Dine Out Vancouver: The Sandbar

The Sandbar actually extended their Dine Out menu to Feb. 8th which was when I went with my friends. Yeah it’s a little late to be posting it but you can always check it out next year! The restaurant actually has three floors and they also had a live pianist sing and play after a certain time that night which was really nice. It really added to the ambiance which was the dark and candle lit kind.

The Sandbar

We started off with some warm Complimentary Bread. It looks like a lot but it was for five people.

The Sandbar

This was the House Made Clam Chowder, a popular starter dish at the table. I tried some of this and it was rich and creamy! Not that much clam though.

The Sandbar

I had the Wok Charred Albacore Tuna with wasabi aioli, crispy wontons and pickled ginger. The tuna was lightly seared and crusted with sesame on the sides which gave it a slight nutty flavour. The tuna was really soft and almost melted in your mouth but the wasabi aioli could’ve had more of a kick to it. I avoided the crispy wontons though since they don’t usually taste like much. Wish there was more tuna though!

The Sandbar

This was the Raspberry Lemonade (not part of the dine out menu). Actually not very sour despite the ingredients in this! I thought it was well balanced and tasty.

The Sandbar

This was the Seafood Hot Pot with salmon, snapper, clams, mussels, prawns, scallop, and red coconut curry. Didn’t try this but we ordered extra complimentary bread so my friend could dip it in the sauce!

The Sandbar

This was the Wood Grilled Steelhead Salmon with tomato fennel broth, coconut jasmine rice and bok choy. Whenever I see bok choy, it makes the dish feel a lot more Asian! I could really taste the wood flavour in the skin of the salmon and it was a pleasant interesting flavour. The salmon was also not over cooked! It was moist and flaky and I could taste the wood flavour occasionally. I felt that the tomato fennel broth was a bit weak though and the rice felt too broken up.

The Sandbar

The more popular entree was the Braised Lamb Shank with rosemary, red wine, garlic mashed potatoes, and market vegetables. The lamb was very tender and fell off the bone easily while the mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery. I wish I had ordered this instead! But I was trying to be different…

The Sandbar

For dessert, here we have the Lemon Cheesecake with raspberry coulis. There was just enough lemon flavour present and you can taste the creaminess of the cheesecake. The cheesecake didn’t actually feel that heavy.

The Sandbar

This was the Chocolate Oatmeal Brownie served with a creme anglaise. The brownie was chocolatey and moist but may be too sweet for some.

The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Yew Seafood and Bar <3

For Valentine’s day, I decided to go all out with my boyfriend by having dinner at Yew Seafood and Bar. They had a 4 course set dinner for $89. Yes that’s an exorbitant amount to me too. BUT IT WAS SO GOOD!!! (I’m a crazy person…) Read on to find out more (or just look at the pictures)!

Yew Seafood and Bar

Here was the menu! It was a 4 course menu but we both get the milk bun and then for the other 3 courses you get to choose what you want. I like how they named each course! Very appropriate.

Yew Seafood and Bar

First we started with some complimentary savoury scones: Smoked Salmon and Cheddar and Chive. Both flavours were flaky and warm and buttery!!! The smoked salmon was my favourite although it was a tad salty. These might be some of the best scones I’ve had! I knew the meal was off to a good start. =)

Yew Seafood and Bar

This was the Milk Bun with a haskap berry ham, tiger blue cheese and hazelnuts. The milk bun actually didn’t have much flavour by itself. I was expecting it might be sweet like a Chinese bun but that was ok since the blue cheese was very strong! This might actually be the first time I’ve had blue cheese and it felt a bit overwhelming for me. I thought about eating this like a sandwich but decided to just eat the two halves of the bun separately with the blue cheese.

I think the haskap berry jam was suppose to help balance it out but I probably needed a lot more jam! I’m not even sure what a haskap berry is… Nonetheless it was an interesting creation and if you like blue cheese, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it more than me. Funny thing is, this course is called the “Flirtation” and it turns out flirting with blue cheese doesn’t work on me.

