Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Reef - 2.0 Brunch

We visited the Reef for a rainy sunday brunch with 3 other friends and a toddler, and walked into a pretty packed restaurant. Only one of our friends had been into the Reef before when I introduced them to the restaurant a few months ago, so when it came time to planning a brunch with some friends this place came up! We were the first to arrive actually about 15 minutes past our 1pm reservation, and I ordered a passionfruit mimosa for 6$, and Charles had a lager pint for 4$ as well as some Yardie Yam Fries with Jerk Mayo for 6$ while we waited. I actually had never tried the Yam Fries from the Reef before, and they were actually really thick cut large pieces. Our friends arrived and we all ordered our mains while listeing to some reggae from the DJ booth. During the daytime it's just a playlist, but in the evening they have a house DJ or special guest DJ's spinning from Vinyl. All of our dishes were amazing, and even the 3 year old toddler loved the food. Normally you recieve the complimentary appetizer doughnuts, but they actually arrived for dessert which I think is better, as it was great after our entree!
Check out the pictures below from our latest brunch visit.

Yardie Yam Fries with Jerk Mayo $6. Huge Yam sticks, and cooked perfectly. The Jerk Mayo was a great dip!

Jamaica Me Crabby Brunch dish $11. Oceanwise curried crabcakes on toasted english muffin topped with medium poached eggs, citrus hollandaise and salsa. Served with hashbrowns, orange slice and cantelope slice. Great Brunch dish, and the crabcakes are oceanwise so you know you are eating good quality! I added some of the Reefs signature hot sauce, however the citrus hollandaise is perfect on its own also.

The Trini Roti for 10$ wrapped in a housemade flatbread seasoned with tumeric and cumin with Jerk Chicken. Served with coleslaw. This is a HUGE dish, Charles couldn't even finish.

View of the inside Jerk Chicken mixture. Huge chunks of potatoes and Jerk Chicken and so tasty!

Complimentary dessert, 5 mini like doughnuts filled with fresh banana, with a banana butter spread.

Close up of one of the complimentary desserts from the Reef.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wings on Granville - Hit or Miss

I've gone to Wings on Granville quite a few times over the years, but mostly if I've been in the area and really craving wings - as I have had my few share of good and bad experiences! So it's not usually a spot I plan, just incase it ends up bad! First I will let you know some of my worst experiences I've had at Wings - which most would consider never going back!

One time about 2 or 3 summers ago, we went to wings as we were down on that end of Granville and they had their patio open. We were sitting on the patio in the section thats closest to the street, compared to against the Wings building. There was a really drunk, and I believe homeless person who was pretty much harassing the customers of Wings asking for food and money. He would them come onto the patio and sit at an empty table cursing and yelling, and then get up and stagger off to the street - and repeat. A few cusomers on the patio complained to the staff about this man, and all the wings staff did was remove the free chairs so he could not come and sit down - which did not prevent him from coming back. Finally we couldn't take it anymore and have no idea why no one from the wings staff asked him to leave, so we went inside.
I think actually the worst experience I have ever had though was when Charles and I went one late night probably about a year ago - and sat inside due to the last horrible patio incident. We decided to share 3 types of wings and placed our order. I believe we ordered Jerk, BBQ and some sort of Hot wing. When our order arrived, the wings did not look like any of the type we ordered, so we stared at them trying to figure out what type they were. We tried them, and I could clearly tell that they were not the ones we ordered, and on top - 2 of them were very plain and only in a dry rub with no sauce, which I didn't like. We stopped eating them, and about 5 minutes later our waitress arrived saying oh we messed up your order with another table and they have the type you ordered. I told her I didn't like these ones, and she went on saying how they are really good and did not offer to get our order!! She then walked away and we were like what the hell???? Is she going to place our correct order? So we finished our beer, and I think she clued in we weren't eating the wrong wings - so she came back and asked, Would you like these to go?? I'm thinking HUH! No I wan't my correct order and a discount for the screw up that is taking forever to fix. So she came back to our table, but not with our wings, but with our bill as we didn't order more drinks so she figured we were done. We look at the bill, and sure enough no discount for the wings, a full priced bill. We were so frusterated by that point, and usually I never complain!!! I figured it wouldn't do anything at this point as she obviously wasn't taking the hint, so we left no tip at all, and left giving our wings we didn't eat or like to a homeless person on the street. Hopefully they liked them.

