Following her culinary curiosity all the way to Varcaturo, Italy, Tiffany Hudson’s found herself learning dry farming and food preservation. More importantly, she discovered how a dinner can bring a community together. After coming back to the States, Tiffany teamed up with Chef Martin Woods whose resume includes serving as opening sous chef at Bastille as well as executive chef at Re:Public. Together, the two created Cassoulet Café, an eatery that serves seasonal French cuisine amid a communal table.
And the collaboration isn’t running short on admirers. Writer Sally Wolff for the Cascadia Weekly praised Cassoulet as “evok[ing] the atmosphere of a country kitchen in France” complete with “heavy plates of well-made food.” These ever-changing entrees have included bacon cinnamon rolls for brunch, ratatouille for lunch, and goat cheese pansotti pasta for dinner, accompanied by specialty cocktails and ciders. Chef Martin also serves up the restaurant’s signature French bean stew bursting with duck and house-cured pancetta.
Along with promoting conversation amongst diners, Cassoulet Café fosters green living. This includes using fresh ingredients from local farms as well as reducing their carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds of CO2 emission. That accomplishment earned the restaurant a 2012 Sustainable Practice Leader award from General Biodiesel, a company named after the first robot five-star general in U.S. history.
Deluxe Beach Restaurant's prix-fixe menu brims with international options bolstered by fresh, seasonal ingredients. Diners can inaugurate dinner with the roquette, whose candied walnuts add a flavourful complexity to savoury goat cheese, then welcome a troupe of tiger prawns balancing crispy pancetta on their balsamic-glazed heads. Grilled beef tenderloin with phyllo-wrapped mashed potatoes and an optional shiitake-port-peppercorn demi sauce argue compellingly for terrestrial proteins, but patrons may prefer to ransack fabled undersea orchards with the lobster, ricotta, and pear ravioli in champagne-shallot cream sauce. For dessert, delve into the dark chocolate mousse that sports a distinguished wig of whipped cream and strawberry coulis. While learning to play the spoons between courses, diners can take a break to admire the ocean view from the upstairs, or browse surface sand for lost doubloons from the main level's cocktail lounge and outdoor patio.
Like rifling through the office refrigerator at the United Nations, visiting Azul Restaurant involves sampling a lot of different cuisines, from traditional North American flavours and Asian fusion fare to dishes from Italy, Greece, and the Pacific Islands. Wonton soup and spring rolls add diversity to the eatery's signature stuffed burgers, which, like the best fortune cookies, are filled with cheese and bacon. Large TVs and game-day specials entice sports aficionados to cheer on their favourite teams over a plate of Thai-style chili chicken wings.
Situated cozily within their beachfront fortification, the culinary virtuosos at Iguana's Beach Grill shell out hearty platters of pub grub anointed with a Southwest American twist. The kitchen's bacon-and-cheddar burger (an $11 value) spans the cavernous gap between two bun halves with a succulent, beefy bridge. Meanwhile, the crab-and-gouda dip ($11) blends snow-crab meat with a mighty triumvirate of smoked gouda, aged parmesan, and cream cheese and arrives with an entourage of pita chips for dipping. Freshly plucked fruits of the sea play a starring role in main dishes, such as the portabella ravioli ($17), setting garlic prawns afloat on top of whole-wheat pasta, portabella mushrooms, ricotta, and roasted red-pepper pesto cream. Diners can relax on the beachfront restaurant's heated patio, ideally located for tossing table scraps to vagrant mermaids, or swing by on a Friday or Saturday night for live entertainment.
Curry Sensation celebrates the rich culinary heritage of India with a menu that spans many of the subcontinent’s diverse regions. The bistro lays out an extensive spread of tandoori-baked chicken and lamb, fresh seafood curries, fluffy loaves of stuffed naan, and colourful vegetable stews. Artfully arranged tapas plates sate smaller appetites or giant appetites for sharing with batter-fried fish pakora and chili-dusted paneer cubes. Main courses include Indian favourites, such as basmati-rice biryani, butter chicken, and okra masala. Matching the rich flavour profiles, the interior swims with crimson curtains, clay-toned walls, and hardwood floors. There, dining guests sip wine and cocktails, break loaves of spinach-filled naan, and sword fight with skewers of lamb kebab.
At NY Grill and Bistro, patrons choose from a variety of menu items to craft a personalized, three-course meal. Culinary journeys begin as diners consult compasses to navigate spoons through a creamy New England–style clam chowder (a $4.95 value) and then pierce forks into a choice of shrimp or chicken caesar salad (a $7.95 value). For entrees, nibble on New York–style ribs ($14.95), devour pasta offerings such as chicken fettuccine alfredo ($10.95), or cut into prawns on top of a charcoal-broiled new york steak ($14.95). Meanwhile, 42'' flat screen televisions engage eyes with a visual feast of sports games. Though not included in today's Groupon, patrons can quench thirst and curl biceps using pitchers of draft beer ($11.95), including an Okanagan Spring pale ale and Honey Brown lager.