‘Tis the season to get together over great food and company. I recently attended a Fairmont holiday party for friends of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront, FairmontPacific Rim, Fairmont Vancouver Airport, and Fairmont Empress. Here’s a look at some of what guests enjoyed that day.
Baby, it’s cold outside so how about some ramen to warm you up? The Poke Shop in Gastown has introduced a menu of ramen and rice bowls this winter season.
For ramen, there are 8 varieties (black garlic oil tonkotsu, tonkotsu, beef brisket, shoyu chicken, cha siu, miso, shoyu, and vegetarian). There are also 6 rice bowl choices: teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, oyakodon, beef don, cha siu and vegetarian. The Poke Shop is even offering curry bowls with choice of chicken, beef and vegetable in the near future. You can expect ramen bowls to be around $11 – $13 and rice bowls around $10 – $13.
Disclosure: I attended a media tasting where all food and drinks were complimentary. Opinions are my own.
What We Tried
Our media tasting consisted of the following dishes:
- Miso Ramen ($11) in Spicy Soup Base ($0.35)
- Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu ($12)
- Tonkotsu ($12)
- Oyakodon ($10)
- Cha Siu Don ($13)
While I sample many of the dishes at the tasting, the one dish that stood out to me the most was the Miso Ramen with Spicy Soup Base. To me, this had the most flavourful broth but I must admit that my regular go-to ramen flavour is miso. I thought the noodles (somewhat al dente) and the cha siu (somewhat tender) were OK for a non-ramen dedicated eatery.
My second favourite would have to be the Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu Ramen in terms of having a tasty, flavourful broth.
Other dishes we tried were the Tonkotsu Ramen and rice bowls (Oyakodon and Cha Siu Don).
The Poke Shop has a selection of specialty drinks. At this event, I tried the Cucumber Agave Lemon Water which seem like the perfect cool and refreshing drink to be had while being pampered at a spa. The other drink I enjoyed was the Roasted Macademia Milk Tea which had nice, nutty flavours.
Related: Newly Opened Poke Shop in Gastown
The Poke Shop
Address: 306 Water St #2, Vancouver, BC
It was World Pasta Day last week and I had the pleasure of celebrating this delicious day with a pasta making class at Cioppino’s in Yaletown. Chef Pino Posteraro himself showed us how to make traditional fresh handmade pasta using modernized techniques. It was a delicious and mouthwatering afternoon of fresh, al dente pasta! Check out my video recap.
This month, Earls Restaurant is featuring a Rebels & Icons promotion in a quest to help you discover your personal wine style. Are you an Icon? Timeless, elegant, classic wines that made the mold. Or, are you a Rebel? Modern, eclectic, punk. The wines that broke the mold. Earl’s new Sommelier David Stansfield helped us to find our wine style at a 5-course dinner and wine pairing.
Sommelier David Stansfield is new to the Earl’s team and is an acclaimed wine writer and educator (Sunday School, Vancouver Urban Winery, Tap & Barrel).
The Earls’ Rebels & Icon promotion runs from Wednesday, October 11 to Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The promotion presents iconic wines of the world alongside up-and-coming modern wines as a way of showcasing the best of the old school and the new.
At the media event, we had a blind tasting between two wines for each course and were asked to mark our favourite wine.
Our first course was a Maui Ahi Poke featuring sesame soy marinated ahi tuna, avocado, mango and toritala chips. The wine pairings were two sparkling wines: Ferrari Brut and Bella Method Ancestrale.
Next we had a Quinoa and Avocado Powerbowl with roasted squash, beets, green goddess dressing, toasted pumpkin seeds, and crispy chickpeas. The two white wines for this course were Famille Perrin Rascal White and Les Fleurs du Mal White.
Our third course was Blackened Swordfish Tacos on a flour tortilla with pico de gallo, roasted jalapeno creme and melted cheddar. We tried the Renacer Punto Final Malbec and Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec.
