Vancouver Food Cart Fest 2013 – I feel like I’ve been punk’d

Well you guys, I haven’t had a really good rant in a while and I was starting to think I was losing my edge. Never fear, Food Cart Fest to the rescue!!  The plan was to head down to False Creek with Hayley and meet up with some local foodies (@mhchipmunk, @yvrbcbro and @foodgays). I got to the Athletes Village just after 12 and parked under Legacy Liquor Store. The parking ticket machine there never works and it seems like no one cares so free parking! Off to a good start.

You can sort of see Food Cart Fest in the distance.
You can sort of see Food Cart Fest in the distance.

I wandered over to the big empty parking lot where the festival is being held this year and saw a really long lineup of people along the walking/bike path. That couldn’t be just to get in could it? Yep, it was. There was roughly (and I’m under exaggerating) 400 people lined up to enter Food Cart Fest and this isn’t even the first weekend. I decided to see WHY the lineup was so long and discovered that it was because you have to pay an ADMISSION FEE to even get in??!! Last year The event was held in the parking lot at The Waldorf on Hastings all summer and there was no admission fee. Were there lineups at the trucks? Yes there were but that is totally acceptable. Yes the admission fee is only $2 but that makes the line so slow that someone with a young child >>>ME<<< has to stand in the heat for 30-45 minutes? This is the part where I lose all the non parents… Talk to you later. But it’s not just the parents, it’s EVERYONE!

This year you have to line up to pay to get in, to line up to pay to eat. Stupid. Vancouver’s food truck newbies envision a city that looks like Portland with food trucks parked on every corner and dedicated parking lots filled with amazing food and brimming with atmosphere. That happened organically for Portland, it wasn’t forced like they’re trying to do here. Why would I pay to have the privilege to eat at a food truck when I can eat at a food truck any other day of the week and just pay for the food? I love Vancouver’s food trucks. I love the people that run them, the people that own them, the food they produce and the choices they offer to the people of this city. This city is Vancouver, it is not Portland, it will never be Portland. Stop trying to make it Portland! Portland has become what it is without producing “events” like this contrived joke.

Calling your event family friendly because you have a bouncy castle is almost as ridiculous as the lineup to get in. If I put a bouncy castle in a strip club would that make it family friendly? No, No it would not. No parent I know would wait in today’s heat with their kid. I saw parents in line… I don’t know what would make them want to wait that long with a child.

So, I didn’t get to hook up with my foodie pals, I didn’t get to eat any yummy food and now I’m at home wondering if I should’ve just stayed here and watched the NHL draft, it sounds like it was pretty entertaining.



Make your own #TeamHogShack award winning Buffalo Slaw Dog

bbq2Every now and then Hog Shack Cook House chef/owner John Lim Hing invites me to join him at a competition BBQ event, actually he invites me to all of them because I work for free breakfast. The last one we did, The Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ at Langley’s Cascades Casino included a “Best Hot Dog” special category on Saturday. A week or 2 before the competition Johnny texts me and tells me that I’m doing the hot dog… I pooped my pants a little. I eat food, I have an opinion about food, I write about food and I cook at home all the time and think I do a pretty good job. This was different though, people would be judging my hot dog against some of the top BBQ cooks in the Pacific Northwest. You’ll never guess what happened.


We won!! First place, I was in total shock. So in honour of my first win at anything food related, ever, I’m going to share the winning hot dog with you and tell you where to get everything that was on it!

The Beast is here

I had a secret weapon, Beast and Brine in South Surrey. I used their amazing Buffalo Jalapeno Cheese Smokies, smoked cheddar, house made pickles and some ridiculous Kozlik’s Sweet and Smoky mustard. Johnny brought along some of his Hog Shack coleslaw and I picked up some hot dog buns from the best bakery in the lower mainland, Fieldstone, which happens to be right beside Beast and Brine.

Random nighttime BBQ competition shot
Random nighttime BBQ competition shot

The bun was un-toasted and sliced open lengthwise but not so much that it broke into 2 pieces. I laid a generous base of mustard on both sides followed by 2 thin(ish) slices of the smoked cheddar running the length of the bun. I cut the pickles lengthwise into thin strips and laid 2 slices across the length of the bun. Then we made a nest out of the Hog Shack coleslaw, if you make your own coleslaw ( because I don’t think John’s going to give out the recipe lol) don’t make it too saucy, the smokie/pickle are juicy enough. I cooked the smokie over relatively low heat, around 300 degrees, until it started to firm up. I tried to take them off the heat before the casing burst and I was able to save enough of them for a nice result.

