The Taphouse Guildford. Craft Beer And Good Eats In Surrey

The craft beer scene in Surrey is at an interesting point in its evolution. You can find craft beer at most pubs and restaurants but you’d be lucky to find more than 3 taps and a couple of bottles to choose from. There’s Big Ridge and Central City, both are fantastic but you’re limited to their beers. That’s not a bad thing but it’s always nice to have a little more choice. The Taphouse offers 20+ taps, 12-15 of which are craft with local and non local options. Is there another spot in Surrey with that kind of craft selection? No, not even close, and don’t bring up Hawthorne because that place is terrible.

Hot wings
Hot wings

I’ve been to The Taphouse before but this was the first time I was there to eat. We started out with some classic Hot Wings ($10/pound). Hot but not too hot, nice flavour, good mix of drummies and flatties (ya, I said it). Good stuff.

Brisket beef dip
Brisket beef dip

Sticking with classic pub food I opted for The Beef Dip ($13), slow roasted house smoked brisket on a garlic baguette with light horseradish mayo and a side of jus. The meat was tender, juicy, and full of flavour. The smoke and the horseradish mayo work well together and I may have detected a hint of liquid smoke in the jus but I might be wrong. This is a tasty example of a pub food staple. The fries were good too, fresh cut kosher salted Kennebec potatoes,

Mmmmm brisket
Mmmmm brisket

If you were a Bar Star in the 90’s you already know where The Taphouse is. It lives where The Mirage night club used to take all my money on $1 drink night… 15330 102a Ave in beautiful Guildford.

The only word of caution I have is that a lot of the servers seem new so service can be inconsistent.

Twitter – @taphouse_pub

Facebook – taphouseguildford

Instagram – Not that I can find…

World wide web – thetaphouse.ca

Scott.

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Hog Shack SWINEFEST 2013

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Can you believe that Hog Shack Cook House in Steveston is turning 3 years old? To celebrate this milestone they are holding an event, SWINEFEST 2013! On Wednesday October 9th at 6:30 pm (reception at 6 pm) you have the opportunity to enjoy the best BBQ in Vancouver along with some amazing craft beer, including… wait for it… a cask of Driftwood Brewing’s highly sought after Sartori Harvest IPA! Tickets are $65 ($57 for CAMRA members so SIGN UP!!!) and here’s what you get, (I totally stole this from their website)

Join us for an evening of debauchery as Hog Shack celebrates its 3 yr anniversary and our team serves you a competition level BEER & BBQ FEAST like no other! This is our once a year flagship event.

Walking away with several top finishes and awards this past BBQ competition season, Hog Shack’s Chef John Lim Hing will put together a mind blowing Kansas City style BBQ buffet where you will indulge in the city’s finest smoked meats.

Allan and John will pair their top 6 beers of 2013 they have personally chosen to indulge with the SWINEFEST MENU.

One of those beers will be the highly sought after Driftwood “Sartori Harvest Ale” in a CASK!

There will be LOTS of door prizes to win, and an entire evening of BEER & BBQ mayhem.

 What’s included:

Buffet Dinner

5 X 10oz pours of amazing Craft Beer

1 X 16oz CASK POUR of Driftwood’s “Sartori Harvest Ale”

Amazing company

 THE FINE PRINT

-Must be 19 yr or older to attend

-Please notify us of any allergy concerns by e-mailing us at info@hogshack.ca at least 3 days prior to the event

After being a part of the Hog Shack Competition BBQ team for the past year I can tell you that you’re in for a treat. Competition BBQ is like nothing you’ve had before, here’s a shot of some of Johnny’s turn in boxes from this year’s PNWBA events.

Tasty BBQ
Tasty BBQ

And a Sartori Harvest cask?! You can guarantee you’ll see me at this celebration of smoked meat and hops.

Get your ticket on Eventbrite (click me click me click me)

Scott.

2013 BBQ on the Bypass sample schedule and tips for visitors.

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BBQ on the Bypass is tomorrow, Sunday September 15th, at 20771 Langley Bypass. Brought to you by the amazing Angie Quaale and her team at Well Seasoned, This is the 7th annual BBQ on the Bypass which also hosts the Great BC Bake Off. I’ll be on site with Team Hog Shack rubbing pork butts and making sure John Lim Hing has someone to talk to (that pretty much sums up my role haha). If you’re planning on coming down and want to sample some great BBQ I’ve put together a schedule and some tips!

