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Dine Out Vancouver - The Topic (2002-2007)

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A number of restaurants seem to have started their Dineout menus early and are extending them later. A waiter pal told me that Tourism Vancouver gave one restaurant shit :huh: for starting early as if they were the only one, but didn't seem to notice over a dozen others that also started early. Is it OK to run Dineout longer, but not OK to start early? Just what are those rules anyway?

The Teahouse (Sequoia Grill) started their Dineout about 2 weeks ago. I heard them being interviewed about it on the radio. Tried to make reservations this week for dinner and found many of my choices were already doing their DOV menu - and only their DOV menu! Parkside, Raincity Grill, Savoury Coast are all doing their DOV menu know (well Savoury Coast is offering choices from their entire menu for DOV so I guess you can't really say they have started other then the set price) I hear Aurora Bistro, Rare, C and Nu are all running their menus an extra week.

Who else is starting early?

Who else is running it later?

Will we be Dineout saturated?

Are we already Dineout saturated? :hmmm:

Will there be a cap or will only lower end restaurants do it? Lots of the high end places pulled out this year. Will there be 250 restaurants doing it next year? Yawn. If you have to be a member of Tourism Vancouver to participate what do you have to do to be part of Tourism Vancouver? I thought you just joined?

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I have no problem with the covert early start or late extension. We went to Parkside last night for a birthday dinner and it was considered "dineout ok". Wonderful time.

Oxtail consommé with Madeira, shiitake mushrooms, bone marrow dumplings

My God. The consumme was ethereal. Seriously. It dropped on my table and the waft of warm beefy fatty goodness just rocked my senses. The little shitake mushrooms floating in the sea of deep rich soup only brought further promise to the flavours I was about to receive. With it came three dumplings like little beached whales.

My god.

My SO had

Handmade pumpkin ravioli, sage butter and crushed amaretti

The flavours were there, but the ravioli was a little on the hard side. I was too focussed on my consumme I didn't give this dish much more thought.

Next...SO had

Polderside farms organic chicken, mushroom duxelles, gnocchi, braised lettuce, Parma ham, peas, jus rôti

The gnocchi was very good. Just the perfect balance of starch. The chicken was, well, chicken. The braised lettuce was an interesting touch. I imagined the standard British style boiled cabbage thing but it was actually quite different and unique.

I had

Braised veal cheeks and grilled flatiron, cauliflower puree, pomme croquette, gremolata, red wine jus

The flatiron was ok. Nicely done just not really that standout. More salt perhaps? The braised veal cheeks...We joked about which cheek it came from (which of the four possibilities). Honestly I didn't care. I put my fork in that bundle of joy and it melted right through it. If I hadn't eaten the bread already I would have slathered liquid braised cheek all over my bun and chowed down. Wonderful red wine jus was more of a really hearty "sexy" sauce with some serious monter-action that went with the meat. The pomme croquette honestly tasted like cheese...so good.

Dessert SO had

Lemon tart brûlée with blood orange sorbet

Brulee was ok but the sorbet was wonderful. A little tart and vibrant colour and flavour.

I had the

Espresso panna cotta with white chocolate foam

I will admit to being a little peckish after the main course and worried over not being sated after dinner but the dessert finished me off. I was done after this. It's like an espresso made with cheese that you dip a perfectly made biscotti into. This biscotti was the type of biscotti I remember learning how to make in class. Cookie like, not gigantic and definitely not very starchy. The problem was it (as in the cheese espresso) was pretty big and thats a lotta cheese man. A lot of cheese. I didn't mind. I finished the whole thing and then proceeded to make groaning noises.

One down, 5 to go. Phew it's like a marathon.


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Last supper a few nights ago was a jaw-dropping, gut-expanding, add any other noun-gerund superlative you like, too-freaking-good-for-DOV night at Parkside. We had many of the same items you did, Fud :smile:

Italian Job

Blood Orange Negroni for me (natch)

Starters:

The oxtail consommé with bone marrow dumpling. WOW. Don't know that I ever had oxtail before, it was sublime. And gorgeous little wontonny sort of marrow dumplings, most tasty indeed. Try it with sherry.

Pumpkin ravioli sage butter amaretti crumble, served with Pinot Grigio. As good as expected.

