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Archive for the ‘Hotel Dining’ Category

Mr. and I recently went on a 10-day road trip to the States. Kicking it off was a celebration of our 4th wedding anniversary and we spent a night at the quaint Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington. Lummi Island is a small island just a 10-minute ferry ride southwest of Bellingham.

The upscale inn deserves a separate post but the highlight of the evening was definitely our dinner at the restaurant. It serves up a 21-course tasting menu every evening, yes 21 courses, that changes regularly and seasonally. It features locally grown produce and other locally fished, foraged and farmed products. And in addition to their kitchen, they also have an outdoor wood-fired BBQ and smoker.

Obviously, with 21 courses this is not your everyday dinner out. The menu costs $225 per person with optional wine pairing for an additional $150 per person. You also don’t know what’s on the menu as they rotate it often. You only receive a copy of the menu at the end of your meal. So you ask, was it worth it?

Without further ado, let us indulge you with a feast for your eyes.

Food

Toasted kale leave, local black truffle, crumbled rye on top — elevated kale chip with the fragrance of truffle and extra crunch from the rye crumble

Wild rainier cherry in nasturtium leaf, wild chamomile, elderflower essence — what an interesting bite. Enjoyed the crisp sweetness of rainier cherry against the herbaceous chamomile and nasturtium. The elderflower essence was made into a little dollop of jelly that combined everything.

Sugar snap peas from their garden, pureed and combined with cream then it’s piped back in the pod — It’s like crudites in a fancy bite. You can taste the freshness of the sugar snap peas. (more…)

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Another restaurant that we previewed for Dine Out was Dockside Restaurant. They are also offering a $35 menu. Similar to the Sandbar tasting, we had the full portion for photos and small bite size for tasting. But luckily for us, here we got to try everything on the menu.

Food

Dockside’s menu offers 3 appetizer options, 4 entrees, and 2 desserts. Here they are:

Cucumber Caprese – This didn’t seem like much, but it’s refreshing and light. I really like the mint on top. Simple 3 bites to start the meal.

Dockside Restaurant - Cucumber Caprese

Beef Empanadas – This had good flavour. The crust wasn’t too thick and there was decent amount of filling.

Dockside Restaurant - Beef Empanadas

Korean spiced Arancini –  This is an Asian take on the Italian appy. (more…)

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When I asked for restaurant recommendations for Las Vegas, most people suggested Eggslut. So we went. At 12:30am on a Friday night/Saturday morning.

Eggslut Vegas Late Night

It’s amazing to be in the sin city, where a restaurant would open at 12am. Yep, Eggslut opens at 12am on Saturdays, to cater to the clubbing crowd I assume. We flew in late that evening so we figured we would grab a late night meal. There was still a line outside Marquee, right across from Eggslut.

Eggslut Cosmopolitan Vegas

Food

We ordered the Slut, one of their specialty items. Coddled egg on top of potato puree, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette. It’s cooked with an immersion circulator so the egg was in perfect consistency. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: This giveaway is now closed. Winner has been chosen and contacted. Thank you for entering.]

When I say “hotel breakfast”, what comes to mind? I would think of a la carte standard affairs, or varied quality of “continental breakfast” from 2-3 star hotels.

We are lucky in Vancouver in a sense that there are many hotels offering delicious, not your typical breakfast/brunch options, e.g. Tableau, Mosaic, Yew, Blvd. Enter the new player, H2 Rotisserie & Bar at Westin Bayshore, which offers a weekend brunch buffet.

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

Brunch Buffet at H2 Rotisserie & Bar

I was invited to sample H2’s brunch buffet and wow, it was a big spread. It certainly has the typical brunch items such as eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon and sausages. But what caught my eyes were the following:

Rotisserie chicken carving station – H2 prides itself for its rotisserie chicken so I wasn’t surprised to see it at brunch. Walk up to the chef on duty and they will get you a slice (or two) of white and/or dark meat.

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

Dim sum/congee station – it serves up har gow (shrimp dumplings), siu mai (pork dumplings), BBQ pork buns, and sticky rice. Oh you can also build your own congee bowl, but it’s located in a different section of the buffet line.

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch BuffetH2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

H2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch BuffetH2 Rotisserie & Bar Brunch Buffet

Made to order french toast station – they literally soaked the bread in the yummy custard, heat up the pan with some butter, and made me my French toast right in front of me.

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It was the final week of the Claude Monet Secret Garden exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I had no idea why it took me so long to finally check it out, but I made it! CC and I planned a fancy girls’ day out.

Claude Monet Secret Garden at Vancouver Art Gallery

Claude Monet at Vancouver Art Gallery

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit, witnessing the evolution of Monet’s work. In addition to the Water Lilies, my favourite pieces were Taking a Walk Near Argenteuill, Wisteria, and Weeping Willow.

Claude Monet Secret Garden at Vancouver Art Gallery

Claude Monet Secret Garden at Vancouver Art Gallery

Claude Monet Secret Garden at Vancouver Art Gallery

Claude Monet Secret Garden at Vancouver Art Gallery

A pleasant surprise was Stephen Shore‘s photo exhibit in conversation with the Monet’s exhibit.

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Since the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver renovated the ground floor restaurant space, naming it Notch8 Restaurant, I’ve been wanting to eat there. I really like the big light fixture in the middle of the restaurant (in case you forgot, I’m often fascinated by lights!) and it just looks like a huge upgrade/improvement from what it was before. Then, without much hesitation, I made a reservation there for Dine Out.

Notch8 Restaurant & Bar

Priced at $40, Notch8’s menu was intriguing and interesting. The menu has items or ingredient combinations that you don’t often see on a Dine Out menu, or they have some unique way of preparing the usual ingredients, so I was quite excited going into it.

Food

The dinner was off to a good start. I was immediately blown away by how pretty my appetizer was. Look at this Savoury Macaron! Caviar, smoked salmon, scallop mousse, roe…all sitting on a piece of slightly sweet, slightly chewy macaron cookie. There was a good balance of sweet and savoury, and umami flavours from the seafood. It’s so pretty!!

Savory Macaron

It was a bit puzzling to us why they would serve the Forest Mushroom Tart on such a big plate, but I guess having negative space on a plate is also a thing. (more…)

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Have you checked out the Dine Out Vancouver website yet? Are you doing any prix fixe dinner? I was invited to a tour on the Granville Island to visit some restaurants for their menu preview. First up, Dockside Restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel.

Dockside has been around for a long time. I remember going there for the first time for Dine Out back in 2008, then Christmas brunch with family in 2013, my bridal shower in 2015, then here we are again for Dine Out. Food quality was always solid and we always had a good time.

Food

There are three options for appetizer. First, the Winter Green Salad was so pleasing on the eyes. It’s colourful, with a good variety of vegetables. I like that it uses polenta as croutons; not only does it give a crispy texture, but also creamy, cheesy flavours.

Winter Green Salad

My friend JX loves her crab cakes, and I think she’ll enjoy these Dockside Crab and Shrimp Cakes. Perfect two-bite size, crispy on the outside and meaty inside. Not much filler there. The sweetness of mango salsa and creamy aioli balanced it really nicely.

Dockside Crab & Shrimp Cakes

My favourite appetizer was the Duck Prosciutto Tart. (more…)

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