So now that I am done about my horrible experiences! On top - they don't have their own washroom, so you have to use the hotel's next door.

We went back to Wings last monday, as we were wanting a quick bite before going to the Yale and a picther of beer. Surprisingly, (as I didn't have high hopes) we actually had a good experience. Our waitress Christine was great with letting me know about the new types of wings, and which dipping sauces complimented which wings. Our order came, and it was correct and arrived pretty fast. I noticed most of the wings, except for the Jerk pretty much look alike, although you could tell them apart by taste. We ordered the Jammin Jerk, Louisiana Sweet, Buffalo and Maui Lime with the Wowza dipping sauce. At least we had a pleasant experience for once!!

Below are some pictures of the wings from our last trip.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sanafir 2.0

Second visit to Sanafir!  Had a gin cocktail, and the sablefish trio.  So good!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sanafir - Dubai meets Vancouver

Sanafir is one of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver, and one that I frequent quite often. It's located on Granville, so it's a great spot to plan a dinner or drinks with friends. I love how it has that Arabian Nights feel to it. Downstairs they have 25 foot ceilings with a communal table and some private booths and tables, while upstairs they have day beds, where you can lounge and relax while overlooking downstairs. For the food, it's great to try the tapas trios. You pick the focus ingredient - halibut, prawns, calamari etc.. and then you get 3 different takes on the dish. It's a great deal for 14$, and it makes a great sharing dish. Their main dishes are also priced really great for the quality ranging from 15-22$, or you can opt to try their platters to share for 22$ person where you get a HUGE platter that is quite filling. In the summer they open up the wall on the street to provide a more patio appeal, which is a great spot to eat at. This is the type of spot where you would want to have your birthday at also as they can take a nice sized reservation. Below are some pictures from a few of my dining events there.

The first of the Halibut Tapas Trio we tried was the Pistachio Crusted Halibut with moroccan spiced lentils and grilled vegetables. This was a great way to start the halibut off. I love how the cream sauce really brought out the texture of the pistachio's.

2/3 Prawn tapas we tried was the Creamy Halibut Korma with summer squash and toasted cashews. I've had Korma a few times, but usually it's more of a butter chicken like color, so I was wondering how this one would be! It was actually really great and the cashews gave the softer dish a nice crunch. It didn't really have a Korma taste, more like a spiced delicate cream taste.

The first of the 3 Calamari dishes we tried was the Grilled Calamari with indian spiced yellow curry and slivered almonds. This dish we thought was just OK. The Calamari was a little more chewy then what I'm used to... I think I just prefer my Calamari lightly fried then grilled. The sauce however was another amazing curry sauce, but then Sanafir sure knows how to make great Indian dishes!

I love hummus alsmost as much as I love guacamole, and I love great Naan bread, so I really wanted to try Sanafir's take on it. You get a pretty big portion for only 6$, I believe it was 8 pieces and a pretty big bowl of hummus. The Naan was perfect, freshly baked and moist. The hummus I found a little bit salty, (you can actually see the salt on top in the picture). Also, we skipped the olives as neither of us are olive fans. If you are a salt lover this is a dish you would probably love!

One of the main Entrees we have tried is the Seared Ahi Tuna 19$, which I loved!  I loved the presentation, how it was cut up in bite size pieces, with the perfect ammount of crispy asian salad and ginder soy to go with it. The quality of the tuna was great as it just melted in our mouth.
Here's a picture of me having some Naan and Hummus on Sanafir's Patio. We were at Sanafir that night before going to the Commodore to see Beres Hammond and Culture, in which Culture walked by before hand - said hi, and I had no idea they were Culture.. I just thought it was random people going to the show!the highlight of this dining experience was when Culture walked right by us.

