Trattoria Italian Kitchen – Dine Out 2014

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For my final Dine Out, it was last minute and we decided to visit Trattoria Italian Kitchen. They don’t take reservations, so we had to wait. There were plenty of people waiting, and we waited almost an hour. Super busy, but their $18 menu for 3 courses was definitely a good deal and probably attracted the crowds. Trattoria is part of the Glowbal group, and having been to the other restaurants, I’m confident that the food can’t be too bad. There’s an open kitchen and it’s quite noisy in here with families gathering for some Italian food.

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Raspberry Italian Soda

We essentially celebrated Chinese New Years at an Italian restaurant ironically, so we started ourselves with some Italian Soda. My family aren’t drinkers, so we got these as virgins. They were surprisingly really good! A bit of fizz and there were a variety of flavours to choose from. I chose the raspberry flavour and it was a bit sweet and sour and definitely very refreshing.

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Raspberry, Cucumber, Passionfruit Italian Soda

We pretty much ordered every flavour on the menu, including peach as well. Pictured here is raspberry, cucumber, and passionfruit. My favourite was actually the cucumber flavour. It was so refreshing! The passionfruit sort of tasted more like peach, so it wasn’t a huge hit.

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Zuppa di Zucca

My mom ordered the Zuppa di Zucca. This was a roasted butternut squash soup with sage oil. It was a medium consistency and my mom enjoyed it. It also came with a prosciutto wrapped grissini, which is like a breadstick. That was a nice touch to the soup.

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Tuna Salad

The rest of us got the Tuna Salad. We were actually slightly disappointed with the salad, since the menu had said seared albacore tuna. We were expecting something like tuna tataki. Turned out, it was more like poached can tuna. I’m not a huge fan of canned tuna since it’s really flaky, so I wasn’t a huge fan. It came with arugula, cannellini beans, radish and finished off with a citrus vinaigrette.

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Pollo Marsala – pan roasted chicken breast, Marsala and mushroom sugo with fennel salad

Mom and dad got the Pollo Marsala as their main. It was a pan roasted chicken breast topped with a Marsala wine and mushroom sugo sauce. A sugo sauce is an Italian tomato based sauce. We weren’t expecting much from this dish, but it turned out to be probably the best! The chicken was so moist and juicy that my parents were raving about it the whole night. The sauce was also absolutely delicious. It wasn’t too creamy or rich, but a perfect consistency to lightly bring some flavour to the chicken. It came with a side of fennel salad that was similar to the tuna salad.

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Braised Lamb Cheek Pappardelle – bean ragout, smoked pancetta

The rest of us got the Braised Lamb Cheek Pappardelle. I found this average. I like to eat lamb, but I found that they didn’t season it enough, so you could still taste the gamey flavour of lamb. However, the lamb cheeks were absolutely soft and tender, which was a plus. I think I just didn’t really enjoy the flavour of this dish overall. Something was a little off for me.

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Tiramisu with Biscotti

Lastly, for dessert, the only choice was the Tiramisu. When the cake came, we were all underwhlemed. This was probably the nicest slice that was plated, as the rest were all lopsided and messy looking. However, when we took a bite into it, we all agreed it was delicious! It felt like a homemade traditional Italian recipe. The cake was moist and soaked in espresso and the Mascarpone cheese mixed with whip cream was just the right amount. The biscotti was also a nice addition on the side. We were all full by the end of our meal, but we still managed to stuff ourselves with the Tiramisu.

Overall, we were all very happy with Trattoria’s Dine Out menu. I wouldn’t say the choices were dishes I would normally order, but for $18, we were literally filled up and the service was great. Their regular menu also looks like a pretty affordable menu and I’m looking forward to coming back to try some of their other dishes. The only downside would be the no reservations policy.

Trattoria Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro (Dine Out 2014)

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For my second dine out, I visited The Oakwood Canadian Bistro with J. Parking is a bit tough here since there’s only street parking and it’s pretty packed in the Kitsilano area. The bistro was packed and I found the atmosphere to be a bit too loud. It was sort of hard to talk, but it would be a nice place to hang out with friends.

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Pork Terraine – maple cauliflower puree, pickled shallots

For the appetizer, J got the Pork Terraine. I took a bite and it was alright. We both agreed it sort of tasted like spam, but of higher quality. Wasn’t my favourite.

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Smoked Seafood Chowder – cod, clams, bacon lardon, oyster crackers

For myself, I got the Smoked Seafood Chowder. It was quite flavourful, with loads of clams and bits of cod fish. It also came with oyster crackers, which I enjoyed. You could actually taste the oyster flavour in the crackers.

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Grilled 16 oz Pork Chop – roast fingerling potato, charred cippolini and fennel, apple glace

For the entree, J paid an extra $10 for the Grilled 16 oz Pork Chop. It was decent, but I don’t know if I would pay an extra $10 for it. The meat was juicy and came with a nice apple glaze.

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Roast Porchetta – confit garlic brocollini, dijon spatile, caramelized onion puree

For myself, I got the Roast Porchetta, that everyone talks about. However, I was actually quite disappointed in it! I found that my dish had more fat than anything! The amount of meat was so minimal. I know porchetta is supposed to come with some fat, which is why it’s so delicious, but this was too much. It felt kind of disgusting just chewing on the fat.  The crispy layer of the porchetta, however was quite crunchy, although I found it under-seasoned. It was just salty, but not flavourful. My favourite part was actually the dijon spatile. Not exactly sure what it was, but it’s crunchy and sort of like popcorn.

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Chocolate Mousse – coffee pistachio crunch, whip cream

For dessert, J got the Chocolate Mousse. This was the only item he really enjoyed the whole night. He loves coffee desserts, so this was perfect. It was a chocolate mousse with coffee flavoured bits mixed with pistachio, so you got a nice crunch. The whip cream just underneath this crunchy layer gave it a smooth texture along with the mousse. Mix it all up and you get a delicious mousse with a crunchy bite.

