Nerdie Foodie: ONCE Con Vancouver 2018

Nerdie Foodies, as you already now know, I was at the ONCE convention this past weekend, and I thought what a better way to showcase my hometown than to bring you along with me to the places I went to eat? This is just a small sample of the various incredible restaurants in the foodie town that is Vancouver. Let’s go!

Ciao Bella

Madi and I decided to go somewhere close to the hotel that the convention was going to be held at, so that we could pick up our badges and replacement autographs during pre-registration the night before the first day of the con. We decided on this cozy Italian restaurant, Ciao Bella, located on Denman St. They even serve you complimentary warm bread that you can dip into olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar as you wait for your meal to arrive.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

The entire menu looked delicious, but I decided to make my own pasta dish with penne and their ciao bella sauce which is a white wine demi-glazed cream sauce with mushrooms, garlic and onions. I also added chicken for an additional charge for some protein.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

We also ordered the bruschetta as an appy to split. It came with 4 pieces and was thinly drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar then topped with shavings of parmesan cheese.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

We were so stuffed by the end of our meals, we couldn’t fit in dessert. But next time, I am definitely going to try the tiramisu! Check out their website here! Pasta is 50% off every Monday and Tuesday and they even have a piano bar!

Sala Thai

Madi and I made new friends during the convention on our first day. So, we decided to take them out for dinner since it was both of their first visits to our city. We decided on Sala Thai on Burrard St as it was close by and we had a bit of time to eat before the screening of the latest OUAT episode. Because it was both of their first times trying Thai food, we went for some mild dishes. They were great troopers in trying new things. We ordered some satay skewers to start off with as appetizers (a dish staple). Sorry y’all, I didn’t take a photo of the satay as they were already devoured and I didn’t even think about taking a photo of it before we dug in.

We ordered the Thai-style barbeque half-chicken with sweet chili sauce, also known as Gai Yang SalaThai. This was delicious! The chicken was slightly crisp on the outside and the meat was not dry at all.

(Photo Credit: Madi)

They also wanted to try the chicken cashew nut dish that also sautéed carrots, onions, bell peppers and red chilies. This dish was not spicy at all which is what our new friends wanted. But it was delicious none the less and very flavourful.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

We also had the classic pad thai with tamarind sauce. Here at Sala Thai, you can order pad thai with either tamarind sauce for more sweetness or with a tomato sauce for more of a tang. Every time I come to this restaurant, I always have to have the pad thai.

(Photo Credit: Madi)

But overall, our new friends were pleasantly surprised at how tasty Thai food can be and I’m glad they had a positive experience at trying a new cuisine! Check out Sala Thai’s website here!

H2 Rotisserie & Bar

This was one of the restaurants inside the hotel where the convention was held at – The Westin Bayshore. It was just really convenient to eating here, whether it be for takeout or a sit-down. On the first day of the convention, I had a short amount of time to grab some lunch. So, I ordered their butternut soup with grilled scallion yogurt. It was quick, easy and deliciously filling. But best of all, it came with a bun to dip into the soup! I can’t deny the carbs.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

Madi and I also ordered lunch here after the set tour on Day 2. We were originally going to sit down and eat, but as time was running away from us, we decided to pack it up and have it to go. With all the live tweeting and the costume contest, I didn’t get to touch my lunch until much later in the day (ahh the con life). I ordered the pulled chicken panini (with romesco spread for a bit of a kick, Mt. Moriarty Gruyere cheese and baby spinach) with a side of green salad. I was able to down the salad during the auction. And the sandwich…. Well, I ate that for dinner. Despite it being soggy, it was actually pretty good considering how long ago I had ordered it.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

We also topped it off with some truffle fries for dinner and I stole a bite out of Madi’s fish and chips order. Their tartar sauce was fairly lemon-y. I didn’t know if I would have liked it, but it did work with the truffle fries and the fish! Sorry! Again, no photos because we were starved! But you can check out their site and menus here!

And finally, on our final day, we had breakfast here as well with our friends. I ordered the classic eggs benny. If I’m going to have breakfast or brunch at a restaurant, I always judge a place by how they make their egg benedict. The poached eggs were perfectly runny (which is hard to do) and the hollandaise sauce had just the right amount of lemon-y tang and yet it wasn’t heavily creamy. The only downside was that I wished there had been more of the pan-fried Yukon Gold hashbrowns and the English muffin be a tad larger in size for the price. The side of fruit was a lovely touch.

(Photo Credit: Jen)

Madi had the pulled smoked rotisserie chicken with onions, bell peppers and chipotle hollandaise sauce. She loved the sauce but couldn’t quite decide if she liked having chicken on her bennies. Our new friends ordered the Old Faithful – a classic dish consisting of two free-run eggs, with your choice of protein and carbs, and the banana and spiced pecan waffles! Both dishes were approved and deemed as items they would order again and again! Check out their menus here!

All in all, it was a great experience, especially seeing our restaurant industry through someone else’s eyes other than my own. Hope to see our new friends again in the future!

‘Til next time,

Stay nerdalicious!

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *