Ask for Luigi

I walked it by it once (don’t ask why I am in that area), then I was attracted by its “PASTA” sign. I took a peek and realized that at this corner is a small Italian restaurant. So I grabbed a friend and went to try it out.

They are a small and busy place, I tried to call the day before to reserve for a table. They told me their reservations are made WEEKS in advance, but 2/3 of the restaurant is open for walk ins. (But you are expecting 45 mins wait on a Sunday night at 6pm, you can only guess what is it like on Fridays and Saturdays.)

But even the wait is long (you can just walk around Gastown on a good weather day), it is worth your wait. Just pop by early leave your name and do some shopping then your table would be ready.

This crispy polenta sits on top of lightly sour homemade tomatoe sauce. The tart of fresh tomatoe gave a simple yet delicious balance to creamy texture of polenta. It was one tasty appetizer.

Spaghetti, anchovies, garlic & chilies – loaded with crunchy garlic bites and anchovies, yet another very simple but simply delicious dish. Noodle cooked to al-dente, in personal preference was a little salty as you come towards the end. But neverthelesss, good.

Pappardelle & duck ragu – tomatoe based thick pappardelle (probably my faouvrite pasta noodle next to angel’s hair) along with slow braised duck. Sounds like heaven? Because it was.

Olive oil cake – sponge cake made with olive oil sits on top of sweet orange slices. I was absolutely in love with this combination, maybe it is also that I haven’t had any orange flavoured dessert for a while. The light plain sponge cake was a perfect match for the sweet orange slices giving it harmony between sweet and sour.

Chocolate budino – very very rich, quite dense but at the same time short of pudding-ish. If you are a chocolate lover than this is definitely a must. But in comparison I enjoyed the Olive Oil Cake much better. :p

Try it for yourself. 🙂

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Secret Location

Tasting Room they called it, this is a gorgeous place. Everything looks and feels so  pretty. 😛 I was attracted by its name a long time ago, never got around to visit. Finally I paid a visit after shopping around with a friend to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and some sweets.light

I got here right when their retail shop next door is closed. So I didn’t get a chance to shop, but definitely I will visit their shop next time!Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

We were seated right away, but because of the emptiness of the restaurant. We get to pick any seat. So I selected a seat with SUPER large sofa… ;p

We had a somewhat interesting experience as we got seated. We were served by a new waitress (you’ll see why I think so). When she gave us our water, she spilled it all over my friend and on the floor. And for some really odd reason it took her super long to try to figure out how to clean the place. She ended up cleaning part of the table and left the floor with a little pond.

Anyways, so I ordered a hot chocolate. (They didn’t have the Hot Chocolate Festival hot chocolates anymore… 😥 )

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I liked the hot chocolate, smooth and not too sweet. However I find it not hot enough. Or maybe I just really enjoy very hot drinks. On the side I believe those are marshmallows? They were really good! So yummy. 🙂

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Petits Fours – mini versions of sweets.

Raspberry Sorbet

Dark Chocolate Dipped Madeleine Cakes – They are a little stiff and compacted. In my mind, they should be lighter. But liked the dark chocolate dipped idea. 🙂

Chocolate Truffles – I really like their truffles! They were delicious. Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. I wonder if they are house made? But just so yummy!

Hazelnut Coffee Macarons

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It is a nice place to sit and chat. However I am not sure if we are actually welcomed to do so. After the spill of water, we never got really any attention from the waitress or the host. No one refilled our water or come check on us. Is it because we are not actually having a meal? I am not quite sure.

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Cadeaux Bakery

I don’t quite recall how I found this place. I think I was randomly looking at some cake shops online and I came upon this. On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, I came here for a slice of cake to cheer myself up from the depressing weather Vancouver had been getting.

cashier area

If I read everything correctly from their website, Cadeaux head pastry chef had worked at Blue Water Cafe and Lumiere. He decided to come out and start his own business on the edge of Gastown – I say edge because this is close to Chinatown.