Yew Seafood and Bar

For the first course “Temptation”, my boyfriend had the Black Pearl Oysters with northern divine caviar served with a dollop of creme fraiche. These were so remarkably fresh and tasty it didn’t even feel like I was eating an oyster!!! I can’t even describe the flavour going on here it was kind of acidic from the lemon juice and slightly salty. I’m not an oyster expert since I actually only had my first raw oyster last year. Yes I don’t know why it took me so long! The caviar is a nice touch but I don’t think I’ve learned to appreciate it yet since it didn’t actually taste like anything… or did it contribute the salty flavour? I have no idea.

For my first course, I had the Outlandish Scallops with kelp and sea lettuces and lime vinaigrette. I was so busy taking pictures of the oysters I forgot to take a picture of my own dish. FAIL. =_______= Anyway I will try to describe it for you. There were 3 medium sized scallops cooked to medium and they sat in a cauliflower puree. The scallops had a nice seared flavour on the outside and it was a bit salty and you can taste a bit of the lime vinaigrette. The inside was still slightly firm and pinkish. The cauliflower puree was very smooth.

Yew Seafood and Bar

My boyfriend had the Maple Apple Cider Glazed Kurobuta Pork Chop with wild mushroom composition and truffle jus. Based on the description, we were not expecting such a large and thick cut of pork chop! It even had the bone in. Our server let us know beforehand that the inside would be slightly pink due to the nature of the pork chop and we were fine with that. From the two bites I had, it was a bit on the chewier side for me even though at this angle it looks like there should be enough fat on the pork chop for it to not be chewy. Also, I thought kurobuta pork was suppose to be really soft but I’m not sure.

Yew Seafood and Bar

For my main, I had the Red Miso Glazed Sable Fish with butter milk potatoes and cloud berries. I love sable fish so this was the perfect dish for me. The fish was perfectly cooked and very flaky. I wasn’t sure what red miso is suppose to taste like but the glaze made the edges of the fish slightly crispy which was nice. The butter milk potatoes were notably smooth and creamy. They also had a sweet chili type of sauce on the side of the dish. Not sure what the crispy chips were but they were a nice touch and provided some contrast to the smooth silky fish. I loved every bite of this! It was just so juicy and moist! I was undeniably infatuated! ;)

Yew Seafood and Bar

Finally we have dessert, “Sweet Enough for Two”; dessert is my favourite part of any meal! Yes I still had room for this. I loved the beautiful plating here and I was practically drooling as our server described each dessert. In fact I wanted to jump in before he finished talking haha I really appreciate how they take the time to describe every dish though! I wish more servers/restaurants did this.

On the left we have the Chocolate Bambolini with red velvet ice cream. The bambolini is a type of Italian doughtnut cream puff with powdered sugar on the outside and cream on the inside. The main attraction was the raspberry coulis covered chocolate pate surrounded with chocolate cookie crumble. The chocolate pate was rich and creamy like a mousse but heavier? It was very chocolatey! The red velvet ice cream had red velvet cake crumbs in it and helped make the dessert less sweet. At the back of the dish there is also an edible candied rose petal which tasted like sugar basically.

On the right we have the Passion Fruit and Vanilla Vacherin with lychee sorbet on a candied rose petal. I’m glad we had the Chocolate Bambolini first because this dessert refreshed our palates after. The frozen dessert was basically like ice cream so it was cold vanilla cream on the bottom and a very intensely flavoured passion fruit sorbet? on top. I forgot what it is but it’s similar to the sorbet but more dense and creamy? Then the top was decorated with cream and a meringue stick. The cold tart flavours were absolutely refreshing after the sweet chocolate dessert! The ball of lychee sorbet was also very flavourful and tasted exactly like eating real lychee.

