Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Unwine’d

Updated on 10th January 2011: This restaurant had been closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Suanne and I sort of gate crashed into Joseph and Elizabeth’s Dine Out. When we found out that they are going to Unwine’d, we asked if we could tag along too. We met Joseph in the “chowtimes dinner” at Tong Kung about a couple of months ago.

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Unwine’d has strange name. It must have been a play on the words Wine and Unwind. It is described as a wine and tapas lounge, quite evidenced by the variety of casual table settings. The place is really dim and again both Suanne and I had so much trouble reading in the dark. I think we should just get ourselves one of those mini torchlights for the dine outs.

Hated the choice of music. The constant pounding was simply too much for Suanne and I. But we were not surprised with the choice of music as the place was teeming with a really young crowd.

We got ourselves a high tables with stools right in front of a TV and the bar. There was a Canucks game on the TV that night but I did not pay much attention to the game. It was simply too painful to watch … the Canucks had been losing an awful lot of games of late, including the one that night.

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Joseph and Elizabeth ran a bit late and for us, we were early. Got myself a Stella. The Stella Artois seems to be a popular “imported” beer in Vancouver — at least that is my perception. I said “imported” because I think it is brewed under license in BC. What I like about this Belgian lager is that it’s light.

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As an appetizer, the Lobster Butternut Bisque was a good start. Made from Atlantic lobster and butternut squash, it is lighter than I expected from a bisque. Despite that, it was flavorful and does leave a lasting after-taste for quite a while.

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The other appetizer we had was the Crab Cake. (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Ouisi Cajun and Creole Bistro

For this year’s Dine Out event, Suanne and I virtually selected our choice of restaurants rather randomly. We thought we wanted to have a bit of varieties. So, the first place we selected was a cajun and creole place — the Ouisi Cajun and Creole Bistro.

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The Ouisi Bistro is located on Granville Street in Vancouver. It is located across the street from venerable West, which we had waited and waited for a special occasion to go, someday. For now, the Bistro is good enough.

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The place is really dim even though the picture above looked bright enough. We must be getting older as we had a tough time looking over the menu even with the lone candle on the table. I must say that it’s sort of a Frenchy setting because of the many fleur-de-lis symbols decorated along the wall.

And the music was great … jazz. We were there early at 5:30PM and having the entire place to ourselves was certainly great. It was great until a group of 10 boisterous girls came in which quite ruined a quiet evening I was expecting! All I heard was their screaming and laughing. I think they got drunk.

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On our table was two bottle of hot sauce. While waiting for the food, we tried them. There is one called Fear Itself Habanero Sauce and the other was Auntie Bev’s Hot Sauce. Oh man … the Auntie Bev’s Hot Sauce sure was hot … we like it. You don’t really feel the heat for the first 10 seconds or so but it will gradually grow very very hot.

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I had the Big Rock Traditional Ale which is kind of soft. Frankly, I just randomly choose a Canadian ale but was a good choice.

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Like the few southern cooking places I had been to, Ouisi also served corn bread with butter. There are 4 really big pieces. I don’t know how this is normally served but I think it would great if they had warmed up the bread a bit. It was crumbly and sweet but just that it’s a bit dry.

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For dine out, my strategy is to order what I want and Suanne order what she wants. But no, Suanne insists that we order different dishes so that she can try more varieties.

Our first appetizer was the lamb and rosemary sausage. (more…)

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Caffe Artigiano on West 41st, Vancouver

Polly and I went to Caffe Artigiano for our cake meet. We have no idea that Caffe Artigiano is the home of the Canadian Barista Championships from 2003 to 2006 until I checked their website after I came home. Artigiano also had several medals from the World Barista Championship medals. Not quite gold but silver and bronze … pretty cool.

Caffe Artigiano has 5 outlets in Vancouver in all. They are located on Pender St, Hornby St, West Hasting St, Park Royal in West Vancouver and Kerrisdale. We went to the one in Kerrisdale.

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Caffe Artigiano is a very busy caffe as there were many customers come and go while we were there. I wondered why they are called a caffe and not cafe … you have any idea why?

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We were quite disappointed in the beginning as we did not find any cheese cake in their buffet. However, there were scones, biscotti, bars, sandwiches and wrap.

