On The Apron, The Sister, Chocolate Cake, and Bears.

As you found out in yesterday’s post, I have a sister named Kate.  She’s 25 years-old, and she’s a wonder.  After working hard for two years as a kinesiologist and recreational therapist in Prince George, she’s heading to South America (by herself) for five weeks of travel, then starting the physiotherapy grad program at UBC.  Since travelling alone takes guts and the physio program is NOT easy to get into, I’m so proud of her I could just burst.  I’m also thrilled because she’ll be moving back to the lower mainland.  Richmond, I’m pleased to introduce to you to Katherine Claire Anderson, and Katherine Claire Anderson, I’m so happy for you to meet Richmond.  Look, you’re instantly friends with a whole city!

Kate and I haven’t lived in the same place for ages, but in the past few years we’ve travelled together, and spent three summers at a treeplanting camp.  We worked side by side in the kitchen and shared a tent, and for the most part got along just swell.  Occasionally she’d want to kill me for eating chocolate cake in our tent and leaving the sweet, sticky, bear-enticing leftovers next to our heads all night.  I was just too tired to go back to the kitchen!  Not that I would have used that argument had a bear broken in and gnawed on my arm.

Potential bear troubles behind us, I wanted to treat my sister to a nice meal before she left.  We chose The Apron, a restaurant in the Westin Hotel on Corvette Way, and a relatively short walk from the Aberdeen Skytrain station.  Located just off the main lobby, this space is naturally lit by two walls of windows, and has minimalist, green-accented décor.  Our server, Cynthia, was a gracious and unobtrusive host.

The Apron’s menu is short and to the point; they offer one soup, two salads, several appetizers, a choice of eight entrées (not vegetarian friendly, fyi), and dessert.  Kate and I had the Dungeness Crab Cake with Apple Celery Slaw, Marinated Beets, and Coriander Yogurt ($18); the Pan-Seared Sockeye Salmon with Organic Jade Bamboo Rice, Baby Spinach, and Sweet Coconut Curry Broth ($30); the Pan-Roasted Lamb Loin with Butternut Squash, Sautéed Lettuce, Fingerling Potatoes, Brown Butter, and Malt Vinaigrette ($32); and The Apron Chocolate Bar with Pistachio Ice Cream, Caramel, and Fresh Berries ($10).  To drink, I had a glass of their house white, a Sauvignon Blanc from Mission Hill ($8.50), and Kate tried the J. Lohr Cypress Cabernet Sauvignon ($11).  Full of ripe black cherry, this was our favourite of the two.

As a whole, the crab cake was good; I liked the slightly sour coriander yogurt – a welcome departure from crab cakes so often drenched in mayo – and the small, jewel-like beets.  The cake itself was a little crumbly and could have used more seasoning, but with the other elements it was still nice.

The salmon dish was fresh and amiable; the wild sockeye was a vibrant, blushing pink, the kind of natural colour that argues silently but fervently against the need for artificial dyes in any food.

It sat on a bed of buttery spinach, with a mixture of sautéed vegetables peeking out from the spiced coconut broth.  Altogether, a delight.

The lamb was good, though it’s generally tough to sell me on meat-dominated plates.

There was really nothing to complain about; the lamb was tender, the vegetables were cooked well (especially the potatoes – fingerlings are great), and I liked the fennel and nigella seed gratin on top of the sliced lamb.  It was good, but I wasn’t floored.  Maybe it was all just a bit too wintery at this time when I’m craving fresh summer vegetables, or maybe I just need to come around to lamb.  Whatever it was, I was just a bit bored.

Our dessert – a delicate slice of chocolate paté with a hazelnut praline base – was a smooth way to end the meal.

We followed THAT up with a container of dark chocolate Coconama truffles from La Chocolaterie.  Yes, I’ve been back!  Three times now.  I meant it when I said I’d try every flavour.

Overall, The Apron was a refined and relaxing place to have dinner.  While the food isn’t necessarily creative, it is classic, and for the most part, well done.

The most important thing was that Kate enjoyed her final Canadian dinner before delving into the cuisines of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.  I’m sure she’ll have many a story to tell from this adventure, and will quickly tire of my “but what was the FOOD like??” questioning upon her return.  I’m sure Richmond and the readers of this blog join me in saying Bon Voyage Katherine!  You’re a strong, confident, adventurous lady, and we can’t wait to see you in Richmond again soon.  Thanks to The Apron for a great goodbye.  And now, she’s up and away!

