Dine Out Vancouver 2014: Siena Restaurant

OMG!  4 down 1 to go!!  It’s nearing the end of my DOVF dash.  I must say it’s been going good so far.

I met up with GRock and LockerBud who I’ve known for 23 years.  LockerBud and I go way back.  Like waaaaaay back.  We lived across from each other when we were young and went to elementary and high school together.  We were also locker buddies =)

Siena Restaurant Exterior

Not wanting to venture into the heart of Downtown, I picked Siena Restaurant on 12th and Granville for our meet up.

Siena Restaurant Interior

It was quite small in there.  It got kinda loud after a while but not overly so.  Our server Tim was extremely friendly and attentive but not over the top.  I liked him.

Siena Restaurant: Roasted Beet, Squash and Chèvre Salad

GRock’s appie: Roasted Beet, Squash and Chèvre (goat cheese) Salad with arugula, limoncello dressing, and toasted almonds.  Citrusy and refreshing.

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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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Dinner at Golden Sea City Restaurant: Snake Soup Starter!

Wendy’s parents recommended this restaurant for a recent family dinner since it’s one of her and Wendy’s favourite dim sum spots (see Wendy’s review here –sad to say that apparently they no longer have the food carts though).  I wasn’t planning on a review since it had already been done…until I saw an especially interesting menu item: snake!  I’m always up for trying new and exotic foods and this was both to me.

Golden Sea City Restaurant: Snake Meat with Bamboo Shoot and Fungus Thick Soup

The snake comes in a soup, Snake Meat with Bamboo Shoot and Fungus Thick Soup ($18.80 or $6.80 per head) to be exact.  You can season the broth with white pepper but it had enough flavour on its own for my taste buds, including small amounts of preserved orange peel.  The fungus and bamboo shoots were present along with a few morsels of pork and little slivers of ginger for a bit of kick.  There was cilantro and some type of airy wonton crisps which immediately changed texture when added to the soup and were a welcome addition.  As for the snake meat, the white portions tasted like chicken and the darker pieces where you could see the spine indentation like the one top right reminded me of eel.  Overall a dense, satisfying soup that was nuanced in flavour and texture.

Golden Sea City Restaurant: Bean Curd Sheets with Veggie in Fish Broth

The Bean Curd Sheets with Veggie in Fish Broth ($9.88) consisted of bok choy and mushroom along with the bean curd in a fish broth.  I always find these fish broths a bit bland but it did make the otherwise unappetizing bean curd taste pretty good when soaked in it, and it enhanced the flavour of the bok choy without smothering it.

Golden Sea City Restaurant: Pork Soft Bone with Bean Curd Sheet and Pickled Veggie in Hot Pot

The Pork Soft Bone with Bean Curd Sheet and Pickled Veggie in Hot Pot ($12.80) was an interesting dish, and one that not everybody liked.  Had the bland, milky pork been served on its own I wouldn’t have had more than a bite, but when combined with the strong taste of the pickled veggie it worked to an extent.  For me it was hard getting past the texture of the soft bone, which was somewhere between a tendon and a bone in firmness.  I thought it was the actual rib bones at first since that’s exactly what it looked like, but turns out it’s just cartilage that joins the ribcage to the spine.  Either way…meh.

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L’Abattoir

Wendy had heard good things about L’Abattoir, a French/West Coast restaurant so we trekked to Gastown to try it out. It was amazing!

L'Abattoir sign

I had planned to take a shot of the signage when we left but forgot so this one’s stolen from the restaurant’s website.

L'Abattoir interior

Once inside our jackets were hung and we were led upstairs to a table with a good view of the action at the well-stocked bar.  The menus reflected this as the drink menu was lengthy and varied while the food menu was just a single page.

L'Abattoir: Bread Basket

The complimentary bread included a buttery bacon brioche, some twisted parmesan bread with a barely detectable hint of anchovy, and a thin crispy flatbread sprinkled with sesame and cumin seeds.  All were interesting and enjoyable.

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Trusty Congee King – Hong Kong

Trusty Congee King in Hong Kong

Trusty Congee King is a franchised congee house in Hong Kong.  It was a great quick and easy place for comfort food.  This place seems to be known for using a fish stock as the base for their congee.

While we were in Hong Kong I stayed with Fannypack at her place.  Coincidentally it was the same neighbourhood I lived in before I immigrated to Canada.  It was cool to take a walk around to see how much it’s changed in 20+ years.

Trusty Congee King in Hong Kong: Congee with pork small intestine

Anyway back to the food.  I ordered something that you can’t really get in Vancouver.  It was congee with pork small intestine.  Usually in Canada you get the large intestine.  I enjoyed this.  The texture was very different from the large intestine.  The small one is ‘crunchier’ and less fatty and it also did not have the usual aroma of the large intestine.  I was very happy with my choice as they did put in many pieces.

As for the congee itself I have no complaints.  It was velvety and not over salty.  I don’t recall being noticeably thirsty afterwards.

Trusty Congee King in Hong Kong: Congee with fish slices

Fannypack had a boring congee with fish slices.  That’s all I have to say =P