I Love Toyko

January 27, 2011

Tokyo Farmer's Market

There is everything to love about Tokyo, including their markets. This one happens to be right beside, right beside, Pierre Hermé. And instead of buying brightly coloured vegetables we bought a box of brightly coloured macarons. We have a tiny kitchen in our serviced residences but I’ve done no cooking. I don’t want to eat my own cooking when there’s a world of food out there, from fugu to back alley noodles to the most beautifully prepared meals. This is my second favourite city in the world. Vancouver is my first. Although the 10 am soba noodles with onsen tamago make it a very close second.

Back Alley Soba

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Planet Paleo

January 20, 2011

Nippon: Land of the Rising Sun

Well, hello. What’s new with you? I feel as though we have a lot of conversations to catch up on. I guess we’ll just pick up from where we left off. I hope you’re well. I am. Last week Jen G. and I started a 30-day Paleo challenge. Maybe you’ve heard of Paleo, maybe you haven’t. Essentially, as you might have guessed, it’s kind of a caveman-like approach to nutrition. Lots of protein, vegetables and some fruit. No grains. I don’t particularly agree with the no grains because some are healthy and I love lentils. But for 30 days I can avoid. And I love coffee so I’m continuing to drink coffee, I’m too evolved not to. Maybe people of the Paleolithic Era had espresso machines in their caves and cafes on every corner. My timing for this challenge is not good because right smack dab in the middle of it Michael and I are going to Tokyo. We leave tomorrow morning. But no mattter. I am perfectly happy to have eaten well for a week, have a complete and utter ramen-and-Pierre-Hermé-macaron-filled-interruption and then return from planet Tokyo to planet Paleo. I think it will be easy to because I feel so freakishly good right now. I have started taking a teaspoon of lemony-flavoured fish oil (it doesn’t taste fishy AT ALL) and a daily single drop of vitamin D sun.

I’m all or nothing. Eating well or eating like crap. Blogging all the time or not at all. I like me best when I’m eating well and blogging about it. And it’s difficult to convey just how much I love Crossfit. I love it. And I fear it. Congratulations on the new gym Jenika!

Pickled

September 30, 2010

Pickle Plate

Oh my goodness. This is one of the best plates of pickles I’ve ever consumed, it’s from Momofuku Ssam Bar. It’s inspired me to want to pickle more things. A couple of years ago I had a memorable plate of pickles in Japan. Pickles are one of the things that I love about Asian cuisine, there’s such great variety and they make a fairly healthy accompaniment. More healthy than whipped lardo.

The Big Apple

September 27, 2010

NYC Apples

We’re in New York! Things kind of worked out for us to take a semi last minute trip here. We visited the year round (year round!) market in Union Square the other day. I think it’s one of the best and largest – of course it’s large, we’re in NYC – markets I’ve ever been to. It’s over two acres and there are about 140 producers. We didn’t buy much, some apples. There are a LOT of places we need to eat at. It’s good we brought our appetites.

Peppers

Tomatoes

Onions

Summer Vacation

August 23, 2010

Red Haven

My favourite place in the Okanagan is Osoyoos, where we have spent the last few days. Osoyoos is the only desert in Canada and some of the sweetest fruit grows here. This is the place of childhood summer vacations. It tastes of dark cherries and ripe peaches eaten swiftly, juices dripping. We’re driving home today with five boxes of red haven peaches in the back of our truck – they’re not all for us – and the Glee Soundtrack on. I wish we could stay longer, the sun is shining and the lake is warm.

Restaurant Arpege

August 9, 2010

Sign. Obviously.

Do you have  a list of things that you want to do? I mean, eventually, before your time is up? Visiting a Michelin 3-star restaurant was on mine. I chose Chef Alain Passard’s L’Arpege in Paris. The food is considered French inventive based on vegetables but not vegetarian. We decided to go for lunch, the main reason being it’s much more, quote unquote, affordable. Another good reason for me to visit at lunch is that I get tired in the evening. I sound as though I am 90. But I do get tired in the evening, especially during a many coursed meal. Lunch is perfect. There’s a third good reason for lunch being the better choice that I didn’t think of until I was that annoying person in the restaurant taking a picture of every single dish. The light, if you happen to be in a restaurant with windows at lunch, is very good for photos. Dinner, candlelight, not so much.

Table Decor

The centre piece of vegetables was fridge-cold when we arrived. They reminded me of our friends Guy and Mel, who grow good veggies.

Amuse Bouche

This was just one of our six teeny amuse bouche. Miniature chop of fresh veggies tucked into a wee potato crisp. So teeny you could probably eat about a hundred of them.

Gaufrette Potatoes

Delicate, golden, shatteringly fine and salted. There was nothing wrong with these hatched and fried potatoes. Flawless.

Gazpacho...

… with celery ice cream. I know, that doesn’t even sound good and savoury ice cream is stupid. Wrong. So wrong. You could not not like this, even with ice cream prejudice.

Tomato Salad

I wait all year for tomato season. The tomatoes in this salad were peeled. Now I have to start peeling my tomatoes because it made them even more delectable. Also present in the salad were beautiful light-filled radishes of all hues, thin thin thin slices of mild onion and the dreaded green pepper. I never eat green peppers but made an exception, given their daintiness and the company they were keeping.

