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Archive for the ‘Bistro’ Category

When Mr. and I planned a dinner out with my colleague SM and fiance CD, we were looking at a number of restaurants in Gastown. In the end, we decided on Wildebeest because its menu was quite intriguing.

Intriguing, how? There’s a lot of game meat on the menu. And we ordered a lot of them.

Food

I don’t think I’ve seen duck hearts on a menu before. These Popcorn Duck Hearts were addictive – they’re crispy outside, meaty inside. Slightly bigger than chicken hearts, and not gamey (to me). The batter was thin, and it wasn’t greasy. The yogurt sauce was like a dipping sauce, bringing freshness and creaminess to the dish. You really could keep popping them in your mouth like popcorn.

Popcorn Duck Hearts

This Bison Carpaccio looks like a typical carpaccio, except with the use of bison instead of beef. The bison was lightly seared on the outside so it’s practically rare. Even though it’s leaner, it’s still tender, buttery. The sorghum “popcorn” added some crunch. The highlight of the dish was the sous vide egg yolk.

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While we were in the Okanagan, of course Hester Creek wasn’t the only winery we visited. On this trip, we ventured out to Summerland, specifically the Bottleneck Drive area, and we discovered Evolve Cellars.

Evolve Cellars was open in 2015 and above the tasting room is e, its dining room. Simple decor – white wall, white table cloth, with big window panes overlooking a gorgeous view of its vineyard and Lake Okanagan. Bryan, Kathryn, Mr. and I made a lunch reservation prior to getting there, and we’re patting our back for making a good choice.

View of Evolve Cellars

Food

e’s lunch menu is quite interesting. I like that they incorporate their wine into many of the dishes. We shared a few appies, including the Seared Scallops. There was nice caramelization on one side of the scallops, the scallops were cooked to the right temperature, tender and sweet. The roasted corn salsa gave it some smokey flavours and crunch. For us, they were served on a spoon and it made a perfect bite (Mr. really liked it, because he always wants “a bit of everything in each bite”).

Seared Scallops

The Bruschetta was probably my least favourite appetizer. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite good.

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Another Dine Out dinner that we did this year was a re-visit to the Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kitsilano. I still remember Mr.‘s meat sweat over his 16oz ribeye when we went there a few years ago. This time around, I’ve arranged a big group – all 9 members of our Garibaldi Beer Club, which also includes Kathryn, Bryan and Mr. The Oakwood had a very appealing menu and I was surprised that I was able to make reservations during prime time (6pm) on a Sunday evening.

The beer club doesn’t usually eat out together. We usually go over to someone’s place, bring over some food and/or beer, and enjoy each other’s company potluck style. So to remember this milestone, in this post not only will I share my experience at the dinner, but I will also include comments from fellow beer club members.

Food

Mr. ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I was expecting one or two pieces of regular-size fried chicken, but to my surprise, they were bite-size nuggets. “Though simple presentation,” according to Mr., “the succulent fried chicken pieces were perfectly balanced by the acidity of the fennel salad.”

Buttermilk fried chicken

For the Lemon Pepper Calamari, DV said: “the lemon pepper was a unique take on calamari, not the Greek style most people would be accustomed to.” I really liked the lemon pepper seasoning dusted on the outside of each calamari piece; the calamari was tender and cooked just right. The rouille sauce (the red sauce) and the garlic aioli added creaminess and spices to the dish. (more…)

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Last year, Beach Bay Cafe popped up in the space where Raincity Grill used to be. Since then, they’ve made some slight adjustments on the menu direction, as well as found a new executive chef, so with their Dine Out participation, I decided to give it a try.

Food

To start, Mr. ordered the Seafood Chowder. It’s creamy, wasn’t super thick, yet loaded with lots of ingredients. Every spoonful there were chunks of potato and carrot and seafood such as shrimp, mussels and squid. There’s smokiness and savoury flavours coming from the bacon as well as crispy leeks. I had a few spoons and I quite liked it; Mr. had most of it and thought it’s a bit too salty for him.

seafood chowder

For an extra $4, I had 1/2 Dozen Oysters for appetizer. The night’s feature was Little Wing oysters; they were not too big in size, but had a deep cup shell. The flesh tasted clean and crisp with a hint of sweetness. I’ve never had this kind before and thought they were pretty good. The oysters were paired with an apple mignonette, which was on the sweet side, so you had to add a squeeze of lemon juice to bring a bit more acidity.

half dozen west coast oyster

I’ve ordered mostly seafood dishes during Dine Out, so I switched things up with an order of the Confit Duck Leg. Wow loved the crispy skin on the duck leg! (more…)

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Since our first visit to Edible Canada on Granville Island close to three years ago, it has been added to our list of staple because it has seasonal offerings and quality is consistently good. So for this year’s Dine Out, we decided to go back once again because it had an interesting “Canadian” menu. And we made it a double date with Bryan and Kathryn.

