Seasonal Recipes from The Farmer’s Market

Many of the Lower Mainland Farmer’s Markets opened last weekend, although our own West End Farmer’s Market won’t start until the end of the month.

lemon-asparagus-salmon-recipe

Here’s a list of all the Farmer’s Markets and what days they run:

  • Yaletown [Thurs] May 5 – Oct 27 2-6pm
  • East Van [Sat] May 7 – Oct 22 9-2pm
  • Kitsilano [Sun] May 8 – Oct 23 10am-2pm
  • West End [Sat] May 28 – Oct 22 9-2pm
  • Main St Station [Wed] Jun 1 – Oct 5 2-6pm
  • Mt Pleasant [Sun] Jun 12 – Oct 9 10-2pm

We all know that cooking seasonally is good for us. We get to eat the freshest ingredients at their peak of nutrition! It’s also good for the environment, as it creates less waste, and it supports our local economy and farmers.

Check out your local Farmer’s Market this month, and look for some of these delicious ingredients that are in season during the month of May:

Mother’s Day 2016

Mother’s Day is just over a week away (May 8). If you are planning on taking your mom for brunch, it might be a good idea to make a reservation now.

Here are some ideas and activities (and of course brunch spots) that can help you show your mom how much you appreciate her.

Mother’s Day Brunches and Buffets: includes Currents at Westin Bayshore, which will feature Canadian Idol finalist Stephen Lecky performing live. Buffet highlights include superfoods salads, a carving station, a kids’ buffet table, and a chocolate fountain!

Where to eat in Vancouver on Mother’s Day: includes listings for close-by Forage.

Dessert-Brownie-Rocky-Mountain-Flatbread

Rocky Mountain Flatbread will be treating all moms to a free brownie on Mother’s Day at any of their locations, Kits, Main St, or Park Royal.

Finally, a list of fun things to do with or for your mom: Mother’s Day in Vancouver.

6 Degrees Eatery

6 degrees collageIt’s always great when a new business opens up in our tiny neighborhood, and especially great when it’s a good eatery.

6 Degrees just opened up on the corner of Cardero and Coal Harbour Quay just a few months ago.

By day, it’s a charming little coffee shop, with espresso-based drinks and homemade baked goods. By night, it becomes a tapas bar with some very reasonable drink specials.

hummus

The decor is warm and has a European feel, with a fireplace and lots of beaten copper touches. I have a feeling the patio is going to be very popular in the summer.

They serve breakfast, lunch and a light dinner, which includes Happy Hour from 4-7 pm every day. Happy Hour consists of $5 glasses of house wine or beer. Enjoy a little shared plate of hummus, pretzels, or a maple glazed pork belly with your libation. There are also salads, sandwiches and delightful baked goods.

banana bread

Say hi to the owner while you’re there. He’s very friendly.

This might be our new favorite neighborhood hot spot!

For more info: 6degreeseatery.com

 

Easter Fun in Vancouver

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz!

This is the last weekend of spring break for most kids, and there are lots of fun Easter-related activities to indulge in.

And finally, if you are hosting an Easter brunch:

 

 

Summer Night Markets

Now that summer has officially arrived, there are tons of great events that are happening within walking distance of our home.

 

One really fun event to attend in the summer are the weekend night markets. Sadly, the Chinatown one closed a few years back, but there is one in the Downtown space, the Plaza of Nations Saturday Market. The market takes place at the Plaza of Nations,  750 Pacific Boulevard, on Saturdays, starting June 20, from 5-10 pm, and admission is free.

There will be concerts, beer, wine, food trucks, and fun. Click for more info.

Here’s a list of the other night markets around the lower mainland (including a new one just a SeaBus ride away).

Mother’s Day Brunches in Vancouver

Wanna treat your mom this weekend? Here’s a list of restaurants with special Mother’s Day Brunches on.

From The Georgia Straight

From The Vancouver Sun

From Miss 604

From CBC.ca

Or, if you want to stay home and make brunch for your mom, here are some recipes:

Pork Belly Glazed Pancakes with Maple Whiskey Sauce

Make-ahead Mother’s Day recipes

Healthy Mother’s Day brunch

Holiday Food on Pinterest

Brunch at Left Bank

Originally published on  Brunchcouver.com

I eagerly anticipated the day Left Bank opened their doors in the West End (on Denman, just below Robson) last summer. I live nearby, and I love having good food a short walk away.

