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.

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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!

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Dine Out Vancouver: Diva at the Met

It’s Dine Out Vancouver time! This year I chose to go to Diva at the Met. I actually had no idea where the Met was before but it turns out that it’s right next to the Hotel Georgia and across from Four Seasons so it’s in a very convenient location. The restaurant has a separate entrance beside the hotel’s main entrance. The restaurant has 3 small levels separate by a few steps but it makes it feel rather grand when you’re walking to your table. I also got a great view of the open kitchen!

Diva at the Met

To start, we were served some complimentary bread with butter. The server said it was a whole grain bread and there was also an olive bread but I think they were all whole grain since they all looked the same to me. It was soft and served at room temperature.

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Christmas Lunch at Cafe Pacifica

For our annual company Christmas dinner, we decided to go for the buffet at Cafe Pacifica at the Pan Pacific Hotel. *I’m so fancy* haha okay just kidding but this is as fancy as my life gets.

We were seated by the windows which was nice except we were blocked by one of the “white sails” so we couldn’t see much beyond that but the space is nice with the floor to ceiling windows letting in lots of light. The restaurant is located on the second floor and the lunch buffet was $58/person. There were only 4 weekdays to choose from for this buffet so it was mostly catered towards company lunches. Needless to say, I was super excited! Also it’s free! Bwahaha Each person also received one of those festive cracker things where you pull it and a small gift pops out. I ended up with a green plastic carabiner keychain and it will probably sit around until I throw it out.

Mostly this will be a picture post since I can’t remember the super long food descriptions and I was busy pigging out … so without further ado!

Cafe Pacifica Christmas Buffet

Some sort of chocolate mousse cake. Cookies on the top tray.

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Chewie’s Steam and Oyster Bar

So I’ve been to Chewie’s for dinner a few times now so I thought I’d do a more comprehensive post! They have a new location near Coal Harbour that just opened this year.

Also, I tried my first raw oyster last month!!! =O *gasp* yes what kind of a food blogger am I anyway? I just wasn’t interested before and it didn’t look that appealing to me but it turns out they’re not bad! Yeah I don’t know why it took me so long to try them haha Chewie’s has a buck a shuck oysters from 3-6pm everyday!

Chewie's Steam and Oyster Bar

I can’t really say much about the oysters since I’m still new to them…

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The Fish Counter

While searching up new lunch places to visit, I came across the Fish Counter located on Main and 23rd. When we arrived around 1pm, the place was bustling with people getting take out or eating in the limited store space. Seating is extremely limited so be prepared to get take out. While waiting for my food I also noticed they sell their own home made sauces. In addition to prepared food such as salads and crab cakes, they also sell…well you guessed it! Fish.

The Fish Counter

They also have sturgeon! Not sure what that would taste like though. I debated between getting a sandwich or fish and chips since they both sounded good. The portions for the fish and chips looked really big too and I saw the fries were made from real potatoes.

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Tuc Craft Kitchen

My co workers and I went to Tuc Craft Kitchen for lunch after seeing their enticing menu. Basically everything looked good! We went on a week day and I was surprised that it wasn’t very busy at all. The restaurant also has a small upstairs section. The decor was really nice too with high ceilings and touches of wood. Classy but not too fancy? Okay maybe that’s just a Gastown thing now.

Tuc Craft Kitchen

This was the Chicken Dip Sandwich with Parsnip Fries. The chicken was super moist and tender and the house-made ranch and basil complimented the chicken well. The sandwich is already delicious on its’ own without the chicken consomme dip! The parsnip fries were thin but didn’t get soggy and it was served with their own coriander ketchup. The ketchup was interesting since it was not as thick as regular ketchup and maybe it was a bit sweeter? I’m not quite sure how to describe it but it’s an interesting twist on ketchup. I’ve never had parsnip fries before but they were good. Ok anything fried is good…

Tuc Craft Kitchen

We had all discussed this sandwich and it was a popular choice for sure! This was the Beef Brisket and Pork Crackling Sandwich with Smashed Potato Fries. That just sounds delicious already right? The sandwich was crunchy from the crackling and there were tender pieces of brisket interspersed in the sandwich. There was also some salsa verde and mustard in the sandwich and it reminded me of Meat and Bread a bit. The smashed potato fries were really just delicious fried pieces of potato. I think I preferred these to the parsnip fries though. This was also served with coriander ketchup.

