Sunday, December 26, 2010

Luxurious Lunching....Glowbal

This was my first experience at Glowbal. One of my favourite dining companions and fellow foodie, Jobin and I arranged to meet at his office and go somewhere close. We decided to venture into Yaletown (since I rarely get there during the lunching hour) and thought we would take a peek at Glowbal's lunch menu. After taking a peek at their inviting, heated patio, great looking food, and fairly reasonable lunch prices (pricier than a typical lunch but not overwhelming), we decided this would be our lunch destination.

 The meal got off to a bit of a weird start. In terms of service, they were a bit slow in seating us and getting us started with our glasses of water...which seemed a bit odd because we were after the lunch rush at almost 2pm and it wasn't very busy. Also, I was a bit thrown by their GIANT MENUS. I've attached a photo to show scale. It was a crowded table with just the small platter of bread, butter, and two water glasses with those two GIANT MENUS. It's actually kind of funny- although initially a bit weird trying to conversate and hold up GIANT MENUS.

Any blossoming feelings of negativity were quickly squashed once they brought out the menus and the complimentary bread and butter. This bread and butter was a stand-out element of my Glowbal experience. The bread was a slightly warm, soft and chewy basic white-baguette-style. Pretty average on its own but when dipped in the warmed butter sprinkled with pink hawaiian lava salt- it became a taste experience!
Our server arrived shortly after. He was warm, friendly, quick to answer questions, and it seemed like he ran things during lunchtime at Glowbal. I asked him a few questions about the satays, and asked for his recommendation since I was torn between ordering the roasted chicken club sandwich and the cobb salad. He recommended the cobb salad and told us he would send out a couple of satays to try. Jobin mentioned that he has some seafood allergies, and the server instantly for the rest of the meal was very conscious of anything potential seafood issues that would mess with his dining experience. Our served actually checked in politely with a few questions later on to ensure that nothing in Jobin's main dish would make him swell up and die. Very nice guy!

The complimentary satays came out fairly quick. We tried the Kobe Meatball with tomatoe fondue, and the short rib with truffle aoili. The satays came with thai slaw, ginger white soya, and hot chinese mustard. The Kobe Meatball in tomato sauce was awesome- rich and flavourful! That sample makes me want to come back for their Spagetti and Kobe Meatballs. Yum. The short rib was good but not mind-blowing and we both dug the hot chinese mustard.

Shortly after we polished off the satays, our mains arrived. Jobin's lunch looked a bit like a classy medieval feast...he didn't finish his massive plate of rich food...he had leftovers for dinner and was still probably so full that he wanted an George Costanza-style nap under the desk when he had to go back to work. He ordered the Lamb Shank with Mushroom Risotto (16$). He loved his dish commenting that the lamb was well-cooked with subtle flavour and that the risotto was the best risotto he had ever had. Thick, creamy, cheesy, and loaded with a variety of quality mushrooms.

My cobb salad ($14) was presented beautifully. And all of the elements (grilled chicken, bacon, free-range boiled egg, roqufort cheese)were definitely quality and fresh. In particular, the bacon was crisp and lighter than usual, which I really enjoyed. Overall, my salad was tasty, but nothing mind-blowing.

We agreed that our mains were tasty- but the fantastic service, attention to detail, and extras like the delicious bread and butter/complimentary satays, are what makes Glowbal worthy of an enthusiastic recommendations and a re-visit.

Glowbal Grill and Satay Bar
1079 Mainland St
Vancouver, BC

Glowbal Grill Steaks and Satay on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel Eats: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico November, 2010

I recently took a week vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I was tagging along on a friend’s family vacation so I wasn’t picking any of our dining venues and instead had a “go with the flow” attitude. All I knew is that I wanted to eat a lot of tacos while I was there. We ate a lot of tourist restaurants, and at the condo/timeshare/resort we stayed at….so we didn’t eat a lot of really authentic Mexican food, but we did eat a lot of yummy food.
*CHEAP VODKA- Osso Negro, bottled and brewed in Mexico and CHEAP (I think we paid approx 5 bucks for a 1L at the Mexican big box superstore
*CHEAP BEER- Tecate, Sol, Corona….
 *YUMMY GUAC everywhere!

