2013 was a good year for my taste buds, maybe not so much for my pant size. Here’s some of my favourite meals from 2013!
Let’s see what 2014 puts on my plate!
2013 was a good year for my taste buds, maybe not so much for my pant size. Here’s some of my favourite meals from 2013!
Let’s see what 2014 puts on my plate!
Mosaic Bar & Grille has become one of my favourite places to eat in Vancouver since my first visit in early 2013. They’ve teamed up with VANEATS.ca again to bring you an affordable dining pass featuring some of Vancouver’s finest food. The 3 course Mosaic Harvest package is only $27 and gives you lots of choice including vegetarian options. Let’s check it out!
For starters you have a choice of 3 dishes;
The salad is fresh and has lots of interesting flavours and textures. Beets are amazing and they are the highlight of this delicious salad. The Salmon comes under a smoke filled dome which gives everything on the plate a nice hint of smoke and really enhances the aroma while you’re eating. The salmon is amazing, Skuna Bay salmon is great, and the mild smoke flavour really adds a nice touch to the greens. The Bisque is rich and flavourful, the apple adds a perfect acidity and tartness. All three dishes are top notch.
You also get to choose between 3 mains;
Again, all 3 dishes are outstanding. The vegetarian friendly curried cauliflower steak is so good… As I carnivore I would order this again without question. The curry flavour is mild and the firm texture of the cauliflower steak is wonderful. The Scallops are large, perfectly cooked, juicy and seasoned with just the right amount of salt. Add the prosciutto and figs and you have an almost perfect dish. I say almost perfect because the lamb is even closer to perfect. Sous vide lamb cooked a perfect medium rare, a rich demi glaze type sauce and bitter broccoli rabe all work together incredibly well. The perfect dish? Pretty damn close.
Dessert offers up two choices:
The Crème Brule surprised the heck out of me because, as most of you know, I despise “pumpkin favoured” things almost as much as I despise the texture of coconut. This dish, however, was really good! The spices normally associated with pumpkin flavour were subtle and well balanced with the sweetness of the caramelized sugar on top. Crème Brule is one of my favourite desserts so I’m sure that helped me with my pumpkin aversion. The cake is quickly becoming legendary amongst Vancouver chocoholics. 3 layers of dense, moist cake separated by rich chocolate filling, drizzled with chocolate and accompanied by fresh berries. One of the best pieces of cake in town.
Get you pass now at VANEATS.ca, limited availability.
Check out the #MosaicHarvest hashtag on Twitter to see what other bloggers are saying about this package and make sure you follow the uber talented Chef Thomas Heinrich, Hyatt Vancouver’s culinary El Capitan.
VANEATS.ca is at it again, this time teaming up with Rajio Public house in West Point Grey, a few doors west of Alma and West 10th. #rockinRAJIO is an $18 four course pass at the latest restaurant from the same folks that run Kingyo and Suika, 2 of my favourite places to eat in Vancouver. What does your $18 get you?
The first thing to arrive at my window side table was a bowl of complimentary oiled cabbage salad with a miso dressing, a nice starter and much better than the usual “green salad” that accompanies cheap sushi bento boxes.
The first dish from the pass to arrive was the cold tapas. I chose Tako Wasabi, chopped raw octopus and pickles marinated in a wasabi based sauce. The octopus came in a small dish with rectangular pieces of nori on the side. This dish had an intense wasabi heat but it was right up my alley. I took a little of the Tako and made little tako tacos with the nori. Mmmm.
Next up was the Mini Carpaccio, this one consisting of sockeye salmon, yellowtail and tuna but the seafood changes based on what’s fresh that day. It’s served with yuzu zest, tobiko, lotus root chips, wasabi mayo and sesame soy dressing. Light, fresh, delicious and a perfect portion.
Third to arrive was Kushikatsu set. 6 deep fried skewers, 2 chicken, 2 scallop, 2 lotus root. They’re served with a few different condiments and it’s fun to mix and match with the different flavours and textures. The scallop skewers, which were my favourite, were cooked perfectly and paired well with the tarter sauce (duh) and the kabayaki yuzu kosho. All the skewers were cooked just right and weren’t greasy or oily.
