Sunday, 17 February 2013


Black & Blue is probably the most hyped restaurant of the past year. I have heard numerous terrible reviews, so I put off trying this restaurant (even as a foodie). But I picked this restaurant for Valentine's Day. At least I can try the restaurant for myself to comment.

And thus, my thoughts are as follws: this restaurant looked promising, but is probably one of the most OVERrated restaurants in Vancouver. I am paying hundreds of dollars for fine dining, but there honestly wasn't anything spectacular-ly fine.

^ I loveeee this light! B&B is so photogenic...!

AMBIANCE | I asked to be seated up stairs, and I admit, the decor is amazing. The booze display, the meat display the glassy classy ela ela-vator, it looked great. The music was loud, it felt very modern. I love the decor, I wish my future house looked something like this, but the music made the restaurant very casual. The boom boom music, I suppose is part of the neon light display, but it did not bring any class into the restaurant. It is no wonder why some people wore ski jackets, UGG boots and hoodies. At this price point, Black & Blue is awfully casual. 

The thing that bothered me the most were the little carts around the restaurant. Black & Blue has this unique service of "bar carts" and "salad carts" that are brought to tables, "performing" a cocktail and a tossing salad. I cannot understand why this is necessary. For my own preference, I prefer red wine with my meat, so naturally the cocktails didn't appeal to me. But it appealed to the table next to me.  The separation between my table and my neighbour was a about meter-width aisle away. The cocktail cart took up 70% of the hallway, along with the elaborate bar tender. Servers and guests would have trouble passing by the narrow space and would brush up against, and occasionally bump my table. Sometimes there would be another cart trying to get by and it was ruckus of "behind you! Getting by! Watch out!" next to my table. I finally asked the server to please move the cart as it was seriously disrupting me. I understand the cart is "cool" and "special", but if I am trying to enjoy a hundred dollar meal, I would at least expect some class. Please be considerate of those around you.

FOOD|  I very naturally did not enjoy the food as much as I would've like to. I had so many peeves about the environment, critiques were naturally in my mind.

French Onion Soup is my favourite food, I always order it. My mom scolds me for ordering an overpriced soup all the time, but I do it anyways. It was good, I really enjoyed it. The Tuna Scream wasn't anything fancy, but I love tuna, so naturally I liked it too. Also why was there no bread to start off with?

I wasn't confident with their Wagyu and the sirloins, tenderloins etc.. didnt appeal to me either. Prime rib is usually as safe bet. I decided to shared a 10oz prime rib. With experience from The Keg, I know never to order any steaks over 6oz, anything larger is far to big. This 10oz steak was huge! It was a perfect size for the both of us and left us very full.
Unfortunately, the dish was at room temperature. I was moving the plates around so we could share, my sharing plate was cold and the serving plate and steak was warm at best. I read this comment many many times on Urbanspoon, and I agree with the critics, "heated plates would be a better option".
The meat was tender and juicy, the gravy a tad salty, overall alright. Also, the side veggies were uninspiring - 2 leaves of Chinese Choy-sum and a small carrot. Any extras, $10 please.
I have to throw in a critique however, the presentation really really lacked. Even in the photos I have attached, the placement, the dish, just didn't feel very fine dining. For me, I would've preferred a larger plate with more intricate sides for a $30-$40 dish.

I praise the Lemon Tarte. The tarte itself was amazing, presentation still lacked, but overall the taste was very good. I left on a relatively happy note.

Overall, Black & Blue left me feeling like I went to a larger, slightly more decorate Milestones or Cactus Club. 
 I felt the atmosphere was incredibly casual for a high priced restaurant. 
At this price point, my expectations are high, and there are many many strong competitors, Black & Blue is not anywhere near the top of the list. 

1032 Alberni Street
Black + Blue on Urbanspoon << (Note the low Urbanspoon rating...)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Wishing you all a healthy and prosperous new year! May all your wishes come true :)

I wanted to share my family Chinese New Year dinner at my favourite chinese restaurant with you all. I had an amazing time, I highly recommend Dynasty Seafood (皇朝海鮮酒家) above all chinese restaurants in Vancouver. With all the chinese restaurants around town, I made a very bold statement, and I couldn't be more happy to!

The presentation of their dishes blow me away each time. They always come up with a way to surprise me. Their thought and talent keeps bringing us back for more. Our family loves this restaurant and established a close relationship with the staff, -their service is great and the chef always comes out to ask if  everything is okay. I highly highly recommend this restaurant.

Below, I have just chosen a small portion of the many dishes we had (those who have been to a chinese dinner will know the many many dishes we eat haha). I chose the ones I thought were best presented, most unique. I did not list dish names, because I do not know what they are called and they are off-menu items discussed with the chef. Enjoy!


108-777 West Broadway
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant 皇朝海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Dine Out Vancouver post #2!

I struggled with this post. I had a great time at this restaurant, my company was great, the service was impeccable, everything was going well, except the food. My last visit at Cardero's left me with a better impression of the Dine Out Vancouver gimmick, but it seems like I'm in for a roller coaster ride.

I understand $18 Dine Out Menus are the cheapest one, I also understand Dine Out means busier nights and pre-made food - but it doesn't mean I'm not expecting quality food. You may say "what you pay is what you get", but the intention of Dine Out Vancouver is to offer a chance for restaurants to showcase their kitchen at a discounted price, in hopes people will return for their regular menu. To me, Dine Out Vancouver is supposed to be a gateway for restaurants to attract potential customers, not drive them away.

