Glowbal Grill and Satay Bar – New menu and old friends

A new menu is always a good reason to visit an old favorite and Glowbal Grill in Yaletown is very much a personal favorite. It’s not just the food and drinks that keep me coming back, it’s the outstanding service staff that runs a fairly tight space with military like efficiency. Every time a server or a manager came by the table to clear plates or glasses and stopped to chat for a few seconds there was someone else there to relieve them of their arm full of dishes, unmatched teamwork and a credit to General Manager Brandon Copico and Assistant GM Kyle Johnstone and the rest of the management team.

Now the food. Josh Wolfe, owner of the uber awesome Fresh Local Wild food truck and former Executive Chef of Glowbal Group’s Coast has returned to team Glowbal as their new Assistant Corporate Chef. After chatting with GM Brandon for a while Josh came over and introduced himself, took some time to go over some menu changes and asked my wife and I if we had any allergies or dislikes and then offered to feed us, um yes please!

We started with a small caprese salad with fresh local tomatoes, basil and incredible burrata, it was so soft and gooey, I could eat an inhuman amount of this cheese. The second was a beet salad with baby arugula, sherry vinagrette and big gorgeous chunks of pecorino cheese that were the perfect match to the earthy sweetness of the beets. The beets were prepared an a few different ways that included roasted beets and raw paper thin beets. the third salad was a Tomato and Cucumber salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes, celery leaves, citrus vinagrette and a piece of salty and wonderful crisp prosciutto. Celery leaves are really quite good, stop throwing them away!

Next up Chef Wolfe brought us some Wild Mushroom Risotto made with BC Morel and Chanterelle mushrooms. This dish is not new but is great, fresh local wild (see what I did there??) mushrooms have great texture, almost meat like, and add a nice density to the rich creaminess of the risotto. Also there didn’t seem to be any cream added to this dish which was a complaint I had on my last  visit.

Next up was a Bone In Canadian Prime Ribeye with a selection of 4 sauces, Bearnaise, Chimichuri , Horseradish and steak sauce. These sauces replace the selection of salts that used to be offered with steaks. The ribeye was cooked to a magical place somewhere between rare and medium rare and had the full falvour you can only get from well marbled beef cooked on the bone. The sauces were a nice addition, my personal favorite being the house made chimichuri. The side we received was a variation of an old favorite of mine, The Lobster Baked Potato. Gone is the gigantic baked potato typical of most steak houses which has been replaced by smaller roasted potatoes served in a cast iron skillet and topped with hollandaise sauce and generous chunks of lobster meat. This was a pretty ballsy move messing with something so good but the new dish is as good if not better than the old one.

Dessert was a trio of creme brule, vanilla, white chocolate and hazelnut. I’m not really a dessert guy but I’m a total sucker for creme brule and all three flavors were wonderful and prepared perfectly under Chef Wolfe’s watchful eye. Then magic happened, and it was called chocolate bread pudding. What?? This dish is pure food sex. It was topped with house made seafoam (honeycomb toffee). If you like chocolate or desserts in general you need to try this, it’s amazing!!

Huge thanks to Chef Josh Wolfe, GM Brandon Copico and AGM Kyle Johnstone for being fantastic hosts and all around awesome guys. Click on their names to find them on Twitter and give them a follow!

Scott.

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BLT Steak House Popovers

I don’t bake, I have never made a cake, muffins, bread, cupcakes or anything of the sort and I didn’t think I ever would. Baking holds no magic for me, at least not in the way other forms of cooking do. Cooking is an artistic process for me where I create a dish with constant attention from start to finish. The end result is a direct reflection of the time, effort and creativity I have put in to the dish. Baking involves the mixing of ingredients and then putting them in an oven to let them magically transform in to the end product with little or no intervention during the cooking process. I didn’t see the appeal of it until I found a recipe that I couldn’t resist making.

Popovers are an American variation of Yorkshire Pudding, believed to have originated in the mid to late 1800’s. The term Popover comes from the way the batter “pops” over the sides of the muffin tin while they are baking. The recipe I used is from BLT Steak, a steak house chain based around the vision of executive chef Laurent Touronde and his take on classic American dishes. I have eaten at BLT Burger in Las Vegas and it was fantastic. The recipe is available on Epicurious.com and is wonderfully simple yet scientifically complicated.

I’m not going to go into a step by step guide of how to make Popovers, I’ll leave it up to you to read the recipe but I will say that I am amazed that I was able to make this wonderful dish with my limited baking knowledge. There is some complicated science going on in this dish that involves preheated muffin tins, warm milk and no leavening agents. The dough rises through a chemical reaction between the warm milk, warm muffin tin and other ingredients. Needless to say they are delicious, with a crispy outer crust accented with Gruyère cheese and soft melt in your mouth insides. Add a little butter and let it melt into the soft dough and you are left with something more than the simple ingredients would ever lead you to believe were possible.

Look up the recipe and give it whirl. You never know, this baking thing might just catch on.

Scott.

Who likes beer?

OOOOhhhh a poll, fancy! Click your answer and read on, beer wants you to…

Beer, a beverage best enjoyed with friends. Dating back to 9000BC it is the one of the oldest prepared beverages in the world. What makes it so good? What gives it world-wide appeal? Simple, it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. It also comes in handy single serve cans or bottles perfect for parties or tailgating but most of all it is the incredible variety of beer that is available. There are thousands of brands of beer all around the world, the actual number is impossible to determine, so finding the right beer is possible if you know where to look.

The picture above is my humble home PC where I write my blog, unless I’m on the road in which case my trusty Blackberry fills in. You will notice that to the left of my keyboard there is a frosty mug of Okanagan Spring Porter, a dark beer that has an alcohol content of 8.5%, a little stronger than the industry average of 5%. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but that’s ok, there are so many choices out there and I would like to know what your favorites are?

Normally my drink of choice is Single Malt Scotch, an acquired taste to say the least. I’m not sure where I first tried it and I’m not sure why I enjoy it so much. I am very specific when it come to the types of Scotch I drink, usually Highland or Islay, not Lowland as I find it too earthy or too smoky. The problem with Scotch is that it is inconvenient. It comes in a large bottle, you drink it from a glass…no good for most “party” situations.

Beer for me is very similar. I have my favorites but the cool thing about beer is that even if it isn’t that good people tend to finish it. Take for example the Clover Ale at Big Ridge Brewing Company. I really wasn’t a fan of it during my last visit there. Kurt reminded me that it used to better and it made me wonder why they would change it? I finished it because that’s normal right? Sure it is, how else would the serving staff know you’re done and come to ask if you want another.

Some of my favorites are Sapporo, Sleeman Honey Brown, Guinness, Original Coors (?), OK Spring Porter, the list goes on longer than my emerging carpel tunnel syndrome wants to type. I guess what I’m getting at here is a question, what is your favorite beer, or beers? Why do they sit atop of your beer kingdom? Please feel free to answer these questions in the reply section at the bottom of this post, I would really like to here from you!

Scott.

“The Buffet” @ The Wynn Hotel & Casino

Flying at 30000 feet above the desert with the volcano’s of the pacific rim towering over the horizon, one can’t help but stare in awe at natures beauty. A similar feeling of amazement washed over me as I gazed at the massive buffet at the Wynn Hotel and Casino on my recent guys trip to celebrate the upcoming wedding of two great friends. Though this is no ordinary Vegas feeding trough, with deli meats and cheeses that cost more than most steaks, veal, lamb, prime rib and enough Alaskan King Crab legs that it makes you wonder if all the crab from The Deadliest Catch comes directly here.
It also costs a little more but for forty bucks I have never had a meal even close to this and I doubt I ever will again (until the next Las Vegas weekend)
Simply called “The Buffet” this over the top Vegas eatery takes all kinds of gourmet cuisines and drops them all in one spot.  Let’s run down the list of everything that I sampled, shall we? Aged Gouda & Edam cheese, prosciutto, grilled sea bass, seared red snapper, grilled mahi mahi, veal scallopini, hand carved veal loin, lamb osso bucco, veal short ribs, gnocchi, cheese ravioli, Roasted rack of lamb, hand carved prime rib, Thai beef salad, pot stickers, prawns,  nann bread with hummus and Alaskan King Crab legs with drawn butter. I feel full again just from writing it all down!
I don’t even know where to start, The lamb was fantastic both ways and the osso bucco had marrow in the bones that was incredible (don’t knock it until you try it). The prosciutto would be at home on a meat and cheese platter in Italy, the veal short ribs were as tender as melted buter, however the scallopini and the hand carved veal loin were quite tough. the red snapper and the mahi mahi were great but the sea bass was out of the world, with a texture similar to pork tenderloin. both pasta dishes were very good.
The prime rib was also very good but the highlight for most people at “The Buffet” is the alaskan king crab legs. I’m not a crab leg kind of guy as they are a lot of work for a comparatively small amount of crab. Don’t get me wrong, they were really good, it’s just that the sight of people piling up two full plates of them just because they know they’re expensive only to eat five of six and throw the rest away makes me a little sad. Vegas by in large is an incredibly wasteful place, with no recycling anywhere on the strip, 5 ton trucks driving up and down Las Vegas Boulevard for the sole purpose of advertising prostitution and millions of gallons of water wasted every year so that people in a taxi line stay cool under mist sprayers. You’re in the desert people, it’s hot!!!!
Those are the kind of people that buy Time Shares and play $5 blackjack and take it seriously. But enough about the sad state of humanity, lets talk about dessert. I tried the chocolate mint mousse, the Oreo chocolate mouse, the tiramisu and a chocolate chip cookie. I have mentioned before that I’m not big on sweets but the Oreo chocolate mousse and the cookie were terrific.
Sorry there’s no pictures of the meat, I forgot to take one before I ate it all. So go to Vegas and go to this buffet because it’s totally worth the price of admission, just don’t be greedy for greeds sake, try to walk as much as you can when you’re there and  don’t believe anyone who says they can get you into a club for free, they’re lying.
Scott.

