It seems like fall is event season for in Vancouver. My inbox gets flooded with invitations to new restaurants, media events and exclusive product launches. Taste Resto Lounge is a new spot located under 560, a popular nightclub on Seymour St. Serving up tapas, charcuterie, unique cocktails and some very nice wines Taste is sure to attract the foodie crowd.
Taste’s menu focuses heavily on locally sourced ingredients and environmentally responsible practices. The result is fresh, delicious food that you can feel great about eating. Go check it out for yourself, the room is quite lovely too!
The life of a blogger is filled with hardships like super fun events and free booze. When the free booze is locally made craft beer you can imagine that my happy meter hits maximum pretty fast. Gastown’s iconic Steamworks Brew Pub has finally decided to bottle its beers and sell them to you to enjoy at home! They’ll be offering their Pilsner and Pale Ale year round in 355ml 6 packs and their seasonal brews, which include Frambozen, Wheat Ale, Heroica Oatmeal Stout and Pumpkin Ale in 650ml bombers.
Cotto Enoteca has been getting quite a bit of buzz in the Twitterverse since it opened and rightly so. Executive Chef/Managing Partner Alex Tung has created a menu of modern Italian dishes that are truly wonderful. Occupying the building that used to house Anducci’s, Cotto brings some great casual dining to North Burnaby. After some bread, some Prosecso, 6 courses and a litre of fantastic BC red wine Chef Tung and Cotto made a fan out of me.
We started out with some nice bread and a Cannellini Bean & Truffle Oil spread. The spread was awesome, the bread was fresh, very light and airy with a crunchy outer crust, so good. Course 1 was Calamari Fritto, crispy fried squid with roma tomatoes and salsa verde. The squid was cooked perfectly, it’s very rare to find calamari cooked this well and I’ll go so far as to say it was the most perfectly cooked calamari I’ve ever eaten. The flavours were also outstanding. Salsa verde isn’t something that I would associate with squid but it was a great flavour combo.
Course 2 was Prosciutto e Melone, prosciutto wrapped melon with roma tomotoes. The sweet and savoury flavour profile of this dish is great, there was also some shaved radish and crispy fried prosciutto pieces sprinkled on top the added and nice salty kick and some crunchy texture to this simple but well executed dish. The plating was beautiful as well. Course 3 was Cotto Polpetti, house made meatballs with crispy bread crumbs, San Marzano tomato sauce and fried pizza dough. The meatballs were so tender and delicious, they melted in my mouth. The tomato sauce was rich and added a great citrus kick to the savoury meatballs and the fried pizza dough was perfect for soaking up the extra sauce. Chef Tung’s dishes are all very carefully thought out in terms of flavour, texture and presentation.
Course 4 was Papardelle Carbonara. Carbonara is my favourite pasta dish and this one in particular was magnificent. It was made with guanciale, a type of smoked Italian bacon most commonly made with pork cheeks or jowl. It had Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, roasted garlic and a sexy little 63 degree egg nestled on top. Break the egg yolk, mix it in with the al dente pappardelle noddles and it’s pure pasta magic. Course 5 was one of Chef Tung’s signature dishes, Pizza Cotto. Seeing as Cotto is a pizzeria we couldn’t leave without trying a pizza. The Pizza Cotto had Yukon gold potatoes, pancetta, fried brussel sprout leaves, Gorgonzola dolce and fonduta. The potato gave the pizza a very unique texture that was really great and the brussel sprout leaves added a peppery crunch. This is a pretty incredible pizza. The crust is thin and crispy but not too this that it burns. It’s cooked in Cotto’s wood fired pizza oven as are all their Neapolitan pizzas.
We finished off the night with a dessert recommended by our server, Salted Caramel Budino. It’s butterscotch pudding with sea salt and some little rosemary biscotti. Salted butterscotch… wow. Most of you probably know that I’m not normally a sweets lover but this was awesome. The rosemary biscotti seemed like a weird choice but it really worked, once again showing Chef Tung’s skill with flavour and texture.
We also enjoyed some terrific Blasted Church Big Bang Theory Red which Cotto has on tap, yes I said ON TAP! They use the Freshtap system which pours wine right from the cask. BC wine is awesome.
Needless to say I would recommend Cotto to anyone I know, it’s terrific. Go check it out!!
The Friday before Labour Day weekend my fantastic boss dismissed the minions a couple of hours early so we could get a head start on our weekend. Most of us were staying in the city after work for other engagements, and I had a few hours to kill before taking the train out to Mission, so we decided to kick of the weekend with drinks in the neighbourhood.
I’m not going to lie, I work in a bit of a rough part of the city. Just a few blocks away is Oppenheimer Park, the Union Gospel Mission, and a number of slum hotels. It can get you down sometimes. However, Railtown is jam packed with architects, designers, textiles, Hootsuite’s headquarters, and fairly recently the Vancouver Urban Winery. Who knew that there was a winery two blocks from my office?
Anyway, we logged off and locked the doors and made the short trek to do some wine tasting. Having a winery down the block changes everything for us. It means we can do Friday drinks without planning in advance, and we can pick up bottles of wine on our lunch hours. Needless to say, we were excited to check it out.
