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Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

Life has been busy so I didn’t really look into Dine Out Vancouver until there were only 2 weeks left. There were a few interesting, attractive menus but many came from restaurants that I’ve been before. Since I don’t dine out very much these days, I wanted to use the opportunity to try some place new. Then I spotted a good deal at Social on Commercial Drive. Social has only been open for a few months, back in October 2020 in midst of the second wave of COVID.

Social offers a 3-course menu for only $25, and it’s available for lunch or dinner. Sure, you don’t get to choose your appetizer or dessert, but there are 4 options for entrees, including trout and 8oz sirloin baseball steak. I thought that’s really good value for your money. On their regular menu, the trout would be $28 and sirloin baseball steak costs $36. I decided to take Mama Lam there for lunch.

Food

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Dine Out Vancouver is back and reimagined! Running from February 5 to March 7, 2021, 366 restaurants are offering prix fixe menus for dine-in or take-out priced between $15 and $54. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been tough for the restaurant industry. I was glad to see the return of the iconic food festival, while it’s made some adjustments to accommodate the current situation. For one, the festival has been extended to run for 31 days, to allow more opportunities for diners to participate while restaurants are offering lower capacity and limited seating. Also, there’s flexibility in how each restaurant prices their menu so it’s no longer just the 3-4 price points in the past.

Even though the festival is well underway, restaurants are still open for reservations and there’s always room to accept take-out orders. I took the time to review the menus and here are what caught my eyes, based on past experiences (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.). Also keep in mind that 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.

Because the prices vary a lot this year, I can’t break them down by price point like previous years. Instead, I organized my list into Lunch, Dinner, Take Out, and Special Offer. And my recommendations are for that specific menu only, even though the restaurant may offer other menu options, after weighing in my preference and my perceived value of the menus. I’ve also included links to the menu to make it easier for you.

Lunch

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On one of Papa Lam’s days off, we took the family out to the Fraser Valley for a day of fun. One of the stops was Field House Brewing. We’ve had Field House’s beers a number of times now, and it’s often a booth we’d stop by at any beer festival, but this was our first time visiting the East Abbotsford brewery on location.

Field House has a covered patio and beer lawn where they serve up their tasty brews and food featuring local ingredients and produce from their own Field House Farm. You can book a table online for the covered patio, but the beer lawn is on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a nice day out so we took a risk for a spot on the beer lawn. It was a non-holiday Monday but it’s still busy. Luckily for us, we managed to grab the last table available and we settled down for lunch.

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For the last couple of years, the dynamics of Vancouver’s restaurant sector have shifted. More commissary kitchens have opened, some restaurateurs have closed their brick and mortar to switch to a ghost kitchen concept, some aspired restaurateurs and bakers are testing the water without a brick and mortar. It’s relatively lower-cost to run a restaurant operation without the investment of a physical location with equipment, tables & chairs, dishware and decorations, and everything else. It’s especially appealing during the COVID-19 crisis now when a majority of business comes from take-out or delivery orders.

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Coho Commissary

Earlier in the year, Takenaka opened its door, figuratively speaking, by offering different types of Japanese bento boxes. It operates in one of the Coho Commissary locations in Vancouver. Their concept is inspired by the traditional bento boxes created by mom, while introducing a more artistic approach and bringing in fresh and interesting ingredients. The owner/chef Shogo Takenaka came from Kingyo Izakaya and its sister restaurant Raisu. Sous-chef Daiki Ishikawa was trained in Niigata prefecture, known for its finest quality in rice, sake and seafood. I was provided a few of their menu items for a tasting.

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Food

Among the items I received, right away my eyes were drawn to the Kaiseki Bento.

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Recently, a famous Japanese tendon franchise — Kaneko Hannosuke — opened its first Canadian location in Vancouver. Tendon is the Japanese name for tempura rice bowl.

Their menu is simple: Premium, Special or Regular Tempura Bowl. All three bowls come with the following tempura — shrimp, kakiage (mixed seafood), soft boiled egg, seaweed and green bean. Premium includes a big piece of conger eel; Special with white fish; and Regular has mushroom. They have a Kid size for good measure, with tempura shrimp, pumpkin, soft boiled egg, seaweed and green bean.

I took Mama Lam and Papa Lam there on a Monday morning. (more…)

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