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Dine Out Vancouver - The Topic (2002-2007)


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Ouch, I almost feel guilty about the great meal we had at Parkside, well almost.

Just got back from our dinner at Parkside.

Thanks to some of your recommendations, Coop, we had a great meal. Had the bisque and the beet salad as appetizers - both really good. Then had the duck confit and and the beef shanks - again both very nice. Had a good bottle of Cline Zinfandel to go with these.

Only mistake was for dessert - got the Toffee pudding and chocolate pot. I KNEW we should'a got two toffee puddings!!! It was excellent.

Great food, and a great deal. Super way to end a week!

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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I just had a wonderful meal at Bacchus. We both had the crab spring roll and the lamb sirloin. He had the chocolate cheesecake with cassis ice-cream, and I had the banana pecan cake.

My lamb had the most delicious bit of crispy fat. :smile: It was cooked medium rare and though I usually like my meat rare, it was still good.

The room was beautiful, the pianist was charming, and the service was impeccable. I would have paid $25 just for the lamb.

Even though we didn't order wine at either dinner, we were dressed appropriately. I wore dress pants and a black lace tank at Hermitage, and a black cocktail dress tonight. I don't think we should feel obligated to order wine just to get better service if we rarely drink alcohol anyway.

Edited by Ling (log)
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Had a wonderful dinner tonight at Parkside!

We started off with the terrine of chicken and smoked ham - very tasty. For our entrees, my husband and I had the beef shank and my sister had the pumpkin and mascarpone ravioli. The portions were so generous - we just couldn't finish all the beef. Completed our meals with two toffee puddings and one lemon tart.

Our waiter was friendly, attentive yet not hovering. The room was cozy and had a wonderful buzz. Dine-out Vancouver or not, we will be back!! :smile:

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Ling:

As I said earlier it shouldn't make a difference how one dresses or whether or not wine is ordered, but, it seems to.

One shouldn't order wine just to keep a restaurant in business. Wine is simply to aid in digestion right? :cool:

slowfood/slowwine

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Me thinks Parkside is becoming one of the stars of the Dine out Vancouver 2004 event.

Dinner last Sunday at Brix was enjoyable and a pretty good deal but not overly remarkable. I left with my curiousity about this restaurant sated and not particularly interested in returning. Service was excellent but too many of the dishes were of my caliber of cooking which isn't usually what I'm looking for when I dine out.

Parkside on the other hand had a number of high points and a couple of so-so points. On the so-so side of things the Bisque was a little bitter, like the shells had already given their best before Thursday. The Pumpkin and mascarpone ravioli, truffle sage beurre blanc & roasted pistachios was truly wonderful but 4 raviolis left me a tad hungry. (If you're tempted perhaps you should ask your server how many are included in the dish and then shame her/him into getting Andry to pop a few more on the plate).

Fortunately the Braised beef shank (described in detail in an earlier post by Coop) was both terrific and a generous enough portion for the Kookie to take pity on me and share!

The sticky toffee pudding was dynamite but the star of the evening has to go the the Lemon tart. If you lean in the lemony direction it is a must have.

I'll go back!

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"T": Maybe it also has to do with the fact that people usually think my bf and I look like we're still in high school even though we're in our early 20s. :smile:

Coop: Thanks so much for recommending Parkside. My boyfriend thanks you too! This was by far the best dinner out of the Dine Out places we went to. My boyfriend said he wishes he made reservations for "3" so he could have had double portions of the beef and dessert.

I started with the lobster bisque. It was good, but not spectacular. I thought the soup was a tad bitter too. However, I liked how it wasn't too creamy.

My boyfriend had the chicken and ham terrine with the brioche. I had a few bites and thought it was pretty good. This is probably the appetizer I would have enjoyed the most on the menu.

We both had the beef shank (with shiitake, oyster, and morel mushrooms) and the sticky toffee pudding. The beef shank was outstanding! We're definitely coming back for this sometime soon. I also cancelled my parents' reservation at C and made a reservation at Parkside for them after tasting this dish. :biggrin: The little zuchinni pieces that were cut to the size of peas were so cute!

There isn't much to add about the sticky toffee pudding since everyone has already raved about it. It was absolutely delicious. I especially loved the vanilla ice-cream--it is so rich and thick! I asked the server if it is made in-house and indeed it is. She said that the chef is working on a spiced rum ice-cream to serve with the sticky toffee pudding on the Valentine's Day menu.

Cocktails were very nice and intensely flavored. I had the Lillet cocktail and my bf had some frozen blood orange thing. I liked mine better.

