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Do you sometimes get this giddy feeling when you come across something new and unique, knowing that you’re among the firsts to know about it, and you can’t wait to tell people? I get that when I try a new restaurant, or spot a new product at grocery stores. And I just had a moment like this when I attended a food and beverage product trade show at the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre in Gastown.

Named “A Flavourful Journey to Indonesia”, the purpose of the event was to provide Canadian businesses with a glimpse of the food and beverage products Indonesia offers, thus bringing these products to Canada and making them available at local retail stores. So naturally, many products I saw at this event are not yet available in Canada, but I had the opportunity to sample them and I seriously hope they will be available here soon.

Here are a few that got me really excited:

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Where have you been so far for Dine Out Vancouver? I was quite excited to see The Rise Eatery on the list. Last year they did their own prix fixe menu for $30 and I took Mama Lam and Papa Lam there. It was a good deal and we really enjoyed the food. This year, it’s $35 and I still think it’s a solid menu; I had them on my list of recommendations. So when I got the invite to preview their menu, yes all the way!

Food

Brilliant as ever, the menu is a page of food puns. Let’s go over it one by one.

Chicken Seoul Good – as suggested, this is Korean style fried chicken, but with a twist of a mushroom gravy. The chicken was crispy and moist, and the scent of truffle can be smelled from miles away.

A Curve Ball is a vegan dish. (more…)

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Last week, prix fixe menus of Dine Out Vancouver 2019 were revealed. With that, I was invited to a menu preview at a few restaurants on Granville Island. One of which was The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant.

Sandbar offers a $35 Dine Out menu, with a couple of entree options that you can upgrade with $10 extra. For the menu preview tasting, we were shown a full-size portion for photos, and then canape-size for tasting. Therefore, what you see below is what you will get, but what I tasted may not be the best representation of the dish as I only had a small portion of it.

Food

There are three appetizers to choose from:
Sablefish Croquette – The croquette was mostly potato with some flakes of sablefish. The miso ailoi had a hint of lemon. The pickled fennel on top brought a good amount of acidity.

Sandbar DOVF 2019 Sablefish Croquette
Beet & Arugula Salad – A classic combination of beet, arugula and goat cheese, with a fig balsamic vinaigrette. You can’t go wrong with that.

Sandbar DOVF 2019 Beet & Arugula Salad
Clam Chowder – My favourite appetizer here. It was creamy, it was rich, and it was hearty.

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I was invited to the menu preview of the 2017 Taste of Yaletown. Organized by the Yaletown BIA and similar to Dine Out Vancouver, participating restaurants in Yaletown are offering a $25, $35, or $45 menu until Oct 27. At the preview event, I got to sample the menus at two restaurants, one of which was House Special, serving Modern Vietnamese cuisine.

Food

House Special offers a 4-course menu for $45. The first course was Mekong Wonton. Shrimp and monkfish mousse wontons were sitting in a sweet, sour and spicy tamarind seafood broth, which was inspired by a traditional Vietnamese dish Canh Chua Ca. It’s different from other types of Asian sweet and sour, or hot and sour soup. I could taste the sweet and sour combo from the tamarind but I was definitely caught by surprise when the pineapple flavour hit my palate. Being so familiar with the Chinese style wonton soup, this Vietnamese version was almost refreshing to me.

Mekong Wonton

The second course was Caramelized Pork Jowl Banh Hoi, which is their take on a lettuce wrap but with endives. (more…)

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Have you checked out the Dine Out Vancouver website yet? Are you doing any prix fixe dinner? I was invited to a tour on the Granville Island to visit some restaurants for their menu preview. First up, Dockside Restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel.

Dockside has been around for a long time. I remember going there for the first time for Dine Out back in 2008, then Christmas brunch with family in 2013, my bridal shower in 2015, then here we are again for Dine Out. Food quality was always solid and we always had a good time.

Food

There are three options for appetizer. First, the Winter Green Salad was so pleasing on the eyes. It’s colourful, with a good variety of vegetables. I like that it uses polenta as croutons; not only does it give a crispy texture, but also creamy, cheesy flavours.

Winter Green Salad

My friend JX loves her crab cakes, and I think she’ll enjoy these Dockside Crab and Shrimp Cakes. Perfect two-bite size, crispy on the outside and meaty inside. Not much filler there. The sweetness of mango salsa and creamy aioli balanced it really nicely.

Dockside Crab & Shrimp Cakes

My favourite appetizer was the Duck Prosciutto Tart. (more…)

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