Tuc Craft Kitchen

Guess what this is? It’s apparently called a “Runsas” and every day they have a different filling in it. On the day that I went, they had fried chicken and cheese which sounded pretty good when the server described it so I decided to try it. It also came with a cream of vegetable soup. The soup was good but I couldn’t tell what kind of vegetables were in it. It was not too heavy though. The pastry part of the runsas is supposed to be made of pizza dough and we all found it to be a bit doughy and dry. Maybe that’s why it was served with coriander ketchup? I was expecting more of a soft of chewy type of pastry.

Order the sandwiches guys!!! You won’t be disappointed. They were both awesome and I will totally come back for them. I would also like to try brunch and dinner now.

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Dine Out 2014: The Teahouse

For my second dine out I went to the Teahouse at Stanley Park located at Ferguson Point. I believe it was built in 1938 and then they added an “observatory” section which is made out of glass so there would be a nice view all around. Unfortunately for us it was dark already and probably the foggiest night I’ve ever seen… so there was no view that stretched more than 5 metres ahead of me. The dine out menu was $28. I had also considered going to the Fish House which is also at Stanley park but their dine out menu is $38. However, the Teahouse does offer a $38 menu as well in the form of “upgrades”. So for your entree you can choose a sable fish or tenderloin instead.

The TeahouseWe were offered complimentary bread and butter. The bread was served warm and it was fairly standard.

The TeahouseThe Tuscan Salad with sherry vinaigrette, shallots and pumpkin seeds was a light appetizer and I liked the nutty flavour that the pumpkin seeds added.

The TeahouseThe Tomato Soup was served with goat cheese and I can’t comment much on this since I’ve hardly ever had tomato soup but I did like it.

The TeahouseWe also had the Stuffed Mushrooms with crab, shrimp and cream cheese. There was also an additional layer of cheese on top of the cream cheese. Now I have to say that I’m not a fan of mushrooms but I’ve heard a lot about stuffed mushrooms so I was willing to try them at least once! I mean I do eat mushrooms but I can’t say I like them. The crab and shrimp were pretty much lost in the warm cream cheese mixture. I wished that they had used larger mushrooms though. I mostly tasted the cream cheese so I did not mind eating these mushrooms. Also they seem incredibly easy to make yourself!

The Teahouse

The Slow Braised Lamb Shanks with roasted chickpeas was really tender! I don’t think it tasted gamey and the meat came off the bone really easily. Also the portion was quite large. The server explained that the lamb had come from New Zealand or something and was organic or specially raised…something like that.

The TeahouseThe Duck Confit with fig demi-glace. The skin of the duck was really crispy and the duck didn’t have that much fat. There was also a side of something like mashed potatoes but it was green… it was delicious though! There was also one piece of tomato which seemed kinda random. The fig demi-glace tasted really weird to me and I just didn’t like the flavour. I wish they had used something else instead. Or I just don’t like fig. There was also some broccolini but the ones I had at the Oakwood were much tastier. These were kinda bland but still alright. I think the duck confit I had at West Restaurant was better.

The TeahouseThe Raspberry Sorbet was full of raspberry flavour and not in a sour way. Well I like sour so it was fine to me!

The TeahouseThe Shortbread Lemon Bar with coconut macaroon and almond brittle was actually a tart. The macaroon was airy and filled with coconut. The tart had a layer of meringue and then lemon underneath. It also wasn’t too sour and I loved how there were two different textures going on. The tart part wasn’t that buttery though and it didn’t taste like shortbread to me. The almond brittle was crunchy!

I enjoyed my meal here but it didn’t blow me away. The service was very attentive though. The music was a bit loud though and it seemed more appropriate for a lounge. I’m sure it would be even better in the summer with a nice view of the water! I think the location and ambiance would make a return trip worthwhile.

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Dine Out 2014: The Oakwood

The Oakwood has been on my list of restaurants to try for a long time now and after going to Fable last month I decided that this was the perfect chance to try the Oakwood. The Oakwood’s dine out menu this year is pork themed!

The Oakwood

The OakwoodFor one of the appetizers we had the Smoked Seafood Chowder with oyster crackers. The flavour from the bacon was strong and someone at the next table said that it was too salty but I thought it was okay.

The OakwoodI had the Pork Terrine with maple cauliflour puree, pickled shallots and rye soil. I also got a piece of free oyster cracker because the server said it fell in but that’s ok! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this but the pork was really pressed together. My friend commented that it reminded him of spam hahaha… but not as salty but the shape was similar! I think it was just a little bland to me but the pickled shallots helped. You’re probably wondering what rye soil is and I forgot the description but it really tasted like a bunch of cookie crumbs? I think the seafood chowder was the better appetizer in this case.

