Rockin’ RAJIO dining pass preview from Rajio Public House and VANEATS.ca

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?

  1. Kushikatsu Set, Rajio’s speciality. 6 delicious deep fried skewers (served with 5 different condiments, tartar, lemon salt, kabayaki yuzu kosho, onion).
  2. Dynamic Balsamic Sweet & Sour Pork Rib, pan-fried stewed pork rib marinated in Rajio’s original balsamic sweet sour sauce.
  3. Mini Carpaccio, chef’s choice of 3 kinds of fresh fish.
  4. Today’s Cold Tapas, chef offers a variety of daily options.

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.

Cabbage salad
Cabbage salad

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.

Tako Wasabi
Tako Wasabi
Tako taco
Tako taco

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.

Mini carpaccio
Mini carpaccio

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.

Kushikatsu Set
Kushikatsu Set

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.

Pork Ribs
Pork Ribs

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.

Tuna Tataki
Tuna Tataki

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.

Twitter – @rajio3763    –    @VANEATSca

Facebook – Rajio Japanese Public House    –    VANEATS

Website – VANEATS.ca

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Falconetti’s East Side Grill presents #FalconettisFix with VANEATS.ca

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.

#FalconettisFix package - $16
#FalconettisFix package – $16

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.

Prawn and Prosciutto Lollipops.
Prawn and Prosciutto Lollipops.

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.

Mac N' Cheese Balls
Mac N’ Cheese Balls

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.

Scott.

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 😉

Whet Your Appetite from VANEATS.ca

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

Scott.

Cray-vings with Cray Kitchen & Bar & VANEATS.ca

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!

Scott.

Suika Izakaya #SuikaPunch Package with VANEATS.ca!!!

The team at VANEATS.ca know how to make people happy. They team up with your favourite restaurants and bring you amazing dining experiences for a great price and their latest package with Suika Izakaya is one of their best. It’s called Suika Punch!! (#SuikaPunch if you’re looking for it on Twitter) and it packs a 6 course wallop, 5 food courses and 1 beer course, for only $25! Don’t be fooled by that beer course, it’s a FULL PITCHER of Sapporo! Get ready to drool, this is pure food porn.

Course 1, a full sized pitcher of Sapporo. That’s my kind of course. If this was Yaletown the pitcher itself would’ve been $25… True story.

The first food course is “Chinese Poutine”. Fries topped with spicy ground pork gravy, mozzarella, chilli oil, sansho and minced cilantro. Eating fries with chopsticks is weird, but good weird. The spicy pork gravy with chilli oil is delicious, the cheese has that awesome slight browned colour from being baked in the oven and the fries are nice and thick. A cool twist on a classic French Canadian dish.

The next three courses came together on a platter and looked delicious. SPOILER ALERT, they were as delicious as they looked.

Course three is Yellowtail Carpaccio, thinly sliced Yellowtail with tobiko and sesame soy dressing. Very fresh and light with just the right amount of salt from the dressing. Very nice.

Course four is Tomato Kimchi, Tomato slices marinated in kimchi with cilantro oil and Chinese chives. So simple, so fresh, so tasty. The tomatoes were still firm too, I was worried they’d be a little soft after being marinated but they held up!

Course five is Tuna Tataki, slightly smoked high grade tuna with house made chilli oil on a bed of thinly sliced red onions. This dish was so good that I ordered more after I had finished the 6 course meal. Unreal tuna, so fresh. You have to try this.

Last but certainly not least, course six, the Hellz Chicken. To quote VANEATS.ca, it’s “deep fried and tossed with the hell sauce”. The hell sauce is a devilish concoction made from jalapeño, hot sauce, lemon, garlic, vinegar & Tabasco. A spicy combo to say the least, but the flavours are worth the face punch, it’s a pleasure/pain thing. The Hellz Chicken is damn good.

Like I said, all of this is only $25, get your package NOW at VANEATS.ca, you can thank me later.

Full disclosure, my meal was complimentary but I would’ve paid $25 for this. I actually would have paid a lot more but it’s a great deal. Get it, get it now.

Scott.

Kaboom Box with VANEATS.ca!! #KaboomInABox!!

