The faces of Modern Chinese In Vancouver , Ann Luu meet Wild Rice Restaurant.
With a 1000 watt smile that lights any room she’s in, Ann Luu helps to wake up 10’s of thousands of British Columbians every weekday on CTV Morning Live. As the co-host and traffic specialist Ann keeps us informed and saves the morning commuters some headaches knowing ahead of time what traffic snafus to avoid. This is the public face of 2009’s TV Week “One of the Top 10 Beautiful People in BC”. The private side is a wife, a daughter, a sister and mother to two Boston Terriers. In fact one of Ann’s favourite ways to spend a Saturday is also one of my favourites, wake up, get coffee, walk the dogs, then back in pyjamas for second sleep and second breakfast! Ann Luu is a Hobbit! You heard it here first folks.
When she’s not on TV or enjoying that weekend second sleep Ann’s an adventurer and her 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats restaurant choice is a first time visit for me, or would have been if Phnom Penh wasn’t closed for the annual family vacation. Her second choice and one of my favourites is Wild Rice, which has been serving up modern Chinese Cuisine in Vancouver & now New Westminster for over 10 years.
Located at the gateway to Chinatown, 117 West Pender Street, we arrived at Wild Rice the minute the doors opened. We were the first diners of the night which was great for both Ann and I because we were headed out to Langley afterwards to enjoy the Fraser Valley Cork & Keg festival. The dining room at Wild Rice does not look like what you’d expect for a Chinese food restaurant, it’s sleek, sexy and modern and only because we arrived right when they opened it was empty. Every other time I’ve been the room is alive with energy and dinner conversation.
The room design is not the only thing that is sexy, the cocktails are damn fine too! I’m drinking a Red Velvet martini while Ann enjoys a gin concoction that gets a thumbs up.
The first of our plates arrive and its the perfect first bite, Shrimp Toast. If you’ve had Dim Sim before you’d be expecting square pieces of toast with large prawns on the toast. Chef Tod Bright’s version is finger food friendly with a sesame seed crust and a sweet chili lime dipping sauce. Finger licking good.
Arriving just as we finish the shrimp toast is a new item on the menu, Spicy Beans. Covered with caramelized onions, hoisin and sambal chili the sauce alone is worth ordering this dish. It’s the kind of dish you take your time enjoying. The crunch of the fresh beans, the rich flavour of the sauce all enjoyed one bean at a time. Sexy.
The heartiest dish we ordered was quite possibly my favourite. Who doesn’t love slow braised and pulled Pemberton Meadows beef served on shanghai noodles with sautéed snow peas and red peppers. Feast your eyes on Beef Shanghai Noodles.
Believe it or not we decide to order one more dish. This one I just couldn’t resist, lamb, curry and potstickers all together to make Curried Lamb Potstickers. Crunchy on the outside yet spicy and tender on the inside. Yummy or perhaps I should say Nomnomnom.
And with that dinner is done. Now it’s off to Langley with our friend Leeann Froese and Kristine Carrick to check out the Cork & Keg festival. I have proof that Ann Luu is not shy to chow down. Even after our dinner she still had room for down some fresh shucked Oysters with Leeann. I have a feeling Saturday might involve a Third Sleep!
All that is now left is for the Five Questions and Ann’s answers in her own words. I learned something new about Ann here.
#1 – If you could have any career you wanted other than what you are currently doing what would it be?
I make cards for fun – for birthdays, Christmas, etc (when I have time and remember to) and would love to do it for a living, but I’d have to sell them for an exorbitant amount because it takes me so long to make just one card!
#2 – Who’s the first person you call when you have good or bad news?
My husband. He’s the first to hear and know of anything that goes on in my world.
#3 – What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
16 year old Ann, the braces will come off, you will get more stylin’ glasses, and that perm won’t last forever. Life goes by so fast as you get older…savour all the free time you have now!
#4 – Have you had a light bulb moment in your life? What was it and what did it mean for you?
I don’t know when I had it, but after working 2 jobs, 7 days a week for a few years, I sat back and thought, this is crazy. I’m missing out on time with family and friends to pursue a career. So I had to realize that if it happens, it happens. Work to live, not live to work. It meant priorities changed – although I love my job and wouldn’t change it for the world, I also want to be apart of life and enjoy it with those most important to me. Stress level went way down after that!
#5 – Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry Ice Cream?
Chocolate for sure, but only if I HAD to choose one and there was a penalty if I wanted the others. If it’s a free for all, I’d take all three!
I can’t wait for my Christmas card, she’s better start working on it now.
Hey let’s have a contest! Here’s all you need to know on entering. Good luck.
Enter to win a 30 Days Of Ethnic Eats dining experience with Marc Smith on Oct 15th and a Patak’s product gift basket filled with all sorts of goodies from Patak’s Canada. You can enter every day and the contest ends on Oct 14th. How to enter: (1 entry)
- Like 30 Day Adventures & Patak’s Canada Facebook pages (* required)
- Answer the following question: (* required)
A big thanks to Patak’s for sponsoring the #30DaysOfEthnicEats series. One of my favourite Patak’s products is Mango Chicken cooking Sauce and here’s a super easy and tasty recipe for Mango Chicken using it. Click here to find out just how easy it is to Mix in a Little India in your life!