CFOX Does It Again…

Remember June 5th 2008? I’m sure you don’t, I’ll refresh your memory. Captain Scotty, part of the CFOX Jeff O’Neil morning show, dressed up in a beaver costume and tried to buy heroin on the Down Town East Side. It was broadcast live on air and it took less than 10 minutes for Scotty the beaver to score some Junk. Scotty, Jeff, and Charis (Charis is no longer with CFOX) were “suspended” later that day. This all happened right near the end of a ratings period and was clearly orchestrated.

Fast forward to yesterday and the CFOX/CKNW simulcast that everyone is talking about. I’m not here to debate the things they said on the air, I’m here to tell you that this was planned, that CKNW was in on it, and that Chris Gailus and Squire Barnes were in on it.

CKNW is owned by Corus, CFOX is owned by Corus. The CFOX morning show has asked these questions to countless local personalities/celebrities on the air, both male and female. One of those people was Chris Gailus. You see where this is going…

This is all a ratings ploy (for both stations) played out right before Christmas. The fact that Jeff, Scott, and Karen K are not back until early 2015 has nothing to do with the controversial simulcast, they take this time off every year for Christmas. Corus is playing it all up for ratings and I’m sure it’s working.

But let’s all freak out on Social Media, because that’s helping.

Scott.

 

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Quick Bite – Say Cheese Gourmet Grilled Cheeserie

Ah Fort Langley, the place should be crawling with hipsters but it somehow isn’t. Coffee roasters on every corner, pop-up shops, hand made chocolates, antique stores. Seriously, the hipsters will come as soon as they put in bike lanes and a decent transit system. Anywho, right beside “Gasoline Alley”, which isn’t really an alley and yes it has a coffee roaster, is Say Cheese Gourmet Grilled Cheeserie. Say Cheese is a tiny shop, like REALLY small. Thankfully Gasoline Alley has picnic tables and grilled cheese is a good candidate for walking and eating. Grilled cheese in many varieties, soups, beverages, that’s pretty much the whole menu. Each sandwich comes with a pickle and potato chips. I had the pepperoni pizza grilled cheese. Let’s see how that went.

Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese

Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese

From the pictures I’ve seen on the Say Cheese Facebook page I thought the pickle would be bigger. You can just see the top of it in the picture and there wasn’t much more hidden by the paper. The chips were good, nice and salty, thick cut regular potato chips. The sandwich had pepperoni, mozzarella, pizza sauce and some basil (I think).

A little thin...

A little thin…

Tasty, yes. I was expecting more girth based on the few pictures I’ve seen. The bread was nice, I can only assume it was from a local artisan bakery because there’s a few of them (hipsters, seriously go check out Fort Langley). The pepperoni seemed like grocery store brand name pizza pepperoni, the kind you buy in a resealable bag.

The Verdict

For $8 I expected more. The concept is good, the execution is lacking.

9199 Glover, Langley

Twitter – @FortSayCheese

Facebook – Say Cheese Fort Langley

World Wide Web – nope

Scott.

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Quick Bite – Estrella’s Montreal Deli and Cafe

The Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich, a Canadian icon. Greater Vancouver has a few places that make a decent version but there is one that stands above them all. Estrella’s in Langley is as close as it gets to being in Montreal. Hidden in plain sight on 200th street between Industrial Ave and Logan Ave, you’d drive right by Estrella’s if you didn’t know it existed. It is surrounded by automotive shops, industrial buildings and an oddly placed dentist office.

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Now that you know where it is open up your calender and make some time to check it out. The smoked meat sandwiches are the best around, by a wide margin. Most places in Vancouver make a sandwich with meat brought in from Montreal which tends to taste like it’s travelled in a truck across Canada. Other places make their own but it always comes out too salty. Estrella’s house made smoked meat is absolute perfection. Tender, juicy, flavourful without being too salty. You can order it lean (less fat) or marbled (more fat) just like they do it in Montreal. Obviously the full fat is tastier, the choice is yours.

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You can get poutine, grilled paninis, burgers, sandwiches, soups, espresso and speciality coffee. Nearly everything is house made from scratch. The poutine is outstanding.

