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Did you know WildTale’s Dine Out menu is only $30 this year? When my family and I went there for Dine Out last year it was $40! I was invited to a preview of this year’s menu and I was curious to see how it has changed.

Turns out there are a couple repeating items on the menu, which makes this $30 menu a pretty good deal.

Food

One of the repeating items is the WildTale Seafood Chowder. Well, it’s not entirely the same as last year’s, but the idea is there. The chowder was the most memorable appetizer last year, and this year’s chowder was my favourite appetizer on the menu. It was rich, creamy, flavourful – and the corn and crab fritter was nice and crispy, adding some texture to the soup.

WildTale Seafood Chowder

If you look for something lighter in the appetizer, either the Organic Beets & Watercress salad or the Albacore Tuna Carpaccio would make a great option. I love beets, so any beet salad could easily win my heart. These beets were sweet, balanced by the hint of bitterness in watercress. It’s missing some tang and acidity, though – I love me some goat cheese in my beet salad. (more…)

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On the rare occasion that CC and I got to hang out we chose to check out CandyTown in Yaletown, and we decided to first grab a bite at Small Victory Bakery.

Food

While CC opted for a sandwich, my eyes were set on those fluffy croissants in the showcase. I didn’t simply go for a butter croissant, though; I wanted a Breakfast Croissant. Sadly they sold out of it, so I went for the Bacon & Cheese Croissant instead. It’s light, fluffy, buttery. Then, as I got to the middle, there’s melted cheddar cheese with some meaty bacon. Of course, for the meat lover in me, I wish there’s more bacon. But because the cheddar cheese was also salty, too much bacon would’ve shot the salt level through the roof. This was perfectly balanced, and seriously, I could’ve easily had another one of these.

Bacon & Cheese Croissant

Christmas is just around the corner, so obviously I had to order a seasonal item. Cue the Mont Blanc. (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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The much anticipated Lobster Summer Menu has returned to the Keg. From now till August 28, you can indulge in a number of dishes made from lobsters flown in from Nova Scotia. Mr. and I were invited to sample some dishes from this year’s menu.

Food

For starter we had the Crispy Lobster Tacos. There were two pieces of lobster in each taco (although the size of lobster pieces varied), all of which were nicely fried and cooked perfectly — crispy on the outside, moist and juicy inside. The sauce had some heat to it, it was creamy, and worked very well with the tacos.

The portion of the plate was quite big, actually. It’s more like a shared appy, than an appy to yourself. I would suggest getting this to share.

Crispy Lobster Tacos

For entree, we had the Steak and Half Lobster, a 6oz steak. The sirloin steak was cooked to medium rare, tender, with beautiful grill marks. You would never be disappointed with steaks at The Keg. Our plates came with a baked potato, and it was nice and fluffy. I ordered extra bacon on the side, and yes, you should always order extra bacon if you can.

Check out the size of that lobster! (more…)

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WildTale is owned by the same company behind the three Flying Pig restaurants, which have solid reputation of consistent, quality food. Since its opening last year, I’ve been to WildTale three times. First, I took my bridesmaids there after the wedding last summer, as a thank-you for their help; then, my family and I went there for Dine Out just this past January (a table of 8!). And now, I was invited by the restaurant to try some of its menu items. It’s hard to believe it’s taken three visits before a blog post about this restaurant. They say three times a charm?!

Food

This modified Seared Togarashi-Crusted Ahi Tuna was a great start to the dinner. I actually had the regular version last summer with my bridesmaids. The major different between this and the regular version was the mango & herb puree and the sweet soy reduction drizzle. The puree added some herbaceous freshness to the dish, while the sweet soy reduction provided a nice sweetness (kind of like an elevated teriyaki sauce). This was the only plate that was a modified version of a regular menu item.

Seared Togarashi-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Ahi tuna tends to be on the milder side when it comes to flavour, so the togarashi spice crust gave it some heat, and it was balanced nicely with the sweet mango salsa. This was a very tropical plate.

As suggested by the name, the Salmon Trio included three preparations of salmon – cured, tartare, and smoked nugget.
(more…)

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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.
(more…)

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Even though I work in downtown Vancouver, I don’t usually get to enjoy Happy Hour. Generally runs 3-6pm, by the time I get off work, and I don’t leave work right at 5pm on the dot, it would be near the tail-end of Happy Hour or worse, I would miss it completely. Luckily for me, Rodney’s Oyster House offers its Happy Hour menu on Saturday, and my girlfriends and I checked it out as part of a birthday celebration.

Food

With the 4 of us, we went through most of its Low Tide (aka Happy Hour) menu. First, we ordered a dozen of Raw Oysters to start. They were $1.50 each Fanny Bay oysters. The sizes were pretty consistent, maybe with a couple that were slightly smaller. The taste was light and crisp, not creamy. We ordered another half-dozen afterwards.

Raw Oysters

The Raw Oysters came with a number of sauces, from mild to super hot, and it was quite fun to test our spice tolerance. Turns out I didn’t do so bad; I think I got to the 4th jar!

Sauces for Oysters

Next, there was an abundance of Steamed Clams! (more…)

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