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Month: March 2019 Page 1 of 3

River Rock Casino, brunch

When I think of brunch spots, I don’t immediately think of Richmond as a destination, however “River Rock Casino” is about to change that with their introduction to brunch. As of March they have introduced Sunday brunch to their “Curve Lounge” menu, and today I had the opportunity to get a closer look at it all, dish after scrumptious dish.

This is part of “River Rock Casino’s” goal for the year ahead, to get back to entertainment with a food focused plan. The goal, to get visitors in for a fun night at the casino with live gaming and entertainment coupled with great drinks, to spend the night, then enjoy a comforting brunch the morning after. A “greasy morning breakfast after a night of indulging” featuring plenty of butter and carbs.

“Curve Lounge” is located in the foyer of the casino/hotel, just behind a set of ascending staircase. They offer happy hour specials, a late night menu with live music, an open patio during longer summer evenings, and now brunch on Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm.

Our morning began with some drinks, which included the launch of their build your own Caesar bar. Here, it is a choose your own adventure of spirits, rims, spices, and assorted house made pickled garnishes.

You begin by rimming your glass with lemon juice then follow it with either their house made steak spice, bacon bits, or a Parmesan black pepper mix. Next, you choose your liquor between vodka, tequila or gin. The bartender helps you with this part, adding ice over top. For now they only offer the Motts Clamato juice, with the hope of bringing more tomato based juices to their line up. You fill your glass then season with the classic Worcestershire sauce, cracked pepper, and chilli flakes (if you like).

And finally my favourite part: the toppings, where the world is your oyster. You can choose between two kinds of olives, dried sausages, bacon bits, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, bacon strips, corn segments, pickled green beans, pepperette, jalapeño, dill pickles, cornichons and shrimp. Technically there are no limitations on stacking, and no restrictions on how many of each; but a good rule of thumb is, if you can’t carry it from the bar to your table you have gone too far.

However, if the decision making process is too much this early, just choose one of their premade creations. “The dark and dirty” features vodka with olive juice. “The social”, beefeater gin with a bacon Parmesan peppered rim. And “The little devil” features olmeca gold tequila with a spicy chilli flake rim, Tabasco, and jalapeño.

If you need something caffeinated to perk you up, they also offer Starbucks coffee from their pour over station. It’s best to ask for help from the staff here, as you can burn yourself.

The food portion of our meal began with a little treat from our chef. It isn’t on their brunch menu, but I think it should be added. These are “Okanagan Apple fritters” and they are available at the casino’s West A food court. They are squishy balls of dough with chunks of apple. Each is covered in a thick coating of melt-in-your-mouth powdered sugar that sticks to your lips and coat your tongue. Half the fun is licking your fingers clean of its tasty cinnamon and sugar.

For those who like a sweeter breakfast “Curve” offers a “Cinnamon toast walnut crunch”. Dark rye French toast, cinnamon candied walnuts, whipped mascarpone, and brown sugar glaze. This was the brainchild of their cooking team embracing creativity. The chefs were asked to come up with some great ideas and this one “won”. Here, their dark rye sits and soaks in egg for two days. The use of rye is suppose to give it more chew, but I found the French toast soggy. Though this could have been because we waited to long to eat in order to take photos. I did however get the dark coffee notes that were described. This was an interesting twist, but I wanted more crunch from it, the walnuts although candied helped, but they left me wanting more of its texture and it’s sweetness.

My favourite dish was the “Curvalicious rancheros”, I found its presentation fun and the taste and textures most balanced. Farmhouse sausage, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, fried hen’s eggs and guacamole. (Note: I liked how their menu gussied up eggs by calling each a “hen’s egg”, fancy.) The tortilla is baked to a crisp and they stay that way through the duration of your meal. They ate like nachos with a dull spice. Saucy, crispy, fresh, and tangy. Light and hearty all at once. Great as a healthier breakfast option and even better as a late night snack, shame that it’s only offered 11-2:30pm on Sundays.

The name says it all. The “Hangover healer” is that greasy burger you want to eat after a night of heavy drinking. Shaved beef, bacon, fried egg, cheddar, and a bacon hollandaise sauce; all between two sweet buns from a local bakery. The buns made all the difference, it reminded me of Chinese style cocktail buns. Its sweetness paired well with the salted pile of meat, the freshness of the tomato, and the pickle for tang. All coated in the sumptuous, rich bacon hollandaise sauce that would continue to win me over below.

The “Proper butcher Bennie” was similar to the above, in richness and meatiness. But with two burger patties on a toasted English muffin, along with cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, bacon hollandaise, fried tomato, and their kid Cali sauce. Served with a side of their brunch potatoes. It is also normally served with two fried eggs, but they gave us poached for a more visual sensation today. This was like bacon and eggs elevated in a convenient to eat hand held. And I say hand held because the English muffin was tough to cut into, much like the over cooked beef patty. But the bacon and hollandaise hides most of that behind its crispy and creamy tastiness.

The “Almost English breakfast” is for those who want a more fulsome meal. The traditional eggs, sausage, bacon, and brunch potatoes; but to it add roasted mushrooms, black beans, grilled tomato, and toast. All that was missing was some ham to make it a proper London breakfast. It was hearty assembly, yet healthy tasting. A very clean serving with no excess oil or grease. Even the bacon felt lean between your teeth. And the sausage dull with flavour, where you expected and wanted a fatty and zesty bite.

And for the vegetarians they do have you covered as well, we didn’t try it but they have a customizable dish called “The lousy hunter”. (I enjoyed the playfulness of its name.) Roasted seasonal veggies, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a fried hens egg should you choose.

In between courses we snacked on their bowl of “Curve social nuts”, served in the lounge at night. A mix of corn nuts, peanuts, and rice cracker seasoned in a barbecue sauce.

And for dessert our heavy feast ended in a plate of fresh fruit and one bite desserts. Although this is only available through their banquet and catering options. On top of a rainbow of gold flake topped tropical fruit this platter also included chocolate truffles, lemon tarts, chocolate mousse cups, and chocolate covered strawberries. Only the macaron are not made in house.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
“River Rock Casino” now gives traditional brunch seekers a new place to visit when in Richmond. Come for the game play and stay for the breakfast the morning after. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CURVE
River Rock Casino Resort
8811 River Road, Richmond BC, V6X 3P8
604-273-1895
riverrock.com/dining/curve

Healthy Chef Competition 2019

2019 marks the 20th annual “Healthy Chef Competition”. It is a gala, dinner, competition, and fundraiser all roll into one fun filled night. Co-hosted by the “BC Produce Marketing Association” and the “BC Chefs’ Association (BCCA). And tonight it all took place at the host hotel, “Hyatt Regency”, in Vancouver, BC. The “Hyatt” on Burrard would welcome myself and 500+ guests to its 3rd floor banquet room.