Tired of mediocre smoked meat parading as the real thing? Go check out Estrella’s at 5932 200th street in Langley (There you go random Twitter guy who couldn’t Google the address yourself…)

Web – estrellasdeli.com

Scott.

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Pipelines, The Fight That No One Will Win.

Kinder Morgan, Trans Mountain, Northern Gateway, Keystone XL, all across North America these projects spark a lot of controversy. People are divided when it comes to support for oil pipeline projects. I’m going to tell you why everyone is right, and everyone is wrong.

Oil storage tanks on Burnaby Mountain. Photo - Vancouver Sun

Oil storage tanks on Burnaby Mountain. Photo – Vancouver Sun

Both projects deliver bitumen, a horribly dirty version of “oil” produced in Alberta’s infamous Tar Sands, to ports where they can be shipped abroad or to refineries where they will be processed into usable oil and gasoline. Alberta’s Tar Sands are a horrendous thing causing irreparable damage to the Athabasca Watershed, not to mention the insane amount of energy it takes to produce bitumen from tar sands. The scale of the Tar Sands in unfathomable to anyone who’s never seen them in person. They use more energy than most large North American cities and belch out pollution faster than anything in human history.

The Keystone XL pipeline will run through the USA (mostly) and there’s very little any Canadian can do about it. The only ones who could stop it would be Alberta and we all know that isn’t happening until they can’t afford to gas up their Hummers any more. The Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, is a pretty controversial thing around the GVRD. Kinder Morgan, who operates the pipeline, wants to run a second pipeline along side the original. I’m here to tell you that it can’t be stopped.

Photo - CKNW

Photo – CKNW

As long as Asia is growing they will have a need for Canadian oil. BC occupies the west coast of Canada so unfortunately that oil will be loaded on ships on our coast. The Canadian Government has morphed into an aggressive Petro State and as long as the oil flows and the cash keeps pouring in that will not change. The alternative to pipelines are trains and trucks, both vastly more dangerous and prone to accidents than pipelines. This is, sadly, a case of the lessor of 3 evils.

Until the world can shed its dependency on fossil fuels and make wind/solar/clean energy a viable option we have to take steps to limit damage caused by the use/transport of fossil fuels. I applaud everyone who is up on Burnaby Mountain standing up for what they believe in. I feel the same way as you do, until I remember that I’m typing this on a plastic keyboard (oil), which was transported by ship, train and truck (oil), and you’re probably reading it on your smartphone made in Asia which is powered by the fossil fuels you are fighting against. The tarps and polyester twine keeping the protesters dry, their plastic chairs, plastic signs, clothing, all made from the very thing they are protesting.

Kinder Morgan and the Trans Mountain Pipeline aren’t the problem. We are the problem.

Scott.

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Where Have All The Burgers Gone?

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting much to wflbc.com lately. Maybe you didn’t notice, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The fact is this site has become a bit of a chore. I used to look forward to writing and I used to worry if I hadn’t posted anything for more than 2 or 3 days. Before I wrote about Famoso Pizzeria last week I hadn’t written anything for over a month. I didn’t know it had been that long until I logged in to upload some photos. I  still enjoy writting and I don’t plan on shutting it down but I’m not going to post unless I really feel like it. There are a few new adventures that occupy most of time now and I’d like to share them with you.

The first is civic politics. I am quite active on social media through @SurreyIsTheBomb breaking down mayoral candidates platforms through inappropriate memes and asking them uncomfortable questions. Their responses have shown their true character and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Civic politics impacts the people of a city more so than any other level of government. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for but I hope you research the candidates and cast an informed vote on November 15th.

The other thing that’s become a true passion is photography. Street and architecture photography are my main focus but I love taking pictures of anything and everything. I share my pictures through Flickr and Instagram, Please follow if you like what you see. Back in May my family bought me a Fuji X-A1 mirrorless camera for my birthday. This little beauty cost $399 and came with a 16-50mm OIS lens. It’s small, light, and very versatile. I inherited some old lens from my mom and I use them on this camera with the help of inexpensive lens adapters. I take a lot of pictures with my smartphone too. It’s a Nexus 5 and I love it. I’m able to share this time with my daughter and teach here about her city, the environment, and photography. Here’s a few of my favourites from Instagram and Flickr.

