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Are you looking for gift ideas for your dearest? Or dining options on this special day? Here are some ideas:

Dining

  • Atlas Steak + Fish – $75 or $95 per person for a 4-course dinner
  • Au Comptoir – $80 per person for a 4-course dinner
  • Bacchus Restaurant – $130 per person for a 5-course dinner
  • Boathouse Restaurant – $49 or $59 per person for a 3-course dinner
  • Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar – $110 per person a 5-course dinner
  • Cardero’sA la carte menu
  • Chop Restaurant – $49 per person for a 3-course dinner, Feb 9-14
  • CIBO Trattoria – $68 per person for a 4-course dinner, including Albacore Tuna or Smoked & Slow-Roasted Pork Belly, Heart-Shaped Ravioli for Two, Butter-Poached Black Cod, Pan-Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Tiramisu and Blackberry White Chocolate Semifreddo
  • Federico’s – $100 per person for a 4-course dinner, with live music and dancing

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[Editor’s Note: The giveaway is now closed.]

I was quite excited when Mon Paris opened up in Burnaby. I was following them on Instagram and the cakes were just beautiful! I also love that it’s near the Metrotown Skytrain station, which means easy access from Coquitlam or downtown.

I took my mom there, who also loves some good pastries. We had the Passionata (left), Opera (right), and a Canele (back in the pic) over Espresso and Americano. I really liked the tartness of passion fruit and mango pieces in the Passionata; the Canele had a crispy, caramelized exterior and soft centre; and the Opera was rich and decadent. We were there for an afternoon pick-me-up and it just hit the spot!

Mon Paris Burnaby

Giveaway

Continuing with our #vanfoodiesturn8 celebration, now is your chance to try some goodies from Mon Paris. (more…)

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Taste of Yaletown is back! For the 12th year, 31 restaurants in the Yaletown area are each offering a special menu at $25, $35 or $45. Running from Oct 13 to Oct 27, this event has a “Sharing and Pairing” theme this year. Some menus are created grazing, share-plate style, allowing diners to to share with each other while pairing the food with wine, beer or a cocktail; and with smaller portions it would allow diners to even plan a restaurant hopping experience around the neighbourhood.

As part of the media preview, a number of us were whisked away to one of the participating restaurants. I was lucky enough to sample the menu at Provence Marinaside. It’s been awhile since I last ate there, so I’m glad to go back for a re-visit.

Food

Provence’s Taste of Yaletown menu is $45. To start, you would receive a Provence Tasting Plate. It includes 1) Tomato and Bocconcini Salad; 2) Rustic Country Style Pate; and 3) House Smoked Ruby Red Trout. You can’t go wrong with the classic tomato and bocconcini combination, and the basil added a herbaceous note. The pate was rich and flavourful; the meat had a nice, chunky texture. My favourite, and it’s a close call, was the smoked trout. It was flaky, lightly smoked, and for me it wasn’t fishy at all. I may have a favourite, but honestly I would eat any of the three appies again. And the good news is, you get all three!

Provence Tasting Plate

For entree, you have three options. We were able to try all three – but the pictures below are not actual portion size so I’ll try to help you visualize the actual portion as best as I can.

The Dijon and Fresh Herb Crusted Lois Lake Steelhead had a nice crispy skin, and the meat was moist and flaky. I personally found the dijon mustard to be a bit overpowering. The beurre blanc was creamy, perfect pairing for the salmon; the warm potato salad was pleasant on the eyes, and on the palate. The actual portion should be about two pieces of salmon on our tasting plate.

Dijon and Fresh Herb Crusted Lois Lake Steelhead

The second option is the West Coast Bouillabaisse. (more…)

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Happy Pi Day, everyone! Today some Asian countries also celebrate White Valentine’s Day, so I want to take this opportunity to share the recipe of the pie pops I made for Mr. this Valentine’s Day. The filling is fig preserves with Nutella. I really like the combination of fig and hazelnut and chocolate, and the flavours turned out very well. Just have to watch the ratio of fig preserves to Nutella – fig flavour is a bit on the subtle side so Nutella could be overpowering if there’s too much of it.

Nutella & Fig Jam Pie Pops

Pie Crust Recipe

  • Make one portion of my simple pie crust recipe
  • You can make the dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. Just make sure to let it rest in room temperature for a bit so it’s soft enough to roll. Otherwise, the pie dough would be too cold to roll and the dough will crack.