Here, ten participating restaurants each created an entree and a dessert for the guests to try. And in each, fresh produce was the star of the plate, and any protein only played a supporting role.

Everyone gets a different meal as determined by the mystery envelope placed at each table setting. In it a card indicating which property you will be claiming your entree from and which different restaurant will hand you your dessert. And speaking from personal experience, there is plenty of both to go around that many diners are able to go back from seconds at the booth of their choosing.

I was one of the media judges tonight, and started the evening ranking each property. The judging criteria included their use of all the produce available to them, how well kept their station was, and how creative I found the presentation of their showcase. The accumulation of our votes, the chef judges tastings, and attendees voting in real time yielded the following winners.

The following is a list of the winners and all this others who competed. Unfortunately I didn’t try them everything, and what I did have was a shared tasting, therefore my notes on each plate will be sparse, if any.

The “People’s choice winner” was “White Spot restaurant”. Their entree featured duck served two ways. Their table was themed like a wild clearing with dried vegetation and raw vegetables put together. It was decorated like a setting that you would find two stuffed ducks at.

“Duck two ways”. Sous vide duck breast in prosciutto with a sherry duck glaze and crispy duck skin sand. And a duck fois gras and porcini globe with oven dried tomato. Both served with purple potato, heirloom carrots, cauliflower chips, and pea purée. I appreciated the thick chunk of duck paired with the perfectly prepared firm vegetables. And liked how they gave you more meaty water fowl pulled and stuffed into a cabbage roll.

The “Cucumber Panna Cotta” was their dessert. An ambrosia apple and celery salad, with mint gelato, lime syrup, and meringue. It was refreshing with the minty ice cream feel. Some compared it to tooth paste, but I found it the idea palette refresher. I passed on the salad though, finding the strong flavour of celery obtrusive to the sweet of a would be dessert.

Winning both the “Best entree” and the “Best table showcase” was “The Wild Fig”. The first accolade was totalled by the chef judges who tasted all the plates and the latter from the media judge, (like myself), who enjoyed their presentation. A whimsical jungle scape that included bananas ducks simmering in a bubbling pond, and a mountain of fruit guarded by a monkey with a cantaloupe body, an apple head, and a zucchini top hat.

Their entree was a “Red beet infused, dry aged AAA striploin”. It was aged for 35 days, and proud to be hormone free. It was accompanied by a sweet potato roulade, baby nugget purée, baby beets, caulilini, cipollini, purple brussel, squash purée, nasturtium (a species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plant), dark mesh tuile, and Madagascar peppercorn sauce. This was such a dynamic plate with all the rainbow coloured vegetables.

Their dessert was “The real taste of banana” and it was a favourite amongst my table. A white chocolate banana mousse cake tube, cocoa butter, banana compote, hazelnut dacquiose, dolce de leche, fizzy fruit berries, and edible gold dust. This was a clever presentation and a fun play on food. Super tasty with the real flavour of banana coming through in the mousse and in the chocolate shell.

“VCC – Vancouver Community College” won for the “Best dessert”, shame I missed on trying it. The “Rhubarb bar” included dehydrated vanilla, meringue, and a kombucha fluid gel.

Their main course was a “Braised Pork Cheek” with sunchoke and an ambrosia sour radish amaranth. This too I missed out on trying.

Their display was a dehydrated garden which was completely edible as is, including the soil made of soy. Dehydrated fennel, kale, asparagus, and mushrooms.

“Wild Forager Catering” had a fun booth. They created a cabin on the table with a garden out front. In the soil, potatoes spelled out the restaurant’s name. And behind it, a glass window gave you a look at their two available dishes.

Their main course was the “Pig in the cabbage patch”. Gelderman farms roast pork loin, fried sauerkraut cauliflower and link fondue, fingerling potato, and olive oil sous-vide grape tomato.

For dessert they offered up a “BC Ambrosia Apple pie gelee”. Sable tart, maple Dijon Chantilly cream, apple cider tuiles, Cointreau caramel, and mint infused strawberry. A classic apple tart: comforting, tart, and buttery.

This was “Cedar Feast House Catering’s” first year in attendance. Not only did their table display their food, but it also presented their heritage with a collection of carved artwork: canoe paddles and masks.

Their main course was a “Maple pumpkin crusted cod” on a bed of rapini, with apple chutney, potato pave, roasted beet, butternut squash, and corn purée. I didn’t get a taste of this or their dessert below.

And a shame too cause the “Bannock Truffle” would have been a fun fusion creation to try. Made with coconut dark chocolate potato, beet ginger ice cream on a wafer crisp, and an ambrosia apple chip and blueberry purée on top. This gave you your serving of vegetables in a whole new way.

“Beach Grove Club House” gave us a collection of fresh fruit and carved watermelons.

Their entree was “Sundried tomato crusted baja scallops” with blue skin baby potato filled with yam purée, asparagus, baby carrots, and baby beet roots; served over a red cabbage miso purée, and a soy orange butter sauce. It was nice to have some scallops here, you don’t often think to order them cause you don’t get much on the plate. But the great flavours here are worth it getting a smaller serving for.

For dessert they had a “molten cake filled with chocolate and raspberry sauce”, but it was the sides that decorated it, that impressed me the most. Chocolate dirt, whipped vanilla panna cotta, mango fruit gel drops, a crystallized pear chip, and an edible orchid. I have never eaten an orchid before, it was memorable and surprisingly delicious. So much so that I wanted to take a box of them home with me.

“Acqua Restaurant” from “Executive Suites Hotel Metro Vancouver” offered up a “Star anise kumquat duck” for their main course. Staranise brined duck, kumquat glace de viande, smoked red kuri squash, black ink crisps, shimeji mushrooms, pickled mustard fennel kimchi, crispy lotus chips, black garlic sesame puree, and fennel tops.

And dessert was “Yuzu meringue pie” with Meyer lemon, yuzu, dulche de leche, purple tapioca crisp, maceraed berries, and blue berry meringue. This was a beautiful plate light, that was breezy in colour and taste.

From “75 West Coast Grill” at the “Vancouver Airport Marriott” they created a pasta wonderland. Colourful noodles in shells, spirals and strands became bouquets of flowers, ready for spring.

