Archive for the ‘By Invitations’ Category

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.


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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As mentioned in my earlier post, we were invited to attend the private Amex Platinum Cardmember Dinner at Hawksworth Restaurant, joining roughly 60 Amex Platinum Cardmembers at the York Room.

champagne to greet each guest

#DineWithAmex at Hawksworth Restaurantwarm bread

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with a glass of champagne. Chef David Hawksworth made an appearance and walked us through the menu that was designed to celebrate the kickoff of the fall season. Each course was paired with wines provided by WineOnline.ca. Let me tempt you with some delicious photos!

Chef David Hawksworth made an appearance


Our dinner started with a Roasted Acorn Squash and Pear Salad. It’s finished with chèvre (goat cheese) and a walnut vinaigrette. What a perfect combination to represent the fall. Wine Pairing: Nicolas Maillart Rose Champagne.

roasted acorn squash and pear salad

Then our server brought over this plate of seared scallop with crispy cauliflower and capers. It was difficult to stop ourselves from digging into the perfectly seared scallop, but we had to wait till they poured the silky Cauliflower Veloute into the dish. The surprise was in the lemon supremes (the naked flesh of the lemon — no rind, pith, or seeds), as well as the fried capers; they helped cut through the richness in the creamy veloute. Wine Pairing: Vinos Sanz’s Sanz Rueda Clasico.

pouring the veloutecauliflower velouté

Next, the Duck Conft Raviolo was definitely encore-worthy!


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I have been invited to an Amex Platinum Cardmember Dinner at Hawksworth on September 30, a unique dining experience created as part of Amex’s Taste from Platinum Dining Program. We will be enjoying the first tastes of Fall in the luxurious private York Room, celebrating the fresh, seasonal local produce.

The Event

When: Tuesday, September 30, 6-9pm
Where: Hawksworth Restaurant, York Room, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Not only will this feature a specially crafted menu, but this will also include wine pairings. Maybe there will be a meet and greet with Chef David Hawksworth too!

Beautiful Pencil Drawing of Chef David

What is the Taste from Platinum Dining Program?

As an Amex Platinum Cardmember, you have access to exceptional travel, dining and entertainment benefits, and invitation to exclusive dinners. Through the Taste from Platinum Dining Program, Cardmembers get to enjoy a unique dining experience and perks at 65 of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country, plus hundreds around the world. (more…)

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As an attendee of the upcoming Food Bloggers of Canada conference I was invited to a Meet & Greet at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks (a venue which I should’ve visited/discovered a long time ago!) with Ruth Reichl as she goes on a North American book tour to promote her latest novel Delicious. I was excited to meet not only because she has been the Editor of Gourmet magazine for ten years, but also because she only just recently appeared on the Top Chef Canada finale.

Delicious and Gourmet Magazines

Ruth shared some behind-the-scene details of what happened on the show finale and what she thought of the three finalists. I thought Ruth could be intimidating (scarred by The Devil Wears Prada) but she was so down to earth, approachable and easy to chat with!

Me and Ruth Reichl

At the event we also got to meet fellow local bloggers whether they be recipe developers or restaurant reviewers like me. I look forward to connecting with them again soon.

Meet & Greet at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks

As parting gift (gifts actually) we each got a copy of Delicious, but we were also treated to a collection of Ruth’s favourite Gourmet magazine covers. (more…)

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Last week I was invited to go on a media preview tour for Made in Strathcona, a new initiative by the Strathcona Business Improvement Association to promote the area. On May 31 and June 7, public can purchase tickets to tour some of the businesses in the area in various disciplines, such as manufacturing, textile/fashion, culinary and woodwork.

Our tour consisted of four of the possible stops. First, we learned a lot about coffee roasting and tasting at the A.G.R.O Roasters. It was interesting to see the bean roaster on-site (they roast their beans in-house!!) but we didn’t get to see a demo. I never realized that light roast actually has more caffeine content than dark roast, even espresso beans. I do prefer the flavours of dark roast and espresso beans though so I wouldn’t switch to light roast for the caffeine.

A.G.R.O RoastersA.G.R.O Roasters

A.G.R.O Roasters

Then we checked out the facility of The Butler Did It Catering Co. The 12,000 sq ft space handles catering orders from 8 to thousands. Sustainability is important to the operation and they compost all kitchen waste, approximately 800-1,000lb per week. Every piece equipment is the mammoth size of what I have at home. The roaster, aka Big Red, can roast 60 prime ribs or 50 turkeys at once, and the 24,000W coffee machine can pump out 1,200 cups worth of coffee per hour!!

The Butler Did It Catering Co.The Butler Did It Catering Co.

The Butler Did It Catering Co.The Butler Did It Catering Co.

Next, we visited YEW Woodshop where 4 Emily Carr industrial designer graduates share a studio working on wood craft projects from scratch. (more…)

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A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to the Tasting Plates Gastown Edition. Gastown is a neighbourhood that intrigues me but I never spend enough time exploring. The event offered me an opportunity to re-visit some restaurants while discovering some new ones.

Instead of duplicating my Twitter coverage through the evening of the event, I have taken a different approach with this recap post. I’ve used Storify to build my story using pictures from the event along with additional comment at each stop. Click on the image or link below to check it out. Find out what I liked and what I didn’t like, and what I wished to have done differently on this tour:

Tasting Plates Gastown 2014 on Storify

Tasting Plates Gastown 2014 on Storify

Tasting Plates Gastown Recap on Storify

Tasting Plates is a good way to explore new and long-standing restaurants in the neighbourhoods. The next one is Tasting Plates Main Street and I hope to see you there!

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With an invitation from my old-time blogger friend Sherman, we tried Mosaic’s latest Taiwanese Tasting Menu. Inspired by his recent visit to Taiwan, executive chef Thomas Heinrich put out this 4-course menu with a wine pairing option. Based on my experience last year, I was quite looking forward to another fantastic dinner.


The dinner started with the Fish Ball with Scallion & Pork Dust. The house-made fish balls were made with ling cod, scallop and ground pork. Because the texture of ling cod and scallop is on the soft side, and I’m used to the bouncy, ping-pong like fish balls from HK, I found these a bit mushy. But the use of a little bit ground pork added some chew to it. The broth was quite aromatic and you could definitely taste the ginger and scallion; it had a homey taste to it. When mixing in the porcini paste on the side of the bowl (although not necessarily the most appetizing looking) there was some additional earthy note to the broth. Unfortunately our server poured a bit too much broth so I couldn’t finish it all.

Fish Ball with Scallion & Pork Dust

Fish Ball with Scallion & Pork Dust (Photo Credit: Sherman Chan)

Our second course was the Hakka Tea Crusted Ling Cod, and it was my favourite plate of the evening. (more…)

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