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.

Advertisements

Noma Sushi – A top notch sushi joint in Langley

Good sushi and Langley are 2 words that are rarely seen in the same sentence. Sure, there’s decent sushi in Langley but nothing that truly holds up to the presentation and quality you see as you get closer to Vancouver. Noma Sushi, located in a brand spanking new retail strip mall development in Willoughby, aims to change my mind about Langley’s Sushi reputation.

Miso soup
Miso soup

My meal started with the obligatory miso soup, nothing really earth shattering here but it’s just miso soup which is pretty much the same everywhere. Actually that’s not true, I’ve had some AWFUL miso soup, this one was good.

Spicy Roll Combo
Spicy Roll Combo

The first thing to arrive was the Spicy Roll Combo, dynamite roll, spicy tuna roll, and spicy salmon roll. The dynamite roll was a pretty standard example but it was rolled very well and didn’t fall apart like a lot of “Fraser Valley” sushi tends to. The spicy tuna and spicy salmon rolls were good with lots of fresh seafood flavour and a little heat from the hot sauce mixed right into the chopped fish. They weren’t the best spicy rolls I’ve had, those come from Mega Sushi in Steveston, and these could’ve done with a little more flare in the presentation and ingredient area. Overall though they were good.

Nigiri
Nigiri

Next up was 3 pieces of Nigiri, 2 red tuna (probably Maguro) and 1 toro. The toro was unbelievably fresh and the fatty texture was amazing. It was fairly pale in colour but wow, so good. The tuna was equally impressive. Super fresh and so tasty. I almost wish I had skipped the Spicy Roll Combo and ordered more Nigiri, almost.

Red Dragon Roll
Red Dragon Roll

I usually try a special roll when I visit a sushi place for the first time and Noma has a lot to choose from. The Red Dragon Roll is prawn, crab meat, avocado, cucumber, and BBQ eel with spicy tuna on top. Beautiful presentation, great flavours, well rolled. As far as special rolls go this one could hold its own in any sushi place in Vancouver.

Noma Sushi is located at 20678 Willoughby Town Centre Drive in Langley. Check them out on Facebook – NomaJapaneseRestaurant

Thanks to Sheldon for taking me out to see what’s good in Langley!

Scott

Celebrate Oktoberfest all month long with the Joseph Richard Group

October, the one month of the year where I can drink every day of the week because of those crazy Germans and Oktoberfest! The other 11 months I try and keep it to 7 days a week. Every Tuesday in October The Hemingway Public House, located right on the strip in White Rock, is having their very own Beerfest!  With beer from 9 breweries including Hoyne, Central City, Elysian, New Belgium, Parallel 49, Hacker Pschorr, and Schneider Weiss you can guarantee that you’ll see me there at least once this month.

1380275_309525369190214_858598865_n

All Joseph Richard Group pubs are celebrating with awesome beer features everyday! Check out this handy calendar and plan your month wisely, October only comes around once a year! Don’t forget, CAMRA members get awesome perks (aka discounts…) so sign up!

1370377_10151723015822513_2105656183_n

Twitter – @WEAREJRG

Facebook – WEAREJRG

Interwebzzz – jrgvancouver.ca

Scott.

Fundraising with the Joseph Richard Group is awesome

Fundraising is something that most pubs do for various organizations. Sponsoring local amateur sports teams or having Pub Night fundraisers for various causes is quite common around the Lower Mainland. The Joseph Richard Group has taken this tradition and reinvented it to be easier, more flexible and just plain better.

JRG_thumb

You can fund raise for whatever you want and they’ll donate 10% of your groups purchases to the organization/cause of your choice. Here’s how it works:

• A 10% rebate on all purchases made by any member of the team or company over the duration of the agreed upon time frame.

• Management and main contact person will establish the duration for the season.

• JRG will supply each member of the team/company with a personalized key tag to present on each visit to JRG. each key tag will state the team name and expiry date

• JRG commits to maintaining a detailed ledger on site at all times that will record each and every purchase made by team members. the ledger will contain: team captain/main contact person name and contact info, date/name/amount spent, initials by JRG staff and team member for every purchase made, and copies of every receipt.

• JRG will also commit to allocating an additional 10% of the total spend, to a maximum of $500, towards an ‘end of season’ / ‘wrap up party’.

• JRG will also provide a complimentary ‘JRGmvp’ trophy during the end of season party if executed.

• For regular fundraising ‘pub nights’, JRG will provide the design and print costs of any tickets needed, provided they are within the template of the current fundraiser ticket design. details of such events will have to be discussed and confirmed by the team captain and management at JRG.

• Rebate dollars can be paid out at any time with a minimum 72 hours notice. rebates can only be approved for disbursement by the documented team captain/main contact and senior management at JRG. rebates will be paid out in the form of a company cheque.