Fig & Nutella Pie Pop Recipe

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Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with the gifting of cards, flowers and chocolates. This year’s Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Are you still looking for gift ideas? You don’t have to break the bank to impress your valentine – check out the following chocolatiers and patisseries. They offer some beautifully crafted, delicious treats that I would be excited to receive this Valentine’s Day:

Bon Macaron Patisserie

Their 2016 Valentine’s Collection consists of 5 specialty flavours with unique designs. They are available in a beautiful gift box that fits not only all five specialty macarons, but also two extra macarons in your choice of flavours.

Bon Macaron Valentines Day 2016 Collection

Bon Macaron Valentines Day 2016 Collection

The five specialty macarons are:

  • Cinnamon Heart – A white macaron decorated with tiny candy hearts.
  • Kir Royal – A deep pink macaron flecked with gold.
  • Mon Cheri (Chocolate and Cherry) – An adorable macaron based on the “heart eyes” emoji.
  • Rose – A bright red macaron sculpted to look like a rose.
  • Passion Fruit – Mini-macarons in the shape of hearts, X’s and O’s

On a regular basis, Bon Macaron produces some really interesting flavours, including Curry Mango Chutney, Goat Cheese & Fig, and White Truffle & Sea Salt. I’ve tried these flavours and thought they were quite spot on. Depending on your taste buds, you may taste the sweet first, or if you’re like me, I tasted the savoury flavours first. Either way, they were interesting, intriguing, and inspiring.

Bon Macaron Patisserie (3 locations)
2823 West Broadway, Vancouver
545-1689 Johnston Street, Vancouver (Granville Island)
1012 Broad Street, Victoria
www.bonmacaronpatisserie.com

Cartems Donuterie

You remember how much I enjoyed Cartems’ Christmas donut flavours. For Valentine’s Day, they have 4 special offerings:
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We were invited to go on a tour to check out the various Donnelly Group properties and their Dine Out Vancouver menu. Executive Chef Alvin Pillay has recently returned to the company group, and he’s quite proud of the menus that he’s put together. Ten of the Donnelly Group properties are offering similar items. Specifically, there are 6 core items that can be found at all these locations, which we tried on this tour, along with their respective beverage pairing. Each Donnelly Group location also offers an additional entree option on their Dine Out menu.

Food

Our first stop was at The New Oxford, where we tried the two appetizers.

The Curried Parsnip Soup could definitely warm you up on a chilly winter day. The curry spices really came through; I could taste a lot of ginger. Soup was creamy, and the roasted apple offered some texture in contrast. Suggested wine pairing is the Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris. The apple note in the white wine was a great match with the soup.

Curried Parsnip Soup

The Winter Salad sounded and seemed simple, but there’s an interesting depth to it. The buttermilk sumac dressing brought tartness and spice, black sesame added some nutty flavours, and the Moroccan pita bread gave it some crunch. The 50th Parallel Riesling isn’t as sweet as a typical Riesling, which worked well with this light salad.

Winter Salad

Next, on a trolley, we were taken to The Blackbird Public House, right upstairs from Royal Dinette.

Bar at Blackbird

The first of the two core entrees was the Bangers & Mash.
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When Bryan (the “beer guy”) isn’t writing about beer I put him to work as my camera man – so he and I were proud and honoured to represent VanFoodies at the 11th Annual ChefmeetsBCGrape while our fearless leader, Joyce, had other work commitments. The ChefmeetsBCGrape Signature Tasting is a fundraiser for the Arts Club Theatre to support the local theatre arts while showcasing BC food paired with BC VQA Wine.

Very “handy” third hand provided at the event

Very “handy” third hand provided at the event

The event started off with a bang with my favourite dessert of the evening (and, needless to say, favourite dish overall):

Chocolate gianduja pate with sour cherry compote

Chocolate gianduja pate with sour cherry compote, lychee foam and toffee brittle paired with Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2014 presented by P2B Bistro & Bar

I’ve never had chocolate in a pate form before but let me tell you, it was smooth, creamy, not too sweet, and went beautifully with the toffee brittle crunch. The lychee foam and sour cherry compote disappeared behind the richness of the chocolate but gave it an interesting look with the white bubbles and pop of red colour. I found the white wine pairing quite surprising and would have preferred something equally as rich to balance with the chocolate/toffee flavours such as a Cabernet Sauvignon – the Pinot Gris was washed out by this delicious and delightful treat.

Now being Aussie I am a lamb fan (it’s a national Aussie meat) but I don’t find many Canadians who enjoy it. However, on this night, I only heard positive feedback from everyone I spoke to regarding this dish:

Sous-vide lamb sirloin slider

Sous-vide lamb sirloin slider, grey baby cheese, smoked tomato relish and beet chip paired with Upper Bench Winery Estate Grown Merlot 2012 presented by Provence Marinaside

The combination of flavours was well balanced with an equally balanced wine that paired very well with the strong flavours of the meat and cheese. (more…)

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