I’ve eaten at Bistro Pastis on 4th, and I’d eaten at Left Bank’s predecessor, Cafe De Paris. Pastis, is, of course, a legend in this town, but I never went back to Cafe de Paris a second time. Left Bank ticks all my boxes: it’s laid back and casual, the space is bright and clean, the service is outstanding, and the food, while definitely French in origin, is simple and accessible.  Since they opened in August, I’ve been back at least 4 times, most recently to try their brunch, which launched a few months after they opened.

 

On the weekends, they set up a crepe station, and there is always a featured crepe. The weekend we were there, the feature was a crepe with ham and cheese folded inside, a raw egg yolk perched on top, and a small mixed green salad on the side. The buttermilk dressing was so simply done, but insanely delicious.

If you like standard brunch offerings, you will find them here. There is the Left Bank Breakfast: two poached eggs, potatoes, sourdough toast, and a side of either crispy pork belly (all the yum) or chorizo. As you would expect from a French joint, there is an omelette special, as well. For those that are trying to eat less pork belly in 2015, there is a Healthy Start breakfast (also gluten-free), with poached eggs, sautéed spinach, quinoa salad and fruit.

salmon benny left bank

I can never, ever go to brunch where there is a salmon benny and not order it. It’s one of my fave things in the world, and this one had fatty, succulent bright orange slices of smoked salmon, a perfectly poached egg (meaning, when you cut into it, the yolk runs out), and a pale, light house-made hollandaise. I can’t stand packaged hollandaise, and in a French restaurant, you’d expect it to deliver. The hollandaise here is understated, but good–it shouldn’t detract from the star of the dish, which are the eggs and the salmon. The accompanying deep-fried hash browns were perfectly seasoned.

baked eggs left bank

One thing Left Bank does that is a bit unique is it offers smaller plates for brunch. There are “main dish” sized entrees, like the crepes or the benny or the eggs. But they also offer half-a-dozen smaller dishes that you could share, tapas-style. One is a vegetarian cassoulet, rich with onions and savoy cabbage, made with beluga lentils, with an egg baked right inside. My favourite bite, however, was the mushroom toast. Quickly sautéed, earthy oyster mushrooms and criminis with spinach, on top of two crispy slices of bacon and a thin slice of toasted sourdough, topped with a fried egg. The yolk makes the perfect sauce. It was rich and warm and comforting.

mimosas left bank

In terms of drinks, other than coffee, you can enjoy a mimosa or a Kir Royale with your brunch. They make their mimosas the right way–pouring the champagne first, orange juice second. That way, it mixes itself, and there’s less chance it’ll go flat.

The service here is fabulous. Every time I visit, the manager, Guillaume, greets me with the traditional double-kiss. He is very charming and very French, and quite excellent at his job. I have visited several times and always had really good service.

Pricing here is pretty average. Appetizers will run you around $7, and mains, between $12-15.

Left Bank a great addition to the neighbourhood.

mushroom toast left bank

Left Bank

751 Denman Street, Vancouver BC

leftbankvancouver.com

Open: 
Monday – Sunday: open from 4:30pm until late
Saturday and Sunday weekend brunch, from 10.30am to 2.30pm

New Chocolate Shop/Patisserie in Coal Harbour

It’s always exciting when a new, yummy hotspot opens up in the ‘hood. This week, Coal Harbour can boast that it now is home to a brand-new chocolate shop and patisserie.

Bernard Noir just opened up a new cafe at 1270 Pender St. You can enjoy 4 different varieties of European chocolates, as well as Bernard Noir’s own house-made chocolates, pastries, sandwiches, and macarons, as well as coffees and teas.

IMG_5251 IMG_5254 IMG_5255 IMG_5252

Bernard Noir is open Monday-Friday 8 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays, 8 am to 4 pm.

For more information, visit the Bernard Noir Facebook Page

Left Bank Vancouver

Originally published on CookingbyLaptop.com 

French Food. It is thought to be fussy, complex, small-portioned, full of butter and cream, and in general, delicious.

