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La Buca is a small Italian restaurant on MacDonald Street. On a Friday evening, I paid a visit to this restaurant with a group of family friends.

Breadsticks

Since we were a group of twelve people, the restaurant recommended the family dinner which the chef uses the freshest ingredients of the day to prepare a ten-courses dinner for people to share.

Mozzarella Salad

Soon after the water was served, the first appetizer arrived – Mozzarella Salad with Cherry Tomatoes. Two plates were served for the table of twelve people. It was a light and refreshing appetizer. The fresh mozzarella went well with the basil leaves.

Smoked Sardine Salad

Then, the second appetizer came. It is the Smoked Sardine Salad. Unlike most sardine dishes I’ve tried, the smoked sardine in this dish is fresh and soft. The savory sardine came with organic greens and carrot puree.

Steamed Clam

The first warm dish, White Wine Steamed Clam, came shortly after the cold appetizers. The steamed clams were tender and fresh. The dish came with some crispy garlic bread.

Beef Bologne with Tagliatelle

Soon, the pasta arrived. The first pasta dish was Tagliatelle with Beef Bologne. The tagliatelle was freshly homemade. Everyone enjoyed this simple yet delicious dish.

Veal and Tomato Pasted Spaghetti

The second pasta dish was Veal and Tomato Pasted Spaghetti. This dish was less popular than the tagliatelle, but it was a well-prepared dish. The tomato and olive paste made the spaghetti a lighter and more flavorful dish.

Home-made Ravioli Filled with Wild Sockeyed Salmon

The last pasta dish was Home-made Ravioli Filled with Wild Sockeyed Salmon. The salmon was tender and it went well with the radish and sweet corn. The raviolio was sprinkled with dried basil and chives as well.

Grilled Duck Breast and Apricot

The Grilled Duck Breast and Apricot came as the first entre. The apricots were quite sour but the flavor went well with the tender duck meat. The barbecue sauce made the dish savory and special.

Ling Cod with Grilled Cherry Tomato

Then, we had the seafood dish – Ling Cod with Grilled Cherry Tomato. The lingcod skin was crispy and the meat was tender but a little dry. The fresh cherry tomatoes brought a unique aroma to the fish. The ladies at the table enjoyed this dish very much.

Porchetta

As the last entrée, the Porchetta was definitely a pleasant surprise. Porchetta is a savoury and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig was gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of meat, fat, and skin. The homemade porchetta sauce at La Buca was highlight of the dish.

Grilled Assorted Vegetable

We had some grilled assorted vegetables after the entire meal. The yellow carrots were delicious and the baby potatoes were nicely grilled. This was an absolute necessity after such a heavy dinner!

Home-made Doughnuts with Vanilla Whipping Cream

Finally, there was the Home-made Doughnuts with Vanilla Whipping Cream. The dessert also came with chocolate lava cake and honeycomb cookies. The doughnuts were crispy on the outside and extremely soft inside. They were coated with sugar but they were not too sweet especially with the fresh vanilla whipping cream.

Overall, the entire party was impressed with the quality of the food at La Buca. The freshness and authenticity of the dishes made the dinner definitely worthwhile.  However, the price of such a family dinner was quite high, with an average of eighty to a hundred dollars for one person without alcoholic drinks.

La Buca on Urbanspoon

A trip to Whistler is the perfect opportunity to explore delicious food there. I did a thorough research on the Internet and decided to start with RimRock Café, a highly profiled restaurant in different websites. It is located right beside the sea-to-sky highway, we almost missed the exit.

The house of the restaurant was uniquely laid out, as the first floor had no tables. There was a huge wine cellar with a big window displaying all the fancy wines. Many pictures of celebrities and awards were hung on the wall.

After seated in the corner of the restaurant, we ordered fresh pressed orange juice and studied the menu slowly. We decided to have sautéed wild mushroom salad and four oysters on the half shell for appetizer, duck “two ways” and half Atlantic lobster as the main courses to share.

I admit that the mushroom salad doesn’t look like the most appealing dish of all time but the taste was absolutely wonderful. The fresh wild mushrooms were sautéed lightly, placed on a bed of greens and topped with shoestring potatoes. The sesame vinaigrette mixed well with the special flavor of the vegetables.

