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Category: Granville Island Page 1 of 3

Dockside: new chef, new menu

Warmer weather in Vancouver marks patio season, and a great one to soak up the sun at is Granville Island’s “Dockside Restaurant”. I have visited a handful of times, but today’s trip down was also in celebration of their new head Chef: Zach Steele. I would get to meet him in person, and learn a lot more about him through his food. Steele is born and raised in Vancouver, and comes with a very special connection to the property. For over 29 year his mother has had her Christmas staff parties at “Dockside”, and for majority of them, Zach was present. So when an opportunity came to helm the long standing kitchen, the nostalgic draw was enough to have him sighing a contract. Not to mention, he himself feels that “Dockside” boasts the best patio in the city.

I would agree with his sentiment as I made myself across several of their available seats. On the lounger, under the cabana with a view of yachts in tow. Under the covered dining area with a wood table at proper dining height. And finally setting on a cluster of comfy seats with small side tables, and the possibility for conversation and mingling with friends.

As for food, every thing and every process has been overhauled, which is largest change to ever come out of the restaurant. The new chef has redone the entire menu program, including how everything is prepared, prepped, and stored. Even their distributors are all new. Everything it absolutely fresh and Ocean Wise, nothing is kept under chill in the fridge. Even sauces are prepared from scratch now. And speaking from experience of before and after, you can taste the difference. Their food has always been okay, you go in fearing a miss, but being surprised by a hit now and again. However, everything we had tonight was good and a lot I would order again on subsequent visits.

We started with an elevated twist on the corn dog, but here, these battered and fried meat on sticks featured duck. They are served with 3 dips for your tasting pleasure: a sweet and grainy mustard, one with beer and maple, and a spicy dip with horse radish. The corn dog itself was rich in curry spices from the batter and stuffed full with a nugget of duck meat. This was a grown up taste, only available on their happy hour menu.

The “Wagyu beef carpaccio” was amazingly succulent, for a tissue-thin piece of meat. Dressed with Dijonnaise, crispy capers, arugula, and Parmesan; this was a collection of toppings that worked well together, while still allowing you to taste the quality of the Alberta wagyu.

The “Seared Scallops” were beautifully plated. The squid ink aioli they sat in not only offered a contrast to the golden brown scallops and the collection of fresh greens and pickled fennel tops with bacon; but it gave the dish a wonderfully deep umami sensation.

As a vegan option for one of the guests was served a wonderfully sophisticated heirloom carrot dish with baba ganoush and fennel. I have never seen such dressed up plates from “Dockside”, so already you can see the elevation the new head chef was bringing. I actually didn’t get a taste of this, but will admit I wanted too from its look alone.

But I was also more than happy to get my vegetable intake from the roasted cauliflower dish. Cauliflower florets, cauliflower purée, and pickled golden raisins, in a lemon caper vinaigrette. It was a familiar and comforting dish available at many such restaurants, but done with small variations to make it their own. Firm cauliflower dipped into a saucy version of itself. I didn’t notice the raisin all to much though, but it is still the one I would order again.

The “Steak-crese” also had me eating my vegetables. Flat iron steak, tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto mayo, arugula, avocado, and dried currants; all in a sherry vinaigrette. The steak was perfection, and the star of the dish. And the collection of vegetables under it ate more like a well conceived assembly than a quick salad. Everything was fresh and fragrant, coming up to the level of the medium rare steak dressed in a tasty pesto. And it is worth nothing that this pesto is different from that of the pasta below. I appreciate it when dishes vary from one another. Chances are you will order a few to share with your table mates, and it is unfortunate when your choices are similar to one another, and you find flavour profiles repeating themselves.

I fully enjoyed the “Orecchiette pesto”. Prepared with a broccoli-basil pesto with pistachios, broccoli florets, and Asiago cheese. I was surprised by how much flavour they got into this with cream and broccoli. The pasta was cooked perfectly and each round coated fully. For those who want to go gluten free with this, you can substitute the orecchiette with zucchini noodles instead.

For a completely different dish I really enjoyed the broth of the “Cioppino”. Mussels, clams, salmon, halibut, and prawns bobbing about in a saffron and fennel tomato broth. A classic in San Francisco, this is “Dockside’s” take on a West Coast version. Tangy, vinegary, and sharp; whilst allowing you to take in the bevy of seafood and their various tastes. And the best part, it comes with a thick piece of bread to allow you fo dip in and soak up all that soupy goodness.

The fennel and lemon stuffed whole trout was another great looking plate. Though it does come with dining instructions as this fish naturally has more bones. If you gingerly scrape the meat you can avoid said share spines. This was a light, local, and in season fish paired with a celeriac purée, lemon, and kale.

And for dessert we enjoyed the Gluten-free coconut cheese cake over a Florentine base with seeds and nuts, and a passion fruit syrup topping. This was creamy and tropical over a buttery, crumbly crust. A very nice note to end, something rich, yet refreshing.

 

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.
“Dockside Restaurant” just gave me a better reason to return than their patio. Not just a place with a view on Granville Island, but now a destination to travel to for the food. I will be keeping an eye on all to come out of this kitchen, and will be back often if it is of the same caliber as what I fully enjoyed above. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DOCKSIDE
1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R9
604-685-7070
docksidevancouver.com

Edible Canada, revisit

My latest visit to Granville Island had us stopping up iconic Canadian restaurant “Edible Canada” for dinner. And today we tried enough new dishes that I thought it worth documenting in a revisit post.

We arrived a little too early for their 5pm dinner service, but were still invited in for a couple of drinks while we waited. I was sold on their special of the month. A “Double espresso martini” that our server raved about. I don’t like coffee unless it is as a dessert, so this was lovely. Good with its cold brew, but not uniquely Canadian, nor is it something I couldn’t get else where.

