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Archive for the ‘Eat Local’ Category

For those of you who follow me on social media, you would know that we took a trip to Vancouver Island. It was a pretty epic trip — travelled from Nanaimo to Port Hardy and San Josef Bay in the northwest corner, and everywhere in between — 2,300km in 9 days.

First stop, Nanaimo. It was brunch time when we arrived in Nanaimo. Downtown Nanaimo has no shortage of brunch options, and Gabriel’s Cafe caught my eyes. Gabriel’s is about eat local, farm to table.

Gabriel's Cafe, Nanaimo

Food

Ordering wasn’t an easy task for me, because I was just recovering from a bad stomach flu. I had to pick something light so I avoided pulled pork, braised beef, or anything rich and heavy. I opted for the Breakfast #11 — Coconut Milk Pancakes with Roasted Apples, Seasonal Fruit and Yogurt. I thought coconut milk pancakes wouldn’t be too heavy and there would be a good dose of fruit on the plate. Haha the portion size was not for the faint of heart. (more…)

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The Vancouver Fish Company has opened its door since September 2014. Located right at the entrance of the Granville Island, this seafood restaurant has been using Ocean Wise ingredients but only just recently that it has officially signed on as an Ocean Wise partner. And to celebrate, it’s running its first ever Ocean Wise Festival and I was invited for a tasting of the menu.

Vancouver Fish Company's Ocean Wise Festival 2016 Menu

Food

Not all festival menu items are new; some are simply customer favourites that they want to highlight during this time. First up, Fresh Shucked Zen & Glacier Oysters. According to the restaurant, Zen & Glacier are two lesser used varieties farmed in BC, and they’re more affordable than some more commonly known ones.

Zen reminded me of Kusshi – thinner flesh, delicate, crisp with a cucumber finish.

Fresh Shucked Zen Oysters

Glacier, on the other hand, is more plump in shape.

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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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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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In Vancouver, there is no shortage of fine dining options to celebrate your special occasions. The suburb, is a different story. Last year, Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam revamped its restaurants and introduced Stake, a fine dining establishment focused on sourcing local products. I was there when it launched its menu in the Fall (here’s the proof – check out 0:45 and the hand model at 1:17 – I could be a YouTube sensation one day!) and was quite impressed. So to celebrate CC’s birthday, a few of us girls went there for dinner.

Food

The menu isn’t very big, but there are a few good options. We shared a few appetizers to start. The Signature Smoked Crispy Pork Belly was our favourite appy. The meat was tender, the fatty bits were rendered nicely. Perhaps the edges were a bit too charred but it didn’t have any burned taste.

Stake’s Signature Smoked Crispy Pork Belly

Even though the Albacore Tuna Tataki was a standard affair, I had to commend on the nice sear they’ve had on the fish. I liked the thick cut on the fish, so it gave you a bit of a bite. They could probably up the acidity in the sauce to help cut through the rich tuna.

Albacore Tuna Tataki

The Pan Seared Scallops were nicely caramelized on the outside, and just slightly rare inside. (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!

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[UPDATE: Our partner has generously donated another $25 gift card so we are now giving away 3 White Spot gift cards! Deadline has been extended to Monday, August 4, 2014]

Summer has officially started, which means our local farms are also busy harvesting. BC produces a huge variety of fresh ingredients — cherries, blueberries, apples, peaches, corn, cheese, salmon, tomatoes, etc. — everything is so close to home! Earlier this week White Spot launched its new Celebrate BC summer menu to celebrate exactly that, featuring local ingredients and select wines from farms and vineyards around the province.

Available until September 7, the Celebrate BC menu offers six seasonally-inspired creations:

  • Prawn & BC Brie Flatbread
  • Candied Salmon Spinach Salad
  • BC Beet, Brie & Bacon Bigger Burger
  • Gala Apple & BC Brie Chicken Burger
  • Lois Lake Steelhead with Warm Crispy BC Potato Salad
  • Legendary Burger, Caesar Salad & Fresh BC Blueberry Pie Combo

To make sure you get to try these items, we are giving away three $25 White Spot gift cards. Yes, three chances of winning!

3 ways to enter

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