Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Canada Day Dinner from Salmon n' Bannock

Happy (almost) Canada Day! This year we have decided to celebrate the non-working day by having dinner from Vancouver's only Indigenous-owned and operated restaurant, Salmon 'n' Bannock.

They have a different menu for dine-in and to-go customers. As such, more delicious-looking items can only be ordered if you're dining in.

Tip 1: Come early

They open daily at 3:00 PM. We went there at around 6:30, and they're busy! All the tables are occupied. Moreover, there are even people outside waiting for their to-go orders.

We wanted many things from their to-go menu, like the Open-Faced Bison Sandwich and Signature Bannock with House Chili. Both are sold out.

Tip 2: Go for Salmon in a Bannock

Dinner from Salmon 'n' Bannock

Since a couple items we want are no longer available, we end up with Urban Smoked Salmon Burger with Coleslaw and Pow Wow Power Salad. Both are delicious, but I'll order the salmon burger again. Because of the excellent experience with bannock as a bun, I can't wait to try their Bannockwiches.

Urban Smoked Salmon Burger with Coleslaw
Menu Description: Our Signature Bannock Burger is made with a 4 oz of Sage Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon. Made with Lemon Aioli and House Made Pickles.

The Bannock is buttery and chewy which is the perfect complement to the sweet and soft salmon. The fresh vegetables add crunch and juiciness. Lastly, it was served with sweet potato fries and the seasoning they used here is delicious - not just salt.

Pow Wow Power Salad
Menu Description: We put the Pow in Power! A sensational blend of delicious grains including Ojibway Wild Rice, Cucumbers, Radishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Organic Greens and Arugula. Served with a rotating dressing and topped with 4 oz of Wild Sockeye Salmon

If you check my blog, I don't generally order a salad, but this is great! There were strawberries that provide tartness, cucumber for freshness, there were beets too. What we couldn't figure out is where the spice is coming from. There's something spicy in this, and we couldn't point our figure which one is it.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Beat the Heat at Fifth Avenue Cinemas

We have no plans to go to the cinema as soon as we are doing even though we used to see at least one movie a month. However, the heatwave is getting ridiculous. Hubby and I grew up in the Philippines, where this weather is expected and quite usual during the summer. But there, if you're middle class or higher, you have air conditioning in your homes - here we don't. Since the heatwave will end tomorrow, investing in an AC seems unreasonable because we live in a 500 sq feet apartment with minimal storage.

To manage the heat, we end up watching F9 The Fast Saga (I have not seen ANY of the Fast and the Furious movies) just for the AC (and for the popcorn). It's the longest movie showing at Cineplex - 2 hours and 23 minutes.

From 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, the temperature was more than 36℃! So, after work (we work from home), we took an Uber to Fifth Avenue Cinemas. Thankfully, they allowed us to enter 30 minutes before our film.

I miss the Cineplex popcorn!

I got popcorn and drinks, and we're off. I know the risk, and a portion of my brain is feeling paranoid about sitting with around 10 people in a theatre, but I'd take this risk than die of heat in our apartment. After the movie, the temperature outside is much more tolerable since the sun is already down and only 30℃.

Other than going to the movies, I took a cold shower 4 times: as soon as I woke up, at around noon, before leaving for the movies, and before going to bed. It helped! I also drank more water than I usually do to make sure I am hydrated.

I hope you're doing your best to stay cool during the heatwave.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

4-Course Summer Gourmet Picnic at VanDusen Botanical Gardens REVIEW

Happy Sunday! We're in the middle of the heatwave in British Columbia. Still, when we booked the 4-Course Summer Gourmet Picnic at VanDusen Botanical Gardens organized by Truffle Fine Foods, we didn't know there's going to be a heatwave.

4-Course Summer Gourmet Picnic at VanDusen Botanical Gardens organized by Truffle Fine Foods

The Experience

Our reservation for two is at ten in the morning. We arrived just in time at Gate 3 (37th Avenue and Hudson), the designated entrance. There's a person who will ask for your name, ask you to register and point you in the general direction on where to go.

Gate 3

Truffles Find Foods Summer Gourmet Picnic at VanDusen Botanical Gardens sign.

We walked where the signs lead us and end up at this picnic area. It was hot. Thankfully, there are umbrellas on top of each picnic table, and there is some breeze.

