Archive for Restaraunts

Boulevard Provisions

Once upon a time, there was a girl. That girl enjoyed meeting her friends (usually other girls, but occasionally boys, too) for happy hour at various locations around the cosmopolitan city in which she lived.

And one of her favourite places for Happy Hour was Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar, in the Sutton Place Hotel, in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

Boulevard has two distinct and different areas with very different vibes. The main dining room is sleek, modern and undeniably upscale. The lounge, however, with its dark wood, masculine leather couches and massive bar is cozy, especially if you get to sit near the fire.

Plate of vegetable curry with rice

Roasted Vegetable Curry

Let’s just say the girl spent a fair amount of time here.

And then there was a global pandemic.

Easy, casual meetings with friends in restaurants became a thing of the past. There was no more lolling around on couches in front of the fire drinking a glass of red wine and eating mushroom toast.

So Boulevard, like many restaurants, decided it needed to pivot. After all, people still need to eat, global pandemic or not, maybe even now more than ever.

So they created Boulevard Provisions, a way for the girl (and everyone else) to get their fix, just at home.

And you know what? It’s pretty great.

Yes, my living room lacks the warm crackling fire and the leather couches. It lacks my friends, too. But it sure was nice to have some of these familiar dishes I’ve grown to know and love in my own home.

The process was pretty simple. Just head to Boulevard’s website, and then click on the link for “Boulevard Provisions.” Here, you can scroll through a few categories: they sell raw ingredients (like fish or steaks) that you can cook yourself, but they also sell pre-cooked food that either fresh or frozen that you just take home and heat up. There’s soups and stews, they even sell charcuterie. Most of the dishes feed between 2-4 people, and there’s even options for desserts and cocktails! Yes! Cocktail kits! Oh happy days.

The cornbread that dreams are made of

Once you’ve selected your purchases, you just tell them when you want to come pick it up. Then you just pull into the driveway at the selected time and text a phone number, and a nice person comes out and puts the order in the back of your car. Super safe, so easy, and now you have delicious food to eat.

I highly recommend you order the cornbread. Cornbread is one of those seemingly “low brow” foods that actually takes a lot of finesse to do right, and this stuff is downright addictive. Actually, you should probably order two because you’ll likely consume the entire first pan on your own, straight out of the pan, because that’s how good it is. It is, not shockingly, their most popular item.

There are some really homey and tasty soups and stews. My understanding is that the bolognese is pretty world-famous, though I didn’t try it, as it is made with meat. However I know enough people who have tried it that assure me its hella tasty.

I did order the roasted vegetable curry, which is vegan. A creamy curry made with coconut milk and hearty, satisfying vegetables, I just tossed some rice in my rice cooker and heated the curry on the stove for a dead-simple, but very satisfying and comforting dinner. The leftovers have been great lunches.

So, you wanna feel like Chef Alex Chen is cooking for you in your own kitchen? You gotta check out Boulevard Provisions.

Mila Plant Based

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m grateful to live in a city that is bursting with an abundance of plant-based restaurants (click to see my favourite vegan dishes in the city).

Not just restaurants in a traditional vegan way. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Naam. But increasingly over the last few years, the vegan options in Vancouver are getting more diverse. We have high-end options now, like The Acorn, as well as myriad of comfort-food type places like Meet, The Arbor and Chickpea. And pizza! We have the best vegan pizza in Virtuous Pie.

Well! Good news, my plant-loving friends, because there is a new kid in town, and it’s great.

Mila Plant Based just opened at the end of September in the old Juniper space. They’ve kept the basic design and layout of the original restaurant, including that incredible bar. And they make good use of the bar with their fantastic cocktail list.

Owned by the same folks at Virtuous Pie, and helmed by Chef Jim Vesal, Mila takes a global approach to the menu, which I think is something unique in the city. Like, we have vegan comfort food, vegan pizza, vegan Asian. But the menu at Mila is from everywhere. There’s sushi and baos and pasta and burgers and sandwiches, which at first I think I found a bit confusing, but after eating the food, I didn’t really care anymore. A chunk of the menu does focus on Asian cuisine, a nod to the neighbourhood in which we find ourselves.

For me, the greatest compliment anyone can give my food is to say “I didn’t know that was vegan,” or “that doesn’t taste vegan.” I know, it’s kind of backwards, I admit, but my goal is always just to cook really good food, first and foremost, that happens to be vegan or vegetarian.

Mila Smoky Sour

Smoky Mila Sour

Every dish at Mila was like that. Vegan, all of it, but not so’s you’d know. Just delicious, well-made food that happens to be plant-based.

Mila Clover Club

Clover Club

We started, as you should, with cocktails. They have a beautiful bar and a great cocktail program. Instead of egg whites, they use a vegan foamer, and it makes for the prettiest drinks. There’s a wide variety of options here, traditional favourites like caesars and margaritas, but with a twist. For me, I couldn’t resist the Smoky Mila Sour, a combo of bourbon (I’m a sucker for anything bourbon), a smoky oolong tea syrup and a float of Ardbeg. A lighter and brighter option is the gin-based Clover Club, a lovely shade of pink, from the raspberry syrup. It’s also notable to mention they have an impressive line of whiskeys here.

When it comes to starters, there’s everything here from soups to salads to toasts to sushi.

Vegan Baos Mila

Tempeh Bao

We tried the tempeh baos. Pillowy soft rice baos enrobe a hoisin-glazed tempeh, and are garnished with house-pickled cucumber and onion, and topped with cilantro and crispy shallots for a textural component.

Vegan Aburi Sushi Mila

Aburi “Carrot Lox” Sushi

Probably my favourite dish of the day was the aburi sushi. Rice is covered with a carrot “lox,” and then topped with a creamy vegan mayo and torched. It is the perfect bite.

Mains include English “Fish” and Chips, Mexican tacos, an Italian pasta dish and a good ol’ fashioned burger (made with local TMRW Foods patties–my favourite of all the “fake meat” burgers out there).

Mushroom Tagliatelle Mila

Mushroom and Sausage Tagliatelle

We had the Fish & Chips and the Mushroom and Sausage Tagliatelle. The pasta was bonkers good. Homemade pasta with Beyond Meat sausage crumbles and rich, meaty mushrooms in a creamy cashew sauce–again–the kind of dish you’d expect to be loaded with butter, cream, eggs and cheese, and yet has none of those ingredients. It was immensely comforting and one of the best things on the menu.

Fish and Chips Mila

“Fish” & Chips

I was super curious about the fish. Turns out it’s made with a tempura-battered celeriac root. It’s pretty amazing, texturally, when you bite into it, how much it really looks like fish. It lacks the flakiness of fish, but it’s a pretty tasty substitution. The dish came with smashed, fried potatoes, a fabulous mango slaw, and of course, a vegan tartar sauce.

Apple Tart Mila

Apple Tart

Dessert for us was the month’s feature, an apple tart (also gluten free in this case) with a vanilla pastry cream and candied walnuts.

First off, I have to say, it’s incredibly wonderful to be able to walk into a restaurant and not have to ask any questions about how the food is cooked. I was safe to order anything off the menu with zero trepidation. That is such a good feeling.

Secondly, this is the place to bring your omni friends. They won’t feel weird about any of the food. It’s all incredibly recognizable, beautifully presented, and delicious. There is no lack here. There is no “doing without” or “going without.” There’s no sacrifice in eating here. Just really good food that happens to be plant-based.

I highly recommend you check out Mila Plant Based.

Mila Plant Based

185 Keefer St (in Chinatown)

Open every day for dine-in (with safety protocols), take out or delivery from 11:30 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm daily.


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