The last dish that was part of the pass was the best, obviously it has to be pork related. You guys know me so well. The pork ribs are fall apart tender and there is enough meat here to be worth the entire $18 that the package costs. The balsamic/sweet and sour reduction would be right at home in a competition BBQ setting . It’s sweet and tart and amazing. Seriously though, these ribs are good. $18 for all of this, it’s like you’re stealing.
In addition to the package I had to try the Tuna Tataki as it’s one of my favourite things at Suika. Rajio’s tataki didn’t disappoint and I managed to save just enough room to finish it. I’m a professional eater folks, don’t get caught up the glamour of trying to eat everything you see, it’s a jungle out there.
You can purchase your rockinRAJIO package right now at VANEATS.ca but this is a limited time package so get it before October 12th.
My rockinRAJIO package was provided free of charge for review purposes by Rajio Public House and VANEATS.ca. Any additional menu items and gratuity were right out of my giant brown leather old man wallet.
Website – VANEATS.ca
Running a restaurant in Vancouver can be tough with so much great competition out there. Mosaic at the Hyatt Regency has the added problem of not being located at street level, you’d have to look up to see their sign one story above the side walk. So how does a fantastic upscale hidden gem like Mosaic get noticed in this town? Enter VANEATS.ca and their dining packages. This package moves VANEATS.ca further upmarket then they’ve ever been and gives you arguably the best value of any package they’ve offered in the past. Called “Art of Taste”, it is a 3 course package for an outstanding $22. Chef Thomas Heinrich and his team deliver an excellent culinary experience. I had other menu items not included in the package so there will be a second post to cover those.
For your appetizer you can choose from the following,
The spring salad has house made sheep’s milk ricotta , fava beans and a mustard citrus dressing. The ricotta is fantastic and this salad is a tidy little package with all of the flavours complimenting one another. The a la minute smoked salmon is is so delicate and delicious and comes with an avocado terrine and drops of maple matured sherry bourbon oak vinegar gel and a little bit of decadent caviar on top. The salmon is from Skuna Bay, a world renowned salmon farm located near Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island and is easily the best quality salmon I’ve ever eaten. Say what you want about farmed salmon, this fish is world class and is raised in way that few other fish farms can even come close to. They call it “Craft Raised salmon”. I like that description. The dish comes covered in a clear dome filled with smoke adding a slight smokiness and a treat for the nose when the dome is removed.
For your main course you have a choice of 2 dishes. The Spring Creek beef short rib dish is braised for an incredible 8 hours and is fork tender and full of rich flavour. It’s served with morel mushrooms, BC foraged ramps and sweet onions. This dish is aimed directly at carnivores who have a refined palate (or think that they do, like me). The Ling Cod is long line caught and grilled to perfection. Served with baby bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and bathed in dashi broth. I loved this dish. Dashi broth is a magical thing.
There’s 2 desert choices as well and they’re both outstanding. The Chocolate cake is something out of a chocoholic’s fantasy. It’s a triple layer affair with dense moist cake and a healthy dose of amazing icing that’s texture is somewhere between mousse and fudge. The banana split has caramelized banana, fresh berries, honey almond brittle and of course vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. You can’t go wrong with either dessert, they’re both outstanding.
Conclusion. Mosaic is somewhere you should check out. It’s close to transit, has a great wine/beer (Craft too!)/cocktail list and offers the kind of fine dinning that Vancouver generally lacks in it’s popular restaurants de jour. They offer the highest quality ingredients, gorgeous plating (perhaps a few too many edible flowers but they are quite lovely) and an attentive and well trained staff. This kind of meal for $22 is something you don’t find everyday. You can purchase this package HERE.
Legal stuff – My meal was complimentary for review purposes courtesy of Mosaic and VANEATS.ca. As always the fact that meal was free didn’t make it taste any different 🙂
You may recognize Falconetti’s East Side Grill from a little show called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by the Food Network’s frosted tipped, backwards sunglasses wearing wunderkind Guy Fieri. Falconetti’s segment was pretty short but the food looked great and the atmosphere looked electric. I was asked by VANEATS.ca to check out their latest dining package called Falconetti’s Fix and I jumped at the opportunity having never been to Falconetti’s.
The package consists of Poutine with house made pepper gravy, house smoked pork ribs, a choice of any of their house made sausages and two rocks glasses of Phillips Blue Buck pale ale all for $16. The food was great, the poutine used shoestring fries which is a little different than most poutines on offer in Vancouver and the pepper gravy was salty, rich and delicious drizzled over real cheese curds.
