It was one of those typically Vancouver Saturday nights. It was raining, and I was feeling indecisive. Thank goodness for decisive friends who call and say, “You. Me. Voya.”
My response: “Can I wear my vintage Dior pumps?”
An hour later, Dior pumps in tow, we were comfortably seated at the end of a gorgeous bar in a gorgeous room full of gorgeous people. You could have told me we were at a hotel bar in Chicago, and I would have believed you. Not New York, not Seattle. Chicago.
The drinks menu is an honest cocktail menu. Ask Simon, the delightful bartender, about the history of a drink and he’ll tell you. Laurie kept us sated with homemade breadsticks (one batch was cheesy, the other anise-y) all night. Service hits that perfect mixture of friendly and chatty, without being intrusive.
I started the evening off with an Amaro Rossi, a lovely mixture of Hendrick’s gin, campari, guignolet d’angers (a cherry liqueur), and lime juice. They throw in egg white, shake the whole thing up, and serve it in an frosty cold glass. It’s cold, it’s foamy, and it’s pink. What more can a girl ask for while wearing vintage Dior?
Voya (in the Loden Hotel)
1177 Melville Street
I’ve been meaning to go to Parkside for a while, going so far as to make it one of my new year’s resolutions. Well, I took advantage of Dine Out Vancouver to cross this one off my list – and it was so good, I’m hoping to cross it off more than once.
Posted in Restaurant reviews
Tagged apple, basil, beef, blood orange, campari, dine out vancouver, duck, mango, onion rings, sorbet, vanilla, yogurt
This one’s a given: it’s the moment of tasting. Now, I don’t mean when you’re eating, mechanically moving food from plate to mouth, chewing, or swallowing. I mean the moment that your tastebuds register a sensation, send a nerve impulse to your brain, and it registers as delicious: the moment that you taste your food.
It was really freaking cold on Friday night – so cold that my base instincts kicked in and all I wanted was stew.
Well, I didn’t get stew, but I did get some stick-to-your-ribs food from The Cascade Room. It was reliably busy – and possibly busier than usual due to the fire at Habit – but not so busy that you couldn’t get a table without a reservation.
I think The Cascade makes the best negroni I’ve ever had. Their bartender, Nick Devine, is known for his mixological prowess – and I fully concur. The negroni came in a short glass with lots of ice, with a rosette of orange peel resting on top of the ice. The overall effect is that you taste the drink while getting the full, undiluted aroma of the orange peel. Genius.
I’ve got campari on the brain. For those of you not familiar with this Italian liqueur, it’s glow-tastically red, quite bitter, and packs a punch. It’s quite nice with soda, lots of ice, and maybe a maraschino cherry.
But my favourite campari drink, hands down, is the negroni (nuh-gr-awe-nee). For one thing, it sounds a lot like my name, and when you say it fast (as in, “I’d like a negroni, please,”) it totally sounds like I just ordered myself from the bartender. A negroni is equal parts campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. Put it on ice and add an orange twist, and you have a lovely aperitif. The key is for lots of ice, because it’s definitely not a lightweight drink. The ice helps to mellow it out, and keep it crisp and cold.
It’s hard to find in this city. I’ve gotten some strange looks from waitstaff, and a lot of bars don’t have campari or sweet vermouth. But you can get it at The Cascade Room, Subeez, and Wasubeez. If you get it at (Wa)subeez, ask for it in a highball with ice. For some strange reason they do it as a martini, which is…well, it’s just wrong.
I trekked out to North Van to visit my old boss today. It was great to see my former co-workers, but wow – lots of things have changed in 10 months. I only knew two people in the pastry kitchen – the other four people are all new. And most of the girls in the cafe are new, and had no idea who I was.
At least things are pretty much the same in the chocolate kitchen, where I used to work. At the height of the Christmas season, we produced more than 60,000 identical, perfect, delicious-tasting chocolates each week. It was an insane exercise in organization, efficiency and artistry. I definitely enjoyed the experience – and my fantastic co-workers – but at the end of the day I knew that I wasn’t cut out for the madness of 16-hour days on my feet, fuelled by expensive cappuccino and pastries.