Upon entrance, I notice how large their store is. Lots of empty spaces (but only a few tables for sitting) but a very large open kitchen. (It is rare to see open baking kitchen) I was so delighted to watch the pastry chef work while I enjoyed his cake. 😛

interior

While browsing through their website and doing my research, there is this cake name which caught my eye – London Fog Cake. Oh I must give this one a try!! So I did. 😉

london fog layer cake

Very fragrant cake, with sweet aroma of tea and the dense texture of the cake seems to have embed a lot of tea aroma. This cake wasn’t overly sweet at the beginning, I am not sure why as I went through it somehow it got sweeter and then I got really full and couldn’t finish it… Don’t get my wrong I enjoyed the cake but half way through with a cup of latte, it filled me up so quickly.
london fog layer cake inside

latte

I liked this cake shop, however because of the location I would be reluctant to re visit. Need to revisit with more people, and during the day.

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Apres-Midi Tea House/Gastown Tea Company

I found this tea shop a while ago online, and I had been meaning to pay a visit and just never got around to it. Finally last weekend I have paid a visit to this tea shop.

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Previously named Apres-Midi Tea House is now transitioning over to Gastown Tea Company. When I first saw the name I thought they were the same tea shop as Granville Island Tea Company. I asked the staff there and she told me they are a family run small business and is not associated with the Granville Island Tea Company.

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Anyways, this was a little hard to find. It was sort of hidden at a corner inside buildings. However I know if this area because I just visited Boneta not long ago, and it’s right beside it. There are two entrance to this tea shop, so be adventurous and I’m sure you’ll find your way.

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I don’t know is it because I am a little obsessed with old architectures, but this surrounding and interior has these rustic looks to them. Which I LOVE.

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They don’t really have a very large selection of tea, but it is decent. They also do high tea services (which you will need to make a reservation for.) I got there after lunch with a couple of friends, so we tried out different tea latte and tea.

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I had the ‘Sweet Ending’ tea, with lots of fruits and flowers. Very delicious tea with honey. From the looks of my friends latte, they all look very yummy. 😛 So maybe I’ll give that a try next time I’m here.

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Overall I really liked the atmosphere. Small place but is great for a chat over tea. (You see, I’m a tea drinker not a coffee drinker. :D) I would definitely revisit, with their great service and atmosphere. Need to try out their high tea service. 🙂

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Boneta

When I was looking for new places to visit during this year’s Dine Out Vancouver, I have came across this. Looked at the menu and the interior photos of the restaurant, sparked my interest. So I paid a visit.

It was a little hidden, inside buildings across of the Steam Clock. I couldn’t really tell that was a restaurant from far away, it would looked more like a boutique with the apartments.

The moment I walked in, I already liked the look and feel to this place. I tried to imagine it in the summer with the gates open. Maybe my birthday party? Maybe. 🙂

Appetizer: Parsnip & Apple Soup, Dungeness Crab, Creme Fraiche & Crispy Parsnip

This is one delicious soup, I can taste the sweet apple scent in every bite. And some crispy parsnip and crab meat mad this soup soo soo good. 😛 I really liked it lots!

parsnip soup

duck

 

Entrees: Sunchoke Risotto, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Pecorino, Shaved Truffles & Sunchoke Chips

OH I LOVE TRUFFLE!! 😄 It was so fragrant the moment the server put it down in front of me. I already wanted to dig in without taking a photo! But I didn’t. It was good, rice are cooked well. But I couldn’t finish, because it is very very filling.
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Entress: Duck Breast, Leg Sausage, Roasted Squash, Savoy Cabbage, Fingerlings & Apple Soubise

I only had a bite of the duck breast. But I really needed to write about it because it was so tender!! I think probably the most tender I have tried so far (but I don’t eat much duck.) But I think I will reorder this next time I visit. Because it was very good. (Sorry didn’t get  a photo)

 

Dessert: Lemon Scented Pavlova, Sour Cherry Compote, Pistachio Mousse & Brittle

Pavolva are always very difficult to eat neatly, because they just shatter into pieces the moment you dig your fork in it. Like any other pavolva, it was very sweet and crunchy. I couldn’t finish it even with a sour cherry sauce. However I really really liked the pistachio mousse. It was very very delicious and light. Though not much pistachio taste. But so fluffy!! :3

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I would love to revisit this place in the summer. I want to see those gates open. With good service and nice atmosphere – Birthday party. 😀

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Acme Cafe – Pie

This one is a quick post, after dinner at another restaurant I wanted to dessert but nothing intrigue me at the restaurant so I came here for a slice of pie. It was late not lots of options left, but I spotted this and got it to go!