This might be the case for many Vancouver French restaurants. But Left Bank, open just a few weeks on Denman St, just below Robson, is setting out, much as its name implies, to do French food a little off the beaten path… or rather the beaten chemin (groan). 

Left Bank comes with a pedigree. John Blakeley is a name synonymous with French food in this city. His Bistro Pastis on 4th Ave has long been the place to go for classic French cuisine.Left Bank InteriorBlakeley previously worked at 752 Denman St (then called Cafe de Paris) in 1977 as youngster—it was one of his first jobs. The location has great sentimental value for the Frenchman. He’s tried to make a go of it in this location before, as Le Parisien, but he has now elected to shake it up again.

“I want Left Bank to be French without being French,” he says. Named for the La Rive Gaucheneighbourhoods on the left bank of the Seine, Left Bank is an effort to create food that doesn’t always follow tradition, much like the artists that inhabited that part of Paris.

There are two menus: a tapas-y bar menu, much like you might expect to see in a café in Paris, and a simple bistro menu with a handful of starters and entrees, and three desserts.

Simplicity is the key here. The best kind of food is food that is done simply but well, using fresh ingredients, prepared with care. And Left Bank delivers. Chef Spencer Watts uses simplicity and detail, alongside French techniques and West Coast ingredients to create a menu that is casual, unfussy, and delicious.Grape truffles left bankThe bar menu features French classics like charcuterie and cheeses, but also has ceviche, Asian-inspired sticky ribs, and a spicy albacore tuna cone. My favourite bite from this menu was the grape and goat cheese truffle. Looking like tiny speckled eggs, green grapes are rolled in chevre, then in spiced almond crumbs. They look delicate, but explode with sweetness and tang in your mouth.

Starters follow a similar pattern: again, you’ll find classics here like carpaccio, mussels, and a take on a caprese salad. But there’s also a dreamy crab roll–succulent, moist crab, enrobed in a crispy, nori shell, accompanied by a fingerling potato, and grapefruit sections. Chef Spencer describes it as “crab on a picnic.”

Moules are the yardstick upon which any French restaurant should be measured, and these mussels are plump and moist, swimming in a spicy-sweet coconut broth with a hint of red curry and lime.

Mains borrow some inspiration from Morocco, in the form of a lamb tagine. But there is also salmon, rustic, slow-cooked chicken, a nod to duck confit, and a ling cod served on a bed of light ricotta agnolotti. A great example of French-meets-simplicity is the hanger steak. Simply sliced and served with a Szechuan peppercorn sauce and frites, it looks deceptively simple, but is tender, and rollicking with the flavor of the peppercorns. The real star, however, are the frites. Properly cooked, these are no French Fries. First, they are hand cut, and then deep-fried, slowly. They are then cooled down, and fried again at a higher temperature. This makes them crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. The finishing touch? A dusting of ground black sesame seeds and sea salt.

Pomme Frites with black sesame and horseradish aoli from @leftbankvan. Proper pomme frites--double cooked to be crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. C'est bon! #yvrfood #eatlocal #westend #frenchfood #bistro #frenchfries

There are three desserts. The coconut panna cotta fell a bit flat for me. The black sesame cake creates a sense of drama, but didn’t quite deliver on flavour.  Skip the panna cotta and go straight for the Chocolate Marquise with the Green Tea Ice Cream.

There’s not a ton to be said about the décor. It is, I imagine, a little like what a Paris Metro station would look like in a dream world: tons of natural light bouncing off of gleaming white tiles, punctuated by shiny red accents in the banquettes and every second chair. It’s worth noting that Left Bank has obtained the first laneway patio permit in the West End. Sitting out there is very pleasant, with the exception of the Domino’s delivery guys that you see racing down the alley approximately every thirty seconds.

When I go to a French restaurant, I expect the service to be good, and Left Bank did not disappoint. Many of the servers were French, and they were friendly and attentive.

I’ve been to Left Bank twice, and both times, it was sparsely populated, which, quite honestly, is a shame. While j’adore Bistro Pastis the same as the next guy, Left Bank has a more casual, laid-back vibe that feels more accessible. It’s worth going for the pomme frites alone.

Left Bank

751 Denman Street, Vancouver BC

www.leftbankvancouver.com

Open:
Monday – Friday from 5:00pm

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: from 10:30am for brunch through dinner