I felt a lot of pressure to eat well for my birthday this year.  Looking back I think that’s kind of  funny because as you can probably tell from my posts, I eat well almost every meal, but on my birthday I felt like people were expecting me to step it up a notch.  I have to admit that I, and those around me felt a bit of pressure in trying to organize meals that would live up to these expectations.

For my birthday dinner I picked one place, made a reservation in advance at another, only to end up at Maenam.  The food was fantastic as always because I was in a group I got to sample a nice array of dishes. None of the food photos from the meal turned out, but a list my favourites from the evening include pad thai, lemongrass mussels with lemongrass and thai basil and the dry curry with crispy ling cod.

For my birthday brunch, we decided to use a pre-bought brunch at Yew restaurant that we picked up on one of those Daily coupon sites.  Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Yew restaurant is a fantastic space and I’d heard their brunches were amazing.  I was so excited when I saw the 2  x 3 course brunches for $28 coupon that I bought 2 of them.

Brunch at Yew consists of a choice of starter, main and 3 choices of their dessert tapas.  It was tough to decide as so much on the menu looked good.  I did see a drink that caught my eye though and since it was my birthday I decided I needed to start it with some celebratory bubbly.

VAASTU SHASTRA – Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Lychee, Sparkling Wine
Sugared mini donuts with strawberry puree

This is when the meal started going a bit sideways.  We ate the warm donuts quickly because they were so good and then we waited for our 1st course to arrive.  We waited and waited and waited…  We waited for over 30 minutes and just as we were going to say something, without a word our server dropped another plate of donuts at our table.  Perhaps he forgot to put our order in?  Maybe he forgot we already got our donuts?  Well, the second plate was inhaled even quicker than the first.  And then we continued to wait.  Finally after 45 minutes, our 1st plates arrived.

Mountain berry tea smoked prawns with potatoes, celery and miso mayo
Calamari with lemon and capers and smoked paprika aioli

Although we waited such a long time for the food to come out, each of the 1st course dishes were absolutely delicious.  The prawns with the potatoes and celery were the perfect start to a summer’s brunch.  The calamari was fried perfectly, and the fried lemon a great surprise.

We waited another 15 minutes after devouring our 1st course and then flagged down our server down to ask why our meal was taking so long.  He mentioned that the kitchen was slammed as they were serving a table of 40 people in the restaurant as well.  Hmmmm, is that my problem?  Shouldn’t they have known this when they took my reservation a few days earlier?  I was getting a bit annoyed, but didn’t want to ruin my birthday brunch, so I sat patiently.  After another 10 minutes, the manager came by to apologize for our wait and to offer us another plate of donuts.  What was such a treat at the start of the meal, was starting to feel devalued with all it’s free offerings.  I declined as I really didn’t want to fill up on donuts before getting to the rest of my meal.  Finally after another 10 minutes we got our mains.

Westcoast Benedict – Dungeness Crab Cake, Wilted Spinach, Hollandaise

I’m a sucker for crab cake benny’s.  My favourite crab cake benny is the Jackson Square at Ouisi on Granville Street and unfortunately I compare every other to it.  I was excited when they took my order as I was asked if I wanted my eggs hard, medium or soft poached.  I ordered soft of course, but unfortunately I was served 1 soft and 1 hard.  Why ask if you’re not going to deliver?

Ben is always a sucker for corned beef hash.  I, on the other hand am not, so even though we usually share everything, I only ate a biteful of the hash but Ben thought it was delicious.

Lollipop – Caramelized Chocolate Truffle Lollipop, Crème Brûlée – Tahitian Vanilla, Pineapple Compote, Chocolate – crunchy bar, candied hazelnuts, ginger sugar 
Tart – Duck egg custart, Strawberries – Whipped White Chocolate Ganache, Coconut Meringues, Raspberry – Raspberry parfait, Lemon Crème, Hazelnut Crumble.

Dessert was the best part of the meal.  Although it looked like the kitchen was just pumping these little treats out assembly line style each bite-sized option seemed to have thought and care put into them.  My favourites were the lollipops and the strawberry with white chocolate ganache.

Although Yew had its challenges, I’m eager to go back to try out more of the menu and to see if we just visited on a bad day.  Lucky for me that have another coupon to use!

The real highlight of my birthday meals though was the spread my mom made for me for our Sunday family dinner.  When she asked what I was requesting for my birthday dinner, I said “CRAB!” as it’s simply one of the most delicious food on earth.  Boil, then eat.  No need to doctor it up, (although that’s good to).  When I showed up for dinner on Sunday, what I thought was just going to be a crab dinner turned into a “best of” dinner for me with all of my favourites.

My all-star dinner included steamed corn, boiled crab, chicken teriyaki wings, bbq beef ribs, cream korroke and cabbage salad. Thanks Mom!

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