Where’s the picture? There isn’t one. I barely made the turn-in time. It’s just a hot dog so don’t worry about how it looks, it’ll taste amazing. This little beauty got us a nice blue ribbon and $150. Not bad for a hot dog.


Movie review – Star Trek Into Darkness


Movie reviews are not a normal thing for us to cover here at WFLBC, that being said I am a lifelong Star Trek fan and I feel sufficiently qualified to chat about the latest instalment in the Star Trek franchise. Let me start by saying that if I weren’t a lifelong Star Trek fan this review would read quite differently. This is a fantastic action movie with an entertaining (if not slightly preposterous) story, characters true to the originals and lots of drama, explosions, laughs, fights and fabulous special effects. Part of me wishes that I could see this film without my knowledge of the original Star Trek TV series and its 6 movies, but I can’t so here it goes.


This movie was WAY too predictable. Kirk breaking the Prime Directive right off the bat, losing command of the Enterprise only to get it back within 15 minutes upon Pike being killed by the villain who turns out to be Star Trek’s most famous villain, Khan. The fact that they trot out Kahn in the second instalment of the Star Trek reboot seems like it was too soon. The movie plays out like a fever dream version of the second original Star Trek film, The Wrath Of Khan. It even goes so far as to have Kirk and Spock trade places in the scene in which Spock dies in Star Trek 2, only to be resurrected in Star Trek 3 on the Genesis Planet. This time it’s the scientifically engineered blood of Khan that saves Kirk from death due to radiation exposure.

star trek into darkness 650 paramount

This movie is set up – punchline over and over and anyone with any knowledge of Star Trek 2 will see right through the plot twists. Don’t get me wrong, I liked this movie a lot but it seems like they took the easy route by rehashing an old story instead of trying something new like they did with the first installment of the reboot which featured a new villain (Nero) and a lot of unexpected events like the destruction of Vulcan.


I hope the third film in this series breaks some new ground. As usual the cast was excellent. Simon Pegg as Scotty stole the show with his subtle humor and the relationship dynamic between Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Lieutenant Uhura (Zoe Saldana) played out well with some laughs and some real emotion from Spock.


I give this film 3 Tribbles out of 5.


Contest – Win a day at Hastings Racecourse for two from WFLBC!

Recently I had the opportunity to check out Hastings Racecourse with the BCLC and a group of local bloggers. I haven’t been to Hastings in over a decade and I was surprised by how good it looks. We were wined and dined, given access to some pretty cool places. one of which was the starting gate which is an experience I’ll never forget. In return for some tweets and pictures I was given a certificate for a Hastings Racing Experience for 2 and I want to give it to YOU!


The prize consists of admission to Silks Restaurant, reserved seating and a buffet for 2 guests (must be 19+) and an official Hastings program. How do you enter? There’s 3 ways, Tweet “I entered to win a @HastingsRaces experience for 2 from @WFLBC and @BCLC. RT to enter”. Leave a comment on our Facebook page telling us why you want to go or leave a comment at the bottom of this post!


Thanks to Hastings Racecourse and the BC Lottery Corp for having me out, it was a fantastic day. Don’t forget that Hastings also has Craft Beer Cask Nights every friday! The winner will be selected on Friday June 21st, good luck!



Craft Beer Alert! Cask nights at Hastings Racecourse

I’m sure you guys were all following along last weekend when I had the chance to spend the day at Hastings Racecourse. It was a great day and I’ll be doing a draw for a Hastings Racecourse prize pack in the next few days so stay tuned!


While I was at the track I noticed a banner that said Hastings has a cask night. It’s a new program that just launched a week or 2 ago and it’s awesome to see such a unique place jumping on the craft beer bandwagon! Cask night is every Friday night at 7:30pm and this week they’re featuring Coal Harbour Brewing Company‘s 311 Helles Lager.


So, who’s up for some horse racing and craft beer?? I love it.



