What to do for Dine Out Vancouver
I started writing my weekly picks and it ended up being so Dine Out Vancouver heavy that I decided to do a whole post on a couple of my ideas. So here’s my Dine Out Vancouver 2018 suggestions and there’s so many choices that I’m not going to pretend that I have time to look through many of them, but I will give you some recommendations based on past experience and the menus I’ve seen. If you are looking for some great tips and value picks, head to my friend Dianne Chow’s site, Fabulously Frugal, for her recommendations, and we’re even checking out one of her picks, Bimini’s, on Sunday, as it’s only $20 and offers great value. Tammy Kwan has also done a fantastic job on rounding up new spots to check out in the Georgia Straight, so give that a read too!
I’m always a fan of Edible Canada’s menus and this year the restaurant is highlighting Indigenous cuisine as Chef Tobias Grignon, is collaborating with Chef Rich Francis , one of Canada’s most well-known Indigenous chefs. I’ve had the privilege of sampling Francis’ cuisine several times and Grignon’s many, and can assure you this will be a delicious combination. Selections include crispy oysters with pork jowl and sea asparagus, hot smoked sockeye salmon with flavours of the medicine wheel, grilled elk medallions with Anishinaabe wild rice, bison with onion bannock, brown butter roasted pacific ling cod with three sister ragout, buttermilk brined crispy turkey leg with squash puree, and more.
Over at Chicha, on Broadway near Main Street, where we eat often, we’d suggest grabbing a pisco sour or two and bring friends to share. They’ve got a great vegetarian menu and a carnivore version too, including a quinoa salad with lots of other flavours, causa beet with whipped potato, lima bean and rice cakes topped with spicy butternut squash and winter veggie stew and those Peruvian caramel shortbread cookies known as alfajores.
The Cascade Room and The Union
The Cascade Room offers great value at $30 with selections such as the apple and parsnip soup or goat cheese salad, a venison burger, or chicken tikka masala and end with a cheese plate or chocolate brownie to finish.
The Union represents Southeast Asia and has vegan and gluten-free options. Start with the Manju Masala feature cocktail ($12), a blend of chai bourbon with spiced coconut milk, and order up dishes including Sweet and Sour Soup or Som Tum Salad and a Roghan Josh Lamb Curry, Malaysian seafood curry, or an Indian Thali with vegetables, rice and naan. For dessert, indulge in a slice of flourless chocolate cake served with coconut gelato, or cap the meal with a Ho Chi Minh Coffee – Vietnamese coffee with cardamom cachaça (a sugarcane spirit), vanilla syrup and sweetened condensed milk.
Ocean Wise Pop-Up Cafe
Another great experience can be had at the Vancouver Aquarium where there’s the Ocean Wise® Pop-Up Café on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings throughout the Festival, form Friday, Jan. 19 to Sunday, Feb. 4. Chef Ned Bell has a 3-course menu created from recipes in his new cookbook, Lure (which I have and love) including a Torched Albacore Tuna Tataki Salad, Fanny Bay Clam Chowder, Arctic Char or Wild B.C. Salmon,or and his amazing Sea “Weed” Brownies pictured above. Dinner service will take place at the Ocean Wise Pop-Up Café at Vancouver Aquarium on January 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28 as well as February 2, 3, and 4. There are two seatings per night at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Each seating lasts 1.5 hours. Tickets are limited and cost $62.35 per person (inclusive of tax and service charges). www.vanaqua.org/oceanwisepopup.
H2 Rotisserie & Bar and H Lounge
We recently checked out H Lounge and adored it. (POST HERE), and for Dine Out Vancouver there’s even complimentary valet parking and dine-and-stay packages. H2 Rotisserie & Bar offers guests a three-course menu for $30 per person, with an optional ‘flight of local taps’ for an additional $9. Start off with organic baby kale salad or mushroom bisque, move on to rotisserie chicken pot pie or winter squash ragu, and finish up with peanut butter panna cotta or cranberry apple crumble.
H Lounge pairs is $40 per person and includes a choice of heirloom tomato & cold-pressed avocado or ponzu seaweed salads, seared diver scallop or 28-day aged striploin entrées, and tri-chocolate mousse cake or green tea passion fruit mousse. Wine pairings, ranging from $10 to $14 per glass, are available.
There’s also the World Chef Exchange Dinner here on January 30th. The evening begins with yellow corvina (braised or ‘chaud-froid’), and abalone and black truffle hot & sour soup, as well as baked blue abalone with herbed butter. Guests then have a choice of entrées prepared two-ways, featuring Kung Pao lobster with macadamia nuts and lobster and wagyu beef cheek surf & turf, before finishing off with creamy almond tea pudding or tarte aux poires Normande.
This Beijing-meets-Vancouver collaboration combines the skills of H Lounge Executive Chef Alex Mok and visiting Executive Chef Jacky Fan from the Westin Beijing Financial Street. To complement the two chefs’ artistry, each course will be paired with the sommelier’s choice of vintage wine. The suggested pairing for the first course is the premium bartender’s handcrafted Chinese gin & tonic, featuring chrysanthemum and cilantro infused gin, house-made bitter melon and Chinese five-tonic syrup and quinine plum caviar.
Tickets for the World Chef Exchange dinner on January 30 at 6:30 pm are $131 per person, including beverages, taxes and gratuity. Tickets here.
For more information and to make reservations for Dine Out Vancouver, World Chef Exchange and Dine and Stay packages, visit: westinbayshore.com/dine-out-vancouver.
Australian Day at Cafe Medina
I might be from New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean I harbour any resentment towards Australian’s, and in fact my great grandfather came way of Australia, and not on one of those prison ships, but that’s another story. People all over the world will be happy to celebrate Australia Day with culinary walkabout at Cafe Medina’s Australia Day Wine Dinner on Friday, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the 2018 Dine Out™ Vancouver Festival.
The one-night-only event will feature a five-course dinner menu showcasing Café Medina Executive Chef Adam Perrier’s signature brand of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, served alongside wines from some of Australia’s most celebrated wine-producing regions. Pairings for the evening will be hand selected by Café Medina Manager and Sommelier Jenna Briscoe and renowned Vancouver wine personality Jason Yamasaki, sommelier for JOEY Restaurant Group and 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival Sommelier of the Year, in partnership with Wine Australia.
CAFÉ MEDINA AUSTRALIA DAY WINE DINNER MENU
Prawn Bisque, Salt Cod and Potato Beignet – Alpha Box & Dice, ‘Zaptung’ Prosecco NV, Murray Darling
Salmon Gravlax Beet Cured Steelhead Trout, Marinated Beet and French Lentil Salad, Fine Herbs, Preserved Lemon Emulsion
Voyager, Chardonnay 2015, Margaret River/Soumah ‘Single Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2015, Yarra Valley
Crispy Pork Belly, Sherry Glazed Wild Mushrooms, Smoked Béarnaise
Alpha Box & Dice, ‘Rebel Rebel’ Montepulciano 2016, Langhorne Creek/McGuigan, ‘The Shortlist’ Montepulciano 2014, Barossa Valley
Red Wine Braised Veal Cheeks, Ricotta Dumplings, Stewed Kale, Cipollini Onion Ring
Glaetzer ‘Wallace’ Shiraz/Grenache 2015, Barossa Valley/Torbreck, ‘The Steading’ Red GSM 2014, Barossa Valley
Spiced Fig Cake with Salted Caramel, Ice Cream Yalumba Museum Release Old Reserve Muscat NV, Barossa Valley
January 26 at 6:30 p.m. are $98 per person inclusive of menu, wine pairings, tax and gratuity and may be purchased via the Dine Out Vancouver website.