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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Irish Heather

Woohoo!!! Mr. ESL is getting married!!! To commemorate his last days as a bachelor Ms. Awkward Diner organized a fantastical and super fun stag for him. It all started with dinner at The Irish Heather. Or was it the Salty Tongue??  I say this because although we had reservations at The Irish Heather, we were seated in a communal table at the latter, and the restaurants were side-by-side.

Both restaurants are really just one long corridor each, but I guess that’s true with most Gastown establishments.

On to the food!

Irish Heather: Steak and Ale Pot Pie

I had the Steak & Ale Pot Pie ($16.75) which came with choice of fries, masoed (mashed?) potato or Kale Caesar salad.  I picked the kale caesar as it sounded interesting.

Their pot pies came in a vegan version also and they differentiate them with either a doggy or an acorn!!!  Aren’t they darling???

Both pot pies were huge.  The meat version came with au jus and there was a lot of filling.  Upon cutting into it gravy came pouring out to mix with the jus so it basically was one big delicious mess.  The steak pieces were tender enough and were mixed in with chunks of celery and carrots.  My only gripe was that the crust wasn’t cooked through: the top was cooked while the inner layer was pretty gummy and doughy.

Irish Heather: Kale Caesar

The Kale Caesar ($8 for a small) was absolutely delicious.  I always thought that kale would be too tough to eat raw in a salad, so I’ve always just made kale chips.  But the kale here was cut into a chiffonade so it was tender and easy to chew.  There was just enough dressing to cover everything without being overly rich and satiating.  I finished this over the pie.

After having this I was even inspired to make my own kale salad at home!

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Tamam Fine Palestinian Cuisine

Tamam Fine Palestinian Cuisine

One day on our way to Bo Laksa King’s we drove by the bright yellow awning of Tamam.  Hitman caught the text reading “Fine Palestinian Cuisine” and we were instantly intrigued.  We took a look at their menu online, and found enough items of interest so we made a date to go there for lunch.  Prices are very fairly set too.

Tamam Fine Palestinian Cuisine

It was very inviting and welcoming.  We liked that it was unlike your usual hole-in-the-wall type of shawarma/Afghan/Persian establishments.  I know, I’m making assumptions and generalizations, but honestly I don’t know the differences well enough yet to tell Middle Eastern foods apart from one another.  But after this feast, I’m very eager to learn more.

Tamam Fine Palestinian Cuisine

It was such a nice day the day we went.  I tell ya, if you do go on a sunny day, make sure to sit in the sun room.  Mind you, it’s just a space between their building and the next, but it’s so clean and bright and cheery and COVERED that you feel like you’re on a patio.

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Anatolia’s Gate

While the name might conjure up spooky images of a bad ’80s horror movie or a cheesy black metal band, Anatolia’s Gate is actually a Turkish restaurant offering plenty of delicious and interesting departures from the usual Middle Eastern donairs and such.  We’ve stopped by a few times since I first heard about it through a coworker this summer and each time were pretty impressed with the food so it’s high time for a review.

On the first visit we ordered Chicken Guvech, Urfa Kabob, Ezme, and Lavash.  There were a couple of mistakes with our orders but the staff was extremely polite and friendly so all was forgiven.  And besides fixing our orders they let us keep an extra order of lavash on the house so that was nice too of course 🙂

Anatolia's Gate: Lavash

The Lavash bread ($2-$4-$6) is the star of the show at this restaurant and was selected as one of the 101 things to taste in Vancouver by Vancouver Magazine.  My coworker had gushed endlessly about it at work and seemingly drooled at the mere thought of it, so Wendy and I made sure to include it in our meal.

Anatolia's Gate

Anatolia's Gate: Lavash

It’s baked to order right in front of you at their traditional hot stone oven along with many of their other dishes.  You can choose whole wheat or white for this or any of their other dishes that use this dough and we ended up trying both (they’re both equally delicious).  Sprinkled with oil and sesame seeds and served up warm and fluffy with a side of haydari/cacik dip (not listed on the menu but it was one of these Turkish dips which are similar to a tzatziki), it’s something we have since stopped by to pick up just to have as a side dish for a home cooked meal.  So it’s good enough that a trip for lavash alone is worthwhile!

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Laziza Modern Mediterranean – A Tasting Event

I was fortunate enough to be among some fellow bloggers invited to a tasting event held by a new-ish Mediterranean restaurant on Davie – Laziza.

Just to give a bit of background on the restaurant, according to the press release, the menu is inspired by the regional classics from Lebanon, Morocco, Greece and Italy, but with a twist of course.  They also seem to use quality ingredients as free-range, hormone-free tenderloin beef, chicken and lamb, and many organic ingredients (but don’t mistake that as the whole dish being organic though…just certain components).

Now after reading that I would think their prices would be pretty up there, but if you take a look at their menu you’ll realize they’re not.  Now does that mean the quality and taste of the food are not up to par?  I’ll soon find out.

Laziza Modern Mediterranean

Laziza Modern Mediterranean

Laziza Modern Mediterranean

As you can see the decor is definitely modern.  It certainly had touches of the Mediterranean with its blue and brown/tan theme.  It was very welcoming and inviting.  It didn’t hurt that it was such a sunny day either~

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