They were also the only ones to offer a “Sous vide octopus” with romesco and manchego cheese cannelloni, charred corn segments, sweet corn foam, avocado purée, and mole sauce. The tender pieces of octopus were zesty with spice, it paired well with the sweetness from all the corn elements.

For dessert they had an “Ambrosia apple gateau basque” with walnut milk spheres, charred lemon curd, pistachio cream, green grape soil, fruit leather, apple fluid gel, and amaretto berry variations. This was a fulsome dessert that I sadly missed out on.

“Delta Hotels By Marriott Burnaby Conference center” gave diners a full vegetarian plate. “Fermented pine mushroom celeriac”, housemade pumpkin seed miso farro, pumpkin seed dukkah, pea puree, celeriac puree, vegetable demi, smoked fingerling potatoes, pickled daikon, shaved fennel, and compressed granny smith apple.

For dessert they served a “Strawberry Panna Cotta” with almond cocoa nib granola, compressed strawberries, sorrel yogurt sherbet, and minted skim milk whip cream. It was fun to slurp up in the strand that it was served in. It had the texture of Panna Cotta, but in a new format, and was fresh like a fruit purée.


And last but not least were the dishes from “Hyatt Regency Hotel”, our host hotel. Their presentation including a collection of the produce they were using, presented in glass cylinders and wooden boxes.

Lamb with fingerling potatoes, sun choke, English peas, foraged mushrooms, fermented wild blueberry, and apple bordelaise sauce. A beautifully crafted, and fulsome plate.

I especially enjoyed their “Dark chocolate Forest” dessert. Chocolate moss, spruce infused milk chocolate mousse, chocolate soil, meringue mushrooms, and pistachio streusel. This was a plate full of great textures. Not too sweet, but well balanced with juicy, airy, and saucy elements.

The kitchen team from “Hyatt Regency Hotel” also offered everyone a starter plate. A “Kampachi & Salmon sashimi” with scallion, apple, fingerling potato chips, and sunflower
sprouts; all soaking in a chilled white shoyu dashi. It was a tasty serving that everyone unanimously enjoyed at our table.

They also offered a vegetarian starter plate option and a vegetarian main course option, as well as roaming appetizers during reception. As we all ate everyone had the opportunity to explore all of the showcases, chat up the chefs behind them, then cast in their People’s Choice vote. There was also entertainment, music, and auctions, with tonight’s dinner event hosted by CTV’s weathercaster Mark Driescchen. Auctions included a silent and live version. With proceeds going to support programs at the Canadian Cancer Society, BC Heart and Stroke, and the BCCA Scholarship Program.

And at the end of the night everyone went home with a gift bag and box of fresh produce. Plus their pineapple place setting, and any of the prizes they won through raffles and draws.

Given that it has been 20 years since this event first started and how well run and successful it is and was on this night, I am surprised that I haven’t heard of them until last year. But this is not an event to miss. Therefore make sure you bookmark the site and check back early spring of 2020 to secure your tickets. But be warned, tickets sell out fast, and this is without the extra advertising, that they don’t need. Those in the know, know that this is the must attend foodie event for early spring! And as I post this review, I am still working my way through the produce box I was gifted. And with each piece of fruit that I peel and each vegetable I chop, I am looking forward to next year!

 

​HEALTHY CHEF COMPETITION & DINER
info@bcpma.com
http://www.bcproducebc.ca

Le Crocodile, revisited

My girl friend has never been to this popular French restaurant, located in downtown Vancouver before; so when looking for a spot to celebrate at, we made this our destination.

This classic has been the go to for many date nights. Where fine dining is done classy with white table cloths and napkins; servers in button ups and vests, with towels over their forearms; and an in house sommelier ready to assist you with your wine ordering, table side.

But before we continue, for my first visit account and a more romantic scenario; including more details on the decor and ambience, check out the link below.
http://vieamaggi.com/le-crocodile/

We started by getting a bottle of Pinot Gris to share. It was kept on ice in a near by pedestal ice bucket. It was just in reach to keep our glasses topped off regularly. We ordered the most affordable bottle: a Gentil white blend. Alsace, FR. $50 for the bottle.

Our meal began with a complimentary amuse bouche. A braised endive with goat cheese and pear tart. It had the texture of soup on a buttery crust. It was cheesy, almost gelatine-like, and reminded me somewhat of a can of mushroom soup before you add in the water. Getting something for free is always a nice start to your meal. You feel special and walk away thinking you got more than what you paid for. And this feeling “Le Crocodile” cultivated for us continued on. with a complimentary basket of bread below and two desserts to close out the meal at the end.

White and rye slices of baguette with squares of firm butter.

For entrees I enjoyed the “Duo of foie-gras tasting”, wanting something completely French to take advantage of the locale.

The foie-gras terrine was meaty, thick and rich. I found the toast it was served with too hard, so helped myself to all the softened bread above. The ice wine gelee on the side was a nice balance, a dry texture and something bubbly to chew through with the heavier spread.

By comparison the foie-gras burlee was creamy and light. It had the airiness of its namesake dessert, furthered by its trademark burnt sugar, torched top. A very creative spin. But two together was too rich. This was an appetizer best shared.

My guest had the “One and one half pound Atlantic lobster” steamed and shelled, sauté with market vegetables in a saffron butter sauce. This was as decadent as it sounded, the cream sauce was all consuming and luscious, full of that tell-a-tale sweet lobster flavour. A little too rich on its own, best with some rice or the shoe string potatoes they fried, as a side.

We didn’t finish either of our meals, both were too decadent as is, and even more so shared together. In the future I would consider and recommend their set dinner instead. Allowing the expert restaurant staff to curate your perfect meal: appetizer, entree, and dessert; with all the other small bites in between.

And in between courses our table was tasteful cleaned by our server. A concave metal tool was used to scraped crumbs of our dishes prior, before new dish ware and cutlery was set.

Even though we passed on ordering dessert, we still got something sweet to end our meal on. A complimentary scoop of “Cantaloupe sorbet with Porto”. It was refreshing and light with the full flavour of the fruit shining through. Tangy to start and sweeter to finish, making it a great palette refresher.

