Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

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I had neglected the final post from our Christmas trip to Whistler. Teppan Village had been floundering at the bottom of my draft folder until I noticed it this week. I clicked on it with a wry smile, the lapse in time a contrast to the speed of the meal. Our teppanyaki (鉄板焼き) was cooked and served within half an hour, a frantic eating pace.

Whistler enchanted us with twinkling lights and snow flurries, a winter wonderland for Antipodeans who celebrated previous festive seasons in air-conditioning.

Conveniently located in Whistler Village, Teppan Village was spacious with several squares of tables and griddles.

We shared a plate of tempura prawns and vegetables, and a bowl of steamed edamame as appetisers.

An ingredients cart was laden with oils, sauces and aromatics.

A shallow tray of condiments was dispensed with flair.

Our group of four ordered the teppan tasting menu. The first course was a crunchy salad of iceberg lettuce, shredded cabbage and matchstick carrots, and a soothing bowl of miso soup.

Chef Taka introduced himself and demonstrated his dexterity. He holstered his tools in his apron pocket and he expertly manoeuvred the spatula and knives. A pyramid of onion rings were flambéed into a fiery volcano.

Shelled prawns were fanned out and curled as they sizzled.

Batons of vegetables were sautéed until tender.

Plump scallops were seared to perfection. I’m a slow eater and my warmed cast iron plate was already nearly full!

The teriyaki salmon was deftly portioned and well seasoned.

Juicy cubes of filet mignon were a highlight and we chewed these slowly to savour the intense beefy flavour.

The aromas of the teppanyaki lingered.

Christmas in Whistler was bookended by a night and a day in Vancouver. In search for pub fare, we strolled to Gastown for burgers and beers at Steamworks. A historic neighbourhood of heritage listed Victorian buildings and cobblestone streets, at the heart of Gastown is the steam powered clock. Puffs of steam veiled the twinkling festive lights on a clear night.

On a previous visit to Vancouver we had sought respite from the persistent rain in the cosy armchairs soothed by afternoon beers. We returned to a near full restaurant with a boisterous crowd for a Canucks game.

The Gastown Brewing Company brews Steamworks beers on site using the local steam to boil its kettles.

On tap were:

* Lions Gate lager – ‘Vancouver’s gateway to flavour’
* Empress India pale ale – ‘a strong pale ale with scrumptious hop character’
* Signature pale ale – ‘eminently quaffable’
* Nirvana nut brown ale – ‘a blissfully malty brown ale’
* Heroica oatmeal stout – ‘oatmeal is not just for breakfast anymore’
* Coal porter – ‘like a song that’s smooth as silk’
* Seasonal specialties

Empty tables next to us were soon occupied. Televisions screening the ice hockey live were diverting attention from dinner conversations.

The graphic style Steamworks logo was printed on each serviette.

A beer stein!

Mr S ordered the Steamworks deluxe burger. A beef patty was topped with a square of aged cheddar, a strip of crispy double smoked bacon, and garnished with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and relish mayonnaise.

I selected the mushroom burger. A charred beef patty cushioned molten Swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms, and were adorned with the same vegetables and condiments.

After nourishing burgers and beers we walked downstairs to peek at the polished brewing equipment.

Next door was the Wine Thief where we purchased a couple of bottles for Whistler.

We strolled back to the hotel happy that the Canucks won.

The final restaurant on the December Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) schedule was Sha Lin Noodle House (少林麵莊).

A brightly lit room was full of diners. In the back corner was a window into the kitchen where a chef kneaded dough, and stretched, cut and shaved noodles with much concentration and solemnity.

We ordered two dishes to share. First was pork pan fried dumplings (猪肉水煎包). Huddled together with golden crisp bottoms, these dense morsels were juicy, meaty and well seasoned. A dozen of these were too much for the four of us at the end of a day of eating and we were happy to pack the remainder in a container to savour the next day.

The second plate was hand shaved noodles with lamb flavoured with cumin (孜然口味炒羊肉手拉面). This was symphony on a plate. It was stir-fried with wok breath (鑊氣), the handmade noodles tangled with a mass of bean sprouts, studded with broccoli florets and strips of tender lamb were pungent with cumin. It was hearty comfort food.

It was an excellent introduction to Dim-sum-couver. Sincere thanks to Cameo, Naomi and Rachel for the frivolous company!

The only Malaysian eatery I know of in Seattle is Malay Satay Hut. It’s been on the list for a while but I’m yet to make the drive to Redmond (and Portland too!) or walk to Chinatown for their traditional Malaysian fare. I was delighted that Banana Leaf was the penultimate restaurant on the Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) schedule.

Emerald wall, tangerine window frames and daffodil sign, the colourful street frontage was a contrast to the wooden interior.

The specials chalkboard piqued our interest as we waited for a table.

I always imagine a chef wielding a machete in the kitchen to slice a lid on the fresh coconut when I order one!

