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 😛  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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Chop Steakhouse – New Year’s Eve Menu

Just a note before we start: one of Wendy’s coworkers made a comment along the lines of, “Wow, you guys really like surprises…!”, after hearing about our latest dinner out, so at the risk of sounding too overly cute here’s just one more.  Last one, we promise!!  …Well at least for a good long while anyway 😛

This time it was Wendy’s turn.  I feel pretty dumb that I didn’t clue in, but we had just planned a quiet New Year’s at home with a cheese platter since I haven’t done that for many, many years so I wasn’t expecting anything.  We had a bit of groceries to pick up but Wendy said she wanted to stop by and see a friend first, and suggested we get dressed up for “New Year’s pics” that night.  Okay, I’m game.  Her friend lives in Richmond so we hopped in Wendy’s car and off we went.  I made some comments about being all dressed up with nowhere to go and looking back Wendy said she was worried I had figured out her game plan, but I didn’t realize anything was amiss until we pulled into the parking lot of the Sandman Hotel (wrong lot by mistake).  As we circled the lot I briefly wondered why her friend was here at the hotel instead of at home, then my Spidey-senses finally started to tingle and I knew she had something fun planned 🙂  Once we found the right lot it turned out to be the very swanky looking Chop.

Chop Steakhouse

The photos above give some idea of the opulence; on the left is the corridor between restaurant and lounge and on the right is the chandelier-thing that hung above our table.  One of the best restrooms in the city I’d say as well, you could get lost in them they are so spacious!

Wendy had made reservations and we were seated at a table set for four; our hostess apologized and began removing the extra menus.  Wendy then attempted to give her the other two, which resulted in an awkward tug of war between the three of us, with the hostess assuring Wendy that “they are the same menus.”  The hostess didn’t take them back so Wendy asked to speak with the assistant manager whom she had booked the reservations through.  I realized Wendy’s plans were going awry and excused myself to the restroom so she could sort it out without spoiling anything further.

After an awkward moment the hostess came back and retrieved the menus from her and said, “Oh right, you’re not supposed to have these are you.”  I came back to find her obviously stewing with anger, but I hadn’t even glanced at the menu so for me nothing seemed ruined.  She wanted to do the same thing I had done for her at Chambar, and order in advance.  There was indeed a long list of notes next to our reservation but the hostess and waitress had neglected to read and follow them.  However the assistant manager was apologetic and waited on us personally for the rest of the night to ensure we had a memorable experience, which both of us appreciated immensely.

Chop Steakhouse: Seafood Trio - Smoked Salmon, Crab and Shrimp Cakes, Jumbo Prawn Cocktail

Seafood Trio – Smoked Salmon, Crab & Shrimp Cakes, Jumbo Prawn Cocktail

We started with a bread basket of their in-house fresh baked multigrain which was served up warm with a side of whipped butter.  Good stuff!  To start the rest of the night he came around and offered Wendy a glass of bubbly and I a ginger ale in a champagne glass.  Then came a couple of appetizers, one surf one turf.  On the surf side the Crab and Shrimp Cake stole the show.  It’s not something I normally order, but out of the admittedly smallish number of crab cakes I’ve had this one took the erm…cake.  The crust was done just right and was what appealed to me the most I think, contrasted nicely with the soft texture within.  It came with the same wasabi aioli and citrus salsa that the phyllo pastries below came with as far as I could tell.  The aioli was quite garlicky, as were several of the other selections, which I thought was a bit of an odd choice since it’s New Year’s Eve and couples will be looking forward to midnight kisses and all.  The prawns in the Jumbo Prawn Cocktail were juicy and again I’m not a huge fan of cocktail sauce, but as far as they go this is one of the better ones I’ve had.  It added a slight kick at the end, and the dill garnish gave it a nice bite as well.  The plate was rounded off with a roll of Smoked Salmon.

Chop Steakhouse: Steakhouse Trio - Steak Bites, Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, Spicy Cashew Snap Peas

Steakhouse Trio – Steak Bites, Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, Spicy Cashew Snap Peas

As for the Steakhouse Trio the Steak Bites were nothing to write home about and were served cold.  However the other two parts of the trio were the highlight of the night for me.  The Spicy Cashew Snap Peas were very fresh and sweet and the sauce was a Thai-style mix of red chili and cashew nuts.  The bread that came with the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio was also flecked with chilis so Wendy made a good choice there since I love spicy!

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The William Tell – CLOSED

Pretty Sister took Mom and I to dinner out one night.  She found a restaurant that is Swiss-French and a bit of West Coast.  What a combination huh?

The William Tell is located in the heart of downtown.  You all should know by now how much I absolutely LOATHE driving to downtown.  So I was especially glad Pretty Sister drove that night.

So we all started with appetizers.  I ordered the Lobster Bisque which wasn’t too interesting, so I didn’t take a picture of it.  It was ok, not particularly “lobster-y” ($9).

The William Tell: Veal Sweetbreads and Wild Mushrooms

Mom had the Veal Sweetbreads and Wild Mushrooms.  Do you guys know what Sweetbread is?  We didn’t know at the time, so Mom thought it was pretty good.  Wished there were more mushrooms though.

The William Tell: Sauteed Sea Scallops and Prawns

For my entree I ordered something off the regular menu.  It was Sauteed Sea Scallops and Prawns.  The scallops were an okay size.  They were pretty sweet.  The prawns are fresh and fleshy.  The sauce was like my lobster bisque haha.

The William Tell: Grilled Australian Rack of Lamb

Mom and PS both had the Grilled Australian Rack of Lamb ($38.50).  They were cooked just right and wasn’t overly lamb-y.  We appreciated the asparagus as a side.

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Dine-out Vancouver 2009: The American Grille

Boyfriend and I were able to attend another Dine-out just prior to my cruise.  This time I chose a $28 menu, at a restaurant close to where we live so that we didn’t have to travel far.

We had been to The American Grille once before because of a recommendation from a friend to try their Rib-eye steak.  It was a good experience that time so we had good expectations going into this.

  • Price per person:
$28 (excludes taxes, gratuity and alcohol)
  • Cuisine Type:
West Coast
  • Reservation Status:
Accepting Reservations
Baby Spinach Salad

parma ham, heirloon tomatoes, olive vinaigrette

VQA SuggestedWine Pairing Mission Hill Five Vineyard Chardonnay — or — Mussel Veloute

crispy leeks, artichoke and black pepper filoncini

VQA SuggestedWine Pairing Mission Hill Five Vineyard Chardonnay Smoked Halibut

pan seared cold smoked halibut, bing cherry merlot reduction, roast garlic sauteed spinach, lemon and herb risotto

VQA SuggestedWine Pairing Mission Hill Reserve Merlot — or — Lamb Chop Medallions

caramelized onion jus, grape tomato compote, glazed baby carrots, yukon gold potato pave

VQA SuggestedWine Pairing Mission Hill Five Vineyard Cabernet Merlot Mille Feuille

fresh strawberries and kiwi, vanilla bean cream, phyllo pastry

VQA SuggestedWine Pairing Mission Hill Reserve Late Harvest Riesling — or — Chocolate Three Ways

chocolate pistachio pate, white chocolate espresso creme, chipotle spiced chocolate gelato in cocoa tuille cup

VQA SuggestedWine Pairing Mission Hill Reserve Late Harvest Riesling

We picked one of each option to share between us.

The American Grille: Bread basket

The bread basket served consisted of the usual sliced bread and a crispy flat-bread cracker-type thing.  It was sprinkled with poppy seeds and was very aromatic biting into it.  Boyfriend enjoyed this a lot.

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