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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

Before we left for Vancouver again the next day (after our small vacation in Whistler), I decided to have lunch at the highly rated Italian restaurant, Il Caminetto, in Whistler Village.

The restaurant was big and empty for lunch. The wine cellar was elegantly laid with many bottles of fine wine. Some plates and pictures were displaced on the wall casually. There were two long tables and many small tables in the room we seated.

While sipping the refreshing Blueberry Frizzante, we looked through the menu thoroughly. The lunch menu is simply but decent. We ordered Zucchini Carpaccio, and Tuscan Minestrone for appetizer to share. For pasta we had Linguine alla Vongole and for main we had Certified Angus NY Steak.

The Zucchini Carpaccio was simply sliced zucchini with vinaigrette dressing and cherry tomatoes. Considering there’s more to come and the portion of the other dishes are big, I wouldn’t complain about the price. If only looking at the Carpaccio on its own, then the price is not worth the dish.

Quickly after the Zucchini is finished, the Tuscan Minestrone soup came to the table. The portion was decent with virgin olive oil dripped casually on the soup. The soup was hot and delicious with different vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, mushroom, fresh parsley and potato. We enjoyed the combination of the cold Carpaccio and the hot Minestrone.

The linguine came right after the soup was taken away. I agree that the photograph doesn’t look so appealing the quality of the dish was impressive. There was a large quantity of clams, wild salmons, surf clams, and prawns on the linguine. The pasta was cooked with a garlic broth. The seafood was fresh and nicely cooked and the linguine is clear without the common creamy taste. The only disappointment was the fact that the pasta was not house-made which surprised me because most high-end Italian restaurants such as Q4 would always make their pasta fresh daily.

The Angus Steak finally came with some potato and vegetables. I ordered the steak as medium and it was just about right. The potato was crispy on the outside and soft inside. I like the sauce of the steak and it went wonderful with the potato.

After lunch, we had time for a short walk in the Whistler village. The stone-covered streets were clean with not many visitors. There were many store in the village and we walked past several other great restaurants besides Il Caminetto that were on our to-eat list for next time.

While walking in the village, we discovered a small gelato shop called “Bocca Gelato”. I decided to have a gelato as dessert since I didn’t order any at the restaurant.

All the flavors seemed ordinary but one top of each kind of gelato; there were the real version of the flavors on them. There were Oreos on the cookie and cream gelato, strawberry on the strawberry gelato, coffee beans on the coffee gelato and even marshmallow on the dream rocky gelato.

I chose the low-fat strawberry gelato on a cone. The waffle cone was crispy and freshly made and the gelato was refreshing, too. The quantity and quality of the gelato were worth the price so I would recommend this gelato shop in Whistler.

Both the lunch and the dessert were fairly satisfying for both the price and the driving all the way to Whistler. Summer is a good time to explore Whistler and enjoy all the great food in this quiet summer reserve for foodies!

Il Caminetto on Urbanspoon

Another Sunday afternoon, I decided to visit a newly moved restaurant on Broadway – Q4. Quattro on Fourth got its name as the original restaurant was opened on 4th Avenue, but now moved to 2563 West Broadway.

As I made the reservation for six o’clock, there were only a few tables occupied. The interior design is classy and tasteful with many bottles of fine wine the cellar. Q4 also has a semi-private room for big parties where we sat next to.

We took a look at the menu and decided to try the antipasto platter, which has an assortment of antipasto in small portions. For pasta, we chose the house-made potato gnocchi with classic Bolognese and for secondi we chose the striploin steak and frites.

The antipasto platter is beautifully arranged and full of traditional Italian delicacies. I developed two favorites among all the antipasto: bruschetta and radicchio bocconcini. As both of them are traditional Italian appetizers, bruschetta has its origin dated to at least the 15th century. The bruschetta at Q4 has crispy baguette toast topped with basil, fresh tomato, onion and a hint of garlic, making it refreshing and tasteful. The fresh marinated mozzarella with prosciutto was wrapped with radicchio leaves then grilled to make the radicchio bocconcini.

Soon after the antipasto was done, the house-made potato gnocchi was brought to the table. Gnocchi is a common type of soft dumplings that is made out of flour, potato, egg and sometimes cheese. The potato gnocchi at Q4 was extremely soft with a hint of spice from the Bolognese sauce.

Last but not least, we had the main course – striploin steak with French fries and green salad. I asked the striploin to be medium as the meat was cooked but not tough at all. An assortment of different mushrooms was under the striploin, a great combination with the black peppercorn sauce. Striploin and frites is a typical French course, but with an Italian twist of the sauce and mushroom, the main course became one of the most popular dish at Q4. Of course, the French fries are worth mentioning too, crispy and flavorful with Q4′s homemade ketchup.

The chef of Q4 – Alexandre Jolin greeted us after the main course and presented us two lovely desserts. He introduced the Ciliege Filate, which is candied phyllo pastry layered with mascarpone cheese and cherry red wine sauce.

The hospitable chef also made a special dessert for us from his daily inspiration – lightly fried doughnut ball, topped with cranberry sauce. The doughnut balls were puffy and not so oily as the mint leaves also created a slight freshness to the dessert.

The service was courteous and pleasant. The dishes use the freshest ingredients and all the pasta are handmade daily works. The dining experience at Q4 can be considered truly as a fine bottle of Conti Costanti – smooth and elegant.

Q4 on Urbanspoon

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