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Archive for the ‘Culinary Events’ Category

Where have you booked for Dine Out this year? If you are still deciding, I’m going to start sharing my experiences, whether it’s an invited dinner or out of my own pocket. I was invited as a media to preview the menu at PiDGiN. Their food is a fusion of Asian and French cuisines, and they decorate the interior by rotating artworks by local artists.

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They have designed their $45 DOVF menu to be as close to their regular prix fixe menu as possible, which is a 6-course menu shared family style for a minimum of 2 people. You have the option of an omnivore menu, or a vegetarian one. You can also order drink pairing for an additional $40-50 per person. The Dine Out website didn’t include the vegetarian menu, so I suggest you to visit PiDGiN’s website for the menus, and I’m posting them here as well. Note that the following plates are all meant to be shared by 2 people – they will adjust the portion based on party size.

Food

In addition to the 6-course menu, you can also order snacks a la carte. The Beef Tendon Chicharron was addictive. It’s crispy, and it wasn’t greasy. There was just enough seasoning, and the gochugaru citrus spice reminded me of sour plum flavour, with the tiniest hint of heat.

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They use different vegetables to make their Daily Pickles. On this day, it was cucumber, ume-infused daikon and shitake mushrooms. They were just slightly pickled, so they weren’t overly briny or vinegary.

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Dine Out Vancouver is back! Running from January 17 to February 2, the prix fixe portion of this year’s program is the same as last year, with 4 price points at $15, $25, $35 and $45. There are also lunch options, usually at a cheaper price than dinner. Menu may not be the same as dinner, though, so the value for money is a bit debatable.

The menus are now live and reservations are open. As I was going through the menus, I noticed a lot of new restaurants, ones that I’ve never heard of before. There’s been a lot of openings and closures last year so it makes sense – but it’s also nice to know it’s not the same old list. Here are some suggestions, based on past experience (Dine Out or not) as well as menu attractiveness (e.g. value for the money, choice of ingredients, creativity in the menu, enough options for two people, etc.). Now keep in mind I curated the list based on my preference (as you know, I’m a meat lover and I’m biased against chicken and salmon), my way of thinking, so it may not all suit your taste. But hopefully this gives you a place to start.

I’ve included links to the menu to make it easier for you.

$15 Suggestions

Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Fries, Popina

$25 Suggestions

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I cannot believe Christmas is only a couple weeks away! I, for one, was shocked by how quickly the year flew by and was not prepared for Christmas at all. Luckily, many Christmas festivities have popped up across Lower Mainland to help getting into a festive mood.

Of course, the iconic Vancouver Christmas Market has returned for its 10th year. I still remember when it was back at Queen Elizabeth Plaza and how much it’s grown since. Same as the last few years, the Christmas Market can be found at the Jack Poole Plaza. I was invited to its media event and have returned a couple of times since. Here are some food and shopping suggestions for you.

Food

Obviously there are some must-haves at the Christmas Market but they have new vendors this year too. Here are some highlights.

Mulled Wine

You can’t go to the Christmas Market without a cup of mulled wine (Gluhwein) to warm your cockles.

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There’s a new food event in Vancouver that introduces us to some hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems in Railtown, while supporting a local charity. Running from November 1 to 30, Dine Railtown features nine restaurants in the Railtown neighbourhood, of which proceeds from the sale of their signature dish will be donated to support programming at the Powell Street Getaway, one of 42 sites operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

The nine restaurants include Ask For Luigi (love their pasta!), The Belgard Kitchen, Cuchillo, LanaLou’s Restaurant, The Mackenzie Room (one of my all-time faves!), Pallet Coffee Roaster, Railtown Cafe, St. Lawrence (maple syrup chicharon, hello?) and The Uncommon Cafe. I was invited to a media tour to visit 3 of the participating restaurants.

First up, the brand new Pallet Coffee Roaster. Opening its doors on November 4, this location is the new HQ of Pallet.

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This year, Vancouver International Wine Festival features the wine region of California. It’s impressive that the state of California alone can be the featured region. Why? California produces more than 81% of all U.S. wines – and if California were a country, it would be the fourth leading wine-producing nation in the world, only behind France, Italy and Spain. There are close to 560,000 acres of vineyards in California, with more than 65,000 registered California wine labels.

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Similar to last year, instead of aimlessly drinking my way around the big tasting room, I focused on one type of wine. Since I’m not a huge chardonnay drinker, and I like Zinfandel in general, I picked out the California Zinfandel to taste.

 

California Zinfandel

One of the bolder varietals, Zinfandel teases our palate in a wide range of notes, from raspberry to black pepper, to cloves and licorice. Being one of the oldest and most revered vines, Zinfandel is a signature grape in California.

Although it’s the same grape, depending on the region, the flavourful profile of Zinfandel can be very different. Some may be more jammy, more fruit-forward, while others bring out the pepper, anise and clove note.

Here is a list of Zinfandel I’ve tried at the tasting room. My favourites are the ones highlighted in orange. Overall, I gravitated towards the ones that were more fruit-forward, jammy and round in body. And 2016 seems to be a good year for me. Some was a bit harsh for my liking; perhaps some more aging would make it smoother.

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Even though the theme region for this year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival was California, there were many events featuring other wine-making countries/regions. Lucky for me I was able to attend the Gusto Latinoamericano wine lunch at Lift Bar Grill View. As you may have guessed already, this wine lunch highlighted wines from Argentina and Chile.

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Event guests were treated to a 3-course lunch here, along with wine pairing. But before that, there was the amuse Argentinean Prawn with Chimichurri. The prawn was sweet and plump, and the chimichurri brought bright acidity. It was paired with the Domaine Bousquet Organic Brut NV — a dry, crisp, easy-drinking bubbly with 25% pinot noir and 75% chardonnay.

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For our appetizer, it was a Chilled Seafood Salad, with a mix of wine braised octopus, mussels, clams and squid, along with some chorizo chips and warm garlic bread. (more…)

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The official Dine Out Vancouver may have ended on Sunday, but some restaurants have decided to offer the Dine Out menus just for a few more days.

Sandbar DOVF 2019 7 oz Prime New York Striploin

7 oz Prime New York Striploin at Sandbar Restaurant

Here are their respective extended end date and menu. The list is very short this year. I will keep updating the list if I hear more.

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