Picnic Area

Our server walked to our table and asked us if we had any drink orders or wanted to get started. We told him that we already ordered our drinks online. He came with a crate with our 4-course meal labelled and packed in compostable containers (at least most of it). He asked if we want him to bring out the food and put it on the table or if we want to do it ourselves. To minimize contact and to phase our meal better, we did it ourselves. Plus, it was fun to open each box to see the food inside.

Plate and Plant on each table

Crate with your meal

The Food

As the name implies, you get to enjoy four courses (meals) inside VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

Compostable Boxes

1st Course: Canapes

We both ordered Regular Canapes. They're all delicious, but I would like more of the Tuna Crudo Cucumber Cup. Oh, and the grilled sourdough on the miniature BLT was tough. I didn't enjoy that bite.

Regular Canapes from left to right: Prosciutto melon bite, miniature BLT on grilled sourdough, and tuna crudo cucumber cup

2nd Course: Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad

It's a delicious salad. Although, I wouldn't recommend putting a lot of the vinaigrette. It made the whole thing oily.

Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad
Organic local greens, fresh basil, and white balsamic vinaigrette

3rd Course: Entree

Both entrees were served with grilled vegetables. It seems like their vinaigrette recipe has a lot of oil. It was very oily.

Porchetta Sandwich and Tuscan Grilled Chicken Breast with Caper & Parsley Salsa Verde

Porchetta Sandwich

This is the best part of our meal. The sandwich on a ciabatta bun was delicious. I love the lemon-caper mayonnaise.

Porchetta Sandwich
Slow roasted pork with fennel and herbs, lemon caper mayonnaise and arugula

Tuscan Grilled Chicken Breast with Caper & Parsely Salsa Verde

I enjoyed the grilled chicken breast and would have preferred it over the porchetta sandwich, but the middle of the chicken was kind of cold which is unfortunate.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken Breast with Caper & Parsley Salsa Verde
Free-range chicken breast marinated in lemon & fresh rosemary

4th Course: Dessert

They only have two dessert options, and we got both. It comes inside a mason jar which you can take home if you're full. We took ours home, and it melted on the way because of the heatwave. So I hurriedly put it on the fridge as soon as we got home. I'll update this post if the desserts are any good.

Left: Vegan Chocolate Mousse swirled with Okanagan cherry compote.
Right: Peach & Almond Tiramisu (layers of mascarpone, fresh peaches and amaretti

Drinks

When we were placing our order, the only non-alcoholic beverage available is orange juice and apple juice which is what we got.

Walk around VanDusen

After the meal, you are free to walk around VanDusen Botanical Garden for as long as you like. Because of the heatwave and when our desserts melted, we only took a 30-minute walk around the park.



Is it worth it?

The whole meal plus drinks, entrance, taxes, and 15% service charge is $211.58 for two people. The food was good, and it was an experience having a picnic inside VanDusen with all the food prepared and served, but I don't think it's worth it. If the food was spectacular, then maybe I'll have a different recommendation.

Will I come back for the experience? Most likely not.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

REEL Mac and Cheese at Thank Granville It's Food trucks (TGIF)

The South Granville Business Improvement Association (SGBIA) organized Thank Granville It's Food Trucks (TGIF). Every Friday and Saturday from 11 in the morning until 8 in the evening from June through Labour Day, there will be a rotating lineup of food trucks located along West 10th Avenue at Fir Street in front of the Vancouver School Board building.

For dinner today, we grabbed a couple mac and cheese from REEL Mac and Cheese to eat while watching the Vancouver Whitecaps FC game.

With today's meal, we have tried most of the items on their menu. We had The Main Event and Godzilla at The Columbia Streat Food Truck Festival three years ago. Then, we had The Green Mile at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Today, I ordered Some Like It Hot while hubby tried Kevin Bacon.

Note for future us to try the Snoop Dogg and Meat The Parent next time.

It was a wrong move to order mac and cheese today during the heatwave. I was so food coma and felt hotter than I would have been.

I didn't grow up with mac and cheese the way kids in the US and maybe Canada did, so I don't have any strong opinions of what's a good mac and cheese. However, I enjoyed the Kevin Bacon more than the Some Like It Hot. I guess the heatwave weather is a big factor in that.

