Inspired Dining

Be inspired for the joy of Food and Health!

If you live in Vancouver I just want to bring to your attention the following two important events.  inspirehealth1


Inspired Dining Week takes place from October 15-23, 2016,  providing an opportunity for diners to choose menu items from some of Vancouver’s best dining establishments (there will be more Inspired dine out experiences expanded to other cities):

Restaurants, eateries and healthy vendors will showcase the best of their culinary delights over the nine days. Inspire Health is partnering with the participating restaurants across Vancouver in an effort to help raise awareness and funds for Inspire Health (a not for profit organization helping provide lasting lifestyle changes for those living with cancer and their families). You will also get the chance to try the various dining establishments.

Coconut Ginger Risotto
Coconut Ginger Risotto

For an up-to-date list of participating restaurants please visit

Morrocan Carrot Dish
Morrocan Carrot Dish

Photo: d. king

For more information about Inspired Dining Week, download the information kit 


A Night to Inspire – InspireHealth Gala

December 8 @ 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Join us for one of Vancouver’s most memorable fundraising galas, A Night to Inspire welcomes 200 of our city’s business, health care and philanthropic leaders for an inspirational evening.

This year we are delighted to take our guests on a culinary experience like no other. Teaming up with four top chefs from across the country, we will feature an incredible five-course seated dinner, paired with a wonderful selection of wines from the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association.

The evening will also feature:

  • The launch of Inspired Cooking, a storytelling cookbook featuring recipes and stories from 20 of Canada’s top chefs. Every guest will receive their own copy of Inspired Cooking.
  • Live music & entertainment
  • Inspirational stories from InspireHealth members
  • Silent & live auction showcasing an array of desirable items

Tickets are on sale for $250. Please e-mail or purchase at the centre : Suite 200 – 1330 West 8th Avenue.

I think this is a great way to bring awareness to not only Inspire Health, but to celebrate ourselves with good healthy food and wise choices.

Photos: d. king


Food: the Portly Chef

 As they say; NEVER trust a skinny chef! 

Sakura Farms Frenched Pork Loin, creamy goat cheese & apple cinnamon compound butter, demi-glace, braised leek.
Sakura Farms Frenched Pork Loin, creamy goat cheese & apple cinnamon compound butter, demi-glace, braised leek – the BEST!

Last night I went to a pre-Christmas celebration with my family at a restaurant called “the Portly Chef” where everything is cooked using fresh local ingredients.  The generously plated and incredible tasting food made up for what may have been a bit lacking in ambience (but not the company, mind you). We all said it was one of the best restaurant meals we’ve had in a long time.  A few photos:

mussels & fries with truffle butter
mussels in white wine, capers & flat-leaf parsley and fries with truffle butter – for starters
Ahi Tuna
Ahi Tuna Tower
Mac 'n Cheese appetizer
Mac ‘n Cheese appetizer
Filet Oscar, certified AAA beef tenderloin, prawns, house béarnaise, pomme purée
Filet Oscar, certified AAA beef tenderloin, prawns, house béarnaise, pomme purée
Lemon Curd Cheesecake
Lemon Curd Cheesecake – soooo good!
I may have overdressed
A bit over dressed (and a bit under dressed)

And that was just my portion!

No; we really ended up sampling and sharing everything.



The best selfie of the 3 of us from the evening - which is pretty sad
Selfie Siblings – a sad looking bunch
Address: 1211 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver
Located: 1211 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver

It’s a fairly casual place with exceptional food, friendly service and mid-range pricing.











Food: Perch Restaurant

Well…it is a little off the beaten path as far as fine dining goes, but there’s definitely some perks to be found at PerchPerch1a new restaurant perched atop the alma mater society (AMS) building at UBC.  I said that I like to discover places that are out of the ordinary but I wasn’t expecting this.perch7

Tuna Appies

I went to the opening on a beautiful sunny afternoon yesterday where we were able to enjoy sitting outside on the roof deck patio with a view of the Northshore mountains.  I rode my scooter so parking was a cinch.  I was also curious about a reasonably priced upmarket restaurant on UBC’s Point Grey campus that anyone, not just students can go to.


