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Posts Tagged ‘Downtown Vancouver’

[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 GalleryClaude Monet Secret Garden at Vancouver Art Gallery

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

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I was invited by ChineseBites to try Tea Wok in downtown. It’s located just steps away from the BCIT downtown campus. It has a big menu, serving many Taiwanese favourites. On Zomato, the rating isn’t very impressive, so I was curious to give it a try.

Food

We tried a number of things and here were some highlights for me:

The Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets is a staple item at all Taiwanese restaurants, so it would be disappointing if it’s not cooked properly. And Tea Wok didn’t disappoint. The batter was thin, and it’s fried to great crispiness. The chicken nuggets were also flavoured nicely. There’s a hint of Thai basil in the chicken.

Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets

I’m a pretty adventurous eater, and pig ear is one of my favourite snack dishes. The Marinated Spicy Pig Ear was pretty good. The pig ear was sliced thinly, with a crunchy texture. It’s garlicky, and spicy.

Marinated Spicy Pig Ear

The Taiwanese Sausage with Fried Rice seems simple, but it’s executed well. (more…)

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It’s been awhile since I’ve enrolled in a course. Even though it’s just a 3-day course, and it’s a course meant for working professionals. Still, the concept of carrying a backpack and dressing casually had been a distant memory. So when work sent me to a 3-day class downtown, I had to scout out my lunch spots. And then there was Kita no Donburi right across from the campus (I was at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue).

Let me first start by saying, it’s weird to eat alone. I don’t like sitting by myself and all I have is my phone, emails and social media. Occasionally I like to chat with my dining companion too, you know. Not having made any friends in class just yet, I had to eat alone at Kita no Donburi.

Food

On the first day, I ordered the Chanko Don. It caught my eyes right away on the menu because it just had everything – beef, chicken, prawn, tofu, enoki mushroom, shitake mushroom – all ingredients I love! And it came with a miso soup. It was a satisfying rice bowl. It had some nice umami flavours from the combination of tempura sauce and seafood dressing – it was sweet, it was salty, it had a hint of seafood/seaweed. The beef was the shabu shabu kind, so it was thinly sliced, which helped soak in the flavour from the sauces. It’s really fun to eat because every spoonful gave me different combination of ingredients (it would drive Mr. crazy though, as he likes having a little bit everything in one bite). What would make this even better would be a soft pouched egg, so I would stir in the runny egg yolk into the rice bowl. That would be soooo good!

Chanko Don

I returned the next day, and tried something else. The Chicken Karaage (appetizer version) was a decent portion. (more…)

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We were invited to go on a tour to check out the various Donnelly Group properties and their Dine Out Vancouver menu. Executive Chef Alvin Pillay has recently returned to the company group, and he’s quite proud of the menus that he’s put together. Ten of the Donnelly Group properties are offering similar items. Specifically, there are 6 core items that can be found at all these locations, which we tried on this tour, along with their respective beverage pairing. Each Donnelly Group location also offers an additional entree option on their Dine Out menu.

Food

Our first stop was at The New Oxford, where we tried the two appetizers.

The Curried Parsnip Soup could definitely warm you up on a chilly winter day. The curry spices really came through; I could taste a lot of ginger. Soup was creamy, and the roasted apple offered some texture in contrast. Suggested wine pairing is the Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris. The apple note in the white wine was a great match with the soup.

Curried Parsnip Soup

The Winter Salad sounded and seemed simple, but there’s an interesting depth to it. The buttermilk sumac dressing brought tartness and spice, black sesame added some nutty flavours, and the Moroccan pita bread gave it some crunch. The 50th Parallel Riesling isn’t as sweet as a typical Riesling, which worked well with this light salad.

Winter Salad

Next, on a trolley, we were taken to The Blackbird Public House, right upstairs from Royal Dinette.

Bar at Blackbird

The first of the two core entrees was the Bangers & Mash.
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Peter is back for another guest post! If you don’t remember him, he’s a friend of mine from Toronto. I met him while he’s working in Vancouver, but he’s moved back home since. Recently he returned for a short visit, and made around town for some sushi:

Now that I no longer live on the West Coast, people always ask me what the number one thing is that I miss about Vancouver. And my answer is always: sushi!

So when I returned to Vancouver for a week-long visit this summer, naturally I spent a great deal of time hitting up all my favourite sushi spots.

Sushi King House

First stop on the tour was Sushi King House in the Granville-Marpole area. This was a favourite years ago, and due to its proximity to our hotel, it was a great choice for our first meal of the day. As the name may suggest, Sushi King’s claim to fame is its larger-than-average nigiri (had to eat it in two-bites!), maki, and cones. The must-order here is the chopped scallop (roll or cone). Definitely one of my favourite rolls, and this was the best I’ve had all week – cold, crisp, clean-tasting scallops lightly dressed with mayo and tobiko. And the rice was perfect too. Sushi King is also one of my favourite places to order toro. Beautiful slices of albacore tuna belly. Melt in your mouth, and very clean tasting. The first bite instantly had me contemplating a move back to Vancouver. This is an extremely casual, little gem of a restaurant. And the friendly service will keep you coming back – our server still recognized us (after four years!) and asked us why we haven’t been back in so long. We returned two more times that week!

Sushi King House

8176 Granville Street, Vancouver
sushikinghouse.com

Sushi King House on Urbanspoon

Bay Sushi Cafe

Later that afternoon we headed downtown to Bay Sushi Cafe. Known as “Sushi Bay” to its many regulars, this is a busy, casual, lunch-time spot located on Seymour Street, directly across from Hudson’s Bay. The winner here is the spicy tuna roll – made with avocado, a small amount of tenkasu (tempura bits), and I swear I tasted a hint of gochujang (Korean chili paste) in the mix. It’s by far my favourite spicy tuna in the city. The chopped scallop is also great here, and their salmon and tuna nigiri are consistently good. Mainly a lunch-time spot, Bay Sushi Cafe closes early at 7pm each day and is closed on Sundays. (And yes, we returned just before closing that night to get a second round of sushi to go!)

Bay Sushi Cafe

678 Seymour Street, Vancouver
baysushicafe.com

Bay Sushi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar

This was a new one for me. Having never been to Commercial Drive, my friend offered to take me to his favourite (and what looks to be the busiest) sushi place on the Drive. We headed out for lunch on the day of the World Cup final, and despite the lack of a TV, Kishimoto was packed. (more…)

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For her birthday, I took MaMa Lam out for a fancy dinner. Market has been on her list for quite some time now, so that naturally became our destination. It was a very nice restaurant, lots of natural sunlight from the windows, modern and spacious.

Market by Jean-GeorgesMarket by Jean-Georges

Food

These days you don’t get Bread Basket at a lot of places now, so it was a welcomed addition to our table. It was warm, with a nice crust while not breaking your teeth. And there was plenty to share between the two of us.

Warm Bread

For appetizers we decided to share half a dozen of Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell. Initially we were told that Kusshi, our favourite, was on the list, but turns out it was a mistake so our server suggested another one similar to kusshi, Malpeque from PEI. Haha the name reminds me of the Malbec wine. It was quite good; creamy like kusshi, but missing the natural sweetness. Still prefer kusshi overall.

Oysters on the Half Shell

As for entrees, Mama Lam ordered one of her favourite fish, Roasted Sablefish. It was flaky, nicely seared with a crispy exterior, with a chili scallion sauce that had a bit of heat. (more…)

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