Food

In addition to the regular $30 DOV 3-course menu, you have the option to pay extra to upgrade your dishes. For example, Kathryn and I opted for the Surf and Turf Tartare Trio for an extra $10. It included three types of tartare (from left of photo): Venison, Elk and Arctic Char. I was quite happy with this option. Each tartare had its own flavours – venison was rich, gamey and it was mixed with some blueberries; elk had the resemblance of beef and the tartare reminded of traditional beef tartare with cornichon; arctic char was creamy and was similar to salmon tartare. The tartare trio came with the Amola salt truffle chips. They were crispy, nicely seasoned, with lots of truffle aroma.

Surf and Turf Tartar Trio

Mr. and Bryan went for a regular appetizer, the Braised Alberta Oxtail. It was rich, moist and tender. The kubocha squash risotto was slightly overcooked, a bit mushy, and the risotto to meat ratio was a bit off. There was too little oxtail meat, or too much risotto on the plate.

Braised Alberta Oxtail

Continuing with the meat, Mr. and Kathryn chose the Bison Bourguignon for entree. Now this had a lot of meat!

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This year’s Dine Out brought us back to some restaurants that we’ve been to in the past. Baru Latino was one of them. We checked it out for Dine Out 2010 (when it was held in April to not get in the way of the Winter Games), and six years later we’re intrigued to give it another shot.

Food

The Beef Tiradito was like beef carpaccio; instead of the usual vinegar-based sauce that we are used to, it came with a chimichurri sauce. The beef itself didn’t have much flavour, but the chimichurri was seasoned well with herbaceous notes. There was a lot of flatbread to go with just a few pieces of beef slices.

Beef Tiradito

Between the two appetizers we ordered, I liked the Baru Ceviche more. There was a decent amount of ceviche, with a good mix of seafood, tomatoes and avocado. It tasted fresh, and creamy, but it could use a bit more acid to brighten it up even more, so make sure to use that lemon wedge on your plate.

Baru Ceviche

Mr. opted for the Chicken Mole Stew. (more…)

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For my birthday, Mr. surprised me with a dinner at Supermarine. Since its opening, I’ve been wanting to check it out so I was very excited when our car pulled up right in front of the restaurant.

Supermarine focuses on sustainable, seasonal, local products, highlighting the best that our farmers and fishers can offer. There are a number of staple items on the menu with seasonal dishes as well as daily features.

Food

There isn’t a clear division of appetizers vs. entrees on the menu, so we basically just order a bunch of items to share. First, the name Octopus Chips immediately caught our attention and it just sounded like something fun to eat. And it sure was fun! Sliced octopus and fingerling potatoes were lightly battered then deep fried to become “chips”, served in a little jar. Both octopus and potatoes were crispy on the outside; the octopus was tender and not at all chewy, while the potatoes were soft and fluffy inside. The bravas sauce was a tomato-based aioli, slightly spiced. The chips became quite addictive and we couldn’t really stop eating them.

Octopus Chips

You probably don’t know but I’m a sucker for fried/roasted Brussels sprouts (best with bacon, of course!). Our friend NS makes a killer one and I even requested it for our Thanksgiving dinner. So when I saw Fried Brussels Sprouts on Supermarine’s menu, obviously it made its way to our table. There’s an Asian touch to this version with the use of soy and shallot as well as cilantro as garnish, and the honey added some sweetness to the dish. I always think balsamic vinegar and Brussels sprouts are a perfect match, but Supermarine used yogurt instead to introduce acidity and to my surprise, it worked just as well. The Brussels sprouts had crispy edges, yet they’re still tender. This was one of the best Brussels sprouts I’ve had.

Fried Brussels Sprouts

Squid & Lamb, what an unusual combination of surf and turf! And the Middle Eastern influence was pretty apparent as they’re served on top of hummus! (more…)

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