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Posts Tagged ‘gnocchi’

Did you know WildTale’s Dine Out menu is only $30 this year? When my family and I went there for Dine Out last year it was $40! I was invited to a preview of this year’s menu and I was curious to see how it has changed.

Turns out there are a couple repeating items on the menu, which makes this $30 menu a pretty good deal.

Food

One of the repeating items is the WildTale Seafood Chowder. Well, it’s not entirely the same as last year’s, but the idea is there. The chowder was the most memorable appetizer last year, and this year’s chowder was my favourite appetizer on the menu. It was rich, creamy, flavourful – and the corn and crab fritter was nice and crispy, adding some texture to the soup.

WildTale Seafood Chowder

If you look for something lighter in the appetizer, either the Organic Beets & Watercress salad or the Albacore Tuna Carpaccio would make a great option. I love beets, so any beet salad could easily win my heart. These beets were sweet, balanced by the hint of bitterness in watercress. It’s missing some tang and acidity, though – I love me some goat cheese in my beet salad. (more…)

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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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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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Continuing our journey from Part 1 of the Dishcrawl West End tour, we kept on heading eastward from Hida Takayama Ramen and arrived at the door of Forage Restaurant. You would remember my interview with its Executive Chef, Chris Whittaker, a couple of weeks ago, so yes, I did know ahead of time that we would be coming here for a tasting trio. I was quite looking forward to this stop.

Forage Restaurant

Forage Restaurant

Forage Restaurant (1300 Robson Street)

Once again, each table is given three full-size plates to share. First of all, the Nettle Gnocchi with Brown Butter was very good. It’s slightly crispy on the outside, and pillowy inside. The brown butter added extra richness, savouriness and nutty taste to the dish. I don’t eat gnocchi often, but other ones I’ve had tend to be more doughy, whereas this one seemed to have more potato content. It’s almost like pan-fried mashed potato balls.

Nettle gnocchi with brown butter

Nettle gnocchi with brown butter

True to its Farm-to-Table and seasonal concept, the next dish features the Foraged Mushrooms that are currently in season. This is a very simple dish, but that’s also the best way to let the ingredients shine in their own light. (more…)

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