Some Like It Hot
Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese that packs a lot of heat (Banana peppers & cayenne, chili flakes and a dash of Frank's red hot sauce topped with crispy onions)

Kevin Bacon
Gourmet macaroni & cheese topped with crumbled bacon and a panko parmesan crunch


Stay safe and cool.

Taro Cheesecake from Trees Cheesecake + Organic Coffee

Happy Saturday! I am unsure how often Trees Cheesecake + Organic Coffee has a special cheesecake, but it sure is worth trying.

I love the Matcha Cheesecake we tried earlier this month, and since my parents want organic coffee, hubby and I ordered the special cheesecake this time - Taro Cheesecake. The taro flavour is not as pronounced as the Matcha Cheesecake. Moreover, the taro latte was unavailable, which is unfortunate since I want to try it too.

Taro Cheesecake

I wonder what cheesecake they'll have next!

Taro Cheesecake

Lunch at Lin Chinese Cuisine

My mom wanted Chinese food ever since her birthday a week ago, so today, we had lunch at Lin Chinese Cuisine after doing groceries.

Tan Tan noodle soup with minced meat - one of my favourite dishes

Shanghai-style Chow Mein

Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai juicy pork dumplings) - MUST TRY! Best one in Vancouver (that I've tried, at least)

Pan-fried pork buns

Pan-fried cake with marinated beef

I am glad to eat here again! I think this is the first time since last Christmas. Please continue to support small, local businesses if you have the means to do so.

Friday, June 25, 2021

SAJetarian at Thank Granville It's Food trucks (TGIF)

Mutlu cumalar! جمعة سعيدة Happy Friday!

The South Granville Business Improvement Association (SGBIA) organized Thank Granville It's Food Trucks (TGIF). Every Friday and Saturday from 11 in the morning until 8 in the evening from June through Labour Day, there will be a rotating lineup of food trucks located along West 10th Avenue at Fir Street in front of the Vancouver School Board building.

Saj Bread

I am familiar with naan, pita, and tortilla, but this is the first time I've heard of saj. According to Wikipedia, Saj bread "is a very thin, large unleavened flatbread in Turkish and Arab cuisine baked on a convex metal griddle, a saj."

This is why I love Vancouver. I get to learn about food from other cultures.

SAJetarian

SAJetarian is a food truck in Metro Vancouver that specializes in Saj Bread. For today, I ordered their Ze Kafta. The saj bread is thin like a crepe but crispy like a fried tortilla. It's definitely unique, but what makes this wrap so delicious are the spices. It's so good! The slaw with fresh vegetables provides crunch while the meat is well seasoned.

Ze Kafta
Kafta (a marinated lamb/beef mix) grilled to perfection, with a Pomegranate Molasses drizzle, tomatoes, and Middle Eastern slaw on Saj bread.

I wonder if I can order just the Middle Eastern slaw. It's so good I am willing to eat it on its own.

Poutine

I am uncertain if there's any other dish more "Canadian" than poutine. I remember my former manager telling me how Canadian it is that each culture (restaurant) has some spin or take on the classic poutine. SAJetarian is no different. 

Ze Poutine

Their version of the poutine means Zaatar (spice mixture) gravy served with fries, halloumi (unripened cheese made from goat's and sheep's milk), kashkaval cheese (cheese made from cow's milk, sheep's milk, or both), topped with fried eggplant and green onions. 

IT'S SO DELICIOUS! If you can only get one item from their menu, please get this one! I couldn't stop eating it, and I want more. I wonder if they'll sell their Zaatar gravy.

They have just converted me to a SAJetarian! I can't wait to see them back in South Granville, so I can try their falafel, and I've been eyeing the Ze Grilloumi. If all Turkish / Arab restaurants serve food this good, please let me know which ones I should visit in Metro Vancouver.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Breakfast at Shine Café

It's my mom's 60th birthday, and it's Father's Day weekend; that's why my siblings and I planned a long weekend (3 days, 2 nights) trip to Victoria, BC. It's our parents' first time travelling outside of Metro Vancouver since migrating to Canada, so this is an important trip for them. It's also my first time in Victoria, BC, so yay!

