Monday, January 06, 2020

2019 in Review

Looking back at the best things I had to eat and drink this past year, you can see the best in previous blog posts from Vegas and the last one, in and around Vancouver. The halibut I had for my birthday dinner at Piazza Dario in the Italian Cultural Centre was the best restaurant meal I had in this city, though it doesn't compare to what I ate in Vegas. No surprise as I go to Vegas exclusively to indulge in amazing food and beverages. After an absence of restaurants and bars since the summer, I had some amazing food and drinks around Christmas time. I don't think that's a coincidence.
I began going to the annual German Vancouver Christmas Market 3 years ago. The first time I had two amazing mushroom grilled cheese sandwiches. Last year they only had one kind of mushroom sandwich but it was still awesome. I brought a good appetite to the 2019 Christmas market. It wasn't as cold as it had been the past two years so I didn't need gloves. Makes eating gooey sandwiches a much better proposition. The mushroom place
still had its great sandwich. One of these years I'll have to try their mushroom soup. Also the usual great German Christmas drinks, hot Austrian cidre from Das Apfelhaus and hot, spiced wine from the Gluehwine booth. I had planned to go back later in the month- my pass was good for the whole month, but one great mushroom grilled cheese and a couple of good hot drinks was good enough for this season.
Closer to Christmas, a friend and I went to the Homer Street Cafe where my relative David is now the manager. I had a cocktail there over the summer but it was too bitter for my tastes. I told David my taste has changed and I have less tolerance for bitterness now (rather abruptly, in December. Because of all the shortbread Fumiyo makes at this time of year?) and David said that's common as we age. 
It was cold and wet outside so I requested a warming winter cocktail. David recommended
EL CID - 14 3 ozlot 40, sherry,averna, naramaro, bitters. It did its job in warming us up but wasn't so good. We ordered some food, which was excellent: smoked cheddar croquettes, saskatchewan blue barley, sweet onion aioli - 6 and chickpea dip, aleppo, za'atar, taro & plantain crisps - 5. It was Happy Hour so food and cocktails were cheap. I tried another cocktail: BIG EASY - 13 2 ozhavana club 7, espresso infused cynar,luxardo sangue morlacco, noilly prat amber, bitters. It was better than the El Cid. Nuff said. As my friend finished his plantain chips, I went for another cocktail, JICARA - 14 2 ozsombra mescal, giffard abricot du roussillon,spiced pineapple shrub, citric solution, lem-marrakesh bitters. I told the bartender it was Vegas quality. I don't expect that in Vancouver. Wonderful to begin and end the year with astonishing beverages.

This cheese is new to me, perhaps new to Vancouver. The bread comes and goes from Safeway. A slice of cheese on top of some tomato slices on top of a piece of bread toasted til the cheese melts. Easy. Delicious.
David contributes cocktail recipes for the BC Liquor Store magazine Taste which also has excellent food recipes. One of the high lights of the Vegas trip was the mushroom sauce inside the Italian omelet at the 4 seasons, my new default breakfast place there. Thanks to a recipe in Taste, I was able to duplicate the mushroom sauce for the omelet. Most difficult thing I've ever made, but worth it.


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