I suggested that my guest get one of their caesars, as a great introduction to the restaurant, seeing as it was her first time. The “Maple bacon Caesar” with Stealth vodka, Clamato, Worcestershire, sriracha, candied bacon and a seasoned salt rim. A classic flavour made their own with their candied bacon garnish. Once again I wish the drink itself had a more unique personality.

For food I had the “Quebec duck tartare”. Raw duck with kumquat, gin, juniper, cucumber, radish, pickled ramps, and soy; served with tapioca crisps. The raw duck itself didn’t have much flavour, a little gamey and a lot fatty. And it was the vegetable sides that were the prominent notes. This was best enjoyed with their complimentary collection of salts gifted to each table. This was a new touch that my guest and I both appreciated and took advantage of.

Regular sea salt, spicy molten salt, and truffle salt. We had a pinch as is and could fully taste all the promised flavours in each grain. A few more pinches enhanced the above and the burger below. In hindsight I should have bought a pack of it to go from their neighbouring store. A gift shop of Canadiana ready to be bought up by the tourists that dine with them. And in doing so earn 15% off their purchase.

“Dry aged pemberton beef burger” with onion jam, crispy onions, aioli, butter lettuce, field tomato, and aged Canadian cheddar, all in a brioche bun. It comes with your choice of salad or fries, my guest got the former, but I would have gotten the fries, and added a fried duck egg for $5 more. The burger as a whole was good, the patty being the stand out of an otherwise standard burger build.

And we made sure to save room for their “Maple doughnut”, I read “crispy duck skin” in the description and was sold. House made yeast leaven maple doughnut with crispy duck skin, and an apple white chocolate sauce. These were balls of chewy fried dough that reminded me of Chinese deep fried mantou, with a heavy coating of powered sugar for a nice textured crunch. The light apple flavour from the creamy whip it sat in was nice, but could have used more flavour and sweetness for a dessert. I wanted an apple caramel sauce to double dip these balls into instead. And the saltiness I expected from the duck skin was non existent. A nice novelty but I wanted more from this dessert.

 

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.
One of my favourite places to recommend to anyone visiting from out of country and wanting a Canadian-esque experience. An ever evolving menu that has me returning and cataloging my visit. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

EDIBLE CANADA
1596 Johnston Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R9
604-682-6681
ediblecanada.com

The Vancouver Fish Company, Dine Out 2019 menu

This was the last stop on our Granville Island “Dine Out Vancouver” tour. Tonight, we were getting a sneak peak at this year’s celebration with some great seafood themed set meals. “Dine Out” invites those seeking some cheer post-Christmas, out for a nice night, at very reasonable prices. Set menus at either $15, $25, $35, or $45. It is a great way to try something new, at somewhere new. Somewhere you might otherwise not get a chance to, or think of going to, if not for their door crasher prices.

Full disclosure we only got bite sized tastes of the following, so I will do my best to review each based on what I had, and hopefully steer you in the right direction. What to choose between appetizers, entrees, and desserts for best value and taste. But first, I just have to make note of how wonderful their display looked. A layered tower featuring all the available dishes on their $45 “Dine Out” menu, nestled against white table cloth and a collection of wines and the fresh ingredients that go into making them.

“Organic Beet Salad”. Klipper’s Farm organic beets, toasted pistachios, baby arugula, an avocado rosemary vinaigrette, and shaved parmesan. I didn’t get to try this, but I imagine it a simple and clean start.

“VFC Seafood Chowder” with fresh seafood, clams, bacon, and thyme cream. We shot the soup like a shot, and really didn’t get the enjoyable sensation of licking a spoon clean of its creamy texture. But what we got was a mouthful of chewy pieces to bite down on.

I would order the “VFC Maple Walnut Prawns” as my appetizer, with its unique twist. These are lightly fried tempura prawns, dressed in Yuzu mayo, walnuts, toasted sesame, and Togarashi. The topping gave the savoury shrimp a sweet and salty vibe, with the flavour of the walnut, being the one that you paused on.

For entree choices the “Poached Atlantic Lobster” seems like a no brainer. You get the whole Nova Scotia lobster, claws and tail, with everything else in between. Served with a side of Klipper’s Farm organic vegetables, garlic roasted potatoes, and a dish of melted butter. Once again, we didn’t actually get to taste this, so can’t tell you the actual value through the quality of the crustacean, but the perceived one is at least high.

And as great as a whole lobster sounds, the “Seafood Hot Pot” is a sight to behold and an entree worth considering as well. Dungeness crab, pink scallops, prawns, mussels, clams, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, corn, saffron fennel nage, and even garlic toast! With so much variety on the plate, you would be getting your money’s worth from this bowl as well. As for flavour, the broth was like a hot gazpacho, a tomato soup seasoned heavily in herbs. Hiding plenty of shells to pry open and pick clean.

The surf and turf also looked tasty, so I guess you really can’t go wrong with any of their entrees. A 6oz Alberta Striploin paired with a skewer of scallop and prawns; served with confit garlic whipped potatoes, roasted acorn squash, Klipper’s Farm organic vegetable medley, celeriac puree, and red wine jus. Sadly I didn’t get a taste of this one earlier. Hopefully the steak won’t be over cooked.

For dessert they are offering a “New York Cheesecake” prepared traditionally with a strawberry compote and chantilly cream. Also didn’t get to try this one, so won’t be able to assess it for you.