The Vancouver Urban Winery is unique to Vancouver, and features British Columbia wines and the ever growing trend of wine-on-tap. With over 7,000 sq. ft. it boasts a tasting bar, a wine shop (full of gourmet goodies, too) and the space is lined with barrels and stainless steel kegs of… wine! The website offers the following:
“The winery manufactures, packages, imports and distributes wine for multiple brands including Roaring Twenties Wine Co. The operations of FreshTAP, which specialize in packaging quality wines in stainless steel kegs for the emerging wine-on-tap category also takes place within the Vancouver Urban Winery.
As an urban winery the business is not attached to a specific vineyard. This enables the winery to source wine grapes and finished product from any appellation in the world.”
Before diving into any one bottle of wine, we decided to do the $10 tasting which consist of 5 different wines. It was a lovely summer afternoon, and I went for the Fresh Is Best tasting which consisted of: Roaring Twenties Sauvignon Blanc, Clos Du Soleil Sauvignon Blanc, Clean Slate White Slate, Rollingdale White Light, and Nichol Vineyards Pinot Gris. There are other packages as well as a Choose Your Own Adventure option. I only stayed for the tasting before it was time to make the trek to the train, but my coworkers carried on without me for some time.
Cray Kitchen & Bar is one of VERY few places in Vancouver doing Louisiana style Seafood. Never had Louisiana style before? You’re missing out on a truly unique dining experience. The latest dining pass from VANEATS.ca, called “Cray-vings”, is a five item feast featuring a 1/2 pound of shrimp, a 1/2 pound of crawfish (both flown in live from Louisiana), 3 cod bites, 2 deep fried oysters and some tasty Cajun fries all for $18.50, a very good deal!
This was a WFLBC team event as I was joined by my lovely co-blogger Rochele! The shrimp/crawfish are available in different spice levels, I chose spicy and Rochele went with medium. I also got a side of Cray’s house made XXX hot sauce, It’s definitely got some heat, only the brave need apply! We stared off with the Cod Bites, golf ball sized pieces of deep fried cod. They were pretty tasty and the batter was nicely seasoned. Next up was the deep fried oysters, one of my favourite things! Rochele Isn’t a huge fan of oysters but I thought they were done just right, not overcooked and were quite large! We both snacked on the Cajun fries throughout the meal and they were tasty and well seasoned.
Now to the main event, the steaming bag full of shellfish!! When you get to Cray they cover your table with paper and bring you a bucket with a roll of paper towel, plastic gloves and a stylish plastic bib. Trust me, you need all of them. The shrimp and crawfish are whole, shell on, heads and legs on so you have to do a little work to get the meat out. The shrimp are fairly easy to disassemble and when you take the head off make sure you suck the juice out, it’s delicious! The crawfish are a little more work and you really don’t get a lot of meat out of the tail but what you do get is very tasty and quite similar to lobster meat. The crawfish heads are worth a suck too, tasty tasty head juice.
I was lucky enough to squeeze one of the shrimp heads too hard when I was pulling it off and ended up with a face/sleeve full of shrimp head juice! It’s all good though, that’s what the bibs are for.
Get your Cray-vings dining pass from VANEATS.ca HERE before they’re all gone!
I had a chance to attend a food bloggers meet n’ eat at The Baker and The Chef, a fresh spot on Cambie in Gastown serving up delicious sandwiches, soups, fresh baked goodies and much more! Go check these guys out if you’re in Gastown, they’re priced right and and everything’s delicious. Try the Bean Salad!!
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to The Vancouver Aquarium and it has had some major renovations lately, the perfect time to go check it out with the family! My daughter is 2 and a half, the prefect age for an introduction to the aquarium. She’s old enough to appreciate it yet young enough to be free (3 is the cut off). I’ve always loved the aquarium and we had a great day showing our daughter the wonders of the world that are hidden in its oceans, lakes and rivers.
There’s something for everyone at the Vancouver Aquarium. If you’ve never been or you haven’t visited in a while it’s worth another look.
Screw New Years Resolutions. Did you know that you can start again any day of the year that you want? I start and stop my fitness goals the way some people flip through channels on TV. I don’t usually feel bad about this. I fall off the wagon, and I start again. I won an award for perseverance many years ago. I will persevere, and so should you. Just start again, and again, and again until it finally sticks.
Last year I was so motivated to look good in my bikinis for the summer. In February I was soft and squishy and underwhelmed with the way I looked in and out of my clothes. I was motivated to look and feel my best at 25 years old. I went to the gym, I started running, and I made long-term changes to my diet that are now just part of me. I…
WhatsForLunchBC.com and SurreyIsTheBomb.com totally did it and made a baby!! This is that baby, WFLBC.com. No longer shackled by the confines of the words “lunch” or “Surrey” Rochele and Scott will be able to write about whatever they want, wherever they want. It’ll take some time to get everyone moved over but it’s going to be awesome!! Big thanks to Mr. Rick Chung for the idea!
We’ll still be sort of food-centric but you’ll see more community stuff, travel posts, lifestyle and everything in between.