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Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar

The hunt for a good brunch spot led us up Yaletown’s cobbled streets, perusing menus and scanning plates on patio tables. We eventually found ourselves happy situated on the patio at Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar. Having never been before I was excited to cross this casual bistro off my restaurants-to-try list.

Friendly staff enticed us in, where we were warmly greeted, seated, and sipping a spicy caesar within 5 minutes. The concise breakfast menu offers sweet and savory dishes composed of house made breakfast meats and fresh-baked goods – try the croissant, it was heaven. photo 2Phil ordered cafeteria style from their sides menu, which was more expensive as all breakfast sides (bacon, hash browns, etc,) were $5. The croissant was warm and flaky and came with a side of butter and strawberry jam. The hash browns were unlike any other we’ve had, deliciously crispy golden potatoes with a crunch, garnished with green onions that could have been more plentiful.
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My eyes are always bigger than my stomach, but when I saw the table beside us order a sausage eggs benedict I had to try it. The benny’s – two house made sausage patties, thick country-style biscuit, soft poached eggs and creamy hollandaise – were delicious but dense and quite filling. A hungrier me might have been able to finish both, but the Good Wolfe bested me.

Overall, I would recommend and return to Good Wolfe.
Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Hapa Beach in Kitsilano

So excited about finally getting over to Hapa Beach in Kitsilano.  This is the perfect little spot for non traditional Japanese fare. After lounging on the beach we headed over – sadly just after “Hapa Hour ” aka the food and drinks happy hour ended – and got two seats on the patio within 10 minutes. The patio is on the smaller side and one half is shaded by a tree, however their indoor dining room is quite large and well-appointed. Prices are reasonable, staff are friendly, and service was quick. Portions sizes aren’t huge, but again its meant to be a bunch of bites and snacks to share with friends – and going with a group means you can try more things!

I went with a sushi novice who is just warming up to seafood so we started with the spicy tuna roll ($8.50, big pictured above) which had super fresh tuna, and the crispy onion strings on top. Spice level was mild, but  overall this was a very pleasant roll.

The Popcorn Pork with honey mustard dipping sauce ($6) was lightly breaded and well seasoned. Evenly cooked with good flavour and a fun twist to popcorn chicken, not to mention it’s great for sharing. There was nothing wrong with this dish but it was our least favourite only by virtue of everything else standing out so much more!

photo 2(3)BBQ Short Ribs ( $12.99, not pictured!)  – Ate these up before snapping a pic, sorry! These were on the fresh sheet and the most expensive dish we ordered.  Although difficult to eat gracefully the flavours were right and had that hint of BBQ char. We got 6 pieces.

photo 4(2)Spicy Pork Ishiyaki ($10)- Fun dish where the egg cooks in the stone bowl in front of you! You can read the menu description in the Popcorn Pork photo above.  This was filling and delicious, although again on the safer side of mild, for our preferences at least.  Our waitress had recommended the mushroom ishiyaki, her personal favourite, so next time I’ll take her advice (staff usually know best!).

Hapa Beach on Urbanspoon

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Avocado Crema & BBQ Pulled Chicken Tacos

I usually spend my Sunday’s prepping lunches for the coming week or making a big dinner, one we can use the leftovers from during the week.  Lately I’ve been making a whole roast chicken on Sunday nights, which leaves us with lots of leftover meat.  We’ll make  chicken chickpea salad, swiss  chard  garlic pasta, or cold chicken sandwiches.  It just so happened this week we had all the ingredients for tacos. I pulled the leftover chicken and mixed it with some BBQ sauce, then quickly sautéed red peppers and onions and piled everything on to a warm corn tortilla. Garnished with crumbled light feta, cilantro and lime juice.

I really enjoy making this with sour cream, there’s just something about the tanginess that pairs well with the lime and cilantro.  I have used Greek or plain yoghurt to make this before though, so if that’s what you have on hand go for it. Start with a dollop of sour cream adding  more as you go (to taste).
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Avocado Crema

1 Large ripe avocado, or two small ones
1/4 – 1/2 cup sour cream, Greek or plain yoghurt
1 minced garlic clove
Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste ( I used about 2 tbsp)
Juice from half a lime
Salt and Pepper

 

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Jamie Oliver’s Whole Roast Chicken

photo 1I’d been dancing around the idea of roasting a whole chicken for some time now, never feeling quite confident enough and always talking myself out of it at the last minute in the checkout line.  I shouldn’t have psyched myself out because it’s really not that difficult at all. I’ve tested two similar recipes, Jamie Oliver’s and Martha Stewarts. Honestly they are very similar, but overall I like the Jamie Oliver method more, his approach is straight forward and simple, and very laid back. He doesn’t go out of his way to complicate what can ultimately be a very quick and easy dinner.