I did however get a taste of the “Apple Tarte Tatin”. A delicious morsel of flaky pastry hiding caramelized Granny Smith apples and cinnamon, served with a scoop of vanilla gelato, melting on top. A perfect pairing of tart apple and sweet spices make up this classic dessert.

In short, a great menu for the ability to choose your entrees from 3 great ones.

 

VANCOUVER FISH COMPANY
1517 Anderson Street, Granville Island, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R5
604-559-3474
vanfish.com

Sandbar Dine Out 2019 menu

Vancouver’s favourite reason to get out and eat out is back for another year. Just in time to help get you out of that post partem Christmas slump. “Dine Out Vancouver” is the festival that invites diners to visit their favourite spot or try new ones offering set meals at either $15, $25, $35, or $45. Three course and a choice to be made for each.

Tonight we were gathered to try what a few seafood restaurants in Granville Island had to offer, and “Sandbar” was stop number 2. Full disclosure we only got bite sized tastes of the following, so I will do my best to review each based on what I had, and hopefully steer you in the right direction. What to choose between appetizers, entrees, and desserts for best value and taste.

“Sandbar” is the Granville Island seafood destination run by the “Sequoia company”. “Sequoia” is known for their uniquely located restaurants that offer a distinctive dining experience based their locale. The “Teahouse” in Stanley Park, “Seasons in the Park” with mountain views from the highest point in the city, and “Cardero’s” in Coal harbour on the water, surrounded by the dock and its boats.

To start, you have your choice of three appetizers. The “Beet & Arugula Salad” was your standard small salad. A fresh collection of greens with goat cheese and a fig balsamic vinaigrette.

The “Sablefish Croquette miso aioli” was a firm round with with a grainy potato-like filling. It had a lingering lemony flavour that I found prominent.

The housemade “Clam Chowder” is the one I recommend. It is a delicious mix of cream with chunks of clams and potato. A warming drink that engulfs you.

For entrees you also get three options to choose between. The vegetarian choice is the “Sapa Rau Bowl” with coconut jasmine rice, lemongrass yogurt, pickled papaya, mushrooms, yams, fresh vegetables, and cashews; all in a Singapore sauce.

I liked the presentation of the “Cioppino prawns” with the criss cross of whole crab legs. Cioppino prawns, mussels, clams, cod, and snow crab. It was a hard choice between this assembly and the steak below.

“7oz Prime New York Striploin” alderwood grilled, with market vegetables and roasted potatoes. A classic, with a good variety of fresh and crisp vegetables.

For dessert your options included a vegan friendly, non dairy sorbet. We didn’t get a taste of this one.

If you like your desserts rich the “Chocolate Truffle Cake” is the one to get. It was a little too dense for me (not being a fan of chocolate), but I did like its smooth velvety texture and the crunch of the crust.

But the dessert I would get is the “Buttermilk Pannacotta berry compote”. This was a great gentle way to end your meal, and cleanse your palette with the strong citrus in the crumb. Half jello, half pudding, pannacotta gives you the best of both.

The following are some bonus dishes. Two ways to upgrade your meal, by upgrading your main. For these you pay $45 for your three courses, instead of $35 for the above.

The “Crab Crusted BC Lingcod” was buttery light. Baked in an oven with market vegetables, and served with coconut jasmine rice; all dressed in beurre blanc. A very sophisticated plate, delicious in its simplicity.

The “Sesame Crusted Albacore Tuna” would be my choice. I enjoyed the fresh sliced, seared rare fish; served with soy mustard, wasabi, and cucumber salsa.

In summary, the “Dine Out” menu at “Sandbar” is a seafood lover’s dream with your choice of what you want from the sea.

 

SANDBAR
1535 Johnston St, Creekhouse #102, Granville Island, Vancouver BC
604-669-9030
vancouverdine.com

Dockside Restaurant, Dine Out 2019 menu

Coming out of a bustling winter your purse strings are probably feeling a little tight right now. Therefore there is nothing like a good deal to get you out there and spending again. And every year “Dine Out Vancouver” does this with style.

“Dine Out” happens every January and leads into February, 3-4 weeks after post Christmas party partum depression. This year it is running from January 18 to February 3rd. Where participating restaurants dedicate themselves to crafting either a $15, $25, $35, or $45 menu. Each menu is comprised of 3 courses with 2-3 options to choose from for each course, there is typically a meat lover’s option and a vegetable friendly one. You pick your own appetizer, entree, and dessert for the price that you want at the restaurant you want. This is the chance for participating restaurants to not only lure customers back in to eat, drink, and be merry; but it is also a great way to capture new customers as well. Future diners are welcomed, or ones that may not otherwise visit because of regular prices.

Today I was invited to a preview at Granville Island, where 3 of the participating restaurants located there were serving up samples of what you can expect from them during this occasion. Full disclosure we only got bite sized tastes of the following, so I will do my best to review each based on what I had, and hopefully steer you in the right direction. What to choose for best value and taste.

We first started at “Dockside Restaurant”, as its name suggests, your meal comes with a view of the water.

For appetizers your choices are hard. Each of the three are so different from one another. For those looking for something light to start, instead of a salad they have a beautiful “Cucumber Caprese”. Three curls of cucumber wrapping bocconcini and strawberry, sitting in a pomegranate reduction. Like sushi without the rice, they are easy to pop into your mouth.

If you are hungry I would suggest the “Beef Empanadas”, with two whole pieces this option has the most value. Flaky pastry hiding meaty morsels like a hearty stew. Topped with a charred tomato bell pepper relish, and served with avocado crema; for some balance with tang and freshness.

As for myself I would go for the “Korean spiced Arancini”. I am a fan of carbs and these satisfied my craving with two crispy fried balls of chewy rice. I didn’t really taste any of the Korean flavouring with the chilli lime aioli, but didn’t miss it either way.

