Good to ‘The Last Crumb’

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The Last Crumb has only grown in popularity since the two owners (who happen to be sisters) opened the bakery and cafe’s doors to the public in September.

While they immediately gained attention for their homey, comforting and unique baked goods such as tropical fruit scones and grasshopper pie, this two-storey Main Street bakery has much more in store for the wandering foodie.

I, as you may know, have a sweet tooth, so my choosing a savoury soup before a dessert is saying a lot, especially when you consider there is even a sign advocating eating dessert first in the bakery.

This from-scratch beef barley soup is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly Vancouver afternoon: a rich beef broth loaded with hearty barley, ground beef, carrots, potatoes, sweet stewed tomatoes, and earthy mushrooms.

A slightly more hearty bread would have been my only wish for this rainy day dish!

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining endeavours! xx

The Last Crumb Bakery & Cafe:

Twitter/Instagram:
@lastcrumbcafe

Facebook:
@thelastcrumb

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Dine Out Vancouver: The Oakwood

Dine Out Vancouver is well underway in this, its twelfth year, with more restaurants participating than ever before. Choosing from amongst a selection of over 200 amazing restaurants is a tad difficult, to say the least.

For this year’s festival, the largest of its kind in all of Canada, I gave myself one rule to abide by: no restaurants I’ve been to before, no matter how much I adore them.

Dining out as much as I do, this cut down the eligible options quite quickly. I decided to stay close to home, further narrowing down the possibilities. An hour later, after much hmm’ing and haw’ing, I opted for The Oakwood Canadian Bistro.

First of all, I am simply at a loss for how I have never walked through this establishment’s doors: inviting to say the least, but let’s get to the food.

Accompanied by my fellow foodie boyfriend, we were able to try nearly everything on the special event menu.

Smoked Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

Smoked Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup: bold flavours (the in-season cauliflower has a delicate flavour, but melds perfectly with smoky undertones from the aged, smoky cheddar, which is all highlighted by the sweet, slightly acidic tomato foam, and lemony thyme croutons), decadent, rich, thick, and creamy, with the perfect bite from a sprinkling of crunchy croutons.

Pork Ravioli

Pork Ravioli: The world is a better place because of the pig. It had to be said. With that, this dish was a very unique spin on a classic Italian dish. The pasta was al dente, stuffed to the brim with juicy shredded pork, served with an unexpectedly sweet apple wasabi sauce, crispy pork rinds (seriously, who needs chips?), and earthy radish sprouts. The pork in both its forms was the star of this dish. The sauce, while good, was a bit sweet for my liking and I would have appreciated a bit of heat from the wasabi element. All in all, a good appetizer, but I’d recommend the cauliflower soup.

Sous Vide Lamb Shank

Sous Vide Lamb Shank: The base of the plate was a tomato nage which tasted like a rich, yet thin in consistency, gravy with sweet notes from roasted tomatoes. This was topped with a generous serving of garlic mashed potatoes, no-need-for-a-knife lamb, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, wilted spinach, and my favourite element, the bright pickled cabbage, which gave the entrée a crunch, and a tangy bite from the Dijon mustard. Each element on its own was delicious, but when combined, the dish became truly memorable.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Wild Mushroom Risotto: To say it succinctly, this is what a risotto should be. Although served in a personal-sized cast iron skillet, when spooned onto a plate it flowed like lava, a sign of a perfectly prepared risotto. With caramelized onions, it had certain characteristics of a French onion soup, taken up a notch with fragrant truffle oil and a gratine of buttery provolone. Rich, creamy, earthy, buttery, nutty…decadent.

Nanaimo Bar Custard Apple crumble

Mason Jar Desserts: The apple crumble vs. the Nanaimo bar custard. The deconstructed Nanaimo Bar wins here, but I would definitely say the savoury menu items are Oakwood’s shining stars. The apple crumble topping was too thick, overwhelming the apples in ratio and flavour. The apples themselves, though, were tart and sweet on their own, and the vanilla bean ice cream was a nice accompaniment. The custard element of the Nanaimo Bar dessert was light, creamy, and speckled with vanilla bean pods. The chocolate and coconut layer was great, but in too high a ratio to the custard in my opinion. Also, this dessert could have possibly benefited from the inclusion of a chocolate graham wafer or biscuit crust that we typically find in Nanaimo’s namesake dessert.

All in all, The Oakwood Canadian Bistro made for a wonderful first Dine Out Vancouver stop. From friendly, quick service and a warm atmosphere, to appetizers and entrees that I hope to one day recreate in my kitchen, it was an evening to remember (hence the blog post).

