Pho Boi: A Taste of Attitude (Burnaby location)

Pho Boi exterior

Wendy was quite excited to spot the transition of Pho Hoa on Kingsway to its new incarnation, Pho Boi: A Taste of Vietnam about a week ago.  We agreed to try it ASAP.  It seems this chain has its roots in Victoria, so in hindsight that should have been a red flag right there…

PS-I found this sadly defunct but hilariously named Victoria food blog recently…the front page pic is priceless 😛

Pho Boi interior

We were invited to pick our own seat when we walked in so we pulled up a chair and got down to business with Pho Boi’s menu.  It looked interesting enough so we ordered our pho from the “Adventures’ choice section”.  We also were interested in their version of the Vietnamese spring roll, cha gio, but Wendy wanted to know if they were made with the traditional rice paper or Chinese style spring roll wrappers.  It’s pretty common for local Viet places to use the wheat version, but there were some authentic looking menu items so it was worth asking.  Here’s the convo:

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Birthday dinner #3 – Locals Restaurant at the Old House

We spent the holidays over on Vancouver Island this year.  There didn’t seem to be too many fine dining choices in the Comox Valley area, but it was recommended we go to Locals Restaurant in Courtenay, so for my official birthday dinner celebration with Hitman that’s where we went.  They’re known for sourcing their food locally whenever they can (hence their name).

It had a very warm and inviting atmosphere.  There was even a fully decorated Christmas tree at the entrance with stools for you to take pictures on.

However, some parts of the service left much to be desired. Read on to find out!

Locals Restaurant: Bison Tartare on Asian Salad Amuse Bouche

We were promptly seated as we had already made reservations.  While we were looking through the menu we were offered an amuse bouche of Bison Tartare on Asian Salad.  It was a bit tart, and I thought that covered any hint of gaminess the bison might have. The salad portion was an interpretation of an “Asian” slaw.

Locals Restaurant: Grains bread with chickpea spread

For the complimentary bread, it was multigrain bread from the local bakery Grains.  Alongside was Locals Restaurant’s house-made chickpea spread.  I wasn’t too fond of the spread as it was too bland for my liking.  Hitman really enjoyed it though and he even tasted hints of cumin in it.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2014: Siena Restaurant

OMG!  4 down 1 to go!!  It’s nearing the end of my DOVF dash.  I must say it’s been going good so far.

I met up with GRock and LockerBud who I’ve known for 23 years.  LockerBud and I go way back.  Like waaaaaay back.  We lived across from each other when we were young and went to elementary and high school together.  We were also locker buddies =)

Siena Restaurant Exterior

Not wanting to venture into the heart of Downtown, I picked Siena Restaurant on 12th and Granville for our meet up.

Siena Restaurant Interior

It was quite small in there.  It got kinda loud after a while but not overly so.  Our server Tim was extremely friendly and attentive but not over the top.  I liked him.

Siena Restaurant: Roasted Beet, Squash and Chèvre Salad

GRock’s appie: Roasted Beet, Squash and Chèvre (goat cheese) Salad with arugula, limoncello dressing, and toasted almonds.  Citrusy and refreshing.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2014: Ask for Luigi

Ask for Luigi Vancouver

For my third DOVF event this year, Hitman and I were invited by Sharon of Eat, Drink, Travel to join her at Ask for Luigi. Theirs is the $28 menu. I was especially excited to try their homemade pasta.

Ask for Luigi: Interior

It was very very small in there, and only had one bathroom. Good thing we made reservations (even though Dine Out’s website says Ask for Luigi doesn’t take them, this seems to be a mix-up) because when we arrived as they opened at 5:30pm, we overheard the staff telling the people who didn’t have reservations that it would be a 1.5-2 hour wait.  Here’s the official word from Ask for Luigi’s website: RESERVATIONS ARE AVAILABLE AND WALK-INS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

Ask for Luigi: Buffalo Mozzarella

Hitman is still recovering from gum graft surgery, so he picked the softly textured Buffalo Mozzarella with Castelvetrano olives (Hitman loved these), fresh basil, and house-made bread. He says there was just the right amount of cheese for the homemade bread, and that it was well seasoned with just olive oil, salt and pepper. I tried a bite too; it was soft and mild. We both especially liked the sprigs of baby basil…Super cute!!

Ask for Luigi: Carpaccio

I got the Carpaccio with Salsa Verde, Piave Vecchio and crispy shallots. I thought there were too much going on as you can see… The combination of Salsa Verde and copious amounts of capers made the dish quite salty and tart, and overwhelmed the thin slices of beef so much that they couldn’t be tasted. The texture of the beef was retained though.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2014: L’Abattoir

L’Abattoir has successfully cinched its place in my heart for favorite restaurant.  Honestly, I’ve never thought I would name one as my favorite, but L’Abattoir has done just that.

I made Fannypack come with me for their $38 Dine Out Vancouver menu.  In my opinion this was one of the better bang-for-your-buck restaurants as an entree easily runs you $30 here, and now you get a full meal for a mere $8 more.  Food quality should also be dependable, even during Dine Out, but mind you I’ve only been here once, so I guess we’re about to find out!

L'Abattoir: Roast octopus and fennel salad

Once again Fannypack allowed me first choice on food.  I had my eye on the octopus here ever since Awkward Diner told me how amazing it was.  So I picked the Roast octopus and fennel salad for my appetizer.  It was accompanied by slices of green olives and smoked pepper squid ink sauce.  Presentation was beautiful.

Even more beautiful??? The taste.  My tastebuds were once again amazed.  The octopus was extremely tender and meaty (nothing like the octopus served at sushi restaurants…tough and chewy!!).  You could slice them with a butter knife (which was what I had) and was soft yet retaining some chew.  The sucker parts were also roasted to a slight crunch.  It was marinated perfectly.

I’m also a fan of fennel.  They seem to be just lightly tossed with seasoning so they were mild, which was perfect as they didn’t take away from the awesomeness of the octopus.  This was my favorite dish of the night.

L'Abattoir: Homemade duck pate

Since I picked the octopus, Fannypack was left to get the Homemade duck pate.  Served on top of sourdough and topped with vegetable pickles and mustard, the tartness easily cut through the richness of the pate.  The ducky “aroma” wasn’t very prominent though, and if we didn’t know it was duck it would’ve been hard to tell.  Some might not like that, Fannypack did though as she wouldn’t have been a fan of too much “duckiness”.

Oh, and since she had originally wanted the octopus too, I made her eat some of mine 😉

L'Abattoir: Veal picatta

Finally I was able to get Fannypack to make the first choice for entrees. She picked the Veal picatta with saffron risotto and mushrooms a la greque. She commented that the sauce was a bit sour. However that seems to have subsided as she dig into her meal. A Google search later reveals that “a la greque/grecque” means cooked in vinegar or lemon juice. There you go.

The veal was a bit tough to cut, but it wasn’t to eat. The risotto was creamy almost like creamed corn.

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