For entrees, vegetarians had the opportunity to enjoy the “Singapore Seafood curry” without the mussels, fish, or prawns. Here the coconut rice cakes were the stars of the dish. I thought this was a very clever interpretation, instead of simply having the curry top regular steamed rice. However I found the dish a little too sweet with the creamy rice cakes in the sweeter yellow curry. Instead, a little spicy kick would have been nice.

For something homey and more familiar there is the “Crispy Braised Chicken thigh” available. It is served with flageolet bean cassoulet in a pan jus. With the creativity before and more after, I found this the least memorable, but also the most comforting.

My choice would be the “Grilled Lamb rack”. At most places these 3 pieces would be $28 on their own, and its lemon herb gnocchi side with chimichurri $15 more. Both are worth ordering this dish for. However the lamb samples we got were a little inconsistent in how they were prepared, but still tasty enough to want more of. The gnocchi on the other hand was perfect, I would go back just for more of these. They were deliciously chewy nuggets, and should be a dish on their own. This leads me to wonder, if vegetarians could order them without the lamb and juts have more gnocchi to fill out the plate; because if so, that would be my suggestion.

For dessert they offered two heavier finishes. The “Chocolate Crème Brûlée” with its house made biscotti was perfect for those who enjoy an after dinner coffee. Rich in chocolate flavour the brûlée ate more like a sugar torched chocolate mousse. Sadly I am not a fan of either it or the hard cookie.

I much more preferred the taste and the whimsy of the “Apple Pie lollipop” with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A classic dessert of cinnamon, tart apple, and a golden delicious pastry. You couldn’t really eat it as a lollipop, but the inclusion of the stick made it a dessert to remember.

In short, a meal well worth $35 and it comes with the water side view for free.

 

DOCKSIDE
1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R9
604-685-7070
docksidevancouver.com

The Keg, winter happy hour

Tonight I was at “The Keg” in Granville Island, out of convenience. We were killing some time before our evening show, and the rain wasn’t letting up. Dining here meant that our walk was merely across the street to our eventual destination.

Our visit coincided with their new happy hour menu and seasonal cocktail launch; two things we took advantage of. New to this list was their teriyaki bites and pork dumplings, replacing calamari, nachos, and sliders. This was information I found out from our server, after she noticed me taking notes. We discussed the above a bit, and how I found the previous three food items to be more happy hour friendly, as nice snacks to pair with beer.

We started with one of each of their happy hour plates, and to it added two regular appetizers, as we were eating to replace a meal. As a whole, the happy hour meal felt the same. Similar seasonings and flavours found its way from dish to dish, from steak to cauliflower.

I was originally excited for the $8 teriyaki steak bites. Steak for $8 is a steal, and pre-cut for easy eating is just helpful. Unfortunately, each cube was dry and ashy. A sandy chew from over cooked meat, a fact you can tell just by pricking it with a fork. The excessive seasonings did well to hide some of the above. But overall, it was disappointing. Disappointing that they couldn’t do steak right, especially considering it is and what they should be known for.

The pork and kimchi dumplings were nice enough, not authentic but plenty tasty. A savoury meat filling encasing a nice chewy dough wrapper. The pickled vegetable on the side offered some tangy crunch and interest. But as I mentioned earlier, the saucy flavour was similar here as it was above, and therefore wore thin.

The “crispy fried cauliflower” was a generous serving, but it too felt the same. It came with two sauces, but both were sweet and salty when in reality you wanted a creamy dip like a ranch, tartare, and/or sour cream. The florets cooled fast, and you were left with a mound of vegetable that could do with a more crispy and consistent batter and fry.

As I mentioned earlier, to top off our happy hour plates above, we ordered two seafood based appetizers to follow.

The calamari was disappointing. More crunchy breading than chewy pieces of squid, it was over salted and didn’t taste fresh. In fact I liked the just-as-chunky breaded vegetables that came with it, more. This ate like something you would order at a bar, not what I expect from a higher end, casual chain restaurant, like “The Keg”. The food did not live up to its reputation.

The crab cake was much better, it ended up being the best thing we had that night. The cake was well seasoned and perfectly fried for a crisp even crust. It went well with the creamy burrata and the crisp steamed vegetables on the side. By comparison, this was a clean classic plate with no complaints.

We also drank throughout our meal, then lingered after the food was packed up, with a few more rounds.

The $5 happy hour Caesar and the $6 happy hour white. The Caesar was pretty standard, overly salty and overwhelmingly spicy. The white wine my guest didn’t like. It didn’t matter that it was on special, she preferred to pay full price to switch to mini bottles of prosecco afterwards.

Next, we both ordered the Thursday $5 drink special: their margaritas. I couldn’t even finish this, it was easily the saltiest anything I have ever had. And worst is, this assessment doesn’t even include the drink’s usual salted rim. I made mention of its undrinkable nature to our server, who took note of a 2/3 full glass returned to her and the half glass my guest too gave back. She accepted it blindly, not asking more details on how this was too salty. Here, there was no consideration and no offer to replace it or at least remove the cost of it from our bill. Disappointing from “The Keg”.

Next my guest had her first of two glasses of sparkling wine and I began tasting their new winter cocktails. The “Heart of gold” was recommended to us by our server. It was easy to drink with the sweetness of honey, a good cocktail for when you have a sore throat. Wiser’s Deluxe Rye, honey, lemon, and sage. I also really liked the sent of the fresh picked leaf before you came close to sip.