 

The Apron

3099 Corvette Way, Richmond BC

604-238-2105

 

 

 

15 Comments

  1. Asha

    best of luck on your adventures Kate!

    Lindsay, I had never heard of the Apron before. The food looks amazing and now I am craaaving fresh salmon. I also liked how early this post was up, I could read it while I drank my AM coffee :)

    Reply
  2. Mary

    What a wonderful tribute to your sister! Great food photos, Lindsay – you should make the best into a 2013 Calendar of Richmond 365 adventures….one more project for you!! All the best to Kate on her adventure and happy eating and creating to you, Lindsay.

    Reply
  3. Doug janzen

    I have visited the Apron a half dozen times but not since Chef Hamid Salimian left to become the exec chef at Diva at the Met, downtown. The food was always amazing and I assume that it still is as most of these dishes are the same as he prepared. I am confused by a number of your descriptives such as “nice” and “amiable” while reading that you were “bored” by cuisine that “isn’t necessarily creative”. These dishes were originated by one of the most creative chefs in the country and I believe you have done him and the Apron a grave injustice. Culinary Team Canada will be most unimpressed. I also have no idea why you brought up artificial dyes when clearly no such thing is used here but one is left with lingering thoughts because the topic was raised.

    Reply
    • MA

      She’s not criticizing the skills and merits of the chefs, but commenting on how the appearance, taste and general attributes of the dishes affected her personally.

      Also, if you read the line about the dye more carefully you’ll see that she’s actually praising them for NOT using artificial dyes.

      Reply
    • KimHo

      I think I understand why Lindsay chose those words/phrases to describe it: when a restaurant is set up in a hotel, you have to make it “safe”/suitable for everybody. Remember, a restaurant is in the business of making money and, in the case of a hotel, the patrons might come from everywhere in the world. That’s why it is not usually creative and, after visiting a handful of hotels, you start to get the feeling of it being similar. As for the Culinary Team, please notice it tends to be Haute Cuisine, not something that, for your Average Joe, something consumed on a regular basis and due to the complexity for such competitions, it might not necessarily translates into everyday hotel food.

      Despite all that, I do see they did take some care in preparing the food. For example, they could have easily put the salmon *in* the broth; however, that would have taken away the crispiness of the charred salmon skin.

      Oh, the comment on dyes might be related to the source of the salmon. Wild salmon has that orange colour due to its diet in the wild. However, for farmed salmon, since its diet is of a different type, it won’t result in that orange colouring we usually associate salmon with. As a result, in the feed for farmed salmon, pigments are added.

      Reply
      • Lindsay365

        Just to clarify my comment about the dye, it WAS meant to be complimentary, as MA pointed out. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough, however, so I’ll rephrase: to me, the salmon demonstrated that since such beautiful colours can already be found in nature, there’s no need for the use of artificial dyes used in so many of today’s processed foods. The salmon served at The Apron was clearly wild, and therefore appreciated.

        Reply
    • Winnie

      Now I am interested in visiting Diva at the Met. I went to the Apron when Chef Hamid Salimian was still the exec chef and was loving every dish I had there.

      Reply
  4. SC

    The plating is beautiful! I’m not sure I would necessarily call this food boring – not visually anyway. It is gorgeous work.

    Reply
  5. Tim

    I would have a hard time reviewing food every day…the problem would be that my standards would escalate with each new restaurant. It’d be interesting to see at the end of the year what kind of trend one can see through your reviews.

    Reply
  6. Otto

    Given that Kate (and Lindsay) seem to be the only ones in the restaurant maybe the is food ‘boring’. I agree that the plating at least looks interesting.

    What in the world are the sisters jumping on? As a father of two daughters it looks dangerous!

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      Fear not! It’s at the top of a mountain close to where we grew up. A small mountain, with a nice, flat, stable top.

      Reply
  7. Robert

    Safe travels, Kate. And don’t forget to take pictures of the food.

    Reply
  8. Lulu Lady

    Great post, as always, Lindsay.

    It is so nice to hear about your relationship with your sister. Your parents must be very proud of you both. I hope my two boys grow up to be good friends like you two & celebrate together with a delicious meal (what better way to celebrate but with food?!?)

    Best wishes in you travels Kate!

    Lindsay – are you going to go somewhere for breakfast in the future? Just wondering.

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      Yes! I have plans for that in the very near future, actually:)

      Reply
  9. Vanessa

    Safe and awesome travels Kate! Nice blog lindsay I enjoyed the pictures of the salmon dish…very creative

    Reply

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