Mosaic Harvest package from Mosaic and VANEATS.ca

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;

  • Fall Salad, baby carrots, beets, Tokyo turnips, fennel, pumpkin, tangerine dressing
Fall salad
Fall salad
  • A la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon, kale nori, wasabi cauliflower purée
A la minute smoked salmon
A la minute smoked salmon
  • Roasted Chestnut Bisque, Apple Lane Orchard apples, spiced brandy cream
Chestnut bisque
Chestnut bisque

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;

  • Seared Baja Ocean Wise Scallops, sweet potato, figs, prosciutto
Seared Baja scallops
Seared Baja scallops
  • Sous Vide Lamb, broccoli rabe, butternut squash, spiced walnuts
Sous Vide Lamb
Sous Vide Lamb
  • Grilled Curried Cauliflower Steak, baby carrots, dates
Cauliflower steak
Cauliflower steak 

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:

  • Pumpkin and Nutmeg Crème Brule
Pumpkin Crème Brule
Pumpkin Crème Brule
  • Mosiac’s Signature Chocolate Cake
Signature triple layer chocolate cake
Signature triple layer chocolate cake

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.

Scott.

 

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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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Art of taste at Mosaic presented by 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,

Spring Salad
Spring Salad
Warm a la minute smoked Skuna Bay salmon
Warm a la minute smoked Skuna Bay salmon

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.

8 hour braised short rib
8 hour braised short rib
Long line caught BC ling cod
Long line caught BC ling cod

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.

Mosaic's signature chocolate cake
Mosaic’s signature chocolate cake
Banana split
Banana split

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.

Scott.

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 🙂

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 😉

Check out the SalivEIGHT package from Eight 1/2 Restaurant and Lounge and VANEATS.ca!

The crew at VANEATS.ca are at it again, this time teaming up with Eight 1/2 Restaurant & Lounge to bring you the salivEIGHT package. For a ridiculously affordable $15 you get to choose from Dungeness Crab Cakes, Filo wrapped Baked Brie or Tortilla Soup for an Appetizer. You also get to choose from 3 thin crust pizzas, The 8th Avenue (Hot calabrese, chorizo, banana peppers, and sautéed mushrooms), The Marketplace (Roasted vegetables, goat cheese, torn basil, sun dried tomato base) or The Wild Smoked Salmon (BC smoked salmon, creamy dill, capers, red onion, craisins). Last but not least you get a flight of Belgian style beers from Stanley Park Brewing, 2 Amber and 2 Brun.

Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes

I decided on the crab cakes as my starter and I’m very happy I did. These aren’t your typical 80% breadcrumb and seasoning crab cakes, these suckers and LOADED with sweet, tasty crab! The crab doesn’t need much other than a little seasoning and they nailed it. They were perfectly cooked and came with a small side of arugula with a citrus yoghurt dressing. Crab cakes rule.

Eighth Avenue Pizza
Eighth Avenue Pizza

The 8th Avenue pizza called to me, with its spicy Calabrese, Chorizo and Banana Peppers. Add juicy sauteed mushrooms and a healthy dose of cheese to the mix and I am a happy boy. The thin crust was perfect for folding the slices in half and eating New York style.

Beer Flight
Beer Flight

The Beers? You know I like beer so this one is obviously a win. Being a craft beer enthusiast it’s great to see some local beers being offered up in a package like this and the two Stanley Park beers offered here are very approachable to the craft beer novice. Easy drinking with no big hop punch or boozy undercurrent.

SalivEIGHT is available now for $15 at VANEATS.ca. Crazy deal, you should grab this one before it’s gone!

But wait, there’s more!

Steak Bites
Steak Bites

As I wasn’t dining alone I had the chance to sample a few other items from Eight 1/2’s menu, bonus! First up is the Steak Bites, Chili rubbed and roasted medium-rare with creamy parm dip. They were a big hit with my hot date and I liked them too. The parm dip was tasty!

Tuna Tataki
Tuna Tataki

Next up we had some Tuna Tataki, Seared Albacore, fresh avocado, wasabi aioli, sweet soy, ginger. This is a winner, I love Tuna Tataki and this is a great example of how it can be done with a North American palate in mind but not be off putting to someone who likes traditional Tuna Tataki.

Caesar
Caesar

And then we had a Caesar in a boot! Actually we had it first but whatever, it was awesome. The picture makes it look huge but it’s just slightly larger than the water glass behind it. The garnish is dry pepperoni and a tiny pickle. This is a pretty classic Caesar with some great background heat. I would order another one in a heartbeat.

Legal stuff – My pizza, appy and beer were complimentary on behalf of Eight 1/2 and VANEATS.ca for review purposes, the other items were paid for in full and are not included in the package. We also left a big tip because we appreciate great service!

Go check out Eight 1/2!

Twitter – @eightandahalf     @VANEATSca

Facebook – Eight-12-Restaurant-Lounge     VAN EATS

Web – eightandahalf.ca     VANEATS.ca

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.

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.