June is Nova Scotia month in the Coast to Coast Dining series! To celebrate, Chef Michael Howell offered a collaborative menu with selected wine pairings from Benjamin Bridge, a Nova Scotian winery. This dinner celebration showcased the culinary best of the Atlantic from seafood to wild foraged food.
A special thanks to Meghan at Edible Canada for inviting me to experience and celebrate this part of the Coast to Coast Dinner Series. Also, thank you all of the staff at Edible Canada for the great service and hospitality!
Happy Hour at Joe Fortes is offered every day of the week between 4-6pm. The Happy Hour menu is only served in the bar area of the restaurant. It gets pretty busy and they don’t take reservations for Happy Hour, so I would recommend getting to the restaurant right at 4:00pm. (I actually got there at 3:50pm and they seated me right away but wouldn’t take my order until right at 4:00pm.)
The Happy Hour menu prices are significantly cheaper than the regular prices. Everything that I had ordered was good, nothing blew my mind but I would definitely come back for Happy Hour! I think most of the prices and portion sizes were appropriate, and that being said, I would not pay full price for the Happy Hour items.
I think the best thing about Happy Hour are the Buck A Shuck Oysters (it’s not listed on the actual menu!) The next time I come, I want to try the Oysters Rockefeller and the Calamari.
Food Rating: 8/10 Value Rating: 7/10 Wait Time: I was seated immediately, was served water, but was not allowed to order until 4:00pm Would I Return? Yes
The beautiful space is a perfect setting for a dinner.
This is not part of the package, but they served us warm cheddar-rosemary biscuits.
Earth Apple Farms Mixed Kale, radishes, garlic scape dressing. The dressing was light, refreshing and tasty.
White Asparagus Bisque, parmesan lavash. This warm, thick soup is perfectly complimented with the crunchiness and saltiness from the parmesan lavash.
Braised Maple Ridge Farm Veal Cheeks with Stinging Nettle Pasta, asparagus tips, morel cream sauce. My favourite dish of the night, the meat was tender and flavourful. The al dente stinging nettle pasta was a nice alternative to usual pasta noodles.
BC Bouillabaisse with Spring Salmon, salt spring mussels, manila clams, sugar snap pea, charred scallion, fennel, new potatoes. The Bouillabaisse was poured table side by the chef herself! All of the seafood was fresh, tender and cooked perfectly without being overdone. The salmon was a nice medium rare which is exactly how I like my salmon. The flavourful bouillabaisse tied the dish together nicely.
Green Garlic Quinoa Risotto, fiddlehead ferns, fava beans, green peas, watercress. This vegetarian dish was surprising flavourful and perfectly seasoned. This not-so-typical risotto was made with quinoa yet was pleasantly smooth and still had a creamy risotto-like texture. The green garlic flavour was delicious and you could taste the sharpness of the cheese used in every bite.
Maple Espresso Creme Brulee, dark chocolate bark.This creme brûlee was one of the best creme brûlée I’ve ever had. This crispy, caramelized top boasted maple and espresso flavours while the creamy custard was a perfect texture and full of flavour as well. The dark chocolate fig bark was a nice addition to the dish to balance out the sweetness. I would come back for this dessert!
MOSAIC’s Signature Triple Layer Cake, fresh berries. This giant slice of cake was moist on the inside, with alternating layers of chocolate cake and chocolate icing. For all of those chocolate cake fans out there, this dessert is definitely for you!
My overall dining experience was great! The value of the food exceeds the Vaneats package price and I was given exceptional service from the moment I walked in the door. The hostess and servers were friendly and accommodating, and Chef Jo Ong made it a point to introduce every course to our table. I don’t often comment about service unless it’s extraordinary, and this experience definitely was! I would highly recommend trying this SPRING FLING Vaneats package.
My long awaited visit to The Acorn was well worth the wait! My first attempt was actually a couple of years ago. My friend and I were walking down Main Street after a long, sweaty gym work-out and were on the hunt for some good, healthy grub. I had never heard of The Acorn before, but was intrigued by the lack of signage and cool looking interior. The hours showed that it was not yet open (it was lunchtime) so we decided we would go back for dinner (attempt #1). Attempt #2, dinner time, I rushed over to The Acorn as soon as I could after work and put my name down for a table. The wait would be over an hour, and my friends and I were too hungry to wait! Attempt #3, drove to The Acorn with full intent to wait for a table but we saw that the line outside went down the street. Attempt #4: see Attempt #3. Attempt #5, I finally smartened up and decided to go right when they opened. My sister and I got there 15 minutes past opening time and the restaurant was already half full! I was seated in a dark corner, and was really looking forward to taking some beautiful food pictures, so I asked if I could move and be seated closer to the window. The server (who I later found out through Instagram was the owner) completely understood and let me choose a different seat. She smiled and told me to make sure I tagged The Acorn!