Lux @ Caprice - the Socialite scene

I had wanted to go to Lux for a while since seeing a bunch of photo's my friends had posted of their visits. This place reminded me of a place that the girls from the Hills would go to, or something Paris Hilton would be at. Upon arrival I was greeted by one of the owners who was really nice and brought us to a great spot! They also had a house DJ spinning great tunes. We noticed that there was another huge stagette party - as they offer really good stagette deals! Lux had a 3 course special for 25$, which Charles and I took advantage of. a few of the other people in our party also tried that, and some opted to just order from their regular menu. Although I had so much excitement for this place it slowly went downhill...
When we were seated, I was told many of the cocktails were not available including the one I wanted, a simple bellini - as they were out of Champagne. I was thinking how is this possible when there is a BC Liq store less then 10 blocks away that's open til 11pm! Charles was thinking he would have diet coke - again no diet coke? How is it that you are out of that when there are soo many stores on Granville you can go grab some at! Anyways since I couldn't have a bellini I had a strongbow. So when the waitress came to take our 3 course order she let us know that both of the dessert options were not available so we had to make a different selection. I was still wondering, if it's just dessert, can't they go to the safeway across the street and pick up some ingredients? Once we ordered, Our appetizer came pretty fast which was great! Then came the entrees which all seemed a little small for the ones from the set menu, so I started to wish we ordered off the regular menu! Especially when my dish was missing some of the items that were supposed to be in it. Our Desserts arrived that looked bigger then our entrees, yet sadly one of my friends Derek, his entree didn't arrive yet. As he didn't have an appetizer he was really hungry and everyone was almost done dessert. We had to ask the waitress how long until his entree is, and it sounded like the Kitchen forgot. 10 minutes later his sablefish arrived, but really undercooked! As we complained, the waitress mentioned that his entree will be free, but still he had to leave the restaurant hungry. I think to top off the evening, we noticed that when we were getting ready to leave, the stagette party all of a sudden were in an awful argument with the LUX staff. I think it was a dispute over the bill, but the poor bride to be was in tears! I felt bad, thinking what a way to start off your night. They didn't get Champagne to toast her celebration, and then they leave her in tears over a bill dispute. I think I will probably give this place a 2nd chance - but not with high hopes. I'll probably just come back to try their cheese plate which looked really good. Below are some pictures from that night.

For our appetizer Charles and I both selected the Dungeness Crab Lollipops with fennel and tarragon. These were amazing, but slightly dry.. wish it had a little bit of a puree or sauce with it! It's interesting that our appetizer is probably the same size as our entrees and desserts!

For my main entree I selected the Queen Charlotte Halibut Cheeks which came with Organic Potatoes, Tomatoes, French Beans, Quail Egg, Lemon and Basil. It was interesting that the menu said poached quail egg, when mine sure looked and tasted boiled! I was also wondering where the tomatoes were in the dish. This dish was really tasty, but pretty small.

For my dessert I tried the Sorbet Trio - again one of the sorbet's was out of stock (lemon) so they had to substitute for lime. I actually loved the sorbet after dinner, and especially loved the raspberry one that's on the left (also included strawberry and lime). I wasn't fond of the biscuit though.

For the main entree Charles tried the Roasted Lamb with Squash cubes, fresh Basil and a Black Cherry Dark Chocolate sauce. He seemed to love everything about it except the size of meat! Made me think of those commercials they have for Wendy's where they go out to eat and the entree is so small so they go into Wendy's after for another meal. Ramsey probably wouldn't send these out, as you know how he doesn't like small pieces of lamb!

For the dessert trio, just like with a few of their drinks, they were also out of one of the dessert options in the set 3 course meal - so this was another option. Charles had the white chocolate berry tart, which was about as big as his main entree. He ate some of it, but being as though he doesn't have a sweet tooth and it was so huge he didn't finish, although he still had an appetite.

Ali and Teresa ordered the Cheese Plate to start - I wish I got that!!! You can see the leftovers behind, and for their main they got the salmon entree.

Our good Friends Teresa and Ali, with part of the Lux bar behind them. I love how pretty this place is! Totally not the spot for a guys night out, unless their mission is to pick up hotties @ a chic bar!