BERRIES HAVE THE BEST MOUTHFEEL, the way you can feel each one individually in your mouth—like tapioca, or really well-cooked sushi rice. But people have lost some important berry vibe. These days everybody wants them to be sweet. I think they should be sour. That’s what I liked about saskatoons when I first encountered them in Newfoundland, where they call them serviceberries. I also like how the harvest window is so small. They’re not exactly rare. But commercially, you don’t see them that much. The last thing is that they’re really good for you—rich in anti-oxidants and very healthy. —J.C.
Jacob Richler shares his perfect food day in Vancouver.
According to the sandwich board parked outside B-movie director Uwe Boll’s upscale German restaurant, Bauhaus, on W. Cordova St. in Gastown, their Friday lunch features a nearly unbeatable special of a schnitzel, potato and cucumber salad, and a Frü Kölsch beer for just $22.
Evidently, the locals understand the value of the offer, for the two dozen customers I find inside at mid-day are eating nothing but.
I start with something more seasonal from the menu: a timbale of sweet, tender Dungeness crab meat dressed up with tiny nasturtium leaves and chervil oil, surrounded by a moat of meek but pleasant tomato water.
Then I follow the crowd. And the schnitzel is very good indeed. Made with red veal, not white, but properly breaded with fine, fresh crumb, and fried in enough fat that all its thin folds are bronzed and crisp.
I walk back to my Yaletown hotel for a nap, and then it’s time for an early omakase menu at No. 51 on our list, Masayoshi, a small Japanese restaurant on Fraser St. from Tojo alumnus, chef Masayoshi Baba. My seven-course meal at his sunlit bar began with an exceptionally tender uzaku – vinegared unagi on wilted sliced cucumber with dashi, dressed up with edible flowers.
Next, there was kinpira gobo (sweet braised burdock root) with milk foam, exceptional sashimi: o-toro, flounder, geoduck etc.
Then, a grumpy-looking ayu – sweetfish – with its signature bitter liver still inside.
The tip top sashimi that followed spanned uni from Hokkaido, so fresh and rich that I had to order extra.
And to finish, a first rate tamagoyaki. Actually I wasn’t finished yet, for in the cab ride back to my Yaletown hotel I suddenly remembered it was black truffle season in Tasmania, so it seemed only sensible to drop in on Cioppino’s, where I knew as always I would find Pino Posteraro at his post behind the pass, and in a hospitable mood. And he was. Cue a buttery sauté of impeccably tender sliced octopus scattered with black truffle.
Finally, a magnificent (if truffle-free) rice flour crêpe loaded with shaved, pressed confit of duck.
Perfection, that last one. Sated, at last.