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In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.


Entries in Italian (54)


Armani Cafe

armanicafe.jpg Next up on the list is a lunch at Armani Cafe, inside the Emporio Armani near Union Square. I actually quite like this one - it doesn't have the outdoor people watching of the Boston Newbury St. location, but the inside is a huge open space with a very high ceiling and a cool bar in the center of the room. The clothes and display stuff are around you, at the sides of the store. There's also an area with some tables upstairs, and more shopping downstairs. The food is usually pretty good.

carpaccio di manzo - thin sliced Kobe beef, arugula, dijon lemon aioli, parmesan & capers - $12.5

penne alla boscaiola - penne, sauteed chicken, mushrooms & zucchini in a light parmigiano cream sauce - $15 The carpaccio was good, but the Kobe beef didn't seem to make it particularly better... seems like one of those cases where they add the word and a few bucks to the price. It had an ample amount of arugula on top, which I enjoyed. I recently realized that I love the combination of arugula and parmesan - the two make for a great simple salad. The penne was very tasty. The pasta was nicely al dente, the chicken was tender, and the sauce was rich and creamy, and didn't do that coagulation thing that cream sauces sometimes like to do. It had a very strong parmesan flavor which I loved. I've never really understood the concept of Armani Cafe. Why a Cafe? Why only inside Emporio? Just why in general? Oh well - they do a decent job of satisfying an Italian craving.

Gusto di Quattro

gusto-di-quattro.jpg Inspired by a few other blogs out there, I've started taking pictures of signs/logos of places that I go to. I guess it helps with the memory process. So on to my next Vancouver spot: Gusto di Quattro, an Italian restaurant in North Vancouver. It's just across the street from a new apartment development that my Aunt and Uncle are working on. Thanks to my Aunt Grace and Uncle Stephen for taking me out.

radicchio bocconcini - grilled fresh marinated mozzarella wrapped with prosciutto & radicchio leaves, served in a cherry vinaigrette - C$7.95

fettucine affumicate - fettucine with cream, tomato, smoked salmon & green peas - C$11.95 Very solid meal. The Western food in Vancouver has vastly improved over the years in my opinion, and the Italian places have gotten notably better. The mozzarella was very rich and tasty, although slightly overdressed. The pasta was excellent. Firm, textured fettucine with a tasty pink sauce and nice chunks of salmon. The place is part of a family of restaurants, with another location in Vancouver and another in Whistler. It wasn't quite as good as Cioppino's Enoteca, but it was significantly less expensive and a better value.



Happy Turkey Day everyone. I'm staying in Boston during this break, so I probably won't be eating any Thanksgiving type stuff. I'm not a big turkey fan anyway. Continuing on with my archive of pictures from the summer... Here is Quince in SF, a relatively new place. The chef, Michael Tusk, won the "Rising Star" award from San Francisco Magazine in August. It replaced the Meetinghouse, which I thought was a very good brunch joint, and had the best biscuits I think I've ever had. I heard that bad business wasn't the cause of its closing, which doesn't surprise me. Too bad it's gone though. Anyway, Quince supposedly has some of the best pasta in the city.

local halibut tartare with lemon mustard dressing - $12.5 local halibut tartare with lemon mustard dressing - $12.5

pappardelle with rabbit - $16 pappardelle with rabbit - $16

alaskan black cod with chanterelles and prosecco sauce - $25 alaskan black cod with chanterelles and prosecco sauce - $25

scharffen berger cacao nib panna cotta with toasted pecans and chocolate wafers - $8.5 scharffen berger cacao nib panna cotta with toasted pecans and chocolate wafers - $8.5 Very good meal. Did a good job considering how much hype this place has. This was another meal with my mom, Auntie Margie, Auntie Cathy, and the Chus. The Chus were able to book chef's table (sort of) - none of the regular tables can fit 8 people. We sat in the back in an area sort of between the dining room and the kitchen. We saw a lot of desserts being prepared next to us.

Anyway, the food was really good. The tartare was one of the best tartare preparations I've had in recent memory. A hint of lemon and fresh fish made it a simple delight. The goldfish-shaped toast was a funny touch.

The pappardelle was really excellent. There's just not enough to be said about freshly made pasta, and I don't see why they don't just do it in every Italian restaurant. It doesn't seem to take that much more work considering the reward. I had a bite of several different pastas on the menu and all of them were just great. All of them were simple preparations using simple sauces and not too many ingredients, which allows for the fresh pasta to really shine. The pappardelle I had was probably on the more elaborate side already. It was just a delicious simple ragu with very good pasta (it's all about the texture!).

The cod was just alright. Not bad at all, but a little underwhelming after the pasta. It was like many other fish dishes that you could get at a lot of places. The menu sort of pressures you into ordering 3 courses by dividing itself by using the headers "First Course Selections", "Second Course Selections", and, you guessed it, "Third Course Selections" (rather than Apps/Pastas/Mains or something like that).

To be honest, when I return, I'll order an appetizer followed by 2 pastas. The place isn't cheap, and this would be more cost effective and probably result in a better meal. Oh yeah - I forgot to talk about the panna cotta, which was very good. The long cocoa name is I guess a fancy way of saying chocolate, which is fine by me... It had a very chocolatey flavor without being too sugary sweet, which to me should be the ultimate goal of any chocolate dessert. Nice, firm texture, and chilled to just the right temperature for it to even be a little refreshing. Great dessert.


Il Fornaio

I went to check out Il Fornaio at the Levi Strauss Plaza. It's officially the closest restaurant to our new place I think. It's been there forever but I hadn't been in a pretty long time.

fiori di zucchine - crispy baby zucchini and zucchini flowers, lightly breaded, spicy tomato-basil and balsamic parsley sauces - $8.95 fiori di zucchine - crispy baby zucchini and zucchini flowers, lightly breaded, spicy tomato-basil and balsamic parsley sauces - $8.95

tagliolini granchio e chiodini - housemade pasta, crab, chiodini mushrooms, trebbiano wine, garlic - $16.95 tagliolini granchio e chiodini - housemade pasta, crab, chiodini mushrooms, trebbiano wine, garlic - $16.95 To be honest I was pretty disappointed overall. I got really excited when I saw zucchini flower on the menu, but these were just so so. I think the fact that they didn't have cheese inside like they usually do made them worse. They were on the greasy side and didn't have too much substance. The pasta was also so-so at best. The pasta was undercooked and the crab/mushroom didn't have enough flavor. The service was a bit slow too.


I had one Italian meal in Hong Kong (again inside Harbour City). This is a lunch at Cova, an Italian restaurant and bakery.

carpaccio carpaccio

fried calamari and zucchini fried calamari and zucchini

scampi with capellini scampi with capelinni

tiramisu tiramisu

mango mousse cake mango mousse cake My dad had tried stuff from the bakery before so we decided to try the restaurant for lunch. Carpaccio was pretty standard (hard to find an exciting carpaccio after eating at Harry's Bar). Calamari was good - I liked the zucchini. I've had them together once or twice before and I think it's a good combination. The scampi was described on the menu as a tagliarini, so I was pretty dissappointed to discover it was the much thinner capellini... I dislike capellini and angel hair a lot. They don't seem able to absorb any flavor from whatever they are cooked with. The desserts were good. Tiramisu was pretty average, but the mango mousse cake was delicious. Light, fluffy, and not too sweet. Good meal overall, but I wish my pasta was actually tagliarini...