Edible Canada At The Market -
When I got home from taking my daughter to her swimming lesson this morning, my wife asked me if I had any ideas for lunch.
“Why yes, I do!”, I answered. “We’re going to Granville Island.”
“Why?”, asked my wife.
“Oh…there’s this restaurant there that I want to try…it’s supposed to be good!”
“We’ll see about that.”
The pressure was on. If the food turned out be be anything but spectacular, it’ll probably be around a month before my wife would agree for us to go out or our ways for a meal again.
I was relieved to find my wife taking an immediately liking to the restaurant as soon as we arrived. She liked the modern, casual, inviting, and unpretentious interior. She was also glad to see the that restaurant was free of poseurs, hipsters, and others of that ilk. I was encouraged to find that they had foodtv playing on the four (or more?) screens they had up. They also had chalkboards advertising food-centric guided tours of the public market and Chinatown as well as a chalkboard under the counter of their open kitchen which advertised a series of pop-up summer dinners at undisclosed locations throughout the city.
Once we had ourselves settled down at our table, our server came around to take our drink orders. I asked for two diet cokes for my wife and I, and two cups of milk for the kids.
“Sorry, we don’t have diet coke. But we do have these 25 calories sodas that have pretty interesting flavours. There’s the lemon lavender and the lime rosemary…”, replied our server.
“We’ll take one each of the lemon and the lime”, I said.
After a sip of each of our respective bottles of these herb-infused citrusy sodas, my wife and I were at a lost of words. Let me repharse that…my wife and I both found our sodas so weird that we initially struggled to find words to describe how unconventionally unpleasant-tasting these sodas were. Basically, these were bottles of plain soda water infused with rosemary and lavender with barely a hint of sweetness. It was like someone accidentally dropped a sprig of rosemary or some lavender flavouring into a bottle of Perrier. Incomprehensible! My wife and I simply do not have complex enough palates to find these sodas appealing.
The food was much, much, much better tasting than the sodas.
My daughter had the fish and chips from their kid’s menu (kids’ menu).
My daughter didn’t like this dish at first. She is not a fan of salmon, and the fish in her fish and chips happened to be salmon. I told her that the fish would taste better if she applied some tartar sauce on it, and she proceeded to slather the entire cup of included tartar sauce over the piece of deep fried salmon. Once the tartar sauce was on the fish, my daughter started to like it. She quickly finished the fish and noted that the fish was only good because of the sauce. I did manage to cut off a tiny corner of the fish for a taste before my daughter was able to cover the entire piece of fish with tartar sauce. I thought that the batter was crispy and pretty tasty. The salmon had flavours of…salmon. Like my daughter, I am also not a fan of cooked salmon. The tiny piece I had didn’t do anything to make me change my dislike of salmon. But I did detect enough juiciness and tenderness to surmise that most people (who are not as prejudiced about cooked salmon as I am) would find this piece of fish pretty enjoyable.
The fries included with the fish were excellent. They were crispy and had a very pleasant savoriness that was hard to describe in words. It was like an unctuousness that was very present, but at the same time pretty invisible in terms of aromas. This savoriness, of course, came from the duck fat the fries were fried in. It really made a difference in terms of the taste of the fries. I couldn’t stop grabbing fry after fry from both my daughter’s and my son’s dishes.
My daughter commented that the “ketchup” dip included in her dish tasted like pasta sauce; I thought that it tasted more like salsa.
I also ate the cole slaw included in my daughter’s dish for her because she didn’t want to eat it. I thought that the cole slaw was also very tasty. It wasn’t too sweet, and had a nice earthy feel (no soil-y earthy, more like straight from the organic farm earthy) to it.
My son had the hamburger, also from the kid’s menu.
My 3-year-old son finished around 98% of the adult-sized burger. He seemed to like it, but my wife said that the patty looked a bit drier than other “gourmet” burger patties from other restaurants. I grabbed my fork and picked out the patty from the 2% of the remaining burger and put it in my mouth.
The burger was definitely drier than usual. But it also tasted very different from other burgers. Along with the usual beefy and charred flaovurs, there was another flavour in the patty. Try as I might, I was not able to pinpoint what exactly that extra flavour was. If I had to guess, I would probably say that the extra flavour was similar to the flavours of liver. Regardless of what the flavour was, the patty was very tasty. It was so tasty that I didn’t even mind that it was drier than the burger patties.
My son’s burger also came with the same delicious fries that came with my daughter’s fish and chips. I stole as many fries from my son as I did from my daughter.
My wife ordered the togarashi (spelling?) rice crusted albacore tuna.
The portion size was miniscule. If the dish wasn’t delicious, my wife wouldn’t have minded the small portion size. But my wife LOVED everything about the dish. She couldn’t get enough of it, and there was so little of it. She loved how the flavours of the kale, the mushrooms, and the sauce complemented the slightly seared tuna. She also loved the sweetness of the potatoes and the well-matched textures of the everything on the plate. And she thought that the peas was a small component that made a big impact on the great array of textures in the dish. She said that it was one of the best seared-tuna-type appetizers she has ever had. It’s too bad that it wasn’t more substantially portioned.
I ordered the duck rillette breakfast poutine.
My bowl of breakfast poutine was also appetizer-sized. It was also so tasty that I wish they gave me more of everything in the bowl. At first, I was doubtful that roasted potatoes would be a good stand-in for fries in a poutine. I would’ve ordered another dish if not for the fact that duck rillettes were supposed to go hand-in-hand with the roasted potatoes.
Once I received the dish, I was totally entranced with it. The roasted potatoes worked, and they probably worked better than fries in this case. They were small enough that they mixed well with the fibers of the spreaded ducked rillettes. With every few pieces of potatoes that I picked up with each forkful, I got an equal amount of duck. And with every couple forkful of potatoes and duck fibers, I got gooey, chewy, and aromatic cheese curds. And then when I thought the flavours and textures couldn’t get more enjoyable, I picked up sticks of asparagus and everything got even better. I enjoyed the dish so much without even getting a chance to touch the eggs.
The eggs were well-poached. The whites were bouncy while the yolks were runny. Once I cut through the yolk, it flowed down to the potatoes and added an extra layer richness. But because the dish was already very flavourful and chock-full of textures, I didn’t think that the eggs necessarily brought anything extra to the plate. The eggs were good and I liked them, but they were not necessary.
Since everything was so tasty, and since their portion sizes were on the small side, my wife and I ordered a plate of French toast to share after we finished our respective dishes of tuna and poutine.
The French toast we got looked like plain ole’ French toast, but tasted superb. The slices of French toast were so well-coated with eggs and so well-fried that they had a bread-pudding like texture, only they were firmer and less messy. They also had a very distinguishable egg flavour that went amazingly well with the equally incredibly-tasty mascarpone whipped cream. The flavours of the mascarpone whipped cream were so beautiful that we did not even touch the included maple syrup. What we did touch were the caramelized apples and the pear slices. Both were sweet, delicious, and acted as nice textural counterpoints to the French toast slathered with whipped cream. But the main attractions were the French toast and whip cream. Delicious.
I know where I’m going for brunch from now on. Edible Canada At The Market. I don’t even mind driving the 30-35 minutes from my house to get to Granville island. I’ve never let a little bit of distance get in the way of my enjoyment of a good meal and I’m not about to start now. Especially not when the restaurant served food that was incredibly delicious across the board. And you know what, I’m definitely going to go out of my way so that I can have both lunch and dinner there as soon as I get a chance to.