There are few people who’s opinion on food I trust more than Steffani Cameron (@SnarkySteff). She recommended I check out Jam Cafe while I’m in Victoria this week so I did. Guess what, it’s awesome. Located in the Old Town area of downtown Victoria, Jam Cafe is a breakfast/lunch only place that closes everyday at 3pm. There’s almost always a wait to get a table so plan on an extra 20 minutes if you’re paying for parking.
Luckily I showed up right when a table was available. The menu is made up of unique, locally sourced dishes that fall squarely into the “comfort food” category. I ordered the Harrison Fernando, a buttermilk biscuit topped with chorizo, house made sausage gravy, and 2 sunny side eggs served with hashbrowns. If I was a religious man I would thank the good lord above for this breakfast. Rich, decadent, filling, complex yet somehow simple. If you come to Victoria this place has to be on your list. Also, you HAVE to try their sugar cured bacon.
Finding great restaurants is one of my favourite things about travelling. A few weeks before I went to Seattle I asked my Twitter followers for some restaurant recommendations in Seattle. The awesome bearded dudes at Hired Guns Creative recommended Local 360 in Belltown, a few blocks from my hotel.
An Emerson quote on their sandwich board? I approve. Local 360 uses locally sourced ingredients found within 360 miles of Seattle whenever possible. Their website has a sourcing page that outlines their philosophy. So, is the food any good?
The “Fried Chicken” is actually a roulade made with chicken and bacon mousse. The chicken is tender and juicy, the seasoning of the batter is awesome, We don’t see a lot of collard greens or grits in Canada but they’re both great. The egg was a little over cooked but the yolk was still runny. All in all a tasty dish.
The Butcher’s Grind House Burger was the Hired Guns recommended dish and it didn’t disappoint. I ordered it medium with bacon and cheese (obviously). The patty was delicious, you could really taste and feel how fresh the beef was. It was seasoned perfectly and came on a fresh bun with the usual burger accoutrements, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. I’d put this burger in my all time top 3. The fries are good too, hand cut and nicely salted.
If you find yourself in Seattle and want a good meal you can feel good about eating check out Local 360.
Did you know that there’s a part of Richmond located in the middle of the Fraser River that you can only access from Marpole? There’s a tiny Island called Richmond Island located on Musqueam land that is part of a development called Milltown. There’s a new Bar and Grill at 9191 Bentley Street, which is the home of Milltown Marina. Milltown Bar and Grill is pretty damn cool.
Milltown sits just north of the Vancouver International Airport and has an incredible view of the north runway. More on that later. There’s a rotating craft beer tap, currently Hoyne Devil’s Dream IPA, and a small selection of craft bottles to keep my beer nerd pals happy. The Devil’s Dream was pouring beautifully and was the perfect companion to sunshine and plane watching on the south patio. There’s another patio on the north side that overlooks the marina, they’re both good choices if you like to sit outside.
The menu is a classic west coast bar and grill line-up with all the usual suspects along with some non traditional items like Butter Bhicken, Halibut Tacos, and Salmon Wellington. I opted for the Freighter Burger, a house made all beef patty with Pale Ale BBQ sauce, bacon, and gouda plus the standard veg. The freighter is a solid buger, I’d order it again. The house made patty has nice tecture and is properly seasoned. The fries that came with it are battered, something I’m not super keen on but they were tasty none the less. I’d love to see in house hand cut fries with this burger!
Sitting on the north patio puts you up close with some pretty big planes landing at YVR from all around the world. The noise isn’t as loud as I thought it would be and watching planes land is pretty awesome, ya know? Here’s a couple of 747-400’s I managed to photograph.
Overall Milltown Bar and Grill is a great place to spend an afternoon. There’s tons of parking, good beer, tasty food, lots of action on the patio, and you can bring the whole family (something I did not know until after I got there…oops). Here’s a handy Google Earth shot to show you where they are, followed by all their pertinent links and so forth.
Fast food is fast food, quick, cheap, not that great. Is that actually true? In most cases it is but there are a few exceptions. Five Guys and In and Out are both fantastic fast food joints but they also cost a little more than a Big Mac combo. A recent addition to Vancouver’s fast food scene, Carl’s Jr, takes a similar approach. Fast food that aims to be better than most but at a slightly higher cost. Does it all add up?
Located on Dunsmiur between Howe and Hornby, Carl’s Jr isn’t easily found if you don’t know it exists. I’ve had lunch there 2 or 3 times now and I’m not blown away by anything in particular. The best burger I’ve had is the Western Bacon Thickburger complete with an onion ring and a “fresh baked bun”. The regular Western Bacon Burger is pretty underwhelming but the trademark Thickburger version brings a larger beef patty with better seasoning and the bun is actually pretty good too.
If I were forced to compare Carl’s Jr to another fast food burger joint I’d say it reminds me of Burger King but more expensive.
The verdict? Carl’s Jr IS slightly better than most burger joints but I don’t see the extra dollars being worth it. I’d gladly pay the extra at Five Guys and for slightly less I’d rather have a Bacon Deluxe at Wendy’s.
I have the urge to write this fine spring evening. I haven’t been anywhere in awhile that deserves a full post but I have eaten some great stuff in some random places. I went digging through my Instagram pictures and picked out some winners.