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Does this mean I’m not going to write about restaurants any more? No way! I love food and I plan on writing about it on my terms. I opt out of most menu tasting invites or new restaurant previews I get invited to these days. They don’t offer a fair view of the subject, it’s all the absolute best that you’ll ever get in those situations which is quite often not reality. I do the ones that interest me and I go as an individual diner but mostly I just go out and eat without anyone knowing I’m there and write about it without the guilt or influence of free food and drink. That being said I am going to a beer launch and a vodka/gin launch this week… I am human after all. You can still follow me on Twitter @WFLBC, but please don’t turn into a creepy stalker, ok?

Thanks for reading. Remember to vote. Take pictures of cool stuff. Include your loved ones in activities you’re passionate about.

Scott.

 

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Quick Bite – Gyoza Bar + Ramen

Aburi Restaurants Canada operates 2 of Vancouver’s favourite Japanese restaurants, Yaletown’s Minami and Miku in Coal Harbour/Gastown (it’s on the boarder…). Their newest spot is Gyoza Bar + Ramen located at 622 West Pender street between Seymour and Granville. Minami and Miku are consistently outstanding and the buzz accompanying the news of a new Aburi restaurant was palpable during the summer. I paid Gyoza Bar a lunchtime visit the first week they were open back in September.

Gyoza Bar + Ramen

Gyoza Bar + Ramen

Due to the hype and the fact that I was working I decided to go right when they opened the doors at 11:30. There was roughly 10 people already waiting outside and 10-20 people behind me when the doors opened. I was seated at the window which suited me just fine as the natural light is great for food pictures. I ordered the Umami Lunch Duo, 7 piece pork teppan gyoza and a medium ramen for $17. I opted for the pork tonkotsu ramen with aburi pork char siu and tamago with the Fraser Valley pork teppan gyoza.

Pork Tepan Gyoza

Pork Teppan Gyoza

The gyoza are cooked in a traditional cast iron pan which adds a crispy outer goodness that run of the mill gyoza can’t come close to. They are filled with barley fed pork and come with a spicy garlic soy sauce and an umami soy sauce for dipping. The spicy garlic sauce is the way to go, it’s fantastic. These gyoza are very, very good.

Pork Tonkotsu Ramen

Pork Tonkotsu Ramen

The ramen, while a little on the small side, is equally as tasty. Rich, salty broth, tender pork, orgasmic egg, great noodles. Basically heaven in a bowl. $17 is a little more than I like to spend on lunch but I left full and happy.

The rest of the lunch menu looks great with a 4 ramen options, 3 gyoza options, 2 sandwiches, and 2 desserts. The dinner menu expands things a bit and the drink menu offers up some nice Sake, Japanese whisky, Shochu, a few nice wines, and even some craft beer!

Gyoza Bar + Ramen. The hype is justified.

Scott.

Twitter – @GyozaBarRamen

Instagram – @aburirestaurants

Facebook – gyozabarramen

World Wide Web – gyozabar.ca

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Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria – Fall/Winter Menu Additions

The last time I visited a Famoso Pizzeria it was the mid 2000’s in Edmonton at the original Jasper Avenue location. Famoso has grown quite a bit since then with 19 locations spread across BC, Alberta, and Ontario. From what I remember of my first visit the food and atmosphere have survived the transition from single location to multiple franchises. That’s not easy to do, just ask Memphis Blues… I was invited to try some new Fall/Winter menu items and there’s a Famoso in South Surrey, perfect opportunity to have a lunch date with my daughter!

The Paesano Fire Roasted Sandwich

The Paesano Fire Roasted Sandwich

Famoso has started doing in house slow roasted pork butt so obviously the 2 new items I tried had a pork theme. Me + slow roasted pork = yes please. First up was the Paesano Sandwich, the newest member of the Fire Roasted Sandwich family. House made pulled pork, salsa verde, provalone cheese, rosemary-lemon aioli, arugula, and roasted red peppers. This guy hits all the right notes. Peppery arugula, tangy aioli, savoury pork, slightly nutty provalone. sweet roasted peppers, a herbaceous salsa verde, and that crisp roasted bun. Home run.

