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Archive for the ‘Canadian’ Category

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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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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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!

(more…)

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As mentioned in my earlier post, we were invited to attend the private Amex Platinum Cardmember Dinner at Hawksworth Restaurant, joining roughly 60 Amex Platinum Cardmembers at the York Room.

champagne to greet each guest

#DineWithAmex at Hawksworth Restaurantwarm bread

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with a glass of champagne. Chef David Hawksworth made an appearance and walked us through the menu that was designed to celebrate the kickoff of the fall season. Each course was paired with wines provided by WineOnline.ca. Let me tempt you with some delicious photos!

Chef David Hawksworth made an appearance

Food

Our dinner started with a Roasted Acorn Squash and Pear Salad. It’s finished with chèvre (goat cheese) and a walnut vinaigrette. What a perfect combination to represent the fall. Wine Pairing: Nicolas Maillart Rose Champagne.

roasted acorn squash and pear salad

Then our server brought over this plate of seared scallop with crispy cauliflower and capers. It was difficult to stop ourselves from digging into the perfectly seared scallop, but we had to wait till they poured the silky Cauliflower Veloute into the dish. The surprise was in the lemon supremes (the naked flesh of the lemon — no rind, pith, or seeds), as well as the fried capers; they helped cut through the richness in the creamy veloute. Wine Pairing: Vinos Sanz’s Sanz Rueda Clasico.

pouring the veloutecauliflower velouté

Next, the Duck Conft Raviolo was definitely encore-worthy!

(more…)

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With an invitation to a Chef’s Table at Earl’s North Vancouver, Mr. and I sampled a number of dishes from their brunch menu. Before this, I never knew that Earls has an actual brunch menu, and it never came to mind when I looked for brunch spots.

Similar to the Chef’s Table we had at the Port Coquitlam location, it was a meal for 6 and we were joined by Tila at Fat Panda, Dee at Gastrofork and their respective guest.

Food

For drinks we had two options, Mimosa or its Signature Caesar. The Mimosa was the classic combination of sparkling wine with orange juice; it wasn’t too strong in alcohol, making it a great option for women. And for the manly men, Caesar would be for you. I’m not a huge fan of the savoury taste in Caesars, but I was quite impressed to hear the long list of ingredients in Earls’ version: Red Tabasco, Green Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Horseradish, Onion Powder, Soy Sauce, HP Sauce, Roasted Pepper.

MimosaSignature Caesar

We got to sample 4 dishes on the brunch menu. First up, the Granola + Yogurt Parfait was quite pretty to look at, and tasty, too. It had a lot of crunchy elements from the house made flax, toasted almonds and pecans, and rolled oats. The use of fresh blueberries, along with agave syrup, gave it a sweet balance. You can control the sweetness by adding as much, or as little, agave syrup as you wish. This makes a healthy yet fun breakfast. I tend to prefer fruit yogurt and never pay much attention to plain yogurt; but now I’m inspired to create my own version of yogurt parfait for breakfast.

Granola + Yogurt Parfait

Next is a classic brunch menu item, Eggs Benny. (more…)

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With an invitation from my old-time blogger friend Sherman, we tried Mosaic’s latest Taiwanese Tasting Menu. Inspired by his recent visit to Taiwan, executive chef Thomas Heinrich put out this 4-course menu with a wine pairing option. Based on my experience last year, I was quite looking forward to another fantastic dinner.

Food

The dinner started with the Fish Ball with Scallion & Pork Dust. The house-made fish balls were made with ling cod, scallop and ground pork. Because the texture of ling cod and scallop is on the soft side, and I’m used to the bouncy, ping-pong like fish balls from HK, I found these a bit mushy. But the use of a little bit ground pork added some chew to it. The broth was quite aromatic and you could definitely taste the ginger and scallion; it had a homey taste to it. When mixing in the porcini paste on the side of the bowl (although not necessarily the most appetizing looking) there was some additional earthy note to the broth. Unfortunately our server poured a bit too much broth so I couldn’t finish it all.

Fish Ball with Scallion & Pork Dust

Fish Ball with Scallion & Pork Dust (Photo Credit: Sherman Chan)

Our second course was the Hakka Tea Crusted Ling Cod, and it was my favourite plate of the evening. (more…)

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The one Dine Out that I most looked forward to this year was at Forage. Since the menu was released, there has been a lot of buzz about it. And people had been raving about it since the event kicked off on January 17. Finally my day has come to give it a try.

Dine Out at Forage

Food

Forage has been a two-time champion of the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown so obviously I had to order its Seafood Chowder. While it’s thick and creamy, it wasn’t overly rich; and there was no shortage of ingredients (and lots of salmon and shrimp) in the chowder, which I loved. I was hoping that the quail egg was soft poached and the yolk would ooze out, but it didn’t. I liked the addition of chicharron as a crunchy element but it became soft and a bit chewy after sitting in the soup for a bit.

Forage Award Winning Seafood Chowder

My friend CP ordered the Bison Carpaccio and she said it tasted very good. Unfortunately I’m still off red meat so I didn’t try any. I thought the presentation was pretty good despite the rustic feel.

Spruce Tip Smoked Bison Carpaccio

For entree, I went for the most-raved about Pork Belly. It looked and tasted like the Chinese-style Roast Pig. Skin was super crispy and meat was tender. The apple chutney/slaw had a bit of acidity that rounded out the richness/fattiness from the pork belly. (more…)

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