Dine Out Vancouver 2015: Shaughnessy Restaurant

Another year, another Dine Out Vancouver!  This year I’ve decided to stay with the $28-$38 range of restaurants as I think those give you the best value for your money.  The first one for me this year is Shaughnessy Restaurant located at the Van Dusen Gardens.  I’m all for exotic game meats, so when I read that Shaugnessy Restaurant has elk and monkfish on their menu….BOOM!  Done!

Shaughnessy Restaurant - bread basket

The lobby area of the restaurant is quite large, the dining area itself seemed smaller.  Probably because a lot of people rent out this restaurant for weddings and such.

Bread basket arrived with two pieces of warm, fresh crispy rolls.  They were light and crispy on the outside (not tough and chewy) and warm, fluffy and soft inside.  They were perfect.

Shaughnessy Restaurant - Crispy Pork Belly

Buddy and I both decided on the Crispy Pork Belly to start.  It came on a bed of arugula and blue cheese, hazelnuts, and julienned apples.  Accompanying it were two light pieces of deep-fried pork rind (heaven!!).

The belly was moist and tender as expected.  The apple cider and oil vinaigrette really cut through the fattiness perfectly.  Toasted hazelnuts were very aromatic.  A good start indeed.

Shaughnessy Restaurant - Slow Cooked Rangeland Elk Osso Buco

I was torn between either the Slow Cooked Rangeland Elk Osso Buco or the Pan Roasted Monkfish.  But I digressed and let Buddy take the elk since it should be more filling for him.  The meat came with sundried blueberry jus, leek confit with green lentils, apple cider & ginger braised purple cabbage.

The dish actually came quite lukewarm, more to the “luke” side.  That’s a problem I’ve been noticing at a few restaurants nowadays, that the food doesn’t arrive hot.  This being a braised osso buco, I expected it to be quite piping.

Anyways, putting that aside, the meat itself was tender enough to be fall-off-the-bone.  But it was a bit drier and tougher than your usual osso bucos of lamb or beef.  It was also distinctly gamier.  All in all, not bad.  Would definitely rate higher in my books if it was hot.

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With the cooler weather we’ve been having lately, there was no better time to visit Burgoo.  I’ve never been before but had always heard good things, so I was excited to give them a try.

Burgoo doesn’t take reservations.  We arrived at around 7:30pm and the place was pretty packed.  There were people waiting outside.  They did have a good system though where you can leave your name and number, and they’ll call you when a table becomes available.  Luckily the Main Street location had lots of little shops for you to wander to while you wait.  We (I) decided to grab a few Lucky’s doughnuts at 49th Parallel a couple blocks away.

It only took about half an hour for a table to become available.

We were pretty famished by the time we sat down, so everything on the menu looked delicious.  I was especially excited to find out beforehand that Burgoo serves mead, as I’ve been pining for it ever since trying it at Locals in Courtenay the Christmas before last.

I tried the Tugwell Creek Kickass Currant ($8/4oz glass) first, as the note of currants intrigued me.  However I found this one disappointing.  It was tart and actually tasted more like currant soda than mead.  There was hardly any honey flavor and it was slightly fizzy.

So next I had their Feature Mead (not sure of the price) which, as I was told, was a traditional mead- straight up fermented honey wine, from Middle Mountain.  Unfortunately that was a disappointment also.  It was quite a bit ‘runnier’ than I remember my first experience with mead to be.  The honey aroma was more pronounced though.  Oh well.

Burgoo - Brie FondueIt took us quite a while to decide on what to order, as everything looked so good.  We finally decided on the Brie Fondue ($11) to start since I’ve never had a fondue of brie before and it’s one of my favorite cheeses.  The menu describes it as ‘roast garlic, honey and white wine, served with cut red apple, grapes and crusty bread for dipping.  When it arrived it looked quite small and we were afraid there wouldn’t be enough cheese for all the dippers.  But it was enough.

Tastewise, I thought the cheese sauce tasted more like a creamy white pasta sauce than brie, although I understand that brie is a very mild-flavored cheese.  I think next time we will get the traditional gruyere version instead.  I also would’ve enjoyed more bread dippers than fruit dippers, as did my dining partner.

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The Blacktail Florist

It was Awkward Diner’s champagne birthday, so to celebrate we all went for dinner at The Blacktail Florist in Gastown.  It was actually an awkward restaurant to find, as they didn’t really have a large sign at all.  I only found it by following a sandwich board upstairs.

The Blacktail Florist - interiorOnce inside though, the ambiance was warm and inviting.  Funnily enough, despite the word “florist” in their name, there was little flora to be found, aside from the greenery behind us.

At the time of our visit, Blacktail Florist had not uploaded their latest menu online, therefore we can say we came in with no expectations in mind.  That kind of reminds me of pre-internet days…when we didn’t have the luxury of previewing a restaurant’s menu prior to the visit…how did we ever manage back then??  It’s quite hard to imagine now actually.

The Blacktail Florist - Blueberry LemonadeThe restaurant’s menu is quite small, and frankly, there wasn’t much to choose from.  I guess for a small restaurant like this, keeping to a small few dishes allows them to easily control the quality and to perfect them.

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Night Race 2014

Night Race 2014Fannypack and I have been running for around 10 weeks now and somewhere along the lines, we decided that we needed a goal.  So to have something to show for our 10 weeks of training, her and I registered for the 5K portion of the Night Race 2014!

Night Race 2014 - Stanley Park PavilionThe race happened last Friday at Stanley Park with the starting and finish line at the Stanley Park Pavilion.  There were lots of protein bars from Pure Protein to be had and water from Happy Water.  There was also neon face painting and glow sticks handed out.

Everyone who registers get an Energizer headlamp and a bright Brooks tech tee- pink for girls, yellow for guys.  I’m glad ours was a long sleeve because it was cold that night!!!  We were lucky though, the torrential rain stopped when it got close to the event.

Night Race 2014 - Start lineThe first start was for the kiddies 1K race.  It was adorable.  The littler ones ran with their parents and the older ones by themselves.  We all cheered for them and it was such a friendly atmosphere.  And apparently for the first time ever, it was a 40-way tie for first place!! ;)

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Xpocity Vancouver 2014 – A Girls Night Out!!

Xpocity VancouverI was extended an invitation by the Socialettes (a local all-women’s PR company) to attend the first ever Xpocity Vancouver event, held at the swanky Four Seasons Ballroom Vancouver.

Xpocity Vancouver was described as a “social shopping” experience that combines a ladies evening out with product sampling and shopping.  Sounds like a superb girls night out to me!  I quickly enlisted Ms. Brown Sugar to accompany me for some fun.

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