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My Favourite Restaurants – Spring 2011

The best meal I ever ate was in Bouze-les-Beaune, in the Cote-d'Or, in a rustic little place called La Bouzerotte; an unexpectedly perfect meal in picturesque Burgundy.  But that was 15 years ago.  Would it be the same if I recommended it to someone today?  Hopefully, but perhaps the chef has changed, the owners have sold or the manager who kept everything running smoothly has departed.  

Restaurants are funny beasts.  They are not static creatures.  They morph, grow and change.  How many times have you recommended a restaurant to someone only to have a report back that the experience was less than stellar?  So when I am asked what my favourite restaurants are I have to put my answer into context.

Currently I am enjoying Bao Bei.  I LOVE the decor and ambience of the bustling place and they just finished cleaning up at the Van Mag 2011 Restaurant awards.  I have found myself craving the Shao Bing, crunchy sesame flatbread with braised pork and mustard greens, totally addictive!

Another recent entry on my top five list is L'Abattoir.  Chef Lee Cooper is young and adventurous and his menu reflects a fresh take on fine dining.  I loved the sweetbreads I had the last time I was there.  A dish, more often than not, that is improperly prepared and cooked.  These melted in my mouth and were perfectly cooked.

Tojo's.  What more can I say that hasn't already been said about this iconic Vancouver restaurant.  Tojo is the absolute master of the roll.  I have dreams about his Tojo Roll with Dungeness crab and the gossamer thin wrapping of egg.  Sublime!!!

My current preferred Italian haunt is La Quercia.  I love the family style dining.  This is the way you eat the majority of the time in Italy.  You wait in anticipation for the next mouth-watering course.  Such a connected and communal way to enjoy a meal with people you love.

I also recently had a great pizza at Nook.  How can you go wrong with Italian sausage, chilies and sweet onion?!  So reminiscent of dining in great little "hole-in-the-wall" places in New York or Toronto.

Ask me next week what my current favourtie restaurants are and you might get a whole different answer!






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