I also got a discount because it was ‘smaller than usual’ says the cashier. Couldn’t be happier with a slice of banana cream pie for breakfast and a discount. 😛

Even left overnight the pie is still good, nice creamy buttery banana filling with buttercream(?) on top. Pie crust was still good and did not go soggy. No wonder my girlfriend recommends their pies to me, because they are slices of happiness. 😀

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Save On Meats Diner

I noticed this place because of its crazy neon signs. In Vancouver, restaurants that still uses neon signs to get attention is being more scarce. When I spotted the neon signs, I thought it was a butcher shop. Then I realize I am right, there is a butcher shop and the diner right next to it. Seeing the full house every time passing by, I told myself to give it a try.

When I entered, I notice everything looks and feel like an old vintage diner. The decor is screaming vintage and I loved every bit of it. (I am basis because I wanted a kitchen that looks vintage :P) Though I don’t know looking vintage and feeling dirty is supposed to be portrayed simultaneously. The chair that I was sitting on (didn’t get to sit on booths) was broken (plastic ripped wide open). The menu that I was looking at were sticky – like literally… and a smell of old syrup. I’m guessing someone spilled syrup on it but no one bother to clean it – it was sticky to touch, I’m sure someone noticed.

Anyways, so after I order I had to run to the washroom and wash my hands free of syrup. The food arrived a little bit slow, the pot pie was steaming hot where as the openface sandwich is cold. Maybe cause it was waiting for the potpie (though I would think they should know how to control that well.)

The pot pie like I said came out steaming hot, with very finely mashed potato on the side. The smoked turkey is very yummy, the pot pie is also very satisfying (considering the size, it was small – about 2.5″ in diameter). I could barely finish it. But I like the smokey turkey, it was so nicely smoked. It tasted so yummy with steam 😛

 

Open face roast chicken sandwich with lots of gravy (but still not enough!) because the chicken and the fries are very dry. Especially the chicken, so we could totally do a little more gravy. Though it already looks overflowing the moment it came out. I believe that this would taste very delicious if it’s hot so the gravy would be more liquify to spread.

I am not sure if I’ll revisit consider the cleanliness of the diner. I don’t think a diner has to be dirty, and I just cannot deal with dirty restaurants. (I know they cannot be perfectly clean, but at least don’t let me see it. 😦 )

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Acme Cafe

I visited this cafe sometime last summer, so after an year I finally revisited. 😛 We ordered the strawberry milkshake with two shots of espresso. Espresso is espresso, the taste is always so overwhelming. The milkshake just tasted like a coffee shake. 😛

For my breakfast, I picked a daily special omelet with chicken and black beans. Their was this spice that I cannot recall the name of, but gave this omelet a kick.

Chicken Club multi-grain or white bread, chicken, bacon, aged cheddar, tomato, arugula, sun-dried tomato mayo and grainy mustard. This is one big sandwich even though it looks small, lots of ingredients layered into the sandwich. Stuffs you up quickly!

Baked Egg Scramble with free-range eggs, mushroom, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato, shredded redskin potato and toast. This was for my mom and she doesn’t eat goat cheese, so we substitute it with cheddar cheese. This was actually very very good, I think it’s the sun dried tomato. But so juicy and delicious. :9

Meat Loaf Omelet – another daily special of the day. My brother had this and he said it was bitter. I took a bite, it was a little bitter but we are just not quite sure where the bitterness coming from. Maybe a spice?

Daily Special – Tomatoe Curry Lamb Sausage with sunny side up eggs. I don’t eat lamb so I didn’t actually try this. But I tried the sauce. 😛 Was good! It’s basically curry made from tomatoe but it adds this light sour to the creamy sauce. 🙂

I didn’t order pie last time I was there because I was too early. (they make their pies fresh daily, so if you want pie go around noon when most pies are ready) So I chose from three that were ready – lemon meringue pie. I always like lemon meringue because it’s so sour at the bottom and so sweet on top without the cream. This is a very traditional pie with lots of sour at the bottom, you need the egg white meringue on top to balance it out. If you are not into sour, I wouldn’t recommend this.

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