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Maple Creme Caramel – pecan shortbread, cranberry gel, vanilla caramel

My dessert was the Maple Creme Caramel. It was such a Canadian dessert, with the red being a cranberry gel and the maple leaf being a pecan shortbread. Underneath was a vanilla caramel that tasted sort of like a pudding. I personally didn’t really enjoy this dessert. The cranberry gel gave it a sour taste and I found it a bit odd.

Overall, we were slightly disappointed with the Dine Out Vancouver 2014 menu at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro. Next to us was a friendly diner who said he visits the bistro regularly, and he agreed that the dine out menu did not showcase the best of what there is to offer. He suggested that we try their regular menu next time because there are some really good dishes. The Dine Out menu was for $28, and although I wouldn’t say that’s pricey for the amount of food we had, the dishes weren’t that great. They weren’t dishes that made me want to return to try out more of their menu. But again, I hear good things about their normal menu, so I’ll definitely think about a revisit soon.

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Edible Canada (Dine Out 2014) & Earnest Ice Cream

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I know I’m months late for my Dine Out 2014 posts, but I’m going to write them anyway! For my first dine out, I went to Edible Canada with J. Edible Canada is located at Granville Island, and is well known for promoting local food. The Dine Out menu was for $28, with some menu items offered at an additional cost. We also chose to get the BC VQA Wine Pairings, which was an additional $16. I can assure that you’ll be pretty filled up by the end of the night!

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Bartier Scholefield Sauivignon Blanc 2012, Bartier Bros. Unoaked Chardonnay 2012

The wines that came with our appetizers were white wines. Each dish comes with a specific wine pairing that is supposed to match your dish. I’m not a wine expert, so I won’t comment too much about them, but we did find that all our wines suited the dishes quite well.

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Crispy Humboldt Squid – shaved fennel, radishes, squid ink aioli

J got the Crispy Humboldt Squid, which were cut into strips, rather than the typical calamari style we often eat. The squid were very tender and the batter was light and well seasoned. It also came with a bit of squid ink aioli which was a nice touch.

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Fried BC Mountain Scallops – lamb offal, brown sugar & bacon, baked beans, cornbread

For myself, I got the Fried BC Mountain Scallops. I had originally thought that they were “typical” scallops, until the waitress warned me while taking my order that they were really lamb offals or testicles. Feeling adventurous that day, I ordered it anyways. Turns out they were quite delicious! They were tender and had a slight chew, and were lightly breaded and fried. It came in a pan of baked beans which accompanied the “scallops” really well.

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Bartier Bros. Merlot 2011, Market Red 2012

For our main pairing, we were given red wines. Perfect, since we were both having dishes with meat.

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Grilled 6oz Canadian AAA Filet Mignon – bouquetiere of vegetables, bone marrow butter, root vegetable pave

J added an extra $20 for the Grilled 6oz Canadian AAA Filet Mignon. It was cooked to medium-rare as requested with a beautiful pink interior. The meat was tender and juicy.

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Seared Lois Lake Steelhead – Fraser Valley winter kale, wild boar bacon, roasted Hazelmere Farm sunchokes

For myself, I chose the Seared Lois Lake Steelhead. I like to order fish when I dine out, since I can never cook fish well. This was absolutely delicious! The steelhead was so moist and the skin was seared beautifully. I normally don’t like to eat the skin on fish, but I devoured this! A must order! It also came with some kale, which was lightly seasoned and made a great side of veggies.

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Whiskey Cream a la Zack Shave, Venturi-Schultze Brodenburg #3

Lastly, for our desserts, we also got some dessert wines. For my dessert, I got a Whiskey Cream, which I found extremely strong! It’s like a creamy coffee cream flavour, but the whiskey itself was very strong so I felt like you had to really sip on this.

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Canadian Butter Tart – macerated raisins, Chantilly cream

J got the Canadian Butter Tart, which he said was quite good.

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Bacon Ice Cream Sundae – ginger brownie, walnut crumble, dulce de leche, whipped cream

I came here looking forward to the Bacon Ice Cream Sundae. Unfortunately, you needed to add an additional $2, but I did it anyways. Edible Canada is known for their bacon ice cream, but I was actually slightly disappointed. It was delicious after the first spoon, but halfway through, I found it too sweet. It’s filled with a lot of dulce de leche, and along with the brownie, it’s just too sweet for my liking! The bacon and ice cream is a nice pairing though, just because you get a bit of saltiness and sweetness. Still, I don’t think I would order this again.

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Edible Canada also has a retail store next to the restaurant. They sell a variety of local goods. They essentially sell Canadian gourmet foods here, although they focus mainly on BC goods. One local goodie they sell are Earnest Ice Cream products! So of course I went home with a jar of Whiskey Hazelnut Ice Cream. Quite pricey for ice cream since it came to around $10. That was already after using a 10% coupon that Edible Canada provides you on your receipt after you’ve dined with them. However, the ice cream is pretty damn good. I don’t know if I would pay that price for my every day ice cream though. Probably a nice treat once in a while! For those that don’t want to trek all the way to Earnest Ice Cream, you can now shop at after your meal at Edible Canada!

All in all, Edible Canada was a nice casual restaurant with quality food. I like how they use local ingredients, so you know that you have the freshest ingredients. Service was average, but as usual, you can’t expect much during Dine Out, since it’s always busy. They did their regular check ups, so I was quite pleased with that. To add on, we were late for 30 minutes, and they still took us in and didn’t rush us out, so we were very happy with that. Looking forward to coming back again!

Edible Canada at the Market on Urbanspoon

Earnest Ice Cream on Urbanspoon