And as per their tradition, every meal here ends with their “Le Crocodile” chocolates in milk and dark. One for each person at the table.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Not for every day dining, but a great indulgence when you are looking to celebrate. Rich food with prices that match the richness of the experience. They are a Vancouver institution for a reason. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LE CROCODILE
909 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 4T4
604-669-4298
lecrocodilerestaurant.com

Dachi

Tonight I met up with a handful of local Vancouver food bloggers, for our semi regular met up. (Areta of “Foodgressing”, Sherman of “Sherman’s Food Adventures”, David of “Picky Diner”, Hanson of “Nosh & Nibbles”, and Kristina of the former “Drunken Noms” fame.)
Just a group of friends coming together to share their common interest. No special treatment, no media access, just six friends having dinner with their own portable lights and high end camera gear.

We made reservations at “Dachi”, the old home of the now shuttered “Campanolo Roma”. And our larger party request came with a warning. There is only room for about 40 patrons total in the smaller space, so we were told our meal and what we would have, would be somewhat dictated by the pace of the kitchen. Just as well, seeing as they don’t have an omakase menu. A list of the chef’s special of the day, like we normally gravitate towards, seeing as no one usually wants to order for the entire group. So we all agreed to allow the kitchen to help give us a taste of their entire menu through servings, on their time.

We were given the only large table, right by the front window, right in front of the bar. The bar that was painted in a medium blue and topped with a marble counter. If you grabbed a seat on one of their matching blue stools, you sat facing three shelves worth of bottles lit in a golden yellow hue. It was well highlighted and well used tonight.

The rest space was kept clean: black tile under foot, wood panels covering the ceiling and two rows of bulbs hanging from them. There wasn’t much in terms of decor, except from my vantage point. Looking up and facing the door I was able to take in the shelf that lined the ceiling. Living plants in urns, a collection of hard covers, and a couple of character figurines.

As for the actual food, be warned, their menu does change quite often. So if you see something below it may no longer be available for you when you actually visit. So call ahead to confirm.

Both of the owners were working the front today. They were great at explaining said menu, giving us the opportunity to ask questions. Like where the name “Dachi” came from. It is the shorten version of “friend” in Japanese. More informal like “buddy” or “pal”. It represented the two owner’s friendship and their partnership in this endeavour.

We began with a few cocktails from off of their specialty drink list. Like their food menu, this too was promised to change and be updated frequently. This month’s offering was themed, each a twist on a city’s classic.

“The people’s word” was a strong drink made from mezcal, green chartreuse, lime, and spiced cherry cordial.

The “Industry standard” was more like a punch by comparison. Made with Sloe gin, dry vermouth, Fernet branch, grapefruit, and lemon sherbert.

The “Home away” was last unique, considering it included their own “house liqueur #1”, along with Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters.

Our table shared two servings of the following appetizers, it gave everyone the ability to have more than just a nibble. And thankfully, seeing as we all enjoyed having a whole “Three year aged cheddar and buttermilk biscuit”. Each slattered with as much of the mutsu apple butter spread as you liked. Although the butter offered very little flavour, it only had a mild salty apple sauce taste, and only if you were looking for it. It was mostly hidden behind the incredibly cheesy and chewy biscuit with airy pockets.

Our table was fond of the burrata and how they paired it with toasted seeds, radicchio, and Anjou pear with PX vinegar. I on the other hand preferred the classic olive oil and balsamic combo. In general I differed from the group, opting for more familiar flavours than the new ones being presented here. I have never had bread like this, with this sort of dressing and combination, but found you needed it all together for balanced bites. The seed butter was pretty prominent, whereas I was looking for more sweetness to pair with the fresh pear, like honey and walnut.

The “Yarrow meadows duck confit croquettes” were nice, each crispy nugget was packed full of pulled duck meat. I would have preferred a sweet and sour plum sauce for dipping, but the smoked golden raisin purée and pickled celery was an interesting take for a sweet and tangy flavour combination. I would suggest eating the pickled celery as a last bite given how strong the pickling was, it was best served as a good palette cleanse.

The “Mushroom and toasted seed perogies” were one of my favourite dishes of the night. But even then, one is plenty, given how much chopped up woodsy mushroom they pack into this nutty pocket. And if you still don’t feel like you have enough mushroom here, they offer a slice of king oyster mushroom on top, along with a celeriac purée to smear into. But what I loved most about this dish was the texture of the doughy and thickness of the shell.

Similarly, I liked the “Gnudi folded with ricotta” for its texture. Each of these little drops came with a great chewy centre. Each well seasoned in a kombu braised leek purée, with toasted buckwheat and sweet onion. This was a great dish, but it left me wanting something fresh, and not just the onion. Maybe some sun choke, carrots, or peas. I also found the crunch of the barley a little much when paired with the soft and and doughy gnudi.

The “Vancouver island Manila clams” were also very lovely. Served in a fragrant roasted onion broth with emulsified egg yolk scattered over top. The broth was so good that when all the clams were gone, I found myself scooping spoons of the plain brown liquids into my gaping mouth. My table mates found its flavour comparable to pho broth. The dish also came with crispy pork belly and crackling, although I didn’t find the dish needed this extra decadence. I ended up eating each element on their own anyways, as I found the pork over powering the calm.

The following entrees were slip between the six of us. At this point we were edging on full, with 4 entrees and 2 desserts still left on our journey to try their entire menu.

The “Country fried steelhead trout” came with salted beets and a horseradish gribiche. The latter served as a grown up tartar sauce. The only element that didn’t flow were the beets, they were well prepared, but didn’t give me country, much like the breading that could have been more chunky and crispy for that same country feel.

I found the “Roasted winter squash stew” comforting. Made with cashew butter, toasted ricotta, and px vinegar this was a rich serving that ate more like a whipped purée. It was thick enough to spread over toast, and I found myself wanting some pita with it.

The “Braised pork cheek” were amazingly tender, a fresh plate with the sun choke, parsnip purée, roasted hazelnut, and oloroso sherry. Shame I was too full to enjoy this in its entirety. If I wasn’t, I would have wanted some more starch with this.

Similarly, the “Twenty four hour roasted beef chuck flat” was tender, but also missing something to make it a full entree. Prepared with heirloom carrot, red miso, Swiss chard.

For dessert I wished there was something lighter, a breezier end to complete our fulsome feast on. Instead we had two very filling and two very decadent desserts to work through.

The “Poached Granny Smith apple” was the lighter of the two; prepared with cider sabayon, spice cake, and ginger mascarpone. The cake was spongy, it came with a creeping spice. I wanted more freshness for it, outside of the tart apple that could have used a longer bake time.

The “69% cocoa chocolate ganache” was a richer dessert. Made with meringue, hazelnut streusel, and a pear vanilla purée. The streusel was a little too crunchy, and I continually sought out more freshness form the fruit. I also wish it was more sweet to compensate for the slight burnt flavour I tasted.