DESSERT WAS DIVINE. *DROOLS*

These desserts were just the perfect way to end the night! The desserts were so good I couldn’t stop gushing about them and I’m pretty sure the tables besides us were looking at me weirdly… I don’t fine dine very often so this was all new and exciting to me! We also devoured dessert really fast!

Yew Seafood and Bar

But wait! There’s more!!! We were also served complimentary heart shaped shortbread cookies after. These were adorable! They were buttery with a hint of lemon in the icing. I was waaay too full at this point so I just had a few bites of my cookie. When the server brought it over he was like “You don’t need to chase the crumbs off [the dessert plate]!” *BLUSHES* I was trying to eat the rest of the cookie crumble hehehe ^^” I was really stuffed though! It was basically a five course meal + cookies. My wallet and waistline probably hate me.

This is the most expensive dinner I’ve ever paid for in my entire life but I feel like it was worth it for the fantastic food and service! On the other hand, I can’t afford to do this often so this is probably going to be a once a year experience for me but it was really good!!! Our water glasses were filled constantly and service was very friendly. I highly recommend visiting at least once! Except I still haven’t tried their regular menu yet soooo guess it means I’ll be back!

Thanks for reading if you made it to the end of this post!

Yew Seafood & Bar on Urbanspoon

Original Joe’s Happy Hour

My co-worker suggested we hit up Original Joe’s for their happy hour (50% off certain appetizers from 3-6pm) and since I’ve never really gone anywhere for happy hour I thought it was a good idea. Original Joe’s is located above Starbucks on Broadway and Cambie and the entrance is next to La Taqueria. I never really thought about visiting before since it just didn’t look that exciting.

The restaurant is a sports bar with lots of TV’s and even a nice pool table at the back! There were lots of large comfy booth seats as well but the lighting is dim as with most bars/pubs. Not all appetizers are available for the happy hour promotion though although I can’t remember which ones are not available…

Original Joe's Happy Hour

We all agreed that we love Sweet Potato Fries so we had to order it. the fries were long and crispy on the outside but flavour wise it was really meh … they just felt a bit under seasoned and didn’t have that sweet potato flavour. It was disappointing since it is hard to screw up fries but these just tasted kinda weird. Just not the addictive fries I was hoping for. I believe we ordered the chipotle dip but I think they gave us the dill dip instead as evidenced by the dill pieces in the dip.

Original Joe's Happy HourThis was the Chili Lime Chicken which was breaded chicken tossed in a sweet chili sauce with lime, cucumber, crispy chow mein noodles and green onions. This dish was not bad since I really like the sweet chili sauce and it does feel a bit spicy after a few pieces.

Original Joe's Happy Hour

Next we also had the Calamari which came with a tzatziki sauce and also some breaded red peppers, onions and jalapeños. As far as calamari goes, this tasted extremely bland to me even though it looks good. The portion was a good size but it really lacked flavour and you need copious amounts of dip to help it out.

Original Joe's Happy Hour

I love wings so we couldn’t pass up the chance to order some! These were the BBQ Wings which were served with celery and carrots sticks and some ranch dip. The wings were not dry and had a decent amount of meat on them! It probably helped that the wings were coated in a wet sauce too. Each serving is 1lb and has about 8-10 wings.

Orignal Joe's Happy Hour

To further satisfy our wing cravings, we also had an order of Sweet Chili Wings as well! It came with the same sides and the wings were also the same quality as above.

So my favourite items were the wings and then the Chili Lime Chicken. For the happy hour price of $5-6 I can’t really complain about anything. It’s a cheaper chain restaurant so nothing amazing here but I would pass on the calamari and sweet potato fries … Our server wasn’t exactly friendly but she was efficient for sure.

