How do you win your way in? Simply tweet the following “I want meat, beer, and cheese @ThePortsidePub with @wflbc! #PortsideMBC” You can also post a picture of meat, beer, and cheese on Instagram. Make sure you tag @wflbc and @theportsidepub and use the hashtag #PortsideMBC so I can find it!
The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, February 25th and your tickets will be waiting for you at the event. Portside is planning on making this a regular event. I’m going to get gout!
You’d think with all of the people who’ve recommended this place to me that I would have eaten here ages ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but that has been corrected. You’d also think that, as someone who eats at restaurants fairly regularly, I’d know that Valentine’s Day is the WORST day of the year to eat at a restaurant. Well, I couldn’t say “Oh I don’t want to go there. It’s Valentine’s Day” to Lyndsey unless I wanted to sleep on the side walk. Let’s see how it went.
The menu was a fixed 5 course affair with a palate cleanser thrown in for fun. First up we received 2 oysters on the half shell with chili watermelon mingnonette. We also ordered another half dozen oysters because oysters always need more oysters. Super fresh and perfectly shucked. The word “Oyster” is in their name for a good reason, these were fantastic.
Our second course was a deeply flavoured Saffron and Hemp soup with celery leaf, crouton, and chestnut salad. Earthy and rich while simultaneously being light and fresh. Great soup.
Course 3 was a Fig, Walnut, and Celery Leaf Salad with beets, blue cheese, prosciutto, and mint balsamic dressing. I’ll start by saying that I really dislike figs. That being said the rest of this salad was well thought out and very flavourful. Every item of the Valentine’s Day menu was made with romance in mind using ingredients known to be aphrodisiacs. Too bad I don’t like figs, according to the menu notes they “Stimulate lasting erections and delay climax.” Well, there you go.
Before the main courses arrived we were given a strawberry sorbet palate cleanser with balsamic reduction, mint, and lemon zest.
We each ordered a different main to share. Lyndsey ordered the Honey Glazed Pan Roasted Salmon with sous vide asparagus, roasted carrots, and muscles. An unpretentious dish that let the ingredients shine through without being overpowered by seasoning. The salmon was perfect, even the skin.
I ordered the Roasted Gelderman Farms Pork Loin with pomegranate reduction, sous vide asparagus, roasted carrots, and almond butter. I was given the option of adding a whole or half lobster. No one wants to look like a glutton so I went with the half… The pork was tender and juicy, It seemed like it had been brined? The reduction was great and had a complex sweet/savoury character. After I did the dirty work cracking open the claw Lyndsey promptly stole it. Valentine’s day etiquette violation, I would have offered it. Tasty, decadent dish.
Dessert came quickly after our mains were done. Chocolate Cake with Star Anise whipped cream, banana caramel, coconut cookie, and cardamom ice cream. Overall this was a good dessert but the anise whipped cream was a little overpowering.
Service was a little slow but that comes with the territory when you choose to forego chain restaurants for Valentine;s Day. I was very impressed with the food and atmosphere at The Fat Cow, I’ll definitely be back.
One final thought. I received a few comments about The Fat Cow from people not liking the location. The gist of most comments was “how can you have a fine dining restaurant in a strip mall in Langley”. Is The Fat Cow “fine dining”? It’s upscale but I don’t see it as fine dining. Does the location of a restaurant add to the flavour of the food, the quality of the ingredients, or the atmosphere of the room? No, it most certainly does not. The idea that a restaurant is better because it’s downtown or in a fancy neighbourhood is silly. Be happy that this oasis of quality exists in the desert of garbage that surrounds it. Places like The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar are rare. Tap Restaurant in South Surrey is another great example. Give these places a look, you’ll be glad you did.
It’s been years since I’ve eaten at The Old Spaghetti Factory (OSF for short, I’m lazy and that’s a long name…). I remember fresh sour dough bread, reasonably good American/Italian pasta dishes, and spumoni (Italian ice cream). Hayley and I had dinner at the OSF in Richmond during a recent “Awesome Dads” outing with my pal Allan and his daughter. The place was packed and there was a 30-40 minute wait for a table. Thankfully there’s a bowling alley next door with an arcade so the wait passed quickly.
Once seated we received our ubiquitous loaf of sour dough bread that comes with regular and garlic whipped butter. The only problem I found with the sour dough bread was that it was not sour dough… When did this happen?! It’s a loaf of white bread, not particularly fresh either. That’s fairly disappointing. I ordered a Bacon Caesar from their drink menu. Where do I start. The bacon garnish was of the “McCain Readycrisp” variety and had been sitting out a LONG time. It was pale, floppy, and disgusting. My straw kept getting clogged by something which, after some digging, turned out to be artificial bacon bits. Seriously, just a bunch of soy based crunchy garbage added to a drink for flavour? No thanks.
Next up was an appetizer sized Caesar Salad. Other than a few bits of brown Romaine the salad was ok. Store bought croutons, dressing not dissimilar to The Keg’s Caesar dressing you can buy at a grocery store. To be honest this is what most people would bring to a pot-luck/picnic.
My entrée was Spaghetti with Spicy Meat Sauce. You would think that having a restaurant with the word Spaghetti in the name would mean they would know how to cook spaghetti. You would be wrong. Mark, aka @TheLowerCrust on Twitter, provided that insight for me and added this gem when I asked my followers what they thought of OSF and their pasta;
@WFLBC@pinkwhiskers I swear they probably just make them by the bathtub full and let them sit all night. They don’t know al dente
The noodles seem like they were made days ago and reheated. The sauce is ok, slightly oily and not much spice for “spicy meat sauce”. The random parsley is almost pointless and looks as if it was put there by mistake.
For dessert I had spumoni that tasted like ice cream.
There you have it. No entrées over $13 might be the only thing that would get me to recommend this place. I apologise in advance to all of the tourists who end up at the OSF in Gastown because they don’t know any better. It’s not your fault.