Friday, April 8, 2011

Dungeness Crab and Mascarpone Risotto

It's very late right now, and I have to get up in 6 hours, BUT I simply have to tell you about the most fabulous meal I that I had the pleasure of gorging myself on tonight.

To give you a bit of background, my Auntie Sue is in town for 2 weeks. She's been sober for 7 months now and we're all so immensely proud, so this trip is kind of just celebrating how great she is. I spent one day of just me and her walking down Commercial Drive, which is her favourite place in Vancouver. I absolutely love walking around with her because she'll just talk to anybody. Everybody who meets her eye gets a smile and a "Hey, how ya doing?"

There are tons of great shops up and down Commercial, but to my shame I have only been in a handful of them, even though I've been frequenting the area ever since I started dating Max. Sue will just walk into any old place and immediately strike up a conversation with the staff, and most times will meet the owner of the place and lavish them with compliments. Both times that she has been out and gone around Commercial Drive with me, we've ended up eating in places that I walk by all the time, but have never gone it. The first time it was this great place called Tony's Deli, where we had the most delicious spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. This time it was a Vietnamese restaurant called Red Pagoda. I'll admit, I did feel like I was being unfaithful to my favourite Vietnamese restaurant, Bao Chau. But I have to say, the food at this place was great, and only $2 more expensive than my other place. I had what I always get: bún thịt nướng, which is rice vermicelli served with some kind of meat (typically pork or lemongrass chicken) and served on top of mixed vegetables (cucumber, carrot and bean sprouts), which I doused with delicious fish sauce (which tastes better than it sounds). At this place, though, they sprinkled roasted peanuts on top of the dish, and what a difference it made. The spring rolls were also fabulous, and somehow not oily at all.

Don't worry, Bao Chau, I still love you.

One thing that comes from being poor is the ability to seek out the greatest deals in the city. My mother is more than pro at this. Every special event, every discounted opera ticket, every cheap-yet-amazing restaurant cannot escape her. She found out about JJ's a couple of months ago. JJ's is the restaurant at the VCC downtown college, and it is run and staffed by students in their Culinary Arts program. It's only open from 5:30 to 7:30, and has a fixed menu with 4 choices in each category (Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts).

My meal was... fucking superb, to put it lightly. Dungeness crab and mascarpone risotto to start, followed by oven roasted duck, with duck confit and herbed gnocchi, and red velvet cake with raspberry coulis and candied pecans for dessert. I died and went to heaven multiple times.

It was just such a great meal, the restaurant itself was nice looking, the staff was really friendly, and I shit you not, they played a song from Fallout. This place is amazing. Also, Auntie Sue, being the true gourmet that she is (gour·met/gôrˈmā/Noun1. A connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate) asked our waitress if we could speak to the head chef to compliment him and talk shop. He came over with this kind of wary look on his face, and then we unleashed the full fury of our amazement. He had this great Scottish accent and was really nice. We left pleasantly full and very pleased. Overall, this was one of the nicest meals that I've ever had, it worked out to be about $25 per person. In a restaurant that matched the caliber of the food, we would maybe have been able to afford the entree for that much. So if you're poor and appreciate fine food, seriously head on over to JJ's, but you better make a reservation because it was a full house tonight. Two women even got turned away because there was going to be literally no room for them.

Okay, I should really stop salivating all over the keyboard. I'll talk about non-food things. My room is finally painted, and I'm so happy because painting gets really old after awhile. Tomorrow the shelves will go up, and then everything can FINALLY be organized.

I should be sleeping, but I just found a great webcomic called String Theory. Totally check it out. Goddamnit, I'm going to be tired tomorrow. But what else is new?


  1. Have you ever been to Anton's on... shoot the street is eluding me. It's on the 160 route, get off at Willingdon, walk a bit farther. x_x; It's pretty cheap too and they give you an ENORMOUS plate of deliciousness. =)

  2. I actually live about 2 blocks away from Anton's! I've never been, but I go by it all the time and see all the people waddling out with their take away containers, hahaha.

  3. You should try it, especially if you live so close =) It's deliciousness at a decent price!