ANGEL WONG PHOTOGRAPHY

Miku

Posted in Food, Photography, Vancouver by Angel W. on January 24, 2014

Two nights ago, a friend and I dined out at a restaurant named Miku. They are a gourmet japanese restaurant best known for their aburi cuisine (flamed-seared sushi) and their assortment of specialty japanese dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients and fresh “ocean wise” seafood. When you first walk into this restaurant, the first thing you notice is how amazing the place looks. It’s sharp, clean, well-designed, and there seems to be a constant flow of busy staff members running about and hard at work. I’ve always appreciated well-designed interiors, because I really think that the environment you’re eating in plays an important role in the whole dining experience, and Miku definitely did not disappoint. Not only was their interior great, but the food they served also followed the same aesthetic. Every single dish we had was visually pleasing with beautiful pairings of colours, textures, and styling.

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Miku’s dine out menu was offered at $38, and there was no choosing of “appy’s”, or entrees, or dessert for that matter, as EVERYTHING on the menu is included (a big YES!, especially to indecisive people like me.)

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Beginning with their appetizers, we were served a sample of four different dishes. We started with the Tosaka Seaweed and Tofu Salad which consisted of seaweed, tofu, arugula, and a sweet and sour soy vinaigrette. Though it seemed like a simple dish, I really enjoyed how refreshing and vibrant it was, because the vinaigrette really enhanced your palette. Our second sample was the Baked Oyster. Topped with a miso aioli, the two paired well together, adding a sweet caramelization to the mix. The third dish was an Ebi Fritter. This was a single (massive) prawn covered in a perfectly crispy batter. The sweet chili aioli and soy balsamic reduction sprinkled atop the two-bite hors d’oeuvre gave the dish an extra kick and left us wanting another bite! The final portion of the appetizer was a Tamari Glazed Short Rib. It was soft and tender, and slow cooked to near perfection. The yukon potato puree portioned beneath it was smooth and delicious, and when eaten together with the gravy that covered the short rib, definitely reminded me of “comfort food.” This last dish was a comforting end to the beginning of our meal as we anticipated what would be delivered as the entree. The entire series was an intelligent move on their part because it was great insight into their regular menu and certain appetizers they served, and definitely left me craving for more.

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After the first course, I couldn’t wait for the main entree (“Miku Signature Sushi : Selection of Aburi, Nigiri, Roll and Oshi Sushi prepared using our famous aburi-style technique”) as I’ve heard nothing but praise about their sushi. Aside from being beautiful (visually,) each piece was fresh and tasted fantastic. While some pieces had more combinations of ingredients than others, every piece that was presented was delicious and worked wonderfully well together. The textures and flavours complimented each other and once again, I was so tempted to order a regular order of everything I had tasted. (Definitely on my to-do list for a future night out!) Their specialty of Alburi sushi was on-point and tasted perfectly charred. It added a slight smokiness to the sushi and brought out the perfectly cooked rice. (My mouth waters just thinking about it…Seriously, it’s THAT good!)

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Overall, their entire meal and the dine out experience outright won me over. I am definitely now a convert and understand why I’ve heard nothing but praise from friends who have tried this place. I can’t wait to visit again, and look forward to trying more dishes from this beautiful restaurant! I’d recommend Miku to anyone who loves Japanese cuisine and is looking for an innovative take on sushi and probably any other japanese dishes they serve for that matter.

Five Sails

Posted in Food, Photography, Vancouver by Angel W. on January 19, 2014

We started our Dine Out 2014 experience at the Five Sails Restaurant located in the Pan Pacific of Vancouver. We had a late reservation, so by the time 8:30 came around, the group of us were ready to eat! We were greeted at the door by the owner and some of their staff who were all very welcoming. They took our coats, and we were promptly ushered to our seats. Our friendly waiter offered to take our beverage orders, and after some time for consideration, he returned to take our orders.

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The menu they offered last night was off of a “Dine Out” menu. Dine out is an annual restaurant festival that occurs for a little over two weeks every January in Vancouver. This festival showcases hundreds of restaurants who each offer unique three (or more) course prix-fix meals ($18, $28, $38), attracting thousands of visitors year after year. (Also great for those on a budget looking for affordable fine dining (and yes, this may be the only time the two will ever relate. Haha))

From Five Sails’ $38 dinner menu, we were offered three choices from the appetizer and entree menu, and two from the dessert. They were difficult choices to say the least because everything sounded so delicious.

