The #PopUpPatio at The Westin Grand is Back for Another Summer

Westin Grand Pop Up Patio 3

Above the bustling intersection of Homer and Robson is the sun-drenched poolside terrace of The Westin Grand, Vancouver. Once again this space has been transformed into the #PopUpPatio, a bustling rooftop patio lounge open Thursday and Friday evenings. Guests can unwind and refresh after a hard day of work in this relaxed atmosphere with soft seating, green gardens and live DJ music. Continue reading “The #PopUpPatio at The Westin Grand is Back for Another Summer”

Prestons Taste Of Canada Menu Preview

Canadian Beer Fact

80% of alcohol consumed by Canadians is beer

The Prestons Taste of Canada event was an industry and media reunion for me. People I haven’t seen for months gathered to preview Prestons Chef Bruce Nollert’s newly launched Canadian inspired menu.This new menu features classic comfort dishes with a modern twist and locally inspired ingredients from each province. Each province’s menu was paired with selected beers from Molson Coors (Nope, not Coors light).  Molson’s has a huge portfolio of beer brands, from Creemore, to Granville Island Brewery and Rickards.

bar preston
Prestons bar

We were greeted by a lovely server, I fall in love with people who serve me a great cocktail with a smile.

greeted wtih caesars and a smile
greeted wtih caesars and a smile

The restaurant was littered with cool Canadian facts alongside, their bowl of popcorn and truffle chips. DAMN those truffle chips, I think I demolished a whole bag that night. So I will randomly incorporate some fun facts throughout this post.

Canadian players make up 56% of the NHL roster

The detailed beers write –up is by Simon Wong my partner in crime for that night. To sum him up, he is a beer evangelist / proselytizer and an all around food connoisseur. (In honesty, I finished up his summary with a zinger that made him sound like a food snob but, I figured he did such a great write-up and did nothing to deserve my witty zingers)

Thank You.

The Westcoast: Fresh Oysters paired with Wayne Gretzky endorsed wine from the Peller winery in Okanagan.

freshly shucked oysters
freshly shucked oysters
Wayne Gretzky Wine - Peller Winery
Wayne Gretzky Wine – Peller Winery

I can always be found at local Happy Hour’s buck a shuck, sipping on some wine with a dozen oysters in front of me, so it’s not a surprise I loitered for more than an hour around this table. Followed by house cured blueberry salmon on rosemary bannock and finished with Nanaimo bar with hazelnut Ganache.

house cured blueberry salmon on rosemary bannock
house cured blueberry salmon on rosemary bannock

The Westcoast course menu was paired with Granville Island Honey Lager.

Nothing spells Westcoast like a honey lager on a nice sunny day!  This GI honey lager does a good job of balancing its subtle sweetness with a light hop.  It complemented the sweetness of the fresh oysters and cured blueberry salmon quite well.

Granville Island Honey Lager
Granville Island Honey Lager

 

The Prairies: Peace River Bison carpaccio with crisp bannock and pierogies with crème friache. I am still trying to figure out how pierogies associate with the Prairies.

Peace River Bison carpaccio with crisp bannock
Peace River Bison carpaccio with crisp bannock

Paired with Rickards dark English-style porter ale. This is a rich and creamy porter weighing in at just under 5% abv.  Its medium body ale with dark malts of chocolate and caramel balanced out with a slight hop.  The creaminess of this brew worked well with the bison carpaccio and pierogies.

Canadians consume 23.41lbs of cheddar cheese per person annually – WTF??

La Belle Province: Poutine with Granville Island maple cream gravy, my favourite the trio. Montreal smoked meat on bagle chips with Dijon aioli and house-made butter tats.

Poutine with Granville Island maple cream gravy
Poutine with Granville Island maple cream gravy

Menu paired with New Castle Brown Ale

Traditional brown ale that pours dark orange but has a light to medium body.  You can taste hints of the caramel and dark malts which paired especially well with the richness of the butter tarts.

The Maritimes: Lobster Rolls, it seemed to be everyone’s favourite. Prestons kept on running out of it. We tend to be a greedy bunch if we like something.

lobster rolls
lobster rolls

Traditional seafood chowder and blueberry grunts. Beer pairing was Creemore Springs Pilsner. A refreshing pils with a slight floral hop to it.  It’s smooth on the palate with a dry and slightly bitter finish.  You want something lighter and crisp with seafood and this pilsner was a big winner with the lobster roll!

Creemore Springs Pilsner
Creemore Springs Pilsner

 

Event Photos:

photographers

Prestons on Urbanspoon

Minami Japanese Restaurant

Minami Japanese fine dining restaurant opened their doors this Spring and it has become my go to restaurant this Summer.