The ribs were outstanding, I didn’t expect these ribs to be as good as they were because I’m a bit of a BBQ elitist. They were cooked just right, not falling off the bone but the bone came clean with little effort, The sauce was simple and had all the right levels of sweet, heat and salt.
For my sausage I chose the Sweet Italian which is made with fennel and basil and comes on a fresh toasted bun with artichoke dip (!) and peppers on top. The sausage had some nice heat and the artichoke dip on top was the perfect condiment. The Phillips Blue Buck is a nice, accessible craft beer for the craft beer novice and is a nice refreshing change from the hop bombs and barrel aged porters I’ve been drinking lately. at $16 this is certainly great value, something VANEATS.ca is known for.
In addition to the package my hot date and I also sampled a few items from the menu, First up were the Prawn and Prosciutto Lollipops. 4 medium sized prawns wrapped in salty prosciutto, seared and served individually on skewers with vodka cocktail sauce for dipping. Simple, well executed and delicious.
Next up were the Crispy Panko Mac N’ Cheese Balls. Deep fried mac and cheese, how can this be the first time I’ve ever had this? Needless to say it was delicious but probably something that should be enjoyed in moderation.
The most surprising part about Falconetti’s is the second floor. First off I didn’t know they had a second floor and it has a roof that opens and the windows along Commercial Drive open up in warmer weather. The view of downtown Vancouver is beautiful and unexpected. I don’t often think of Commercial Drive as being somewhere with a great view.
Spend the $16 and go check out Falconetti’s, it’s one of a kind. Go to VANEATS.ca for details.
Legal stuff – My package was provided at no charge by Falconetti’s for review purposes. All other food and drink orders were paid for by my hot date aka sugar mama aka Lyndsey 😉
My homeboys at VANEATS.ca have partnered up with Whet Kitchen & Bar on Granville Island to bring you another sensational dining package affectionately known as “Whet Your Appetite”. It’s a 4 item adventure with a choice of mains and 2 sleeves of tasty Russell Angry Scotch Ale made right here in the GVRD (Surrey to be specific). At only $30 it’s a great deal so guys, quit being so cheap and take your significant other on a nice date!
The Russell Angry Scotch Ale is always a treat. It’s a full bodied dark ale with a 6.5% kick that hits me right in my happy place. It’s also a great choice when the weather turns decidedly Vancouver-esque, meaning cloudy, wet and not particularly warm.
The first dish I tried was a very nice Coconut Scallop Ceviche. The scallops were large and in charge, the hand peeled shrimp were plentiful and the coconut added some sweetness to the citrus base of the liquid along with a subtle jalapeño punch. There’s two kinds of roe on top, Ikura and Tobiko, which are always a treat and went really well with this dish. The thick corn chips made a nice vessel to deliver the ceviche to your mouth but the chip to dip ratio was a little off, a fairly common problem, too many chips.
Next up was a super tasty Prawn, Shrimp and Wild Mushroom Salad. Made up of pan seared prawns, wild local mushrooms, hand peeled cold water shrimp, arugula, grapefruit, taro root crisps. Dressed in a delicious lemon-hazelnut vinaigrette this dish was a hit. The prawns were seasoned well and cooked just right, the wild mushrooms were warm and paired well with the peppery arugula. The vinaigrette was a nice combo of sweet and savoury.
I had both main courses, for journalistic purposes… I added the second main at a cost of $15. First up I had the Red Honey-Curry Coho, wild BC Coho, saffron yoghurt, hot pickled lime puree, candied almonds, cinnamon market vegetable (which was Broccolini). This dish is pretty incredible, the coho is amazing, all of the spices work together very well and the saffron yoghurt adds a creamy exotic note that paired fantastically with the flavourful salmon.
The other main course choice is Crispy Duck Leg, confit of Fraser Valley duck leg, sweet chill ginger sauce, yam & plantain chips, sesame seeds and grilled plums. The duck was spot on, very moist and tender with nice crispy skin. Crispy duck skin is the bacon of the avian world, so good. The big surprise for me was how much I liked the grilled plums, I could’ve eaten a whole plate of them.