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The turn-in times for the teams coincide with the times that the public can sample food. Each team will submit their best stuff to the judges and whatever is left over is put in sample cups for you to try. Here’s the schedule for Sunday’s turn-ins ;

11am – Pork

12pm – Brisket

1pm – Chicken

2pm – Ribs

The samples coincide with the turn-in times so if you’re there at 12 you’ll get brisket, if you’re there at 2 you’ll get ribs etc. Remember that the teams have been up all night and the samples aren’t unlimited so please be understanding if we run out quickly. There will be live music and other food vendors on hand if you’d like to buy food in between turn-ins.

Parking is tough for visitors so car pool! Make sure you check out Well Seasoned while you’re there, it’s awesome.

Scott.

Join me this weekend at the 2nd annual Big Red Barn Burner BBQ competition with Team Hogshack!

bbq2This weekend if you head on out to Chilliwack for the Big Red Barn Burner BBQ competition you you can enjoy amazing BBQ from some of the top competition BBQ teams in Canada! Along with great southern slow cooked BBQ you might just meet the handsome dudes from Team Hog Shack! (Not the guy in the suit, fyi)

Hot dudes, tasty meat.
Hot dudes, tasty meat.

There’s 5 categories at this years comp, Chef’s Choice, Pork, Brisket, Chicken, and Ribs. The judges get the best looking bits but the rest is up for grabs if you happen to be in the crowd! Chef’s Choice is 2 pm on Saturday and the rest of the action happens on Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm. Hog Shack Cookhouse co-owner and head chef (aka BBQ savant) John Lim Hing and I plan to improve on our one lonely ribbon for the single competition we entered last year. Wish us luck!

As always you can follow along on Twitter @WFLBC for all the fun times and late night sleeping bag ghost stories you can handle.

GO TEAM HOG SHACK!!

Scott.

 

Falconetti’s East Side Grill presents #FalconettisFix with VANEATS.ca

You may recognize Falconetti’s East Side Grill from a little show called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by the Food Network’s frosted tipped, backwards sunglasses wearing wunderkind Guy Fieri. Falconetti’s segment was pretty short but the food looked great and the atmosphere looked electric. I was asked by VANEATS.ca to check out their latest dining package called Falconetti’s Fix and I jumped at the opportunity having never been to Falconetti’s.

The package consists of Poutine with house made pepper gravy, house smoked pork ribs, a choice of any of their house made sausages and two rocks glasses of Phillips Blue Buck pale ale all for $16. The food was great, the poutine used shoestring fries which is a little different than most poutines on offer in Vancouver and the pepper gravy was salty, rich and delicious drizzled over real cheese curds.

#FalconettisFix package - $16
#FalconettisFix package – $16

The ribs were outstanding, I didn’t expect these ribs to be as good as they were because I’m a bit of a BBQ elitist. They were cooked just right, not falling off the bone but the bone came clean with little effort, The sauce was simple and had all the right levels of sweet, heat and salt.

For my sausage I chose the Sweet Italian which is made with fennel and basil and comes on a fresh toasted bun with artichoke dip (!) and peppers on top. The sausage had some nice heat and the artichoke dip on top was the perfect condiment. The Phillips Blue Buck is a nice, accessible craft beer for the craft beer novice and is a nice refreshing change from the hop bombs and barrel aged porters I’ve been drinking lately. at $16 this is certainly great value, something VANEATS.ca is known for.

Prawn and Prosciutto Lollipops.
Prawn and Prosciutto Lollipops.

In addition to the package my hot date and I also sampled a few items from the menu, First up were the Prawn and Prosciutto Lollipops. 4 medium sized prawns wrapped in salty prosciutto, seared and served individually on skewers with vodka cocktail sauce for dipping. Simple, well executed and delicious.

Mac N' Cheese Balls
Mac N’ Cheese Balls

Next up were the Crispy Panko Mac N’ Cheese Balls. Deep fried mac and cheese, how can this be the first time I’ve ever had this? Needless to say it was delicious but probably something that should be enjoyed in moderation.

The most surprising part about Falconetti’s is the second floor. First off I didn’t know they had a second floor and it has a roof that opens and the windows along Commercial Drive open up in warmer weather. The view of downtown Vancouver is beautiful and unexpected. I don’t often think of Commercial Drive as being somewhere with a great view.