Whole Roast Chicken

1 raw chicken
1 lemon
Generous handful of fresh herbs ( Rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley – whatever you have on hand)
4 garlic cloves
Olive Oil
Onions, carrots, root vegetables

Rinse and pat dry your chicken with paper towels (make sure you rinse out the cavity too!). Jamie says to leave the bird at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat oven to 475.  Peirce your lemon all over with a sharp knife.  I don’t have a roasting pan with tray, so I used regular oven-to-table baking pan, elevating and resting the chicken on quartered onions. Stuff the cavity of your chicken with garlic cloves, fresh herbs, and the lemon.  Place chicken in pan and drizzle with olive oil (or use room temperature butter ), and season liberally with a salt and pepper. Place roasting pan in oven and turn down the temperature to 400. Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, basting half way through.  At the half way point I also added some quartered potatoes and carrots

Once done, remove chicken from oven and let it rest ten minutes before carving. photo 3

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Summer Vegetable Risotto

Despite it being a rainy Sunday ( and the forecast calling for rain all week), I know that full-fledged summer is right around the corner – I can just feel it! One of the undeniable signs that summer has arrived is that sweet seasonal aroma wafting from balconies and backyards everywhere: BBQing.  I’ve already been to my first of the season (and yes, it was sunny and warm that day), but sadly I have neither back yard or patio of my own. I’ve lamented  this before on occasion, but have luckily remedied my situation with the George Foreman grill. As of tonight I can tell you it’s going to be a delicious summer, outdoor BBQ or not.photo(1)

I grilled a red pepper, zucchini, brussels sprouts, and green beans (not pictured), lightly brushed with olive oil and finished with our new Molten Hot Amola sea salt.  We picked up a variety pack at Portobello West craft market over the weekend, which included four finishing salts: Molten, Rosemary Garlic, Smokey Espresso, and Bacon. All are amazing, and well-balanced in fragrance and taste. You can find Amola Table Top Necessities For Land and Sea at many shops throughout the Lower Mainland, across the country and even south of the border. 

Summer Vegetable Risotto

1 cup arborio rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
Fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano to taste

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Start by heating two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add rice to pot and stir to coat with oil.  Continue stirring rice as you add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Keep stirring until liquid has almost completely reduced. Now add half a cup of stock at a time, stirring until liquid evaporates before adding the next half cup. Repeat until rice is tender.

Turn off the heat, season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, grated parmigiano, and gently fold in half the grilled vegetables. Cover with a lid and let all that cheese melt into the rice while you pull out your cutlery and plates. Serve risotto topped with more vegetables and another sprinkle of parmigiano (because why not).

 

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Shrimp & Tofu Fried Rice

Leftovers are a beautiful thing, especially when they come together and create something completely new. I’ve been craving fried rice for a while now, and just before I broke down and bought some it turned out I had everything needed to make my own at home. All told, this took under 30 minutes to prep and cook.

Weeknight Fried Rice

3 cups leftover rice
1 onion
Handful baby carrots, diced
1/3 cup frozen peas
2 garlic cloves
2 eggs
Green onion
Protein ( I used tofu and shrimp)
Soy Sauce/ Oyster Sauce/ Hoisin Sauce/ Fish Sauce — whatever you have on hand

photo 1-15However  your ingredients may vary, I recommend cooking in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Start with your onion and garlic, sauteing until garlic is fragrant, then add your carrots and cook until tender (5-7 mins). Remove and set aside.  Add a bit more oil to the pan before cooking the eggs. Set aside, now add rice and peas to the same pan, stir to prevent rice from burning but you want it to crisp up a bit. Add your sauce, I used a couple dashes soy, fish sauce, and hoisin. Stir in the ingredients you’ve set aside, and serve.

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Caprese Eggs on Grilled Toast

Doesn’t that soft poached egg  look just like a ball of delicious buffalo mozzarella?  I thought so too. As inspired a title as this recipe may have, the dish itself – like most of my breakfasts – evolved on the go as I pulled ingredients from my fridge.

photo 1-14 Three campari tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves
Two eggs
Two pieces of toast ( I used Udi’s multigrain)
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Quarter campari tomatoes and toss with fresh chopped basil,  olive oil and sea salt in a small bowl. Grill both sides of bread over medium heat in a cask iron skillet. If you’re having bacon for breakfast use some of the drippings and grill your toast in the same pan.  Plate and top each slice with a heaping spoonful of tomatoes.
A soft poached egg takes about 2 minutes in boiling water (medium hard between 2-4 minutes). I’ve found cooking one egg at a time in a small pot of about 5 cups of water produces the best results.  Bring cold water to a rolling boil, reduce  heat to medium high and add your egg (slowly, using a ladle to ease it in).  Once cooked to preference, remove egg with a slotted spoon and nestle on top of tomatoes. Garnish with fresh ground pepper, more olive oil, and chopped basil.

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