Mains:

Steelhead trout with toasted hazelnuts, scallop tartlet, haricots verts, beautiful presentation, very nicely done. I had the braised veal cheeks and grilled flatiron and red wine jus and spinach and tiny carrots and a potato croquette thingie and ooooooooooh my God it was good. The veal cheeks were so tender. The steak was beautiful and rare (I ordered this thinking oh it will be one of those thin bits of meat that simply can't be prepared rare, and I'll suck it up for the veal cheeks. I was astonished: tender, red, juicy) I had a glass of something red...Di Majo Norante Ramitello.

We got a wee scoop of the prune and Armagnac ice cream, with a tiny tuile. So good! so rich! I never would have ordered it if I hadn't tried it. Tasty.

Dessert:

My friend had the espresso panna cotta. Can't recommend this enough! Holy crow! v rich, v good. I had the lemon tart brûlée and it was very nice, sweet, tart, the little brûlée bit, and oh yeah it came with blood orange sorbet and orange segments :biggrin: I had a couple few bites of the panna cotta...I think it's probably the standout in a v strong field, having tried three of the four sweet options, unless you jones for blood oranges the way I do, or are in lurve with the classic lemon tart.

Gastropod will have a hard time matching this :wink:

Edited for spelling.


Edited by *Deborah* (log)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Last supper a few nights ago was a jaw-dropping, gut-expanding, add any other noun-gerund superlative you like, too-freaking-good-for-DOV night at Parkside. We had many of the same items you did, Fud :smile:

I'm wondering about a couple things here Deb ...

1) Was this an "early" DOV menu (i.e. did Parkside start their DOV menu early)?

2) Your love of Parkside is well known. Why would you visit during the circus that is DOV?

The second question can apply to anyone. Do you visit places you already frequent during DOV, or do you branch out and try something new?

A.

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Last supper a few nights ago was a jaw-dropping, gut-expanding, add any other noun-gerund superlative you like, too-freaking-good-for-DOV night at Parkside. We had many of the same items you did, Fud :smile:

I'm wondering about a couple things here Deb ...

1) Was this an "early" DOV menu (i.e. did Parkside start their DOV menu early)?

2) Your love of Parkside is well known. Why would you visit during the circus that is DOV?

The second question can apply to anyone. Do you visit places you already frequent during DOV, or do you branch out and try something new?

A.

1) Yes, they started early.

2) I was encouraged by ownership to visit during DOV when I was there just before Christmas. They know I'm not rich enough to eat there as often as I'd like to :laugh: Since Parkside started the menu earlier than many DOV participants, it was not a madhouse at all. Of course a Wednesday is not a Saturday in any case. I seldom dine out on weekend nights at any time of year as I usually prefer a quieter/less-crowded atmosphere. The only circus-like aspect the night I was there was the ratio of diners who were evidently more interested in their mobile phones/cameras than their companions or food.

I am only going to two DOV dinners this year: one well-loved, and one hitherto untried but well-reviewed, Gastropod.


Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I also love Parkside but I'm avoiding it during DOV. I have recommended it to co-workers and friends because I know it's a guaranteed hit.

For myself however, I see DOV as an opportunity to try something new. I'm willing--at anytime of the year--to shell out the big bucks for restaurants such as West, Aurora Bistro, Il Giardino and Parkside. I know I will get value for my money and a wonderful dining experience. During DOV, it's my chance to give other restaurants a shot without blowing the bank. Maybe I'll return and maybe I won't?

Last night, we dined at Raincity Grill. The food and service were excellent. Our meal met all expectations but did not exceed them. I probably will not return to this restaurant again. Next on my list is Savoury Coast...

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Last supper a few nights ago was a jaw-dropping, gut-expanding, add any other noun-gerund superlative you like, too-freaking-good-for-DOV night at Parkside. We had many of the same items you did, Fud :smile:

I'm wondering about a couple things here Deb ...

1) Was this an "early" DOV menu (i.e. did Parkside start their DOV menu early)?

2) Your love of Parkside is well known. Why would you visit during the circus that is DOV?

The second question can apply to anyone. Do you visit places you already frequent during DOV, or do you branch out and try something new?

