the Culinary Ambassador of Vancouver,
(often called “the pope of
The night of
my arrival Nathan and I dine at
Chambar, a Belgian Restaurant at
me up at the
Coast Plaza Hotel; we
cross the bridge to
Next stop, lunch at Crave, a new hangout for foodies and chefs.
on Mt. Pleasant & Main Street is
in a neighborhood in transition, as is owner/chef
Wayne Martin, who left his corporate
position as Executive Chef with The
Four Seasons Hotels to get back to his stove
and cooking simple fresh food at reasonable prices. One of
Katherine Mason, the Publicity Director of the Pacific Palisades Hotel (a Kimpton property; I loved the red and the blue retro suites) books a “blueberry smoothie“ foot masque and reflexology masque and massage in the hotel’s MBody Day Spa , a refreshing and exhilarating treat that leaves my feet tingling. A glass of wine and popcorn drizzled with truffle oil at the hotel’s Zin Restaurant Bar is a delicious ending to an interesting fun day.
arranges for me to meet “
Chef Tojo “at
Tojo’s Restaurant, 1133
Broadway. Tojo, an International celebrity in the food world, is all about
integrity; no farm fed fish for this culinary genius who invented the
California Roll and serves 40,000 pounds of fish a year. He lives with balance,
creating balance in each and every dish he prepares for his devoted fans.
Hidekazu Tojo arrived in
Tojo’s hands work with the precision of a well trained surgeon, and the freedom of a self taught artist. I watch him caress each ingredient as he deftly slices, chops and molds a wide variety of fish, seafood, vegetables, rice and his patented sauces into edible masterpieces; tonight he is using 17 different types of fish; his signature handkerchief folded and tied around his head. Tojo leads me on an exquisite culinary journey down a path I had yet to travel . . . one my taste buds will never forget.
A waiter places three glasses of sake: Nama, Gen-Syn and Nigoni in front of me; telling me to drink from right to left. I sip a little Nama with a plate of smoked sable, mushrooms, asparagus and mango. Tojo prepares a dish with abaco tuna and morel mushrooms, and watches slyly as I take my first bite; I am overcome with the integrity of its freshness. A sampling of exquisite offerings follow: an apple, cucumber and Dungeness crab miso with a mustard dressing; Osoyoos, a dish with baby scallops on a bed of baby spinach, lightly smoked- in- house spring salmon, a lobster roll with cucumber, pineapple, avocado, yam tempura and wasabi. A local couple who come often sit next to me, honored to be seated at the sushi bar for the first time; they insist I try their favorite, the Magnum PI Torpedo, a combination of tuna, gooie duck tempura, shrimp, cucumber, lite soy sauce and Tojo’s patented hot sauce; it is outrageously decadent. Like a fine wine, each dish revealed layers of flavor, seasoning and authenticity
Tojo has been
asked to create an “
official Olympic Roll” when
Sue Alexander is the publicist for sister restaurants: Raincity, C (specializing in seafood). and Nu (recipient of Air Canada’s best new restaurant award in 2005) as well as La Gabroche Restaurant, a local institution at 1616 Alberni Street; the first in town to use crystal glassware, serve local cheeses, serve and support local wines. I regret not meeting chef/owner/sommelier Manuel Ferreira; his extensive wine collection is impressive. Sue drives Lawrence and me around town; we stop at Organic Oceans fishing dock; owner Steve Johansen, who supplies C with their seafood, fills one plastic bag with a live crab, another with squirming prawns. I drop them off with chef Dang at C, promising to come back for dinner.
Saturday’s Two Dinners
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