Who Cut The Cake?

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Last Saturday, I tiptoed into the second half of my thirties with a wonderful dinner organized by my Dad’s youngest sister, Auntie Beth.  What I always look forward to on my birthday is sharing a fantastic meal with all the special people in my life that are in town. My Aunt made sure of that when she booked a table at Sandbar and invited my other Aunt, Auntie Aza, her husband, Uncle Gary, my sis, Paul, and, of course, the best grandmother in the world.  My Ama.  Look at her sitting in the middle.  Doesn’t she look great for someone turning 90 next year??  I sure hope I age as gracefully as she has.

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Sandbar is a popular seafood restaurant in Granville Island that’s been around for awhile.  I had never been myself but since I love seafood I was excited to try it. The dinner was also going to be my Auntie Beth’s third meal at Sandbar in two days so that was definitely a good sign!  To start, we had a pile of fresh oysters which was such a delight because I absolutely love fresh oysters.  We also ordered the Wild Mushroom Flatbread with caramelized onions, roasted garlic cream, Fior Di Latte, and truffle oil.  It was really good but, honestly, I was too preoccupied with the feast of fresh oysters in front of me!

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For my main dish, I had the Arctic Char, Ama (my grandma), Auntie Beth and Karla all had the Sablefish, and Paul had the Halibut, all from their fresh list. They were all served on a bed of coconut jasmine rice and a side of green beans and red peppers.  So simple, so fresh, perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked, we could not ask for more.

I was so happy to find a possible substitute for my old favourite fish haunt that I’ve sworn off forever. Remember my fish nightmare? Sandbar is vastly different because of it’s sheer size alone so sadly it doesn’t have the same cozy, neighbourhood feel.  The price point is also much higher.  However, the service is extremely friendly, attentive and professional.  That to me is absolutely worth the difference.

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To finish off the meal I had two birthday cakes!  What a treat for a girl that loves her sweets!  The first cake was the triple chocolate mousse from Sweet Obsession which is an all time favourite for me.  It’s not as good as my Mom’s, but it’s still incredibly decadent and rich!  The second was a wonderful find by Auntie Aza.  She discovered a German bakery called Brekka and she brought their signature cake called the Bienenstich. It was absolutely delicious!  It looks more like a giant pastry, filled with a nice light cream in the middle and a glorious sweet almond glaze on top.  Brekka has 3 locations and all are open 24/7!  I will definitely be making a visit one of these days.

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I forgot to mention that my cakes were brought out all sliced up.  One of the cakes clearly said, “Happy Birthday Tracey (my nickname)!”  So I’m not quite sure how they missed the fact that they were birthday cakes.  Normally blown by the birthday celebrant so that she can make a wish.  And then she makes the first slice… Did I mention my Aunts also asked for matches to light the candles?

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I did say the service was amazing and our waiter lived up to it.  He was hugely apologetic when he brought the cakes out and realized the mistake he had made.  He felt so awful about it that we gave him a slice of the triple chocolate mousse just to let him know we still appreciated his service.  He quickly came over to me after eating the cake, “Where is this cake from???  It’s like an ice cream and mousse had a baby and this is what came out!”  Yes!  That’s exactly what it’s like!

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Thank you, Auntie Beth, for the wonderful dinner!

Thank you, Auntie Aza, for the amazing cake! Thank you, Me (Karla) for flying all the way from Shanghai and surprising me!  I love my new Shokay sweater!

Thank you to my family and Paul for the wonderful cards and presents.

With all the tragedies going on in the world right now, I’m reminded again that I sure am a lucky girl.

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