The Art of Taste

I’ve always wanted to check out Mosaic Bar and Grille inside the Hyatt but I could never find a willing companion. Thankfully Vaneats came out with an awesome dining package called “The Art of Taste” and I was immediately able to find someone to come try it out with me!

S and I arrived on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. We had a lovely table by the window (hence the better than normal pictures!) and our server was really nice.

The package includes an Appetizer, Entree and Dessert from a pre-selected menu (Local Seasonal Spring Salad, Warm a la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon, 24 Hour Braised Spring Creek Short Ribs, Grilled Long Line Caught BC Ling Cod, Banana Split, and Mosaic Chocolate Cake). Since there were two choices in each category, S and I just ordered one of each!

We started off with some delicious biscuits. These were warm and salty and it was so hard to restrain myself from eating too many!

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The presentation of the salmon was very cool. The smoke billowing out everywhere! Personally the best part of this dish was the ‘sauce’. (The orange drops) This is my own personal opinion. The avocado was mostly tasteless and the salmon tasted like incense in my mouth. It was really not very appetizing ): But gorgeous plating.

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The salad was fresh and crunchy as expected. Everything was sliced thinly and I regret not getting this as my starter as I quite liked the veg in here.

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The package says that the fish is Ling Cod, but I’m pretty sure that this was something else. I’m not 100% sure what but I do recall when we were presented with the special menu it varied slightly from what was promised on the Vaneats website. Nonetheless I loved  this dish and if it weren’t so uncouth I would have licked the plate clean! The shitake mushrooms leant a perfect amount of umami to the dish and the fish was perfectly seared. This is a dish I would eat again and again!

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My friend chose the short ribs and I had a bit of it. Personally my favourite item on the plate was the morels. The meat was tender as expected but still a bit stringy in parts. The puree was smooth and went very well with the sauce. I still preferred my fish though!

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I personally dislike bananas. I really really really REALLY hate bananas. They are basically the only thing on this planet that I will not eat. So you can probably guess that my friend ordered this. It is ENORMOUS. The portions of our previous dishes were restrained but this dessert was more than generous. S and I barely made a dent in it. I adored the almond caramel chip. It almost broke my teeth but it was soooo yummy! The ice cream had a gelato quality to it – super creamy and not too sweet with flecks of vanilla beans. The fresh fruit was very much appreciated to cut through the otherwise cloyingly sweet dessert.

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At this point we were beyond stuff and I packed the cake to go. I had a bite of it as a midnight snack later that night and it was still very moist and mildly chocolatey. I expected it to be this huge chocolatey mountain of fudge but it was actually quite light and not too sweet! It was enormous though!

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Overall I really enjoyed my meal at Mosaic. The package made it a great deal and definitely prompted me to come back sans package to try out the restaurants other offerings. The location is great, the service was wonderful and the food was delicious. This meal is definitely worth repeating!

 
Mosaic Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

Skewers and Soju

Met up with  my good friend J today for some quick eats and long drinks.

We decided to go to Zakkushi on Denman for some small bites. We went at around 8 pm on a Friday night and it was busy but not overflowing (i.e. No lines out the door/can get a table sans reservation)

We ordered just a few things to share: Ebi-mayo, Appy sampler (takowasa, gomae, and kurage), norimayo tsukune, g-beef, and yakioni. Unfortunately due to the darkness of the restaurant I was only able to snap one quick picture.

Food was tasty but definitely no bang for your buck. The portions were small even by my standards!

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Ebi-mayo on a skewer and Appetizer Sampler

After our quick eats we headed over to Chui for some after dinner drinks. We had a bottle of soju ($8?? Extremely overpriced) and a yogurt soju cocktail ($25) I am not a discerning drinker. Nor do I have high expectations, but this soju cocktail had to be the worst one I’ve ever tasted. And that includes the ones I’ve made at home. It felt like two parts soju to 1/4 part everything else. It was torturous to drink this. Also they served this with regular drinking cups??!?

Also the music was painfully loud. I had expected this restaurant with its classy decor (gorgeous indoor cherry blossom tree) to be quieter but it definitely seemed like a spot where people were getting buzzed before going to a club.

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The worst soju cocktail known to man kind.

Although I won’t be checking out Chui in the future for their drink offerings, their food offerings seemed quite delicious so I’ll definitely be back for that some time!
 

 
Zakkushi Charcoal Grill on Urbanspoon
Chui Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Having a Guu’d Time

The weather in Vancouver has been absolutely fabulous this summer! It’s definitely the weather for salads and cocktails on the patio porch. I did a pseudo attempt at that today with my good friend S at Guu Otokomae in Gastown.

Normally I’m not a huge fan of Guu. I enjoy their food but I’m not one to fawn over it. Additionally I’m more of a quiet diner where I can actually talk to the person I’m with.  I appreciate that Guu is creating an “izakaya” atmosphere and feel so I’ll still see myself here occasionally.

We had made reservations so we got a lovely spot by the open window. Lots of sunlight streaming in with a little breeze. Perfectly lovely.

We ordered four dishes to share: Chicken bang-bang Z salad, takowasa, guu yakiudon and japanese fries. All the dishes were done well and were quite tasty. I appreciated that the fries were different types of yams although I’d prefer a spicier dipping sauce (perhaps a wasabi mayo?)

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Takowasa ($3.50)

The takowasa had a good clean taste with the kick of wasabi leaving just the smallest lingering heat. I definitely love it prepared this way better than the more typical Japanese way with grated mountain yam.

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Guu Yakiudon ($8.50)

Hot, fresh and everything I expected it to be, not stellar but tasty nonetheless.

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Chicken bang-bang Z salad ($5.80)

Surprising highlight for me. Definitely my favourite dish of the night. I love the combination of black sesame dressing with the more acidic dressing that the salad leaves were tossed in. I’d definitely come back for this dish!

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Japanese fries with honey mustard dipping sauce ($5.00)

Light and crispy with a soft interior these yam fries are a step above what I usually eat at western restaurants. If only the sauce could be improved upon….

Overall I had a really good meal here and a wonderful time catching up with my friend. I probably won’t be back for a while because I prefer a less noisy atmosphere, but I would definitely recommend this restaurant to any first time izakaya goer. The atmosphere is friendly, the wait staff is always up to speed (always refilling water!) and the portion sizes are decent.

Guu Otokomae on Urbanspoon