Wednesday, November 25, 2009

shoes and mussels -- it's a classic combo, no?

I promised to tell you about our Saturday night at The Twisted Fork on Granville Street in Vancouver (after pelting rain cancelled our Friday night plans). The day started with a great run, Pater off in one direction, me in another, followed by breakfast at our favourite crêperie -- two number 5s on buckwheat, coffees with cream, right? (I love being a regular, not needing the menus). Next we picked up our daughter and granddaughter and drove out to my mom's place where we visited and made her lunch. After all that, back at the apartment I took a brief nap before heading out to shop a bit -- I've lost one of my red leather gloves and was hoping I'd find the right colour replacement (no luck!) and I was also determined to get some plain black shiny rubber boots, clean-lined, slim to the knee. Those I got, at Browns Shoes, and I couldn't resist adding these holiday-sparkly flats to my purchase. Aren't they just what La Duchesse ordered?

Anyway, my shopping done and no rain on the horizon, my growling tummy prompted me to call Pater and get him to meet me at the previous night's rendez-vous. The Twisted Fork fits unobtrusively into the seediness of the street, a street, I should add, that seems to be moving back to its once-upon-a-time status as Theatre Row, the place to be on a weekend -- the XXX-rated video shops and the grill-fronted cheap hotels are being replaced, and while it's sad that some trees had to come down for the new rapid transit line out to the airport, the wide-open boulevard now being gentrified has an optimistic, expansive air. Still, there's no denying that the sidewalk's not a pretty one and from the outside, you might not think The Twisted Fork worth a visit. But if you trust me and head inside, you'll find a welcome that's both warm and casual. By 6 last Saturday, it was already filling up, but we had our choice of a few tables. The rich warm colours of the walls were a welcome contrast to the grey outside, and we quickly settled in. Despite the many temptations on the menu -- duch confit, always hard for Pater to resist, some braised lamb shanks, beet salad -- we both decided on mussels and fries.
The wine list is simple to choose from -- there are four categories: two reds, two whites, about 6 choices of $38 wines and the same of $50 (does that make sense? Red $38, Red $50, White $38, White $50 -- four categories). Our very charming French server recommended two of her favourites, both BC wines (most, if not all, the choices are BC wines, good BC wines, and if you haven't yet tried these, don't be so sure the term's an oxymoron) -- and we picked the Kettle Valley Old Main Red, one of the $50s. We weren't disappointed. Others might prefer a white with the mussels, but on damp, cold nights, red's the wine for me!
The mussels were plump and juicy; the cream sauce studded with green onions was perfect with the fresh bread served alongside; and the fries, a mix of potatoes, parsnips, and yams were savoury, crispy, salty -- just enough different from the classic moules frites to be interesting, not enough to mess with the success of that classic pairing.
Of course, we'd saved room for dessert by passing on appetizers -- we've been here once before so we knew about their brilliant pastry chef. If you go, you must, absolutely must, have the lemon tart which is served with a small scoop of sour cream ice cream wedged into a strip of candied peel. That's what Pater had, and luckily he let me have a bite (or two). I had poached pears and figs served with mascarpone cheese whipped into a delicious lightness.
By now, the place was so busy that several parties were waiting in the doorway not far from our table. It hasn't been open that long -- less than a year? -- but obviously the word's out. With prices this reasonable, service this friendly and competent, an ambience so casually charming, and food this good, we'll probably make this a regular haunt. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

8 comments:

  1. Sounds fabulous! I'm always up for good moules. I'm with you on the red wine too.

    Love those shoes! Just the right amount of dazzle for the holidays.

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  2. It does sound delicious, I would have to have gone for the confit though. London tends to be over run by 'chain' restaurants or quite expensive bistro's. It is so very rare to guarantee such a delicious meal especially with good puddings.

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  3. You know, I always find something I like in all your posts, but these Weekend in the City ones are so wonderful. They give me hope for a time when the kids will be out of the house and we can REALLY enjoy life again - sorry to sound so depressive, but we are in the midst of much teenage Sturm und Drang here!! Patricia

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  4. OH it sounds wonderful and delicious. I had mussels for lunch on Monday when we stopped at our favorite little French bistro after a drive from Boston and before a grocery shopping extravaganza to stock up the pantry upon our return home.

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  5. Yum, love your flats, love moules, love frites and wine. Notice when we have moules at home the mood always lifts to party atmosphere- what IS it? We are too lazy to make frites at home so we sub in Miss Vickie's chips, and a green salad to salve the conscience.

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  6. Adorable shoes. And I'd love some mussels, now that you mention it, maybe in a saffron broth?

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  7. I am drooling, and I shouldn't be particularly as my fridge is stuffed with Thanksgiving leftovers. But YUM!!!! Sour cream ice cream? Never heard of it, yet it sounds the most delicious ice cream invented!

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  8. Thanks, Pseu: The shoes are both festive and comfy -- a great combination!
    IndieAl: We got sucked in by a few of the chains when we were in London 'til we figured out what was what --- had some great meals there though (many of them Indian!)
    Patricia: At a meeting I was at yesterday morning, someone came in late, grumbling "Teenagers" and I remembered why I'm so glad those days are behind me -- you will survive!
    Mardel: Don't you love those "favourite little" places!!
    Duchesse: Mrs. Vickie's! -- what a great sub-in! They really are the best potato chips.
    LPC: I love mussels in saffron broth as well -- fennel might be my favourite, with some Pernod in the broth to make the point even clearer . . .
    Angie: It was really good! They make all their ice creams in-house, and they've got some fun, delicious, flavours.

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