Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Vancouver Dine Out

If there is anything that I learned from my annual spendings report, it's that I have learned nothing... Because all of my money has gone to food, and it has yet been two months into 2015. But nonetheless, let us look at the Dine Out adventures back from last month, shall we?

Otherwise known as, temptation

For those who are not familiar with the Dine Out Festival, it is a two-week event where restaurants all around town come out to offer what's usually a three-course meal, with the majority of them gravitated towards dinnertime. However, this year included dessert shops, which I found very intriguing (and hopefully, I will try next year!) Within the span of those two weeks, I attended four places. So, let's review:

January 18, 2015: Miku

Located by Waterfront, I tried this restaurant out with the same friend from last week's post, and we met up for lunchtime. Not all of the restaurants offer lunch, but I was even surprise to find out they had a table to offer - not to mention, being there for two hours! But what makes the experience magnificent must be the interior:

It's so beautiful, all of the fish were painted by hand!

The lights remind me of sea urchins - how fitting

Even the format of the cutlery/chopsticks is simplistically appealing

When I was waiting for my friend, I thought I saw someone I knew working there. He never came my way, but I must say he hasn't changed, except for the facial hair growing... Anyways, back to the menu:

Everyone gets the same thing!

Most Dine Outs give you the option of what you want to pick - but since it was lunch, Miku just presented the menu, and said what comes with it. The only thing that you got to select was the dessert. So we both picked Mango over Vanilla d": Now let us get to the pictures:

Like a medley of epic proportions!

The sushi was not too bad, and the jalapeño peppers on the sushi was a nice kick to the salmon. But I must say, I really enjoyed the Aburi Albacore Tuna most, as it was a pleasant twist to the traditional. It was quite delicious, but the best is always saved for last:

I'm all about the mango

For such a small portion, there is a lot going on. For instance, the glass sugar confection on top includes peppers, which had enough spice to make a party in my mouth, but didn't overpower the flavours of the other fruits. And the cookie was just delightful, but nothing really special. Overall, it was a good lunch, and maybe I'll come back when I have the fundings for the restaurant d":

January 23, 2015: Abode

Was walking along Robson one day, and this restaurant caught my attention. It looked appealing from the outside, and so I added it to my list of restaurants to try. So my friends, Brianne and Kenneth, joined me on this trip to the Abode. I have no idea how to pronounce the name - I messaged Brianne that it was called 'Adobe' at first d":

I did not manage to take a photo of the logo, so I'll just introduce the menu:

Mmm, variety

All of us selected the same main dish, and dessert had only one option. So I picked a different start from my friends, which was the Bruschetta Tapenade... That was a big mistake:

Oh my, Cauliflower Poppers are the best!

You have no idea how good cauliflower tastes when it's deep fried, and drenched in spices! I'm not quite sure what mine was, but I just wanted to try so badly since they gave options - it was okay, nothing special, nothing spectacular like the cauliflower... This might be the only time vegetables were better than bread. We all went for the Over Roasted Breast of Duck, and wow, just look at it:

The only other time I would eat bacon: for the love of duck

Not sure if I had duck prepared other than barbecued, but I must try baking (more like, cooking) duck, because this was so soft and moist, I never wanted this dish to end. Even the bacon didn't overpower the fine essences of the dish, and it made me feel like everything was good in my stomach. And then came the dessert:

Mousse, with alcohol ^^

It was nice and fluffy, but also very rich for such a small dish. And with the pomegranates on top, I even ate the seeds! There were pomegranates also on top of the duck, but it's rather difficult to see in the photo. I don't understand why the restaurant was only half-filled, because I was satisfied with everything. Consider it a hidden treasure. And to end the night, we took a selfie:

Don't ask me why Kenneth is not smiling, but it's one pretty awesome photo

When I was there, I bumped into some coworkers of mine, and they were in a big group... Small world, eh?

January 25, 2015: The American Cheesesteak

Probably the only time I have seen a fast food restaurant participate in Dine Out, but it is well worth the try! I went with my high school friends, Elliott, KC, and Mitchell, all whom I have recently been seeing these days due to encounters in strange places. Let's take a look at that menu:

Again, all of the endless possibilities

I know they are known for their subs, but I went with the only option that wasn't a sandwich (I was craving for it so bad!):

Cheese is always a good option

No matter what other dishes are available, if there is a dish with heavy amounts of dairy goodness, know that I'll always gravitate towards that option! My friends all got cheesesteaks, and they looked amazing (sorry folks, no photo of that). It was pretty decent mac & cheese, but it did lack in the short ribs department - no problem with that, but when it's the first word in the dish, you think there would be more. Onion rings are always a good compliment to the dish, and those jalapeño poppers added a subtle heat for the noodles. Onto the dessert:

Salted Caramel :"d

First time trying frozen custard, and it's delicious! You can taste the eggs in this, and it's nothing like what I expected, so smooth that it melts the moment it touches your tongue. After dinner was done, we stayed there for a while, and ended up drinking (not related to dine out). I won't bore you with the details, but the concert at the bar was incredibly uplifting for a rather dim place. Here's a photo of us after a few:

Sunday nights are drinking nights - just know that

Just wanted to share this photo; too awesome

January 31, 2015: Joe Fortes

To end the series of Dine Out experiences, I give you the most expensive restaurant of the collection - thankfully, we had gift cards to save ourselves! I went with my cousins, and it's always a blast with them. We try to arrange a date when we can all hang out with food (because, what else would we do) and try new places... Apparently, it was all their first time experiencing Joe Fortes. We had a nice spot, right by the oyster bar and the pianist, just to get in the mood. Here's the menu:

They printed out the whole page just for the two-week event... That's dedication

It all looked so good, I didn't know where to start! So I went with the sea theme, and chose everything that was possibly fishy. With the appetizer, I selected this:

Odd? Yes. Appetizing? Indeed!

I honestly thought this dish would have been bigger, but this portion was just right to start the meals. It was cold, but that was expected (not to mention, vividly sea tasting). Still, I ate everything in that dish. Let us move onto the main:

Perfection, this is more like it!

Was more leaning towards the steak, but since it's a seafood restaurant, might as well try the obvious! Salmon was appealing to both the senses and the eyes, as I devoured it within minutes it appeared at the table. My cousins all tried different dishes, some not even part of Dine Out, so my opportunity of trying their dishes were a success! And oh my, I think I need to come a few more times here o.O But let's move onto the dessert, as if it couldn't get any better:

Just when you think you're full...

Rich, soft, everything that's perfect in a dessert all winds up in a seafood restaurant. No wonder this place have such rave reviews! It was the perfect way to end the night (or, begin it?) I went clubbing afterwards d": Although the Dine Out menu is already served on their regular menu (specific times and nights), it certainly encourages people to come back for their favourite dishes - and why not???

Overall Thoughts

Dine Out is a great opportunity to try and experience everything your tastebuds craves. From the smallest to the biggest budget, you get a sense of what to expect from each place. Two of the restaurants were mid-priced, while the other two were either low or high-priced.

Fair warning: remember to choose wisely, because with so many possibilities, you might end up wasting your money. And if you missed this year's Dine Out, not to worry, it's an annual event, so there are more opportunities to find out your favourite eats. Simply put: don't spend too much eating out, but enjoy all of the food that you are trying!

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