To wash it all down we were treated with a celebratory shot of “Limoncello”. This was a liqueur made locally with Yuzu, chilli, and pepper. It was punchy at 30%. It was just a shame that majority of us drove and weren’t able to full enjoy the shot this late in our meal.

And don’t forget to visit one of their two private washroom stalls. It is papered with fabulous pink flamingos and tropical leaves.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I give them credit for an inventive menu. I found their ingredient combinations and flavour pairings fun, though not something I would seek out again or gravitate to in general. Truthfully I enjoy the familiar, but all my table mates were quick to disagree with me. I liked the space and their location near my neighbourhood, as they would make a great bar to meet a friend at for drinks. I would skip dinner; however, if you believe the stats: 5 out of 6 food bloggers give “Dachi” the green light. Not to mention their next menu will be updating in two weeks, giving diners a more spring inspired offering. Therefore what I had tonight will be completely different, giving me a completely different impression of them. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DACHI
2297 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5L 1V3
604-569-0456
dachivancouver.com

Bayside Lounge, new cocktail menu

Today I was invited to “Bayside Lounge” to check out a few of their new house cocktails. They are one of the restaurants where if you are a member of the “Vancouver Gourmet Club” your membership earns you 15% off your entire meal, upon any and every visit. And yes, this includes drinks as well.

To learn how you can get discounts on your favourite places to eat with the “Vancouver Gourmet Club” visit the link below and sign up.
https://www.vangourmetclub.com/

They are best known for their view at the corner of Denman and Davie. A second floor scenery that gives you the blue of English Bay in the distance. If you can get past the smell of aged fabric, the space is actually quite delightful. Once you enter it divides between the bar and the lounge. However the former is where you want to be, with a view that curves and a bar that parallels it.

In all honestly, my original visit wasn’t all that glowing, but this was a great redemption meal to rectify that. Starting with the following cocktails that had only launched two weeks prior to when we visited.

I tried a “Hidden dragon” on my first visit, but it wasn’t anything like this 2.0 version. The current rendition is made with Absolut citron vodka, chambord, muddled dragon fruit, lemon lime juice, grapefruit bitters, and a rose lemonade float. The rosy pink hue and the black speckling from the dragon fruit sets this glass apart. It is not a fruity as it looks, it has a sweetness that couples well with the sharp punch of the liquor.

The “Rubics cube” is an interesting one and one I would recommend and order again upon a future visit. Ungava premium Canadian gin, lemon liqueur, muddle celery, lemon lime juice, rhubarb bitters, and a splash of cassis. It was savoury like a Caesar, and it too drank like a meal. It had some spice to it, like what you would use to season meat. The taste of the celery salt is what shone through most for me, with the burn of alcohol to finish off the sip.

The last was “Le caci”, named after the two bartender’s who created it. Beefeater London dry gin, dubon-net, pimms no. 1, burnt chartreuse, orgeat syrup, lemon juice, blackberries, and ginger beer float. It was easy to drink with the ginger beer, and a lot lighter despite its dark and murky colouring.

As for food, we made a point to order items you wouldn’t normally think to, and was pleasantly surprised by both. Normally when you are apprehensive about your meal you order something “safe” like pasta or a burger, so I wanted to test some of the more dressier dishes. I was very impressed by their “Open face steak sandwich” for only $16. This was a great price for a great quality steak, perfectly prepared in medium rare. I enjoyed the crumbs of blue cheese topping it and the crunch from the fried onions. And they paired well with the sweet red pepper, and sautéed mushrooms.

And the “Duck confit salad” was just as good. We got a large piece, plenty of meat to ration amongst all of the salad. Saltier duck, tart greens, and a tangy vinaigrette to coat them all. It was tasty enough to have me eating my leaves, with the pickled ginger and burnt tomato elevating each spoon full.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
The menu was updated this January and if everything was just as vibrant and delicious as what we had, I will need to return to try more. And the best part, you wouldn’t expect this quality for the price and the place (with paper St. Patrick’s Day decorations and staff dressed in flannel). So now for food and cocktails I can recommend this long established spot with a view. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BAYSIDE LOUNGE
Best Western Sands Hotel
1755 Davie Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1W5
604-682-1831
baysidelounge.ca

Mamie Taylor, brunch

Today I was back at one of my favourite establishments to recommend, the Southern restaurant with a taxidermy theme in Chinatown: “Mamie Taylor”. A fun spot for some great food, and even better drinks. And today I brought a group of my friends down to show them a new option for their brunch time cravings.

They were in awe of the restaurant’s decor with its throwback to Chinatown’s yester-years in the form of historic signs and antiques with a story. They loved posing with the animal bust dressed up in hats, glasses, and necklaces. But best of all they enjoyed the food.

We started our meal with their brunch time cocktails. Their “Bloody mamie” was a caesar and made with Clamato juice despite its name. (Bloody Mary’s are more common in the states, they use tomato juice without the clam juice.) The cocktail comes with your choice of gin or tequila mixed with their house spice mix. It was tasty with its salty rim, making it a great savoury start to the meal ahead.

For those who like a bit of a boost with their breakfast they also have a “Spiked coffee” made with your choice of rumchata or baileys. The creamy shot comes separately for you to pour into the coffee to your tastes. I am not a fan of coffee, but will always get behind a mug of something this delicious and warming. Even one of my guests, who doesn’t like to drink enjoyed this, drinking it down to its last drop.

For something more refreshing, I suggest the “Pegu royal”. Gin, Cointreau, fresh lime, bitters, and bubbles. It was citrusy like a punch, with acid that hits the back of your throat. Once again, sipping this was easy, like you weren’t drinking alcohol.

And for those who like the classics, there is their “Mamie mimosa” with fresh orange juice and bubbles.

For food we started with their “Chicken and waffle sandwich”. We had our choice of bourbon honey or spicy buffalo for the seasoning and went for the former. We wanted a little sweetness to play off the salty bacon we requested as an add on. Together they flowed well with the tangy and refreshing apple kale slaw. My only critique here was that the waffle was a little dry. They are made before the morning rush, so it would be nice to have them pressed to order instead; at least be accompanied with some more syrup or a pot of gravy on the side for moisture.

The “Homemade chorizo biscuit” wasn’t want we expected. When we read it on the menu we thought it was a buttermilk biscuit made with bits of chorizo sausage embedded within. Instead this was a buttermilk biscuit sandwich with a chorizo patty, topped with dill ranch slaw and spicy mayo. The patty was dry, and it tasted like a veggie patty with a similar texture. It needed a sauce: some gravy, barbecue, or better yet the hollandaise from the Benny below. I wasn’t impressed by this, and passed on the feedback to the owner. In the photo we asked for extra chorizo, not realizing we would get two patties stacked.