Happy Sunday! It's our last day in Victoria, BC. The trip felt long and short at the same time. I know, it doesn't make sense. 😂

We started the day by visiting St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral. Originally, I planned to have breakfast at the famous JAM Cafe. However, it's so far from where we were, and I just don't have the energy to walk even such a short distance. I opened one of my favourite apps, Foursquare, to search for nearby breakfast spots with a high rating. That's how I found Shine Café. 

It's also a bonus that they got featured in the Food Network show, You Gotta Eat Here.

Full Breakfast

Hubby ordered the Full Breakfast to try their bacon, ham, and sausage. It's standard brunch fare. For his sides, he chose Potato Scone and Cornbread. I highly recommend the Potato Scone just because it's different. I think it's my first time trying this dish.

Full Breakfast
3 eggs, 2 pieces each of bacon, ham, and sausage, grilled tomato, cornbread, and Scottish potato scone

Unfortunately, the cornbread was dry, but putting the runny egg and grilled tomatoes on top made it such an amazing delicious vehicle.

Nemo Eggs Benedict

Finally! I thought I'll be leaving Victoria without trying salmon eggs benny. This is so good! 

Nemo Eggs Benedict with Hash Browns
Smoked salmon, red onion, avocado, and regular hollandaise

Check out the runny yolks from the poached egg.

Like our breakfast at Q At The Empress yesterday, I was asked how I like my eggs to be - I chose soft because I like my eggs perfectly soft poached runny.

Famous Pancakes

For our extra meal, we were discussing whether to get French Toast or Pancakes. We end up with Pancakes because we had pancakes yesterday, and I need to make some sort of comparison. The pancakes at Shine are much bigger and fluffier than the one from Q. However, I'm still dreaming over the blueberry compote from yesterday.

Famous Pancakes
Classic comfort served with real butter & pure maple syrup.

I recommend the Nemo Eggs Benedict, but I don't think you'll go wrong with any of their dishes.

It was an awesome short trip to Victoria, BC. I can't wait to come back to eat and visit the museums I missed during this trip. Thankfully, Victoria is only a couple hours away by Ferry plus another 30 minutes of bus ride to Downtown.

This is my last post as part of what I now call the "Victoria Food Series." Let's go back to the mainland and continue food exploring.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Unplanned dinner at 10 Acres Commons Restaurant

It's my mom's 60th birthday, and it's Father's Day weekend; that's why my siblings and I planned a long weekend (3 days, 2 nights) trip to Victoria, BC. It's our parents' first time travelling outside of Metro Vancouver since migrating to Canada, so this is an important trip for them. It's also my first time in Victoria, BC, so yay!


I plan my vacation (specifically the food aspect) with research and reviews. I do my best to find the best places to eat in every city I go to unless it's a sudden unplanned trip. Dinner at 10 Acres Commons Restaurant is not part of the plan.

I was planning to go to Big Wheel Burger at Cook Street near Beacon Hill for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, we had to walk the opposite way going back to our hotel. My younger sister is craving steak while I am still feeling full from lunch, so we ate at the closest possible restaurant, and that's 10 Acres Commons Restaurant.

Since I did no prior research and their menu during the pandemic is quite limited, hubby and I ordered three rolls. I honestly thought it'll be a light dinner, but I am so full I didn't even want to walk back to the hotel, which is literally across the street.

For recommendations - I would recommend the Prawn Tempura Roll if you want something crunchy, Spicy Tuna Roll if you like spicy food and the Avocado Roll for something creamy.

Avocado Roll, Prawn Tempura Roll, and Spicy Tuna Roll

Avocado Roll
Pickled shitake, avocado, cucumber, green onions, and spicy mayo

Prawn Tempura Roll
Cucumber, avocado, spicy mayo, and tobiko

Spicy Tuna Roll
Cucumber, sesame seeds, green onions, and dashi mayo

Wild Wild West
Bourbon, lemon, and something else that I forget since I didn't take a picture of their menu and I can't find it in their online menu

French Bulldog
Citrus vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit, and lemon

Happy Saturday!


Beat the Heat at MOSI Gelato

It's my mom's 60th birthday, and it's Father's Day weekend; that's why my siblings and I planned a long weekend (3 days, 2 nights) trip to Victoria, BC. It's our parents' first time travelling outside of Metro Vancouver since migrating to Canada, so this is an important trip for them. It's also my first time in Victoria, BC, so yay!