A.

1) Yes, they started early.

2) I was encouraged by ownership to visit during DOV when I was there just before Christmas. They know I'm not rich enough to eat there as often as I'd like to :laugh: Since Parkside started the menu earlier than many DOV participants, it was not a madhouse at all. Of course a Wednesday is not a Saturday in any case. I seldom dine out on weekend nights at any time of year as I usually prefer a quieter/less-crowded atmosphere. The only circus-like aspect the night I was there was the ratio of diners who were evidently more interested in their mobile phones/cameras than their companions or food.

I am only going to two DOV dinners this year: one well-loved, and one hitherto untried but well-reviewed, Gastropod.

I mimic *Deborah*'s answers to both questions, and shared an identical experience. I too went on one of the first evenings of their "DOV" menu on Monday, and was pleased to find the same calm, intimate room and service. The food of course was at its consistent finest, but imo the pricepoint of DOV (versus the regular menu pricing) for them is neither an incentive nor a deterrent in the frequency of my patronage.

On another note, I have been booked by my friends, who are eager DOV diners, for Rare, Bistro Pastis, and Nu.

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Tucked away behind a Starbucks (kitty-corner from another Starbucks) on Thurlow Street, Il Nido is an assuming little restaurant that has persevered in the shadows of some of the city’s more high-profile Italian eateries. In my seven years living in Vancouver, I remember eating there once - but can’t recall anything about the place or the meal I had. I was hoping my second visit would prove more memorable.

Fondy and I arrived for our 6:30 p.m. seating to a fairly empty house (somewhat surprising given all the talk of the heavily booked Dine Out participants). Il Nido’s Dine Out menu is extensive, offering a wide variety of appetizer and main course selections, almost twice as many as those offered on the regular menu’s of other restaurants.

Fondy started with the roasted butternut squash puree with roast garlic crostini. She enjoyed it but I thought it paled in comparison to the more flavorful versions I’ve had elsewhere. I started with the porcetta, roasted pork belly with balsamic brown butter sauce. It was good, if not a tad overly salted, but, again, came up short in comparison to the melt-in-your-mouth versions I’ve sampled elsewhere. For her main course, Fondy got the braised short ribs on polenta with natural jus. We were both a little confused because she had told me she was going to order the jumbo pork chops and we both thought she HAD ordered the pork chops - although Fondy admitted that it was possible she may have pointed at the wrong menu item. Still, despite the fact that her heart was set on pork chops, she did like the short ribs. I went heart-healthy or my main, choosing the snapper in livornese tomato broth with julienne vegetables. While the snapper itself was perfectly cooked, the broth was fairly insipid. Thank God for the shredded green onions that topped the dish. We ended the evening with dessert: a very good tiramisu for her, and a great flourless chocolate cake (actually more pudding than cake which was capital A-okay with me) and crème fraiche sorbetto. Service was prompt, polite, and a little icy.

Overall, a fine meal but, to be perfectly honest, probably not one I’ll remember seven years from now.

For pics and an account of my futile attempt to eat a mango, check out my blog -


www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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Last night we hit Ocean 6 Seventeen for Dine Out, and were mightily impressed. I have been for brunch and afternoon grazing, but never for a real dinner.

There was a two top set up in the middle of the long banquette wall that was evidentally for us, but the hostess suggested that if we waited a few minutes we could have the nice little window table in the corner. We had a few cocktails at the bar and chatted with the bartender. She was warm and obviously passionate about the place. Mixed a mean Bombay martini too.

They offered both an official 25$ menu and a 35$ option, AND a limited a la carte as well. We both opted for the 35$, though the 25$ looked great too- mains on that one included trout, a pork dish, or lamb chops. I started with the Foie Gras Parfait, which came with sesame crisps (baked in house), "orange slaw" was deconstructed, with orange segments, watercress, endive and a star anise syrup. Fantastic. Beautiful counterpoint of flavour and texture. D had the "Surf and Turf": carpaccio wrapped around crab salad, shoestring potatoes, blue cheese aioli, which he gobbled down in record time.