We sipped cocktails and coconut juice as we perused the extensive menu of curries, rice, noodles, stir-fries, seafood, salads and soups. We selected three classic dishes to share.

Roti canai, warm flaky flatbread, was served with a side of light dhal.

Glistening pieces of Hainanese chicken (海南雞飯) was surrounded by a moat of sliced cucumber and garnished with sprigs of coriander. Toasted peanuts, grated ginger, chilli garlic sauce and soy sauce were condiments. The tender meat was fragrant, the essence of the stock the chicken was poached in. The delicious comfort food was dipped in the sauces and paired with Hainanese rice.

A popular fast food at hawker stalls, char kway teow could be considered the national dish of Malaysia. Flat rice noodles were tossed with sweet soy sauce, chilli, egg, bean sprouts, prawns, fish cakes and squid. We happily nibbled on the starchy stir-fry.

I must get to Malay Satay Hut this year!

Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) continued onto Peaceful (和平飯店) in Yaletown. The smiling chef attached to the sign was a contrast to Peace Hotel, a violent Spaghetti Western film starring Chow Yun Fat (周潤發) of the same Chinese name as Peaceful Restaurant.

On a thoroughfare Peaceful was busy mid-afternoon. We were seated at the front window booth and pleased to connect to the free Wi-Fi as we sipped tea.

We ordered three items to share. Our enthusiastic waitress delivered each dish with flair. The first was xiao long bao (小籠包) or ‘soup dumplings’. A generous serving of eight, these had a thinner wrapping and lighter broth than the ones at No. 1 Shanghai Cuisine.

Sticky with hoisin sauce, four large portions of beef rolls were slices of five spice (五香粉) beef and green onions rolled in crispy flat bread.

The highlight at Peaceful was a bowl of blade sheared noodles (刀削麵). A thick tangle of handmade noodles was garnished with diced garlic, green onions and sizzling chilli oil. Steamed Chinese cabbage (白菜) tempered the heat. Each slippery noodle was swirled in the pungent sauce and slurped with glee.

As we waxed poetic about the blade sheared noodles, we noticed a Guy Fieri graffiti on the wall at the entrance.

I would drive to Vancouver just for another bowl of blade sheared noodles at Peaceful!

Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) was perfectly timed for House of Dosas‘ Wednesday special of South Indian hoppers.

Open twenty four hours, there is a rotation of daily specials of dosa, thali, hopper, biryani and crab.

After yum cha (飲茶) at Vivacity (名都), wife cake (老婆餅) at Kam Do Bakery (金都餐廳餅店) and dumplings at No. 1 Shanghai Cuisine (滬上), we travelled to the Subcontinent for curries, dosas and hoppers. I ordered a mango lassi, a sweet and refreshing iced yoghurt beverage.

We shared the Wednesday special of hoppers with lamb curry and the gunpowder masala dosa. I was expecting string hoppers which I’ve had in Sri Lankan cuisine but three bowl shaped crêpes were served with a mound of lamb curry. With a charred edge and dotted with air bubbles, there were two plain hoppers and one with an egg cracked in. We tore pieces by hand and scooped up the tender and spicy curry.

Potatoes and onions were wrapped in a tanned triangle of dosa and presented with a container of daal and two dollops of condiments. Crisp and well seasoned, we nibbled on the gunpowder masala dosa and wished it was street food here too.

We stayed a while for the complimentary Wi-Fi and breathed in the spiced aromas.

We travelled from Vancouver to Whistler on a beautiful day. We revelled in blue sky, marshmallow clouds and brilliant sunshine as we ascended. It was a blissful moment when I spotted the first snow-capped mountain.

We were famished so we dropped our baggage at the hotel and walked quickly to La Bocca for a late lunch.

Painted poppy throughout, La Bocca shared a kitchen with the Amsterdam pub next door. We removed our layers and settled into a cosy corner. The brunch menu had breakfast items, share plates, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and stir-fries.

Mr L ordered the Benedict trio. Anticlockwise from top: spicy Benedict with hot coppa and crispy onion ring, traditional Benedict with ham and BC Benedict with smoked sockeye salmon. All three were served on an English muffin topped with a soft poached egg and citrus Hollandaise sauce.

Mr S also selected a breakfast dish. The skillet of Montreal smoked meat hash had smoked meat, hash brown, sautéed onions and capsicum, signature sauce, and topped with poached eggs.

I craved a hearty meal in the cold weather and compromised on the chilli prawn wok. A generous amount of tiger prawns were sautéed in garlic butter and tossed with crisp vegetables and steamed noodles in a Thai sweet chilli sauce. I switched from chopsticks to a fork as the noodles were slippery! It was a little sweet and lacked ‘wok breath’ (鑊氣) but the ingredients were fresh and plentiful.

Warmed by a full stomach, we exited to explore Whistler Village.


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