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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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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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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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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