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Life has been busy so I didn’t really look into Dine Out Vancouver until there were only 2 weeks left. There were a few interesting, attractive menus but many came from restaurants that I’ve been before. Since I don’t dine out very much these days, I wanted to use the opportunity to try some place new. Then I spotted a good deal at Social on Commercial Drive. Social has only been open for a few months, back in October 2020 in midst of the second wave of COVID.

Social offers a 3-course menu for only $25, and it’s available for lunch or dinner. Sure, you don’t get to choose your appetizer or dessert, but there are 4 options for entrees, including trout and 8oz sirloin baseball steak. I thought that’s really good value for your money. On their regular menu, the trout would be $28 and sirloin baseball steak costs $36. I decided to take Mama Lam there for lunch.

Food

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There’s a new food event in Vancouver that introduces us to some hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems in Railtown, while supporting a local charity. Running from November 1 to 30, Dine Railtown features nine restaurants in the Railtown neighbourhood, of which proceeds from the sale of their signature dish will be donated to support programming at the Powell Street Getaway, one of 42 sites operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

The nine restaurants include Ask For Luigi (love their pasta!), The Belgard Kitchen, Cuchillo, LanaLou’s Restaurant, The Mackenzie Room (one of my all-time faves!), Pallet Coffee Roaster, Railtown Cafe, St. Lawrence (maple syrup chicharon, hello?) and The Uncommon Cafe. I was invited to a media tour to visit 3 of the participating restaurants.

First up, the brand new Pallet Coffee Roaster. Opening its doors on November 4, this location is the new HQ of Pallet.

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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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Last week, prix fixe menus of Dine Out Vancouver 2019 were revealed. With that, I was invited to a menu preview at a few restaurants on Granville Island. One of which was The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant.

Sandbar offers a $35 Dine Out menu, with a couple of entree options that you can upgrade with $10 extra. For the menu preview tasting, we were shown a full-size portion for photos, and then canape-size for tasting. Therefore, what you see below is what you will get, but what I tasted may not be the best representation of the dish as I only had a small portion of it.

Food

There are three appetizers to choose from:
Sablefish Croquette – The croquette was mostly potato with some flakes of sablefish. The miso ailoi had a hint of lemon. The pickled fennel on top brought a good amount of acidity.

Sandbar DOVF 2019 Sablefish Croquette
Beet & Arugula Salad – A classic combination of beet, arugula and goat cheese, with a fig balsamic vinaigrette. You can’t go wrong with that.

Sandbar DOVF 2019 Beet & Arugula Salad
Clam Chowder – My favourite appetizer here. It was creamy, it was rich, and it was hearty.

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