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: The Observatory – Grouse Mountain

Near the end of a grey, cloudy day Wendy and I ascended to The Observatory for our first Dine Out Vancouver meal of 2014 on the Skyride from the base of Grouse Mountain. To our wonderment when the tram broke through the clouds we were treated to an absolutely stunning sunset of epic proportions, with the beautiful mountains surrounding our fair city as the backdrop.

Grouse Mountain

The slopes were busy with skiers enjoying the sun. Neither of us has much skiing experience but maybe next time we will give it a go.

Sunset viewed from Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, BC

We headed to the observation decks to capture this beautiful moment together.  I was glad I took the advice of the restaurant and arrived at the base of the mountain half an hour early so that we had time to enjoy the scenery.

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The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House

The Prince George Man

PG Man in all his glory

During the month of July I went to Prince George to visit Pretty Sis.  She’s been there for about a year and this is the first time I’ve been there.

What the HELL is she doing in PG you ask?  Well, TedBear stole her away that’s why.  DAMN YOU TEDBEAR!

Just kidding.  TedBear’s awesome.  He would’ve been MORE awesome if he wasn’t in PG, but I digress 😉

As we know the month of July was pretty hot, and you would be right to assume even hotter in PG.  The weeks leading up to my visit, it was around 32C and up over there.  However, I apparently brought the Vancouver rain over.

That’s right.  The moment I landed there was a thunder/lighting storm in PG.  And the cloudiness and rain did not leave until the moment I got into the airport to leave.

The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House

They were super gracious hosts.  One night for dinner they took me to a local joint in downtown PG.  The Copper Pig BBQ & Social House is a popular hangout.

Fun fact: the other “Social House” is trying to sue this one for using the term “social house” in their name.  I didn’t know but I feel the the bigger guy is trying to bully this place.  I didn’t even know that social house wasn’t a generic term.  Apparently it’s trademarked?

The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House, Citrus Shasta and English Punch

Anyways, as it was a Friday they were doing specials on their Infused Beverages.  What’s that you ask?  Well it’s a selection of mixed drinks prepared with their own infused spirits.

I first started with the Citrus Shasta which is an infused citrus vodka paired with lemonade.  It was tangy and refreshing.  But then, the rain I brought with me was refreshing enough in itself =/

My second drink was the English Punch which is a Cucumber Cilantro Punch made with Herbal Infused Gin.  It was licorice-y and minimally sweet.  I wish the cucumber flavor came through more.

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The Ascot

The Ascot

For our monthly gossip session, Fannypack and I visited The Ascot with a Groupon in hand.  As we approached the restaurant we were impressed by the swanky hipster-looking storefront.  However it did look out of place for its location, as it’s near Richards and W. Pender.

The Ascot

Stepping in the hipster-factor was confirmed.  It definitely looked good and rustic with its huge brick-face wall and chandeliers.  Vintage would be the theme I supposed.  The night we visited happened to be a night where they had a paint class type of thing.  We were not part of it but we saw the group of people all learning to paint the same picture.

The Ascot: Halibut Ceviche

We were trying to decide between the Halibut Ceviche ($8) or the Cold Smoked Duck ($10).  Finally we picked the Halibut Ceviche since it’s supposed to be made fresh in-house everyday, and is therefore served in limited quantities.

Fannypack and I both decided that it was too tart and basically tasteless.  To me the fish was mushy and we definitely needed the pita chips to cut down on the acidity.  However towards the bottom of the glass it became less tart, so the sour start could be due to a squeeze of lemon or lime juice at the top.  This was definitely not my favorite of the night.  (Should’ve gotten the duck….)

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Pho Maxima Restaurant

Pho Maxima Restaurant exterior

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I LOVE PHO!!!!  So when I found a good pho place close to home, I was ecstatic.  I noticed that a good pho broth is hard to find nowadays…most places are either not concentrated enough or it’s much too sweet.  Maxima seems to have a good balance of both.

We’ve always driven past it and one chilly night we finally decided to try it out.  It has your usual suspects.  They’re also a bubble tea and banh mi restaurant.  Usually the addition of bubble tea raises red flags for me.  But we’re happy to say we’ve been pleasantly surprise (much like the visit to Kim Anh).

Pho Maxima Restaurant: House Special Pho

I always order the House Special ($7 for small).  I just enjoy the variety of meats offered.  The soup was fragrant and salted just right.  It does look a little on the lighter side but the taste is there.  One complaint though, one time instead of thinly sliced beef, they gave me thick strips of meat instead which did not cook well, and were extremely chewy.  But that was just one time from the few times we’ve went.

Another thing is…this restaurant is pretty damn chilly…

Pho Maxima Restaurant: Tendon and Brisket Pho

Hitman always orders the Tendon and Brisket ($7.50 large) combination here.  He really doesn’t have much to say but he doesn’t complain when I ask to come here, so I’m assuming he likes it here too.
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