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Posts Tagged ‘Dine Out Vancouver 2014’

For every Dine Out, in addition to the new restaurants that pop up throughout the year, my family and I also have a wishlist of restaurants that we would look for. It has been a few years since we wanted to go to The Observatory on Grouse Mountain, but every time the menu just wasn’t very interesting to us. Finally this year’s menu seemed to have something for everyone so we booked it as part of our Chinese New Year celebration.

The Observatory

Food

I should give a caveat that The Observatory isn’t a typical Westcoast restaurant. There are elements of molecular gastronomy that you will see below. But before I even talk about the actual menu, I must compliment on the Epi French Bread (Pain d’Epi) that they offer each table. First of all, it’s free; secondly, it’s of generous amount; and thirdly, it’s hot and tastes good. It came with a compound butter with some smokey and apricot flavours topped with some sea salt. It was some really good-tasting bread, crunchy but not jaw-breaking, and we finished it rather quickly.

Bread

Because there were 3 of us, we got all three appetizers. The Duck Confit wasn’t a whole duck leg; it was shredded duck meat in a ring mold along with some micro green salad. The grapefruit gel was basically the dressing, adding a bit of sweetness, bitterness and tartness to the salad.

Duck Confit

The Roasted Heirloom Beets was just too pretty to eat. The two preparations (crispy and soft roasted) really showcased the beets and its natural sweetness was very pronounced. The ricotta cheese cake replaced the usual goat cheese but still brought in some creaminess to the salad.

Roasted Heirloom Beets

The Black Cod Brandade was quite good (what is brandade?). (more…)

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The one Dine Out that I most looked forward to this year was at Forage. Since the menu was released, there has been a lot of buzz about it. And people had been raving about it since the event kicked off on January 17. Finally my day has come to give it a try.

Dine Out at Forage

Food

Forage has been a two-time champion of the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown so obviously I had to order its Seafood Chowder. While it’s thick and creamy, it wasn’t overly rich; and there was no shortage of ingredients (and lots of salmon and shrimp) in the chowder, which I loved. I was hoping that the quail egg was soft poached and the yolk would ooze out, but it didn’t. I liked the addition of chicharron as a crunchy element but it became soft and a bit chewy after sitting in the soup for a bit.

Forage Award Winning Seafood Chowder

My friend CP ordered the Bison Carpaccio and she said it tasted very good. Unfortunately I’m still off red meat so I didn’t try any. I thought the presentation was pretty good despite the rustic feel.

Spruce Tip Smoked Bison Carpaccio

For entree, I went for the most-raved about Pork Belly. It looked and tasted like the Chinese-style Roast Pig. Skin was super crispy and meat was tender. The apple chutney/slaw had a bit of acidity that rounded out the richness/fattiness from the pork belly. (more…)

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My second DOV is at Burnaby Riverway Clubhouse. I’ve been there for a weekend brunch once but I never got to write about it. The last experience was pretty good, so based on its DOV menu, I decided to take Mama & Papa Lam there.

Food

Let me just start by saying this menu is of great value! How so? Read on.

For appetizer, the parents ordered the Vanilla Poached Canadian Lobster Tail. Yes, a whole lobster tail. Now it may not be a gigantic lobster tail but it’s still lobster. Sometimes lobsters may have their strange, unpleasant fishy taste that may not be appealing to some; poaching the lobster tail in vanilla helps tuck away that taste and makes it very enjoyable. I thought they did a good job in combining different sauces (fennel sauce, orange foam with a drop of lobster oil) and making them work together.

Vanilla Poached Canadian Lobster Tail

As for me the recently recovered sickie, I opted for the Trio Onion & Potato Soup. It’s thick yet creamy, but I found it to be slightly salty. By mixing in the creme fraiche and maple glazed pork belly bits (the flavour reminded me of the BBQ sauce that you glaze Chinese BBQ pork with), the saltiness was balanced out and it became extra creamy.

Trio Onion & Potato Soup

When I ordered the entree, I didn’t realize the Queen Charlotte Islands Halibut was done in two ways (more…)

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I must confess, as soon as my body felt better and I got an OK from my home doctor (aka Mama Lam), I got out the door right away and went for my first Dine Out dinner this year. While I was sick I missed a few DOV dinners so I have to make up for it. First up, a girls’ date with CC and LW at Catch 122 on Hastings across from the Woodward Building.

Catch 122

Food

Because I can’t drink just yet, I ordered myself a mocktail, the Gastown Riot. It’s refreshing, with subtle flavours from raspberries and basil. I liked that it used actual raspberries puree, although it also means that you’d be chewing some raspberry seeds while drinking. For some reason it tasted gingery so I’m not sure if it’s mixed with a bit of LW’s ginger beer.

Gastown Riot mocktail

For appetizer, I chose the Cold Smoked Salmon and in my head I was picturing something similar to what I had at Mosaic. Not even close. In fact, it looked nothing like smoked salmon – it looked and tasted like seared salmon filet (it’s served warm). That being said, the salmon was well seasoned, nicely cooked to about medium so it’s moist and a little bit pink inside. It paired quite well with the dill sauce. (more…)

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As part of Dine Out Vancouver 2014, Street Food City is returning for its 3rd year. Between January 22 and January 26, 23 food trucks will be gathered around the north side of Vancouver Art Gallery and serve some fantastic food truck goodness at this festival. This is probably the best and worst time to try out any food trucks: It’s the best because there are so many of them together at once; it’s the worst because it’s also attracting the most amount of people which means you will be faced with long line-ups at every truck.

Crowd @ Street Food City

Crowd @ Street Food City

Regardless, this is an event that I look forward to every year. Here are some of our favourites that will be participating this year:

And here is my wishlist for this year:

  • Feastro: Heard good things about its tacos
  • Le Tigre: Always want to try Clement Chan’s food. Another Asian food truck that I think I will like.
  • Yolks: Breakfast food truck? Yes, please!
  • Mogu: Heard great things about its chicken karaage

Hopefully I can make it to the Street Food City this year (my body is in the process of fixing itself). Otherwise, I’m looking to you to let me know how it goes!

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Dine Out Vancouver is coming back for another 2 weeks of deliciousness. In addition to the traditional 3-course lunch or dinner menu, you can also participate in a number of foodie events between Jan 17 and Feb 2.

You can view the menus and other DOV events here: Dine Out Vancouver website

And here is a list of our recent reviews of some of the participating restaurants. They are not necessarily Dine Out experience, but hopefully they will give you some ideas on what to expect from each restaurant.

(more…)

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