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining endeavours! xx

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Tiny Treats (as seen on Breakfast Television)

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who tuned in bright and early for my segment on Breakfast Television, and to those of you who have it recorded on their PVR. It truly means the world to me to have your support. If, after viewing this segment, you want to whip up a batch of my Cinnamon Bun Bites or my Active** Chocolate Volcanoes, then you’ve come to the right place.

Cinnamon Bun Bites

  • 2 tubes, Pillsbury crescent rolls (low fat)
  • 4 T. deep brown sugar + extra for sprinkling in muffin tins
  • 1 T. cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • 1 C. pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 C. maple syrup
  • 2 T. liquid honey
  • 2 T. agave
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. water
  • Becel, to generously coat base of muffin tins
  1. Oven @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Pop tubes of crescent rolls, fresh out of the fridge, onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out gently. Cut each roll of pastry into 2, so you have a total of 4 squares.
  3. Mix cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, honey and agave. Brush onto dough, leaving small border. Sprinkle pecans.
  4. For egg wash, whisk egg and water. Brush onto all edges using a pastry brush. Roll all 4 logs, then slice each log into 6 bite sized cinnamon buns.
  5. Coat muffin tin cups with Becel, then sprinkle in brown sugar. Place sliced mini cinnamon bun bites into the muffin tin.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until desired consistency, then flip onto cookie sheet, piling high on a serving plate.

Active** Chocolate Volcanoes

  • 4 T. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 C. granulated white sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz. good quality baking chocolate, melted
  • 6 tsp. pop rocks, berry or chocolate
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  1. Oven @ 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Coat 12 cups of mini muffin tin with Becel, sprinkle in sugar, dump excess.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Slowly add eggs, beating well all the while.
  5. At a low speed, beat in flour and salt until combined, then chocolate.
  6. Pour into mini muffin tin cups.
  7. Bake for 6-7 minutes, so that when you gently shake the muffin tin the cakes don’t jiggle much. {Note: If baking ahead of time, bake for 5 to 6 minutes, then heat up in microwave for 20 seconds right before serving.}
  8. Sprinkle pop rocks over chocolate volcanoes when they’re taken out of the oven. Serve immediately.
  9. *Optional* Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, and more pop rocks on top as a garnish.

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining and baking endeavours! xx

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PB&J Just Got Better

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Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are considered, by many, a childhood favourite.

If you were given the choice, though, between that go-to sandwich and a peanut butter and jelly doughnut, which would you have picked?

If you’re a lover of sandwiches, read on, and you may just change your tune.

The genius that is Lucky’s Doughnuts came up with this gem, and I couldn’t resist the indulgence on my most recent trip to Main’s 49th Parallel Cafe (which carries the treats).

The name of the doughnut originally had me thinking it would be filled with a jelly akin to a store-bought variety you’d spread on your sandwich at home, but Lucky’s goes gourmet here. Think an ample amount of sweet, fresh berry compote inside a light raised doughnut, which is then dipped in a peanut butter glaze and sprinkled with crushed, slightly salty peanuts.

To the sandwich-obsessed, have you changed your mind?

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining endeavours! xx

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Pure Decadence at MARKET by Jean-Georges

Would you believe me if I told you I have found a dessert that would make you forget about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups altogether?

Say hello to your new obsession, courtesy of Jean Georges.

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This is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar with Salted Caramel Ice Cream available at MARKET and Xi Shi. Creamy, rich, smooth, decadent, warm and cold, nutty, buttery, salty, sweet, and surprisingly light. Never before have I uttered such words for a chocolate peanut butter-primary dessert; I was perfectly satisfied without feeling weighed down.

The base of the bar was a buttery wafer crust (venturing a guess of graham wafer crumbs), topped by a smooth peanut butter, surrounded by a rich, dark chocolate ganache. This bar is accented by a textural component of crushed peanuts, a whipped peanut butter mousse, and a creamy, heavenly serving of salted caramel ice cream which balanced out the richness of the dessert, as the salt cut it and the cold temperature gave the bar a refreshing quality.

Reese’s who?

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining endeavours! xx

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Beaucoup Bakery

beaucoup;

adv. a great many, a lot, plenty; so much, widely, much; far 

          adj. a lot, much

Mastering the art of baking sweet French delicacies is not one for the faint of heart, but Jackie Ellis was determined to follow her passion, and so, left the comforts and security of home to study pastry in Paris, France. A couple of years after returning to Vancouver, she has realized her dream by opening a storefront to share her fervor for pastry. Introducing Beaucoup Bakery, Vancouver’s newest addition to the French bakery scene.