The VANEATS.ca crew have done it again, a dining pass for a food truck? That’s my kind of package!! The Kaboom Box is located at the corner of Robson and Granville (beside Sears) and offers local and sustainable food including Oceanwise seafood and organic veggies whenever possible. This package is called Kaboom In A Box, search for #KaboomInABox on Twitter, and offers your choice of a fried oyster po’ boy or the hot salmon smoked “Salmwich”. It comes with an amazing poutine and a beverage all for $8.50? Yup, that’s a sweet deal!

I chose the Gulf Island Fried Oyster Po’ Boy sandwich. It’s made with locally sourced sustainable oysters that are panko breaded and deep fried. They’re nestled lovingly in a great whole wheat bun with some signature slaw and house made tartar sauce. Grab some napkins, this guy’s as messy at it is tasty. The oysters are full of oceany (yes that’s a word…) goodness and the flavour of actual oyster is still front and centre with the sauce, slaw and bun playing their backup roles perfectly.

The “BC Poutine’ is a nice departure from heavy animal based gravy poutines. The gravy is made with local mushrooms and the crispy fries and real cheese curds make up quite the threesome of flavour in your mouth. The green onions are a nice touch too, adding a little freshness and bite to the dish. I opted for water to drink as I did’t want any sugary drink messing with these great flavours.

Make sure you say Hi to Andy, Brian and Matt, the Kaboom Box crew! They’re doing some great things out of that tiny food truck!

The #KaboomInABox pass goes on sale May 2nd at 7am and you can get it at VANEATS.ca!! I would also like to give a special shoutout to Kev and Billzzzz from VANEATS.ca for their support and for filling me with delicious food on a regular basis, you guys ROCK!

Scott.

Palki Restaurant Palki Passion Package with VANEATS.ca!!

These VANEATS.ca dining packages just keep getting better, this time I was invited to try the #PalkiPassion package at Palki Restaurant on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. I love Indian food, I grew up and still live in Surrey where there’s a ton of great Indian food and I ate a lot of samosas and butter chicken at my friends houses when I was a kid so I feel extra qualified to judge good Indian cuisine. Palki did not disappoint and this is easily the best value I’ve seen in a package, at $14 this is a lot of food! Lots of good food makes Scott happy.

The package is billed as a 7 course meal but everything comes at once, 5 items on a smoking hot plate called the Palki Platter and the butter chicken and naan come separately. I actually started off with some Pakoras with a mint chutney and a tamarind chutney and they were excellent but they aren’t part of the package. The items that come on the sizzling plate are Chicken Tikka, a Tandoori Prawn, a Vegetable Samosa, a Lamb Barrah Kebab and Murg Malai Tikka (also chicken) with some green pepper for garnish.

The Lamb was amazing, so flavourful and tender. It’s a portion of a rack roasted in a Tandoor oven (as are most meats in this package). Both chicken dishes were also really tasty but my favourite was the Murg Malai Tikka which is marinated in sour cream and spices before being roasted. The Prawn was good but looked a little lonely all by itself so I had to eat it first… The Samosa was pretty good, maybe not the best I’ve ever had but I’ve had some incredible samosas in my day. This one was still quite good, a little more seasoning perhaps. The Green Peppers, although not listed as a course, were fantastic taking in the flavours of all the ingredients on the platter.

Now to the star of the show, The Butter Chicken. I LOVE BUTTER CHICKEN! It has to be in my top 3 favourite foods so finding a really great butter chicken is a big deal to me. This Butter Chicken is a big deal. Not only does it look absolutely dead sexy as it bubbles away in it’s candle powered warming dish with it’s swirl of  seductive cream just waiting to be mixed in. Whoa, I just blacked out there for a minute! Thankfully it tastes as good as it looks, rich and creamy with a depth of flavour that only Indian sauces can conjure up, it’s like magic in a bowl. Add in the tender chicken and Onion Cilantro Nana bread to soak up the sauce and you have pure food heaven.

All this for $14 people, this one’s a sure thing. If you’re not into spicy food or have never tried Indian food this is the perfect opportunity as the spices are very well balanced throughout the meal and the flavours are very accessible to the inexperienced palate.

Go to VANEATS.ca to check out this and other great dining packages!!!

Check out some more pics!!

Scott.

Suika-To-Me with VANEATS.ca!!

Suika Japanese Snack Bar on Broadway and Fir is the location of the latest VANEATS.ca dining pass called Suika-To-Me! A four course meal for $18 at one of Vancouver’s best Izakaya restaurants is something worth checking out. Suika has great atmosphere and super cool decor with an awesome light fixture made from colored bottles.

