June 15, 2007
Marquis Wine Cellar
I was innocently reading Madame Bovary in S.'s office when an empty bottle of wine caught my eye: Domaine Tempier, Bandol. Richard Olney's loving portrait of the Peyrauds* and their vineyard had had me on the lookout for this particular bottle for some time, so you can imagine my surprise. Clutching the bottle, I raced downstairs and asked where in the world S. and D. had gotten it? "Oh, that old thing? A wine store on Davie," they answered, ever so nonchalantly. So I picked up the phone and called Marquis Wine Cellar excitedly, and, sure enough, they had a couple of Domaine Tempier's wines in stock. It was almost anticlimactic, but we still raced there directly and got a bottle of their 2003 for ourselves. And you'll be happy to know it made it back safe and sound. It's hidden away right now in our "cave,"
fig. a: inside the AEB cave
waiting for a proper Provençal feast to accompany it.
All that talking and thinking about wine made us hungry, so we took T. for ramen at Kintaro. We knew this place was the real deal from the minute we entered. The dead giveaway? The chef was wearing a stonewashed denim kimono. No joke. Now that's what we here at AEB call style.
fig. b: denim kimono, Kintaro
Our friends R. and S. had recommended Kintaro's ramen soups highly. "Get it fatty," they insisted, but I only had the guts to go medium. The medium was plenty flavourful, though, believe me.
fig. c: ramen soups, Kintaro
We're kind of starved for ramen in Montreal, so we try to make up for it every time we go to places like NYC (I heart Rai Rai Ken!), S.F., and, well, Vancouver. We were absolutely ecstatic about all three of our ramens: shio, shoyu, and miso. Too bad the day we went to Kintaro was a Friday and not a Saturday, though, because that's the day they have their "Forest Fire Ramen" on offer.
fig. d: Forest Fire Ramen ad, Kintaro
What exactly is the Forest Fire Ramen? Well, apparently it's a bowl of ramen soup with chicken that's assembled so that it looks like a smoking campfire. What would Smokey say?
fig. e: Eugene Choo canoe
Another day, another great Main St. shop. Yes, later that afternoon we found ourselves back on Main St., this time at the boutique of the world-famous Vancouver designer/outdoorsman Eugene Choo. There, we caught up with K.C., Mr. Choo's steadfast assistant/shop clerk, who I hadn't seen since '99, when I left Vancouver. Shooting the breeze, joking around, trying to squeeze myself into some pencil-thin French jeans--it was just like old times.
Come dinnertime, we were back in Chinatown, this time at Phnom Penh, a highly recommended Cambodian/Vietnamese restaurant on East Georgia. Phnom Penh is a big, bustling restaurant, and that Friday night it had all the energy of a dim sum palace prime time on a weekend morning. We had seasoned experts there on-hand to guide us through the extensive menu, so we handed over the reins and let them do the driving. And we were not disappointed. Highlights included the tangy hot & sour soup, the wonderfully overstuffed Vietnamese crêpe, the garlicky sautéed pea shoots, and the outstanding batter-fried squid with pepper sauce.
La Casa Gelato
We ate so well at Phnom Penh that we literally staggered off the premises (of course, this might have had something to do with that 3:00 pm ramen at Kintaro), but somehow, miraculously, when we arrived back at Chateau Vermont I had gelato on my mind. So I laced up my shoes again and hoofed it past an Evaporators' gig in Strathcona (plus ça change...) to that frozen foods phantasmagoria that is La Casa Gelato (218 flavors!) to pick up a pint. I was tempted by their durian and Limburger flavors, but I ended up getting boring, old fig & almond.
Marquis Wine Cellar, 1034 Davie St., (604) 684-0445
Kintaro, 788 Denman Street, (604) 682-7568
Phnom Penh, 244 Georgia St. E., (604) 734-8898
La Casa Gelato, 1033 Venables Street, (604) 251-3211
*Lulu's Provençal Table by Richard Olney is one of our most beloved food books and is highly recommended to all those who haven't had the pleasure of reading it.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
June 15, 2007