If you enjoy raw oyster by any chance, RimRock’s raw oysters should definitely be your first choice in Whistler. The mini oyster with vodka, crème fraiche & cavier (on the left) tasted rich in taste and tender in texture. The other one with champagne vinegar & shallots (on the right) was refreshing. The two baked oysters were not as delicious and tender, so I wouldn’t recommend them.

The Duck “Two Ways” was composed of a duck confit with crispy duck skin on top and grilled duck breast with special barbeque sauce. The duck confit was well cooked with a hint of wood and coal. The duck breast was tender but not as flavorful as the duck confit.

The half lobster at RimRock is a real lobster tail. Period. Compare to the frozen lobster from Black + Blue, this seems to be a decent compensation for the disappointment last week. The asparagus risotto under the lobster is quite original, the creamy taste of the rice went well with the freshly grilled lobster meat.

As for dessert, we decided to try a Rimrock Dessert Medley which had a miniature version of all the good dessert at the restaurant. There were (from closest to furthest) sticky toffee pudding, vanilla ice cream with house-made biscotti, chocolate ganache cake, hand-made chocolate truffle, white chocolate raspberry crème brulée, and hazelnut dark chocolate. The assortment of dessert was quite an intense work after all the duck and lobster but I still managed to choose my favorite one. The toffee pudding is extremely sweet, but warm and sticky, probably the most ideal treat after a long day of skiing in the winter at Whistler.

This is one of the most satisfying dinner I’ve had in a while in terms of the food. The service is not as good as the restaurants in Vancouver but the server was still friendly. This restaurant would be my first choice among all the restaurants in Whistler.

Rimrock Cafe and Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

 

The Sunday streets of Vancouver were tranquil and clean as always. I paid a casual visit to a familiar restaurant on 4th avenue, Bistro Bistro.

Opened since 2007, Bistro Bistro has established a subtle reputation in Vancouver as the cozy kitchenette in Kitslano. The restaurant was particularly quiet in the late afternoon of last Sunday.

Greeted warmly by the manager of the restaurant, we sat at a table beside the window. I examined the menu carefully and a glass bottle of water was brought to the table. Most of the dishes on Bistro Bistro’s menu don’t change. The bold lettered dishes are the most popular ones. I decided to order the warm onion tart as appetizer, a Beouf Bourguignon and a Duck Confit with macaroni and cheese to share as main dishes.

While we waited for our dishes, warm baguette with olive dip and salted buttered were served. Traditionally, the baguette must be backed in a brick oven to keep its most original flavor. The baguette of Bistro Bistro is crispy and crunchy on the outside, but a little too tough inside. This might not tbe the most ideal baguette for elder people or traditional baguette lover, however, the olive dip is worth trying.

The warm caramelized onion tart came fairly quickly. It is my favorite dish among all the dishes that I’ve tried at Bistro Bistro. The tart shell is crispy and buttery and the baked stuffing is rich and delicious. If you are interested in trying to cook this dish at home, the recipe is open to you too.

The boeuf bourguignon is cooked slowly in a big casserole. Traditionally, boeuf bourguignon is cooked with red Burgundy wine in a stew and added pearl onion and mushroom before served. The boeuf bourguignon is extremely tender, as I had to use a spoon to scoop the savory beef onto my plate.

The duck confit was placed on a bed of creamy macaroni and cheese that was baked in a shallow casserole. Macaroni and cheese is first mentioned in an old English cookbook, but later became popular throughout North America. Macaroni and cheese is evidently not a traditional French pasta, but having the crispy duck confit with soft, gooey macaroni is a wise combination by the chef.

Finally, after overloaded amount of carbohydrate, we decided to order the chocolate mousse for dessert. It was not the wisest choice after equally overloaded amount of oil but the mousse is a popular dessert because it is freshly made in the restaurant.

Overall, the dinning experience is quite pleasant considering the portion of the dishes are on the small side but the quality is decent. The price is a acceptable for a French bistro and the service is excellent.

Bistrot Bistro on Urbanspoon

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