By comparison the “Fried green tomato Benny” was a winner. A crispy battered tomato slice, chunked avocado, soft boiled egg, and hollandaise; all over a buttery biscuit. This had all the flavours and textures I am looking for in a delicious Benny. Smooth gooey yolk, chewy biscuit, and creamy sauce. The only thing I could have used was some spice in the tomato’s batter, just for some kick.

The “Mamie’s pork belly” is the kind of sandwich you want for a greasy morning after. Thick pieces of caramelized pork topped with a sweet onion jam, gruyere and cheddar cheese, between two slices of toasted sourdough; then finished off with a perfect sunny side up egg. Sweet and salty goodness like a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich but with thicker and meatier pork pieces that make all the difference.

One of my guests is lactose intolerant, so was happy to find a brunch option that excluded butter, milk, and cream; that was tasty and she could enjoy. This was the “Smoked brisket hash” with pico de gaillo, salsa verde, poached egg, and jalapeño. She opted for no cheddar cheese and instead substituted it for some avocado slices. The generous amounts of tender and chewy brisket meat made all the difference here and the crispy breakfast potatoes.

More breakfast potatoes were included as a side for each of our plates above. And on each, they were toasted and crispy. One of my guests declared his distain for cubes of potatoes pan fried like this, only to find himself rummaging through all the plates looking for the crispy, slightly burnt pieces and loving it.

But not as much as the “White cheddar grits”. At $5, this side stole the show. It was super cheesy and simply delicious. We also passed on the feedback that this should be made the star of a breakfast platter. A meaty side to help feature it. Either way, I would suggest getting this as an add on to try.

This isn’t on the brunch menu, but could be, and should be something that you try is their deep fried apple dessert. This is one of my favourite desserts to recommend, so had to treat my friends to a bite. An apple cored and filled with vanilla ice cream, coated and deep fried in cornflakes, then topped with raisins and apple chunks sautéed in cinnamon and sugar. It is as good as I described it.

We also got to try one of the newest drink flights to hit their ever growing menu. They offer whiskey, bourbon, and even absinthe flights. And now an Old Fashion flight made with their own mix, left to sit in a cast for three months. One taster was mixed with rum, another tequila mezcal, and the last bourbon. It also included some water, should you need to dilute the beverage. Simply delicious, for those who like a stiff sip.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great place to have drinks with friends, and now a great stop for brunch. Get out of downtown and discover a unique spot in Chinatown for something unexpected. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MAMIE TAYLOR’S
251 East Georgia Street, Vancouver BC
604-620-8818
mamietaylors.ca

BC Seafood Festival 2019, kickoff

The BC seafood festival is back for another year, and today we were invited down to “Pacific Yacht Charters” to get a taste of what you can expect from the week long festival in June. And what better way to enjoy the bounty of the sea than on a yacht, in it. The celebration BC seafood included the announcement of their “Buy BC Seafood Campaign”, encouraging the purchasing of local goods. And a collection of chilled drinks and delicious seafood tastings from Chef Mardy Ra, Pacific Yacht Charters, and other guest chefs. Here is a recap of what we enjoyed.

“Pacific Yacht Charters” had severs coming around with small bites, like these crispy crab cakes.

“Locals Restaurant” in Commox were offering guests their cucumber wrapped smoked sablefish with kelp and caviar cream.

“Fanny Bay Oysters” served up a thick and creamy Manila clam and corn chowder, topped with corn salsa and paprika oil. And they paired with smoked pork belly with a crispy crackling skin. This was a gluten free chowder that won the “2019 Oceanwise Chowder Chow Down”.

From “Ancora Waterfront Restaurant” in West Vancouver came a refreshing ceviche. A mix of fresh seafood and citrus that we were encouraged to take down like a shot.

From “Blackfin Pub” came a made to order pan seared albacore tuna, all done before our eyes.

And on the deck was Gordy McLellan from Mac’s Oysters shucking a variety of BC oysters that guest slurped down.

The empty shells were tossed over board, or used as a shot glass for some “Unruly Gin” from Wayward Distillation House.

I highly recommend the “KRUPNIK“ they were also sampling. This was a spiced honey liqueur that was one of a kind and easy to sip neat.

“40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery” was also on site serving guests a taste of their red, white, and rose.

The 2019 BC Seafood Festival will run from June 7-16. It will once again be held in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. This the largest seafood festival in western Canada. It is a great treat for seafood lovers, and a better destination for families looking for a summer vacation trip. More than just food stalls and booths, they offer up seminars, gala dinners, master classes, cooking competitions, and plenty of activities to keep the whole family engaged. For more details on how you can get your tickets and help in planning your trip check out their website with the link below.
https://bcseafoodfestival.com/

#BCSeafoodFest

Cocktail and pizza making class at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Getting crafty, cocktail and pizza making parties where you learn to create your own seasonal cocktails and the perfect pizza pie!

“Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.” continues to give you reasons to return. More than just healthy meal solutions, they also host children’s pizza making parties. And for all those parents and caretakers that attend, but can’t fully participate, it is now your turn to be able to make your own pizza. And to celebrate this child-free activity, the night also comes with cocktails that you too can make yourself. What a great way to try something new and maybe learn something new in the process. Not to mention you get to enjoy the cocktails as you make your pizza, and then have it right out of the oven for dinner.

For $50 per person (plus taxes and gratuity) each party includes the following:

  • Party Nibbles – Locally Marinated Olives + Cheesy Flatbread & Dip.
  • Cocktail Making – Your cocktail host will guide you through how to craft 2 seasonal cocktails.
  • Pizza Making – Your pizza making host will guide you through rolling out your dough, spreading our house made organic tomato sauce, shrinking scrumptious Canadian cheeses & adding your favourite gourmet toppings.
  • To Finish – Platters of warm double chocolate brownies served with house made vanilla ice cream.

As the first run of this newly conceived event our rendition varied a little from the outline above.

Our party gathered at the Main Street location, spread across a long table. Here, we enjoyed a couple of appetizers to get our appetite going, and to give the stragglers time to arrive.

When fully assembled our gathering of 8 was split into two groups and our night began with the cocktail making portion. We tried our hand at two of their signature sips, getting a step by step lesson from one their restaurant’s bartenders. Most of us, like myself, unfamiliar with proper tools and technique, got the benefit of a crash course.