Booze Reviews – Estrella Damm Inedit

This post is going to ruffle some feathers among my craft beer friends. The thing is, S.A. Damm is a large scale commercial brewer of lagers from Spain, they are marco all the way. Macro beer is awful stuff, Heineken, Budweiser, Molson Canadian and on and on. These beers are loaded with adjuncts, fillers that make them cheap to produce, taste bland (and all the same) and quite bad for you. Corn and rice have no place in beer, period. Then Damm goes and does something awesome, they bring in world renowned chef Ferran Adria of and his team from the greatest restaurant to ever exist, el Bulli, and let them work their magic on a limited run beer.

Estrella Damm Inedit
Estrella Damm Inedit

For those of you unfamiliar with Chef Adria and elBulli you can check them out HERE and HERE. Chef Adria was joined by his business partner Juli Solar and elBulli Sommeliers Ferran Gentelles and David Seijas to create Inedit for Damm. Inedit translates to “Never been done before” and I tend to agree. There are beers that are made to pair with food but none that I can think of have this kind of talent behind them.

The beer itself is a lager\wheat beer blend with coriander and orange peel added to the brewing process to give it its desired flavour profile. It pours a cloudy pale yellow with a light, large white head and a nice amount of carbonation. The flavour is light and delicate with orange and coriander playing off the subtle hop notes. This beer is meant to be served chilled in a white wine glass ( yes, I know mine wasn’t in a wine glass…) and left in an ice bucket after it is opened. By itself this beer is quite nice but not extraordinary. You need to pair it with food to see what it’s really meant for.

I paired it with sashimi (tuna and salmon) and it was outstanding. The slightly oily yet delicate fish made the citrus notes of the beer sing like an opera. Beer pairing is quite different than wine pairing. Craft beer pairing is like hammering a nail into a piece of lumber, the flavours are often intense and need intense foods to balance with. Wine pairing is more like a finishing carpenter dovetail joining two pieces of a high end cabinet together, it takes a lot more finesse to get it right. Estrella Damm Inedit takes beer pairing and makes it as sophisticated and subtle as wine pairing, it’s quite an achievement. There are pairing suggestions in the little booklet that comes on the bottle and they’re spot on.

Like I said, my craft beer pals will not like this post but at the end of the day isn’t this what all of us want? A macro brewery trying to make unique and interesting beer? Doesn’t that mean that craft beer and its popularity are forcing the big guys to change their ways? It does.


Lunch at Grain Tasting Bar

Grain Tasting Bar is the downstairs cousin of the uber amazing Mosaic (check out my post on Mosaic RIGHT HERE!) at the Hyatt Regency on Burrard st. Offering up an upscale feel and an outstanding food and beverage lineup it’s easily made it into WFLBC’s short list for places to grab a drink downtown. After a manly afternoon of shopping at Lululemon on Robson street I needed a beer, you know, to man up a little.

Chef Thomas Heinrich has created a very nice menu for Grain. It is less up market than Mosaic but still has some amazing dishes that you won’t find at just any hotel bar. Add the great food to an impressive cocktail list and a very nice craft beer selection and Grain is hard to beat. It’s just steps from the Skytrain too? Stop it! It’s not fair to the other bars!! AND you can also order off the menu from Mosaic Bar and Mosaic itself. I’m really starting to wonder why I haven’t just set up a bed in the corner and moved in.

Spicy Thai Chicken Wings
Spicy Thai Chicken Wings

For starters I had the Spicy Thai Chicken Wings (from the Mosaic Bar menu). They were big, hot and juicy with all the sweet and savoury flavours you’d expect from a Thai Chili dish. There’s also a subtle heat that sneaks in after a few chews. The plating is also very nice, something Chef Heinrich takes a lot of pride in.

Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad
Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad

For my main I had the AMAZING Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad from the Mosaic Lunch Menu. Perfectly seared albacore tuna, green beans (aka haricot vert if you’re French), olives, hard boiled egg, potatoes and fresh tomatoes over baby greens with thyme vinaigrette. A classic Nicoise salad beautifully presented. I would order this again, and again, and….again.

I washed this all back with Parallel 49 Brewing’s delicious Hay Fever Spring Saison, yum.

Grain is good, really good.

Twitter – @Grain_Bar

Facebook – Grain Tasting Bar

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