Whet Your Appetite from VANEATS.ca

My homeboys at VANEATS.ca have partnered up with Whet Kitchen & Bar on Granville Island to bring you another sensational dining package affectionately known as “Whet Your Appetite”. It’s a 4 item adventure with a choice of mains and 2 sleeves of tasty Russell Angry Scotch Ale made right here in the GVRD (Surrey to be specific). At only $30 it’s a great deal so guys, quit being so cheap and take your significant other on a nice date!

The Russell Angry Scotch Ale is always a treat. It’s a full bodied dark ale with a 6.5% kick that hits me right in my happy place. It’s also a great choice when the weather turns decidedly Vancouver-esque, meaning cloudy, wet and not particularly warm.

The first dish I tried was a very nice Coconut Scallop Ceviche. The scallops were large and in charge, the hand peeled shrimp were plentiful and the coconut added some sweetness to the citrus base of the liquid along with a subtle jalapeño punch. There’s two kinds of roe on top, Ikura and Tobiko, which are always a treat and went really well with this dish. The thick corn chips made a nice vessel to deliver the ceviche to your mouth but the chip to dip ratio was a little off, a fairly common problem, too many chips.

Next up was a super tasty Prawn, Shrimp and Wild Mushroom Salad. Made up of pan seared prawns, wild local mushrooms, hand peeled cold water shrimp, arugula, grapefruit, taro root crisps. Dressed in a delicious lemon-hazelnut vinaigrette this dish was a hit. The prawns were seasoned well and cooked just right, the wild mushrooms were warm and paired well with the peppery arugula. The vinaigrette was a nice combo of sweet and savoury.

I had both main courses, for journalistic purposes… I added the second main at a cost of $15. First up I had the Red Honey-Curry Coho, wild BC Coho, saffron yoghurt, hot pickled lime puree, candied almonds, cinnamon market vegetable (which was Broccolini). This dish is pretty incredible, the coho is amazing, all of the spices work together very well and the saffron yoghurt adds a creamy exotic note that paired fantastically with the flavourful salmon.

 

The other main course choice is Crispy Duck Leg, confit of Fraser Valley duck leg, sweet chill ginger sauce, yam & plantain chips, sesame seeds and grilled plums. The duck was spot on, very moist and tender with nice crispy skin. Crispy duck skin is the bacon of the avian world, so good. The big surprise for me was how much I liked the grilled plums, I could’ve eaten a whole plate of them.

I wasn’t dining alone on this adventure so when our meals were done we decided to add on a couple of desserts. The Chocolate chunk cheesecake was great but there is a dessert at Whet that you can’t leave without ordering. It’s a chocolate chip cookie baked in a small cast iron pan, served warm in said pan with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It’s so simple yet amazingly good.

Cheers to the team at Whet and the crew at VANEATS.ca for putting together a winner here, great taste, great location and outstanding value.

My meal was provided free of charge for review purposes but, as always, if it was gross I would’ve said so. Get down to Granville Island and Whet Your Appetite!! My extra main and desserts were over and above the cost of the package but I would recommend adding the cookie… amazing.

Get your dining pass HERE

Scott.

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Take Five Cafe in Gastown

Last Thursday after work I made the short trek over to Take Five Cafe at 62 West Cordova Street in Gastown for the launch of their new menu and evening beverage component- wine and beer!

I had a lapse of  judgement and wore flats for the evening, fully knowing that I’d be on foot for the night.  The short walk from Railtown to Gastown had me soaked and my shoes became their own puddles. As soon as I arrived I was given a glass of wine and all was okay with the world.

Take Five Cafe recently opened it’s tenth cafe, the new Gastown location at the corner of Cordova and Abbott. More formally known for its commitment to great coffee, Take Five Cafe has ventured into the evening culture in Gastown. With a wine list and select beer offerings, Take Five also offers extended hours Tuesday-Saturday until 11pm. I had an opportunity to sample a few of the paninis and wraps, and they were very fresh and tasty. I didn’t get to try the Lamb Panini because it was GONE by the time I got there, so I am assuming that it must have been THAT good. I did, however, get to try the Italian Sausage Panini, the Roasted Vegetable Panini, and the Chicken Fajita Wrap. Near the end of the evening I found the cutest little cup of quinoa salad that you ever did see, and followed up with a S’more Brownie and Tiramisu. Decadent and lovely.

