Dine Out Vancouver 2014: L’Abattoir

L’Abattoir has successfully cinched its place in my heart for favorite restaurant.  Honestly, I’ve never thought I would name one as my favorite, but L’Abattoir has done just that.

I made Fannypack come with me for their $38 Dine Out Vancouver menu.  In my opinion this was one of the better bang-for-your-buck restaurants as an entree easily runs you $30 here, and now you get a full meal for a mere $8 more.  Food quality should also be dependable, even during Dine Out, but mind you I’ve only been here once, so I guess we’re about to find out!

L'Abattoir: Roast octopus and fennel salad

Once again Fannypack allowed me first choice on food.  I had my eye on the octopus here ever since Awkward Diner told me how amazing it was.  So I picked the Roast octopus and fennel salad for my appetizer.  It was accompanied by slices of green olives and smoked pepper squid ink sauce.  Presentation was beautiful.

Even more beautiful??? The taste.  My tastebuds were once again amazed.  The octopus was extremely tender and meaty (nothing like the octopus served at sushi restaurants…tough and chewy!!).  You could slice them with a butter knife (which was what I had) and was soft yet retaining some chew.  The sucker parts were also roasted to a slight crunch.  It was marinated perfectly.

I’m also a fan of fennel.  They seem to be just lightly tossed with seasoning so they were mild, which was perfect as they didn’t take away from the awesomeness of the octopus.  This was my favorite dish of the night.

L'Abattoir: Homemade duck pate

Since I picked the octopus, Fannypack was left to get the Homemade duck pate.  Served on top of sourdough and topped with vegetable pickles and mustard, the tartness easily cut through the richness of the pate.  The ducky “aroma” wasn’t very prominent though, and if we didn’t know it was duck it would’ve been hard to tell.  Some might not like that, Fannypack did though as she wouldn’t have been a fan of too much “duckiness”.

Oh, and since she had originally wanted the octopus too, I made her eat some of mine 😉

L'Abattoir: Veal picatta

Finally I was able to get Fannypack to make the first choice for entrees. She picked the Veal picatta with saffron risotto and mushrooms a la greque. She commented that the sauce was a bit sour. However that seems to have subsided as she dig into her meal. A Google search later reveals that “a la greque/grecque” means cooked in vinegar or lemon juice. There you go.

The veal was a bit tough to cut, but it wasn’t to eat. The risotto was creamy almost like creamed corn.

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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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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

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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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Lazymeal Mashup: Handi Cuisine of India (Burnaby)

For those of you not yet familiar with lazymeal, it’s an online food ordering platform that is focused on recommending the tastiest meals in greater Vancouver.  It’s simple, just punch in your postal code and peruse the menus of establishments in your area, place your order, and voila!  lazymeal delivers.  They’re partnering up with the local food blogging community to evaluate the restaurants you can order from on their sites, and we were lucky enough to get an invite to one of their mashup events.

For these reviews (and you will probably see more of them in the near future) we will be focusing on the take-out aspect of the restaurants, so don’t expect any info on the service and decor etc.  But we think all in all these reviews will be more informative to our readers since we will get to sample a wider selection of the menu than usual, because the food is the most important aspect after all, right?  And don’t worry, we aren’t selling out; we’ve been encouraged to be completely honest with our reviews.  Enjoy this write up of Handi Cuisine!

Lazymeal Mashup at Handi Cuisine of India Burnaby: Mixed Platter and Chutney Trio

First up we had the Mixed Platter ($10) and Chutney Trio ($2).  It consists of vegetable samosas, chicken pakoras and vegetable pakoras.  The samosas in particular stood out from the crowd; they contained a pretty complex spice blend compared to your average restaurant samosa.  Wendy said it tasted Christmas-ey, and I agreed.  Cloves and nutmeg perhaps?  Maybe some ginger?  I don’t know for sure, but you could tell by the dark colour of the potato mixture inside that there was a lot going on in that spice blend.

The chicken pakoras had decently sized chunks of moist meat and tasted great with the spicy mint chutney.  The tamarind was of the usual variety that normally come free with samosas and the mango chutney was really sweet.  If you go for this platter I’d suggest getting the chutney to go with it.  While the samosas could stand on their own the vegetable pakoras might be a bit dry without.

Lazymeal Mashup at Handi Cuisine of India Burnaby: Cucumber Salad

Along with the appetizers we tried their Cucumber Salad ($6).  Some of the red you see in the photo is tomato, and some is…maraschino cherry!  Pretty unexpected but it actually went quite well in the salad.  They use it for garnish in several dishes, and it isn’t necessarily meant to be eaten with the meal but in this case it worked.  The yoghurt-type dressing was cool and creamy (Wendy found a tinge of sweetness) and the whole dish was very refreshing.

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