For mains, I had venison, served med rare with truffle mashed potato and green beans, and a rich pan sauce- all vealy goodness. The meat was lovely, tender and flavourful. D had the lamb, served with a root vegetable brunois (I think parsnip and carrot dominated). Again, expertly cooked and seasoned. The third option was Ling Cod- I don't recall the menu description.

Dessert- D had cheesecake and I had espresso pot de creme with filbert biscotti, which I ordered off of the 25 dollar option. Very nice; smooth, and rich, Mind you, I am a sucker for custard. I went with the wine pairings, the first of which was a Golden Mile Reisling and the second a Fairview Estates Cab Merlot. All the pairings were VQA. Bread was baked in house and was very good.

The service was my favourite "Vancouver" style; relaxed but informed. '

I love this little room. I think it is definitely under-buzzed, and I hope this event brings a lot more locals beating a path to the door. It was definitely hopping last night, and everyone seemed to be having a great time.


Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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1) Was this an "early" DOV menu (i.e. did Parkside start their DOV menu early)?

I usually prefer a quieter/less-crowded atmosphere. The only circus-like aspect the night I was there was the ratio of diners who were evidently more interested in their mobile phones/cameras than their companions or food.

And the pre-dineout was a wonderful time to experience a quieter period before the official dineout. No rushing, no packed house (although it was indeed full!).

Good time all round.

We had dinner at Figmint on Friday and I must admit that Parkside was definately in a higher class of it's own. Now with FannyBay's comment perhaps Figmint gets bumped into the $35 range barely from the bottom and Parkside sits squarely in the middle to upper end of that range. I do not know if they were meant to compete against each other.

I will say that the Figmint Dessert called "Figmint" was beautiful. Figs, chocolate and a perfectly smooth carmel sauce with a generous helping of liquor. It really made my night.


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Thanks for the report on Ocean 6 Seventeen, Annanstee. I thought their menu looked quite interesting and now, if we get the opportunity, we'll give it a try if we can get into town from Pemberton again.

We went for an early 5:30 seating at Chambar (our first time there) on Saturday and I must say that I was wondering what the experience would be like given that I read, but infrequently participate in a number of boards and there seems to be have been a fair bit of negativity among some industry types about the whole event. (Loved the comment about "virgin neo-citrons" on WF, though.) So while I had some trepidation about being rushed, the restaurant being crazy busy, etc. our experience was first rate.

Much of the wine list was a little too high end for our budgets so we went with the wine pairings offered as part of the DOV menu. I can't comment on the quality other than to say we enjoyed each greatly. For dinner, two of three of us started with the watercress and endive salad with pear, candied pecans and a gorgonzola dressing. Menu said pear was red wine poached but ours wasn't - that would be the only minor flaw, if it could be considered such, in our meal. The salad was excellent and a seemed to be a better choice than the prawns to start.

The highlight of the dinner was definitely the mains. My brother and I both had the braised beef short ribs, rosemary pomme puree, with roast onion and bok choy. The beef was fork tender and very flavourful. Presentation was photo worthy. My wife had the moules fites and loved them. They were cooked just right and had a beautiful mildly spicy broth. We all had the Belgian waffle for dessert and it was a fine finish to a memorable meal.

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I had a friend who went to Trafalgars for Dinner and he was very pleasantly surprised by their wine paring deal:

Dineout - $25

with wine - $28

Did he misread this? $3 for wine? He told me they pour little 3.5 oz glasses with each dish do you get a taste (wine taste!). This I can handle as a full three glasses of wine at dinner would not only make it dangerous for me to walk let alone drive, but I may also fall asleep at the table.


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Err I think 3.5 Oz was wrong...probably closer to 1.5 to 2. I just had 4 oz of milk today and realized that can't be right!

We went to Gastropod yesterday and I was very mightily suprised. Really good and good value!! The salmon Tar Tar was just excellent. Looked like it was 'cooked' in vinegar acids and the quasi caviar was an interesting idea. The oysters were incredible with a nice horseradish milk.

SO's mushroom risotto was a little undercooked but so packed with mushroom flavour. I liked the garlic foam. My own duck confit - althought slightly tougher than I expected - was served with oyster mushrooms that were lightly seared and served with a mushroom/duck emulsification. My dish also had a light foam. My god those mushrooms were good. I was favouring the mushroom over the duck. My god. So good.