To complete my visit to Take Five Cafe, I ordered a European style or ‘foamy’ cappuccino to keep myself awake for part 2 of the evening, which I ordered at the counter and it was brought to my table. I love the service model of ordering at the counter and items being brought to your table. There is the option to pay at the time of ordering, or you may settle your bill at the end of the night in case you want to enjoy one more glass of wine.

Definitely check out Take Five Cafe in Gastown.

Paninis, and brownies, and wine, oh my

Left to right and top to bottom: brownies, wine by the glass, grilled veggie sandwich, quinoa salad, turkey panini, one of my plates, and tiramisu!

Steveston Photo Walk and lunch at Hogshack Cookhouse

Steveston, home of the worlds tamest Seagulls…

Steveston is a beautiful little corner of Richmond, tucked right along side the Pacific Ocean it is still an active fishing community as well as a popular tourist destination. Home to beautiful parks, a national historic site (The Gulf Of Georgia Cannery), a bustling fisherman’s wharf where you can buy fresh seafood right off the fishing boats and many shops and restaurants all within a very walkable old fashioned town centre.

Hog Shack Cook House

I had lunch at Hog Shack Cook House, a southern BBQ joint and one of my favourite restaurants in Greater Vancouver. Chef/Co-owner John and Co-owner Alan are great guys with a serious knack for making your restaurant visit a great one. I usually order the Smoke Lover’s Combo, So good. Hog Shack also has a terrific craft beer selection.

Smoke Lover;s Combo, Pulled Pork, Brisket coleslaw and fries, Mmmm!

After our tasty lunch Hayley an I went for a walk around this pretty ocean side village and snapped some photos, enjoy!

 

 

Pig on the Street – Food Truck Friday!!!

Every Friday, if I’m downtown, I try to have lunch at a food truck. This week I tried Pig on the Street which is probably the smallest food truck in Vancouver. It’s actually not a truck, it’s a Volkswagen camper van and it’s super cool. They make flatbread sandwiches, soups and delicious sounding (I didn’t have one) Bacon, Bourbon and Caramel Brownie Bites. Almost everything on the menu is “Pork-centric” with the exception of the vegetarian sandwich called the No Piggy. When you place your order you’re handed a small wooden pig with a pork related name on it, it works like taking a number but it’s way more fun.

I had The Porker which comes loaded with locally sourced double smoked bacon, sausage stuffing with apple and sage, goat Gouda, caramelized onion mayo and greens. $10 tax included is a pretty good deal for this epic lunch. I was FULL and very happy as I settled into my pork coma. The bacon is incredible and the smell wafting down the street from the little Volkswagen is intoxicating. The sausage stuffing is amazing, the goat Gouda is a unique but perfect choice and the mayo and greens finish things off nicely. Pig on the Street is the cure if you’re “achin’ for bacon”.

The Porker
You should make Food Truck Friday a part of your routine. It’s easy, fun, delicious and affordable. Download the free Street Food App for you smartphone HERE and get started!!

Twitter – @Pigonthestreet

Facebook – www.facebook.com/PigOnTheStreetVancouver

Web – www.pigonthestreet.com

 

Scott.

Canadian Club + Mad Men = Good Times

What’s the best way to celebrate the launch of the latest season of Mad Men on Blu-Ray? Have an event at Vancouver’s swanky Terminal City Club, invite Canadian Club along to make some cocktails, give a tasting of their products and give away a beautiful Hamilton watch. Add some of Vancouver’s finest folks dressed in 1960’s era clothing and good times are a sure thing.

