Friday, April 30, 2010

Monk McQueens (Dine Out Vancouver 2010)

This is my first dine out of the year and it's one of the $28 options. I did not initially want to come here since I noticed that they do have a 2 for -1 entree entertainment book coupon. However, a friend wanted to come here and the menu looked decent enough. Street parking was difficult to find in the area, but there is pay parking somewhere along Moberly Road ($1/hour).

Monk McQueens
601 Stamps Lndg
Vancouver, BC V5Z

The first thing I noticed was that the restaurant smelled a bit funky. If you get seated in the middle of the dining room, ask to be moved because you'll get a way better view by the windows. The second thing I noticed is that they added a third option to their Dine Out Menu, some of the options may have been vegetarian. We stuck with what was on the website, though.

The bread was good, but the butter was too hard and difficult to spread.

Monk McQueens, Dine Out Vancouver 2010, bread and butter

The Bloody Mary Spirited Mussels (Sky vodka, tomato broth,dill, garlic & shallots) looked great and tasted great. The broth was a tad salty though, perhaps from the mussels themselves, which impaired the other flavours from really acknowledging their presence.

Monk McQueens, Dine Out Vancouver 2010, mussels

Monday, April 26, 2010

Choosing restaurants for Dine Out Vancouver

Something that I've learned is that you can't assume you're getting a good deal with Dine Out. I'm not saying that Dine Out isn't worth it, you just have to know where to go and pick carefully in order to get the most value out of the event.

Here's how I choose:

1. Compare the prices between the Dine Out menu and the Regular menu
At times, DOV will be more expensive than if you ordered à la carte. Although, they toughened up on this by removing some of the culprit restaurants this year, especially in the $18 tier. More often, Dine Out sometimes only works out to be free dessert or free appetizer. Think about if it's really worth it to have to book in advance and deal with how busy the restaurants are, particularly if you don't normally order appetizers or desserts (like me).

2. Check if the restaurant has a prix fixe or early dining menu.
Some restaurants have deals that are on par or even better than Dine Out. One drawback is that these taster menus often have less selection than during DOV, but not always!

3. Check if the restaurant has entertainment coupons (or even coupons from the Georgia Straight).
Many restaurants often have 2-for-1 entree coupons in the entertainment book. So if you already have one, the coupons are often cheaper or equal to the discount from Dine Out, plus you get more selection. You can view the restaurants that have Entertainment coupons here (warning: huge list):

4. If you absolutely adore a menu that a restaurant has during Dine Out, #1-3 can be ignored. This particularly applies to restaurants that have items not normally found à la carte.

The Pit Burger Bar (UBC)

Nothing on the menu is spectacular and their mozza sticks and popcorn shrimp were notably small and not worth it. However, I do enjoy the waffle fries, belgian fries, and the occasional faux poutine.

The Pit Burger Bar @ UBC
6138 Student Union Blvd (Student Union Building)

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

(604) 822-6511

Normally this wouldn't warrant a post, but... well see for yourself. Below is what my friend and I have dubbed, the Poutina (our friend Tina was with us when we got it).

UBC Pit Pub Burger Bar at the SUB, waffle fries poutine, poutina

Waffle Fries $2.75
Side Gravy $0.50
Xtra Cheese $0.60
$3.85 (GST included)

This combination was nothing short of heavenly in taste, but awful in smell. I likened it to the insides of a shoe or an unwashed sock.

It was a huge triumph in being able to order this as we have tried on several occasions without avail. Supposedly, the staff aren't allowed to make this at all and the cashier made a mistake for us. We've gone back (unsuccessfully) everyday for about two weeks trying to relive our success. Since they were willing to do waffle fries with gravy alone, I tried buying a cheese string from the Delly, which worked out to be cheaper than the Poutina but nowhere near as tasty.

Maybe with enough awareness, they'll put the Poutina on the menu someday. I am hopeful.

UBC Pit Pub Burger Bar at the SUB, waffle fries poutine, poutina

The Pit Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dine Out Vancouver 2010

Reservations have been open as of around 12 am, still lots of dates available. I noticed Blue Water Cafe isn't participating this year though.

April 26 - May 6, 2010

Ashiana Tandoori Restaurant
Au Petit Chavignol