Tag Archives: soup

Chocolate soup? Yes, please.

I have the enviable problem of having too much chocolate in my house. Specifically, I have a bunch of Theo Chocolate 84% Ghana bars. They’re delicious on their own, but I’ve been looking for a way to use them that still retains the subtle flavours and aromas.

Well, ask and you shall receive. Nicole posted this gorgeous recipe for chocolate soup, and I can’t wait to make it.

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‘Wichcraft is a lifesaver

The thing with travelling is that sometimes you can’t be picky. Sometimes you’re surrounded by tourist traps and fast food, and you just want something good. Not fancy, not expensive, just good.

Well, if you’re in New York City, you can rely on ‘Wichcraft. I thank my stars that Tom Colicchio started this chain of shops that serves fresh, tasty soups and sandwiches at a great price point.

When I was there, I ordered the tuna sandwich on baguette. They manage to toast the baguette without making it all crunchy and painful to eat. The tuna was nicely accented with thinly sliced fennel and lemon, which made the whole thing fresh and bright. I also had a cauliflower soup with parsley oil. The taste and texture were exactly what they should have been.

They serve bread sticks on the side, which is cute. The walls are covered in giant food photography (can you say food porn?), and there’s a great selection of pop culture, fashion and food magazines to read while you’re munching away.

I wish I had tried the grilled fontina with morels and truffles, but oh well.

Note that the location at 60 E. 8th Street is dangerously close to Broadway Panhandler. Broadway Panhandler (65 E. 8th Street) is a fantastic kitchen store – one that I could easily spend hours in.

‘Wichcraft
various locations
New York, NY (also San Francisco and Las Vegas)
'Wichcraft on Urbanspoon

Ottawa: Vietnam Noodle House

When I first moved to Ottawa, the first restaurant that I ate at was Vietnam Noodle House. It’s outside of the main clump of Vietnamese restaurants, and is a lot bigger than most. It’s a large, clean and surprisingly bright space in the basement of an otherwise nondescript commercial building.

The family who runs it is phenomenally nice. Their pho is nothing remarkable, but their main dishes are really good. They have a selection of “broken rice” dishes, which feature grains of rice that are, indeed, broken. They’re cooked al dente and topped with a variety of meat (preserved pork, barbecued chicken or pork, ham) and often a fried egg. Yum.  

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Ottawa: more pho

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll have read about my love for Pho Bo Ga LA’s beef broth. Their salad rolls were pretty good, too. But there were other places in Ottawa’s Chinatown that I visited, for very specific things.

Just across the street from Pho Bo Ga LA, Meexim is a Vietnamese restaurant that’s run by Cantonese people. This means that their pho broth isn’t nearly as good, and that their menu features more rice and non-soup noodle dishes.

I ate one thing, and one thing only, at Meexim: their noodle soup with pork. The noodles are decent, the broth is passable – but the pork is out of this world. On first taste, you get sweetness, which mellows to the zing of ginger and the savouriness of soy. 

I’m having phantom taste bud pains right now. And phantom stomach pains. My God, I would kill for some of that pork right now. 

Meexim Restaurant
781 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, ON
613-567-1188

Ottawa: city of pho

I used to live in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. It’s a pretty standard government city: lots of civil servants, lots of pretty buildings, and not much to do. Having said that, I loved living in Ottawa. I lived within a 20-45 minute walk of anything worth doing, but it was big enough that I could still get most things that I wanted.

However, I didn’t find a single decent Chinese restaurant in Ottawa. And, for a Chinese-Canadian from Vancouver, this is a tragedy of huge proportion.

What Ottawa lacked in Chinese food, it makes up for in Vietnamese food. Somerset Street runs through Chinatown (all five blocks of it, that is) and the whole street is peppered with places called Pho Bo, Pho Bo 2, New Pho Bo, Pho Bo Ga, New Pho Bo Ga, and my favourite, Pho Bo Ga LA.

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Edible ornaments, chestnut smoke…

(This is my last Christmas post of the year, I swear.)

While snowed in this Christmas, I was lucky enough to catch Heston Blumenthal‘s Christmas special on TV. I’m already a huge fan and can think of nothing better than having dinner at The Fat Duck, but had I not been a fan before, I would have been converted. Blumenthal is one of the few people (aside from the Adria brothers) who can get away with the wacky stuff he does.

For instance: bacon ice cream. In a normal person’s hands, it’s probably disgusting. In Heston Blumenthal’s hands, it’s probably pure bliss.

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Top five food moments: #5

I thought I’d talk about my favourite food moments. I don’t mean specific moments or amazing meals, but snippets in time that occur with some frequency. I’ll just dive in, and hopefully it’ll become clear what I mean.

Five.

I love the split second before I lift the lid on something that’s been cooking away in secret. Sure, I know exactly what’s in that pan: it’s a rich and tasty tomato sauce, a comforting soup or a batch of caramelized onions – but magical things happen to food in a matter of minutes, and I’m never fully prepared for the sights and smells of transformed food.

No matter how many times I’ve prepared something, I still get a giddy, excited feeling just before I lift the lid. And I’m always delighted with what I see and smell.