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Archive for the ‘French’ Category

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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A spa date with CC took me to North Vancouver and she suggested to try this restaurant called Tour de Feast. It’s located in a business complex next to an industrial complex. It’s not easy to spot in the dark and the interior basically looked like a cafe.

Food

Taken a look at the menu and I was caught off guard by how fancy the menu was. Not a big menu, but with items that you would find at fine dining restaurants. The day’s special was a surf and turf with steak and sockeye salmon; I didn’t go for that because my mood didn’t call for it.

So for appetizer I ordered the Octopus 2 Ways. First, the tentacles were braised to absolute tenderness it could be considered borderline mushy. Haha the suction cups just fell right off as you took bites. The flavour was quite nice; it could be even better if using a bit of heat. Then, there was an octopus rillette. It’s similar to crab cake except it’s mostly dough with some pieces of octopus inside. It’s pretty good but quite filling. I think we were off to a good start.

Octopus 2 Ways

With entree, I chose one of my favourite dishes, Duck Confit Cassoulet. The duck leg looked HUGE!! (more…)

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Being on the judging panel for the Chinese Restaurant Awards’ Food Bloggers Choice Awards has made me spend most of my time on eating out at Chinese restaurants these days. All of a sudden, it becomes a luxury to eat at a Western style restaurant. So for Papa Lam’s birthday, I took a break and went for French food instead. And we went to Bistro Pastis for a traditional take on this cuisine.

Food

Oh French food, how I miss thee! The four of us didn’t hold back with our orders at all. For appy, Mr. opted for the Steak Tartare, something we don’t see or order often. There was plenty of tartare to go around the table, and it was very well balanced with creaminess, acidity and meat flavours. The accompanying fries were nice and fluffy. I had to laugh at the fact that we were offered mayo for the fries, not ketchup; that’s the French/Belgian way of eating fries. Mr. didn’t dare asking for ketchup thinking it might offend them haha.

le tartare et les frites

Both Papa Lam and I went for my favourite, escargots. The Escargots were done slightly differently here. Each escargot was covered with a mushroom cap (haha get it?!). The garlic and herb were so finely chopped, the flavours were on the light side and not as garlicky and herbaceous as most other ones. It’s mostly oil on my plate so there wasn’t much to dip our bread with.

les escargots et les champignons

Mama Lam’s one big Crab Cake was nicely done.
(more…)

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If you haven’t noticed the pattern, I’m actually reluctant to eat at restaurants that don’t take reservations. I enjoy the comfort in knowing that a table will be ready for me at around the time I want, instead of having to live through the stress of lining up and waiting impatiently for people to pay the bill and servers to clear the table. Or I have to be early and wait for the restaurant to swing open the door right at 5 or 5:30pm. And that’s why it’s been awhile since I last went to Twisted Fork. They don’t take reservations.

But lucky me, working downtown and getting off work at 5, I was able to get to Twisted Fork right at 5:30pm, as the door opened, and checked out their Dine Out menu.

Twisted Fork Bistro Menu

And you must be wondering about the post title. When I was trying to look up the dishes on the menu in advance of the dinner, what they looked like and what other people thought about them, I couldn’t find anything online. No Twitter, no Instagram, not even Urbanspoon; that actually piqued my interest even more.

Food

Escargots on the menu? Sign me up! I was really surprised to see that on a Dine Out menu, but hey, I wouldn’t give up the opportunity to have them. The Escargot and Mushrooms was actually like a warm salad. Escargots were diced up and sauteed with mushrooms and arugula. The texture of mushrooms and escargots matched quite well, and the earthy flavour was nice. Mixing in the tomato sauce and putting them all on the baguette crostini was like building my own bruschetta. At certain bites, though, I couldn’t really tell which I was eating, mushrooms or escargots. I suspect there weren’t very many escargots on my plate.

Escargot and Mushrooms

The Braised Lamb Shank was filling! The lamb shank was braised beautifully, meat fell right off the bone. (more…)

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I was invited to sample the menu at Burgundy Restaurant, a quaint 30-seat restaurant in Gastown by the ACME Cafe.

Burgundy Restaurant

Each table got to share a few appetizers and entrees. But before that, we got to see and take photos of the full-size entrees – so we didn’t have to do that during dinner service. What a genius idea! That way we didn’t have to scramble to take the photos and could actually enjoy a hot plate of food. Really appreciate that gesture.

Take photos of entrees ahead of time

Food

First of all, we each had a Gin n’ Juice. What a refreshing drink on a warm day! It’s on the sweet side so it’s a bit deceiving – watch how much/many of this you’re drinking.

Gin n' Juice

Here are the appetizers we tried – full-size plates shared among the 4-5 of us at each table:

Tuna Nicoise was the table’s favourite dish. It was nicely seasoned, well balanced; the eggs were cooked well. I loved the use of tuna carpaccio instead of the traditional seared tuna.

Tuna Nicoise

The Crab Cakes is gluten-free, thanks to the use of quinoa as the breading on the outside. (more…)

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My girlfriends decided to venture out to the West End for some good eats, and we ended up at the door of Le Parisien. Given my positive experience during Dine Out Vancouver, they were convinced to try its regular menu.

Food

Then I realized some menu items were previously on the DOV menu – which is a good thing because I have tried some of them and know they are good and whether they are worth re-ordering or recommending to the girls.

For appetizer I ordered one of my favourite French appies, Escargots. They were not in the typical garlic butter sauce. Instead, each snail sat in a fresh parsley sauce along with a slice of garlic. In fact, I think the garlic was uncooked, or barely cooked, so were the parsley leaves. There was a really earthy, leafy tone to the sauce. It’s definitely missing the rich, buttery flavours from a typical escargot plate, and I think I prefer that over this parsley sauce.

Escargots

Because I was off beef during DOV, I didn’t get to try Mr.‘s Grilled Flank Steak, so I decided to order it this time around. The portion size was similar to the DOV plate (translation: good value during Dine Out), only with even more fries. (more…)

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My next DOV dinner was a date with Mr. (finally his turn!) We went to Le Parisien for my favourite food, French cuisine. I went there once for a birthday celebration and I thought the food was pretty good. Since the menu was pretty decent, I decided to take Mr. there to give it a try.

Le Parisien

Food

Before I start, I should let you know that Le Parisien actually offers a $38 menu on-site. The appetizers and entrees were different from the promoted $28 menu with dishes such as Chicken Liver Pate, Tuna Tartare, Pan Seared Ling Cod and Beef Bourguignon. We decided to stick with the $28 menu because we’re more interested in that menu.

By the way, this is the only place so far that offers bread free of charge. Restaurants these days tend not to offer free bread during Dine Out in order to save on costs, so this is very much appreciated. And I like that it’s warm with a jaw-friendly crust. It’s not rock hard like traditional French baguette.

Bread & Butter

I had the Butternut Squash Soup to start and it wasn’t quite what I had expected. It’s usually creamy and thick, but this one was rather thin. It tasted like a broth flavoured with some butternut squash, instead of pureed butternut squash thinned out with broth. Even the creme fraiche was foamy and airy so didn’t add any creaminess to the soup. It tasted pretty good but it’s lacking the richness that I was looking for in a butternut squash soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

Mr. ordered the Crispy Calamari, which I thought was quite good. (more…)

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