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We ordered two scones and a biscotti to share. This is the blueberry scones. The serving is quite large. We enjoyed it with some jam.

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We liked the second scone better, it’s made with nut and dried fruit. This scones is more crunchy and has lots of nuts and dried fruit in it. The biscotti is not what I expected. This is more cakey like instead of the crunchy type. The scones were $2.95 each while the biscotti was $1.95.

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The best is the coffee. I ordered the Caffe Mocha for $3.39. It is very smooth and creamy. The cream formation is so creative.

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Polly had the Caffe Latte for $2.99. This is the best coffee we had ever had since our cake meet. For the true coffee lover, you must visit Caffe Artigiano.

Click the link below for more coffee art. You will like some of the prettiest coffee art I have ever seen. Note that the ones below are not from Artigiano’s.

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Chili Pepper House on Kingsway

It was one of those weekends that we had absolutely nothing to do. Normally, we had something planned for the weekend but for that one week we did not have anything planned at all. Since we had all the time in the world, we decided to drive a bit further from Richmond. So, we drove all the way to Vancouver … to Kingsway and Rupert.

The Chili Pepper House is an Indian-Chinese restaurant. I think the owner’s background is that they are Chinese who once lived in Indian. Since this is an Indian restaurant, we knew that their food would be spicy.

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We immediately liked this place because the owners were so friendly and spent a lot of time chatting with us, even offering to tell us more about their restaurant. I believe it is because they saw my camera! Some restaurants (some, not many) had a disdain for cameras but not this one.

The Chili Pepper House is actually more Chinese than it is Indian. They call it “Fine Indian (Desi) Style Chinese Cuisine”. Their top dishes are all spicy. One thing though, they do not serve pork at all. I am curious why they don’t serve pork. I had always thought that you don’t get beef in Indian restaurants and no pork in Muslim or Jewish restaurants.

Anyway, we did notice that they have more East Indian customers.

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Scouring their menu, we came across a dish that sounded really nice … Five Treasure with Chicken, Beef, Prawns, Scallops and Squid. What came was not exactly what we had in mind. It’s like sauce stir fried with the ingredients. It’s not that it’s not good … it was but the dish was underwhelming. It costs $14.95.

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Watermark on Kits Beach

Updated 14th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

I had always enjoyed a nice drink and dinner after work … more so on a weekday than on a weekend. Work had been hectic as always. After a solid 8 hours at the office, I would always jump at a chance to go out for a drink and after work dinner.

About a month or two ago, there was a Prix Fixe event in selected restaurants in Vancouver sponsored by San Pellegrino. Suanne and I love these type of events and had always wanted to invite another couple to join us. We could think of only one couple who we were pretty sure would enjoy doing this — Viv and Ole.

Suanne and I arranged to meet up with Viv and Ole (and their beautiful baby) for dinner during one such weekday. Viv and Ole selected the date and time and left the choice of the restaurant to us. We chose the restaurant with the best waterfront view … the Watermark on Kits Beach.

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I remembered this restaurant well. A few years back there was some controversy around the building of this restaurant. This place used to be a beach front concession. When the idea to redevelop the concession, there were quite a bit of protest that this restaurant will mar the beauty of the beach.

The project turned out quite OK. Now it has not only a first class full-service restaurant, it is also functioning as a beach-level concession, changing rooms, and a lifeguard station. The Watermark is on the elevated second floor which gives a sweeping view of the English Bay.

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Suanne and I went a bit earlier. We wanted to spend sometime walking around the Kits Beach and take some pictures. During the warm summer months, this popular beach would have been packed with people. Not so that day we were there. As a matter of fact, it was very cold and chilly.

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I believe Watermark has the best view of the Kits Beach and English Bay. We had an option to either take the much warmer indoor tables but choose the tables out by the patio.

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At first we were a bit apprehensive of sitting out at the patio. It was not too bad. For one, the patio is heated and they have thoughtfully provided blankets to keep the legs warm if needed.

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It was great watching the sun set from where we sat. I can’t complain … life had been good.