I liked the “Earl grey gin” cocktail the most with the use of their own house made tea mixture. It was like a ice tea, but spiked. Refreshing and easy to drink, and great with most plates.

The “Triple berry mojito” was muddled mint, black berries purée and rum. Another refreshing cocktail that paired well with all the fresh ingredients of our pizzas to come.

And as we double fisted our tasty cocktails creations we began the pizza making portion of our night. Everyone got their own round of dough to flatten and roll out over flour with a rolling pin. Majority of us formed traditional 10 inch flat circles; whereas I got a little creative, shaping my flat bread pizza into a heart.

From here our pizza making coach came around with sauce and topping options. We were advised to not go over four toppings or else we wouldn’t be able to taste the crust past the layers. Here, I would have loved to have all the ingredient options before me, to pick and choose what I wanted as a pleased. This, instead of having my options come around and what I wanted rationed out by the handful.

First, comes the sauce, our choice was between pesto or tomato. We were given the option to do both, and majority of us took the opportunity to do half-half.

Next came the first layer of cheese, a handful each to spread evenly over our pizza in the making.

Next came the cooked meat toppings like chicken, ham, bacon, pepperoni, and sausage; to name a few.

After, fruit and vegetable options like mushrooms, onion (sautéed and raw), grilled tomatoes, red peppers, mango, olive/, spinach and kale; to name a few.

Then a second round of cheeses of the soft variety.

A few of us did go over the four ingredient maximum, but every flat bread pizza turned out just as delicious as the next. Especially as each diner made theirs to their preference and if they didn’t like the combinations, they only had themselves to blame.

Then off into their specialty oven they go. This part is with help from the “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.” staff.

And as we waited for our dinner to bake up, we made a mocktail featuring ginger beer, which also served as a great aperitif.

Each pizza was then plated, sliced, and placed before the diner. As a finishing touch you had the opportunity to topped your oven baked pizza with some dry cheeses like goat and Parmesan, and leafy greens like arugula and basil.

Then we ate and continued to drink, enjoying the meal before us and the experience behind us. But our pizza and cocktail making class did not end until dessert was served. Their popular double chocolate brownie with house made vanilla ice cream was the perfect way to cap off the night.

What a fun new way to enjoy an interactive dinner. Where else can eat the spoils of your learned knowledge? Adult pizza parties with cocktail component only at “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
4186 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P7
604-566-9779
rockymountainflatbread.ca

New and Noteworthy at the 99th annual Vancouver International Car Show

From March 19th to 24th, 2019 the Vancouver International Auto Show is back for its 99th year. Held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, it allows attendees the ability to get up close and learn more about their favourite vehicles, or find a new favourite; all under one roof. Which includes the latest rides from over 40 manufacturers. Everyday drivers like Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Ford. Luxury sedans from Genesis, BMW, Acura, and Rolls Royce. And supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Mclaren.

This weekend the Vancouver International Auto Show is the ideal destination for car enthusiasts and for those looking for their next vehicle. The latter is especially the case, as they are not able to sell you anything on the show room floor. Serving as an exhibit to walk through and ask questions, without the pressure of purchasing.

Today I arrived bright and early to take part in the press tour. A guided tour of what is new and noteworthy at this year’s show. This is just a recap of what we were shown, but there is so much more to see and do. For a more visual experience, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

 

Our time began with a self serve breakfast buffet featuring savoury pastries, eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon. A great hearty start to the long day ahead. Many of us would spend the day here, taking advantage of the later opening for the public, and the ability to take unobstructed footage.

The tour began with opening remarks from event show runners, a panel discussion highlighting the emphasis of electric vehicles and the move for all car manufacturers in this direction, as well as the rebates the province was providing as an incentive. Like the “Scraping program”, where car owners are encouraged to discard their old vehicles and get a new more environmentally friendly one. You can get a new electric vehicle (EV) for $6000 or $3000 for used.

We were also reassured of the relevance of this car show being held in Vancouver. From the dynamic backdrop of the convention centre to the sales stats: BC accounts for 19% of total car retail sales in Canada.

We witnessed the Ajac awards presented by the Automobile journalist association of Canada. Professional journalists, writers, photographers and corporate entities whose focus is the automobile and the automotive industry. They test drive and report on new vehicles, in various forms of media across the country. The awards bestowed are designed to inform Canadians about which are the best suited to Canada’s unique driving conditions.

This year the “Canadian Green Car of the Year” award went to the Nissan Leaf, with a representative claiming the trophy and speaking on behalf of the company.

The “Canadian Green Utility of the Year” went to the Jaguar I-Pace.

At the Subaru booth they unveiled the 7th generation, 2020 Subaru Legacy, which features more tech, performance, and safety than ever before. The former refers to their state of the art system that utilizes facial recognition software to monitor driver fatigue or lack of attention, triggering audible and visual preventative alerts as needed. This won them the 2019’s Best safety innovation award.

At Genesis they too had something new to share: the Genesis G90 with a new redesign, but with the same dedication to the sales experience. At Genesis they come to you for the whole purchasing process, from test drives, to credit checks, and every maintenance visit in between. Here, we also learned of the future for Genesis, including expansion, with 30 distributors across Canada and even more retail experience centres. As well as the launch of very first SUV, something to look forward to at next year’s auto show.

Next on the tour was the Lexus booth where we went to “experience amazing”. Here, one of their directors spoke to the brand continuing to look into the future while having fun in the present. The focus was on the trill of the drive, head turning style, and the exclusivity of Lexus ownership. He brought with him a first North American and Canadian unveiling.

There are only 12 Lexus LC to hit the Canadian market. With flare yellow paint, a carbon fibre roof, 21 inch aluminium wheels, and leather seats with trim accents in yellow; this is a vehicle sure to grab your attention.

The Lexus IS was presented in stealth black. Various shades of black inspired by calligraphy, curated by Japanese calligraphy masters. The IS with its black seats and red accents, and custom built self heated steering wheel is only available for 150 guests in Canada starting April.

We took a pause to learn about Hydrogen fuel and how car manufacturers are embracing a greener future, such as Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda. Fuelling with Hydrogen means you do so faster, while get a further range. Air (oxygen) is taken in, it is supplied to a fuel cell stack along with hydrogen. Electricity and water are then generated through a chemical reaction. The result, electricity is supplied to the motor, the motor is activated, and the vehicle moves. Then the water is emitted outside the vehicle. Currently Vancouver is the first in Canada to have a hydrogen fuelling centre, located on South Granville, with more new locations coming soon.