I also asked the server abotu the coffee since I really liked it. She gave me the name of the company (Cacade Caffe? Casade Caffe? I can't really tell what the third letter is) and their phone number, but said she thinks they only sell to restaurants. Hope she's wrong!

The room was nice and the server was friendly. It was a great evening. :wub:

Edited by Ling (log)
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In contrast, my Gotham dinner last year (and I'm sure Parkside tonight) was on the other side of the spectrum (I know there are a lot of people who have had bad experiences at Gotham, but ours was close to flawless...and an exceptional value as well in my opinion).

Jerry_A--I agree with you about Gotham! I went to Gotham with my family this year (can you believe how hard it was to get reservations? My mom called on January 2nd @ 11 a.m. and they had no more spots on the weekends available! Maybe they were reserving those times for their regulars?) We all had the ahi tuna to start with (which was too spicy for my taste--but that's just me, I can't take spicy food). It was char-grilled, I think. There were some spices rubbed on the outside, but apart from the cajun powder, I couldn't tell what the spices were. I liked how the soya sauce came in a little cup on the side.

Next, we all had the New York strip, which came with roasted potatoes, a chunk of beet, and some creamed spinach. We all agreed that the New York strip was sumptuous. It was juicy, with just enough pinkness in the centre. I thought it was a bit strange that there was only one piece of beet though.

For dessert, we had the chocolate bourbon cake. This too, was very good. It was softer than I expected. I liked the fact that it was warmed--I couldn't really taste the bourbon, but I usually can't taste the liquor in desserts--is that a good thing or a bad thing?

The service was unexpectedly good--our waiter was friendly and engaging without being obviously fake. I mean, he obviously knew that we were there for Dine-Out, and he still treated us quite nicely. He also really looked like David Duchovny :laugh:

Gotham was definitely a good deal--I calculated how much we saved, and it was about $40! I think we might go back next year--it was definitely a memorable experience for my family!

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We tried several venues in this year's DOV and there were some highs and lows. Like previous posters, we were very disappointed in the meal at the Blue Water Cafe. I too tried the vension flank steak and it was inedible. Incredibly the waiter told me that they had served almost 300 of the meals so far and mine was the first complaint so maybe it was just me. Notwithstanding, I won't ever return. And it wasn't just the food but the attitude of the wait staff which was surly, inattentive and borderline rude. Small things but they added up - we asked repeatedly for more water for the table without success. Orders brought out piece meal so that we had to wait for 5 minutes or more for the rest of the order to come out. Unfortunately it was the soup that arrived first.

On a more positive note, we also ate at Aria at the Westin Grand. Based on the meal I would return. I had the caribou medallions and they were wonderful. The portion size was more than adequate and the wine pairing (Inniskillin Pinot Noir) was good. Our dinner at Cru was fabulous on all levels as was the meal at Diva.

DOV is an excellent promotion that keeps the restaurants full and introduces diners to new options at low risk. I hope that the restaurant industry sees it as a positive event and continue to run it.

Cheers,

Karole

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  • 1 month later...

For everyone that liked the Sticky Toffee Pudding at Parkside, I found a recipe that (I think) is very similar--not too sweet, but moist and rich.

Here it is:

http://www.epicurious.com/run/recipe/view?id=101401

The only change I made to it is I only used 3 cups of whipping cream (instead of 4 cups), with 3/4 cup of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar (instead of 2 cups). The topping was still very sweet. It's delicious!

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Don't know if this is relevant. My friends and I went to the Fish House in Stanley Park a couple of years ago for the Dine Out gig. We chose this restaurant because we had such a wonderful full course meal a while back during regular dining.

The portions were paltry in comparision to the first time we ate there. The food seem to lack presentation and flavor layers. I think this is due to the $25 we paid versus the couple of hundred dollars the first time we ate there.

However, I would recommend this restaurant as I highly respect Karen Barnaby's creative fusion and her as a decent chef (the few rare one's without ego.)

Thanks to Ling for the finding the Sticky Toffee Pudding; will try it out with toffee booze.

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  • 8 months later...

Dine Out Vancouver has become an overwhelming success. It’s a terrific opportunity for neophyte diners to eat well for next to nothing. And for those who already cover the culinary landscape, like many of our members—get thee to some new spots, as Coop suggests, and make a real fortnight of it.

If meals are the hinges of our day, good manners surely lubricate them. I've noted that there are a few (mainly fine) dining rooms that are not participating this year, and I think I know the reason why. Those rooms found out that they were welcoming bargain hunters, sometimes inappropriately dressed or mannered, at the expense of turning away regulars and bigger spenders. Sort of like buying a full fare business class ticket only to find that your seatmate was upgraded for free, but has chosen to wear cut-offs and fondle the flight attendants.