A few months ago I told you about Beast and Brine, a cool charcuterie and cheese (and a million other things) shop that was set to open in South Surrey just up the road from Crescent Beach. Well guess what? They’ve been open for awhile now and it has become a weekend ritual for my daughter and I to visit and stock up for the week ahead. Sausages, high end cold cuts, the best bacon in Greater Vancouver, specialty cheeses, a sandwich counter and much much more. This kind of product used to be the exclusive domain of Granville Island Public Market vendors and a few hidden gems around Vancouver. A lot of their product is made in house by Uli’s Restaurant Executive Chef Ryan Bissell who is a co-owner along with Uli’s owner Tyson Blume.
The staff is incredible and it’s always buzzing in the shop with happy customers eagerly awaiting their meaty treasures to take home and brag about to their friends, it’s that good. Check out some photos I’ve taken over the last few weeks, they’ll make you want to drop whatever you’re doing and drive to Beast and Brine. It’s ok, I would too. Kudos to Tyson, Ryan and the whole Beast and Brine team for totally living up to my ridiculous expectations. I love this place.
Added bonus – Fieldstone Artisan Breads is right next door – food heaven. After you’ve looked at the pics there’s a list of my “WFLBC must buys” at Beast and Brine at the bottom of the page.
Heritage Bacon, Double smoked bacon, Frikadelle, Porchetta, Bavarian Meatloaf, The famous Uli’s hot dog (!), Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar (when it’s in stock), Phillip’s Soda Work’s Captain Electro Intergalactic Root Beer.
Moderne Burger in Kitsilano is a no nonsense burger joint with a great nostalgic feel that isn’t forced or cluttered up with random Elvis and Marilyn Monroe paraphernalia. They have a small, focused menu that has burgers, BLT’s, grilled cheese, fries, milkshakes, floats and speciality sodas. Their burgers are made fresh daily and have no additives, not even seasoning! The inside of Moderne Burger has a great Art Deco feel and would fit right in under the Empire State building or somewhere similar.
Moderne offers 4 burger choices, Steak, Ground Turkey, Veggie or Wild Salmon fillet, with all the usual additions. The burger is juicy and delicious and doesn’t need seasoning at all. The Bun is light yet substantial and suits the burger very well. The cheese is real cheddar and the bacon is thick cut and high quality. All in all a fantastic burger in every way. The fries are equally as good and are hand cut for every order. I was advised by someone who may have been the owner to arrange my fries in a “deck” to place my burger on so they would soak up the juicy burger drippings. Good advice.
Next time you find yourself in Kits go check out Moderne Burger.
I know you’ve probably heard enough about bacon. It might be the most overused meat in North America at the moment but who can blame us, bacon is delicious. You can find bacon in everything, doughnuts, Martinis, Pancakes, cupcakes, Caesars, cheesecake, the list is endless. Add that to more traditional uses for your favourite little salty strips of pork and you could eat bacon for or with every meal. Should you? Probably not, you wouldn’t want to overload on something so tasty and ruin it for yourself. There’s also the fat and sodium content but everything in moderation, right?
Screw moderation, The Rumpus Room on Main Street (at 11th Ave) has deep fried bacon and it’s ridiculous. Called “sh-BANG!” on the menu, these tempura battered strips of heaven are something that you should try at least once in your life. They come with some tempura battered avocado and some aioli (aka mayo) and hot sauce with a decidedly BBQ flavour for dipping. This is the pinnacle of self destructive excess and I love it.
Book yourself an appointment with a cardiologist if you get addicted, I’d hate to be the cause of your congestive heart failure. While you’re there say hi to the worlds greatest bartender, Mr. Jason Wheeler.
Ah the holidays, it can be a pretty stressful time of year trying to fit in all the parties, visits with family and shopping. For me, figuring out what to buy everyone is always the biggest headache. Here’s a list of a few failsafe places/items for the food lover in your life.
BACON! That’s right, everyone loves bacon and there’s some great bacon themed gifts out there but the top dog has to be enrolling your loved one in a “Bacon of the month” club. BaconFreak.com offers this wondrous service and unlike much of their competition they ship to Canada!
SALT! Good quality salt has been a revelation to me this year. Sea salt, smoked salt, rock salt, black salt, Hawaiian red salt. Once you try good salt you’ll wonder how you ever ate table salt. You can buy good quality salt a lots of local shops but my favourite has to be Well Seasoned in Langley. While you’re there you can sign up for cooking classes, buy some amazing kitchen gear and chat with the knowledgeable and friendly staff. Say hi to Angie for me 🙂 If you’re a heat lover like me my pal Don makes his own chilli salt and it’s AMAZING! Check it out at zerocoolchillisalt.com
CHEESE! The loves of my life are few. They are, in order, my family, bacon, cheese, Scotch, Craft Beer, everything else. My favourite place for fine hand crafted, artisanal cheese from all around the globe is Benton Brothers Fine Cheese. With 3 locations throughout Vancouver They have something for everyone. Take your time, ask to try a few cheeses before you buy and bring home some gooey, stinky magic.
BEER! Craft beer drinkers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. The list of people who I’ve formed friendships with over the last two years through craft beer is long and awesome. If you love craft beer you need to share that love! Head to Legacy Liquor Store in Vancouver, 16th Street Liquor Store in West Van, O’Hares Liquor Store in Richmond or Central City Liquor Store in Surrey and browse their ample selections of craft beer. New to craft beer? Ask one of the staff members to recommend something, or you could ask me on Twitter, I’m always just a tweet away when it comes to eating and drinking!
Whatever the occasion food and drink are always involved. They make the perfect gift and are way better to receive than socks.
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”.
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!!