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Showing posts from January, 2013

Gross Dessert at The Reef (Dine Out Vancouver 2013)

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This year, for Dine Out Vancouver, I was determined to look for $18 options. I'd been eating out a lot in Yaletown and all sorts of high-end-ish places that I'd started to forget about value for money. Sure, I appreciate artistry and decor and location, but I wanted to focus on the food for a change. The Reef is a Caribbean restaurant decorated almost like a stereotyped Caribbean vacation spot. It's busy. And when the DJ is on, the music is very loud. The food is okay. Value for price is quite good -- would be better if the food were tastier, I think. While we were waiting for our third dining companion before making our dinner order, I asked for the Tasting Platter for two. What came was a huge plate that had us daunted about being able to finish dinner! For $16, you got about a half dozen wings, two fat prawns, a large bowl's worth of chickpea stew, and a lot of plantain chips. It's a big meal all on its own, and a light meal for two persons. For $16. For $1

Interesting things to see at Secret Location

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There are some places that are so different that you really ought to check it out, just for the experience. One such place is Secret Location . The concept of Secret Location is apparently not so alien in Europe as it is in Gastown, but over here it's a very different experience. There are two rooms to Secret Location: A store and a restaurant/bar. The store has all sort of oddities, from the actual items sold (like the intriguing Necono Digital Camera ) to the actual furnishings, like the wall shelf where a section looks like a paint spill. Many, if not all, of the items were selected with the intent that you probably couldn't find it anywhere else (anywhere else locally, anyway). The large restaurant area has a beautiful long lit-table bar, and a variety of seating styles, with small tables, larger ones, low tables, even sofa seating. If there's a clear theme, it's the colour white. Look around carefully and you might spot intriguing things such as an umbrella c

Small Portions at Nuba

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I'd been curious about Nuba for a long time, and finally made my way down there on Friday with a few foodie friends. The menu is mostly vegan, but that's if you go by the online menu. We went to the Gastown location, and the menu really is much bigger and features quite a lot of non-vegan items. The Gastown location is an interesting underground space. If you walk along the perimeter you can glimpse the kitchen prepping food (if you're into that sort of thing). Inside, it is a clean space (and a nice change from the dilapidated Gastown look in that area), with mostly tables but also a bit of bar seating as well. Try to get a reservation because it is perpetually busy. If you are sharing food but need separate bills (because of individual drinks, for example), they are able to split items into fractions if necessary. We were a party of six and we ordered a bunch of things to share. I'll only comment on what I remember of what we ate. Overall, it seemed that the food

Superb Dine Out Vancouver Value at Fray on Fraser

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This year for Dine Out Vancouver 2013, I was determined to do only $18 menus because, frankly, in previous years, the higher-priced menus didn't always equate to better value or more interesting food. I was super-pleased with Fray on Fraser 's $18 offering. INCREDIBLE VALUE. Am I allowed to say that again? INCREDIBLE VALUE. Full sized portions at almost 50% off. Maybe I've been eating downtown too often, but I felt like I was ripping them off paying only $18 for their Dine Out Vancouver menu. Fray on Fraser is a bit out-of-the-way at Fraser/24th, but very transit accessible being close to a major intersection and two useful bus routes, one of which connects to Brentwood Skytrain Station. On the inside, it looks like a diner, and has kid-friendly written all over it, with colour pencils and a sheet of connect-the-dots game on the table. Stacks of board games everywhere. Interesting posters on the wall. The game stuff isn't up everyone's alley, I'm su

Casting Call - "Come Dine With Me Canada"

I'm part of the Vancouver Food Bloggers Meetup, and recently got this interesting offer to be on television, on Come Dine With Me Canada ! If you feel you qualify, feel free to apply and good luck! * * * My name's Helen Manley and I’m a Casting Producer for the television show “Come Dine With Me”, W Networks number one dinner party competition. The show is a huge success and FINALLY we're on the search for creative foodies in Vancouver! For the show, 5 strangers will spend 5 days wining, dining and judging each others meals in the hopes of being designated "Host With The Most". Participants are given the chance to make a fantastic meal for their guests with a $300 budget. As a food enthusiast you probably know a lot of people who would be fantastic competitors. I'm hoping you yourself might be interested or you could help communication this opportunity to other great candidates. Below I've attached a casting call that can be easily forwarded on