Cheesecake for dessert. Yum. I love cheesecake. This one was slightly warm with fresh (?) rasberries - if that's possible.

SO had banana bread with earl grey ice cream. That's right. Take a popular tea (earl grey, hot) and make it into an ice cream. The combination was amazingly good. I was not convinced beforehand but I know now somehow that the Great Earl Grey must have liked bananas.

mmm 3 down 3 to go.


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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I went to Infinity Dining Experience on Saturday night for DOV. To be honest, expectations were not high, as it's DOV but with that said, Infinity defintely surpassed them, and for $25, I thought it was a great deal. I would definitely recommend it for those of you looking for a place to go. They were quite busy though, so hopefully they still have room available.

gallery_49489_1_202920.jpg

The Foccacia was the table bread. It was a small piece to share between two people, and it wasn't that soft (it wasn't as fresh as it could have been), but the spread that it came with stole the show. I don't know what it was, some sort of butter/mayo spread that had cranberries and parsley in it. I don't even particularly like cranberries, and I don't like parsley, yet I found myself spreading more and more on each piece of bread I put in my mouth. Yum... I'm salivating just thinking about it! In the background you can see the dinner date's appetizer which was the Sauteed Jumbo Prawns with mandarin salsa, a roasted red onion vinaigrette & parsley oil. The date didn't comment too much on it, so I don't know how good it was.

gallery_49489_1_274139.jpg

I did my research on Infinity beforehand, and so I ordered the Roasted Butternut Squash Fondue with spinach, 3 year old cheddar, fontina cheese & homemade garlic bread - Infinity's signature dish. I was a little bit disapointed with the size of the fondue when it first arrived, but soon came to realize that it was the perfect size for the amount of bread it came with (which is quite a bit, imo). It was a unique dish, and made me extremely happy haha.

gallery_49489_1_27149.jpg

For the entree, the dinner date and I (along with everyone else in the restaurant, quite literally) ordered the Certified Angus Beef Sirloin 28 day aged & marinated, served with a stilton blue cheese fondant, warm potato salad, and a sweet corn relish. There was no hint of any blue cheese, which to some would be bad, but to me it was great. To me, the steak was not better than anything I would have at the Keg, but it was definitely a good size, and an interesting flavour. The corn relish was very different, a bit tangy, with red peppers. I really enjoyed the "warm potato salad", which really was potato wedges with bacon and a bit of red onion. (I don't eat onions... but I ignored it since there was very little.)

gallery_49489_1_192777.jpg

The dessert was a Chocolate Ganache Cake with toasted almonds & Jagermeister gelato. I almost missed my chance at this dessert, all because I didn't want to have the Jagermeister gelato, but the waiter insisted that we HAD to have this, as it was what the restaurant was famous for. (It's true, I read about it several times when I was doing my research.) Oh my... this was heaven in my mouth. The hint of Jager in the gelato was very faint, but enough to make it better than a regular vanilla. My dinner date even loved it, even though he does not like alcohol at all. I was a little bit upset when the cake first arrived, because again I thought it was small. Again, I was wrong. It was perfectly sized because it was sooooo rich. Oh good heaven... it was like having a truffle in my mouth, bite after bite... just a little bit firmer. The serving size was perfect to just leave you content.

The service, although polite, was a bit unattentive. I found my water glass empty pretty often, and they certainly could have benefitted from one extra waiter. However, when the waiter was present, he was very helpful, enthusiastic, and friendly. The ambiance of the place is interesting... it's quaint but modern. A nice place to go for a date where it isn't too presumptuous, but not so noisy that you can't get to know the person you are dining with. I will definitely be back on a regular night, just to have the fondue and cake again. I also wanted to try the other DOV appetizer which was the Poached Mussels with onions, English cucumber & soba noodles in a spicy tomato broth.

(I just got a posting membership :wub: ... )


Edited by Arsenic (log)

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I was at SIP resto-lounge for DOV tonight. I don't know where to start honestly. I made a reservation for our party for 8pm, and we were not seated until 8:50pm. The manager (or owner, I'm not sure) seemed very worried, but didn't offer us anything to rectify the situation. Some complimentary drinks while we were waiting would have been nice, but that didn't happen.

