February 20, 2010: Gusto di Quattro! We get cookin’!
Given that Akemi hails from what I consider to be the best city in the world for eating, I was a little apprehensive about taking her out while she was in town. Now the great thing about Tokyo is that you can be blown away by the culinary offerings at a simple hole-in-the-wall ramen-ya just as easily as you can at one of the city’s many fine-dining establishments, but would Vancouver be able to offer up a comparable experience? Well, judging from Akemi’s reactions to the various meals enjoyed to date, I’d have to say Vancouver has a lot going for it. To be specific: Don Francesco’s seafood risotto, Sea Harbour’s seafood congee and prawn dumplings, Refuel’s creamy onion soup, hand-rolled potato gnocchi, and creme brulee, Aki’s salmon nigiri, Bishop’s Qualicum Bay scallops and its pear and cherry galette. Oh, and Joe’s peach-schnapps poached/amaretto-tossed roasted peaches with amaretto-amaretti ice cream.
And so, in the hopes of keeping the streak alive, I decided to take Akemi to one of my old stand-bys, an Italian restaurant that has never disappointed – Gusto di Quattro. Our meal…
We started with - what else? - the wonderful house antipasto platter.
The Pasta Pazza et Pezzi (for two) is comprised of the famed Spaghetti Quattro, Fettucine Ghiottone (that Akemi adored), Penne Arrabiata, and the Fusilli Tartufate.
And, of course, no visit to Quattro would be complete without my personal favorite - The Galletto al Vino - Roasted and braised rock hen, pinot grigio, black truffle mash, and organic baby vegetables.
Don't miss one of the best desserts in town - the Cilliege Filate: cherries, marscapone, and phyllo
Yet another memorable outing.
To work off last night’s dinner, we ran errands, walked the dogs, and made a flourless chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. First, that cake…
Akemi on chopping duty.
Only premium chocolate for this cake.
I prefer this method for melting chocolate over microwaving.
Mix in the butter, cream, and sugar...
Then whisk in your eggs. Make sure to create an image of a dude snowboarding in the chocolate.
Almonds are optional. Akemi decided to go with a half and half: almonds on top one one side, almonds inside on the other.
Bake for 45 minutes and...
Now cover your eyes, count to ten and...
Now onto that ice cream…
After bringing your milk to a boil and take it off the heat. Split your vanilla pods and drop them inside the pot. Allow the flavor of the vanilla to infuse the milk for 30 minutes.
Assemble the eggs, sugar, and corn starch, then whisk together. Strip the vanilla pods, then bring milk to a boil and pour into egg mixture. Whisk and put back on the stove.
Stir over low heat until it thickens, then transfer to a refrigerator to cool.
Once the custard has cooled, pour it into your ice cream maker.
Let the machine do its work.
Once your ice cream has started firming up, add the secret ingredient. I prefer Galliano for its neutral vanilla flavor but I was out so had Akemi decide. The liquor will keep the ice cream relatively soft, even after freezing.
Akemi says: "Yoku dekimashita."
Akemi celebrates our double dessert success with liquor and dancing.