Welcome to My Food Blog!

Hi, it's Christine. Dinner Table Chronicles is my first blog detailing my food experiences all over town and during our family's travels. First off, I must confess that I'm a terrible photographer, so my food pics may not look so terrific. Even worse, sometimes the restaurant lighting is a bit dim and my iPhone does not take the best pics in "ambience" lighting. But I do hope to improve over time. So do bear with some of my fuzzy pics as we take you along on our food journey.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cocolini in St. Mark's Square at the Venetian

I passed by and couldn't resist taking pictures of the gelato and sorbet here. We didn't try it as we were stuffed from our Aria brunch.

The gelato:

The sorbet:

Las Vegas - Brunch at Aria

On our second day, we woke up and decided to walk to the central strip area (Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and the new City Centre). This was a good 45-minute walk from our hotel in the northern strip. By the time we got to City Centre, we were hungry and weak. We entered the new hotel, Aria (opened just in mid-December), and decided we should try their buffet. For brunch, we paid $25 pp.

This was Mark's first plate.

I got a bowl of congee.

And a plate of Chinese food. I don't know why I went straight for the Chinese food.

Wonton noodle in soup with Shanghai bok choy. The noodles were mushy and should not have been soaked in the soup.

Alaskan king crab again. This was better than the one at the Wynn.

Time for dessert! This is what the Aria buffet does best! The desserts are made by Jean-Phillipe Patisserie at the Bellagio. There is now another Jean-Phillipe Patisserie at the City Centre.

The profiterole.

The carrot cake.

The bananas foster.

The strawberry shortcake.

Here are some additional pictures of the desserts. There's creme caramel, chocolate mousse, strawberry shortcake, profiteroles, cookies, dessert bars, pastries, and gelato.

Here are some pictures of the seafood: the Alaskan king crab legs, shrimp, raw oysters, and sushi.

The fresh fruit:

Overall, a so-so buffet. The ambience was nice and bright, which makes it really pleasant to dine here. But the food was just OK, with the exception of the desserts. Definitely not as good as the Wynn.

Las Vegas - Dinner at Wynn

We spent our afternoon walking around and built up an appetite. We decided to end the day at the Wynn, by treating ourselves to their buffet and gambling in their casino. We've eaten at the buffet here before, so we knew what to expect. What we didn't expect was their "New Year's holiday pricing" (since it was Jan. 2). After our cheap lunch, we had to pay a shocking $52 pp for dinner. Yikes! Well, you only live once, so in we went and tried not to think about it. But, let me tell you, it was soooooo worth it.

Started with the lobster bisque.

I'm not even going to try to explain too much. Let the pictures do the talking.
These were our cold plates with different kinds of salads. On the second plate, that is grilled sea bass (the one with the grill marks).

Our entree plates with prime rib (husband's preference) and rack of lamb (my preference).

Alaskan King crab legs, shrimp, and edamame.

Dessert time. Chocolate mousse, creme brulee, mango-lychee tapioca pudding, pineapple slices, bread pudding with a whiskey sauce.

On this dessert plate: Pineapple sliver, mango-lychee tapioca pudding, bread pudding with the whiskey sauce, profiterole, blueberry crepe.
The standouts of the night were the rack of lamb with mint sauce, lobster bisque, the profiterole, and the mango-lychee tapioca pudding. Most disappointing was the grilled sea bass. I love fish, especially sea bass, and it was overcooked.

Las Vegas - Lunch at Stripburger

Stripburger is located at the corner of the Fashion Show Mall, across the street from the Wynn. This burger place was recommended to us by the front desk lady when we checked in. It was lunch time when we arrived. Amazing burgers and fries. Great service. We loved it and would have gone there again during our trip had there not been an overwhelming selection of restaurants up and down the strip.

We ordered yam fries to share. It came with an aioli dip that had a hickory flavour. They were sooo good.

Mark ordered the turkey burger. He gave me a bite. It was really good. Made me wish I ordered it.

I ordered the mushroom beef burger. I love mushrooms so as soon I saw that on the menu, I was all over it. It was excellent, but the healthier choice would've been my husband's turkey burger, which I should've had.