But here’s where it gets really cool. Say you like to raise money for a specific charity. For example. I like to raise money for Variety and other children’s charities. Sign up with JRG, get a whole bunch of key tags to give to your friends and family (or Twitter followers or whoever) and BOOM, you’re raising money for charity every time you or your friends hang out at a JRG establishment. For me it’s Edith & Arthur in Fleetwood because it’s within walking distance and they have Fat Tug IPA on tap. Win, win, win.

Also this is in no way a sponsored post, I just think this is awesome and I plan to do good things with it! WFLBC/Variety key tag anyone?

Find a JRG location near you at jrgvancouver.com, follow them on Twitter @WEAREJRG and on Facebook at facebook.com/WEAREJRG.

Scott.

E+A1
Photo credit – JRG

MEC is open in the Fraser Valley!

MEC Rebrand 20130618

Vancouver’s own Mountain Equipment Co-op has opened a new store in Langley! Located in a space that used to house Sport Mart and Danier Leather, the newest MEC will be a much welcomed addition to the Fraser Valley. No more long drives to Broadway or North Van!

Check out all the details on MEC’s website.

Now where did I leave my membership card…

Scott.

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.

afb1c712db9611e2b49e22000ae91347_7

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.

Scott.

Target has come to BC! Does it live up to the hype?

Target has arrived
Target has arrived

After buying up a bunch of Zellers stores a few years ago American retail giant Target has opened it’s first few stores here in BC. I woke up a little earlier than normal on this fine Saturday in May to pack up my little girl and head out to see if Candian Target was the same as American Target. My last visit to a Target store south of the border was about 2 years ago but I remember being pleasantly surprised by the brands they carried and blown away by their selection and great prices compared to Walmart among others. I equated Target to being a slightly nicer, slightly more expensive Walmart with way cooler stuff.

Shiny and new
Shiny and new

Flash forward to today. Hayley and I pulled into the parking lot at Willowbrook Mall in Langley where one of the new Target stores had just opened up 3 days ago. The lot was very full as I’m sure lots of folks were just as curious about Target as I was. The Willowbrook store is a lot smaller than the Coquitlam Centre store but is still a decent size. I found the aisles quite cramped especially if there were two shopping carts passing one another. The carts are oddly wide at the back end making them difficult to maneuver in tight aisles.

Hayley in her luxuriously wide shopping cart
Hayley in her luxuriously wide shopping cart

The selection at this particular store seemed quite lacking. There wasn’t the “cool stuff” I remember from the Target in Bellingham. The selection is absolutely abysmal if you happen to be a guy. The menswear section is tiny. It seems like a complete afterthought. To be honest I had a hard time finding it at all… The electronics section was well laid out and had a nice Apple display up front with the usual wall of flat screens at the back. The housewares section is fairly large and the selection is pretty good. The one area of the store I thought was above average was the Kitchen department. Large selection of knives, utensils, place settings, small appliances etc.

Craft beer glass set $24.99 - the same price as Sears
Craft beer glass set $24.99 – the same price as Sears

The prices seemed about average, I bought some Tide laundry detergent “pods” – $18.59 for a 62 pack ($19.97 for a 72 pack or $16.97 for a 57 pack at Walmart). A Chef’s Choice knife sharpener set me back $9.99 (the same price at www.cabelas.ca ). I also picked up some super sexy Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs, a 4 packs for $16.99 ($17.94 at Old Navy, I couldn’t find another retailer that listed the price online). I bought Hayley a toy because she behaved herself – a Daisy and Pluto figure pack for $9.99 (the same price as Toys r Us)

I expected more. Target is still a slightly nicer, slightly more expensive (not by much) version of Walmart but the selection is lacking.

Scott.

BCHL Hockey – Langley Rivermen vs. Trail Smoke Eaters

Pre Game
Pre Game

 

My NHL boycott is slowly coming to an end, I find myself peeking at the highlights and searching YouTube for plays that people mention on Twitter and Facebook instead of actually watching the games. So to ease myself back into the roll of full time hockey fan the family and I headed out to the Langley Events Centre to catch a BCHL game between the Langley Rivermen and the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The 5500 seat arena
The 5500 seat arena
Food and beer (I'm sure they have other stuff too)
Food and beer (I’m sure they have other stuff too)

 

The Langley Events Centre is a very impressive facility. It has a 5500 seat arena, a 2200 seat gymnasium, a walking track, a community centre with a gym, a banquet hall, meeting rooms and outdoor sports fields and playgrounds. The concession has beer (it’s Budweiser though but hey, it’s better than no beer at all) and some interesting looking food options including Poutine and a Pulled Pork covered hot dog. My tickets were comped by the Home Depot which is a community sponsor of the Rivermen but full price for a ticket is only $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students and free for kids 6 and under. Season tickets are $240 and give you first crack at any other events/shows that roll through the LEC, not bad at all.

Game time!
Game time!