AMBIANCE | I have heard about SIP on the radio numerous times. I have always been curious about it, and finally suggested to try it with a girlfriend. SIP is a small restaurant, its partnering restaurant, The Refinery sits upstairs. The restaurant itself is very cramped, we sat in a booth that fits only one butt (haha), I could barely fit my purse next to me. Our coats were hung on a hook to the side of the booth - this irritated me. As you probably guessed, I am an incredibly picky person, I get very paranoid when my coat is hung there as servers walk quickly next to it. I always imagine my coat falling to the floor or somebody spilling something on to it. Its open kitchen 3 meters away from me didn't help my paranoia either.

We had an amazing chance to be served by the owner of the restaurant. We didn't find out until we started chatting and he even offered us a free drink! He is an amazing guy with a great personality, strong management skills and incredible sense of humour. He was definitely the hi-light of our night.

 Food Ordered:

 Tuna Tower - marinated albacore tuna, cool coleslaw, tropical pineapple
Beef Carpaccio - arugula,  garlic aioli, aged parmigianno
Guiness Grilled Chicken - free range, organic chicken, roasted garlic mas, season veggies, guiness gravy
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin - bacon wrapped, apple and caramelized onion filling, roasted garlic, seasonal veggies and strongbow cider pan sauce
Frangelio Chocolate Cake - chocolate ganache, seasonal fruits

FOOD | This was my first time trying an $18 Dine Out Menu, and I probably never will again.

The beef carpaccio is naturally a expensive dish, so for a $18 menu, I wasnt expecting too much.

The tuna was not a tower, nor was it coleslaw, but a mixture immersed in very salty sauces with a cracker on top.

The chicken sounded amazing on the menu but was only flavourful when loaded up in hot sauce (which we asked the server for). I really only enjoyed the mash potatoes. The mashed potatoes were amazing.

The bacon with stuffing  I could not even tell what was stuffed inside, until I looked up the menu again to type up this post. But it tasted quite alright! This dish was perhaps the only one that I enjoyed.

The chocolate cake as expected, was far too sweet. I didn't finish it.

I hate being a harsh critic, but in a nutshell, the food was very mediocre, very disappointing.
The service is a drive for me to come back if my friends decide to pick this restaurant in the future, but I most likely will not be choosing this restaurant myself.

1117 Granville Street
Sip Resto Lounge on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 26 January 2013


It's Dine Out Vancouver again!

Remember in my past years, I am not particularly a fan of the Dine Out events, I think the gimmick is valued more than the quality of food. BUT whatever motivates my friends and I to go out and enjoy fine dining...
I'm in.

I was able to visit a Cardero's on the first day of Dine Out. I have been to Cardero's for the regular lunch and dinner menu before - all visits, so I had an idea of what to expect.

AMBIANCE | Unfortunately, the ambiance was disappointing  I have never been to Cardero's on a full-house Friday night, and I probably will never again. Situated close to the center back of the restaurant, I found Cardero's acoustics dreadful. I was literally yelling at the person next to me to be able to converse, I simply could not hear the person at the end of my table. According to the engineer majors within my friends, the low roof combined with solid wood walls cause sound to bounce back and forth, literally amplifying and echoing everything, creating a mayhem.
I also found it very stuffy and warm inside. I had my coat on the back of my chair, and when I got home, my mother instantly said "you smell like frying oil, you better dry clean that coat!" To save costs, my coat is currently being aired out in the garage haha.

Overall, the interior of Cardero's is very similar to Sandbar (Granville Island) - both consisting of wooden themes and a half open kitchen (I suppose thats why I smelled of oil...) The wood and anchor/nautical details certainly suit the seafood cuisine. Above all, I did thoroughly take pleasure in the casual and fun mood of Cardero's, it is the perfect restaurant for having laughs and drinks, all while enjoying fine dining. Plus, I should not complain about anything that was an amazing waterview.

Food ordered (Party of 6):
Tomato Bocconcini Salad vine ripened tomatoes, Fior de latte, balsamic reduction and fresh basil
Manhattan Style Clam Chowder finished with dark rum
Wok Squid garlic, chilies and cilantro
Braised Lamb Shank mashed potatoes, market vegetables and red wine demi-glace
Grilled Steelhead Salmon roasted vegetable succotash, brown butter sauce
 Cardero's Chocolate Mousse Cake raspberry coulis, fresh berries

FOOD | Cardero's again, specializes in seafood. This time however, I wanted to try their kitchen and order some land animals. I ordered the Bocconcini Salad, which was average and small (as with most Dine Out menus). I heard the Chowder was decent, though many said that European white clam chowder would've been preferred. Still I regret not ordering the Wok Squids. The squid portion looked small but in my opinion would've been a better deal over a few slices of tomato and vinegar.

Between Lamb, Salmon and Chicken breast, I ordered the lamb. A word of caution, the lamb is very game. The portion looks big, but the lamb shank had a huge bone in the middle, so in reality, the meat portion is very small. Oh, I really enjoyed the mashed potatos (I suppose you cannot really go wrong with mashed potatos...). I tried a touch of the salmon - it was quite juicy, far better than I had expected. Going with the rule of thumb, choose salmon for a light taste, lamb for the meat hearties. That said, if it is your first time to Cardero's, salmon would be the recommended choice since seafood is their specialty.

I almost never enjoy Dine Out desserts. To me, they are almost always a generic, overly sweet cake of some sort. Cardero's surprised me. The seemingly common chocolate mousse cake was perfectly flavoured - not too sweet and not too heavy. I finished my plate in a jiffy!

1583 Coal Harbour Quay 
Cardero's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Holiday Treat - Visit my Christmas!

A day in the life of my Christmas Holidays! Visit my sentimental tree and my trip to the Vancouver Christmas Market.

Happy Holidays to you all! 
Wishing you a wonderful holly-jolly Christmas and a healthy smooth-sailing New Year! :)

Lots of love,

(Photos taken with a Canon Rebel T2i)
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