I didn’t have the room for their popular “billy miner pie” for dessert, so ordered the spiked coffee version of it instead. A shot of bailey’s and one of khalua in hot coffee, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I didn’t enjoy it the same, although this was still tasty; even for a person, like myself, who isn’t too fond of coffee or chocolate.

The “Red moon Manhattan” smelled like cinnamon and orange peel, and drank like a winter sangria with boozy cherries. Mondavi bourbon barrel Cabernet, Lot No. 40 Rye, spices, and bitters.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Sadly I am not a fan of “The Keg “as a whole, there is one location that I like, the only one location where I once enjoyed my food, and would go back to. As for the others, I find the quality doesn’t deliver on their brand, nor the steaks worthy of your money. I would rather order seafood or a burger at this steak house, if I was urged to return. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE KEG
1499 Anderson St Granville Island, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R5
604-685-4735
kegsteakhouse.com
The Keg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Edible Canada, brunch 7 days a week

BTS: the making for brunch at Edible Canada

 

I have visited “Edible Canada” a handful of times and continue to find myself returning because of their ability to mix up their menus and find creativity in their offerings. Once it was the prospect of trying seal for the first time; and today to experience their popular brunch service, soon to be available seven times a week. Brunch for them is no longer just a Saturday and Sunday affair. A venture, they believe will be proven successful, given how “Vancouver is a city that loves brunch” and this seems to be a missing opportunity in the area, and within Vancouver’s breakfast scene in general.

During this “Bubbles & Brunch” media event, they introduced a few plates belonging to their brunch menu (available starting May 10th, 2017); alongside the launch of their new summer menu (beginning on May 8th, 2017).

But before we get in to that, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

The highlight of the morning was the interactive showcase. Everything we would be served, would be made out of the demonstration kitchen. A long table style dining area with a stage. One with plenty of countertop space and burners, giving you the opportunity to interactive and ask questions to the chef, as he prepares a meal in multiples. Or in our case, take photos of.

I was able to get front row and centre seats, and had brought my Go-Pro along to record the cooking process. To watch the vlog recap of this, click the link below.

 

 

Our adventure in brunch began with a mimosa flight featuring “Frostbite” cordials in a light red grapefruit & thyme, a yellow mango & passion fruit, a peachy coloured strawberry & rhubarb, and a deep red hibiscus & lemon mix. My favourite was the one with thyme, because you could clearly taste the herb, and it gave the drink such a standout note. The others too tasted like their promise of fruits and floral.

We started off with a hollandaise tutorial, to be later used for the “Avocado Benny” below. Our chef of the morning engaged the crowd and posed the food for our photographic benefit, whilst giving us a lesson in the perfect creamy sauce.

The first dish made and served was the “Fruit & berry bowl”. Freshly tossed fruit, drizzled over with buckwheat honey, and topped with their house made granola and yogurt espuma. They normally only use locally sourced produce; however, it currently being in between seasons, our plate of mixed fruit was a compromise with mother nature. It was a great, mildly sweet, more refreshing start to our morning. The rich honey and buttery granola were memorable, making this one I will go back for.

I am not typically a fan of sweets for breakfast, but they are doing it well, even for those with a more savoury palette. The “Challah French toast” was cut thick and cooked to a nice spongy chew. It was topped with a tender rhubarb apple compote, whipped mascarpone, and some real maple syrup. This is I would recommend for anyone who wants a pleasant twist on the classic French toast.

The “Avocado Benny” was my favourite brunch dish. The homemade hollandaise whisked up before, was the game changer in this. It coated the chilled avocado spread over crunchy toast, and dripped off the perfectly poached egg; it was accented by the sharp goat feta and sprinkle of paprika. And the grilled tomatoes and smashed potatoes offered some freshness and some starch to round off the meal.

Going in a more heavier direction are the “Lamb Meatballs” served lovingly in a cast iron skillet, coated in a guajillo tomato sauce for some extra spice and heat. It is topped by two free range sunny side up egg, cilantro, goat feta, and eaten with grilled tortillas like a mini two bite breakfast wrap.

The “Breakfast of Champignons” was a heartier option for a vegetarian. Here local mushrooms are the star. They are stir-fried with Canadian grains and served alongside half a grilled avocado, free range poached eggs, and a tomato & arugula salad. The grain mix was flavoruful and herbaceous, with the earthiness of the mushroom coming through very pronounced, but I was left feeling like I was missing a main to eat with the rice and greens. All this would have been great on a flatbread pizza instead/as well.

The “Mt. Lehman Roast Duck Poutine” was one that went away, that was now back to the delight of its inquiring fans. This starts off as your typical poutine with hand cut fries and cheese curds. But here the gravy is made from duck fat, it comes with the addition of caramelized onions and pulled duck meat. Chewy fries, tender meat, luscious gravy, and cheese that melts and strings up under pressure. The double sunny side up fried egg that crowned the pan gave it more of a breakfast feel.

The “Hazelmere Kale & Beet salad” was a chewier salad, just the way I like it. I don’t typically like salads because of their soggier textures, once covered in vinaigrette. But here the solution was to use crisper leafs of kale coated in a creamy cashew dressing, which is a vegan friendly dressing. The fresh shards of parmesan isn’t but it can easily be omitted. The salad is finished off with beads of puffed grains for a nice crispy texture.

The “Falafel Burger” is one of their new lunch options. It is a great way to get in your vegetables in, while enjoying the filling two handed nature of a burger. The falafel patties are made in house, they are well seasoned and pack in tight with flavor and hold. They are a little dry, but the pressed yogurt spread helps to add creaminess. And the pickled onion, cucumber and tomatoes slices had enough moisture in them to go around. But it was the dill that set this burger apart and gave it a taste to remember. I have never walked away from a burger feeling so light.

