Eating my way through my birthdayPosted by Erin Mussolum on Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Tags for this Article: birthday, Les Faux Bourgeois, Regional Tasting Lounge, West
This year I decided to eat my way through my birthday, dedicating and bookending a day with the best food Vancouver has to offer!!!
I started the day with a gorgeous cappuccino at Le Faux Bourgeois Café. I’ve been to Le Faux Bourgeois for their fantastic Petite Paris cocktail, and I’m a frequenter of Le Steak Frites, but whenever I am at the restaurant the café is sadly closed. So this day, with the spring sunshine streaming in, I headed to the corner of East 15th and Fraser and promptly sat myself down to enjoy a freshly baked Thomas Haas chocolate croissant, and the company of one of my most favorite people.
The café is minimal, and with almost floor to ceiling windows it gives my new favorite coffee shop a real “metro-retro-euro” feel. What a great way to spend the first few hours of my b-day.
From there I headed home to don a cute new birthday dress and scarlet heels and went prepared to be wowed at West…and of course I was. I often will enjoy the amazing selection of cocktails at the beautiful bar but have never ventured into the actual restaurant. Intimidation? I’m not sure. But thanks to a wonderful friend whose wit and charm never dulls, this lassie was treated to decadence.
We started our noon reservation with the most delicious mimosa – perfectly balanced – and it had me secretly begging for another. (To companion: yes I was being polite)
My lunch date began his meal with the Spring Pea Soup that when plated, was its own art form. He then moved to the Homemade Corned Beef on Toasted Rye Bread that I would describe as approachable and classy.
For my main I chose the Smoked Ham Hock Ravioli that, as West describes it, comes with pickled and confit fennel, and spring peas. Once set on the table this beautiful dish is completed with a pour of aromatic saffron broth. Lovely. (To my mother: It had peas and I ate them all)
It wouldn’t be a birthday without dessert so we shared Pastry Chef Rhonda Viani’s Pavlova with passionfruit cream, fresh mango, coconut jelly and caramel ice cream. This was simply delightful if not a stunner to look at.
What I loved about this lunch experience is that I truly didn’t have that overly rich or overly full feeling that can detract from a diner’s experience. I left wanting more, not wanting to undo my pants so to speak. I think that’s the secret to proper fine lunching…and Chef David Gunawan and the team at West really nail it.
A couple of hours later, with another wardrobe change, I found myself in jeans seated in the Earl’s of Fir solarium soaking up the sun with the accompaniment of my photographer friend and confidant, sipping away at a couple of Albino Rhino Pale Ales. And what goes great with beer? Fries. I’m amazed every year that McDonald’s French fries win for best fries in the Georgia Straight Golden Plate Awards and, so with that said, I am happy to report that Earl’s fries are almost like Mickey D’s only much more classier. Thin, crispy, salty and greasy…just the way I like em!
As I write this I am going to attempt to find time today to walk off the birthday calories…this recap is killing me, and my liver…but it’s my birthday and I can eat if I want to.
Returning home and donning appropriate black dress and boots, some lovely ladies and I found ourselves pre-dinner drinking to one of my favorite reds – the Rosemont Estate Shiraz. I find the bottle sexy and the wine is mouthful after mouthful of deep berry and peppery goodness.
For dinner this year I decided to make reservations at Yaletown’s Regional Tasting Lounge. It looked classy, had a good size menu, excellent cocktail and wine list, and had a little something for everyone. Inviting seven lovely ladies, making us a table of eight beauties, we arrived in style to find out that R.TL had extended their Dine Out Vancouver menu for a few extra days. BRAVO! The three-course dinner priced at only $28.00 was a gift. Sharing bottles of a delicious and affordable 2007 Miguel Gascon Malbec we started the affair with plates of olives that came to the table warm. I had never thought about heating my olives up before – I am now a believer.
When dinner began, I was presented with a gorgeous plate of Oak House Smoked Duck with toasted pecans and greens as a starter. Duck and pecans…what’s not to love?! I then moved onto my main, and being a primal meat eater I greatly enjoyed the Flank Steak with shallots and pommes sautee. There was something about those shallots…damn were they good!
Wrapping up the evening and my culinary birthday I had the Pistachio gelato…again more caramelized nuts…hello new love.
All in all it was a fabulous day – amazing food, and with more than a few amazing friends in my life. I strongly suggest, that you eat your way through your next birthday. It’s the way it should be – complete pleasure from start to finish.