The first course is a salmon carpaccio served with home made sesame dressing, wasabi mayo, scallions and yuzu zest. The salmon is high quality and the salt from the sesame dressing, the slight heat from the wasabi mayo and the freshness of the yuzu zest and scallions make for a very nice mouthful.

The second course is a AAA beef fillet on a hot stone plate with soy onion sauce and fresh garlic and a side of potato wedges sprinkled with shichimi seasoning. The beef was cooked between medium rare and medium and was tender and hot. the soy onion sauce had a nice flavor and the potato wedges were very good, the shichimi which is a common Japanese spice mixture containing seven ingredients was great, not too salty as it can sometime be.

The third course is an out of this world oxtail ramen noddle dish that was my favorite dish of the night. Slow braised oxtail in a soy broth with noodles, dried fish powder and scallions. Oxtail might be visually unattractive and texturally a little outside of some peoples norm but the flavor it gives this soup is incredible. The oxtail itself is very tasty if not a little hard to eat with chopsticks but this soup…it’s worth the whole $18. Ok maybe not the whole $18 but it’s very good.

The fourth and final course is a pumpkin creme brule. For any regular readers of this blog, my love of creme brule is a common theme. I’m not a dessert person but creme brule and I are kindred spirits, soul mates even. This one was another in a long list of very good creme brule’s I’ve eaten in this city. The pumpkin adds a subtle richness and a velvety texture that’s quite good.

Thanks to VANEATS.ca and Suika for inviting me to sample this package. Check out all the details HERE!!! For $18 you really can’t go wrong here folks.

Scott.

Kin Resto Bar, Kindle with Kin from VanEats.ca

Are you dating someone new? Are you in a long term relationship that’s stuck in a rut going nowhere fast? One of the best ways to inject some life into your relationships is going out for a nice meal. VanEats.ca works with local restaurants to create “Dining Passes” making awesome places more affordable! Their latest dining pass is for Kin Resto Bar at 1500 Robson street, an intimate, charming hidden gem featuring a modern Asian fusion menu. The “Kindle with Kin” pass is a 6 course dinner for 2 but being the big eater I am I tackled it solo, which is unwise, this is a lot of food!

Course number 1 is Thai basil rice paper rolls with prawns, lettuce, cucumber, vermicelli noodles and a delicious peanut sauce for dipping. They were very good, fresh, and the peanut sauce was fantastic!

Course 2 and 3 comes together, Beef Short Ribs and Beef La Lot. The short ribs are marinated in 17 spices and the flavor they create is complex and delightful, they did not last long on my plate. The Beef La Lot is like a Vietnamese sausage using betel leaves as a casing and there’s a crispy piece of Jicama in the middle. The texture is incredible with the Jicama and the betel leaves. Apparently there’s Star Anise in them somewhere but I really couldn’t taste it which didn’t matter, they don’t need it.

Course number 4 is a Seafood Salad with scallops and prawns, grape tomatoes, mango, asparagus, onion, lemon, carrots and a fantastic rau ram dressing. the prawns and scallops were the stars of this dish, particularly the scallops, cooked perfectly with a nice peppery seasoning. the dressing was perfect and there was just the right amount of it.

Course number 5 is a crazy good Yellow Coconut Curry Bowl with Chicken, tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, onions with a bowl of basmati rice on the side. I really liked this dish, it was probably my favorite, it was spicy but not too spicy and the portion of veggies and chicken were generous. I poured the curry sauce over the rice and ate them separately, so good.

Course number 6 is dessert, a Lemongrass Ginger Creme Brule with  a pineapple chutney on top. I normally don’t have a huge sweet tooth but I love creme brule and this one is really great. the lemongrass and ginger give a different twist to this classic dessert and the pineapple chutney gives a sweet, fresh quality to every bite, providing you distribute it properly.

For the record I was invited by Kin and VanEats.ca to review this package and it was complimentary but my opinions of the dishes are 100% my own. Also I tip waitresses when I get comped meals, and so should other bloggers!!! I’m just sayin… they work hard and deserve it.

The “Kindle With Kin” dining pass goes on sale January 2nd and is only $25!!! Great value, cool location, tasty food, do it. Also check out the video here!

Scott.