Korean BBQ Pork Pizza

Korean BBQ Pork Pizza

The other new item featuring pork is the Korean BBQ Pork Pizza. This is Famoso’s first foray into “fusion” style cuisine. Slow-roasted spiced pork butt, Korean BBQ sauce, fior-di-latte (cow’s milk mozzarella), green onion, cheddar cheese, hoisin sauce, all on Famoso’s traditional hand tossed Neapolitan crust. Again, this one is a winner. Tender pork, nice cheese combo, sweet/salty/spicy hoisin sauce and BBQ sauce with a little green onion to tie everything together. Famoso cooks their pizzas in a traditional bell oven, imported from Italy, at 900 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 seconds. This is a good pizza.

My daughter had the Kids Special, a small or “Pizzetta” Margarita pizza, a drink, and a scoop of gelato for  $7! The gelato and sorbetto selection is quite extensive but of course my picky kid chose vanilla…

My little picky eater.

My little picky eater.

After almost 10 years between visits I was very impressed with Famoso and the quality that has remained despite their large expansion. I like the communal seating mixed with separate tables, the casual self ordering system, and the quick service. Go check them out.

Twitter – @FamosoPizzeria

Facebook – Famoso Pizzeria

Interwebz – famoso.ca

Scott.

Scott’s Karma retaining disclaimer – My meal was provided by Famoso for review purposes. I left a big fat tip though!

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New eats – Kove Kitchen in Steveston

I love Steveston. Steveston has some great restaurants, lots of places with extensive craft beer menus, and is home to the best BBQ in BC at Hog Shack Cook House. Tucked in behind the Hog Shack, right on the water, is Kove Kitchen. Kove Kitchen has taken the place of Mandalay Lounge, a steakhouse that was popular with locals but was in need of a change. Kove is owned and run by the same people behind Mandalay and I decided to pay them a visit last weekend. For what it’s worth I never dined at Mandalay so I have nothing to compare Kove to.

View from the patio at Kove.

View from the patio at Kove.

One thing that hasn’t changed (that I can comment on) is the view. It’s pretty spectacular, especially at dusk. Kove is, by all accounts, a little more casual than Mandalay was with a menu focused around comfort food made in house using quality ingredients. The beer list is focused on Belgian style beers which is a welcome carry over from Mandalay.

Scotch eggs rule!

Scotch eggs rule!

The thing that drew me to Kove was their Scotch Egg. They had posted pictures of it on social media and I had to try it. There used to be a fish and chip joint in Ladner called Uncle Herbert’s that closed years ago, Their Scotch eggs are the benchmark in my mind. Kove’s Scotch egg is very good with a nice crisp breading and a decently thick layer of savoury sausage meat. The dijon aioli is different…but a nice touch. The yolk could’ve been a little softer, it’s best when it’s in that magical place where the yolk is still dark yellow and soft but isn’t liquid. All in all a very good Scotch Egg.

Crab cakes

Crab cakes

Next up were the house made crab cakes with fresh salsa and Thai chili sauce. This dish was kind of all over the place. All of the parts were great but they didn’t make much sense together. The crab cakes themselves are fantastic. Large, fresh, lots of crab, pretty close to perfection. It’s just one man’s opinion but I’d ditch the salsa and Thai chili and go with something like citrus aioli or just keep them naked with some lightly dressed greens on the side.

Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger

The burger was another dish I had seen on social media. There are a few options on the burger menu but I chose the classic bacon cheeseburger. The 7 ounce patty is Canadian AAA and is ground in house. Served on a pretzel bun with double smoked bacon, applewood smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and “Kove sauce”, this is a VERY good burger. The patty is thick, juicy, and well seasoned. The bacon and cheese are strong enough to be noticed but not overpowering. The pretzel bun is actually a good addition, I was worried it would suck. This burger will keep people coming back to Kove Kitchen. The hand cut fries are also very good. I paired it with a Dageraad Brewing Amber which was awesome.