I wasn’t dining alone on this adventure so when our meals were done we decided to add on a couple of desserts. The Chocolate chunk cheesecake was great but there is a dessert at Whet that you can’t leave without ordering. It’s a chocolate chip cookie baked in a small cast iron pan, served warm in said pan with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It’s so simple yet amazingly good.
Cheers to the team at Whet and the crew at VANEATS.ca for putting together a winner here, great taste, great location and outstanding value.
My meal was provided free of charge for review purposes but, as always, if it was gross I would’ve said so. Get down to Granville Island and Whet Your Appetite!! My extra main and desserts were over and above the cost of the package but I would recommend adding the cookie… amazing.
Get your dining pass HERE
Cray Kitchen & Bar is one of VERY few places in Vancouver doing Louisiana style Seafood. Never had Louisiana style before? You’re missing out on a truly unique dining experience. The latest dining pass from VANEATS.ca, called “Cray-vings”, is a five item feast featuring a 1/2 pound of shrimp, a 1/2 pound of crawfish (both flown in live from Louisiana), 3 cod bites, 2 deep fried oysters and some tasty Cajun fries all for $18.50, a very good deal!
This was a WFLBC team event as I was joined by my lovely co-blogger Rochele! The shrimp/crawfish are available in different spice levels, I chose spicy and Rochele went with medium. I also got a side of Cray’s house made XXX hot sauce, It’s definitely got some heat, only the brave need apply! We stared off with the Cod Bites, golf ball sized pieces of deep fried cod. They were pretty tasty and the batter was nicely seasoned. Next up was the deep fried oysters, one of my favourite things! Rochele Isn’t a huge fan of oysters but I thought they were done just right, not overcooked and were quite large! We both snacked on the Cajun fries throughout the meal and they were tasty and well seasoned.
Now to the main event, the steaming bag full of shellfish!! When you get to Cray they cover your table with paper and bring you a bucket with a roll of paper towel, plastic gloves and a stylish plastic bib. Trust me, you need all of them. The shrimp and crawfish are whole, shell on, heads and legs on so you have to do a little work to get the meat out. The shrimp are fairly easy to disassemble and when you take the head off make sure you suck the juice out, it’s delicious! The crawfish are a little more work and you really don’t get a lot of meat out of the tail but what you do get is very tasty and quite similar to lobster meat. The crawfish heads are worth a suck too, tasty tasty head juice.
I was lucky enough to squeeze one of the shrimp heads too hard when I was pulling it off and ended up with a face/sleeve full of shrimp head juice! It’s all good though, that’s what the bibs are for.
Get your Cray-vings dining pass from VANEATS.ca HERE before they’re all gone!
The joy of living in a temperate rain forest sometimes means that your heat turns on in the middle of the day on July 2nd, and the weather resembles late October. Originally I was scheduled to go to Maurya later on in the week, but all the rain and grey and yuck outside prompted me to seize the moment and move up my reservation.
I had the luxury of obtaining a complimentary dining pass for Maurya’s Spice through VANEATS before they went on sale to the public. I thought the restaurant was beautiful with its high ceilings and subtle, but elegant décor. It was the perfect place to go for date night.
The service was impeccable. Moreover, I was seated promptly, the wait staff was polite and intuitive, and I never had to ask for a thing. Our meal started with Papadum, which is a thin, savoury, crispy, wafer-like appetizer. We casually broke off small pieces, and dipped it in the mango chutney and the cilantro paste that was provided while we waited for our food.
We’d been given the heads up by a fellow food blogger that this dining package is a lot of food to eat on your own, so we decided to share the meal. When it arrived I was a little skeptical about the portions, but it actually worked out well for us. Included in the dining pass was:
The Garlic and Basil Naan bread was so amazing with the Chicken Chettinad and Daal Maurya heaped on top of it. We ordered another basket of the Garlic and Basil Naan (at an additional cost) at the end of the meal to sop up the remainder of the sauces, and that put us at a comfortable level of full. It’s no wonder that the Chicken Chettinad won a Dine Out Vancouver award. The lovely flavours of coconut and Indian spices and poppy seeds blend together for rich flavours; there were big smiles from both us after our first bites. I thoroughly enjoyed the Daal Maurya, and I’m glad that a very traditional element was included in the meal.