Another dish to come back for is the “Octopus Orecchiette”, flavoured heavily by the ground chunks of spicy sausage, chili, rapini, and bread crumbs. I liked the chewiness the el dente pasta provided, and how the chunks of octopus ran parallel to it. It was a hearty plate that I was able to take home, and enjoy just as much as flavourful leftovers.

 

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.
I do not see myself staying away from them in the future, especially if they continue to bring dining innovation to Granville Island, and the Vancouver food scene. I will continue recommend them as a great representation of the city and Canadian cuisine. And now any time of day as they will soon be available for brunch 7 days a week. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

EDIBLE CANADA
1596 Johnston St, Granville Island Vancouver BC, V6H 3R9
604-682-6681
ediblecanada.com
Edible Canada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Edible Canada, serving seal meat

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Dine Out Vancouver has started and on the first day of this two week long occasion, I visited the only restaurant I made reservations for. I prefer dining with restaurants and tasting their regular full menus for a better understanding of them. Whereas during Dine Out, you have higher traffic and more stressed out staff. This latter is trying to seat enough bodies and make enough set meal sales, to offset the discounted cost that they are being offered at. This isn’t normally how any restaurant is run. This is like mid terms for them, and they are being tested.

“Dine Out” is a food and drink event where restaurants offer set menus at discounted prices. This is to get new diners through their doors and others who couldn’t otherwise afford to return. I had the privilege of sampling their three courses for $30, two weeks prior the start of the series. And having learned that there would be seal on the menu this year, and not being able to try it then; I made the effort to return today.

Those who know me know I love trying new things. The more different and unique it is, the more my interest in it grows. I love novelty. I might not end up liking it and certainly may not choose to finish it. But just having learnt this food knowledge first hand and being able to reference it, saying that I have had it, is enough for me. In fact, I have been known to order things by asking, “What is the weirdest thing on the menu?” Trying it, then giving the rest away. Although, usually, a server’s definition of “weird” and mine differ greatly. However the addition of seal on this menu would be agreeably odd. This was a strong enough lure to bring me back to “Edible Canada”, and I wouldn’t be the only one who would come for the rare opportunity to try it for the first time. A source of protein that was assured to be sustainable and sourced ethically. A protein that has brought a lot of attention to this Granville Island, Canadian cuisine restaurant.

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The reaction has been split between those curious like me, and others who are repulsed enough to picket. There were talks and posts online saying that there would be protestors showing up on launch night, to express their outrage. I didn’t see anyone while walking up to the restaurant. But they did hire a couple of guards in case. They ended up standing outside, chatting those patrons who risked walking in for dinner without reservations and were willing to wait. My guest said she passed a would-be picketers holding up signs on her way in. I guess I missed all the action. Just as well as I don’t think having seal on the menu is all that controversial. If you lived further north, seal meat may be the equivalent of chicken breast to you. And I must not be the only one who thinks this way, as the busy restaurant was fully seated. All booked up with patrons trying at least one of the seal dishes, if not ordering one to share between them all.

Having tasted most of the dine Out menu, I decided to go a la cart, doubling up on my seal intake with seal meat in an appetizer and an entree. The first was a separate $8 cost, and the latter $28 or an additional $3 on the $30 set meal offer.

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The “Seal amuse bouche” is seared seal loin served rare over a white bean purée and pickled sea asparagus. $2 of the cost to you would be donated to the research of marine ecosystems. If you needed another reason to try it.

It was a little intimating to eat seal in the first place, and now to do so with its meat practically raw was a challenge. However once you work at getting the image of it out of your head and not falling to our North American societal norms, it isn’t half bad. It tastes mild like chicken with the texture of rare beef. It doesn’t have the same meaty juices or charred edges of steak, but was definitely palatable and something you would not blink twice at, if you didn’t know what meat it was. The bean purée was fine like sand, and not all that complimentary to the already standout texture of the seal. The fresh sea asparagus was a nice visual with a crisp bite. Four pieces was good enough for a serving, and good enough to not need another plate ever. It wasn’t bad, just not my first choice where the right steak tastes so much better.

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There was more seal in the “Newfound seal meat pappardelle”, but that was less obvious. The seal was processed into bits like ground beef and served with guanciale, tomato, and oregano. It even had the look of ground beef, but with a grittier texture that followed you, and a more iron forward note that became an after taste that was hard to forgot. And worst of all, you had to relive it as specks of meat would show up between your teeth and along your gum line, long after the plate was taken away. The thick and lengthy strips of chew noodles were actually my favourite part of the dish.

I couldn’t be sure if it was just in my head, but I felt a little sick afterwards, almost right after I had cleaned my plate clear. It wasn’t enough to throw up, or enough to have to run to the washroom. But enough to know I shouldn’t drink alcohol and things didn’t feel normal. Upon reflection, it was probably the strength of suggestion, as I was over it soon and looking forward to dessert shortly after.

My guest took advantage of the 3 course set menu that was the better deal. $30 for 3 plates; whereas I paid $36 before taxes for 2. She started with the “The “Pacific cod and Pemberton potato pakoras” and ended on the “Pumpkin spiced toffee” with maple Bourbon custard and candied walnuts. Both of wish i had already tried.

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What I didn’t get to taste was the “Honey butter basted fried chicken” entree that she had. It was served with a side of kolrabi slaw, mashed potatoes, and a deceivingly green super hot hot sauce. It was nice to get a warning from the server on how spicy it was, disregard it anyways, and learn your lesson the hard way. The chicken wasn’t as crispy as you had hope, or as expected; but it’s honey butter flavour was a nice one to have it your moth. The chicken meat was also pleasantly juicy, and the sides offered familiarity with something different, but both could have used more seasonings.