Below are the dishes we chose:

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As a starter, everyone went with the Ahi Tuna Tartar. In my opinion, a seafood appy is always the way to go, and this one in particular definitely started our three course meal right! From the fresh tuna, to the avocado, to the wonton crisps and paired dressing, the combination of the dish was perfect. The creaminess of the upper layers was contrasted by the crispy wontons, while the dressing tied everything together. Everything worked well and flavours complimented each other.

Proceeding onto entrees, our table was split half and half. A few of us had a dish featuring poultry, while others had a seafood oriented dish. Personally, I went for the poultry because for an extra $10, I was given the option to add Foie Gras to my dish (Umm, Yes Please!)

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I was able to sample bits of the dish from above. It was cleverly named “Catch!” and featured 1/2 a fresh Atlantic lobster, caramelized weathervane scallops, and the daily fresh catch. The seafood was paired with a lemongrass sauce and perfumed with coconut glazed baby vegetables. From what I was able to sample, the scallops were definitely the best element of the dish. They were cooked perfectly and its caramelization added the perfect amount of sweetness to make you wanting more. The lobster surprisingly lacked a tad bit only because it seemed a little over done and wasn’t quite hot enough. Overall, the sauce tied the dish together and the combo of seafood and assortment of vegetables came together perfectly.

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My choice from the entree selection featured a honey glazed roasted Fraser Valley duck with caramelized mango scented with lime & Szechuan peppercorns, red kurri squash puree, potato gnocchi, and a port wine sauce. I also opted for the addition of Quebec foie gras for $10, and it was the best $10 I’ve ever spent, because it was absolutely delicious. We asked for some slices of bread which paired perfectly with the fattiness of the foie gras, and balanced out the richness of it. As for the main element of the dish, the duck was cooked extremely well. It was medium rare, and the char on it was perfect. There was a hint of smokiness to it which gave it sort of an asian component (almost a little like peking duck.) The tartness of the berries and port wine sauce gave the dish some acidity, resulting in a good balance. With the potato gnocchi, this was an element I think could be eliminated altogether. The gnocchi was overcooked and its bed of sauce tasted cheesy. It threw me off a little because it didn’t really add to the dish, and I found it a bit odd tasting, texture-wise. Overall, this protein-feature was wonderful, and showcased its main protein well.

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Onto our last course, the desserts. We had two choices, both of which were ordered. The Banana & Chocolate tango (pictured above) was a smooth chocolate ganache & banana infused vanilla mousse with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Once again, I was able to sample this dessert off of a friend’s plate. This dessert was rich and flavourful with just the right amount of sweet, and definitely made you wanting more after the first bite.

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My choice of dessert was the Luxe Lemon Mille-Feuilles. It was composed of delicate layers of crisp phyllo pastry, chilled lemon cream, lemon parfait, and fresh berry puree. The dessert was good, but I think that it could’ve been better with a slight cutback of tartness from the lemon cream. The sourness became more and more overwhelming with each bite. Other than that aspect, the parfait portion was wonderfully flavoured and the crispy phyllo pastry was a great addition. It, along with the ripe berries provided a refreshing sweetness that helped with the tartness. It was a yummy end to the three course meal.

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Overall Five Sails provided us a fantastic dining experience. The food was excellent, the ambience was great, and the staff of the restaurant were friendly and polite. There was not much more we could’ve asked for. It was definitely a great start to Dine Out 2014, and a pleasant start to more food adventures in the new year!

Travels: Po Tai O, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong

Posted in Food, Photography, Travels by Angel W. on January 7, 2014

Po Tai O (布袋奧) is a small fishing village located at the Clear Water Bay Peninsula in Sai Kung of the New Territories in Hong Kong (What a mouthful!) It is a humble little village that houses a small number (2) of restaurants which specializes in serving fresh seafood. It’s more so a little “locals know” area as it is quite far off and isolated. For the people who know about the place, they will often only visit for a meal before heading back towards the city. The area itself is quiet and serene. While I only travelled by car into the place, it seemed like it was also a good place to take a hike as we passed by many hiking trials along the way in the surrounding area. We also passed by many bikers and runners alike. With a route filled with both up and downhill terrain, it seemed like a challenging place to get some exercise in. The village itself is located at the bottom of the slope on top of calm and peaceful waters.

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(View more photos after the jump)

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