After talking to a number of restaurateurs (and I realize I'm preaching to the choir here), below is a summary of common sense items they'd really like consumers to bear in mind. So here, in deference to them and the hardworking servers who dish this event up each year, and to maximize your dining pleasure, some points of . . .

Dine Out Etiquette:

1. Don’t even think about being a No-Show.

2. Don’t be late, and be exact on numbers.

3. Order some of that delicious BC VQA wine.

4. Tip your server at least 15% of the bargain you’re consuming—they’re working just as hard—or harder—as on a regular night.

5. You can help the restaurateur by booking for early in the week.

6. If you book for the first (early) seating, especially on a weekend night, be respectful. Be prepared to finish up your three course bonanza in about two hours so the late seating can claim their table without any tears.

7. Make it a night out. Dress appropriately for the restaurant.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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What's the thinking with the BC wine?

Tourism Vancouver brought aboard headline sponsors in VISA and VQA. Each DOV three course menu has pairing suggestions--sometimes prompted by a table tent card as well.

But, and maybe needless to say, restaurateurs will absolutely encourage DOV diners to order freely from their everyday wine list.

So my point was simply not to be a "Mr. and Mrs. Tap Water," but to put some money back in the proprietor's jeans while eating his loss leader food. Should enhance the experience too.

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Great post Jamie.

I have been reading the Seattle 25 for $25 thread. Heated debate there about the pressure to order wine, sparkling water vs. tap blah blah blah. A slightly different setup for that event. Sunday to Thursday for four weeks, no weekends. For the restaurant , a great plan - introduce people into the restaurant at slower times yet still able to take care of your regular guests who are yearlong faithfuls on the weekend.

An interesting read. Lots of people chiming in about lack of service or at least a lower standard because they are on the discount menu , not ordering wine etc.

Dine Out is a great oppourtunity for restaurants to make some new friends and really show people what they have to offer. I am saddened by the fact that some restaurants have opted out but I totally understand the reasoning. Running a business at a loss or break even does nothing for the long term health of the business. Although the cashflow is great, eventually you have to pay for that stuff.

I was not in the first year and we did very well as so many dining rooms were so booked up and last year we decided to go in and it worked very well for us.

We are going to run into the "Uber-bargain " hunter , ( Mr. and Mrs. Water , table for two @ 7:00 , can we have a big booth please ? )insisting on unlimited bread, only water to drink and then asking if coffee is included ( or hot water with lemon , which is a whole other thread in general food topics ). They are out there in non Dine Out times and we are able to shrug them off then. I would hope that we are able to hold our heads up high and do a great job this year.

It is normally a slow time of year and this event enables restaurants to keep all of their staff employed. The spinoff from this event is huge - suppliers of all types - linen, meat, seafood, grocery, the liquor store clerks, valets etc, right down to the parking Nazis who patrol Yaletown.

Good luck to all in making your reservations. I know that some restaurants only book a portion of their restaurant for this and leave the rest for regular guests. You do stand a chance of getting tables at some of the choice restaurants if you just show up( bird in the hand vs. an empty table ) . Just have a backup plan in place as you might get turned away.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Neil - With all due respect, aren't there shitty customers all the time? It sounds somewhat pretensious to hear a restauranteur berate the clientele for not spending enough. A couple scenarios spring to mind. Someone that is economically unable to afford a ceratain restaurant except once a year, and even then is hardpressed to find money for drinks, or a table that plain doesn't drink.

Here's how as a business person I'd look at the sitaution of the bargin hunter customer. Rather than tying a table on a night when my average cheque is far higher than fifty bucks a couple, at least they're there on a night where every other seat in the room is spending the same. Yeah you might miss bottle or couple of drinks from that table, but at least they're close to the same average per head as everyone else. Worse would be the same uber-bargin-hunters tying the table on a busy Saturday, when you could otherwise have freespenders sitting at it.

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Keith , there are difficult customers at times, but at the same time there are great ones.

It sounds somewhat pretensious to hear a restauranteur berate the clientele for not spending enough. A couple scenarios spring to mind. Someone that is economically unable to afford a ceratain restaurant except once a year, and even then is hardpressed to find money for drinks, or a table that plain doesn't drink.

