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Posts Tagged ‘scallops’

West Oak recently celebrated its 5th anniversary in the Yaletown neighbourhood. As a follow-up, Areta, Alice (Double A!) and I were invited to a hosted dinner at the restaurant. I’ve been here a couple of times beforehand, one of which was an evening out with a few of my girlfriends a few years ago.

Disclosure: This meal was provided to me complimentary of the restaurant. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Food

We got a sneak peek of some of their new cocktails (from left):

New Cocktails at West Oak

The Aperol Spritzer Mimosa is their new take on the classic brunch cocktail. This is available only during brunch, but the restaurant made one for us to try. Aperol, prosecco, fresh juice (orange, grapefruit, etc.) — it was juicy, citrusy, fizzy, refreshing. Great for a patio brunch. There’s no reason a mimosa fan wouldn’t enjoy this.

Tiffany Blue could become a local IG sensation. The Ciroc Apple came through and gave it some tartness, almost face puckering. You can really taste the apple here. The addition of edible silver makes it sparkle like a precious piece of jewelry.

Tiffany Blue

The last cocktail, at the time this was written, hasn’t been named. It just had a nickname “Green Thumb“. It had gin, elderflower liquer, basil, cucumber. It reminded me a bit of mojito – it’s light and crisp, and herbaceous.

Then, we dove into dinner, with a couple of appies to share. (more…)

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Imagine you arrived at a restaurant where the exterior was all wrapped up so you couldn’t see the inside, and all you could see was the LED marquee sign by the door. Then, as you were led into the restaurant the interior décor made you feel like you entered a night club, and you started thinking to yourself, what the heck did I get myself into?!

0755 Restaurant & Lounge0755 Restaurant & Lounge

That’s kind of how I felt when I went to 0755 Restaurant and Lounge in Richmond. As part of the Chopstick Fest preview, a few of us were invited to sample the menu of this restaurant. Frankly I didn’t know what to expect even by the time we were seated inside.

0755

According to the menu, 0755 is an area code in Shenzhen. It symbolizes that the restaurant menu is inspired by the food culture of this city in Southern China.

Food

And we were all pleasantly surprised. We tried a number of savoury items and there were many high points. Some of my favourites were:

Sour Jellyfish Head – Jellyfish head is actually the edge of a piece of jellyfish, so it has a crunchier texture that regular jellyfish. Because it didn’t have much flavour on its own, it really took up the black vinegar and chili pepper in the marinade. It’s quite refreshing and the sourness helped whet your appetite.

Sour Jellyfish Head

Garlic Steamed Scallop – This is one of my favourite ways to prepare fresh scallops. It reminds me of my visit back to Hong Kong where we had a big seafood feast in Tuen Mun. The fresh scallops would be steamed on the half shell with a garlic sauce. If you are a garlic fan, you would really enjoy the prominent garlic flavour. It’s light, but luxurious at the same time.

Garlic Steamed Scallop

Braised Spot Prawns – I usually prefer lighter sauces for spot prawns so I could taste their natural sweetness, but this dish really surprised me.

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While we were in the Okanagan, of course Hester Creek wasn’t the only winery we visited. On this trip, we ventured out to Summerland, specifically the Bottleneck Drive area, and we discovered Evolve Cellars.

Evolve Cellars was open in 2015 and above the tasting room is e, its dining room. Simple decor – white wall, white table cloth, with big window panes overlooking a gorgeous view of its vineyard and Lake Okanagan. Bryan, Kathryn, Mr. and I made a lunch reservation prior to getting there, and we’re patting our back for making a good choice.

View of Evolve Cellars

Food

e’s lunch menu is quite interesting. I like that they incorporate their wine into many of the dishes. We shared a few appies, including the Seared Scallops. There was nice caramelization on one side of the scallops, the scallops were cooked to the right temperature, tender and sweet. The roasted corn salsa gave it some smokey flavours and crunch. For us, they were served on a spoon and it made a perfect bite (Mr. really liked it, because he always wants “a bit of everything in each bite”).

Seared Scallops

The Bruschetta was probably my least favourite appetizer. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite good.

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WildTale is owned by the same company behind the three Flying Pig restaurants, which have solid reputation of consistent, quality food. Since its opening last year, I’ve been to WildTale three times. First, I took my bridesmaids there after the wedding last summer, as a thank-you for their help; then, my family and I went there for Dine Out just this past January (a table of 8!). And now, I was invited by the restaurant to try some of its menu items. It’s hard to believe it’s taken three visits before a blog post about this restaurant. They say three times a charm?!