To read about a more common Dine Out experience at “Edible Canada” would be like, read my media preview post by clicking the link.

Edible Canada: Dine Out 2017

 

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.
I can’t see myself returning for a formal sit down meal, as their closely positioned tables don’t make the best destination for a date or even girls night. Unless you don’t mind forcing everyone to eavesdrop on your private thoughts and juicy gab fest. And although the menu is good, it also isn’t what will have me coming back. What I will return for is the ability to try more of their unique use of ingredients, and their different representations of Canadian cuisine. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

EDIBLE CANADA
1596 Johnston Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R9
604-682-6681
ediblecanada.com

Vancouver Fish Company: Dine Out 2017

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Another Granville Island restaurant I have previously visited before, and am now back to preview the Dine Out menu for. Truth be told I found their summer patio nice, but after my first and latest visit, I would pass on their pricy seafood appetizers again. Although today’s second go had me reassessing things. This was the last stop on our media preview tour of Dine Out, Granville Island edition.

Dine Out Vancouver is a food and dining event held lower mainland wide. It is where participating restaurants offer up set menus and tastes at prices some diners may not otherwise be able to afford. Typically $20, $30, or $40 for three courses. This year it runs from January 20th to February 5th. Great timing considering many are still looking for good deals, to come down from the shopping and sales season high.

As a disclaimer, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

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We were all gathered towards the back lounge area, scattered across several tables and booths. The restaurant was quite dark, but luckily we had a portable light with us. We were able to use it to capture photos of the plates a lot more visually. Each table was given its own severing to share. And with it, a glimpse of how dining out at the “Vancouver Fish Company” would play out.

We were also given a taste of a couple of dishes not on the set menu, but would be up and coming on their regular one. This included their lentil soup and a lobster mac and cheese.

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I didn’t actually taste the soup. I was too busy taking photos. Although just as well, as I am not fond of the gritty texture that accompanies lentils.

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The lobster mac and cheese was more my speed. It was dressed up with two meaty lobster claws, but actually didn’t offer much lobster flavour. Just a regular mac and cheese, which could have been cheesier or more saltier, for flavour. The crunchy topping helped to add interest, but after the first layer you were left craving chips or better yet, a layer of baked cheese for a more layered texture.

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The rest of the dishes are straight off the Dine Out menu. And the first two are also available on their regular lunch and dinner menus.

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The “Maple walnut prawns” are lightly fried prawns with maple, spiced walnuts, and sesame. They were a single bite of juicy prawn, good, but I didn’t get any of the promised sweet honey or nutty walnut. Overall I would have preferred this spicier rather than sweet, given the crispy coating.

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Out of the two set menu items we tried, I prefer the “VFC Seafood Chowder” with salmon, clams, thyme cream, and bacon. It was a thick and creamy, warming start to our meal. But overall pretty standard.

In the second course you have an opportunity to try one of the three following. Each offered a different flavour and each a stand out on its own. Especially when compared to the two appetizers above. Although I wish they offered more seafood options considering the restaurant’s name.

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The “Thai chicken curry” was braised chicken, scented basmati rice, coconut curry, julienne vegetables, and roasted peanuts. It was a lovely presented rice dish, dressed well for the amount of flavour it brought to the table. It had a deep back of the throat spice and some perfectly cooked chicken. I did find the rice a little chalky, where I wanted more rich and creamy.

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The “Crab-stuffed sole Wellington” is fresh fish stuffed with crab meat and cream cheese. Then wrapped in puffed pastry, and served with kale and lobster bisque. The Wellington is heavy and rich, leaving you wanting more crunch. The pastry is flaky and only gets dense from the cream fast. Although the cream sauce was the best part, leaving me wishing for more.

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But the steak was the best and the one I recommend most. The “Steak oscar” is seared shirt steak, crab meat and baby shrimp; with Hannah brook vegetables, garlic confit mashed potatoes, bernaise, and a peppercorn jus. For $15 more you can upgrade your steak to tenderloin instead. But why bother when the hanger steak tasted just as good. Each slice was cooked tender and still pink at its centre. They were perfectly accompanied by the whipped smooth garlic-ful potatoes; and the broccoli broiled tender, but still crunchy with firmness. There was plenty of this dish to go around and everyone helped to finish it all.

The third course was dessert. I liked the taste of the mango sorbet, but appreciated the visual of the apple bread pudding more.

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The sorbet combined mango, coconut cream, and lime dust. I often turn away from sorbets given their tartness and inability to measure up to creamy ice cream. However this rendition combined the best of both worlds. The light and fruit forwardness of sorbet, with the creaminess you enjoy lapping up from ice cream. It has a wonderfully sweet and tart mango flavour with milk.

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The “Apple bread pudding” was served warm with a caramel sauce and some cream. Both gave the chewy dessert some depth of flavour, as well as a sticky and gooey texture. The nuts offered some crunch, but they were a little stale tasting.

 

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.
I had a poor experience during my first visit, so much so that it had me staying away until now. So it is nice that this was a more pleasant visit and a better one to consider when thinking of the “VFC”. The food was good, much better than the summer time appies I had. However, comparatively to the night, I didn’t necessarily see it at the highest price point for a Dine Out menu. And what I did like had little to do with the fish they were boasting about in their title. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

VANCOUVER FISH COMPANY
1517 Anderson Street, Granville Island, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R5
604-559-3474
vanfish.com
Vancouver Fish Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Edible Canada: Dine Out 2017

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The second stop on this preview of a few of Granville Island’s Dine Out menus was at “Edible Canada”. A restaurant I know well for its great summertime patio and brunch bacon Caesars. But they are more than just a restaurant promoting local food and highlighting Canadian cuisine. They are also known for their gourmet artisan retail shop; as well as the food tours, events, and dining experiences that they host.