Burgers were about $8.95 each so our bill was nothing shocking.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vegas Baby! A Perfect Stay at Trump International

Mark and I decided not to give each Christmas gifts. We have everything we need, so we decided to treat ourselves to a brief (2 nights) trip to Las Vegas from Jan. 2-4. Our plan: Hop on a plane on Saturday morning and hop back home on the plane on Monday evening; stay at the Trump Las Vegas; gamble at the Wynn.

I will digress from my food blog for a moment here to share our hotel experience. For those of you who are interested, Trump Las Vegas is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. Reminds me of 5* luxury hotels in Asia. If you are interested in staying at the Trump, just be aware that it is not on the strip. It is behind the Fashion Show Mall. You can get to the strip through Nordstroms at the Mall or walk the block where you'll end up at the Wynn. My husband and I are walkers, so we didn't think twice about the walk...but for those with mobility issues, it could be a problem. Here are some pics of the hotel to share with you.

The hotel has no casino and is smoke-free. That is a plus, as the smoke in the casinos can get to you after a while. Also, without the casino, there's less of the riff raff hanging around the hotel. When you walk into the hotel, you are greeted with this fabulous floral scent that is pumped into the lobby.

We took the elevator to the 53rd floor. Our room was 5312. These double doors lead to two separate rooms or adjoining rooms, if you want:

Here's the door to our room:

Hallway entry showing a flat screen TV and lots of closet space (contained 2 luxe bathrobes):

King-sized bed, very comfy bed with nice linens and duvet:

Kitchenette with nice applicances and equipment (Le Creuset, Bosch, Wolff, Cuisinart):

The living room area. The couch is a pull-out bed:

The desk area:

The bathroom vanity:

The deep jacuzzi tub:

A nice-sized shower:

Trump is a great hotel to stay in. Service was impeccable. If there weren't so many options in Vegas, we'd stay there again.

Dinner at Dai Jang Kum

Mark and I had a sudden craving for Korean BBQ on one Friday evening. It was the end of a long week in December, cold outside, and we had no desire to cook dinner. Korean BBQ seemed like the way to go. We decided to try Dai Jang Kum on Bridgeport Road in Richmond. The food was just OK. We actually prefer the Korean restaurant on Alexandra Road (AKA Wai Sek Gai). Now, I can't remember the name of the dishes we ordered as they all have Korean names, so my descriptions will be very vague.

They first brought out all the sides (bean sprouts, kim chee, seaweed, potato, tofu, daikon, and salad) and the miso soup:

A beef rice bowl with veggies:

The Korean BBQ beef loaded with big slices of portabello mushrooms and enoki mushrooms:

We got two rice bowls with our meal:

Then came the thread noodles: the better dish of the night. It had veggies and beef slices in it.

Would we go there again? Probably not. This food experience probably will encourage us to head to the Korean restaurant on Alexandra Road the next time we crave Korean.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Birthday Dinner at Kirin Richmond

My parents treated my brother and me and our families to a birthday dinner at Kirin Richmond. This place is usually excellent with consistent quality. However, I think they had an off-night, as the food was just not the same. It was still good, but not of the excellence we usually anticipate.

We started with a soup. This brothy soup had all the bones and veggies. I didn't enjoy this soup. Too old-style for me.

Let's go straight to the peking duck with crepes. Our girls really love this dish and only get it for special occasions -- way too decadent to have it all the time!

Next up was the dish with the rest of the duck. It was lettuce wraps with duck filling. Again, the girls love this dish.

Then came the most disappointing dish of the evening: the honey garlic beef. This is usually excellent, but the chef that night just didn't prepare it correctly. It was more honey than savoury. Usually, it's a perfect mix of sweetness and savoury.

The veggies came next. This is our family's usual order of stir fry gai lan.

Then came one of my and my younger daughter's favourites of the evening: the fried tofu with broccoli and straw mushrooms. I think she and I could have finished the whole thing, but we restrained ourselves and let others have a go at this dish.

Then came the best dish of the evening: the honey garlic pork ribs. Amazing!

Then the stir fry white fish with vegetables. Also very well made as the fish was so tender and not overcooked.

The last dish to arrive was the seasoned chicken with the green onion dip.

Dinner ended with the red bean soup. Something I like, but a dessert my husband is not in the least fond of. Oh well, more for me :-)