Nuba (Kitsilano) & the Ra Energy 7 day challenge

A couple of weeks ago Wendy and I attended the Ra Energy product launch at Nuba in Kitsilano.  Ra Energy is a local company that produces seed mixtures to top your favourite foods with to add texture, flavour, and nutritional value.  Ra comes in garlic, plain, and naturally sweet varieties.  They teamed up with Nuba for their launch party to allow attendees to sample all three versions of their product in a variety of the restaurant’s dishes.  We took on Ra Energy’s 7 day challenge, but here’s the Nuba portion first:

Nuba and Ra Energy: Red Lentil Soup

To get us started as soon as we walked in we had Red Lentil Soup ($4).  The soup was blended and creamy in texture, and we both found the garlic flavour Ra was a great addition.  They don’t use sodium in any of their products, so they add a lot of garlic powder to ensure flavour in this blend.  It also has a nutty flavour and a crunchy texture that worked well in the soup.

Nuba and Ra Energy: Adam Hart

Once everybody had arrived the founder of Ra Energy (and author of healthy eating book The Power of Food), Adam Hart, gave us a pep talk about his product.  All I can say is this guy is living proof that Ra Energy works; he was so animated and full of energy that I had to snap quite a few pics before I finally got one of him standing still!  The enthusiasm was contagious and everybody was in a great mood when we sat down to partake.

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Brunch at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

There comes a time in your life when it really dawns on you that you’re growing up.  Or old.  This is that year for my high school friends and I as we’re all turning 30 this year.  “Luckily”, my birthday isn’t until the end of the year so as of now I’m still the youngest of the bunch and I take every opportunity to milk that 😉

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro exterior

For Cat’s 30th birthday, she originally wanted to have a celebratory dinner.  However one of us had plans the evening of, so it got changed to a brunch instead.

Cat got to pick the restaurant and she chose The Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kitsilano.  They don’t take reservations so be prepared to wait.  For the 5 of us we waited 35 minutes at noon.

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro Interior

Open Faced Corned Beef Sandwich with overeasy eggs, sauerkraut, dijon and home fries at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

I picked the Open-faced Corned Beef sandwich, overeasy eggs, sauerkraut, dijon and home fries ($14).  First the good: it was LOADED with meat.  I mean, there was so much corned beef slices on there I could’ve easily made another sandwich.  It was pretty tasty and not overly salty as it could easily have been.

The bad: the bread was really dry.  And thick.  It was not very tasty to eat overall.  The eggs could’ve been runnier too…it was too well done for my liking.

The good again: The bread softened overnight (I packed it) and when I had it for lunch the next day it tasted much much better.

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro: Brioche Muffins with Maple Butter

I ordered a side of Brioche muffins with maple butter ($5).  They were served fresh and warm and fluffy.  A bit savory, and the maple butter wasn’t overly sweet.  I was full from this so I had my sandwich packed to go.

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Maenam

I’ve been wanting to try Maenam for a while now since I’m a big fan of all things Thai and was curious about trying Thai food with a gourmet twist, which is exactly what Maenam offers.  The first thing I noticed was the warm, inviting atmosphere, made apparent through use of light and colour.  I really dug their tabletops as well 😛 (see pics).  We had made reservations for the Chef’s Royal Thai Dinner ($47.50/person) in advance, a 3-course, 9-dish tasting menu of on- and off-menu selections which changes occasionally.  I’m not sure how often, but this one had started just that week.

satay gai, pork rinds, tempura fern, nahm jim, and crispy fried oysters at Maenam

First up was an appetizer platter featuring free range chicken satays (satay gai), tempura made with some thin type of fern, crispy fried oysters (hoi tort), prawn cakes and a couple pork rinds and cucumber wedges.  The sauces included standard homemade peanut, a red chili one, some watery cucumber relish and my personal favourite: the house sauce, nahm jim.  It embodied all of the Thai taste senses: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter (spicy).  Each bite made me forget my surroundings a little at a time, daydreaming of bustling Bangkok streets teeming with the pungent aromas of various mobile food carts.

The oysters were the highlight for me, and the nahm jim worked perfectly with them.  The fern dish was very bland although an interesting idea, and the chicken was just your usual Thai streetfood variety, but were on the dry side.  The pork rinds seemed out of place and had some inedible-y chewy hard bits in them.  But everything tasted good enough when dipped in the nahm jim I suppose.

Maenam: Thai and Ginger

For drinks Wendy ordered a virgin Thai and Ginger which consisted of passionfruit and cassia bark topped with gingerbeer.  She was expecting a bit more kick from the gingerbeer than what was delivered but still enjoyed the drink.  I ordered a pot of lemon ginger tea.  I found it a bit mild as well, but pleasant enough.

Maenam: Mussels

The next course consisted of soup, salad and mussels.  Wendy regrettably forgot to take photos of the soup which is unfortunate since for me it was one of the high points.  It was a hot and sour (tom yum) ling cod soup w/ Thai basil and oyster mushroom.  Needless to say it was tom yummy!  I think I enjoyed it a bit more than Wendy since she didn’t finish hers.  I did notice the absence of any big chunks of ginger or lemongrass which I normally like in this type of soup though. But I guess that’s kind of the point here, this ain’t your traditional Thai food.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2013!!

Hey Vancouver it’s that time of year again! Numerous restaurants around the city offers 3-course dinners for $18/$28/$38 each! Hitman and I will for sure do at least one restaurant this year… It’s just been so busy!

One of my favorite dine-out restaurants in recent years has got to be Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company (see post here).  First of all they’re a pizzaria…and who doesn’t love pizza??  But the qualities that sets them apart is that they utilize local organic products, have gluten-free options, and family-friendly, and both restaurants have an open-kitchen concept so you can watch your food being prepared!

Their $18 dine-out menu basically allows you to choose an appy, an entree and a dessert from their regular menu.  But there’s so much to choose from (82 different combinations in total!) you will not be disappointed.

To kick off Dine-Out Vancouver, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company is hosting a contest on Facebook.  “Like” them on Facebook and you will be entered to win dine-out dinner for 2!

Mmmmmm pizza!!!

An epiphany at Dark Table: Sometimes, things are just clearer in the dark…

This man never ceases to amaze me…after the shenanigans from our anniversary, I didn’t think he could surprise me again for my birthday…I mean…sure you can take me to a secret location again, but it’s just gonna be the same old food, same old experience right??

But, I repeat, this man never ceases to amaze me.

I was basically instructed to wear whatever, don’t need to dress up, and don’t wear perfume.  After we’re arrived to the vicinity of the restaurant, I still had absolutely NO idea where we’re going.  Luckily for him I had no idea this restaurant has recently opened in Vancouver.  As recent as September actually.

It also doesn’t help that they’ve managed to cover most of the restaurant front with tree branches and shrubbery.  So what is this place?  It’s Dark Table.

Dark Table exterior

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