The past two Saturday’s in Vancouver have been all about one thing – Vaisakhi. This festival is observed by Hindu’s, Sikh’s and Buddhist’s, and celebrates the start of the harvest season and the birth of the Khalsa. Vancouver and Surrey celebrate Vaisakhi each year with huge street festivals and parades featuring tons of music, dancing and entertainment.

Feasting is also a huge part of Vaisakhi and many people choose to do a “Seva” or act of selfless service during the festival. In this case, that means giving out tons of free food.

Yep, that’s right – FREE! I stuffed my face with delicious curries of all kinds, deep fried naan, sweet desserts and heartwarming chai tea.

Vaisakhi 2013

Even though I had enough food at Vaisakhi to last me until the next year, I decided to further indulge my curry cravings a few days later at Siddhartha’s Kitchen on Commercial Drive with my friend, Jeremy.

The guys at VANEATS invited me to preview their new SIDDsation dining package, which is available from April 14 – August 14, 2013. For just $18, you get all this amazing food you get:

  • Aloo Tiki – 2 crispy potato cakes served with a blend of Delhi, tamarind, mango sauces topped with pomegranate and cilantro
  • Kuchumber Salad – sample size of fresh cucumber, onion, tomato & bell peppers served with chaat masala & chef special dressing
  • Chicken Korma – boneless chicken pieces cooked in an exotic curry, accented with cashew nut and raisin gravy
  • Butter Chicken – creamy Shahi sauce infused with fenu-greek leaves, cream, tomato marinade and a hint of coconut. Tossed with boneless marinated smoked chicken; a rich and unforgettable perfection

Aloo Tiki at Siddhartha's Kitchen

Chef Siddhartha – or Sid, as he asked us to call him – was incredibly nice and super passionate about his food. He creates traditional Indian dishes with modern twists that make them tastier and healthier, like the Aloo Tiki, which I couldn’t get enough of! The potatoes have a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a hint of spice that is balanced out by the subtly sweet mango sauce.

Butter chicken, Chicken korma and Basmati rice at Siddhartha's Kitchen

The Butter Chicken was my hands-down favorite. It is creamy without being heavy with just the right amount of sweetness to still keep everything savoury. The chicken is tender and juicy; each piece cooked to perfection.

Butter chicken and Chicken Korma at Siddhartha's Kitchen

I really liked the Chicken Korma as well, but it has a similar flavor profile as the butter chicken. Maybe it’s because I kept eating it after a big bite of the butter chicken, but the curry flavors of the korma didn’t stand out that much to me. I do like that it was also creamy without the heaviness so I didn’t mind repeatedly dipping my naan into it!

Kuchumber Salad at Siddhartha's Kitchen

The Kuchumber Salad has a very subtle flavor and was a nice palate cleanser between the butter and korma chickens.

Palak Paneer at Siddhartha's Kitchen

I really loved Siddhartha’s menu, which was packed with great vegetarian and gluten-free options. We also ordered a Palak Paneer to go with our VANEATS package. You can tell that the spinach in this dish is really fresh as it really came through in each bite. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough paneer, but I just really, really love paneer, so I’m hard to please haha

Siddhartha's Kitchen Signature Spicy Sauce

Sid also recommended we try his house Spicy Sauce, which will be available for retail in the near future. It’s got a real kick to it and is made with imported chilies. If you love your curry hot as hell, dump a teaspoon of this into your bowl, otherwise, I found little dabs on my chicken was enough to tickle my taste buds without making me sweat.

Siddhartha’s Kitchen
2066 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC

Kuchumber Salad photo credit: VANEATS FB page

Note: I was given a complimentary preview of this dining package. This review and all opinions are mine. If you’d like me to review your restaurant or food product, please feel free to email me at karra (dot) social (at) gmail (dot) com!

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I try not to break the bank when I travel, but I always make sure to give myself one free pass per trip. This means I get to splurge on something that I really want to experience. When I went to Europe, it was skydiving from a helicopter in Switzerland. When I went to New York last August, it was a feast at Beauty and Essex, a really cool speakeasy in the Lower East Side.

Back during Prohibition, speakeasies were establishments that illegally sold alcohol, usually in a secret bar that was hidden somewhere on the premises. Even though Prohibition has long been over (thank god!), there are plenty of modern-day speakeasies still rocking the NYC streets.Beauty Elixir from Beauty and Essex in New York

NJ and I had to do a double take when we first saw Beauty and Essex, since it didn’t look like a fine dining restaurant from the outside. Even when you enter the front door, all you see is a pawnshop with glass cases filled with vintage jewelry and other knick-knacks. We were told to go through the back door if we were after some grub.

Beauty and Essex restaurant, New York

Stepping through that door was very much like going through the wardrobe and landing in Narnia. Crystal chandeliers hung above round wooden tables with leather-backed seats. Giant peacock feathers sprouted out of golden vases. Beauty and Essex was dim, elegant and emanating cool from its pores.

Roasted bone marrow at Beauty and Essex Lobster tacos from Beauty and Essex

And the food was amazing! We started with the melt in your mouth Roasted Bone Marrow with braised shallot marmalade and buttered bread. I couldn’t resist the Lobster Tacos, which was made with sweet beer battered Maine lobster and finished with a spicy poblano crema.

Beauty Elixir from Beauty and Essex in New York

Did I mention that I had a cocktail, too? I sipped on the Beauty Elixir, a refreshing gin, cucumber and strawberry drink topped with sparkling rose.

Brick Pressed Chicken from Beauty and Essex

New York Steak from Beauty and Essex

Steak sauces for Beauty and Essex

Fries from Beauty and Essex

For my main, I had the amazing Brick Pressed Chicken on a bed of creamy mascarpone polenta, while NJ got her NY Steak fix. Her dish came with four house sauces, including an amazing white truffle cream sauce. We also grabbed perfectly crisped fries because we obviously have eyes bigger than our stomachs lol

Mini Rhubarb and Strawberry Tarts from Beauty and Essex

Molten Chocolate Banana Bread from Beauty and Essex

Since we were going all out, we grabbed dessert despite being super full. We shared sweet Mini Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts and an extremely decadent Molten Chocolate Bread Pudding.

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Easter Sunday in Vancouver turned out in the best possible way: sunny and just hot enough that sitting on the patio wasn’t an insane thing to do.

The women in my family love Provence Marinaside in Yaletown. We come here for birthdays, Mother’s Day, and yes, sunny Sundays. We always come for brunch, which I’ve always considered to be the best meal of the day. Plus, it’s by the water so how can you not love it?

Provence Marinaside view from the patio of the water and blue sky with wispy clouds

We started with an Antipasti platter ($5 per item) consisting of the decadent Pissaladière(caramelized onions, anchovies and black olives on a pizza crust), light and refreshing Prosciutto Wrapped Bocconcini, and perfectly cooked and creamy Risotto Balls (with mozzarella centre and sweet tomato sauce).

Anyone else addicted to cheese? And prosciutto? Gah.

Provence Marinaside mozarella ball wrapped in basil and prosciutto

My absolute favourite thing on the menu is the Croque Monsieur Eggs Benedict ($14). Everything about it is perfect to me. From the soft poached eggs to the gruyere and black forest ham open faced sandwich nestled below… it’s my little piece of heaven on a plate.

Croque Monsieur eggs benedict from Provence Marinaside with hashbrowns and fruit

Oh man and when my eggs get runny? Yeah, I’m that girl who gets all giddy about it.

Eggs benedict on an open faced croque monsieur. The egg yolk is running.

Where do you love doing Sunday brunch?

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