Original Joe's Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thyme to Indulge Catering and Bistro

Thyme to Indulge is such a cute name for a restaurant. They seem like they’re known for their brunch but I just went for a late lunch. The space is whimsically decorated and they even sell  many flavours of macarons in a display case. Not sure how good they are though…

Thyme to Indulge Catering and Bistro

We explored their menu online before showing up and we saw The Jerk which sounded interesting. The online menu never mentioned that it was a sandwich though and also didn’t say that it came with fries or salad so we were pleasantly surprised. The sandwich consisted of roasted jerk chicken, grilled pineapples, avocado and guava chutney with a house made aioli sauce. I believe I’ve only had jerk chicken once before and that was at the Caribbean Festival and it was more heavily seasoned and grilled. This roasted version was almost on the dry side. There were bursts of sweetness from the grilled pineapple that helped keep the flavour interesting though. The bun was soft but unremarkable. I don’t know my bread but it might’ve been brioche? Anyway, I wouldn’t really recommend this sandwich and I was expecting a bit more from it.

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White Spot

I ended up eating lunch at like 3pm and ended up going to White Spot at Oakridge since it was convenient and also they have happy hour from 3-6pm so I thought I’d take advantage of that. Also I saw pictures of their new burger guest stars on Instagram and they looked good.

Unfortunately we did not end up picking appies that qualified for happy hour because a) I can’t read the menu obviously and b) even though I checked with the server and she was like yup yup it turned out that it was a nope nope >.> so we ended up feeling ripped off after and I could’ve ordered other stuff that was more worth the money.

White Spot

This was the Crispy Three Cheese Ravioli filled with mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheese and served with arrabiata sauce. The ravioli were fried and cheesy inside but tasted mostly doughy and all the different cheeses they used didn’t seem to have much of an impact.

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Joey’s Broadway

My friend decided to have her birthday dinner at Joey’s and I remember a few years ago I also had my birthday dinner here too and it was alright. Apparently they only take 20% reservations and the rest of the space is for walk in customers.

Joey's BroadwayWe started off by sharing some Yam Fries with Truffle Lemon Aioli and grated Grana Padano cheese on top. The fries were good but the acidity from the lemon aioli just didn’t go well with the yam fries but it sounds good in theory. The presentation on the wire basket as also cute.

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Portland Trip: Mother’s Bistro and Bar

While I was researching on Urbanspoon, I read about Mother’s Bistro and Bar located downtown. The location was convenient for us to visit and the pricing seemed reasonable and the reviews were pretty good too so I put it on my to-eat list. They focus on home cooking just like your mom made it. The restaurant had large floor to ceiling windows so it was nice and bright inside. They also have a lounge section and a restaurant section. It looked a bit vintage but classy?

Mother's Bistro and Bar

We started off with a large basket of bread and butter. I have no idea what kind of bread this was but the pieces were huge! Despite not being warm, they were still very soft and buttery. This would fill you up for sure!

Mother's Bistro and Bar

House salad

Mother's Bistro and Bar

This was the Mom’s Meatloaf and Gravy with smashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. They really don’t skimp on the gravy! I thought it made the meatloaf taste more salty.

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Turducken Sandwich at Meat and Bread

Meat and Bread is famous for their porchetta sandwiches but they also have a special Turducken sandwich just for Christmas! It was only available on Dec. 23 and 24. On the 23rd my co workers and I went at around 12pm and there was already a huge lineup so we decided to pass and come back the next day before they opened. We expected a line up but not one that went around the corner from their store! Going earlier the next day worked in our favour but we still had to line up for about half an hour. We were standing outside and we could smell the deliciousness inside already. I think I’ve become more of a sandwich person this year.

So what is a Turducken??? It’s chicken stuffed in duck stuffed in turkey. Yes that’s a lot of stuffing.

Turducken Sandwich Meat and Bread

Turducken Sandwich Meat and BreadThe Turducken Sandwich has turducken, fried onion strings, stuffing gravy and cashew butter. It was super moist and flavourful and the gravy was a nice touch. It didn’t feel as fatty as the porchetta either and it was worth the wait! The ciabatta bun was crispy on the outside but still chewy. We were trying not to over hype the sandwich and disappoint ourselves haha If you’re a fan of Meat and Bread you should consider trying their turducken next year! I think the limited availability makes it even more desirable. I mean if you wait for half an hour you’re going to convince yourself it’s really great anyway psychologically speaking. But don’t worry it was good!

