[Vancouver] Caminetto di Umberto – Tuscan Cuisine in Whistler

1 07 2011

I was really quite excited about the weekend trip to Whistler, which had been consistently voted best ski resort in North America and for some polls, the world. My previous visit here was more than 10 years ago, during which bad weather meant that the mountain was closed and I had to contend with simply gazing longingly upwards towards the mountain range. There’s so much to do here as a visiting tourist. For the right price, you could participate in an extensive range of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ziplining, dirt biking, whitewater rafting, and explore the mountain on an ATV.

The entire village is dotted with F&B outlets and shopping boutiques. Not to mistake the two sister restaurants located just opposite each other, Il Caminetto di Umberto (which we dined at) is the fancier of the 2, serving authentic Tuscan cuisine while Trattoria di Umberto features rustic Tuscan cuisine amidst a more casual setting. Tuscany is a region in central Italy so Tuscan cuisine is pretty much synonymous for Italian.

With just shreds of salty duck meat, the Duck Confit Salad was slightly disappointing with the absence of the crispy duck skin.

Duck Leg Confit with Green Beans, Walnuts & Maple Vinaigrette (C$18.95)

The waiter suggested the Veal Piccata, saying it was one of their signatures here. It was pretty good though it’s a bit expensive for just a veal cutlet spaghetti.

Veal Piccata alla Parmigiana (C$30.95)

Though I love cheese, this mild version fared just as well, exceeding my expectations throughly. Scallops were fresh and seared evenly, and the risotto somehow had a hint of kelp, adding to its coastal flavour.

Green Asparagus Risotto & Sear Scallops (C$26.95)

What was special about this osso buco was the fatty bone marrow lodged within the bone, in which a small thin fork was provided for us to dig out this treasure. Most of the time, the marrow dries up and hardens from overcooking, but not so for the osso buco here. The saffron risotto took a while to get used to but grew on me as the meal progressed. Anyway, did you know Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world (by weight)? It’s even more expensive than Truffles!

Slow Oven-braised Osso Buco alla Milanese with Saffron Risotto (C$38.95)

Ricotta Cheese Cannelloni alla Florentina (C$19.95)

Linguine Pesto with Basil and Toasted Pine Nuts (C$19.95)

The chocolate cake wasn’t as good as it looked. The layer of sponge was too thick while the chocolate wasn’t rich enough to blow me away.

Dark Valrhona Chocolate Ganache Cake with Creme Anglaise (C$11.95)

I think the secret to Caminetto di Umberto isn’t its flare to whip up orgasmic dishes with excessive flavouring but rather, to use simple natural flavours that requires slow and quiet contemplation to appreciate.

Bon Appetit!

 

Caminetto di Umberto

4242 Village Stroll, Whistler, British Columbia

Tel: 604 932 4442

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[Vancouver] Rodney’s Oyster House – Summer Studies

21 06 2011

One of the reasons why most people favour NUS and NTU over SMU is because undergrad degrees over at SMU requires an additional year to complete (4 years for most students) compared to 3 years for a similar degree from NUS and NTU. Personally, I don’t see the additional year of study as a detriment at all. Most of us will likely have to work for the 50 years after graduation anyway so what’s the rush right? I say enjoy uni life while it lasts.

For NTU accounting students at least, they have just 2 summers before their entry into the workforce. That gives them probably just 1 or 2 internship opportunities, and less time if any, to go overseas for exchange programs or summer study. The issue of time really isn’t a problem faced by SMU students and so, I find myself in Vancouver, participating in the summer study program by the University of British Columbia. 

The food culture in Canada reflects the demographics of Canadians well, which is more of a mosaic of different cultures comprised of Caucasian, Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrants, rather than an integrated and fused society like America. Canadians are proud to retain their traditional roots and say that they are Chinese Canadian, Korean Canadian, Indian Canadian etc (you won’t hear Americans saying they are Indian American) and there is no attempt to tweak or fuse the different cuisines to suit the Caucasian palate. Unlike in London where Indian food is disappointingly mild, no such handicap is provided for the authentic Indian curries and Thai dishes here.

Given the deep entrenchment of a fragmented food culture, I find it hard to think of any dishes that are distinctly Canadian, except for Maple Syrup, Poutine (French Fries with Gravy and Cheese Curds). Seafood is fresh in Vancouver as it is located near the coast (My hostel is just a 10 minutes walk from the nude beach 😀 not much action though apart from just a few old man who like airing themselves). The pancake culture here isn’t as strong as I initially expected though.

pic source: norecipes.com

One of my more enjoyable meals in Vancouver so far was at Rodney’s Oyster House. As its name suggests, it’s a popular seafood restaurant located on Hamilton Street.

The interior is homely and very suitable for casual dining. The staff are really cool people, and are constantly moving around the restaurant to check up on guests and doing and saying retarded stuff that is really quite entertaining.


Oysters here are abundant, fresh and priced reasonably as compared to Singapore.

Raw Oysters

Last week, I took a day trip down to Pike Market in Seattle which is America’s oldest market. Apart from vegetables, clothing and artwork, fresh seafood was also being hawkered there. I managed to snag 3 jumbo oysters for just US$5 and it took me 3 mouthfuls just to eat 1!

Jumbo Oyster from Pike Market, Seattle

Back to Rodney’s, I preferred the cooked oysters to the raw ones. The Oyster Rockerfellah was delightfully baked with spinach and cheese among other spices.

Oyster Rockerfellah (C$12.95)

The Pasta with Scallops was slightly disappointing as the scallops were slightly overdone.

Pasta with Scallops (C$18.50)

My friends had a mad frenzy over the Garlic Shrimps. The shrimps were fresh and crunchy but what got to them was the briny umami-laden sauce. CY left his dining etiquette at the door and decided to just cup the plate in 2 hands and slurp down the sauce as you would do for soup in a soup bowl.

Garlic Shrimp (C$15.95)

As I mentioned in my previous post, Scallops are my kryptonite. It leaves my legs weak, wobbly and powerless in its presence. Fortunately for me, my order of the Scallop Galette fared much better than the Pasta with Scallops. Enveloped in potato rosti, the savoury crisp outer shell provided a nice contrast to the sweet plump scallops. 

Scallop Galette (C$15.95)

The chowder was rather forgettable.

Manhattan Clam Chowder (C$7.50)


For Desserts, it was difficult picking a favourite because both were really awesome. I enjoyed the Vanilla Cheesecake which was light and smooth, with vanilla infused cream on the end.

Vanilla Cheesecake (C$7.50)

The Belgian Chocolate Mousse is somewhat heavier and rich, a must try for chocolate lovers.

Belgian Chocolate Mousse (C$7.50)

Given the popularity of the restaurant, do make reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.

Bon Appetit!

Rodney’s Oyster House

Yaletown, 1228 Hamilton St

British Columbia, Vancouver








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