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Archive for the ‘Neighbourhood Gem’ 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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Planning a double date with WK and MS and man, was it difficult to decide where to go! We all love to eat and there are just too many options. We finally decided on Italian and chose Pronto Cafe on Cambie.

Food

As a meat lover, I ordered the Porchetta Plate. I had this once at Pronto before and I really enjoyed the crispy skin and tender meat. This time around, the skin wasn’t crispy. In fact, it was a bit tough and chewy and not very pleasant to eat. Felt like it wasn’t rendered well so the skin couldn’t crisp up. That being said, the meat was still tender and flavoured nicely with herbs. Perhaps a tiny bit too dry for my liking, but the roasted pepper sauce helped. Part of the highlight on this plate was the roasted potatoes & yam – they were seasoned well with just simple rosemary, salt and pepper, and the natural sweetness in the yam really came through.

Porchetta Plate

Mr. always has a thing for gnocchi (and you should ask him how he used to pronounce “gnocchi”. It’s cute.), so when he saw Gnocchi with Pesto and Pancetta on the menu, he couldn’t keep his eyes away from it.
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A couple of weeks ago I managed to steal a couple hours of free time from CC, so we went for afternoon tea at Cakes n Sweets. It’s a small bakery tucked in the corner of a strip mall in Coquitlam. It’s my second time for afternoon tea there; first time, I took Mama Lam and we quite enjoyed it.

Cakes n Sweets

Food

For $19.95 each person receives a selection of sandwiches, sweets, scones and a pot of tea.

High Tea at Cakes n Sweets

The Buttermilk Scones were freshly baked. The scones were flaky, slightly crumbly. They were still hot to the touch, so the devonshire cream kind of melted as I spread it on. (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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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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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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