For the fourth course, there was a marinated steak with ponzu sauce along with Dynamite Rolls. The pairings were a Jean-Paul Brun L’Ancien Vielles Vignes Beaujolais and Le Vieux Pin Cuvee Violette Syrah.
To finish off, a trio of desserts including Pumpkin Pie, Gold Digger (vanilla ice cream, chocolate and toffee sauces, peanuts, maraschino cherry) and Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding.
Based on my selections, I found out that I’m an “Icon” that enjoys classic, elegant and sophisticated wines. It was fun to learn that about myself!
To find out more about the Rebels & Icons promotion at Earls, visit http://earls.ca/news/rebels-icons
Fraserhood recently welcomed a new casual dining eatery with a beer hall, Bells and Whistles. The restaurant is a high-profile project for Gooseneck Hospitality who is also behind Wildebeest, Bufala and Lucky Taco. At Bells and Whistles, you’ll find an extensive craft beer selection, ballpark-inspired fare, an interactive game room and big league sports action. I recently attended a media preview of Bells and Whistles. Here’s a first look at what you can expect on your visit to Fraserhood’s newest restaurant.
Disclosure: All food and drinks in this review were complimentary. Opinions are my own.
Bells and Whistles features a 3,000 square feet dining room that can accommodate 150 guests. The interior has vintage-yet-fresh design with lots of natural light and some retro-inspired elements. The interactive table games room offers complimentary happy hour plays from 2 to 5 p.m. daily.
Bells and Whistlers Menu
On the menu at Bells and Whistles are feature snacks and starters; gourmet ‘big’ salads with house-made dressings; short rib, brisket, and chuck burgers; chicken or fresh fish sandwiches served on custom milk buns; stadium-inspired sides like garlic fries, onion rings and ballpark chili; as well as rotating ice cream cones, sundaes and floats with made-from-scratch soft-serve
The bar offers 19 draught lagers, ales and ciders, including local craft beers, rare gems from celebrated international breweries, and an eponymous hoppy ‘Bells andWhistles’ pale ale custom created by Delta’s Four Winds Brewing. You will find a selection of B.C. wine and always-double cocktails on tap, including a signature hopped Buffalo Trace Bourbon Old Fashioned stirred to perfection and served on the rocks. Their menu is available online.
What I Tried
At the media launch, I tried The Fancy burger combo. The burger featured a hand-formed patty made from a mixture of short rib, brisket, and chuck. Other accompaniments included thyme roasted mushrooms and onions, goat cheese, truffle and basil aioli, alfalfa sprouts, and tomato. It was certainly a gourmet burger with that was moist, flavourful and had some very tasty fixings.
I also had an upgraded side with was the garlic fries. The burger combo would come out to be over $20: $18.50 for the burger plus $2.00 for the fries upgrade.
For dessert, I had the Coco Crisp featuring soft serve by Foothills Creamery and some fun toppings (chocolate sauce, Skor bar crumble, white chocolate and pretzels). I thought the combination of toppings added some nice crunchy texture as well as some sweet and savoury flavours to the smooth soft serve.
The atmosphere at Bells and Whistles was energetic, friendly and inviting. The gourmet burger options seemed creative and appealing. Bells and Whistles is now open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight for dine-in or take-out. For more information, visit www.bellsandwhistlesyvr.ca
Bells and Whistles
Address: 3296 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC
Vancouver’s favourite foodie event, Taste of Yaletown, is now on until Oct 27th. Presented by the Yaletown Business Improvement Association, the 13th annual Taste of Yaletown is a popular community-based event that invites the public to try a variety of dishes from 26 premier restaurants throughout the neighbourhood. Participating restaurants are offering innovative pairings and special menus with set prices of $25, $35, and $45.
Last night, I had the opportunity to try The Flying Pig Yaletown‘s participating Tatse of Yaletown 2017menu. Known as a nouveau Canadian bistro, The Flying Pig Yaletown offers Canadian and seafood specials featuring fresh, local ingredients and local food in a casual and welcoming atmosphere. Here’s a look at what you can expect with their $35 Taste of Yaletown Menu.