The bold design on the side of the storefront immediately lets you know you’ve found what Eating and Drinking Vancouver Magazine lists as one of five new ventures they’re most looking forward to for 2013.

Step inside this small space, and I guarantee your eyes will be scanning the display case, your mouth helplessly watering over the treats that await you. With my trusty tasting sidekicks along for the afternoon, I devoured (with their help) a ‘peanut butter cookie sandwich’, ‘cinnamon scroll’, and farmer’s market favourite ‘salted caramel blondie’.

While at the till, I couldn’t help but admire the eclectic pieces of art that decorate the South Granville space.

Not for long, though, as our purchases soon distracted us:

Beaucoup Bakery

Beaucoup Bakery

Peanut Butter Cookie

PB Cookie Sandwich

PB Cookie Sandwich

The cookies that sandwich the icing are slightly crunchy to the bite then soft and chewy, with the occasional sweet surprise from the fine castor sugar crystals on top. Peanut butter chips fill the cookies, and offer great texture and even more peanut buttery goodness. If the cookies weren’t decadent enough as is, Jackie added a generous slathering of her peanut butter icing. O.M.G. Creamy, smooth, airy, lightly salted, perfect. This is no ordinary cookie sandwich, people; this is finger food heaven.

Cinnamon Scroll

Cinnamon Swirl

Cinnamon Swirl

If you have ever scrolled through my blog posts, you’d realize pretty quickly I have a healthy obsession with cinnamon buns. It should come as no surprise, then, that I would order Beaucoup’s take on the classic. The Cinnamon Scroll is less doughy, ooey and gooey, and more flaky, buttery, and crisp to the bite. For my taste, it was slightly over baked, but still tasty. If you’re craving a cinnamon-spiced treat that won’t weigh you down, then this should still do the trick, but I do prefer a traditional cinnamon roll, or a pull apart like the one offered by Thomas Haas.

Salted Caramel Blondie

Salted Caramel Blondie

Salted Caramel Blondie

If you have arrived early enough to sample this blondie at one of Vancouver’s farmers markets, then you probably don’t need to read further. For those of you who haven’t been so lucky, all you need to know is that if you have a serious sweet tooth and a love of throwing salt into the mix, this will become your undoing in the New Years resolution department. My only critique would be the addition of white chocolate, as I found it did not add flavor, only more sweetness. Because of that, I would recommend splitting this with a friend over a coffee.

Out of what I tried, I would highly suggest you order the peanut butter cookie sandwich. You may think to yourself, ‘So, what. A peanut butter cookie. How is this worth the $3.75 price tag?’, but I assure you, the height of the cookie with it’s crunch and soft, chewy inside, along with the fresh flavours, quality of ingredients, and light as air icing, makes this a dessert worthy of a spot on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: PB.

While the bakery’s higher price point regrettably wouldn’t allow me to consider this as a daily indulgence, this is the perfect spot to bring family, a good friend, or a co-worker/boss/potential employer you’d like to impress.

Beaucoup Bakery, 2150 Fir Street, Vancouver, BC, V6J 3B5

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining endeavours! xx

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Holiday Leftover Blues?

The holidays may nearly be done, but that doesn’t mean the same can be said for leftovers.

If your turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce seem to be holding strong to the “Occupy Fridge” movement, then you will absolutely fall in love with this go-to recipe of mine.

Christmas in a Bite

Christmas in a Bite

 A Christmas Meltdown

          Leftovers: The gift that keeps giving…

[Makes 1 serving; 2 open-faced sandwiches]

2 slices, cranberry semolina bread, lightly toasted (A Bread Affair)

1 tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard

5 oz. turkey meat, dark and white

½ C. prepared stuffing

4 tbsp. cranberry sauce

6 leaves torn, fresh basil

4 oz. brie cheese

cracked black pepper, to taste

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread Dijon equally on each toasted bread slice, and top with turkey.
  3. Lightly press stuffing on turkey to keep from falling off.
  4. Adorn with cranberry sauce, basil, and thin slices of brie.
  5. Place both open-faced sandwiches, on a baking sheet, in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and turkey is warmed through.
  6. Grind black pepper on top and serve.

With simple, quick, delicious recipes like these, “leftovers” is no longer a term indicative of a boring, redundant meal. Instead, I hope this has made you think of leftovers as a way to pack beloved holiday flavours into one mouth-watering bite that’ll have you sending in questions like what to do with that pot roast…?

As always, wishing you a stamp of culinary royalty in all of your dining and cooking endeavours! xx

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