Minami Japanese Restaurant, located in Yaletown and sister restaurant to Miku, a fine dining Japanese restaurant in the heart of Coal Harbour meets high expectations. I’ve been to both, the menu is very similar but, the atmosphere and décor is much nicer at Minami.
The service was impeccable right from when we entered to when we left.
It is a rare treat, when all the dishes scored between 4 -5 out of 5!

Now the Food…

We started with the Shiso Mojito Watermelon and Citrus Cured Scallops, mojito infused watermelon, montchevre goat cheese, micro greens, pickled celery, cucumber, a light salad to prepare our paletes. Creative ingredients that melded so well and gave a refreshing blend of flavours. 4.5/5

watermelon and scallops
We were recommended to try the calamari, everyone that went to Minami raved about this dish.

Calamari, nori tempura batter, brussels sprout chips, pickled tomatoes, tosazu sauce. The batter was heavenly, so light, not the usual American calamari. This is one of their popular dishes. 4/5

calamari

Miso Baked Duck Breast, ginger braised carrots, watercress, sweet potato fondant, orange reduction. This dish is slightly different from the one offered at Miku. I much prefer the duck breast at Minami. Again, this dish was able to hit my entire palette, sour, sweet, spicy, salty. 4.5/5
Duck Breast
Minami and Miku are known for their Aburi Sushi, a roll that is pressed and then lightly seared and, topped with the secret Miku sauce. We tried dissecting the sauce, the two ingredients we all agreed on were sesame and soy sauce but, that is a given, it’s the base of almost all Japanese, Chinese sauces.

Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi, pressed local salmon, jalapeño, miku sauce, my favourite dish. It was sooo good. 5/5
aburi salmon sushi

Aburi Saba Oshi Sushi, pressed mackerel, miku miso sauce. Once again they hit this out of the ball park, a terrific dish. 4.5/5.
aburi saba sushi

I keeping my fingers crossed, Minami will stay open longer than the other predecessors at this location, Goldfish being one of that recently closed. Their dishes were made with creativity and detail. The ingredients were fresh and, I will be recommending this place to my picky foodies.

Minami on Urbanspoon

Tableau Bistro Loden Hotel – Old School Comfort

Tableau Bistro, located inside the Loden Hotel serves a locally inspired French menu.

I’m sorry, I haven’t been blogging for a while, I was dying of exhaustion. It took me 12 hours of sleep on Sunday to fully recover from a week-long binge of drinking, eating and debauchery. Vegas is not a relaxing vacation spot. ;I’ve been thinking of going on a cleanse but, seriously who was I kidding, how could a restaurant blogger go on a cleanse and still be able to blog??

Now, I’m back!

I’ve been going to Tableau a lot these past couple of weeks. I always, love coming here, if I ever wanted to relax in a comfortable and nice environment, Tableau is the first place to come to mind and, admittedly it’s one of the closest restaurants to where I live. To my friends outside of downtown…I’m sorry I made you trek all the way downtown but, aren’t you glad you did?

This is a good first date spot. If your date turns out to be a bore you would also have other first dates around you for entertainment.

The service was attentive and the food for the most part was delicious. There were a few dishes that were off but, generally they rated 4/5. Tableau makes one of the best TWENTIETH CENTURY cocktails in Vancouver gin, white chocolate syrup, lillet, lemon and, egg white.

Absolutely DELISH!

I recently went to Bottleneck on Granville, review to come, I ordered the same cocktail and they came back with some disgusting licorice mouthwash concoction. Arghhh gag I can still taste it.

So on to the food….

Lamb chops – we all loved this dish. Unfortunately, this is a seasonal dish and is no longer available on their summer menu. The meat was so packed with flavor and the smokiness really came through. 4/5.

Lamb chops
Lamb chops

Mushrooms on toast, I know, I was skeptical at first, it’s mushrooms on toast, how phenomenal could this be? Our server told us this was one of their popular appetizers so we decided to give it a try. ;I was pleasantly surprised, this was good! ; Expensive for what it is but, I’m a big fan of mushrooms and this is now one of my favourite dishes on the menu 4.5/5

Mushrooms on toast
Mushrooms on toast

French onion soup, crouton-less, the fragrant was amazing. This rich soup was so flavourful, after I finished the bowl, I was pretty much full.

French onion soup, crouton-less
French onion soup, crouton-less

Burger and fries – Gruyère cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato. I rate burgers by the quality of the patty and the condiments. The patty was juicy and the bun was toasted. Other than the Gruyère there wasn’t much that set this burger apart from every other burger. 3/5

Burger and fries
Burger and fries

Rabbit Dijionaise pan-fried, although it tasted like it was braised. The meat was a sopping mess. 2/5

Rabbit Dijionaise pan fried
Rabbit Dijionaise pan-fried

Beef tartare, the quality of the meat was superb. 4/5

Beef Tartare  with quail egg
Beef Tartare with quail egg

Gnocchi pan-fried was nice and buoyant, often gnocchi’s are doughy, this was perfect. 4/5

Gnocchi pan fried
Gnocchi pan-fried

Garganelli pasta with meatballs was simple and delicious. 4/5.