The goal is to have many more zippy electric vehicles with no emission driving around our city streets. Car share programs like Moto are jumping on board and even two new 7-Eleven locations will host hydrogen fuelling pumps in the near future. Along with this cleaner fuel source, 7-Eleven is dedicated to supporting the community with its “Renew program”. Each fuel up is marked with the planting of a tree. M

Next we headed to the upper floor of the convention centre, where the exotics and supercars were on display. The set up included 3 Mclaren Sennas from a private collection and the all carbon fibre model, curated and customized from Mclaren’s bespoke division.

The Mclaren Senna represents an accumulation of everything they have learned from participating in Formula 1, and translated it into a street legal vehicle. And what better name to bestow on their masterpiece than that of their most legendary F1 driver: Ayrton Senna. This is one of the most highly anticipated vehicles at this year’s show, and only it’s second time in Canada, but first Western Canada unveiling.

The Felino cB7R is a supercar proudly made in Canada, designed by former Canadian racing driver Antoine Bessette. Bessette is better known for his participation in Formula 3 and the prototype class at Daytona. His brain child is completely customizable, and includes a team to help coach you on how to drive this “beast” as well as maintain it. For now there are only 5 of them in the world, with only 2 spots left if you want to get your own in 2019. During the tour, many media folk compared the Felino to what Batman’s would drive when not using the Batmobile.

Our press tour also included some history. We paused at Terry Fox’s trans Canada marathon of hope Ford Econoline Van. This is only its second time on public display, and will go back into storage soon after this show. The presentation included a speech and question and an answer portion with Terry’s younger brother: Darrell Fox. Darrell was actually on the tour with Terry when he was 17. He noted that this was Terry’s home and bed when he was running across the country in the 80’s; running on an artificial leg with a goal to raise funds for cancer research.

In 2008 this historic Econoline underwent a full restoration by Ford. It took over 1000 man hours to rebuild this history. Currently 80% of the van is original, which includes the upholstery, having taken it apart and doing their best to clean it.

The message and Terry’s story is that anything is possible if we hope and try. An inspiring look at Canadian history, which school kids still learn about and pay respect to by running their own marathons annually. All in memory of this moment and point of pride for Canada by a Canadian.

We ended our tour at the Sonax booth, where the car detailing brand was instrumental at giving fans a close look at Ken Blocks’ iconic Hoonigan drift vehicle. It is no longer your run of the mill Ford Mustang. If you haven’t seen the videos of the “Hoonicorn” in action, goggle it. Its presence spoke to the importance of Vancouver’s auto market, understanding the cost and expense that Sonax paid to get it here.

The following are a few other noteworthy vehicles I documented in photo, when we were given the time to explore the convention grounds on our own. But once again there is just so much to see and capture, that it is advised that you visit yourself.

Acura NSX

The New Honda Passport

Rolls Royce Cullian

Ferrari 488 Pista

NSX GT3

Toyota Supra

 

In short a great time for car enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about cars. And with the nice weather you are sure to see some impressive local rides drive up to the convention centre this weekend. For more on the 99th annual Vancouver International Auto Show and to get your tickets for this weekend, visit the link below.

Vancouver International Auto Show

Gotham Steakhouse & Bar, International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day I spent the evening celebrating with one of my favourite women. We choose “Gotham’s steakhouse” as our destination seeing as it is one of her favourite restaurants, specializing in one of her favourite foods.

We found ourselves seated on the second floor for the first time. Moving our way through the darken space, up the scaling staircase, shimmying into a lush booth. It was nice to get so much space and quiet privacy, for us to take our time eating and catching up. Although we still prefer a table by the piano, when the restaurant hosts live musicians.

In celebration of International Women’s Week “Gotham’s” was offering a special cocktail. A $1 from each one sold went to “The Pacific Immigrant Resources Society”. “PIRS” is a charity that helps refugee and immigrant women and children settle in Canada. They offer community engagement opportunities, ESL lessons, and affordable childcare.

The cocktail was aptly named: the “Mother of Dragons”. Hennessy VS Cognac, Cynar, Bittered Sling Malagasy Chocolate Bitters, and housemade Dragon’s Tears tea; all topped with silver leaf for some opulence. It was a strong drink, fiery and warm, with a smokey finish; once again befitting of its moniker.

For the remainder of our dinner we sipped on sparkling, and the restaurant was kind enough to allow us to do so in our own glasses. I had purchased a set as a gift and wanted to use them with my friend. So our sever went out of his way to wash and polish our glasses, and continued to keep them filled with Prosecco for the night. And when our meal concluded, he once again washed and polished each large wine glass for us to take home clean and dry.

As for food, we shared her favourite cut of steak: the “Bone in rib steak”. We opted for the smaller 20oz. cut at $69.25, instead of the 32oz. And good thing because we were left with two large pieces when we both found ourselves too full to finish. We ordered our Canadian prime beef medium rare, opting to have the kitchen help slice the meat properly. This is a service I suggest you take them up on, as they do so to best highlight the quality of the cut. This also makes it easier to share and eat. And boy was this a delicious steak to share and eat. Perfectly prepared with just enough fat at the edges to caramelize the meat.

Each steak on the menu does not come with any sides, you have to pick and choose what you want from their list. And they are all just as good. Each that we ordered went well with our red meat, for a well rounded dinner.

Today’s seasonal vegetable were golden beets sautéed with goat cheese. It gave our meal a refreshing quality, sweet from the firm steamed beets, with a salty tang from the crumbled goat cheese. We opted for a half serving to be able to have a couple more sides, and it was nice of our server to suggest this option.

The “Cauliflower gratin” came highly recommend by him. It was either it or the Mac and cheese as both had the starchy cheesiness I was looking for this night. But at least with the cauliflower it would be more healthy. Hearty with plenty of warm, slightly firm florets, and just as much creamy and melted cheese.

And when it comes to steak, mashed potatoes are a must in my book, especially if they are “Roasted garlic mashed potatoes”. It was all whipped smooth like butter. Deliciously amazing, with so much great garlic flavour

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I would line up, but I never have to, there is always plenty of seating, and if you make a reservation you are guaranteed to get one. You are also guaranteed a good meal with great service, if you can afford it. You definitely pay the premium for quality. Overall a great place to satisfy your steak cravings that you don’t want to deny.

 

GOTHAM’S STEAKHOUSE
615 Seymour St, Vancouver BC, V6B 3K3
604-605-8282
gothamsteakhouse.com

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