So it’s been almost two months since I’ve updated Chef’s Night Out. Yowza. My sincerest apologies. Believe it or not, I was in the midst of migrating Chef’s Night Out onto my own domain (alextung.ca), was starting to think about a new look for the blog and really wanted to write a couple of reviews and tell a few funny stories. As you may or may not know, my life is a mobius strip of “non-stop recycled stories” or at least so my staff tells me. But, I ‘ve been overwhelmed with lots of different stuff; work has been silly busy and there’s been lots of extra-curricular activities to suck up most of my down time. I’ve been working on lots of interesting side projects, so stay tuned for exciting upcoming announcements. By the way, I have been tweeting quite frequently, so if you’re interested in my “140 character” dining adventures and a behind the scene look at the Tapenade kitchen, follow me @alextung73 and @tapenadebistro.
First and foremost, it’s been very busy at Tapenade Bistro. We’re now open 7 days a week during the summer and we have had lots of success with “Bin End Mondays”. Since my last update, we’ve been crushed with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Canada Day, as well as numerous weddings, special events, outside caterings and a hot sunny patio season. I was recently showcased in an episode of “Flavours of the West Coast” and “my possibly Emmy award-winning” segment should be aired sometime this fall. “Sales Mix” makes a cameo appearance and show us what “pure elegance” truly is. Tapenade Bistro was also honored with winning best restaurant, best fine dining and best brunch, along with placing in numerous other categories, in the recent Richmond Review awards. I was also greatly humbled by winning best chef in Richmond for the third year in a row. Our continued success is a testament to the loyalty of our amazing guests and the dedication, hard work and passion of the staff of Tapenade Bistro. “Sales Mix” and I owe them much thanks and kudos, because we could not achieve any of this without them.
In regards to food, the local spot prawn and morel season has come and gone. Outstanding, they both were and I hope we highlighted these amazing ingredients in a “simple, yet elegant way.” We’ve been featuring and eating the freshest local strawberries and raspberries and blueberries are on their way for the upcoming week. Cherries and stone fruit from the Okanagan are slowly becoming available and local sardines should be showing up on my kitchen doorstep any day now. The Frederick Island king salmon I’ve been working with has been spectacular and is probably the best salmon I’ve had in years. We’re also super excited to launch Tapenade Bistro’s first ever local Dungeness crab boil. The summer bounty is abundant and this is one of the many reasons I’ve fallen in love with Vancouver.
On my downtime, “Jazzy”, “Monk” and I have managed to get away a couple of times. We took a short trip to Victoria where we enjoyed a luxurious stay at the Fairmont Empress. Some highlights of this trip were “civilized afternoon tea”, a gigantic ice cream and profiterole sundae, dinner at Brasserie L’ecole and fantastic hiking and waterfalls in Sooke. The ferry system is a bit of a downer, but I truly enjoy our occasional trips to Vancouver Island. We’ll have to make our way up to Tofino soon and check out the Wickaninnish Inn and the surrounding area.
Most recently, we celebrated my birthday by taking a trip to the Fairmont Olympic (one of my favorite city hotels) in Seattle and checking out Snoqualmie Falls. Though we’ve been making lots of trips into the States, I haven’t visited Seattle in quite a few years, so it was nice just to walk around the city and check out the local sites. It was great checking out Pike Place Market again, unfortunately I missed out on the lamb prosciutto and lardo at Salumi and the serious pie at Serious Pie, but we had a blast, enjoyed the city and had some great eats along the way. Something that thrilled me greatly was we received complimentary valet parking at the Olympic($39/day) because we drove a hybrid. As I pulled up to the hotel to check in, I handed off my keys to the valet figuring I would be charged some absurd amount for parking, he handed me my ticket like normal and casually informs me there will be no charge! Yay hybrid! Earlier in the day, I suggested we drive the new car (non-hybrid), but “Monk” insisted we drive the more fuel-efficient choice and I guess, “more so than not, she was right again”.
Around town, I’ve been dining out here and there and really had a good lunch at Ki Sushi in New Westminster. I will hopefully blog about it “sometime in the next century”, but let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised. Around town, I’ve had some meals at Lao Shan Dong, Lu Lu Cafe, Uli’s, Kirin, Red Star Seafood, Japadog, De Dutch, Sushi Town and a few others I can’t remember. We’ve also been eating out a lot at our “go to” restaurants like California Sushi, Me and Ed’s Pizza, My Greek Taverna and Yan’s Garden. Not a lot of fine dining around town these days, mainly because of “Jazzy”, but I’ve definitely been eating. We also took some out-of-town guests to the Richmond Summer Night Market and had a lot of fun there. Sumo Bites, grilled squid and the shaved ice desserts were very good and it was funny running into the crew from “Flavour of the West Coast”. The producer suggested a quick scene including “Jazzy”, “Monk” and I and hopefully we won’t end up on the editing room floor.
What else? Not much. Looking forward to going out to Deep Cove tomorrow, enjoying the weather and maybe sneaking in a doughnut at Honey’s . I’m also looking forward to trying out Adesso Bistro and Delilah’s Martini some time soon. “Jazzy” is turning one this month, so I’ll likely be cooking up a feast for family and friend and we just learned that she is able to read about a dozen words. Cutest and smartest baby ever! My super foodie “parental units” from Toronto, by way of Las Vegas, are coming for a 2 week “extended stay”, so I’m looking forward to catching up with them over some fabulous meals. The summer is looking very hot and very busy and thank goodness I had the foresight to have air conditioning installed at the homestead. I will update soon (I promise) and until then, eat well.