At first, I was upset at the diners who were at our table - the manager explained to us that they had been there for over 2 hours; however, after we started eating, I understood. Each dish took FOREVER to arrive. We ate at a pretty fast pace (since it was already an hour later into the night than we wanted it to be) and we still took an hour and forty minutes to finish our meal.

For the appetizer, they were sold out of the Ahi Tuna selection, something that would not have been the case had we been seated on time. We had all ordered our steaks medium-rare - two of them came barely rare, and the other two came blue-rare. Sigh. They had to be sent back, and took forever to return. The entree was supposed to come with zucchini, but I guess they were out of that as well, with no mention to us. The creme brulee dessert was supposed to be a trio, but turned out to be a duo instead. They didn't say a word about it until my friend asked why there were only two. The waitress simply said they ran out of the third flavour - no apology. We had to ask for water refills several times.

The food itself wasn't bad, a little better than average I would say. However, it was very difficult to enjoy since the service was SO TERRIBLE. I will probably never return. And their premise of having alcohol in all their dishes isn't really all that great... you can't taste the alcohol at all.


Edited by Arsenic (log)

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I was here for DOV tonight.

I may have missed it, Arsenic, but where is "here"?


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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^which place was this Arsenic?

I went to Unwine'd tonight...

YUM!

So my friend and I both ordered the upsize for our entree for $5 more.

I had:

Beef Carpaccio with fig-infused balsamic vinegar, fresh horse-radish and Hawaiian sea salt

Rack of Venison with marscarpone whipped potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a juniper berry reduction

Flourless Chocolate Cake with gooseberries and a Zinfandel caramel sauce

Friend had the same desert:

Butternut Squash Soup with a cinnamon foam

Seared Scallop with leek and potato ravioli served with a butter sauce

Comments:

my appy was a bit spicy at times but had a combo of sweet, crunchy, salty, and spicy.... at times there was a hint of acidity so it was very interesting..

the beef texture was niiiiiiiiiiiiiice

My friend like the foam on his soup.

Entree:

I liked my venision... nicely seared... medium/medium rare? Nice and juicy... had some tough parts near the bone but that was the tendon? and not the cooking. The meat had very little fat but I had a small fatty section and that was yummy. I'm a happy person when I eat good food and this was good food. The sauce was awesome and the juniper berry was a great complement to the potatos. I'm a picky potato eater and I loved these potatos with and without the sauce. The berries had like an outer layer and inner and inner heart kind of like... peppercorn texture...

I wasn't wowed with the string beans but... that's okay.

I liked the cake (will write more later)

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Replying to Arsenic:

Hi Arsenic:

I am very confused. Your first post about Infinity with pictures is mostly positive about the restaurant and dining experience. Your subsequent post on Infinity slams them. Two back-to-back posts, totally different comments. What happened?

Cheers,

Laura


Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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I was here for DOV tonight.

I may have missed it, Arsenic, but where is "here"?

Whoops!!! SIP resto-lounge. My apologies for all the confusion!


Edited by Arsenic (log)

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I'm going to Cin Cin tomorrow night with the girls - they've never been, and wanted to try it for DOV.

It looks to me that they've changed the menu since we booked. Is that fair? They have a pork appy, and a pork main. No chicken, no beef... I suppose this is what we would call "dumbed down", right? Hate to admit it, but I'm not looking forward to it.

Why, Cin Cin, Why???????????


Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography.

~ Robert Byrne

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Last night, Gastropod. 7:00 reso that some of my party were on time for; I forgot to add 20 minutes to look for parking and hike two blocks in heels when I judged how long it would take me to get there, so I was 20 minutes late.

My companions had sparkling water, but in 20 minutes, had not been approached for a cocktail order (!!!) Massive lost income alert! :laugh:.

Service was uneven all around really; one runner/bar attendant seemed quite on the ball, but other than that, not so much. Hesitant. I think they may have a "don't speak until spoken to" kind of service philosophy, which can make a patron feel a bit neglected. I suppose I would expect that in a more formal sort of room, but perhaps due to dine out or the modern design, it felt a little more casual, and thus the service didn't seem to mesh, somehow. I don't feel that I am describing this well, it wasn't horrible or anything, just a bit "off."

