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Chinese New Year is Feb. 16, 2018 and it’s the Year of the Dog. Need ideas to celebrate CNY this year? Here is a roundup for you:

TWG Tea:

During the month of February, you can order the Lunar New Year Tea Set at TWG Tea, which includes savoury canapés and tea infused desserts. They have also launched the Breakfast Bulldog Tea for the occasion.

Red Racer Lucky Dog:

Central City Brewers + Distillers has launched the Red Racer Lucky Dog Kumquat Wheat Ale, a Chinese New Year collaboration with Taiwan’s Redpoint Brewing Co. It’s a seasonal wheat ale brewed with fresh kumquats, a sweet and fragrant citrus fruit traditionally eaten during the lunar new year celebrations.

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Having done Dine Out Vancouver for so many years now, frankly I’m feeling burnout. To me, a lot of the menus are not very inspiring; or I question the value for the money. So this year, I set out to try to discover gems that don’t require you to pay $40 yet still feel hungry afterwards.

I was invited to bring a guest (guess whom I brought?) to sample the Dine Out menu of a Donnelly Group restaurant of my choice, including wine pairings. They are all $20 menus. After perusing them, I decided on the Granville Room. Why? I will get to that in a moment.

Food

There are two choices for appetizer. Naturally, we ordered one of each. The Coconut Fried Prawns were nice and crunchy. Mr. (ding-ding!) thought the coating was too thick to taste the prawns but I thought it’s okay. The prawns had good texture, a bit bouncy and not mushy. What’s intriguing is the dipping sauce. It’s a coconut hoisin sauce. When it said hoisin I expected the sauce to be darker in colour, but it’s just a tinted creamy white colour. It had a lot of coconut flavour but it’s not too sweet thanks to the subtle use of hoisin sauce. The prawns themselves did not have any coconut; it’s all in the sauce.

Wine pairing: Desert Hills Viognier – The fried prawns actually mellowed out the acidity in the viognier.

Coconut Fried Prawns

Beef Rib Empanada was also a hand-held appy. There were two pieces on the plate, served with a mole sauce. The sauce was rich, thick, and had some smokey flavour that didn’t overpower everything. Continue Reading »

Last Christmas holiday, Mr. and I went to the Lights of Christmas in the US. Yes, it’s the largest in Pacific Northwest, but there’s a holiday light display right in our backyard. Best of all, it’s free — the Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam.

The event just ended last weekend. Did you catch it before it ended? If not, let me share some pictures for you:

Lights at Lafarge 2017

Lights at Lafarge 2017 Lights at Lafarge 2017

Lights at Lafarge 2017

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To celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary, we went to Honey Salt at the Parq Vancouver for dinner. Since its opening, I’ve been seeing photos on Instagram and I’ve been curious about it. Finally our turn to check it out.

Honey Salt Vancouver

So it’s our first time at the restaurant AND the casino. Everything looks shiny new to us. The restaurant interior is quite cute. It reminded me of a modern cottage kitchen/nook, with cupboards and shelves, hanging lights, and a lot of white and green. I quite like the style.

Honey Salt Vancouver Honey Salt Vancouver

Food

The four of us shared a few appetizers. First, the Tofino Fry. Fried calamari and side stripe shrimps on one plate. The batter was thin, outside was crunchy, and the meat was tender. The Japanese mayo dipping sauce had some subtle heat; in my opinion the heat could be dialed up a bit. What surprised me was the few slices of fried lemon. Perhaps the batter took away some of the acidity, so it wasn’t face-puckering sour. The citrus flavour worked well with the seafood.

Tofino Fry

The Crisped Bacon Brussels is listed under Sides, and it’s in small print, so make sure you don’t miss it.

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Dine Out Vancouver is back! Running from January 19 to February 4, more than 300 restaurants are offering prix fixe menus and more than 35 special events are planned over this 2-week period.

Ocean Wise Pop-up Cafe 2017 Dine Out

Vancouver Aquarium Pop-up Restaurant 2017 Dine Out

The 3-course dinner are priced at $20, $30 or $40. Some restaurants may charge extra for special menu items. Some restaurants are also offering a lunch menu, which could be at a cheaper price point. The menus are now live and reservations are open. Pretty excited about some of the participating restaurants this year. After perusing the menus, here are our suggestions, based on past experience (Dine Out or not) as well as menu attractiveness. I’ve included links to the menu to make it easier for you:

$20 Suggestions

$30 Suggestions

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[Editor’s Note: Keep scrolling past the delicious food pics for a meat-sweaty giveaway!]

Mechanical bull, southern BBQ, country music…do they all exist in one place in Vancouver? Yep, Yale Saloon.

I was invited to a tasting at Yale Saloon, featuring their southern style BBQ selections. Right away at the door I was greeted by a mechanical bull. Then country musicians, the front-end of an old Chevy pick-up, and a moose head mounted on the wall.

Yale Saloon Yale Saloon Yale Saloon

We got to sample a number of items on the menu:

  • Pulled Pork Tacos
  • Cauliflower “Wings”
  • Bite Sized Brisket
  • Texas Smoked Spare Ribs
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Smoked Chicken Wings
  • Potato Salad
  • Nacho

BBQ menu at Yale Saloon

My favourite bites were the Pulled Pork Tacos; the meat was flavourful and juicy. The Cauliflower “Wings” — which are supposed to be the veggie substitute for wings — were surprisingly tasty. They had a nice tang, spicy, almost reminded me of buffalo wings. On the other hand, the real Smoked Chicken Wings had a good coating of BBQ sauce, yet the skin remained crispy. The Brisket and Spare Ribs also had good flavours. 

Texas Smoked Spare Ribs Smoked Chicken Wings Pulled Pork Tacos

Bite Sized Brisket Potato Salad

We also got to take home one of their Jalapeno Cornbread and it was very moist, with nice crumbs. One of the best cornbreads I’ve had around.

The restaurant has a nice, casual atmosphere. It’d make a good hang-out spot with friends on the weekend.

In case you are wondering, I didn’t get on the mechanical bull. I heard it’s fun, though, especially if you’re tipsy. Not recommended for when you’re drunk.

So, would you like to check out Yale Saloon? Here’s your chance:

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[Editor’s Note: The giveaway is now closed.]

I was quite excited when Mon Paris opened up in Burnaby. I was following them on Instagram and the cakes were just beautiful! I also love that it’s near the Metrotown Skytrain station, which means easy access from Coquitlam or downtown.

I took my mom there, who also loves some good pastries. We had the Passionata (left), Opera (right), and a Canele (back in the pic) over Espresso and Americano. I really liked the tartness of passion fruit and mango pieces in the Passionata; the Canele had a crispy, caramelized exterior and soft centre; and the Opera was rich and decadent. We were there for an afternoon pick-me-up and it just hit the spot!

Mon Paris Burnaby

Giveaway

Continuing with our #vanfoodiesturn8 celebration, now is your chance to try some goodies from Mon Paris. Continue Reading »

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