Tuesday, April 19, 2005

no cooking, here's restaurant reviews instead

My mom was visiting over the weekend so instead of me cooking, we ate out a lot. Here are a few brief restaurant reviews:

Paprika Bistro (Estevan Village, Oak Bay): amazingly wonderfully super-good. Excellent food, excellent service, great atmosphere. I had a sheep's cheese & carmelized onion tart for a starter and Mum had mussel and crab bisque, then she had lamb for her main course and I had duck with a rhubarb-merlot sauce. Everything was done perfectly, side dishes were great (they used beet greens extensively, something one rarely sees in restaurants but which I highly approve of), portion sizes exactly right. We both had dessert - my cake & fruit salad was good but the fruit salad part of it was better than the cake part, while Mum's strawberry & pink peppercorn sorbet was just outstanding. A bit spendy, but thoroughly worth it.

Vinoteca (Duncan): I am a bit biased on this because I used to work there, but even now she's no longer my boss Fatima is still, in my view, one of the best chefs on the island. The menu has been updated this year but there's still some old favourites around (like the roasted veg & gorgonzola sandwich). The spaghettini carbonara is new and fabulous - a lighter-tasting but still-rich interpretation with a bit of zing to it. You can't beat the scenery or the ambience in the restaurant, and the prices are good.

Messob Ethiopian Take-Out (McKenzie St. Food Court, Cook St. Village): If you haven't tried this, you are craaaaazy. The is the best tasting, most nutritious fast food on the planet. $7.99 gets you either a vegetarian, beef or chicken combo with ingera (sourdough flatbread). The vegetarian combo is my favourite - it has 2 kinds of lentils (one spicy, one mild), cabbage, potatoes, carrots and spinach. All have different seasonings and they're all absolutely delicious.

Yokohama Japanese Restaurant (Blanshard St.): I wasn't feeling that great and probably ate too much. Generally, ok but not outstanding Japanese food, although Stirling had a very good "Arigato Roll" and Mum had some extremely tasty panko-coated deep-fried scallops. Still, Kaz is better. My steak had too much pepper on it and wasn't very good quality, and the veggies that came with it were kind of yucky and bland. The sunomono salad was too sweet, too.


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