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Believe it or not, to this day I still haven’t been to Vij’s. Yes, I know. The closest thing was Vij’s Railway Express, the food truck. So when My Shanti was opened last year in South Surrey, it presented the perfect opportunity for me to get one step closer to Vij’s. We invited WK and MS to join us on a double date.

Dinner at My Shanti

Food

Going to an Indian restaurant, it’s hard for Mr. to not order a Mango Lassi. So he did. It’s relatively light for a mango lassi, not overwhelmingly thick. There were lots of acidity from the yogurt but just a hint of sweetness from the mango puree. It tasted natural and Mr. liked it.

Mango Lassi

I ordered the Shaam Masti, a very fruit-forward cocktail. It reminded me of a mojito, refreshing but a bit more tart from the use of citrus juice and blueberry jam. I quite enjoyed it.

Shaam Masti

We shared a couple of appetizers to start. First, Chhatra Sagar’s Wild Boar Kebabs were nicely charred, well seasoned with a good mix of herbs and spices. To WK and MS it was a bit dry, but knowing that wild boar is leaner than pork I thought they were tasty with just the right amount of juiciness. The accompanying chutney offered some sweetness and tartness that worked well with the sausage-like kebabs.

Chhatra Sagar’s wild boar kebabs

We’ve had pakoras before, but never oyster ones. Here the Goan Oyster Pakoras were an excellent deal!
Continue Reading »

Back in August, Mahony & Sons celebrated the opening of its 3rd location at Stamps Landing, where Monk McQueen used to be. It’s such a beautiful location with fixture imported from Ireland and a gorgeous view of False Creek. When Dine Out kicked off, my girlfriends and I decided to have our next dinner together there.

Mahony & Sons Stamps Landing

Food

Before we placed our food order, I got myself an Irish Rose. I completely forgot that I had it at the opening party until I saw the picture just now, but the description on the menu was just so appealing that I had to get one. It is actually really similar to a mojito, but it uses gin with a mix of lemonade. It was refreshing and fruity. Good girly drink, even better in the summer!

Irish Rose

Its Dine Out menu is only $18, serving some of its popular dishes. To start, we all ordered the Pacific Chowder. I had it at the opening party and really liked it, and this was no difference. It was rich and creamy, and was in no shortage of seafood. Every spoonful there were chunks of salmon and cod. You can tell they used some big prawns, and they were really good. Meat was still crunchy — I just wish they put in more of them. Fennel flavour was a bit subtle but overall a very good chowder.

Pacific Chowder

Then, I had the Mahi Mahi Taco. I was expecting a couple of small tacos, but arriving at our table was a cone-shaped tortilla wrap. Continue Reading »

During Dine Out time, there are a number of culinary events happening in the same two-week period, including the Brunch Crawl series put on by Vancouver Foodster. It’s similar to his series of Tasting Plates, except it happens on a weekend morning, perfect timing for brunch.

We were invited to check out the Kitsilano edition this past weekend. In 4 hours, we visited 6 restaurants in the neighbourhood:

  • Darby’s Public House
  • Krokodile Pear
  • Linh Cafe
  • Momento Coffee
  • Novo Pizzeria
  • Rain or Shine Ice Cream

Food

The event started at Novo Pizzeria where we were served a trio including Arugula and Blood Orange Salad, Novo Breakfast Pizza & a Sicilian Canoli. Pizzas at Novo have always been great – this one was no exception, especially with the use of a sous vide quail egg on each slice. The canoli was light and flaky, with nutty flavour from the pistachios and citrus fragrant note from the orange blossom water and citrus essence.

Novo Breakfast Pizza, Arugula & Blood Orange Salad and Canoli

Next, we beat the football fans and made our way to Darby’s Public House, a popular pub in the neighbourhood. They served a generous portion of their brunch items: Half an Eggs Benedict, Hangover Hash and Mini Huevos Rancheros. The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, with runny yolks bringing everything together. Although I’m not particularly interested in Mexican food, I found myself enjoying the Huevos Rancheros with the subtle heat in the jalapeno ginger sauce. A fried egg would have worked well but poached egg was just fine.

Eggs Benedict, Hangover Hash & Huevos Rancheros

Then, a coffee stop at Momento Coffee. Continue Reading »

Perhaps with the exception of downtown Vancouver and some Richmond hotels, hotel dining doesn’t usually have a good reputation. That doesn’t stop me from being curious and wanting to try. So when the Executive Hotel in Coquitlam got a new restaurant, the Wild Fig, and was offering a coupon deal, CC and I gave it a try.

Food

Our coupon covered 1 appetizer, 2 entrees and 1 dessert. They actually have many appetizer options and some interesting ones so we couldn’t really decide on just one. With extra charge we ordered two appies instead. The Charcuterie Plate had a good combination of cured meat, including cold smoked chuck flat, pork loin, salami and sausage, with Little Qualicum cheese. Overall we were quite happy with this; the cured meat had good texture (some drier, some more moist) and a mix of flavours (smokiness and spices), but some could be borderline salty for my liking. My favourite was the cured pork loin. What also caught our attention on this plate was the Brie & Fig Chutney Pastry Rolls; you could order this as a separate item but it came with the charcuterie plate so bonus for us. It was freshly baked – warm (almost too hot to hold at the beginning), crispy on the outside and soft inside. I liked the sweet fig filling (I’m a sucker for anything fig too) but they could put more filling in the pastry.

