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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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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Kim Anh

Wendy and I had a pho craving while out shopping in the Edmonds area and decided to give Kim Anh a shot.  They serve Vietnamese cuisine alongside Canadian diner fare which I suppose could be considered a bit of a red flag but the appetite-inducing photos in the windows beckoned us in.  Upon entering we weren’t hit with the usual intoxicating aroma of pho broth, but an equally enticing greasy burger and fries smell permeated the restaurant.  We did contemplate leaving but once we heard the owners speak Vietnamese we were more at ease. One of our fellow diners was having the patty melt; basically a cheeseburger on your choice of bread instead of a bun.  This put me in the mood for a burger, but I didn’t lose the pho craving so I just ordered both.

The Viet section of the menu had a small assortment of pho dishes for $6.25-$7, all one size which seemed to be equivalent to a small at most places, plus vermicelli and rice dishes, while the Canadian side offered steaks, sandwiches, burgers and…borscht?!?  They also have a separate menu for banh mi (Viet subs) for $5-$6.  Wendy ordered the house special pho with extra cilantro ($6.99)

Kim Anh: House special pho

They brought a nice sized bowl of cilantro on the side so Wendy was pleased.  She liked the broth and the noodles were a good consistency as well as the meat.  No complaints there.  However the sprouts and basil were served in the soup and not on the side, no mint or jalapenos either, just a single lime-wedge looking pretty lonely on it’s own little plate 😦 At least they have the right kind of basil.  But Wendy did mention that she liked it, broth and all.

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Anniversary…Secrets…Chambar…Hole digging…..

Yep.  Hitman’s really done it this time.  He’s dug himself into a massive hole and frankly, I don’t think he’s gonna be able to get out of it.

How could you be so careless???  Did you think of the consequences???  Apparently not!
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Eh! Restaurant

Wendy and I had a WagJag deal for Eh! Restaurant so we decided to head down to the Alberni & Thurlow location to check it out.  Prices seemed quite reasonable for this area with many entrees on the rather sparse menu under $10 before the discount.

Eh! Restaurant

The decor was kind of a cafe meets japanese restaurant vibe with a good mix of electro-house playing on the sound system at a reasonable volume.  The staff seemed to have been plucked from the ESL school down the hall; when I ordered my main dish I had great difficulty conveying my request for a whole wheat tortilla with the waitress questioning me about whether it was a type of sauce 😛  Despite communication barriers they were very friendly however noone came around to ask if our food or drinks were ok except to warn us when the kitchen was about to close.

Eh! Restaurant: Vegetarian Spring Rolls

To start we tried the Vegetarian Spring Rolls ($7.50).  The shell was nicely crisp and they were twice the size of your usual spring roll.  The mango chili sauce wasn’t bad, basically a sweet & sour sauce with a mild kick to it.  The pickled ginger didn’t add anything to the flavour so after trying a piece of the ginger we left the rest untouched.  Overall fairly satisfying but a bit steep at $7.95 considering it’s a meat free dish and when compared to the pricing for the rest of the menu.

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