I hope I did not come off sounding that way ! I welcome one and all. We certainly do not know what everybody's economic situation is or what the circustances are around their evening. I know that I as the owner have to look at the bigger picture and not at the microcosim of each table. Sometimes you fall into the trap and let the staff's attitude ensnare you. I have to be very aware of this in such a small restaurant. I use this board to sound out any frustrations as it is not something I want the staff to pick up on and have that attitude permeate throught the dining room. Alas , I am just a man and not a machine !

I felt that we gave a great offering last year for Dine Out and I think I rode that wave of goodwill right into the summer. I tripled my entree count during the Dine Out promotion last year and January is not that bad of a month traditionally. I for one say bring it on .

( Keith - remind me to tell you about the guy who thought he could do whatever he wanted in the dining room because of how much money he spent vs. the two old ladies at the next table drinkig tea - I did have to set him straight on that issue )

Cheers

Edited by nwyles (log)

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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1. Don’t even think about being a No-Show.

2. Don’t be late, and be exact on numbers.

Last year while working at a major downtown restaurant we had over 30% no shows during Dine Out - despite confirming reso's 2 days in advance. It is the no - shows who may eventually kill the event, nobody minds having a full room at discount prices in January - it brings in new business, it exposes the establishment to new guests etc.

but when 1/3 of the room is empty at 7 pm because on Dine Out no shows then some serious rethinking is done.

Dine Out is a great event but people must be responsible, I know of people who make 3-4 Friday night Dine Out reservations each week then decide at the last minute which one to "honour".

Don't kill a Golden Goose.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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The Dine Out experience definitely has spin offs throughout the year. It was on DOV that we first ate at West thinking that it would be too-too for us but the DOV price-point made it less risky. Our experience at DOV was so incredible that we have been back quite a few times since. (Can't afford the many, many times I would have liked) and it is our 'celebratory-dinner' destination. Other restaurants we have tried during DOV that we have since gone back to have been more off our beaten track, such as Aqua Riva. We were delighted with the meal and service and have taken many people there since. It certainly isn't a restaurant that we would have otherwise gone to, thinking it was a tourist, cruise-ship-passenger-place. We were wrong but had a low-risk lesson.

Last year we had a charming dinner at the Westin Grand during DOV and I have returned several times for business lunches - again, I never would have thought of the hotel or restaurant had it not been for DOV.

So, from the perspective of this consumer, DOV definitely gets me into restaurants for a 'look-see'. But I also try and go to some of my regular haunts as well, often because it is hard to resist such great menus and the pricing means you can justify several restaurant meals in one week. I really appreciate the opportunity and as a regular 'dine-outer' I see it as a customer appreciation event as well as a customer education experience.

Cheers,

Karole

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Answering with a reasoned logical answer makes it difficult to be a smartass.

Don't be too hard on yourself. You're just getting back up to speed after a bit of a posting lull a couple weeks back.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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*gasp* In this day and age (age of cellphones) people still are no-shows?!? My goodness! I guess I have to thank my mother for instilling strict manners, I guess, since the thought hadn't ever occurred to me.

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I managed to get out for two dinners last year (Circolo and Provence) and at Provence, particularly, noticed those tables of tap water...luckily, my mum was buying, so we were able to offset some of the cheapies with a nice Bandol and a bottle of moscato with dessert ;)

For some of us, the cheaper menu means a better bottle of wine than we might otherwise go for, too.

I can't even believe no-shows! shocking.

My first post...greetings!

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I managed to get out for two dinners last year (Circolo and Provence) and at Provence, particularly, noticed those tables of tap water...luckily, my mum was buying, so we were able to offset some of the cheapies with a nice Bandol and a bottle of moscato with dessert ;)

For some of us, the cheaper menu means a better bottle of wine than we might otherwise go for, too.

I can't even believe no-shows! shocking.

My first post...greetings!

Welcome Deborah to your new addiction!

So, have you gone back to either of your two DOV experiences?

A.

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I managed to get out for two dinners last year (Circolo and Provence) and at Provence, particularly, noticed those tables of tap water...luckily, my mum was buying, so we were able to offset some of the cheapies with a nice Bandol and a bottle of moscato with dessert ;)

For some of us, the cheaper menu means a better bottle of wine than we might otherwise go for, too.

I can't even believe no-shows! shocking.

My first post...greetings!

Welcome Deborah to your new addiction!

So, have you gone back to either of your two DOV experiences?

A.

Oh, Provence was and is on my regular schedule, it's so close by :) Circolo I have also been to before. Always happy to go to an Umberto restaurant!

Thanks for the welcome :) I am already sucked into other message boards (non-food) and this one promises to be completely engrossing (ooh! double-entendre!).

:p

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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