Dine Out Vancouver is a food and dining event where participating restaurants offer up set menus and tastes at prices some diners may not otherwise be able to afford. This year it runs from January 20th to February 5th, 2017. A good time where people are still feeling the crunch of heavy bills and may need an extra incentive in order to head out for a night out.

I don’t normally visit participating Dine Out restaurants or order off this menu when I happen to be at one. Truth be told, I prefer to blog about the day to day experience. It gives you a better look at the restaurant if you are visiting for the first time. However, I have already visited “Edible Canada” a few times and have even tried their Dine Out menu last year. So I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be able to preview a few what they were going to offer this year, a couple of weeks before it became available to all Vancouverites.

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As a disclaimer, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

Here, our group of 35 plus was seated together across two rows of tables, family style. Fitting, as we would be served a few items family style. Each plate was presented as how it would be if we were visiting during the actual food event. We would try a few different options for each course.

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Their menu is $30, and with it you are given the option of three appetizers and mains to choose from, and then one of two desserts. Although the menu also allows you to upgrade the preset options to a something a little more for $3-6 dollars more. This was a great way to up sell.

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To start we were treated to either a taste of their take on a manhattan or a cosmo. Most of us shared and got to try each. The “Hibiscus cosmo” was nice but it was the “Duck fat manhattan” that had me going yum. I want to go back for a full glass. You don’t get the taste or the oiliness that you would imagine with duck fat. What it does do is give the drink a more creamy finish. The fat makes the Bourbon smoother, a wonderful liquid to sip between the teeth without all the normal bite of alcohol.

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The “Pacific cod and Pemberton potato pakoras” were memorable, and the one out of the three set options I would choose. These were crispy bundles with a soften centre. Their spicy heat went well with the cooling nature of the jalapeño and apple chutney with fresh mint.

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But for something a bit more on the meaty side, for $3 more you can replace the other possibility of either soup or salad for their “Crispy west coast humbolt squid”. These were bite size strips of squid, crunchy and chewy all at once. The chermoula vinaigrette, white bean hummus, and dried olives offered a nice seasoning to the already tasty breading. It covered your tangy, sweet, and salty tastes altogether.

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And for something more adventurous, at $4 more you can try the “Grilled Alberta lamb heart”. Something I wouldn’t order or pay $4 more for, not knowing if I like heart or not. I don’t think I have ever had it served like this before, in large chunks where I can actually make out the organ’s texture. So was glad to be able to get a taste here. As always I appreciate novelty, and the ability to try something new to have it added to my palette’s reference. It was served with gaujillo adobo, cilantro, and a hominy corn grits. It’s was seasoned tasty, but not being able to get past the part I was eating and how unfamiliar my tongue was with its texture, I pass after two full pieces. However, if I wasn’t told what it was I was eating, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell. I probably would have figured it an older piece of meat, yet oddly fatty. The heavy use of spices masked, along with the sides,l. The sandy grits and firm veggies also aided in covering up the unfamiliar texture. As a whole this seemed to be the dish no one was finishing.

And speaking of adventurous they also offered a unique opportunity to try seal. This would be another reason to go back. I have never had seal before and don’t really think about doing so. But given a chance to try something new I can’t turn away, also considering you don’t get many opportunities like this. Our chef gave us a quick lesson on the sustainability of seal to calm those sitting between being appalled and grossed out. This wouldn’t be seal steak, but seal in a “Newfoundland seal paradelle” with guanciale, tomato, chilli, and marjoran. I will be back for this.

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Moving on to mains we had the “Haida gwaii rockfish and mussel stew” with Moroccan tomato broth, heirloom carrots, chickpeas, and cilantro. This was a tasty and warming stew, where all that was missing was some bread to soak up all that extra sauce with.

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There is also a fried chicken or a mushroom risotto main to choose from. But instead, we were given the chance to try Quebec rabbit in orecchiette (a type of pasta given its name, from being shaped like an ear). With mushrooms, confit onions, shaved Brussels sprouts, and Parmesan. This was my least favourite amongst all the other great standouts. You couldn’t make out the shredded rabbit in taste or texture from the enjoyable chewiness of the pasta. The pasta was flavourful, just not as much or as memorable as the dishes above.

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For desserts there are no upgrade options, just two real good choices to pick between. The “Chocolate pot du creme” was topped with cassis and crystallized ginger. This was basically a rich chocolate pudding. A little tart with the blueberry, but the sweet and spicy ginger balanced it out.

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I preferred the heaviness of the “Pumpkin spiced toffee” instead. It is served with a maple Bourbon custard and candied walnuts. It was a nice carby bite that wasn’t too sweet, even with all the toffee. It was also great to see pumpkin make it past fall. Although I didn’t get much of the gourd’s flavour and could have used more Bourbon in the custard while I was at it. Although you definitely noticed the creaminess of the Chantilly in the finish of the bread pudding.

 

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.
I did make an effort to visit “Edible Canada” last year during Dine Out 2016, and wasn’t very impressed with them then. So am glad to be given a chance to change that opinion today. In fact I found things so good that I made reservations to come back a couple of weeks later, when Dine Out is officially running to try a bit more. This is due to all the unique additions they have added to the menu this year. Just what you would expect from the first Vancouver restaurant to have bull testicles on the menu, and the ones bringing you seal now. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

EDIBLE CANADA
1596 Johnston Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R9
604-682-6681
ediblecanada.com
Edible Canada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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