*First dinner in Cabo had an Mexican combo at Solomon’s, a restaurant on the marina boardwalk ….it was a good start to a week of mexi-eating. It featured a chilli relleno, one chicken enchilada, and skirt steak served with rice pilaf, black beans, and guacamole. It was a colourful, flavourful, and filling plate. This was my first time having a chilli relleno (pepper stuffed with cheese and grilled) and I didn’t really like the cheese. Come to think of it, all the dishes that our group ordered on this trip that had cheese, had way too much cheese. In fact, after a couple of overly-cheesy meals at the beginning of the trip, I only ordered meals that didn’t have cheese. This place also had the hottest hot sauce I experience on the entire trip!
*Lime Margaritas…..I’ll never get scurvy because I love me a citrus-y beverage. The best one I had was at “The Office.” This restaurant is on busy Medano beach, and you are literally under a colony of blue beach umbrellas with your toes in the stand as you dine.
*I ate a lot of tacos on this trip….I’m not sure on what the final count was, but I know I hit between 12-15, and I could have had more. The best tacos of the trip were definitely at the Cerritos Beach and Surf Club on Cerritos Beach which is a 45 minute drive up the Baja Peninsula from Cabo, on the most beautiful, peaceful beach I saw on the trip. Service wasn’t the best, but cold beer has never tasted so good and you really can’t beat the view. They actually screwed up my order and brought me fried fish tacos, even though I ordered grilled- but it was so tasty, I didn’t really care. This place also had the best fresh-cut, chunky salsa I experienced in Cabo!
*Homemade Dinner in the Eagle’s lair (what we named our condo at Playa Grande). We hit the local Mexican superstore and a produce market in Todos Santos and made a feast. Chips and homemade guac (it turned out well even though I screwed up and bought parsley instead of cilantro), roast spiced yams, grilled steak, stirfried chicken, salad (featuring heart of palm), and a mountain of veggies skewers. A home cooked dinner was a nice switch up after eating out all of the time. Also, Mexican grocery stores have the most amazing lime mayo, hot sauce selection, and chili lime sauce that I brought home and put on everything!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Newest Nuba

I’m no Nuba rookie- with one meal at their Seymour café location- I felt confident in recommending a visit to the new-ish Nuba location on east 3rd  for a dinner date. I knew I was going to enjoy something fresh, healthy, tasty and that there would be plenty of vegetarian/vegan options for my dining companion.  It was raining pretty heavily when we parked and sprinted into the restaurant. It was a warm, cozy, yet funky space that felt like a mod 70’s rec room lounge (décor included a white cinderblock wall, lots of tropical plants, and surprisingly comfy plastic furniture.
Ordering didn’t take long. We were both hankering for falafel and I wanted to get one of the items I tried on my first visit. The item in question is Najib’s Special (6.75 as a Mezze appetizer) , a fried cauliflower dish that earned a mention in Vancouver Magazine’s list 101 Things to taste before you Die.
This crispy cauliflower is tossed with lemon and sea salt and served with tahini. It doesn’t look like much, but looks can be deceiving…..these are brown lumps of crispy fried vegetable goodness. The texture is crisp and light, with a crunch, and the tart lemon and tangy sea salt complement the mellow flavour of the cauliflower. Cauliflower used to be one of my least favourite vegetables- now I see that this veggie has potential. As a mezze appy, it is served with pickles and pita.
We also shared a falafel plate (10.25) served with taboulleh, hummus, tahini, salad, hot sauce, pita. We had a choice of roasted potatoes or brown rice- we went with potatoes. The falafel balls were pretty outstanding. Made with organic chickpeas, fava beans, veggies and spices- these were fried to crispy perfection on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. You can tell they put some love into these balls….wait that sounds wrong….you know what I mean….you can tell they use quality, fresh, organic ingredients and taste the difference. The Hummus is made from organic chickpeas blended with garlic, lemon & tahini. The garlic was not overwhelming, and it was a little lemony, delicious and light. Served with pita bread, our server also brought us some hot sauce, which was surprisingly green and tasted amazing. The hot sauce is made in house and the recipe is carefully guarded. I loved it and could’ve had 3 more small sides with our meal. The taboulleh is a salad with chopped parsley, tomatoes, and burghul with chopped green onions and a lemon-mint dressing. We both found it very refreshing, light, and flavourful, we could unquestionably taste every individual ingredient in the salad. Also, we were worried about all of the little green bits getting in our teeth- but we managed our way through this side dish without any dental awkwardness.
The water served at Nuba tastes extra refreshing- that’s because it its cucumber water. The pitchers all have cucumber slices in them so the cool vegetable infuses the water. It was a unique touch and I think I drank a day’s worth of water (8 glasses) in one sitting.
Our server was great, the meal was affordable and fresh, with some stand-out features (cucumber water and homemade hot sauce) and the atmosphere was hipster-kitch without being pretentious. We loved it and will be back!
Cafe Nuba
146 E 3rd Ave
Vancouver, BC V5T 1C8
(604) 568-6727
Nuba (East 3rd Ave) on Urbanspoon