 

So, is Kove better than Mandalay? I have no idea, but Kove Kitchen is a winner.

Twitter – @KoveKitchen

Facebook – thekovekitchen

Web – kovekitchen.com

Scott.

 

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Casks for Surrey Memorial – UPDATED

It’s been awhile since my last fundraiser so let’s do this! Big Ridge Brewing Co. and the South Fraser Beer Club present Casks for Surrey Memorial. Join us Thursday August 28th at 6pm to help me show my appreciation to Surrey Memorial Hospital for saving my daughter’s life earlier this summer after a near drowning incident. Words cannot express my gratitude.

Casks for SMH

There will be 3 casks of local craft beer on hand. One from Big Ridge, one from Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks (their Super 8 Bit IPA no less!) and one from Surrey’s own Russell Brewing. Lots of local businesses have donated items for our silent auction/raffle including Dead Frog Brewing, Famoso Pizzeria, The Joseph Richard Group, Tasty Indian Bistro, Starbucks, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store,  Dageraad Brewing, and more. Big Ridge Brewing will also be offering up some great swag along with hosting and organising the casks. We will also be doing a 50/50 draw. I can’t say enough about Rob and the whole team at Big Ridge and the Mark James Group, Their generosity over the years has helped me raise a lot of money for some amazing charities.

Hayley says thank you!!!

Hayley says thank you!!!

I hope to see everyone and I can’t wait to do some good for Surrey Memorial Hospital! The Big Ridge shuttle will be making trips to King George Station and it’s regular area, call 7789387433 to schedule a pick up and get home safe. DJ Alibaba will be playing all of your favourite hits from the 80’s and 90’s too.

There’s a Facebook event page here, invite all of your friends!

Please help us spread the word by sharing this on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you can.

Scott.

 

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Hawthorne Beer Market and Bistro

Hawthorne Beer Market is the newest member of the Pacific North Coast Restaurant Company. Its siblings are the Washington Avenue Grill in White Rock, The Cabin at Crescent Beach, and The Vault which is just down the street from Hawthorne in Cloverdale. I was pretty excited to hear the PNCRC was opening a craft beer focused place and I love the area of Cloverdale where they chose to open it. It’s right on 176th street in old downtown Cloverdale. It took me longer than I’d planned to visit but I finally made it there last week.

Wing Wednesday

Wing Wednesday

It was Wing Wednesday and that means wings are going to happen. Don’t fight Wing Wednesday, just embrace it. The hot wings were quite good, mostly drumettes which was a hit with my dining companion. They aren’t overly hot but the flavours are all there along with some acidity. Nice.

Scotch egg

Scotch egg

Scotch eggs are the perfect food. Hard boiled egg packed in sausage meat which is breaded and deep fried. Probably not recommended by your cardiologist though. Everything here was spot on aside from the sausage layer being a little thin. Actually it was way too thin. More sausage meat and this is a contender for best scotch egg in town.

Prime Rib Burger

Prime Rib Burger

The Prime Rib Burger was a huge let down. The patty had the taste, texture, and appearance of a pre made (read – frozen) patty. I’m not sure how long this dish sat in the window before it made it to the table, it didn’t feel overly long, but the fries under the burger were a soggy, greasy mess. There’s a blurb on their website that makes this burger quite surprising “We’re the new kid on the block, and we do things a little different. For starters, we only use the freshest ingredients, and made from scratch sauces. No prepackaged junk you might come to expect from some of the other guys.” If I’m wrong and this burger is actually made from scratch I’m baffled at how you can make fresh ingredients and non pre-packaged junk taste like it came from a Sysco box.

The beer list is solid. I had a Bomber Brewing ESB and a Four Winds pale ale. The staff was friendly but they seemed like they were short a server as one young lady appeared to be covering the entire place (restaurant and bar).

I think Hawthorne has potential, I like the look of the place and the overall concept. I love the location and the beer selection. I just can’t fathom the choice to serve a pre made burger in a place that preaches fresh ingredients.

Twitter – nope

Facebook – Hawthorne Beer Market & Bistro

Web – hawthornebeermarket.com

Scott.

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