I wanted to post about my Dine Out Vancouver 2014 experience this weekend but I’ve been very busy. I hope this review will be helpful for next year’s Dine Out.

Last year, I had my first Dine Out Vancouver experience with my high school friends at Siena, a small Italian restaurant on Granville and 12th/13th. I later enjoyed a delectable dinner at Bacchus Restaurant in the elegant Wedgewood Hotel with my family.

This year, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to try any restaurant, since December had been quite the expensive month. I really wanted to try some more creme brûlées around Vancouver since it is one of my favourite desserts. Luckily, I was able to try Blarney Stone and SoL Sun Belt Cookery. If I move away this autumn, this may be my ‘last’ Dine Out in Vancouver.

Blarney Stone

Blarney Stone is part of the $18 restaurants for a 3-course-meal. Having previously ordered entrées from Blarney before, I can tell you that $18 for an appetiser, entrée, and dessert is a very good deal since the most expensive entrée could be around $17.

I chose the following:

  • Leak & Potato Soup
  • Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie (I was too hungry and forgot to take a photo of it)
  • Bailey’s Creme Brûlée

BlarneyStone-dineout2014

My favourite, of course, was the Bailey’s creme brûlée, which turned out to be a little smaller than I’d expected it would be. If Blarney offers it again next year, I highly recommend you order this!

Tip: If you are planning to go to Blarney’s on a Friday or Saturday evening, be sure to arrive by 7PM. We nearly couldn’t order anything from Dine Out when we learned that they don’t usually take DOV orders after 7 on Fridays and Saturdays.

SoL Sun Belt Cookery

As I was researching which restaurant offered creme brûlée for dessert, I found a blog that recommended SoL Sun Belt Cookery in the $28 range with Rosemary Creme Brûlée. This restaurant describes itself as Mediterranean with a Moroccan flair. Yet it is the biography of the Chef impressed me the most. Hailing from Morocco, Chef Abdel Elatouabi could win the most extraordinary work resume:

‘Abdel’s career in the hospitality industry is anything but boring. While in Morocco, he worked as Food & Beverage Manager with the Rabat Hilton ensuring 5 star service in it’s 4 restaurants and convention centre. Some nights, there would be a wedding for 400 hundred in one banquet hall, an offsite catering for a Saudi prince, a seafood buffet in the restaurant, and a party in the bar – all on the same night. Abdel organized banquets and dinners for such dignitaries as the Sultan of Brunei, Queen of Thailand, King Abdellah of Jordan, the late King Faisal al Saud of Saudi Arabia, President Bill Clinton, Koffi Annan and even James Brown and Prince and the Revolution.

Chef Elatouabi was also honoured to serve as the Executive Chef to His Royal Highness Moulay Rachid, the Crown Prince of Morocco. Chef Elatouabi took great care in presenting luxuriously simple and delectable cuisine for the Prince and his guests.’

A chef who’s served royalty here in Vancouver? What an honour! (One of the reasons I don’t mind staying in Vancouver so long is the incredible international cuisine we get to try, prepared by many talented and renowned chefs. We are spoiled!) I wasn’t sure if Chef Elatouabi would be at the restaurant but I still wanted to try something unique.

Since Dine Out was ending on Sunday and Friday was Chinese New Year, I decided to have the family dinner at SSBC. (Yes, unconventional for CNY but we’re quite the international family and we haven’t actually celebrated CNY in years!)

From the menu, I ordered:

  • Harirra Soup (vegetarian winter soup with chickpeas and saffron tomatoes)
  • Duck Leg Confit (duck, fennel, orange, risotto cake, cranberry sauce)
  • Rosemary Creme Brûlée

SoLSunBeltCookery-dineout2014

As you can see from the photo above, I got to try some of the grille sausages and flatbread from my brother.

We were all very satisfied with our selections and were glad to try something that we wouldn’t usually get to try in our neighbourhood or downtown. Of course, my favourite was the creme brûlée and I was very glad that this dessert was much bigger than the baby-sized one at Blarney’s. There’s nothing better than cracking the caramelised sugar and enjoying the sweet custard underneath it. 🙂

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As I mentioned earlier, if there’s one thing I am going to miss about Vancouver, it is our international cuisine. Our authentic and considerably affordable (compared to dining abroad in some countries) international cuisine. If you can, go spoil yourself with something scrumptious from a part of the world you’ve never been to, right here in Vancouver. 🙂

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