The Oakwood

For my main I had the Porchetta with garlic broccolini, dijon spatzle and carmelized onion puree. I couldn’t taste the carmelized onion puree which was basically used to decorate the plate. The spatzle which I’ve never tried before was really good! It was crunchy but kinda soft in some parts? Sorry I just realized this is a terrible picture… but anyway the porchetta was on the dry side and not as tender as I’d expected. I was thinking it would be like the porcchetta from Meat and Bread. That is probably my only experience with porchetta. The skin was also really hard and not crispy and crunchy it was just hard and I didn’t eat it. The fatty parts were good though of course and the portion was quite big.

The Oakwood

The other enticing item on the menu was the Sable Fish with confit pork shoulder, pork rinds, lentils and carrot. The sable fish was melt in your mouth soft and very flaky. This was a great choice! =D

The table beside us ordered the pork crackling separately and man was it crunchy and crackly!

The OakwoodThis was the Creme Caramel with cranberry gel and shortbread in the shape of the maple leaf! Very Canadian. The texture was really smooth and soft and pudding-like. I thought it would be more solid? It was light and tasty though and slightly sour from the cranberry.

The OakwoodI had the Chocolate Mousse with coffee crunch. It was cute that they served their desserts in mason jars. The mousse was light but still rich in chocolatey flavour and the coffee crunch on top tasted familiar but I’m not sure what it was… It was a light and airy kinda crunch it reminded me of eating cereal or popcorn. Both desserts were good in their own way.

Okay so I guess there were some hits and misses for me but it was still a good experience and I would love to try their regular menu sometime.

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Finally at Fable Kitchen!

I finally made my way to Fable Kitchen!!! *happy dance* I’ve just heard so much about this place and it has tons of good reviews. We just managed to get a table at the bar since we didn’t make a reservation and by 6pm that was the only spot left. Not that I really minded since we got a good view of the cooks preparing all the food.

Fable KitchenWe started off with the Roast Beet Salad. I’m not a huge fan of beets and I don’t eat them often but these were pretty good. They had that texture that made them seem sort of pickled, not too soft or too crunchy so the texture was a nice addition of the greens. There were also some crunchy rice bits on top and there just was enough vinaigrette.

Fable Kitchen We also ordered the featured appetizer of the day which was Pork Croquettes with some apple puree. The server had described the pork as something like pulled pork and I was imagining the pulled pork in sandwiches but this was completely different. It was more like really soft minced pork almost like the kind you would see in a dumpling but it wasn’t in a uniform lump and the filling was really soft and smooth inside.

Fable KitchenThis was the Weathervane Scallops and Bacon with cauliflower, fennel and anchovy pesto. I tried one and it tasted a bit creamy and the pesto was noticeable while the thick cut bacon complemented it nicely. I have a weakness for bacon hehehe and I have no idea what that thing on top is…

Fable KitchenI had the Duck Breast with cranberries, sauteed cabbage and perogies.  I didn’t think perogies could be paired with duck breast but it worked. This was the best duck breast ever!!! Which might not be saying much since I don’t eat duck breast all the time… but it was still the best to me! It was cooked to medium-rare and still very moist and easy to chew. It actually didn’t have too much fat and the only seasoning was from the skin. THIS WAS SO GOOD. The perogies had a really soft filling and a slightly crunchy exterior. I just love everything on this dish.

Fable Kitchen On to the desserts! We got a few to share. Yay! This was the Mascarpone Cheesecake with chai caramel, dried apple and almond brittle. This was a very light cheesecake and it wasn’t too sweet so it’s a good choice if you’re not big on desserts but you still want some.

Fable KitchenWe also ordered the Lemon Meringue Parfait with tarragon ice cream and streusel. It’s a very big and impressive looking dessert! The meringue was nice and light and then there was a scoop of tarragon ice cream underneath. I’m not sure what tarragon is suppose to taste like but it was ice cream so it was enjoyable either way! The streusel at the bottom made the dessert a bit crunchy. My friend thought it was a bit too sour and wished there was more ice cream. I like lemon so it was alright for me. After everything from all the layers was mixed up it was hard to see what I was eating so I’m sorry if this isn’t too accurate!

Fable Kitchen

This was my favourite dessert! S’mores with brownie, peanut butter ice cream tooped with lots of marshmallow. First of all this was chocolatey and the brownie was nice and soft and then the ice cream was really good too. The half melted marshmallow layer on top sealed the deal! I just love all the layers in this and you really need to dig in to get some of everything! I didn’t find that it was too sweet either except I didn’t eat the whole thing so that might be why.

I totally have to come back! :D I think getting to try 3 desserts in one night was the best part. Also the DUCK BREAST! I’m sure their other entrees are wonderful too or so I’ve heard.

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