Disclosure: All food and drinks in this review were complimentary. Opinions are my own.
Diners have a choice of appetizer from either the Three Pea Soup; Rocket, Watercress, and Beetroot Salad; or Humboldt Squid. The Three Pea Soup was wonderfully hearty and comforting. It had a bit of smokey, sweet and savoury flavours from the smoked ham hook, chick peas, split peas and sweet peas.
The Rocket, Watercress, and Beetroot Salad was light and refreshing. I enjoyed the creaminess of the local chevre creme, sweetness of the pears and crunchiness from the walnuts.
My favourite of the three appetizers was the Humboldt Squid which was crispy on the outside yet still tender on the inside. And with a black olive aioli dip, this squid was very addictive and delicious.
The entrée features a “AAA” Striploin Steak (aged white cheddar mashed potato, bone marrow jus) and Lois Lake Steelhead (heirloom tomato sauce vierge, brussels sprouts, autumn vegetables). The steak was very juicy, flavourful and tender and the steelhead was light and flaky. The brussel sprouts were nicely caramelized and the autumn vegetables nicely rounded out this platter.
And for dessert, a Chocolate Vanilla Layer Cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Very light, fluffy and not overly decadent.
Overall, The Flying Pig Yaletown’s Taste of Yaletown Menu was hearty and filling of Canadiana-inspired comfort food. To see what other restaurants are offering this year, visit www.yaletowninfo.com/event/taste-yaletown-2017/
The Flying Pig Yaletown
Address: 1168 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC
What are two good reasons to visit the River Market in New Westminster? Longtail Kitchen and Freebird Chicken Shack. Both are sister restaurants owned by celebrated Vancouver Chef Angus An (also Maenam, Fat Mao Noodles, Sen Pad Thai). At Longtail Kitchen, you’ll find Thai street-style fare while Freebird Chicken Shack is all about Asian-style rotisserie chicken shack that is free-range and hormone-free. I recently had the pleasure of attending a fall menu tasting where Chef Angus An and Chef Justin Cheung (Longtail Kitchen) guided us through a gastronomic evening of tasty delights from both restaurants.
Disclosure: All food and drinks this review were complimentary. Opinions are my own.
Our fall menu tasting featured dishes from both Longtail Kitchen and Freebird Chicken Shack.
To start, we enjoyed some refreshing drinks including Thai iced tea, Daily Pok Pok Slushy, and a selection of Steel & Oak.
And some very tasty and addictive, Crispy and Sticky Chicken Wings. Juicy, tender, and flavourful.
We tried Mama Cheung’s Laksa, Bicol Express, Duck Yolk Butter Prawns and Shaking Beef Tenderloin from Longtail Kitchen. And from Freebird Chicken Shack, there was Khao Man Gai, Tumeric Fried Chicken, Tom Yum Spiced Fried Cauliflower, and Tom Yum Spiced Fried Brussel Sprouts.
Some of the highlights of the meal include Mama Cheung’s Laksa which was rich, creamy, flavourful, subtly spicy and fragrant. I need to return to Longtail Kitchen to have this again. One of my favourites of the evening.
The Khao Man Gai from Freebird Chicken Shack was delicious with juicy, tender slices of chicken. Simple, classic and very comforting.
The Duck Yolk Butter Prawns were also a heavenly item which I need to have again at Longtail. The crispy, golden, and flavourful batter was love at first bite for me.
The Tumeric Fried Chicken was also very satisfying with juicy, tender chicken on the inside and wonderfully crispy on the outside. If you love fried chicken, you need to try this.
Chef Angus An’s restaurants are known for their deeply rich, and flavourful dishes. The food at the fall menu tasting certainly showcased that. For more information, visit Longtail Kitchen and Freebird Chicken Shack.