Food was pretty good: the bon-bon de foie gras didn't really float my boat...a bit too much fruit sauce, perhaps? pretty presentation though. And while I liked the salty/sweet pistachio crumbles on top as a counterpoint to the foie, my friend didn't. Another friend had the chowder, and liked it well enough. The Salmon Tar-Tar was the standout, lovely presentation, good flavours and textures. I just had a bite, but it was a good bite!

Main courses: three out of four of us had the duck confit pasta. This was a bit of a surprise: apparently when adding ingredients, the chef purely missed the duck bin. There was sauce, there was broccoli rabe (sp?), mushrooms, garlic, pasta....but not a scrap of duck to be found :laugh: By the time all three had confirmed that this was the case, the pasta was nearly done. However, when apprised of the situation, the server quickly brought out a plate full of duck and vegetables, lacking only pasta. The threesome dove in and enjoyed their duck. They figured the dish as it should have been would have been excellent. I downgraded ($25 menu) to the chicken with Israeli couscous, spinach, capers and bacon, and while my plate could have been hotter, the chicken was very good: juicy, nicely seasoned; and the couscous was very good indeed.

Desserts were very nice: two of us had the chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet and Earl Grey syrup, and two of us had the warm cheesecake with blueberry purée and berries, and we all enjoyed them. The only comment I have, besides delicious, is that the dish the fondant was served in sloped so that I lost my silverware to the syrup, twice. :laugh:

The wine list is laid out a bit oddly, hard to find what is served by the glass (not a lot, but the list itself is not extensive). Not being familiar with the by the glass offerings, I went for the low end, price-wise, and tried a glass of South African Shiraz, which was good value for money. One friend had a glass of Riesling with her starter, which she liked, and an Argentinean Malbec with her main, that was a nice glass of wine.

I hope to return to Gastropod another time :smile:


Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Three of us dined at Aurora last night (this after our one month too late reservation OOPS happened!). I have to say, they have it going on at Aurora! I haven't been there in quite a while, and was impressed by service, food and atmosphere as well as the way they handled our mistake on a reservation. Because we were three, we had all things different and therefore I got to taste the things I might have ordered but didnt. I had the beet salad to start, it was delicious with perfectly cooked beets of many colours and a nice grilled apple slice - very very good. The bison carpaccio (sp?) was a standout (although I only had one bite, I could have eaten the whole plate), and the plating of it was lovely! Third appy was a sablefish cake ... sorry chef, some fancy words are failing me - it too was lovely and what were the little treats on that plate?

Mains, I had the cornish hen, which was finger licking good! Something I believe called smoked gnocci and quite delectable and so light! were on my plate - yum, with a nice sauce and a few mushrooms. The salmon was scarfed up by my dining companion, and the third entry was the vegetarian option (too many dine out meats?), very nice pastry wrapped veggies based on potato I think.

We drank a SYL ranch Pinot 3 which went with everything. It is something I'd stock for those verging on red dinners that need a white wine.

Dessert - oh my! I had the wine poached pear which came served in a glass with tea (earl grey?) ice cream below and a piece or two of lemon confit. I love chef's lemon confit! The pear was fantastic, especially once I de-plated it. Sorry to do this, I mean how gauche can I be!, but it had to happen. Chocolate was not shared, and I got a bite of the blood orange creme brulee ... lip smacking. We had fun and this is definately a go to spot and so close to home!

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I'm going to Cin Cin tomorrow night with the girls - they've never been, and wanted to try it for DOV. 

It looks to me that they've changed the menu since we booked.  Is that fair?  They have a pork appy, and a pork main.  No chicken, no beef... I suppose this is what we would call "dumbed down", right?  Hate to admit it, but I'm not looking forward to it.

Why, Cin Cin, Why???????????

To follow up - went to Cin Cin last night, and sure enough, the menu was exactly like the website - pork appy and pork main. I passed on both. Would have liked to have seen a pasta option. Portions were very small and uninspired. Really disappointing, considering Cin Cin has always been one of my favorites. I'll definitely take a pass on next years' DOV.

On a more positive note, our server was lovely and the service, seamless (but a bit rushed).


Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography.

~ Robert Byrne

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