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 2013: Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company ft. Stanley Park Brewery….plus GIVEAWAY!!!

How is this year’s Dine Out fest treating everyone so far??  If you’re having trouble deciding on a final one, or even ONE, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company (RMFC) would be a great choice.  Extremely family-friendly (there’s a play area for the kiddies….and step stools in the washrooms too!!), it’s a break from the many other hoity-toity establishments around!

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company and Stanley Park Brewery

As with previous years, they are offering a great menu at $18 that includes an appy choice of either one of their salads or a soup of the day, an entree of either a pizza or flatbread creation from their regular menu, and a choice of dessert.  They were kind enough to extend an invite for Hitman and I to “dine out” at one of their locations and we took up this offer to visit their Main Street digs.

It just so happens that on the night of our visit, RMFC joined up with Stanley Park Brewery for a night of pizza making and beer tasting.  At first I didn’t pay much attention to the partnership, but as the night went along and after talking to both parties, we got an idea of how these two companies were such a great match…one word – Sustainability.

First and foremost, I really appreciated the fact that both companies are locally owned and operated.  As for the environmental side, in every step of the brewing process Stanley Park Brewery minimizes strain on the environment either by reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, or improving efficiency (more information here).  To up their cool factor, they have a specialty-built wind turbine for power to lessen their environmental impact!!  And this, my friends, is how they can boast themselves as Canada’s first sustainable brewery.

As for their beer itself, it’s free of preservatives and additives, which is why it takes them 21-28 days for a brew compared to the typical 7 days.  The result is a fresher, cleaner tasting beer.

Not to be outdone by the brewery, RMFC has maintained a green initiative since day one.  Their efforts include accomplishing a zero-waste integrated menu (use or reuse all components of what makes up their menu one way or another, including composting any waste generated, recycling etc.), using energy efficient lights, reclaimed wood, non-toxic paints, biodegradable take-out ware, efficient taps and toilets in the restaurants, utilizing green electricity, purchasing carbon offsets, and buying locally-sourced produce.  What a list huh?!

That’s all very impressive…but how does the food taste???

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Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana

A thing about Hitman is that he is into good, authentic food as much as I am. He’s always looking for the truest form of preparation for a certain type of cuisine and in reality, he is much, MUCH pickier than I am =P On our first date we were at a Thai restaurant and I ordered a green curry. He asked if they actually had Thai eggplant instead of the usual westernized version made with peas…
Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana exterior

So if we were to have pizza….of COURSE we have to have the most authentic one!! Somehow he found out about Via Tevere. Located near Commercial Drive, Via Tevere makes and serves authentic, Napoli pizza. Visit their website for the strict list of criteria.  In essense, true Neapolitan pizza, as required by the Associazone Vera Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), must be baked in a wood-fired domed oven using precise amounts of certain ingredients from specific locations.

.Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana interior

They open at 5pm every day. We arrived at quarter after and the restaurant was busy but we still managed to get a table right away. However a lineup formed pretty soon after.  The wood-fired dome oven is situated in the back.  The server was very attentive.
Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana: Frittura Napoletana

We started with an appy of Frittura Napoletana ($16 for 2) which is a sampling of deep fried Neapolitan street food.  From the left, it’s mac and cheese, risotto, potato and cheese, and pork meatballs.  Honestly, for the price I really did expect something a bit more extravagant…think about it…the two meatballs would be $1 each…and they were a quarter in diameter…and taste-wise not especially spectacular to boot.

My fav of the 4 would be the mac and cheese, but that really isn’t say much…the risotto is mixed in a tomato sauce, and the potato cheese concoction was kind of doughy, like a fritter I suppose.

But I digress…the star of the shows were supposed to be the pizzas anyways….

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Dine Out Vancouver 2011: Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

Last year my friends and I discovered the gems that are there in the $18 menu choices of Dine Out Vancouver.  This year L and I continued that trend and our (well, mostly mine…my friends spoil me!!!) choice was Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, which is mainly a pizzeria.  An organic one mind you.  It IS in kitschy Kits after all.

I like the fact that their Dine Out menu offerings are all available on their regular menu, which means that if I enjoyed something a lot, it wouldn’t be “limited edition”, never to be tasted or seen again (I’m talking to YOU!  And YOU!!!)

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

Rocky Mountain basically has two large dining areas.  The inner area houses the open kitchen where you can see the pizza-making people at work!  We were lucky to be seated right beside the kitchen.  They didn’t even have to walk out of the kitchen to serve us our food!

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

There they also have the pizza oven.  The stone exterior is just for show though.  The inside of it looks completely industrial.

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