Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Fuelish Birthday

My birthday has become an occasion for me to sample new restaurants. Of course so is every other day, but at least on my birthday I have company. Since we lived in Japan in the 80s, I've celebrated my birthday with Dave and Patty Samuel. A decade earlier, I first had birthday dinner at a Swiss restaurant in Vancouver with fellow Vancouver Community College teacher Frank Cosco, and frequently since then with his wife Kazu as well. Fumiyo was her usual trepidacious self about going to restaurants, the looking at the menu online didn't fill her with much enthusiasm.
She ended up ordering soup and the same shrimp salad that I ordered as a starter. I seem to have enjoyed my salad more than she did. and then she complained that the soup was too salty.
I had originally planned to go to another new Vancouver restaurant, called Gastropod, which is next door. The review in the Georgia Straight had raved about its fine tuna. However the tuna was no longer on the online menu. Gastropod was rated the 2nd best new restaurant in town, Fuel was #1 and its online menu seemed like things I'd enjoy. Letters to the review sites raved about its unbelievable chicken and pork dishes. I was going to go with the chicken on the menu, and Patty thought she'd try the chicken special that day. At the last minute, I decided to go with the pork, as the chicken was more dark meat than I care for. The server complimented me on the choice of the pork. It reminded me of something I ate as a kid. Odd, as I didn't start eating pork until I moved to Japan when I was 20. My parents had pineappled ham for Easter, and I occasionally ate bacon (as in BLTs) but no pork as such. Fuel's pork was indeed delicious as was its sauce. Much as I love spinache, there was actually too much of this delicious vegetable compared to the pork.

Kazu ate the veal, which she enjoyed. Her husband Frank had a lemony risotto that I found fabulous, but couldn't tempt Fumiyo to taste, despite her being the designated rice eater in the Ishikawa house.


We had assorted wines with our meals. I had a couple glasses of Sumac Stellers sparkling wine with the salad, a glass of Calina which didnt go as well as expected with the pork. My companions drank other things.


As far as my meal went, it was okay, but I found there was too much meat and not enough vegetable...the sauce was rich and pungent on the duck and chicken...if that was duck...I think it was. And I couldn't tell what sort of little sliced things were tucked under the meat, perhaps they were a vegetable...maybe a chestnut? But the dessert was superb, and so was the wine, I'll drink that Pfaffenheim gew├╝rztraminer again.
Patty Holmes
For desert, I had an amazing pineapple dish that went comfortably with a glass of Inniskil Icewine. I don't know if Fuel rates being called the best new restaurant in Vancouver, but everything I ate was good. When the tuna comes back to the Gastropod menu, I'll try its neighbour.

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