Interesting tastes at Forage

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You can enter Forage from the street, but I recommend you go the long way around from the Listel Hotel lobby. Along what at first looks like a desolate utility corridor you will find some kooky artwork as well as the location of the clean and comfortable-feeling washrooms (saves you from asking the server later). When I was there last Friday for a 7pm dinner, the restaurant was very busy and buzzing with conversation, but the good spacing between tables helped with hearing my fellow diners. Our server suggested that for a group of 6+ persons (we were 7), the sharing-plate concept at Forage was best done by placing two orders of each type of dish to share. So for six persons, you would have maybe two plates each of three types of items. In addition to that, each person would then order their own main. Dessert to be figured out later. Normally I would have ordered something to share, but I had come to Forage specifically for three items I spotted on the menu and I wasn't sure

Large portions at Ap Gu Jung

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Like many places on Robson Street, the storefront is deceptive compared to the actual amount of seating inside. Ap Gu Jung has two levels, and they need it because they are really quite a busy place. Table access is a bit of a squeeze between seats and tables, however. If you are upstairs, you may have a bit of difficulty getting the attention of a server, so you may have to actually wave your hand at one. Try to ask for individual bills early. Also, you pay downstairs at the bar. If you are stuck with a group bill, you can pay individually by citing your seat and/or order number (it's listed on the bill). They can reprint one on the spot. Then, just tell them how much you are putting toward the bill. Service is probably fine if you're Korean, but if you're not, it can be tricky. Our trainee server (it said "trainee" on his name tag) was polite and patient, but there was clearly a language issue. This is not to say that it's their fault, since most of th

Still Serving Large Portions at Establishment Lounge

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It'd been a while since I was at Establishment Lounge , and the menu hasn't changed much, so I wouldn't normally have gone again having tried just about everything now, but I was seeing a friend who was going to be away for a year or so to study medicine in Australia, and Establishment was a safe choice of a great restaurant. She was only back in town for a short time, so I wanted to see her off with a great food experience. For excellent, interesting, tasty food I've found you really can't go wrong with Establishment. On top of that, for many items such as the soups, you can expect good quantity for your dollar. Chef Bonbo's Lobster Bisque ($10) creamy, rich lobster bisque infused with brandy, drizzled with lobster remoulade & orange vanilla crème fraîche This delicious soup comes with chunks of lobster big enough to be prawns. If you're not looking for a large meal but want to try more than just the soup, you can ask for it to be split into two

Quiet evening at Heirloom Vegetarian on New Years Day

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My vegetarian friend from the US had just the one day to run around with me in Vancouver, and somehow it ended up being New Years Day. The day when everyone's waking up late from hangovers and darn near everything is closed. Fortunately, not Heirloom so we actually had someone to go for dinner. They were open 10.30am to 3.30pm for brunch, and 5pm to 10pm for dinner. When we walked in at around 6pm, it was pretty quiet, but gradually the table side (on the right; bar seating spillover side on the left) filled up by around 6.15pm. Last time I went to Heirloom , it was pretty full so we ended up at the smaller tall tables with the tall bar stools. Not my favourite type of seating, I'd have to say, so I was happy I got a proper sit-down table this time. The menu had changed since the last time I was there, but a few items survived, such as the "Dips", although the "sangak chips" weren't so salty this time. My dining companion agonized over the menu choice

Big breakfast at Two Parrots Perch & Grill

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There aren't a lot of places open on New Year's Day for breakfast. Not a 10am brunch, but early morning breakfast. Like 8:30 am early. The open-early-close-late Two Parrots Perch & Grill was one of the few places open. It was actually nice to walk down a basically deserted Granville Street, and sit anywhere you like in a large pub. The only other patrons were a couple of people who seemed mostly interested in the soccer game on the televisions in Two Parrots Perch & Grill, and a handful of police officers. Everyone seemed to be regulars and knew the lone morning server by name. Whatever you may think of the seedy side of Granville Street, it's probably a pretty safe place to eat if it's frequented by cops! The decor inside has an understated rainforest theme that you will probably miss if you're not really looking around. What mostly jumps out at you is pub and sports bar. The menu is pretty plain, with lots of basically safe choices. For breakfast, I