Garlic and Zucchini

I don’t even know what to tell you about this. I don’t know what was going on with the garlic. It was so mild, the garlickiness was understated. But it was only just cooked, so it’s not as though the garlickiness was cooked and coaxed into mildness. Must be some kind of crazy, young French garlic. It was piled on top of a gorgeous light-thick zucchini and matcha emulsion with (basil?) olive oil.

Quatre Ravioli

Nothing to say about the broth, it was a liquid vehicle in which to float these fine ravioli. Four flavours in translucent skins of pasta. The notable one was the second one – it was filled with smoked vegetables that were impossibly rich and creamy. To die for.

Potatoes

This is one of those things that you need to eat with someone. I mean, the whole meal was, but this particular dish is the one that made us whip our heads up with wide eyes and the unspoken holler of “Omigod! Why is this so good?” It was, simply, a thin layer of grated potatoes with parmesan cheese. Roasted to a scorching sizzle and finished with slivers of unbelievable lemon confit and purple basil. That’s it. Why was it so good?

Mussels and Sea Asparagus

This was superb. The mussels were tender and delicate, the sea asparagus a perfect salty, crisp-tender.

Beets and Carrots

A warm and brilliant dish of veggies. Tiny, sugary heart-shaped beets, and parchment-like slices of beet that looked just like petals from a rose. The carrots were a vivid purple with a bright orange heart, and little green squash from outer space. And couscous or something like couscous, for texture.

Dover Sole

We have arrived at the main course! Reason number two that it’s good to go for lunch: because this arrived around hour two into the meal. Gorgeous sole filet, sprinkled with matcha and served with steamed sorrel, caramelized onion and a charming (peeled!) stuffed cherry tomato. Getting full. Ish.

Fromage!

There was a massive cheese cart that was wheeled effortfully about the small dining room. We did not choose our own cheese but asked them to create two different plates for us, this was one of the two. The cheese on the left was a four year old Comte. Definite favourite.

Apple Tart

This is probably the prettiest apple tart I’ve ever seen. The apples slices were rolled into little florets, and the whole thing looked like a bouquet. What a lot of labour! But it was utter perfection. The puff pastry was, quite possibly, the best I’ve had. I was slightly perplexed at an apple dessert, though. The entire menu was so seasonally based and there are no apples (are there?) at this time of year. Whatever, this was flawless.

Now that eating at a 3-star Michelin restaurant is checked off of my list I’m going to add something else. Or put it back on.

Sesame Salt

August 4, 2010

Toast & Salt

There was a little restaurant in Paris that had a few interesting condiments. One was this, toasted sesame crushed together with salt. Such a simple idea. There is no end to what you could sprinkle it on, to make whatever it is you’re eating a little toastier tasting, a tinge saltier. I will have to toy with the balance once I’m home, but my guess is that 1/4 of a cup of pan-toasted sesame seeds will be just right with a heaping tablespoon of course sea salt. Cool the sesame seeds completely before lightly grinding with the salt.

Moules…

August 2, 2010

St. Malo Moules

… and, admittedly, frites. Yippee! So good. Much smaller than our BC ones. Packed with a briny hit of salt, and loaded with fresh parsley and shallots. Perfect lunch for our last day in St. Malo.

St. Malo

July 29, 2010

St. Malo Swimming

It was sad to leave Paris! However, St. Malo is ridiculously charming. This seaside place is lousy with fresh seafood, salted butter and caramel, boozy apple cider, kougin amann, crepes and striped fisherman’s shirts. You can bet I’m going to sample my way through, clad in navy and cream stripes. Seriously back to clean eating upon my return. But for now – pure indulgence.

Fraise

Marche Raspail

July 26, 2010

Organic Market

I love Paris. Yesterday, as with most of our mornings, we started with a bike ride. Love the Velib city bikes. And my friend Pam is a great navigator. We’ve been zig zagging all over the city on Velib’s. It’s a bit crazy at first, weaving through traffic of all sorts on the combined bus-bike lanes that tend to end rather abruptly and then begin just as spontaneously, sans helmet. We visited the all-organic market in the 6th and then made our way over to watch the last laps of the Tour de France. Pam has always wanted to watch the Tour de France and I was along by association. How thrilling! Suddenly I was coveting a bright yellow Tour cycling cap and taking a million blurry photos! The crowds were huge, and we had a great place on a corner near The Louvre by the Tuileries. I thought Pam and I were doing a fair job of biking around Paris, but Lance and the gang made our efforts seem feeble and not just a little sluggish.

Fraise des Bois

What I wanted to say is, as you might be envying me in Paris, that you must get to one of our amazing Vancouver farmers markets. Seriously go. Yes, the stuff looks pretty good in Paris, and they do have the enviable fraise des bois, but our produce is spectacular. I think we might have a better selection, I’m just saying. I think we do. I have bought the lovely, fleeting, ghostly white and gorgeously perfumed alpine strawberries at one of our markets. I kind of almost miss my close to regular market Saturday with Julie in Vancouver. But not enough to come home yet. I miss Michael the most. Enough to come home.

Health Food

This is the Saturday Chocolate Bar from Jean-Charles Rochoux. He makes a fresh seasonal fruit chocolate bar every week. This past Saturday’s was fraise de boise in dark chocolate – spectacular!