Thursday, April 06, 2006


More of Dino's beneficence. A coupon for the great Queen Elizabeth Park restaurant Seasons in the Park with the instructions to bring my camera and capture its beauty when spring came. A Christmas present. And finally, it was time to unpack the camera, for the first time in 6 monthes. Our food loving friends, the Miyoshis had just arrived from Tokyo. Long resident in Vancouver, they had never been to this restaurant. Smaller than normal breakfasts for the Miyoshis and and a good workout at the rec. centre made us hungrier than passengers should be in a car headed far too slowly through the streets of Vancouver, in a noonish haze of blurred vision and rapidly diminishing existance. Some folks parked far too slowly in front of us, and then we got in as the valet chased us for the keys. Too hungry to shoot the flowers, we barged in like Jack Johnson at a Ku Klux Klan meeting in Liliput. A towering table was granted us, brazenly without reservations. Painfully past 12, and Icy the Burg had to be picked up at 3. What kind of leisurely meal was that?
A very good one, actually. From the appetiser menu, we ordered the flat iron steak skewers, the tuna tartare tower and Seasons' famous stuffed mushrooms (all not bad names for rock groups). The more obvious Japanese people ordered the black cod (only my name hints at the yellow peril of mystery) all Satchmo'd up with good ol' blood orange carrot reduction- you listen'n Brer Rabbit, your turn to cook next! Endive? what is that, a French torpedo? Belgian? Ok, if the best beer makers ruled the world, we'd all be speaking Walloons, but instead, its some sort of
Wallmart patois.
In preparation for something divine rising out of the sea and into my mouth, I order a Mission Hils 5 Vinyards Chardonay (how many vinyards does it take to make a good wine?). Thankfully the waitress obeys my suggestion to serve the wine With the food, not long before.
The beef explodes. No it isn't beef, it's like quantum mechanics suddenly taking place on your tongue. And you can taste the altered universe. It is not the heavy dead cow dropping into your teeth like 16 tons of tooth decay, it's alight, a bird suddenly aborn, your tongue soars into, what, this isnt tongueland, this isnt Kansas beef anymore, this is what? I'm so far above the earth I can no longer imagine its species. Even its clouds are unclear. Down there somewhere some poor cow must have died to send this rocket into interstellar taste possibilites, but that cow is to be honoured, and never forgotten, as on I soar!
And that's only appetiser #1.
The tuna tartare comes with wasabi tobiko. I can't imagine less appealing words on a menu (well I can, but we'll let this conceit enliven its particular universe for a micro-slice of time). Let the fish keep their eggs, not attempt to convince me they're edible. And wasabi? Only in the smallest qaulity is it of value. It did say mango. Those yellowish things were definitely not fish eggs. I thought they were corn. No, tasted too sweet. And the cucumber. Always a favourite veg, particulalry in sushi, it sashayed into the not-too-undead tuna "tower" like it owned the death certificate, and waltzed out. Mango. Maybe I can swap a few for a nuclear reactor too.
As the four of us gradually dismantled the tuna tower, I was reminded of world's fair pavillions. I attended 5 worlds fairs from 62-86 and always delighted in the latest technology one company/country could summon to make us love it. What could stand out architectually, draw in the crowds for an interesting show and make us all want to continually feast on that country's food was a real goal, and one usefull to all. Near our former house was a Czech restaurnt that mophed into a North Van eatery from its role in the Czech pavillion of the 86 Expo. Up until recently Montreal had a pretty good baseball team named after its delightul world's fair that closed a couple of years before the team began. The gravity from the fair was so strong, it could suck its name into baseball-sodden brains as dense as wood hardened by a thousand home runs soaring into the cobwebbed seats of empty stadiums in the late innings of the world series of zombies. Sometimes, the world was fair.
The mushrooms were heavy. With difficulty we slogged through them, like a century besotted with memory. Cream cheese, crab, et al a good idea but after the spiritually uplifting sacred cow and tower of babbling tuna cape canaveral imitation, what was a rich, cheesy mushroom cap to do? Thankfully the chardonay sliced that cream into slivers of digestible diamonds.
The entrees arrived. The dead awoke.
A new friend/old chef chided me upon a recent black cod purchase (Westview fish store; hey, I couldn't just Look, eh?), assuring me, as my cooking non-skill has always verified, that you can't win with black cod. Perhaps the variables are too great to mask with ingredients and skill. Yet Fumiyo delighted to find it upon the menu, as did the Miyoshis. And black cod came forth, and smothered their place settings. Fumiyo had considered ordering the salmon, but it seemed easier to order 3 of the same. She wondered what was a "human sandwich?" I pointed out that it was actulaly the Chinese province Hunan that gave birth to this pork sandwich, and not yet more cannibal mythology. I had a bite of the black cod. It wasn't bad. The carmelized onions helped a lot. The Hunan pork was perfeclty matched with the "white" zinfandel as I suspected it would be. Sweet but sweetness of the sweet days in the life of the pig, the happiness of the spices, in the love of the cook, no sugar in this universe of sweetness- just the idea of sweetness. In all its manifestations.
I ate not of the bread. Perhaps it was good. The french fries were what I wanted from Red Robin. Peel on. Not sodden with salt. The spirit of the potato lives on. Although I ate only a couple of fries, it was difficult eating the pork alone. Too full from the earlier appetisers.
And yet, on came desert. Burnt lemon pie for Fumiyo. Looks like Miro got there first . A tiny taste and my lips long smarted from all that sour. The Miyoshis order a B52, a Pentagon briefing for the palate. . A wonderfully subtle drink to end the avalanche of subtlety that was our meal. Is that Slim Pickins riding a bomb with my name on it? Ok, I'll move.


At 9:38 AM, Blogger Elayne said...

Wonderful restaurant review as always, Cat!


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