There you have it, we’re nearly one third of the way through. One hundred blog posts in one hundred days, far more than one hundred dishes consumed, and a mere 265 days to go. This post is a milestone for me, and it’s hard to conceive of it already being here. I’ve thought long and hard about where I should go, and what I should eat.
Actually, I didn’t think long at all; I knew I wanted CAKE, and the rest just fell into place.
I decided to go with the Diplomat Bakery for dessert, and Gudrun for dinner (and yes, the decision was made in that order). I brought along two good pals, Heather and Dana, who’ve helped celebrate the good times with me over the last 3 months, and laughed me through the rougher ones.
They also love food, and I could have nothing less than enthusiastic eaters for this post. It is a centennial after all. No room for picky eaters here!
It’s almost too overwhelming to try and relate just how much I’ve learned over the past three months; I’ve received a daily education in cuisine, culture, Richmond’s neighbourhoods, and my own capabilities. My confidence nearly dissolved at certain points, but like a good pizza dough, it always bounced back. I’m more appreciative of the support I’ve received than I can possibly express, so I’ll just say thank you, thank you, thank you. I know I’ve got it in me to go another 265 rounds.
And now, to the main event.
I’d wandered past Gudrun many times this summer, and thought about what special occasion I could save it for; with 100 approaching, it seemed like the perfect time to finally go in. It’s set back from the sidewalk on Moncton Street, giving it a sort of secret garden-esque mystique. It is, as the cool kids say, a “hip establishment.”
In the front courtyard there’s a long outdoor table built around a tree, adding further to the sense of whimsy; it seems like the most ideal of spots to laze away a hot summer evening; I picture cold white wine, shared plates, and chirping crickets.
Inside, one big room holds the kitchen, bar, and tables; a chalkboard wall is dedicated to the day’s specials, and there’s paper copies of the food menu + wine/beer list brought to each table.
Our server was wonderful, and knew his stuff. We chose our food first, then asked for recommendations from the wine list. I started off with a glass of grassy Cassini Viognier, Dana had a St. Hubertus Chasselas, and Heather went for a Canoe North Bluff Red from Langley. The words wine and Langley had not previously hung out together in my head, but there you go – I continue to learn something new every day.
The menu at Gudrun is cheese and charcuterie-based, with a daily salad, soup, several sandwiches, and 2-3 hot plates each evening. We decided to sample a little bit of everything, and started with this cheese and charcuterie plate ($37):
As a lover of mixed and matched flavours, this plate was dreamy. It was served with slices of white and brown baguette, and we happily experimented with pairing the various goods while swaying to M. Ward and Neko Case.
Finnochiona + grainy mustard + cornichon? Don’t mind if I do. Bleu Benedictin + organic honeycomb? Yes, I would happily eat that every day until I die. The aged dutch goat cheese, Kaamps + anything on the plate? Yes, a perfect pairing. I could go on and on. We enjoyed this platter thoroughly, and it gave me a chance to nerd out with cheese talk, too.
Our second plate was the Dungeness Crab Cakes with Roasted Okanagan Pepper Aioli and Pea and Beet Salad ($14). Great news – these were the best crab cakes I’ve had in a LONG time. They were crispy on the outside, light on the inside, perfectly seasoned, and I’d have taken a jar of the aioli home if they’d offered.
The salad was also lovely, and it’s great to see fresh English peas being used. Our one complaint, however, was that the greens were a little too stalky and needed to be broken up more. No one needs a tree branch hanging out of their mouth while they’re chewing, especially if you happen to be on a first date.
Our third plate was the Slow-Braised Pork Shoulder with White Bean, Kale, and Bacon ($16). And with that, Autumn arrived. This dish signalled it’s time to unearth the cable-knit sweaters and plug in your slow-cooker.
The portion was generous, and while the chunk of pork shoulder wasn’t exactly fork tender, when broken up and mixed with the stew-like mixture of bacon, beans, and kale, we were all quite enamoured. Even the roasted carrots were something to be savoured. That was the thing about this meal – it wasn’t cheap, but for the most part there was thought put into each and every detail; it wasn’t all fancy talk on the blackboard and mediocre flavours on the plate. What was promised was delivered, and I really, really enjoyed it.
After our mains, it was time to unveil the cake I’d ordered from Diplomat Bakery. I’ve been hearing since June that this is the place to get cakes in Richmond, and had popped in a few times just to stare wide-eyed at the goods.
They have a bright, spacious shop on London Road, and offer a few lunch items like soup and pot pies. Those undoubtedly have to be followed up by a slice of cake, cinnamon bun, cookie, or other treat, however, as that’s what they’re known for.
I ordered the 7-inch Espresso Chocolate Fudge Cake for $35. It consisted of layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse, with dark chocolate ganache running through the centre and covering the outside. It’s not a cake to be messed with. Nor am I, apparently, seeing as I accidentally punched it while taking it out of the box.
It was REALLY good, and trust me, I’m one very judgemental cake eater. The cake layers were moist and fudgy, and the lighter mousse and heavier ganache balanced out nicely. And yes, we did eat it in combination with the sticky toffee pudding Gudrun had on special that night.
If the white bean stew had led me gently towards fall, this dessert grabbed me by the shoulders, slammed me into a chair by the fire, and insisted I wear nothing but woolly socks for the next 6 months. TALK ABOUT COLD WEATHER COMFORT FOOD. This modest-looking pudding was transcendently good.
It was a fantastic evening – all I could have asked for in a 100th meal and more. With cake in my belly and wine in my head, I felt (and still feel) ready to forge ahead. There are so many restaurants to be explored, so many dishes yet to try, so many people yet to meet! And of course, so many different weights to be lifted at The Oval.
Guess what – I wasn’t the only person eating copious amounts of dessert in honour of one hundred posts. Here are some celebratory photos sent from Lethbridge, Australia, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Regina, Chicago, Vancouver, Mexico, and Colombia. Can you see why I adore my friends? Thanks for celebrating with me guys, I love you!
Thanks again to everyone for sticking with me so far. Now I’d better be off to find my 101st meal…..
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available
Cash and cards accepted