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For drinks, I had the Mohito with mango flavour (should it not have been spelt as Mojito?). It is rum with fresh lime, and fresh mint. As hard as I tried, I can’t taste any hint of mango at all … it was overwhelmingly minty. I felt they overdid the mint thing.

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Happy Halloween

After the sweet fix at Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery, we still have a lot time to kill and we went to Granville Island to soak up the sun. It was a glorious bright sunny day after a week of lousy wet and gloomy days.

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I love the colour of fall, red, brown, orange and yellow. It is very beautiful especially with a blue sky in the backdrop. So, enjoy it while you can as it won’t last.

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Soon, the leaves will be gone and we’ll have to wait for spring to arrive to see them again.

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I kind of like this shot of the awning with fallen leaves. Can you make up some maple leaves from the shadows?

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Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery

It’s cake meet Tuesday again. This time, Christine joined Polly and I to Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery for a sweet tooth fix. This is the first time we come to this place and we did not have a pleasant experience. I’ll tell you why later.

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Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery is located at 3150 West Broadway between Trutch St and Balaclava St. The business is geared more on the take out than eat in although they have a tea room for sit in customer.

Our bad experience came to the fact that we are only allowed to eat the cake we purchased at the tea room with extra service charge provided that we get a drink too. A sign posted in the tea room indicated that there in a minimum charge of $3 or $4 with reading.

Anyway. since we were there already, we just agreed on the extra service charge. Moreover, they do not allow photography of their counter displays as they told me that they do not want other people to copy their products. Hmm, what do you think about that comment?

Here is what we ordered. Christine and I ordered coffee which came in a small metal jug. It is somewhat unique. The coffee costs $1.70.

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Green Lettuce in Vancouver

I organized a going away lunch for two people who worked on my project team. It’s sad to see people leave but at the same time you know that projects being what they are, people don’t get to work permanently together for very long.

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Since there were quite a bit of people going, I thought that we should try some Asian style lunch where we order dishes to share. For these types of meals, the more people you have the more you could varieties you could order.

So we went to the Green Lettuce which is basically sort of a Chinese-Indian fusion restaurant … although I think the word “fusion” is not exactly what it really describes. It more of a Chinese restaurant with East Indian cooking and ingredients. It’s like 2/3 Chinese and 1/3 Indian. Be prepared … this restaurant specializes in spicy food.

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I did not even make a reservation even though we have 17 people in all. I was pretty confident that if we were there early (11:45AM), they can accommodate us. We were lucky actually because there was another big party who booked for lunch that day. Close call! They managed to accommodate us by seating us together since we were earlier than the other group who had their group scattered across several tables.

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We left the ordering to the other side of the long table and so I had no idea what or how much were being ordered. So, I am pretty much making guess work on what it is we had. Well, the ones below is wonton soup. It was really good ones … big and meaty. The broth was great too.

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There is also the sour and spicy soup. I noticed that the Caucasians stayed away from this but simply love wontons. The Asians like this.

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Some noodles dishes. Since we had so many people, we had the chance to order two of each … one spicy and the other non-spicy.

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Lan’s Restaurant on West Broadway

Updated 4Jun2009: Closed (source from Urbanspoon)

Here is one more really, really old post. We were here for dinner on one of the Vancouver fireworks night. Oh … that must have been late August or was it July. Anyway, it was really old.

We have a fixed ritual every year. We love to go to the fireworks, not so much for the fireworks but we simply love to set ourselves down next to the waters and just wait hours for the firework to start. This one time, we decided to check out places in and around Broadway and Granville. One does not need to go far as there are lots of great eateries that caters to all kinds of tastes and budget.

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I did not feel like spending much for food those days because we had just gotten back from a long (and expensive) vacation. 🙂 From the outside, we know this place serves pretty affordable meals. If I recall correctly, this is a Vietnamese restaurant (not pho … but Vietnamese).

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Since there were only three of us (Arkensen was away camping), we ordered a Dinner Combo for 2. It costs only $26.80.

The combo comes with a Soup of the day which is a Hot and Sour Tofu Mushroom soup, the thick version.

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The appetizer is a Crispy Shrimp Dumpling serves with vermicelli on the side. The Shrimp Dumpling skin is made of yam where the outside is fried to crispy and the inside is creamy and soft with shrimp filling.

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