Hope everyone had a delicious #NationalTacoDay this past week! I celebrated at La Taqueria‘s location on Hornby at a media event where I indulged in their tacos. My favourite was the Cabo featuring taco tempura beer battered prawns. How did you celebrate #NationalTacoDay? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: All food in this review was complimentary.
In celebration of the festive season, the Robson Street Business Improvement Association hosted their second-annual Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate with friends, new and old. This past Sunday, a small group of influencers and myself gathered at the beautiful CB2 to give thanks over an intimate family-style dining experience. Our dinner featured a beautiful autumn-themed tablescape by Blossom & Vine Floral Co., a traditional Turkey dinner by Abode, pumpkin pie and sweet treats by Laduree and L’Eclair de Genie. See below for more photos of this beautiful evening.
Western Lake Restaurant on Victoria Drive is one of the most popular dim sum spots in Vancouver. And while they are known primarily for dim sum, their dinner service is also not be missed. To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, Western Lake has a special Mid-Autumn Dinner featuring King Crab and Peking Duck. The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in Chinese culture as a time of gathering and thanksgiving; this year it is happening on October 4. This past week, I had the pleasure of attending a media tasting of this magnificent feast at Western Lake Restaurant.
The Mid-Autumn Festival Dinner is priced at $668 + tax for 10 people. It consists of the following:
- Crispy Peking Duck Skin with Crepes
- Duck Meat with Lettuce Wraps
- King Crab Legs Steamed with Garlic
- Shredded Duck Meat Soup with Dried Scallops
- King Crab In Supreme Soy Sauce Bedded with Rice Cake Or Spicy King Crab Bedded with Vermicelli
- Diced Beef Tenderloin with Deep Fried Milk Puffs
- Dried Scallops Braised with Pea Tips and Enoki Mushrooms
- Sautéed and Deep-Fried Sole Fillet
- Egg Whites Fried Rice with Dried Scallops Or Baked Rice with Seafood
- Tossed Noodle with Crab Sauce
- Baked Tapioca Pudding with Taro
To start, we were presented with the live King Crabs which would soon become the main features of our dinner.
The Crispy Peking Duck Skin with Crepes were a wonderful start to the meal. The meat was tender while the skin was wonderfully crispy.
This was followed by a course of Duck Meat with Lettuce Wraps. I quite liked the dragonfruit garnishes which added some colourful accents. The duck meat stir-fry was flavourful and tasty.
The King Crab Legs steamed with Garlic were certainly garlicky! I appreciated that the King Crab pieces were pre-cut such that it was easy to extract the meat.
The Shredded Duck Meat Soup with Dried Scallops was hearty, warm and comforting.
Next up, a few more King Crab dishes: King Crab in Supreme Soy Sauce Bedded with Rice Cake and Spicy King Crab Bedded with Vermicelli. Both dishes showcased a fried preparation of King Crab with a starch (rice cake, vermicelli). I enjoyed the spicy King Crab just a bit more because of the subtle heat to it.
One dish that was meat-focused but not King Crab or Peking Duck was the Diced Beef Tenderloin with Deep Fried Milk Puffs.
And for some vegetable goodness loaded with tons of earthy mushroom flavours, there was the Dried Scallops Braised with Pea Tips and Enoki Mushrooms. This was a very comforting dish with tons of sauce.
The Sautéed and Deep-Fried Sole Fillet was wonderfully tender and had a very crispy batter on the outside.
The signature rice dish was the Egg Whites Fried Rice with Dried Scallops.
For the signature noodle dish, there was the Tossed Noodle with Crab Sauce.
To finish off a fantastic meal, we indulged in Mooncake with an artistically sliced pomelo.
And some warm Baked Tapioca Pudding with Taro as well.
All in all, I found the Western Lake Mid-Autumn Festival Dinner very delicious with impressive portions and great value. I recommend gathering a group of friends and family to enjoy this. For more information, visit www.westernlake.ca
Western Lake Restaurant
Address: 4989 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC