Hi everyone! Just came back from the orthodontist, and before that: a circuit class, an hour of spinning (indoor cycling), and an hour and fifteen minutes of hatha yoga. I had a massive breakfast this morning and just ate a huge lunch of avocado toast with two scrambled eggs with cheddar, zucchini, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and scallions. Delicious!
Leftover muffins from The Bakery in Sechelt: lemon poppyseed, blueberry scone, raspberry mango oatmeal muffin, savoury scone, gluten-free apple cinnamon muffin
Dad had leftover chicken wings from Monday with smoked salmon pasta from Tuesday, and Seline got a McDonald’s egg McMuffin with bacon.
In Powell River, we spotted two famous eateries: the Tree Frog Bistro and Little Hut Curry. I wanted to have Little Hut Curry SO badly – they are the highest-rated restaurant in the Sunshine Coast and serve authentic Indian dishes, but were closed on Canada Day. 😥
We went to the Coastal Cookery instead! The restaurant was decorated with mirrors, paintings, and unique lights. This place reminded me a lot of Cactus Club.
Pow Town Poutine: Fresh cut fries, porter and beef gravy, fresh cheese curds
My first impression of this dish? WOW, that’s a huge serving. This wasn’t a regular salad-sized, or even dinner-sized plate – it was a full serving plate, heaping with fries, gravy, and cheese. Despite the large serving, my family wasn’t crazy about this poutine. Seline thought the fries were done in an odd way, and didn’t like the fries themselves. Mom declared that overall, the poutine was too salty for her taste. With fries, gravy, and cheese – I’d agree! Even though I didn’t try this 😛
BBQ Buttermilk Chicken Bites: Buttermilk soaked and seasoned Vancouver Island chicken, homemade BBQ sauce, fresh cucumber, crispy onions
“Pretty good.” That’s all Dad could say about this dish, even though he rated the restaurant, and all the food in general a solid 4.6 out of 5.
Ling cod: local ling cod, rich lemon buerre blanc, roasted seasonal vegetables, herbed vegetable rice
I ordered this for myself and Mom to share. First of all, the cod was extremely flavourful – but only on top. In fact, the top layer was overly salty, garlicky, and peppery, while the “inside flesh” was underseasoned (which I prefer!). I also thought the fish was a bit too firm – it might’ve been seared for too long, or perhaps cod is naturally a firmer fish. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of veggies here. Roasted season vegetables? My expectations were high until I saw five sad little spears of asparagus. The asparagus was sprinkled with sea salt, making it quite salty, but the overall texture was nice. I really enjoyed the rice, as I always do at restaurants. While the menu read “herbed vegetable rice”, I couldn’t detect a trace of veggies in the pilaf. There were pinches of oregano and thyme (I think!) combined with the rice, but not one vegetable. 😥 The lemon butter, which was probably spiked with white wine, tasted pretty nice with the rice, fish and asparagus. I’d say that my dish was decent, but not super delicious or special at all.
Buerre Blanc Mac and Cheese: Not your grandma’s Mac and Cheese. Smoked gouda, aged cheddar, white wine butter sauce, crispy pancetta, fried sage
Seline ADORED this lunch. “Really, really good,” she kept telling me between mouthfuls. “It’s the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.” She hasn’t had much mac and cheese before (other than Kraft Dinner and the time I made mac and cheese from scratch and gave her diarrhea – seriously). But this one, made with two types of cheese, savoury wine and butter sauce, and topped with crunchy Italian bacon, was incredible. I tried a couple of bites, and it was so rich. The fried sage, like Cactus Club (fried sage on butternut mascarpone ravioli), provided a nice contrast to the cheesy goodness of the pasta. This was truly comfort food at it’s finest! I would agree that this is one of the best mac and cheeses I’ve ever had – dare I say better than Whole Foods’s version?!
Bourbon Pecan Galette: Fresh puff pastry, pecan almond butter, bourbon maple sauce, vanilla bean gelato
Okay, excuse me if I freak out: THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE DESSERT EVER! Definitely, without a doubt, one of the TOP TWO I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE! Sorry for all the caps – I’m just so excited about this dessert! And I’m kind of drooling right now.
The buttery and flaky pastry shattered in my mouth, and there was a thick layer of almond paste (like the creamy sweet stuff in my favourite almond croissants). The almond paste was topped with the best crunchy candied pecans, which was adorned with a big scoop of vanilla bean gelato and drizzled with maple sauce. Every ingredient paired well with another, and we couldn’t keep our forks away. I was thistles to licking the bowl. Seline enjoyed the ice cream, Dad loved the maple sauce, Mom was a huge fan of the pastry, and I… basically just savoured every part of this dessert (okay, especially the almond paste). AMAZING!
I saw the sign for a Farmer’s Market, but it was already 2:00 by then. 😥 Probably a good thing, too, because I could shop at farmer’s markets for HOURS, while my dad and sister despise them. Instead, we visited the Larry Gouthro Park for a Canada Day Celebration. Safeway provided a massive cake for all the participants!
There was also freshly-made pizza. Some people made the dough right there and then, and others fired up the wood grill. Some people were in charge of scattering the toppings, and one person made change. 🙂 These looked so fresh and yummy – to bad we’d just had lunch!
In the afternoon, Mom and I took a short walk to the Pacific Point Market. It was an 8-minute walk from our resort. What a nice organic market! It was spacious and newly-renovated, too. I saw a big spice rack that I fell in love with!
For dinner, we drove 40 minutes to the Laughing Oyster, by the town of Lund. The Laughing Oyster is famous for their big buffets (only served on Wednesdays), live music, and incredible, fresh seafood. We were surprised to find this restaurant, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere! There wasn’t a single car near us as we drove the winding, rural road up to Lund. When we arrived, we drove through a forest (yes, we literally drove on a trail in the woods!) to get to this beautiful seaside restaurant.
We were so glad we made a reservation – the place was quite busy, with lots of people in line for the buffet. We were lucky enough to score a patio spot (though we didn’t get the full ocean view 😥 ). There was an older gentleman on the other patio, singing and playing his guitar and filling the entire restaurant with lovely music.
Seriously amazing, right? Counterclockwise from the top right, we have:
Salad with balsamic dressing, blue cheese and pecan spinach salad, sautéed cabbage, roasted cauliflower, zucchini, and peppers, roasted and glazed carrot sticks, saffron and turmeric spiced rice, seafood linguine with salmon and mussels, lemon wedge for oyster, fried oyster with aioli and tzatziki
Middle: roasted salmon with wasabi and balsamic reduction drizzle, salmon and Monterey Jack burrito with spicy creme
The pan-fried oysters, with the remoulade (French condiment, like aioli), were a highlight of my dinner. I didn’t even know I liked oysters! I also loved the roasted carrots and spiced rice. I found the salad somewhat overdressed, however, and the cabbage nothing special. Their roasted vegetables were a bit on the oily side.
Everyone in my family raved about this dinner!
All of our plates looked different. Mom, Dad, and Seline adored the linguini and encouraged me to get some for myself during the second round. My second plate is on the right in the photo above – I couldn’t resist getting another pan-fried oyster, some more rice and carrots, and more of the amazing roasted salmon. The two drizzles are a mayonnaise and wasabi mixture and a balsamic reduction. Oh – and the blob on top? Crispy fried cod!
Their version of fish and chips, this cod was the freshest I’ve ever had. It had a flavourful tempura-style batter around it, and was so incredible. I wanted more!
For dessert, I was dying to order the Pate Brisse Cheesecake Terrine with rolled short bread crust and wild blackberry sauce. Unfortunately, Dad didn’t want cheesecake (he thought it wasn’t special…?) and Seline hates berry compotes. Instead, as recommended by our waitress, we ordered the Chocolate Chocolate Crazy Crazy. It was a chocolate mousse cake with a layer of chocolate ganache and chocolate drizzle, with whipped cream and dulce de leche on top.
Strangely, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this dessert. I think it’s because I prefer my chocolate desserts to be thick, rich, and dense (like black bean brownies!) rather than airy, like mousse. The ganache layer, which is covered by the drizzle, caramel and whip cream, was my favourite part. Still, this dessert was quite far from being memorable. Either way, it was demolished and Seline wanted to lick the plate!
As we waddled back to the car, Dad found some berry bushes! Not sure if these are blackberries or unripe blackberries, or what. I’m always nervous around wild berries and mushrooms because I think they’ll be poison 😉
l have a driving lesson in half an hour (Canada’s Worst Driver here, guys!), then Mom and I will be cooking a Skinny Broccoli-Cheddar Chicken casserole for dinner with friends tonight. If it’s a success, I’d love to share the recipe with you guys. Yesterday, we bought some Goddess dressing and Roasted Red Pepper dressing on discount yesterday (both organic, 2 for $6!), so we’ll probably incorporate a yummy salad into our dinner as well. Will update you on that soon!
EDIT: the casserole was a huge hit! Six of us, all GIRLS, devoured casserole dish meant for EIGHT people. We also enjoyed a lovely salad made with Goddess dressing (lemon, garlic, herbs, sesame), smoked salmon, and cashews on mixed greens. It was sooo tasty and I couldn’t stop! Thankfully it was salad. 😉
The casserole, on the other hand, was equally addictive! Creamy, cheesy, flavoured with mushrooms and scallions, this dish was amazing. With brown rice and an entire head of broccoli for the eight of us, it’s hard to believe this is full of filling fibre (and lean protein from the chicken). I loved it – especially the crusty cheese bites with broccoli. Hope you give this a try! Here’s the recipe, which I adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.
Skinny Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole
Serves 4 (I halved the recipe for the blog)
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 head broccoli
- 4 mushrooms, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- salt, pepper, garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 40 mL light sour cream
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- Boil broccoli in lightly-salted water for 2.5 minutes. Rinse under cold water to blanch.
- Season chicken breast pieces with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat olive oil over high heat and saute until no longer pink. Remove to a plate.
- Use medium heat now. Add butter to skillet and cook green onions. Add mushrooms.
- Stir flour into 1/4 cup milk. Pour mixture into skillet when mushrooms and scallions are golden brown. Add remaining 3/4 cup milk. Cook mixture and stir constantly until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add chicken and allow the mixture to boil (medium heat). Remove skillet from heat.
- Add 3/4 of shredded cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir until smooth.
- Add broccoli and rice. Stir until everything is combined.
- Scoop mixture into a greased ovenproof casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Let casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Have an awesome week guys! My sister and I are going to a cafe downtown tomorrow for lunch as “practice” for our trip to Paris in three weeks – wish me luck 😛