt like all meals should be accompanied by the chef’s autobiography!

the menu….. I picked the lunch menu at 45 euros..

Toutain’s own bottled water….

amuse-bouche: crispy tube made of beetroot and stuffed with beetroot cream…  very interesting… I took one bite of the crispy outside layer and out bursted the smoky beetroot cream… I wonder how they make this….

another amuse-bouche duo….

Poached egg ,onion, lemon verbena…. very light dish, both in flavour and texture-wise… reminds me of spring time…

Lemon verbena sponge cake…. to pair with the egg.. this was also very light..

bread… very interesting presentation…. it feels very nature-y…

White asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan sauce…..  Because there’s so many different flavours in this dish, it feels like you’re eating more than just 2 asparagus.                                                                                                                                                  Cod with Macadamia nuts, potato and leek, beans, onions , mint……. it looks a bit bland but surprising wasn’t…. and the cod was extremely tender…

more bread…

White chocolate, cauliflower, coconut ice-cream…. this was soooooooo good… very rich, creamy, refreshing… and healthy too (cauliflower!).. there is a slight cauliflower taste mixed with coconut… very inventive!

Citron tart with meringue and marjoram ice-cream…. the plating is so interesting….a modern take on the classic citron tart….

petit four.. there’s a piece of chocolate in the “soil”…. I actually dug around looking for more chocolate.. but sadly no..

how fitting… I saw this on their chalkboard when leaving.. The phrase, which means I’m hungry, is also a phrase on my blog!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

David Toutain

29 Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 45 50 11 10

Pirouette – Paris, France

We finally arrived in Paris, the last stop of our trip!  As our apartment was near Les Halles, we quickly dropped off our bags and headed to Pirouette, right before their lunch service ended.

Pirouette was mentioned a lot on Chowhound and rightly justified!bright, modern, airy interior..

My friend and I each ordered the lunch deal for 20 euros…. broccoli soup with bacon bits…

pork option…. surprisingly the pork was tender…fish option…we ordered an extra dessert because it sounded so good: chocolate ganache, coffee icecream and clove….  unfortunately, the coffee ice-cream was too bitter and overpowered the whole dessert…

After lunch, I went to the Musée de l’Orangerie to look at Monet’s Les Nymphéas.Monet’s water-lilies…

Bonjour Paris!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Pirouette

5 Rue Mondétour, 75001 Paris, France

Phone:+33 1 40 26 47 81

West – Vancouver

I took a few days off to fly home for Chinese New Year and it coincided with the end of Dine Out Vancouver 2014.   This time, we decided to try the normally-very-expensive West.

They had the same menu for lunch and dinner but the prices were $28 and $38 respectively. We went during lunch so it was a really good deal!

Golden Beet and Orange Soup (with bacon panko and tarragon creme fraiche)…. The soup was poured in front of us.. pretty interesting presentation.  It was an odd combination but somehow it worked..it tasted really light and refreshing..with a subtle hint of orange and beet..

Baby Carrot and Watercress Salad with Agassiz hazelnuts and preserved stone fruit vinaigrette….  My friend ordered this and said it tasted really bland. The presentation shocked him cause it looks like it’s a half-eaten salad!

Braised Veal Breast (with roasted cauliflower, pearl couscous and thyme jus)… The meat looked like it would really tough (from the sheer size of the dense meat) but it was surprising really tender…. and the skin on the top was really crispy!

Pacific Provider Wild Pink Salmon  (with Yukon gold potato blini, sunchoke puree black truffle and parsley marmalade)… I had a bite of this and the fish was really tender and had crispy skin.  I’m all for crispy skins!

Citrus tart ( spiced whole wheat crust with vanilla and raspberry swirl ice-cream)… the tart was really sour..but the sweetness of the ice-cream balanced it out..

Malted Chocolate Cake (with caramelized banana and sesame snaps)… really dense choco cake..

Overall, this was probably one of the best Dine Out meals I’ve had….artsy presentation and great food but mainly because the portions were quite big for Dine Out standards!  Unlike other restaurants, this time, I didn’t feel like I was eating a “cheaper” version of the normal dishes.  If Dine Out was this stellar, the regular menu must be amazing.

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

West

2881 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J4
Phone:(604) 738-8938