Garganelli pasta with meatballs
Garganelli pasta with meatballs

Steelhead trout with quinoa 3.5/5

Steelhead trout with
Steelhead trout with

Banana cake and peanut brittle and carmalized and chocolate ice-cream. They ran out of peanut brittle, and cake itself was hard and too dense. 2/5 I was looking forward to the peanut brittle too.

Banana cake with peanut brittle
Banana cake with peanut brittle

Coffee cheesecake, light in texture and also in flavor. 2.5/5

Tableau Bar Bistro on Urbanspoon

Eight 1/2 – Casual Hipster Restaurant

We decided to get out of downtown for a change and explore Mount Pleasant. Eight ½ is quite hidden but, they were bustling for a weeknight almost every table was taken. The atmosphere was casual almost hipster and the food reflected that.

Bacon sliders, the corn gave it a nice sweet flavor all in all it was decent. The patty was a little on the dry side but the sauce was rich. 3/5

eight 1/2 bacon burger sliders

Perogies, are supposed to be a little cirspy and seared on the outside and soft on the inside. This was just soggy and bland
perogies

Seafood Bouillabaisse Soup, the soup was flavorful and chalk full of seafood. This could definitely fill you up and more 3.5/5

boullbaise

eight 1/2 Restaurant Lounge on Urbanspoon

Hawksworth at Georgia Hotel – Not Exuberantly Expensive As Expected

One of the most buzzed about restaurant this winter would have to be Hawksworth at The Georgia Hotel. Previous executive chef at West, David Hawksworth had exceptionally high expectations to meet. Most of us have been anticipating Hawksworth opening since 2008!!! That’s when the first hint was leaked.

We thought to indulge ourselves during lunch. The décor is opulent with the huge hanging chandeliers and a pristine dining room.  Get ready for some spectacular people watching spot too.  I was a bit hesitant to go at first,  thought it would cost me an arm and a leg but, the prices are just a tad more than Cactus’s, at least during lunch.

Now the food…

Bartlett pear salad speck, burrata, roasted shallot $16. The salad was light and on the bland side.  It was however, a good choice to clean your palette. Burrata, a type of creamy Italian cheese made from mozza and cream gave the dish a buttery texture. 2/5
Bartlett pear salad

48 hr beef shortrib black pepper jam, honeydew, green papaya, peanut, Thai basil $16. This was our favourite dish. I can’t believe the shortribs were still intact after 48 hours of braising.

HOW?!?!

Even when you slice through it, was very tender but still held its shape. The combination of the short ribs with the peanuts and honeydew were delicious. 4/5

48hr shortrib black

Hawksworth beef burger applewood smoked bacon, aged cheddar, frites $18. It’s a regular burger, the patty wasn’t juicy. Now the burger at Mahoney and Son’s, located at the Convention Center is a BURGER. 3/5

Hawksworth Burger

Hawksworth Burger. 2jpg

Hawksworth on Urbanspoon

Mahony and Sons- Irish Bar with the Best Patio in Van

Patio season is coming to an end before it does it is absolutely crucial to visit Mahoney and Sons. Their large wrap around patio is at the convention centre and has undisturbed views of coal harbor marina. It is has been my favorite patio spot in Vancouver this summer.

Mahoney Patio
Mahoney Patio

Now the Food..

All the burgers and sandwiches comes with a choice of fries or salad.

Mushroom burger with truffle and aioli, was scrumptious, I am not huge a fan of burgers but, shucks! Add truffle and aioli and, its mouth watering. 4/5

Veggie Sandwich– the ciabatta bread was warm and crunch. The roasted veggie was nicely grilled and fresh.  3.5 /5

Grilled Veggie Sandwich
Grilled Veggie Sandwich

Salmon Burger– This is my favourite. The portion of the salmon was very decent, it was nice and fresh. There was no need to hide the fish in sauce like some other restaurants, when the quality fo the fish is sub-par. This was perfect.  4/5

Salmon Burger
Salmon Burger

Irish burger and Gamin bacon – A juicy burger, made with fresh ingredients. If you want a regular meaty burger, this is it.

Irish Burger
Irish Burger

Mango Coconut Sundae, with pineapples and gingered pecans. The coconut flavor was very the mango was too strong.  I could much on the gingered pecans and I’ll be set, they were delicious.

Mango Sundae
Mango Sundae

Chocolate sundae, mixed with strawberries, cashew and caramel sauce.

chocolate sundae
chocolate sundae

Irish Rose, reminded me of a strawberry mojito, it is a bit watered down for my taste.

Irish Rose
Irish Rose

Mahony & Sons Public House on Urbanspoon