Surprised they let me in such an upper crust establishment? Me too, and it’s my second time there! The Terminal City Club is a great place for an event and a lot of other folks thought the same thing as the turnout was very good. All three Canadian Club cocktails were great but my favourite was the Old Fashioned. The whisky tasting was fun and the Canadian Club brand ambassador gave us a lot of great details about CC’s three different Rye Whisky’s which were all very different. I’m a Scotch man and my palate for Rye isn’t nearly as refined, something I’m going to have to improve!

Thanks again to Dunn PR for putting on another great event!

 

 

 

Scott.

Surrey rolls out a new waste collection program

This week the City of Surrey launched its “Rethink Waste” program whit the goal of reducing the amount of non organic waste hitting our landfills. The program is a full rethink of the way Surrey handles its waste, new city supplied garbage bins, new pick up schedules and new truck which run on natural gas instead of diesel fuel. So how did it go? I’ll give you one man’s perspective. I live in a townhouse in the Fleetwood area of Surrey. I have a wife and 2 and a half year old daughter, nothing out of the ordinary demographically speaking.

When the program was announced residents were instructed to order there new garbage bins online, one for organic waste, one for recyclables and one for regular old garbage. The website recommended what size bins would be appropriate for your family needs and as such I ordered something fairly close to the recommendation. I was told I would need a 120L organic bin, a 240L recycling bin and a 180L garbage bin based on my type of dwelling. I chose to up the garbage bin to 240L because my daughter isn’t potty trained yet. The organic waste cart will get very little use in this house other than pizza boxes. I have a garbage disposal in my sink and quite frankly I don’t want a kitchen full of flies. I also don’t want to have to buy the special bags to use with the small kitchen container they’ve provided for organics.

The organic bins are picked up weekly and the recyclables and garbage are picked up every two weeks on an alternating schedule. I think my 240L bins will be big enough for two weeks worth of stuff but if they aren’t I’ll have an opportunity to exchange them. The bins were dropped off roughly a week before we could use them and I actually had bins dropped off in my driveway 3 times… That’s 9 bins. I took the ones I ordered and before I could call the city the extras had disappeared in the garages of my neighbours.

The fist pick up day was fairly amusing as almost all of my neighbours, as well most of the rest of Surrey, put out all three of their bins. It amazes me how many people don’t read simple instructions. I saw a lot of overfilled bins which will not be picked up and most of them were still sitting on the curbs days later as their clueless owners waited for the garbage men to return. Oh well, I’m sure everyone will figure it out in time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new system or how you think it compares to other programs around the GVRD.

Scott.

White Rock Beach

White Rock Beach is a great place to spend a Sunday in October, especially when it’s sunny and 20 degrees outside. A walk along the strip followed by another walk to the end of the pier and back, a perfect afternoon. White Rock is over flowing with great places to eat, cool little shops and cafes and great spots to take stunning pictures. If you’re there when the tide goes out you can walk for miles on the beach exploring tide pools filled with sea life. You can watch fishermen catch flounders and crab off the pier. There’s so much to see and do.

Uli’s veggie burger
The Uli burger, the best burger in the GVRD

 

After our walk around we headed to Uli’s for lunch. I’ve written about Uli’s before (Check it out here!) and I still say they have the best burger in Vancouver along with one of the best craft beer menus. This time along with the Uli burger we tried the Mac & Cheese and the Veggie burger. The Mac & Cheese is great, very rich and creamy with a sharp cheddar flavour. The Veggie burger is outstanding, so much so that I would order it for myself even though I love meat more than most things in life. Uli’s menu is mostly gluten free so it’s a great place for folks with a gluten allergy to enjoy great food. Another feather in Uli’s cap is their consistency. Seeing as it was Thanksgiving Sunday Owner Tyson, Chef Ryan and Manager David had all taken the day off yet the food, service and staff were all exactly the same as my last visit. Some of my favourite restaurants are noticeably different when the bosses aren’t around, the food quality and service standards slip, but not Uli’s. Well done guys.

Check out all the pictures we took!

Scott.

My daughter loves Uli’s too

Mt. Baker

There were lots of Flounders swimming near the pier.
The actual “White Rock”.