Charcuterie plate

The Coconut Breaded Prawns had prominent Asian and tropical flavours. The prawns had a nice bite, a crunchy meat texture, although the breading was a bit too dark for my liking. It didn’t taste burnt, though. The menu said “horseradish marmalade” but I didn’t taste the pungent horseradish flavour; the sauce just reminded me of a house-made Thai chili sauce, more on the sweet and spicy note, which I thought worked well with the prawns and tasted quite good. Perhaps they just didn’t add enough horseradish in the marmalade.

Coconut bearded prawns

As for entree, I had the Zinfandel Lamb Shank. Huge portion! Continue Reading »

A girls’ night out brought me to Gyu-Kaku on Broadway. My friend JX is a huge fan of Japanese food so a dinner with her means discovery of a new Jap restaurant for me.

Gyu-Kaku serves an a la carte BBQ menu with a huge selection of meat and veggie dishes to choose from. In addition to grillable items, they also have appetizers as well as rice and noodles to wrap up your meal.

Food

Because we are big meat lovers, we mostly ordered meat dishes. But each portion is not too big so even for the three of us we were able to order a number of things to try:

  • Harami Skirt Steak
  • Premium & Regular Beef Tongue
  • Kalbi Beef Short Rib
  • Toro Beef
  • Sirloin
  • Pork Belly
  • Bacon Wrapped Scallops
  • Duck Breast

Kalbi Short Rib, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Harami Skirt SteakPremium Beef TongueRegular Beef Tongue

Pork BellyToro Beef, SirloinDuck Breast

The setup is quite similar to Korean BBQ, where there is a metal plate placed on top of a fire grill. The grilling plate has a diamond pattern, which allows some decent grill marks (if you are doing it properly!).

BBQ

Because the grill items are not marinated, they offer three kinds of dipping sauce at each table for your choosing, from sweet soy, to spicy, to ponzu. Continue Reading »

Happy New Year! Can’t believe it’s already January 6, but that also means Dine Out Vancouver is returning next week!

Did you know that in addition to dining at 277 participating restaurants for a prix fixe menu at $18, $28 or $38, you can also buy tickets to a variety of culinary events over the 17-day period?

Dine Out Van 2015

Dine Out Van 2015

Here are some that caught my eyes:

  • International Chef Exchange: You will feast on a delicious meal hosted by two vegetarian restaurants, Terre à Terre from Brighton, UK, and Vancouver’s The Parker.
  • Food-tography: A Culinary Photography Tour: On this culinary tour of Railtown, tour participants will eat and sip their way through three local eateries while getting tips and lessons from a seasoned photography pro.
  • Side Dishes – The Best of Hawksworth: Enjoy a three-course dinner prepared by Chef David Hawksworth and the team, with optional wine pairings to match.
  • Street Food City IV: For seven days (!!), gather and feast on delicious food prepared by more than 20 of Vancouver’s food truck vendors.
  • Feast on Film – Like Water for Chocolate: Guests will view the Mexican film Like Water for Chocolate, a film about the power of food and love, while enjoying a three-course meal, with VQA wine pairings, prepared by four emerging chefs from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.
  • Six Course Discourse: Join Follow Me Foodie’s Mijune Pak as she welcomes six Vancouver chefs, David Hawksworth, Pino Posteraro, Angus An, Robert Clark, Taryn Wa and Thomas Haas, to share what’s on their mind and their inspirations.
  • Brunch Crawl – West End: Visit 7+ restaurants throughout the West End neighbourhood as you taste all sorts of dishes in this brunch crawl. This is one of the six Brunch Crawls presented by Vancouver Foodster.

Menus for the prix fixe dinners will be available on January 7. Continue Reading »

As part of our review of The Dirty Apron Cookbook, we tried the recipe of the Dirty Apron Scones. I was very impressed by how easy the recipe was, and for making it for the first time, how great the scones turned out. Are you preparing a brunch on New Year’s Day? This will be a good recipe to prepare ahead of time and just finish it off in the morning after recovering from all the champagne and drinks!

Dirty Apron Scones

Although the recipe was easy to follow, we discovered a few things that we would suggest tweaking as you make your next batch of scones. We’ll note the suggestions at the end of the post. The recipe below is as found in the cookbook:

Basic Scone Mix

Recipe provided by David Robertson / The Dirty Apron Cooking School

Ingredients

  • 3-1/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup Unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Dirty Apron Scones

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Using your hands, a pastry blender or even two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
  3. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.

Dried Fruit Scones

Recipe provided by David Robertson / The Dirty Apron Cooking School Continue Reading »

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