Spend the $16 and go check out Falconetti’s, it’s one of a kind. Go to VANEATS.ca for details.

Scott.

Legal stuff – My package was provided at no charge by Falconetti’s for review purposes. All other food and drink orders were paid for by my hot date aka sugar mama aka Lyndsey 😉

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!

 

 

Vancouver food bloggers, throwing stones and naming names.

Oh my goodness what a childish mess. For those of you who don’t already know there was recently a very “aggressive” post on a local food blog calling out all of the big players in the Vancouver food blogging community. It’s a long winded post but read the whole thing, it’s shockingly detailed with the writers opinions of other peoples blogs, their motives etc. Thankfully I was not a part of it seeing as I don’t blog for Urbanspoon and I really don’t give a rats ass how many people read my blog. That’s the real issue here, blogs as a business.

I write because I want people to have a laugh and find some good places to eat, not because I get free food (which does happen from time to time) or because I make money from my blog. I could put ads on my blog and to be honest I might at some point in the future but my main reasons for blogging have stayed the same since day one, I like to eat good food and want to share it with others. To name each and every person who you don’t think is “qualified” to write about food is very immature. The fact is that every single person on this planet likes to eat different things and to say someone shouldn’t be writing about food because they don’t like something is ridiculous.

As far as Urbanspoon goes I’m not interested in my ranking, it seems like a popularity contest, so I have decided that Urbanspoon isn’t for me. It works for some and that’s great but don’t criticize others because you don’t think they should be ranked higher than you. People read blogs because they are interested in their content and if they enjoy the content they will keep coming back for more. A blogs popularity means that people like it and to tell the readers that they’re wrong and shouldn’t like it because you say so is offensive. Free speech is a basic human right and I applaud Kim for having the courage to say what he was feeling but at the end of the day he looks like a spoiled little baby who can’t handle someone getting more attention then him.

I am a huge fan of EVERY Vancouver food blog and as a blogging community we offer the people of this city something truly special and I can’t wait to see future posts about great restaurants from great people. So to Richard, Raul, Melody, Sherman, Mijune, Erin, Diana, Mary, Ben, Suanne, and everyone else who writes about food in Vancouver, whether it’s for a blog, a website, a magazine or a news paper keep up the good work, haters are going to hate but the world keeps on eating.

Scott.

Great Wall Mongolian BBQ

Mongolian BBQ is a cuisine that causes seizures for those who don’t want the different foods on their plate to touch. Grab a bowl, fill it full of meat, veggies, sauce and what ever else they have and someone cooks it all together on a giant flat top grill, scoops it into a bowl and you eat it, awesome. There are a lot of Mongolian BBQ joints in and around Vancouver but the cheapest (and some would argue the best) is Great Wall Mongolian BBQ.

Great Wall is located at 717 Denman Street about a block off Robson. The lunch special is one bowl for $7.95 and it comes with a bland chicken soup, some rice, a springroll and some water. Those are just trivialities though as the big show is whatever you’ve created in your bowl. I believe I had pork, beef, tofu, udon noodles, bok choi,  sprouts, green onions, zucchini, hot chili oil, soy sauce, garlic and other things I can’t remember. I topped it off with sesame seeds and a copious amount of Sriracha (Rooster sauce as it’s know to white people). Full and happy for under 10 bucks.

If you’re brave all you can eat is only $2 more. Most Mongolian BBQ places have more items to chose from when filling your bowl but I dare you to walk out of any of them spending under $10, it doesn’t happen. Now where did I leave my Tums…

Scott.

Hog Shack Cook House, WFLBC BBQ Challenge stop #5

The BBQ Challenge keeps chugging along, arriving at stop number 5, Hog Shack Cook House in Richmond’s historic and beautiful Steveston neighborhood. I know what you’re thinking, BBQ in Richmond? Yes, and it’s good. My co-pilot on this occasion was my daughter Hayley who behaved like a perfect little angel but wasn’t in it for the right reasons, she’s a little young for BBQ after all…

Hog Shack is a nice room with lots of flat screens for game nights and a ridiculous list of craft beers that I can honestly say will not be beat and I think I should just give them the title of best tap list right now, but I won’t, they have to wait like everyone else! The blues music is fitting but a little played out. We get it BBQ restaurants, your food is southern! Chef John was kind enough to make me a sampler of BBQ items for the purposes of my challenge with smallish potions of  7 dishes and 3 sides with a couple of house made pickles for good luck. 