Meat & Bread on Urbanspoon

Tap and Barrel: False Creek

Last week I went for lunch with my co workers at the Tap and Barrel right by False Creek. It has a fantastic view of the water, Science World and BC Place Stadium on their patio. When we arrived around 1pm there was a long line but it turns out that it was for the patio. We didn’t really care where we sat as long as we were seated so we were seated relatively quickly. It was a beautiful day and it seemed like no one wanted to sit inside except us. There menu items were standard pub fare such as burgers and pizza and a couple of snacks. They also had a lot of beer of course and they said they don’t do pitchers.

Tap and Barrel I know this might sound weird to some of you… or a lot of you. But I had the PB&J Burger served with chipotle peanut butter and bacon jam. The peanut butter and bacon jam was actually quite tasty and smooth. On the other hand, I did not taste any chipotle or bacon though. Otherwise, the only issue I had was that the oil from the peanut butter made the burger a drippy mess and difficult to eat. However, the flavours went surprisingly well together. The sea salted fries on the side were came hot and crispy but many of the pieces I had were small and ended up being really crunchy when fried. They lacked the starchiness that fries are supposed to have. Although I enjoyed my burger despite the mess, the fries need to be improved. Guess what the crispy thing on top of the burger is? It’s actually a deep fried pickle! It was wonderfully crunchy and not sour at all. It was a LOT better than the deep fried pickles I had at the PNE.

Deep fried pickles

Deep fried pickles from the PNE

These were dill pickles and the batter was just really greasy and thick.

It was interesting that all the burgers were served in a shallow metal pan and covered with something similar to parchment paper. All my colleagues seemed happy with their food and the poutine burger seemed to be a hit. Despite the fact that we sat indoors, we still enjoyed the view through the open doors and large windows in every direction.

Tap & Barrel on Urbanspoon

New Jethro’s Fine Grub: Pancake Coma

Jethro’s Fine Grub finally opened another location on 3455 Fraser St. and 19th. This location is pretty small too but not that many people know about it yet so there aren’t any crazy line ups (yet). It’s nothing fancy but they’re known for their large portions and supersized pancakes, I was here to try some. I knew I wouldn’t finish it but I get my bang for my buck if I can eat it for 2 days after right?

Jethro's Fine Grub FraserTada! Well here we are with the Gold Rush Pancakes. These pancakes are stuffed with caramel, pecans and struesel and a chunk of whipped butter (no that is not ice cream). O.O

Jethro's Fine Grub FraserThis was how much I ate. The pancakes were really thick and fluffy. Since the pancake on top was generously drizzled with caramel, I had no need to add syrup.  It wasn’t too sweet and the pecans gave it more texture. The streusel topping was rather large and chunky so I would have liked it better if it was like a finer sprinkle instead. I was so full after I ate half of one! This is meant to be shared for sure. For $12 and 2 days worth of meals though it’s a good deal! These are so big it barely fit into the takeout container and the server assured us that it would and she was right of course.

Jethro's Fine Grub Fraswer

The Denver Omelet is served with “Sauteed onions, peppers, maple smoked ham and cheese, hashbrowns and toast”. Unlike your traditional omelet, the egg was actually put on top of the filling. Suffice it to say, I was actually too full from my pancakes to try any of this. The toast and hashbrowns look typical though. My friend commented that there was too much egg compared to the filling. Otherwise he was super stuffed after.

If you don’t mind waiting in line for big portions for reasonable prices, come for brunch here instead of the Dunbar location (read my post here). This is probably a once a year kind of thing for me.

Jethro's Fine Grub on Urbanspoon