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For the second year, Juke Fried Chicken in Chinatown is participating in Dine Out Vancouver. I was invited to a tasting of its $25 menu.

Food

The appetizer includes two options. The Country Biscuits are to die for! They were warm, had a nice crispy crust on the outside, and soft, buttery inside. Combining with the herbed schmaltz (think butter), mmm it’s one of the best biscuits I’ve had in town. There was leftover from the tasting, so I brought some home. Even with reheating, my family was still marvelled by how delicious these biscuits were.

Juke Fried Chicken - Country Biscuits

The other option is Fried Zucchini Pickles. Since it’s home made, it’s not pungent and acidic like the typical pickles. There’s a bit of sweetness in them. The corn flour-cornmeal crust was thin, making the exterior perfectly crunchy. The honey dill dressing goes well with it, and I tasted a hint of heat too. I didn’t think much of it when I saw this option on the menu, but it’s actually some good munchies before the highlight of the meal.

Juke Fried Chicken - Fried Zucchini Pickles

Suggested by the restaurant name, obviously fried chicken needs to be on the menu.

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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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Dine Out Vancouver is back! Did you know I’ve been doing Dine Out Vancouver since, like, forever? My first year was when Rob Feenie still had his restaurants and I was there for DOVF.

Running from January 18 to February 3, the prix fixe portion of this year’s program has changed to 4 price points – $15, $25, $35 and $45. There are also more lunch and brunch options, usually at a cheaper price than dinner. This would give an opportunity to try the pricier restaurants with less.

The menus are now live and reservations are open. Actually, Aeroplan members already had access since Monday, so I had the opportunity to go through all the menus. 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), 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

  • Brewhall
  • Chutney Villa (Last year was $20 so I’m guessing portion size would be smaller this year, or it’s super deal for $5 less!)
  • Popina
Chutney Villa Dine Out Vancouver 2018

Chutney Villa Dine Out Vancouver 2018

$25 Suggestions

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In case you haven’t heard, Starbucks Canada opened its biggest location yet here in Vancouver – a new Starbucks Reserve at CF Pacific Centre, at 700 West Pender Street. It’s the second one here in Vancouver, with the first one being on Main Street in Mount Pleasant.

Starbucks Reserve West Pender 04

This new location holds a special place in my heart. Its predecessor being a man’s clothing store was the very place where Mr. rented his wedding suit. It was sad to see it closed but I was equally excited to see a Starbucks Reserve go in its place. Especially it’s very close to work.

Starbucks Reserve West Pender 01

Starbucks Reserve West Pender 05

The store is beautiful. It’s long and spacious. (more…)

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Taste of Yaletown is back! Running from October 18-28, 2018, restaurants in the Yaletown neighbourhood will offer innovative pairings and special menus at set prices of $25, $35, and $45.

The Yaletown Business Improvement Association, the event organizer, just released the list of participating restaurants. They are:

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West Oak recently celebrated its 5th anniversary in the Yaletown neighbourhood. As a follow-up, Areta, Alice (Double A!) and I were invited to a hosted dinner at the restaurant. I’ve been here a couple of times beforehand, one of which was an evening out with a few of my girlfriends a few years ago.

Disclosure: This meal was provided to me complimentary of the restaurant. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Food

We got a sneak peek of some of their new cocktails (from left):

New Cocktails at West Oak

The Aperol Spritzer Mimosa is their new take on the classic brunch cocktail. This is available only during brunch, but the restaurant made one for us to try. Aperol, prosecco, fresh juice (orange, grapefruit, etc.) — it was juicy, citrusy, fizzy, refreshing. Great for a patio brunch. There’s no reason a mimosa fan wouldn’t enjoy this.

Tiffany Blue could become a local IG sensation. The Ciroc Apple came through and gave it some tartness, almost face puckering. You can really taste the apple here. The addition of edible silver makes it sparkle like a precious piece of jewelry.

Tiffany Blue

The last cocktail, at the time this was written, hasn’t been named. It just had a nickname “Green Thumb“. It had gin, elderflower liquer, basil, cucumber. It reminded me a bit of mojito – it’s light and crisp, and herbaceous.

Then, we dove into dinner, with a couple of appies to share. (more…)

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Matcha lovers rejoice! Considered the Starbucks in Japan, Nana’s Green Tea has arrived in North America. In fact, their first ever North American location will be right here in Vancouver! On June 6, their Kerrisdale location will open its door to the public.

Established around 10 years ago in Japan, Nana’s Green Tea was brought to us by Kazuto Kutami. He was inspired by the Starbucks concept while wanting to preserve the history and tradition of Japanese tea culture. Their matcha is sourced solely from Uji, Kyoto. To-date, there are more 80 Nana’s locations around the globe.

Food

Lucky for me, I was invited to a media preview of their menu. Here are a few items we’ve tasted:

(From left) Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, Azuki Strawberry Latte

These are only taster size. Of the three beverages, my favourite was the Hoji-cha Shiratama Float. Shiratama in this case means sticky rice, which means there are mochi (aka sticky rice) balls in them. Hoji-cha is roasted green tea, so there’s some nutty flavour in the drink, as well as in the Hoji-cha ice cream. It’s quite unique and I don’t think I’ve seen something like this in Vancouver yet.

Azuki (red bean) Strawberry Latte is on the sweeter side, but not overly sweet. There is red bean paste and small pieces of strawberry in the drink so it’s quite fun to drink. It kind of reminds me of the HK style Iced Red Bean Drink 紅豆冰.

Although tasty, relatively the Matcha Chocolate Latte wasn’t super interesting. That being said, the matcha flavour was very strong, with just a hint of sweetness from the chocolate.

Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, Azuki Strawberry Latte

I should note that there are many other options for beverages on the menu. There are 12 matcha options, 5 for hoji-cha, 5 azuki, and 5 options for just green tea.

Fresh Tuna with Curry Tartar Sauce Donburi

The only savoury dish we tried. This donburi was very good. Tuna was flavourful; the curry tartar (think curry mayo egg salad) was fragrant with a hint of spices.

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