Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Modern Italian in Vancouver

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It had been awhile since I ate Italian food in Vancouver, B.C. and from what I remember, back in the 80s the real authentic stuff was at my baby sitter's and little neighborhood Italian meat shops.  If it was a restaurant we went to, I can remember dining in the darkest room ever as you tried to distinguish what you were eating by the dimly candlelit tables, you know, that had those red bubbly glass candle votives??  Fun times, but when I want Italian food now, I definitely want a different experience.

So the last time we went up North, we were able to try one of the newer modern Italian restaurants just off Denman St. at Robson called Tavola.  I couldn't have asked for a better recommendation from a friend, it was such a stellar experience.  Our hilarious and attentive wait person not only kept us laughing with the funniest stories, but also passionately spoke of their hand made pastas, buffalo mozzarella and antipasto, all of which were sooo delicious.  There's absolutely NO substitution for freshly made pasta and cheese.  To start we sampled 3 of their crostinis, the walnut pesto with Gorgonzola and pear of which was probably the best I have ever had. Our main courses were all specialties of whatever was in season, perfectly sauced and seasoned. Meat eater or vegetarian, you will taste the care put into each enticing dish and sense their Italian roots while offering us combinations of flavors you might not expect, or perhaps would only get if you were actually in Italy.

Drinks were also heavenly, and they really seemed to know their beer and wine whether it was local or imported.  I think if you were celebrating a special night out or just out with family, you would really love this place.  Oh wait, dessert dessert!  Holy cannoli, you CANNOT miss dessert at this place.  Just as well prepared and orgasmic-inducing (even more so??) than dinner, I think their sticky toffee pudding with house made warm creamy toffee was one of THE best things I've ever put in my mouth.  DID I JUST SAY THAT?

I offer you a feast for the eyes below, and hope that you get to make it to this fantastic gem right in the heart of Vancouver!

Tavola in Vancouver
Tavola in Vancouver
Tavola in Vancouver
Tavola in Vancouver
Tavola in Vancouver
Tavola in Vancouver

Catching Up?

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I am so so so behind on blogging, it's been one of those things that has taken a backseat to my photography and social life lately.  But better weather around here means that we're all outside more instead of in front of a computer screen.  I've been eating my way through many fantastic meals from the very humble to the fancy schmancy.  I will try and update that soon.  Happy spring everyone!

macro flowers

Friday, May 11, 2012

Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins!

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Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins!

It's no secret that in my house there is always chocolate around.  So by the end of Easter I had my fair share of various chocolate bunnies and eggs lying around.  OH WHAT TO DO WITH THEM!?  I knew I had to bake something to share with others so I didn't gorge myself into oblivion, and ended up adapting a recipe I found online to make banana chocolate Peanut Butter muffins!  They turned out so moist and delicious, I knew that one was probably enough but I ended up having 3 in one sitting...and some of the batter at the end.  So much for not gorging.



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large bananas, mashed
2 HEAPING tablespoons of peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 12 count muffin pan with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and stir in the chocolate chunks (this makes for even chocolate distribution in the batter later). Combine mashed bananas, peanut butter, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans up to the top of the liners (you will probably  be left with a bit of batter for tasting, but not quite enough to make more).
Bake in preheated oven for 20. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hurrah for Stuffed Cakes!

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HEY CUPCAKE LOVERS!  Just wanted to let you know I had one of the most delicious cupcakes the other day from a place called Stuffed Cakes in West Seattle. A co-worker's wife (thank you Erin!) gave them to him to bring to work, it was so thoughtful of her. Checking out their website's "Menu" link, I can see they have quite an extensive array of flavors including their signature "stuffed" varieties.  My cupcake was part of their "Boozy" line, called the White Russian.  I love that someone made this cupcake because it's such a stellar idea! It's White Russian cake with vodka and Kahlua with a throw-back-your-head-in-heaven Kahlua buttercream.  And I'll tell you why I absolutely loved this cupcake more than most these days: because the frosting was sweet, creamy and the scent of a White Russian was what I was tasting.  I'm loving less those ones that just taste like they spread a whipped nob of butter on my cake, even sort of flavorless, I mean just close your eyes and you might notice it next time.  I enjoy it more when the cake is not too sweet, so the more sugary frosting balances the whole thing.  Not that I'm going to refuse any cupcake that's given to me, or not try one from a new place.  But Stuffed Cakes gets my vote for one of my favorites in Seattle now.  If you do a quick search for "cupcake wars" in my blog, you'll find I talk about many of the cupcake places in our city that I love and the ones that fall short of impressing me.  So next time you get over to West Seattle, head a bit south on 35th to 9003 35th Ave SW and stuff yourself!

White Russian cupcake

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lunch at Serendipity Cafe, Magnolia!

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mac and cheese
French Onion Soup, salad and mac n' cheese

Had to run some errands during lunch in Magnolia the other day and was trying to find out online where a good place for lunch might be, and decided to try the Serendipity Cafe at 3222 W. McGraw St.  So really I can only base this review on this one visit, but it was quite delicious and simple which is exactly what we wanted.  I had the French Onion soup and my co-worker David had the mac n' cheese.  The former had some nice hearty whole grain bread on top with melted cheese, a refreshing change from the traditional white french bread.  I felt it was more like a meal that way, and added to the already flavorful soup.  The mac n' cheese had some really nice sharp cheeses that gave it a real zing!  Although the sauce was a bit runny, it was still quite good. I would definitely order that again.  The staff was really nice, the prices reasonable, and the food good so we're definitely going back! 
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