Thursday, April 01, 2010

Wild Tangerine and a Date with Don Juan

Last night I had the pleasure of attending The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan at the Roxy Theatre  with Akemi, a good friend of mine.  The play was a fusion between artful puppetry and whimsical acting that produced an interesting and oddly comical representation of the world's greatest lover in Hell.  Of course, one cannot go to a play with an empty stomach, and after a glowing recommendation from my sister and fellow food adventurer, Akemi and I arrived at Edmonton's own Wild Tangerine for the first fusion experience of the evening.  

Opting for something a little more exciting that my usual glass of wine or cocktail with dinner, I ordered a Wild Vespa, a spirited (ha ha) mix of Campari, Gin, Passionfruit and mango juice.  A delectably bright and tangy mix in a sugar rimmed glass and a splash of lemon... I'll have a couple more of those I think!

After repeated suggestions from my sister, Akemi and I ordered the Shrimp Lollipops with Wasabi Yoghurt as one of two starters.  Normally this appetizer has three pops, but we were willingly pushed into adding one more to the order so that we would each have two to munch on.  This was a smart idea as we both could have eaten four each!  According to part-owner Wilson Wu, these lollipops are two time award winners and it's easy to understand why.  The most succulent and perfectly cooked shrimp are wrapped in crunchy ropes of the thinnest phyllo pastry.  Dipped into cool and creamy Wasabi Yoghurt with just a hint of tongue-tingling heat, these appetizers make for a fitting first course to an exceptional meal.

On a slightly more adventurous whim, we ordered the Grilled 5-Spice Octopus Salad with Spicy Tangerine Vinaigrette for our second appetizer.  Although I cannot say enough good about the Shrimp Lollipops, this appetizer undoubtedly stole the show for me.   This salad was, without doubt, the best I have ever had in a restaurant.  The octopus was tender and carried the smokey flavors of the grill throughout the entire plate.  The flavors of the 5-spice blend and tangerine vinaigrette combined for a perfectly balanced dressing atop a colorful mix of crisp vegetables and crunchy, julienned tarot root.  The only complaint I might have is that there was simply not enough, and oh that octopus, I wanted more!

One bite after another, this salad did not disappoint! 

Following yet another  recommendation from my sister (another home-run Tikina!) I ordered the 5-Peppercorn crusted Yellow-Fin Tuna with Organic Hemp Oil - Tomato Coulis.  The tuna was fresh and perfectly seared leaving the centre beautifully rare.  The 5-Peppercorn crust was light yet flavorful and complimented the subtle flavor of the fish.  The Hemp Oil - Tomato Coulis was yet another unique component of the evening's menu.  The delicate flavor of tomato mingled with the slightly heavier and distinct flavor of the Hemp Oil that, in any other dish, may not have worked.  With the Tuna however, the Hemp Oil was the perfect accompaniment. 

Akemi ordered the Thai Green Curry with Prawns and Tortiglioni, and as a serious curry lover, I was seriously impressed.  I am pretty confident that she liked it as well, almost every bite disappeared!  Again, a beautiful balanced dish with colorful vegetables, creamy curry, a whisper of heat and stunning, precise presentation!

Admittedly, I have a sweet tooth rivaled only by my husband's, and after a beautiful meal, the only way to end the night was with dessert.  There was really no debate for me, I perused the dessert menu, increasingly ravenous for the multitude of unique and exotic desserts listed on the orange pages of the clipboard menu.  Then I saw it, Tiramisu, and not just any tiramisu, something unique, gelatin free, with lightly sweetened mascarpone, cream cheese, and a tart drizzle of Barolo reduction.  After asking Wilson about his recommendations, he reported to us that his Italian suppliers commented that the Tiramisu was the best they had tasted outside of Italy.  Enough said.  I ordered, it came, we ate, and had I died at that very moment, I would have been happy and full.  

For all you Edmonton and area culinary adventurists, (is that even a word?) Wild Tangerine is a refreshingly unique and unapologetically whimsical hot spot of culinary structure and genius.  For those of you with fearless tastes but little time, there is also a selection of items on their Good Things to Go  menu that will keep you fed and satisfied within the comforts of home!  For the lunch-hour rush downtown, check out the Mobile Cuisine  kiosk located in Manulife Place!  Wild Tangerine, located at 10388-112 Street, is a tantalizing mix of asian fusion and artful presentation that's not to be missed!  

Wild Tangerine on Urbanspoon


lise said...

As usual your great photos and artful descriptions of sumptuous food has left my mouth watering and decided that we must put the wild tangerine on our "to eat list". no one inspires me to eat beautiful food and celebrate every delicious morsel, like you.

Scott said...

I don't know what captures me more; your exceptionally vivid photography or your articulation of sensory evoking culinary review... so I'm just gonna settle that debate with a huge BOTH!!!!

These photos I think have become my new all time faves!!!

Nikki said...

Ah shucks.... you two sure know how to make a girl blush! I seem to be so busy I can't even think straight lately, but there is always time for some good eats, and I will be eating at the Wild Tangerine again, and again! Thank you both for your kind and encouraging words, as always, it's always nice to have friends that appreciate and condone obsessions with say, food.... all the best!

Scott said...

I forgot to mention how much I love the new page look!!! It makes your images take on a life of their own!!!!

Carol said...

Fantastic pictures. Wild Tangerine is just around the corner and I still haven't made it there yet. Your post has pushed me over the edge and now I'll make sure to go soon.

Mike Rhode said...

Cool - I followed the link from Flickr. Amazing looking food. Today's NY Times has an article about the new food photo genre.

Little Buddha said...

I found your describing as inviting as your pictures. I think you have a great talent and I love reading you, I can actually hear your voice, haha. Anyway, I sound like everyone else in the comments, probably because it's true. You should consider publishing something! ;)