BLT Burger @ The Mirage Hotel & Casino

There is something about burgers that really speaks to me, especially if they are something a little less pedestrian than your average fast food burger. BLT Burger located at The Mirage Hotel and Casino on The Strip in Las Vegas takes the art of the most iconic american food to a new level. BLT Burger offers premium burgers made with top ingredients and a menu developed by a world renowned French Chef.

BLT stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, the Executive Chef / Partner of BLT Restaurants. Tourondel has worked as Executive Chef to the Admiral of the French Navy and Executive Chef of the three-star Michelin Relais & Chateau Troisgros in France. Upon moving to New York he set about the challenging task of making American food up to French cuisine standards with the opening of BLT Steak and BLT Fish, a take on two classic american eateries, the steakhouse and the fish shack. With BLT Burger Tourondel aimed straight at the heart of America. The result is stunningly good.

Being in Vegas is heaven for a food lover like myself and stumbling upon BLT Burger was fantastic. With burgers made with a combination of certified Black Angus Sirloin, Short rib, Chuck and Brisket as the standard along with other selections including 100% American Kobe beef, Lamb Tandoori, Falafel, Turkey, Salmon and BBQ Brisket this was going to be something special.

I ordered the American Kobe Burger with a grilled Portobello Mushroom, skinny fries (shoestring) and a pint of Guinness. All of the burgers at BLT are served medium unless you want it cooked differently. Usually I am a well done only kind of guy, trying to avoid the whole “undercooked ground beef” thing but let me make this very clear, if made with quality beef by people who know how to handle and prepare ground beef it is very safe. Steak tartare is very safe and i suggest you try it someday, it’s awesome.

My burger was cooked to perfection and the grilled mushroom was just right as an addition. The beef is from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho and is certified American Wagyu (Kobe) Beef. If you don’t know what that is I suggest you Google it, a must for any beef lover. The fries were really just fries, nothing too exciting really. I suppose I should have ordered the waffle fries or onion rings…next time. As for my Guinness, you really can’t go wrong with stout when you’re eating beef.

There is one major problem with BLT Burger and that is its location in relation to where I live!!! Las Vegas is a two and a half hour flight away from Vancouver and the other two locations are in New York and Hong Kong. I suppose it’s a good thing that my wife lets me go to Vegas on an annual basis and I’m glad I was able to find BLT while on a trip with great friends. It was truly the start to a great night.

No pictures though, no camera’s allowed on Vegas trips…check out my links page for BLT Burgers website and if you’re in Las Vegas, New York or Hong Kong and want a burger, run there as fast as you can!!!

Just a quick warning, I have read a few other “foodies” reviews of BLT Burger being too expensive, and at $12 for the standard CAB burger and $17 for the Kobe, it isn’t the cheapest burger joint in town, with fries an additional $5. Remember that quality costs money and if you want an ordinary burger then this might not be the place for you, however I suggest you try it anyways because as gourmet food goes this place is a steal.

Scott.