It will be interesting to see how this restaurant makes out because of the location and it being upscale.

With decent prices students may be able to enjoy fine dining more than before. But the idea is not to limit the restaurant to only students, university staff & faculty, but to include residents from surrounding neighbourhoods.  If there is any indication of the quality in general from the platters that were being served, it will be quite good.

mixing up a most unusual margarity - with toasted sesame seeds. He used Jimador Tequila
mixing up a most unusual margarita – with toasted sesame seeds & Jimador Tequila

Overall the prices for large plate dishes cost anywhere from $13 to $24 while a similar meal downtown will run you ten dollars more.

I took a photo of a sample menu to show you below.perch11

my companions and I

They’re open for private functions too as the restaurant can hold up to 300 people, 180 seated.  They have a nice lounge and of course the outdoor patio and the menu is West Coast Cuisine with focus on fresh local ingredients.  We were given a tour of the roof top garden where fresh produce is grown so the chef does not have very far to go to bring it from farm to table.  I really like that, and some of the original ideas on the food + drink menu.perch3Parking?? That’s another thing to deal with unless you bike, bus or ride a scooter.  You will most likely have to walk a few blocks.  If that’s not a big deal for you, you might want to give it a try for something unique.  And if you can get your head past the fact that you’ll be dining on a university campus, especially if you come from downtown or kitsilano.  But why not try something different?  If anything it will make you feel like you’re back on campus but the food is much much better.

sample menu
sample menu – see the bone marrow with the Flank Steak at the bottom (see what I was saying?)

For date night?  Hmmmm……  

Photos: d. king

Feel-good Friday: the Dinner Date

A perfect dinner date is where those involved leave happier than when they first walked indate3

 Ohh…the importance of romance.  I was invited to a casually elegant little “nest in the city” the other night.  A delightful evening.

Il Nido at 780 Thurlow St (just slightly off Robson)
Il Nido at 780 Thurlow St (just slightly off Robson) in Vancouver, BC

It may be Friday, but enjoying a romantic dinner date can be any day of the week.  And it should be!  It doesn’t mean you have to go out but if you do I recommend a cozy place with friendly service, attention to detail and delicious tasting food.  A good wine list always helps and Italian is always high up on my list.  I’m talking about Il Nido which has been around for a long time in Vancouver, a little off the beaten path.

Appetizer of grilled calamari in rich tomato sauce, 2 year aged proscuitto with melon & pickled garnish and meatballs in sauce.
Starters: grilled calamari in rich tomato sauce, 2 year aged proscuitto with melon & pickled garnish and meatballs in sauce.  Of course, Prosecco.

Owner Franco Felice (who’s last name joyfully translates to happy in Latin) has been
providing Northern Italian fare in the same location for 28 years. Sometimes we have to refresh ourselves and revisit one of Vancouver’s little hidden gems.

Grilled Salmon, homemade Gnocchi and Osso bucco Lamb
Grilled Salmon, homemade Gnocchi and Osso bucco Lamb with a nice Malbec.

Sure, we can try the latest crop of trendy spots which there seems to be no lack of in this city, but sometimes we want something tried and true, something with integrity and staying power.  A place that won’t let us down.  A place like Il Nido.   

In house made Tiramisu & chocolate torte with ice cream in raspberry puree
In house made Tiramisu & Torta al Cioccolato with vanilla gelato, raspberry coulis & a perfect cappuccino.

I met some very intriguing people who offered thought-provoking conversation and sampled an excellent menu there.  So like I said, they were the perfect dinner dates – it doesn’t have to be just one!

Something else to consider:

an app to help you choose your “perfect” date night or evening out with friends

The weekly affair:

The Dinner Party is a weekly affair where lovely host Andrea connects fabulous singles of like minds, in Vancouver and beyond. First date stress and pressure, be gone!

Be charming, be engaging, but most importantly, be yourself.  So she says!date1

Photo credits: Lady & the Tramp; Disney.  Restaurant; d. king