The game was great, big hits, lots of action but we only made it to the halfway point of the 2nd as our little one had had enough fun. She was pretty into it for an almost 3 year old though and she loved walking around the rink checking everything out!

"Ya ladies, I'm the goalie. No big deal"
“Ya ladies, I’m the goalie. No big deal”

The final score was 4-3 in favour of the Smoke Eaters leaving the Rivermen a game under .500 with 15 games remaining in the regular season. After the game (This game and last game) you and your family could skate with the team, an awesome way to connect with the community!

TWU Spartans
TWU Spartans

You can also watch the Langley Thunder (lacrosse) and TWU Spartans (Basketball, hockey, volleyball) play at the LEC.

Twitter @LangleyEvents, @LangleyRivermen, @BCHLSmokeEaters

Scott.

Viva Mexico in Langley

Good, authentic Mexican food is a rarity in the GVRD. To find it in Langley? I was a sceptic going in to Viva Mexico, I’d heard from a lot of people that it was authentic, people who know these sort of things. The decor is…um…kitschy is probably the best way to describe it. It’s like a Mexican stereotype threw up on the walls, ceiling and everywhere else. It works though, it’s in what is considered “Downtown” Langley, on the one way section of Fraser Highway (20505 Fraser Highway #103).

The place wasn’t very busy but it was a Sunday at lunch time in the bible belt, I’m sure most people in the neighbourhood were destroying brunch buffet’s at ABC or The Pantry instead. The service was great but I was one of 3 tables so if it wasn’t there would be some explaining to do. My server brought by some house made chips and salsa which were really good. The tortilla chips were thick and super fresh and the salsa was great with a good amount of onion and cilantro for some bite.

Pork Sopes
Pork Sopes

I ordered Sopes for my main, a fist sized thick tortilla with pinched sides with a base a refried beans. Lettuce, cheese. salsa, sour cream and pork, Mmmmm! They also come with chicken or beef but Mexican pork is tasty tasty. These sopes were pretty legit as far as being authentic and they were very tasty too. One order comes with 4 sopes and some guacamole for just over $10, a tremendous deal as I left feeling VERY full. I really need to learn to take food home with me instead of devouring it all in one sitting.

If you’re looking for authentic Mexican this place has it, and it’s reasonably priced!

Scott.

Hilltop Diner Cafe

This place is so awesome!!! I could just post pictures and an address and be satisfied that you would go there but where’s the fun in that? Hilltop Cafe is a REAL diner, not a new restaurant made to look like a diner. This place has been here for over 65 years!!! It opened 5 years after Fraser Highway opened!! Fraser Highway used to be the major road in and out of town, there was no Trans Canada so this is classic roadside diner nostalgia at its very best. Located at 23904 Fraser Highway in Langley, I have driven past this place a thousand times on my way home from Abbotsford and I never even noticed it…shame on me.

The inside is just as old and cool as the outside, everything seems natural, nothing seems forced or like they’re trying to be something they aren’t. The menu is not overly large, just the right size so as not to get overwhelmed, with diner classics like hand made burgers, great looking sandwiches, big breakfasts and home made pies. The Hilltop is open 7 days a week from 8am – 2:30pm so make sure you don’t try and go there for dinner.

I had the “Kris’ BBQ bacon cheese burger”, a 5 ounce beef patty with processed cheese, Ennis Farms thick cut double smoked bacon, home made BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo. This is a messy burger but it’s damn tasty. The bacon is fantastic, thick and slightly crispy and the BBQ sauce is mild but adds nice flavor. The patty itself is thick and juicy, nicely seasoned and is obviously made of quality beef. The fries are hand cut and on their own are very good, thinner than what hand cut fries would normally be and a little more crisp. Of course I had them as Poutine and over all it was tasty but there were a couple small changes that would make it so much better. The cheese curds aren’t actual curds, they seem more like small chunks of mozzarella or another mild white cheese so they lack the salty rubbery gooeyness of traditional poutine. also the fries that are so good on their own are a little too thin and crisp for poutine, but I’m really stretching here to find something wrong.

My daughter had the kids meal grilled cheese sandwich and fries which she gobbled up, especially the fries and the staff were nice enough to bring her some toys and a coloring book with crayons to keep her entertained. This place is very kid friendly but they only have one highchair so if there’s another small child there you’re out of luck. Thankfully I had a portable booster seat that attaches to regular chairs in the trunk of my car!

The Hilltop Cafe is cool, it has everything you could ask for in a roadside diner plus great service. I didn’t have room for a piece of pie after finishing my meal but I will definitely return to try some and to dive into their breakfast menu. They also have a couple of HUGE burgers for the competitive eater in all of us, the biggest being the Everest Burger with 4 5oz patties, baked ham, farmers sausage, bacon, fried onions and mushrooms, 2 kinds of cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo with fries. I just might recruit Al again for this one…

Scott.