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Brunch at Vancouver’s Au Comptoir

I know I just wrote about the best places to eat in Vancouver recently (read it here) but I just want to add a quick follow up to that because I really enjoyed a place my friend Katie and I had brunch in today and I have to share it with you all right away – especially those reading this who actually live here in Vancouver because it’s summer, and the days are gorgeous, and we really ought to take advantage of it by discovering new things 🙂

The place is called Au Comptoir and it’s just your classic ‘café Parisien’. I have yet to see what it’s like in the evening, but it’s certainly lovely for brunch.

Au Comptoir roughly translates to ‘at the counter’, a popular way to dine in Paris.

Au Comptoir roughly translates to ‘at the counter’, which kind of gives you an idea of the very relaxed, fun and convivial atmosphere of the place. Perfectly punctuated by its interiors, a typically French chic mix of old and new, I couldn’t help but admire the table we had, for example, which was made of iron, marble and copper. I loved it even if it was so tiny I wondered how on earth we would fit everything we ordered (no wonder they say the French don’t get fat – you can’t order a lot, haha!).

Took a photo of my peppermint tea, but what I really want you to see is the beautiful table, with its marble top and aged copper edges

Not surprisingly, you can order your usual Parisian breakfast favorites (Le Petit Déjeuner/Pain Au Chocalat, anyone?), but I’m 27 weeks pregnant and I needed something A LOT more substantial than that. So today I went for the Burger Maison Frites – probably the least French thing on the menu, but to my credit, I did top it off with foie 😀

Our French server told me I wouldn’t regret it, and i’m happy to report that he was right.

This burger was SO tasty. Simply prepared with house ground beef, caramelized onions, and raclette. I added foie for an extra $6
Katie had this excellent Duck Confit. I tried a bite of it and I’ll probably want to order this for myself next time.
For dessert on a hot summer day, sorbet!

So the next time you want to enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch in Vancouver and are looking for a charming place with that certain brand of je ne sais quoi, go ahead and try Au Comptoir over at the Kits area – it’s that little bit of France that can add just the right amount of pizzazz to your day.

Love,

Celine

Toyo Eatery: Filipino Food Re-imagined

Recently, I kicked off my birthday festivities with a few very good friends at Manila’s latest dining hotspot: Toyo Eatery.

Now before you read any further, let me just remind you that I’m not a food blogger and if you’re seeking to read an expert’s view, then this post is not for you. Sorry.

With that said, I did enjoy the experience for the most part and if you’re interested in the opinions of a non-connoisseur, then please read on.

Modern Filipino: Wood and concrete create a sleek, polished and sexy atmosphere
Modern Filipino: Wood and concrete create a sleek, polished and sexy atmosphere

First, I have to say that I loved the vibe. In fact, finding Toyo Eatery was an experience in itself. From Chino Roces Ave, one is supposed to look for a “security gate beside a BDO branch” that leads you to a large compound. Ask the guard on duty and he will direct you to a row of up and coming creative concepts in a chic urban space named The Alley.

It kind of gives you the feeling like you stumbled upon a place where all the cool kids hang out.

And whether you go for the a la carte (only eight options) or the tasting menu, one must leave all pre-conceived ideas at the door and just expect the unexpected, because whatever the words “Local”, “Toyo” or “Eatery” means to you are completely re-imagined.

Fresh Aklan oysters with cucumbers and lime vinaigrette
Fresh Aklan oysters with cucumbers in a lime vinaigrette
Garden Vegetables: A masterful interpretation of all 18 vegetables mentioned in Bahay Kubo, the famous Filipino children's nursery rhyme
Garden Vegetables: A masterful interpretation of all 18 vegetables mentioned in Bahay Kubo, the famous Filipino children’s nursery rhyme
Burnt Kalabaza soup with sea urchin and orange kamote - just a tad too sweet for my taste but delicious nonetheless
Burnt Kalabaza soup with sea urchin and orange kamote – just a tad too sweet for my taste but delicious nonetheless
What Filipino restaurant doesn't have squid?:)
What Filipino restaurant doesn’t have squid?:)
My healthy choice: grilled loin and belly of Bangus. I'm happy I chose this over the three cut BBQ which I also got to try. Both are good but I just feel that in terms of flavour, this one is more special.
My healthy choice: grilled loin and belly of Bangus. I’m happy I chose this over the three cut BBQ which I also got to try. Both are good but in terms of flavour, I think this one is more special.
The winner: Toyo Eatery Silog. Sticky rice, free-range egg, Chicharon and dried tuna roe. Superb!
The winner: Toyo Eatery Silog. Sticky rice, free-range egg, Chicharon and dried tuna roe. Superb!

It’s exciting that our country’s chefs are becoming more confident and are shaking things up in the local food scene. As a restaurateur myself (Your Local in Legaspi Village), I have great respect for the hard work and dedication that passionate chefs put into creating dishes for the pure delight of their customers, so I really salute Chef Jordy Navarra’s fearless homage to Filipino flavours, traditions and design.

Dessert was a torched cassava cake which was a bit dry. But since they added a special birthday greeting, I think I can let it slide :)
Dessert was a torched cassava cake which was a bit dry. But since they added a special birthday greeting, I didn’t mind. Haha! 🙂

If I have one serious complaint however, it’s that their mocktails are priced astronomically high. Php 450 for a glass which I felt was over priced considering there was zero alcohol in it. But at least it was tasty 🙂

Post meal madness: a beautiful mess
Post meal madness: a beautiful mess
My girls and I abusing good lighting
My girls and I abusing good lighting
The May babies :)
The May babies 🙂

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and if you haven’t been yet, do make your way there soon, because this is exactly the kind of establishment we should all be supporting:

Homegrown. Delicious. Ingenious.

Love,

Celine

Toyo Eatery, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Ave., Makati, Metro Manila

0917 720 8630

You can follow them on Facebook: Toyo Eatery and on Instagram: @toyoeatery for updates