Friday, March 25, 2011

Don't go, Aqua Riva!

Recently both Lumiere's and DB Bistro closed down, 
WITHOUT me having a taste of their fine food before their closing.  I've heard great things about both restaurants, but never got a chance to try them, and I regret that.  Though one restaurant that I have tried, and loved, was Aqua Riva.  After hearing about their future summer closing, I thought "I HAVE to go there again".  My friends and I were literally squealing and jumping out of our seats while waiting for our food.  Why? Because the three course menu looked so damn decadent.  Surprise was a huge element played in our enjoyment of the food of course, when we arrived at Aqua Riva, we never expected a three course menu to be waiting patiently beside the un-touched regular menu.  Not only did it consist of our favourite foods, but the food was made as it should at a fine dining restaurant: fresh, indulgent, and of course, delicious.

Truffle Pizza
Organic Greens with Madrona
Valley Goat Cheese Brulee with
roasted almonds, Chilliwack dried
cranberries, candied salmon
 & lemon basil vinegrette
J started with a pizza, I don't remember what was on it besides truffles (and of course cheese) but god, was it delicious.  T and I started with the Candied Salmon Salad.  Which just happens to be one of my favourite things ever - wait, almost every food is my favourite thing ever.  Slightly drizzled with a refreshing dressing, pieces of candied salmon, nuts, and topped with creamy goat cheese. 

Lamb with Mashed Potatoes

White Asparagus Risotto
For my 
Salmon with Risotto
main course, I couldn't pass up the salmon filet with truffle risotto - salmon and truffles are VERY high up on my "Favourites" list (yes, I said before that I don't play favourites but...).  J, being more of a meat eater ordered the lamb.  Not just any lamb, but Wood Grilled Peace River Lamb Sirloin with roasted shallot & yam puree, date & pistachio marmalade with mashed potatoes.  T, ordered the third option which was the White Asparagus risotto.
Chocolate cake or Apple-cranberry crisp? I don't know about you, but I couldn't decide.  I had to call my waitress back to change it from the Chocolate Cake to the Apple-cranberry crisp.  This decision was so difficult - I thought that my mind was going to implode.  C'mon, who doesn't love chocolate cake? Especially with mousse. Mmm...  But I always get Chocolate cake when I get dessert, so to try something different, I got the Crisp - and boy, was I ever happy.  This crisp, was so... beyond what words can describe.  It got me hooked onto Fruit Crisps.  The oat coating was the perfect texture, it had enough 'crisp' to it to complement the piping warm soft fruit inside.  Just pure happiness.
So there you have it - a three course heavenly meal that was enjoyed by a Foodie and her friends with no guilt.  It's good to have those meals once in a while - or daily.  It's up to you. (I prefer daily, but my thighs and stomach disagree)

Now lets take a 180

Unlike the elegant and delicious food of Aqua Riva, Shaughnessy Restaurant's pricy hit and miss menu doesn't appeal to my tastebuds.
First Experience: I had got to try several menu items - Seafood Stuffed Cannelloni with lobster scented cream sauce, Pacific Coast Paella, Crispy Organic Steelhead Trout & Seared Qualicum Scallop with Lemon Spatzel with toasted almonds, and the Mac & Cheese with a side of fries.  The calorie bomb of a Cannelloni was delicious, it was the best thing that I tried there that night. The side watercress and tomato salad was also very tasty.  My second favourite thing I tried was a tie between the Paella and the Mac & Cheese, but that doesn't mean that I liked it that much.  The Paella was kinda dry, and just meh tasting.  The Mac & Cheese had a nice crispy coating, and was filled with cheese and bacon which didn't enhance the flavour, which I'm sure was the purpose of the bacon.  Other than making it's consumers a pound heavier.  Then the Lemon Spaztel was just... no.  I didn't really enjoy that enough to take a bite of the Trout.
Second Experience: "First the worst, second the best..." did not apply to my second experience at Shaughnessy restaurant.  This time my favourite meal was the Grilled Prawn & scallop Quesadillas.  My only complaint about them would be that they were dripping with oil from being deep fried - that made them crispy and even more delicious, but they were WAY too oily, and not filled with enough prawns and scallops.  All I could taste (and see) was cheese, oil, and the crispy outer crust.  My brother ordered the Mac & Cheese again, and this time, I'd have to say it was pretty good.  But like the Quesadillas, the Mac & Cheese was way too oily.  It was possibly from the bacon - but then why was the first time my brother ordered this was this dish more dry?  I could also take another guess that they put more cheese in this time, but I'm not sure why it was better this time.  My grandmother had the Chicken Pot Pie which I didn't taste, but it looked good.  My grandfather had the Clam Chowder Soup, and the Hamburger.  The soup looked meh, and the burger, looked greasy.  I stole half his toasted bun because he didn't eat any of his burger with cheese and bacon, and also because my bun on my tuna burger looked as if it just came out of a bag that was bought at Safeway.  My Tuna Burger was filled with cabbage, tuna, dill and chive aioli, and tomatoes.  You would think that there would be some tuna in a tuna burger, but I was able to finish my tuna with half of the bun left.  As for the dill and chive aioli, I asked to have it on the side, but they smothered it all over the burger, and all I could see was what I thought was coldslaw, but it was just the green cabbage and aioli.  With the tuna hiding in the mess of cabbage.  So I sent it back to get the aioli on the side, and I think they gave me an un-toasted bun because of it.  Let's just say I was not a happy camper with this burger, at all.

Aqua Riva on Urbanspoon

Last Words: Go check out the VanDusen Gardens, but skip the garden salad, or the restaurant as a whole unless you want to play a little lottery with the food.  As for Aqua Riva, I suggest giving it a taste before it's too late; Like it was for me and Lumiere's and DB Bistro.


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  2. Great review and very detailed too :)