Ice cream! A friend of our only brother recommended that he tries the ice cream from two places: Kid Sister Ice Cream and Parachute Ice Cream.

Kid Sister Ice Cream in Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown is closed, while Parachute was nearly a 30-minute walk from Rialto Hotel (where the family is staying), so we end up searching for the closest best ice cream and found MOSI Gelato.

Salted Caramel Gelato

There was a long line 5-minute before closing, and we felt bad for the only worker there. I am sure she's eager to close, but the line after us is pretty long (more than five people).

After enjoying our gelato, we went to Beacon Hill Park.

Lunch at Pagliacci's

It's my mom's 60th birthday, and it's Father's Day weekend; that's why my siblings and I planned a long weekend (3 days, 2 nights) trip to Victoria, BC. It's our parents' first time travelling outside of Metro Vancouver since migrating to Canada, so this is an important trip for them. It's also my first time at Victoria, BC, so yay!

After a delicious breakfast at Q At The Empress, we went to The Butchart Gardens then the Hatley Castle. By the time we're back in Downtown Victoria, it's past 2:00 PM, and I am starving. We planned to have lunch at Pagliacci's, and that's where we went.

The patio at Pagliacci's on a beautiful sunny day.

Honestly, Victoria is such a delicious city (meaning a lot of amazing restaurants). I thought Barb's Fish and Chips yesterday was going to be the highlight of the trip, then I tried Pagliacci's pasta, and I just can't stop grinning from ear to ear.

Focaccia

Let's talk about the free bread they give out while waiting for your order. It's fluffy yet chewy - it's so delicious, and only after doing a Google search did I find out that it's Focaccia. The only reason I am familiar with the term is because a mobile restaurant game I played has focaccia on the menu. But this is the first time I am trying it, and I can't believe how good it is. The focaccia is such a great way to start the meal.

Focaccia from Pagliacci's

The Previews

Deciding which appetizer to get is so difficult when there's a lot of options. We thought of ordering Ocean's Eleven, but hubby said that according to Google Maps, the Crab Cakes are popular, plus I wanted to try Minnesota Fats (risotto), so instead of Ocean's Eleven, we got both crab cakes and crispy risotto balls.

Edgar Allan Poe's Crab Cakes and Minnesota Fats

Edgar Allan Poe's Crab Cakes

The Crab Cakes is amazing! To be fair, I don't remember having a memorable crab cake, and this is packed with A LOT of crabs - none of those extenders.

Edgar Allan Poe's Crab Cakes
Dungeness & rock crab, panko, and lemon aioli

Admire the shredded crabs

Minnesota Fats

Meanwhile, I prefer the Minnesota Fats as is (no marinara sauce). The outside was crispy, while the inside is creamy and cheesy. It's the perfect combination.

The marinara sauce was perfect for the focaccia.

Minnesota Fats
Crispy risotta rice, asiago & mozzarella cheese balls, marinara sauce 

Look at the cheesy goodness inside.

Minnesota Fats topped with marinara sauce.

The Pasta

Hubby relied on Google Maps to see what people are saying, and he got the lasagna while I know what I want - I am turning into a seafood in white sauce monster. 😂 At any restaurant that specializes in pasta, I order the one with seafood in a cream-based sauce.

Dempsey's Lasagna

It arrived at our table pippin' hot. The cheese was melted, and it's truly beefy.

Dempsey's Lasagna
AAA Angus beef, mushroom, ricotta & mozzarella cheeses, marinara

Layers upon layers of beef and cheese

Sophia

This is the best dish I have had in Victoria, BC, so far. The next time I come back to Victoria, I will come back here and order this again.

Sophia
Canadian Dungeness & rock crab, shrimp, white wine cream sauce, smoked salmon, fettuccine

The Sophia is LOADED with seafood. The white wine cream sauce is not too heavy like Olive Garden. It's much better than the one from Vancouver Fish Co. in Granville Island, and it doesn't even deserve to be compared to the seafood pasta dish from Bridges Restaurant.

As you know by now, on a normal day, I would order desserts. But by the time we're finished with our meal, we're food coma. I haven't been this food coma in a long time.

I am already looking forward to the next time I come back to Pagliacci's.