Birthday dinner #1 – Mosaic Grille

For my big three-o celebration, I had gotten together with some friends for dinner at Mosaic Grille at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.  Hitman had taken pictures but due to a technical difficulty, they are no longer available =(

Good thing I have friends that also take pictures of their food even though they don’t blog. The following pictures are all from Fannypack.

We were a sizable group so we divided into 2 long tables back to back, which really isn’t the best arrangement I thought.  The whole dinner I had my back to the other table so I had to turn and crane my neck to talk to the others.  I wished they had informed me of the arrangement when the reservations were made.

Hitman and I dined with a VanEats voucher. For $27 we got a three course meal.

Mosaic Grille: Smoked Salt Scones

Everyone got to start with some of their Smoked Salt Scones though.  Our table thought they were REALLY really good, so good that when a friend noticed that the adjacent table had left without touching theirs she jokingly suggested we steal them for ourselves.  So we did!  Then a few minutes later to our chagrin another complimentary plate was brought to our table :P  They were warm and buttery, and smokey too.   But then our taste buds could’ve been skewed by the fact that we were actually half an hour late to the dinner (the rest of the party waited for us) because of traffic…and we were starving by the time we arrived.

Mosaic Grille: A la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon

For starters we both had the A la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon that was served with kale nori and wasabi cauliflower puree.  When it was brought to the table it was covered with a clear glass dome and you could kind of see the smoke swirling inside.  Not sure if it really adds anything to the salmon though…or maybe that’s what the ‘a la minute smoked’ meant….smoked for a minute ;)

When the dome was lifted we were met with a whiff of smokiness though.

My piece of salmon was a bit more cooked than I like.  Hitman’s though was thicker and cooked just to my liking, so he switched his with me.  This indicated to us that there may be some inconsistencies in the preparation.

Mosaic Grille: Seared Baja Ocean Wise Scallops

This was Hitman’s entree: Seared Baja Ocean Wise Scallops with sweet potato, figs, and prosciutto.  From the bite that I had I thought the scallops were done perfectly with the outside cooked and the inside just raw enough.  They were sweet, big, and meaty.  The figs and prosciutto went well together as always.  Hitman had fun playing with the various combinations.

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Sal y Limon

Sal y Limon

People are saying good things about Sal y Limon (as you can probably tell from the banner above), a little Mexican joint nestled between a pizza shack and a bubble tea place in a small plaza on Kingsway and Fraser.  I remember back when I lived in this area another quirky “Mexican” place occupied this spot, run by Indo-Canadians who used donair meat in their burritos.  All my friends hated it but I liked it at the time.  The name escapes me, does anybody remember it?

Anyway, on with the review.  Line up (Sal y Limon is busy) and place your order, then they will call your name when it’s ready.  Now normally I don’t tend to tip at these kind of setups since there’s no “service” to speak of, but there was a tip option on their Interac so I thought what the hey, I pretty much know the food’s gonna be good, right?  I immediately regretted it though; the lady who took my order walked away without a word in the middle of the transaction!  I figured she would come back, but nope, I was left to rip off the receipts myself while leaning over the counter (I’m on a crutch at the moment recovering from surgery), sort the customer receipt from the merchant and then reach further to pin it on their stack.  All the while there were three employees in the kitchen including the woman…you’d think they would have noticed.

Sal y Limon: Hotsauce selection

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Miura Waffle Milk Bar new location launch

Miura Waffle Milk Bar exterior

Miura Waffle + Milk Bar has just moved to its new Main & Broadway digs and they kindly hosted a pre-launch tasting event for the folks who had written about them in the past.  Wendy reviewed the old downtown location a while back, so we got an invite and figured this time I could give a second opinion on the place.  We got to sample literally every food item on the menu plus a few new drinks!

Miura Waffle Milk Bar interior

The newly reno’d interior was clean and sported bar and table seating with a view of the kitchen in the back.  Now for a word about the “yoggys” and “sandos” on offer here: this ain’t your momma’s waffle shack.  Miura’s motto is “NO FORK & KNIFE, NO SYRUP”.  They make waffle sandwiches here, both savoury and sweet, and sando is short for sandowicchi (the Japanese pronunciation of sandwich), and are meant to be eaten with your hands.  Yoggys are yogurt-y milk drinks which are slightly thicker and tangier than regular milk.

Miura Waffle Milk Bar: Miura Shakes

First we tried some items from the Miura Shake menu.  These are all new items launched with the location change.  Clockwise from top left are the G8, Corny, and two Cara-Misos.  The G8 (stands for 8-grain) is the health-conscious one of the group with a blend of red, green, and mung beans, brown and black rice, and wheat berries plus a couple more we forgot.  It definitely tastes healthy with a kind of rice-y malt flavour.  If you can imagine a drink version of Sugar Crisp cereal you’ve hit the nail on the head.  The Corny is sweet corn with vanilla ice cream, and the Cara-Miso is Miura’s fusion take on classic salted caramel treats, but they combine their house-made caramel sauce with red miso (?!) for the salted portion.  Trust us, it tastes like HEAVEN and was the star player here.  These were sample sizes with the standard 16 oz. versions going for $6.49.

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U & I Thai take 2

U & I Thai

Wendy decided to take advantage of the Living Social voucher this evening so that I could try U & I Thai for myself.  It was busy when we arrived but luckily Wendy had made reservations and we were seated immediately.  They had the place done up nicely for Christmas with ornaments and wreaths etc.

U & I Thai: Isaan Lettuce Wraps (Yom Nam Khao Tod)

We started with Isaan Lettuce Wraps (Yom Nam Khao Tod) ($10.95).  They throw everything but the kitchen sink into this one: pork, fried rice balls, egg, curry paste, ginger, cilantro, red peppers, onion and toasted peanuts.  The menu says it’s served with sweet basil sauce but they gave us fresh basil instead (not that I’m complaining, the basil was fresh and tasted great in the wraps).  It also came with both iceberg and green leaf lettuce, which was nice.  It was also nice that there was more than enough lettuce to go around since we’ve run out before the filling is done at other places.  This dish reminded me of the yam naam we had at Maenam a while back but the flavours were more balanced so the salty and sour aspects didn’t overpower the sweet and spicy.
We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

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U & I Thai

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It’s very difficult to get Fannypack to make a choice…with me anyways. However for her birthday I finally got her to choose a place to eat.  She ended up picking U & I Thai in Cambie so a date was set!

We were supposed to pick a dish each but I of course ended up picking most of them.

On another note, it seems like the servers were Thai, so that gave me comfort on the authenticity of this place.

U & I Thai: Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

For appy I picked the Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) ($10.95). The green Papaya shreds had the right amount of crunch. The dressing was a bit tart for me but it all melded very well together. Portion was a bit small.

U & I Thai: Authentic Pad Thai

Next up was the Authentic Pad Thai ($12.95). Why is it ‘authentic’ you ask?? Well it’s because instead of the usual ketchup-based sauce most other restaurants use, here they use a Tamarind sauce. Also interesting is the addition of banana flowers.

U & I Thai: Red Curry Duck with Lychee

For the obligatory curry dish I picked the Red Curry Duck with Lychee ($15.95). It was a sweet curry, likely due to the lychee. However there weren’t many pieces of them… Probably just 3? The duck was also in smaller shreds. Otherwise the sauce went quite well with rice.

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