Food

This modified Seared Togarashi-Crusted Ahi Tuna was a great start to the dinner. I actually had the regular version last summer with my bridesmaids. The major different between this and the regular version was the mango & herb puree and the sweet soy reduction drizzle. The puree added some herbaceous freshness to the dish, while the sweet soy reduction provided a nice sweetness (kind of like an elevated teriyaki sauce). This was the only plate that was a modified version of a regular menu item.

Seared Togarashi-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Ahi tuna tends to be on the milder side when it comes to flavour, so the togarashi spice crust gave it some heat, and it was balanced nicely with the sweet mango salsa. This was a very tropical plate.

As suggested by the name, the Salmon Trio included three preparations of salmon – cured, tartare, and smoked nugget.
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Even though I work in downtown Vancouver, I don’t usually get to enjoy Happy Hour. Generally runs 3-6pm, by the time I get off work, and I don’t leave work right at 5pm on the dot, it would be near the tail-end of Happy Hour or worse, I would miss it completely. Luckily for me, Rodney’s Oyster House offers its Happy Hour menu on Saturday, and my girlfriends and I checked it out as part of a birthday celebration.

Food

With the 4 of us, we went through most of its Low Tide (aka Happy Hour) menu. First, we ordered a dozen of Raw Oysters to start. They were $1.50 each Fanny Bay oysters. The sizes were pretty consistent, maybe with a couple that were slightly smaller. The taste was light and crisp, not creamy. We ordered another half-dozen afterwards.

Raw Oysters

The Raw Oysters came with a number of sauces, from mild to super hot, and it was quite fun to test our spice tolerance. Turns out I didn’t do so bad; I think I got to the 4th jar!

Sauces for Oysters

Next, there was an abundance of Steamed Clams! (more…)

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In Vancouver, there is no shortage of fine dining options to celebrate your special occasions. The suburb, is a different story. Last year, Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam revamped its restaurants and introduced Stake, a fine dining establishment focused on sourcing local products. I was there when it launched its menu in the Fall (here’s the proof – check out 0:45 and the hand model at 1:17 – I could be a YouTube sensation one day!) and was quite impressed. So to celebrate CC’s birthday, a few of us girls went there for dinner.

Food

The menu isn’t very big, but there are a few good options. We shared a few appetizers to start. The Signature Smoked Crispy Pork Belly was our favourite appy. The meat was tender, the fatty bits were rendered nicely. Perhaps the edges were a bit too charred but it didn’t have any burned taste.

Stake’s Signature Smoked Crispy Pork Belly

Even though the Albacore Tuna Tataki was a standard affair, I had to commend on the nice sear they’ve had on the fish. I liked the thick cut on the fish, so it gave you a bit of a bite. They could probably up the acidity in the sauce to help cut through the rich tuna.

Albacore Tuna Tataki

The Pan Seared Scallops were nicely caramelized on the outside, and just slightly rare inside. (more…)

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With different Japanese izakayas popping up around town, it’s been forever since I last visited a Guu location. I remember the Thurlow location was my very first izakaya that I’ve visited in Vancouver and it was such a unique experience: the screaming servers, the exchange of Japanese throughout the room and the long list of small plates that we could order. It was so much fun I took a visiting guest to Guu Garlic after. Now, years later, I’m back.

Food

Guu Garlic’s name came from the extra use of garlic at this particular location, and it still holds true to this day. With my girlfriends, we ordered a number of dishes. First, the Salmon Sashimi didn’t look super fatty at first, but it’s actually quite good. It tasted fresh and did have a bit of the fatty texture.

Salmon Sashimi

And so we had an encore of sashimi. The Assorted Sashimi included salmon, scallops and tuna tataki. Not very many pieces so I’m not sure if it’s the best value, but the scallops were sweet and the tuna tataki was skillfully thinly seared on the outside.

Assorted Sashimi

Funny enough, we also ordered the Tuna Tataki (when a bunch of hungry women blindly ordering food off a menu, there could be a lot of similar items lol). The difference here was that they made it more like a salad by including some greens, ponzu sauce and a generous serving of crispy garlic chips (remember I talked about the use of garlic? Proof #1). I prefer this iteration of tuna tataki, using the slightly acidic ponzu sauce, over the sashimi version with just soy sauce.

Tuna Tataki

The last raw dish was the Yellow Tail Carpaccio. The flavour of yellow tail (hamachi) is quite delicate, so the sauce was a bit too over-powering in my opinion. The garlic chips (Proof #2) and sliced onion were actually a bit sweet (though also a bit spicy) so they did work with this plate.

Yellow Tail Carpaccio

Ebi Mayo is my must-have at all izakayas. (more…)

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