My family

 

 

 

 

XL Foods recall – everything you need to know

The XL Foods beef recall has expanded yet again, this time it includes steaks as well as ground beef and many other beef products. The best way to stay up to date with what has been recalled and what retail outlets have been advised of these recalls is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) website’s Food Recalls & Alergy Alert page. This recall is huge and includes almost every major grocery chain in Canada, if you have any beef on the list please throw it away, even if it is frozen it still carries  E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

This is a great reason to start buying local meats, they taste better, are better for you and are much safer.

Follow the CFIA on Twitter for the latest info – @CFIA_Food

Scott.

Pumphouse Pub Longtable dinner – Guest post by Lynn McIlwee

Summer has now passed, which not only means that the great autumn beers
are back, but the
Pumphouse Pub
resumes their Beer Tasting Series! I’m always curious to see what Chef Daniela
Iaci will create with her food magic and per usual, she didn’t disappoint. These
dinners just keep getting better and better so if you haven’t checked one out
yet, get on it! Daniela does an amazing job of nailing the pairings and
prepares such succulent and flavourful dishes. I bow to you, Daniela.
The menu:
 
Course One
Café latte beef carpaccio espresso
crusted beef, crème fraiche & arugula salad
Paired with: Elysian Split Shot Espresso
Milk Stout
The carpaccio was paper thin and paired gorgeously with the crème fraiche
and arugula. Balsamic vinegar was drizzled on the arugula and it exuded a
pleasant parmesan aroma.
Stout paired with the first course, you say? Bold, for sure, but it
worked. And the
Elysian is such a
fantastic beer. It’s truly one of my favourite stouts – the coffee and
chocolate notes are well balanced and it is a smoooooth beer to drink. Ahhhh. I
love you, Spilt Spot.
Course Two
Spicy coconut sweet & sour prawn soup
Paired with: The Commons Urban Farmhouse
Ale
The chilies that were used in the broth would pack a big, punch you in
the face and take no prisoners bite, should you eat them. And we were warned so
as not to have a surprise should we eat one. But wow, did they ever enhance the
flavour of the soup. It had a great kick to it and kept the sweet and sour from
having their own battle. I loved this soup.
The Commons’ beers are new
to BC and thanks to
Beerthirst, they’re
now being imported! We had the Urban Farmhouse Ale with this course. I’m a big
fan of farmhouse ales and this is a great example of one. Floral notes, some
bitterness and a clean finish. This beer is the 2012 World Beer Cup Bronze
Medal winner. Applause, applause. We’ll be stopping in at The Commons’ tasting
room on our next Portland trip (coming up next week!) and will indulge in some
of their other goodies like the Flemish Kiss…
Course Three
Crispy pork belly crostini with goat
cheese
Paired with: North Coast Le Merle
Farmhouse Ale
I made some pretty detailed notes on this one, such as SO DAMN GOOD! I’m
no food blogger, but I know what I like in food and beer. And this pork belly
was ah-maze-ing! So flavourful and tender in its porky goodness. I think we all
wanted seconds, and thirds, and and and… Did you catch that I loved this?
Ok, I’ll stop my pork-love-in and get on to the Le Merle. North Coast hits a lot of home
runs, in my opinion (Old Rasputin, Old No. 38 Stout, PranQster and others) and
this Farmhouse Ale is beautiful. Its inspiration comes from the Flanders region
with Belgian yeast, plenty of hops and fruity undertones.
Course Four
Citrus BBQ chicken tostada
Paired with: Half Pinks Little Scrapper
IPA
The citrus flavours on the chicken tostada danced around like a happy
little mariachi band. How Daniela managed to make this pairing a show stopper,
I’ll never know, but she did it. This dish was so flavourful and tasty! Slow
clap time… clap-clap-clap
Half Pints Brewing are
another new addition to BC, again courtesy of Beerthirst, and Little Scrapper
is a great IPA. They sell t-shirts that say “Together we can stop the evil
spread of lite beer”. Yep, we will get along just fine. A hop forward IPA with
gorgeous citrus/grapefruit notes all the while, staying balanced.
 