Onto the food. My sister and I ordered Rosewater Iced Teas, which were refreshing and had that nice hint of rose flavour. For appetizers we ordered the Fried Cauliflower (my favourite) and the Kale Salad. The spices they use in all of their dishes really take the flavours to a whole different level. For entrees my sister had The Harvest, which that day was a Truffle Mac & Cheese, and I had the Zucchini Linguini. Even though we were full, we really wanted to order dessert. We ordered the Plum dessert, which was roasted plums with Thai Basil Panna Cotta and Coconut. Dessert was deeelicious!
Having been to the food cart, I knew that I would love Yolk’s Restaurant. I’d had their breakfast sandwich and loved it! Here, with only a 15 minute wait (I had expected longer) I was seated and served quickly and efficiently despite being a full house. My boyfriend had the Chicken & Waffles, and I chose the Two Poached Eggs with Double Smoked Bacon, Aged White Cheddar, Benedict Style open-faced on an English Muffin with Truffle Lemon Hashbrowns. The chicken was crispy and the waffle was moist and flavourful. The egg sandwich was tasty and the truffle lemon hashbrowns were some of the best hashbrowns I’ve ever had! I personally love truffle, so truffle on anything makes me instantly like it!
I used to frequent Cafe Zen quite often, but due to the increase of new brunch spots opening up in the past couple years, I haven’t been in a while. I decided to re-visit today, and decided to finally try a new menu item! I’ve always ordered eggs benedict, but today I decided to try the Mexicano Baked Eggs. Runny poached eggs over avocados, tomatoes, refried beans and rice, covered in cheese and then baked. I ended up liking them more than their eggs benedict, so my lesson of the day is try new things. I know it sounds lame, and predictable classics are easy choices but sometimes you may end up surprising yourself- and find a new favourite!
My fellow foodies and I (#yvrfoodclub) went for brunch at Belgard Kitchen to celebrate two of our birthdays (one was mine!) The restaurant was consistently busy, even as the menu transitioned from brunch to lunch. Unfortunately, they ran out of the Belgard Meatball Brunch Skillet, which was what I wanted to order, so I ended up getting the Belgard Brunch Burger instead. I love brioche buns so that was a plus! I also got to try some of the Belgard Bacon which was thick-cut and sweet from the maple caramel it was served with. Everything tasted good and I loved the interior of the restaurant! I’ll be back to try the Meatball Skillet!
Presented by vaneats.ca, SaladDate runs from November 10, 2014 – January 10, 2015 with limited passes available for $22.
The SaladDate package includes
1. Your choice of any Carvery Salad
2. Your choice of any Gourmet Sandwich
3. Your choice of two items “sides” (wine, soup of the day or bottled/fountain drinks)
My visit to SaladWorks in Yaletown consisted of prompt, friendly service and my meal was served to me within a couple minutes.
I ordered the Grilled Malibu Chicken Carvery Salad: free range lemon herb chicken, strawberries, grapes, sunflower seeds, avocado, shredded carrots, avocado vinaigrette dressing. The salad came with a pretty decent amount of chicken on top!
Garlic Roasted Porchetta Gourmet Sandwich: oven roasted BC free range natural pork loin seasoned with herbs and garlic, sriracha mayo drizzle, pickled carrot, red onion and fennel, hot banana peppers. I loved how they grilled the bread to give it that roasted, barbequed flavour and the porchetta was really flavourful. The sriracha mayo was a perfect sauce to go with the pork.
Their soup of the day was Tomato Roasted Corn Soup: tomatoes and roasted poblano pepepers, in a special mix with parmesan, basil and garlic. This soup was hearty and very flavourful. The poblano peppers really added depth to the flavour of the soup.
I also had a GoodDrink Green Tea with lemon and honey.
This package is a good deal for the price as normally all of these individual items would easily add up to over $22. I personally found the meal portion to be quite large, and was only able to eat about half of the food (I was able to save the other half for my dinner!) Overall I was very happy with the meal I had and would definitely go back!
My first visit to Hawksworth was made possible by attending Brunch Club- their 2 for 1 Brunch special they offer on holiday long weekends. I don’t often eat at “fancy” restaurants, 1) because my wallet really wouldn’t be able to handle that, and 2) I’ve often found that just because a restaurant is higher priced and “more fancy” it doesn’t necessarily mean that they serve better food. My overall opinion: the food is good, but not fantastic- with all of the hype Hawksworth has gotten, I expected a lot more. I probably would have been even more disappointed with the food if I’d had to pay full price for the food. I preferred my boyfriend’s burger and fries over the steak and eggs I had ordered. No complaints, but I was expecting more.
Of course, after our meal I had to go next door to Bel Cafe for some macarons for dessert. I liked the flavours (Passionfruit and Cookies And Cream were my favourites), but Thierry’s texture still trumps anyone else!
In the heart of Yaletown, The Parlour is a great place for brunch, or any other meal, with creative pizza flavours and options. Their regular (non breakfast) pizzas have the option of ordering two flavours (half and half) and all of their pizzas have gluten free pizza crust options. Their ingredient combinations are out of the box but all sound very tasty, and although I haven’t tried their other food options, I will be back one day to try them out!