Food, Italian, Travel, Vancouver

First of all, I want to apologize for the horrible quality of these photos. The lighting was extremely dim at the restaurant and I was still using my iPhone4 to take these photos. I tried to adjust the photos on Photoshop, but it didn’t turn out too well. I’ll be getting a camera in the summer so please forgive me.

I was never a fan of pizza since I saw it as a starving university student’s food. I’ve also had a scarring time back in high school having to eat pizza every Friday for lunch for about half a year. On the other hand, Neapolitan pizza is something I won’t usually say “no” to. From it’s slightly charred flavours and its thin 3mm crust to it’s sweet tomatoes and rich cheese, I’m always up for a good pizza.

Via Tevere is snuggled away from the busy and main street where all the other Italian restaurants are located on Commercial Drive. We thought that since it was away from the street, there wouldn’t be a lot of people. Turns out, we were so wrong. Via Tevere does not take reservations so we ended up waiting for an hour and 15 minutes for a table for 3.

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To begin our Italian fare, the three of us shared a lovely bottle of Tommasi “le rosse” pinot grigio 2012 from Veneto, Italy. None of us are wine experts but since I wanted something sweet, pinot grigio was a good way to go. We also wanted to drink to a good night and a last dinner with Cho before she leaves Vancouver.

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Salsiccia e Rapini (Red) and Prosciutto e Funghi

The whole reason why we came here was because of the Neapolitan pizzas, but pizza wasn’t enough to fill us up so we also ordered a pasta dish. Pizza and pasta, it can’t be more Italian than this. Two pizzas shared between three people was already enough, so make sure you don’t over order just because these might not look like “large” pizzas.

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Rigatoni with Wild Fungi and Ham (Daily Pasta)

The texture of the rigatoni was similar to the average store bought pre-made rigatoni in a bag. The texture was slightly hard and it just lacked the right chewiness in pasta. Luckily the white pasta sauce was creamy and rich in mushroom flavours so I wouldn’t give it an all thumbs down.

The wild fungi and the hint of saltiness from the ham accentuated the cream sauce making the rigatoni acceptable despite its hard texture.

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Salsiccia e Rapini (Red)

What’s in it: Fior di latte, Italian sausage, and broccoli rabe.

Little did I know that broccoli rabe was supposed to be slightly bitter so we were all surprised by it. The charred sides didn’t help because some parts were incredibly burnt making some slices more bitter than others. However, I did enjoy the texture of the broccoli rabe which was quite similar to kale.

The tomato sauce and mozzarella tasted fantastic and it was so fresh. More points to the tomato sauce because it wasn’t too sour and it even had a bit of sweetness to it.

Lastly, my God, the Italian sausage was so savoury but I think if they replaced the broccoli rabe with another vegetable topping that isn’t bitter would make this pizza even more delightful.

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Prosciutto e Funghi

What’s in it: Tomato, fior di latte, prosciutto, and mushrooms

I wouldn’t say I enjoyed which pizza more just because they both had their good points. The Prosciutto e Funghi had the best taste, but the texture was lacking. While the Italian sausage in the Salsiccia e Rapini was delicious, the Prosciutto e Funghi had the fragrant mushrooms.

They only topped three pieces of prosciutto on the pizza and I wish they gave us more because we only had an impish speck of prosciutto on each slice.

Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon

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Contemporary Western, Food

This is a long overdue post that was supposed to be published in Autumn for Lily Mae’s Harvest Moon 5 Course Tasting Menu. I haven’t seen Glenny for a while so we decided to meet up for dinner. Since we are both foodies, I was introduced to Glenny’s other foodie friend, Jessica, who also joined us at Lily Mae’s. Located in the heart of Gastown, Lily Mae’s is a small Parisian looking cafe with a view of the large intersection at Gastown. We had a beautiful view of Gastown since we sat next to the window and the restaurant was adorable; perfect for a girl’s get together brunch or dinner.

The Harvest Moon 5 Course Tasting features wild game meat which is quite a rare option in most Vancouver restaurants. I don’t usually see game meat served anywhere and the last time I had game meat was at Exile Bistro, where I had the game fondue. Ever since then, game meat has been quite a surprise to me in terms of its taste.