Course Five
Fig & blue cheese crème brulee with
candied walnuts
Paired with: Tenaya Creek Double Tandem Double
IPA
Did someone say crème brulee? I love crème brulee. I’m not a dessert
person by nature but good luck on me passing this up. Fig and blue cheese might
not be what you’d expect in this dessert but it rocked my world. Daniela, my
hands are getting sore from all the clapping… but well deserved. She outdid
herself with this gem. A few candied gooseberries also came along for the ride
and the brulee was sweet and salty. I saw a tweet from Daniela earlier that morning
saying she didn’t have a proper recipe for this dessert – the way she wanted it,
she obviously put her creative genius and culinary skills to work. Bam! She nailed
it.
The Tandem DIPA from Tenaya Creek
Brewery
was a new beer for me and is a limited special release. Grab a
bottle before they’re all gone, beer geeks, as it’s worth a try. It has the
typical characteristics of an IPA with a bit of earthiness. Mild bitterness and
extra hoppy goodness.
These amazing dinners with generous pourings are $40 (not including tip
– please tip their great servers!). Talk about value!
During and after dinner, we were treated to the musical stylings of Dino DiNicolo. What a talented man! I
just checked his tour schedule and it’s amazing he has time to play at the
Pumphouse – check him out!
The next beer dinner will be during BC Craft Beer Month on October 19th.
There will be a six-course brewmaster’s dinner with six BC brewmasters on hand
to pour their own beers and mingle with the crowd. Tickets are $50 and more
information can be found on The Pumphouse’s
Facebook page or their website.  I’d suggest you get your tickets soon as this
will undoubtedly be a sellout!
Thanks again to The Pumphouse staff, chef Daniela and Beerthirst for
another excellent event. We continue to look forward to the next creative menu!
Follow Lynn on Twitter @BGCanary
Sorry about the formatting, Google’s Blogger platform doesn’t like WordPress… 🙂 – Scott

Notturno Paninoteca in Gastown

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and known that you were going to love it without even seeing the menu? I have and it happened at Notturno Paninoteca in Gastown, right next door to the famous (or infamous?) Blarney Stone. The room is small and comforting, the décor is simple and elegant, the menu is small, focused and well executed and it has the cleanest washroom in all of Gastown (seriously). The staff are awesome and owner Scott McTavish is almost always in chatting with customers and making everyone feel at home. Feeling hungry after a fairly lacklustre event at another restaurant Lyndsey and I headed to Notturno with high expectations given what we’d heard from some fellow bloggers.

We shared 3 items from the small menu. First up was something recommended by owner Scott, Pasta di Vitello, veal stuffed ravioli with sage butter and Parmesan. Ya ya veal, if your not comfortable eating it then there’s more for me. I could live off of these little pockets of heaven. The sage butter and Parmesan were a perfect match to the tender veal stuffed raviolis. This dish is rich, very rich but the portion size (6) is perfect and at $11 it’s money well spent.

Next up we shared one of Notturno’s Paninos which are the core of their menu and what they’re named after. The “Tartufo” is  layered with prosciutto, artichoke, caper, black truffle aoli and pecorino on amazing bread which is grilled to perfection in a panini press. Amazing, seriously amazing. Salty, rich, slightly acidic and all in perfect balance. This is more than just a sandwich and a deal at $9.50.

Last but certainly not least is desert. Notturno has created a dessert using Erin Ireland’s “To Die For” banana bread. The bread is stuffed with chocolate mascarpone and grilled in the panini press with a scoop of vanilla gelato on the side. If the rest of the menu was terrible and the place was filthy and the service was awful I’d still tell you to go try this desert, it’s that good. You should probably stop what you’re doing right now and point yourself towards Gastown and start walking.

Did I mention the world class Italian wines and unique Italian beer they have?

Twitter – @NotturnoGastown

Facebook – www.facebook.com/NotturnoPaninoteca

Scott.