PSX_20141207_203504Roasted Vegetable Soup

What’s in it: Roasted root vegetable purée, crispy onion and sage brown butter drizzle.

The first course warmed us up with a delicious and rich vegetable soup with a rich sage brown butter and onion flavour.

Everything about the soup was soothing and flavourful, but the crispy onions were were practically the only flavours I could taste in each spoonful.

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Venison Tartar

What’s in it:Poached quail egg, micro greens, potato chips, and green olive dust.

I loved everything about this dish. The poached quail egg was delicately and beautifully done with a gorgeous golden yolk that spilled out onto the venison tartar like water falling between the cracks of a stone wall.

The green olive dust was a surprise because all three of us couldn’t taste what it was. The taste was salty and earthy and the texture was so fine. Adding it with the potato chips was very savoury.

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Pickled, Roasted and Raw Carrot Salad

What’s in it: Heirloom carrot,s roasted almonds, fresh mint, dill, shallots and a scorched lemon vinaigrette.

I didn’t get to taste this but Jessica said that this was a very refreshing and herb flavoured dish for a second course.

The lemon vinaigrette came out as a bit too acidic at first, but then it slowly complimented the fresh mint, dill and shallots. The sourness also helps to increase your appetite.

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Braised Elk

What’s in it: Braised elk, wild mushroom farro risotto, sweet corn purée and confit tomatoes.

Glenny and I both ordered the braised elk topped with a sweet confit tomato on top. Sadly, I couldn’t really taste the elk as I wanted to because of the sweet corn purée. The wild mushroom farro risotto could only be tasted if I ate it alone.

Since this menu is focused on wild game meat, I was a bit disappointed that the sweet corn purée stole the spotlight from the braised elk. It wasn’t as enjoyable since I wanted to taste the braised elk, but at the beginning, I have to admit that the corn purée was very creamy, naturally sweet and it melted in my mouth. It was good but I just think more emphasis should have been on the braised elk instead of the purée.

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Oysters Rockefeller

What’s in it: Stellar Bay Oysters with kale, bacon, oyster cream sauce and bread crumbs with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

This wasn’t much of a surprise but since I don’t like oysters, Glenny ordered this. I didn’t hear a lot of comments from her but everything seemed pretty normal like every oyster rockefeller out there.
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Hunters Ragout

What’s in it: Bacon wrapped chicken breast, shiitake mushrooms sauce, braised shallots, vegetable fricassee on house pasta.

For our final main, we all ordered the Hunters Ragout. Something about house pasta intrigued us and we’re always up for pasta that is out of the ordinary.

The shiitake sauce tasted like shiitake mushrooms you would find in an udon meal but the herbs gave the sauce a welcome boost to every aspect of the plate.

The bacon wrapped chicken breast was quite unnecessary since the bacon was already quite dry and salty and the chicken breast was already a bit overcooked making it drier.

The pasta wasn’t as good as we hoped. The texture was a bit tough to chew on, but we weren’t sure if it was undercooked or if it was supposed to be more tough than normal pasta.

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Beignets

What’s in it: White, dark and milk chocolate beignets drizzled with maple syrup with crisp bacon.

When the dessert was served, all three of us laughed because by far, the dessert had the largest portion in the tasting menu. In addition, the dessert was also the most filling.

The beignets were really a hit or miss because some had a runny chocolate centre while others were merely dry and dull inside. We were a bit confused as to whether this was done on purpose or not.

Overall, these little dough balls were sweet and those with a chocolate centre gave it a richer and moist texture. The bacon helped to balance out the sweetness with a hint of saltiness to it.
Lily Mae's Comfort Café on Urbanspoon

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Hey guys,

This is a temporary post.

I’m sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a while but I’ll be back some time next week or after the 13th. As you can somewhat imagine in the picture below, I have been busy being a hermit studying away for finals at home or at coffee shops.

I’ll be back in no time. Meanwhile, go check out the newly opened Sweet Victory Bakery at Yaletown! I was studying there today and it was great.

You can also find my page on Facebook or follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

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