First was the sliced beef brisket, one of my favorite BBQ meats. It was very tender with a buttery fat cap and tangy BBQ sauce, house made, and melted in your mouth. The BBQ style at Hog Shack seems to be a combo of Texas style rubs and Kansas City BBQ sauce, and it works very well. Some BBQ purists would be horrified but lets face it, we’re in Canada and this fusion works.

The pulled pork was juicy and tender with the same rich and tangy sauce. The meat had great flavor on its own and has obviously benefited from a healthy rub prior to being smoked. Pulled pork is what started my love affair with BBQ but has since become an after thought due to the caliber of other dishes, such as meat number 3, Dino Bones aka beef ribs. Dino Bones is a fitting name for beef ribs as they dwarf Pork ribs by at least 2 to 1. The beef ribs at Hog Shack are meatier than most and have the same rub/sauce combo found in the other dishes. Beef is my kryptonite and beef ribs have that amazing flavor that only comes from meat cooked on the bone. The ribs were tender and full of flavor, but weren’t as juicy as I expected given the amount of meat on them.

Meat number 4 was a quarter chicken, leg and thigh, prepared in the rub/sauce fusion. This chicken was the juiciest I have ever had at a restaurant. When I cut into the meat in almost squirted me. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the flavor of the sauce really matched well with chicken. Meat numbers 4 and 5 were both pork ribs, one was baby back and the other was St. Louis style side ribs. The baby back ribs fell right off the bone and had that awesome fatty/buttery texture that baby backs should. The side ribs were a bit of a miss though, good flavour with less sauce and more rub but the meat was a little tough which is typical of side ribs.

The sides were good, all house made including mini loaves of cornbread. The baked beans were nice and sweet/smoky and the coleslaw was light and had a distinct apple cider vinegar flavor. The best item though isn’t actually on the menu. They are called Burnt Ends and are my new favorite food. Burnt Ends are made from the “point” of  a beef brisket, the point is removed after the brisket is finished smoking and is returned to the smoker for more cooking as it takes longer for the fat to render out and the meat to become tender. The taste starts out like a burnt marshmallow, very sweet with a hint of charcoal, and when you chew it the flavor of the rendered fat, beef, sauce and seasoned crust all swirl together in a money shot of BBQ goodness. I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it. There’s no picture because I ate them too fast but if you click on the picture of the whole platter they’re right in front of the corn bread.

The Hog Shack Cook House is located at #160-3900 Bayview street in Steveston (Richmond). Follow them on Twitter so you know when they have Burnt Ends or click on their logo at the top of the page to see their website.

Wow, longest blog post ever… The BBQ Challenge is getting good, lots of great places with amazing food!!! Still a long way to go though, it’s tough work but someone has to do it.

Scott.

Bob’s BBQ, Whistler Creekside

Stop number four on the WFLBC BBQ challenge is Bob’s BBQ, aka Roland’s Creekside Pub, located at 2129 Lake Placid Road, Creekside, Whistler next door to Nita Lake Lodge. A little off the beaten path for most visitors to Whistler, Bob’s/Roland’s is (according to their website) a favorite for locals and is known for its hospitality.

My weapon of choice for this round of the BBQ Challenge was the K K “Pocket Kings” sandwich. Named after a poker hand, as all menu items at Bob’s, it is a Texas style beef brisket sandwich on a toasted roll with mayo and crispy onions. I opted for onion rings as a side because you can never have too much deep-fried onion. Just to clarify something before I continue, if you go to Bob’s before 4pm during the week you will find locked doors but don’t panic as their whole menu is available at Roland’s.

The presentation of the sandwich was impressive with crispy onion straws piled high atop tender beef. The chopped brisket was good, tender and juicy with a nice rub on the outside and a rich smoky BBQ sauce covering it but to be honest the meat was a little lost under the onions. The onions were great but they really overpowered the taste and texture of the whole sandwich, I had to take a piece of beef out of the sandwich to get a good taste of it. The bun was nice and fresh and perfectly toasted. The onion rings were good but were very obviously fried in day old oil, which is very common as most restaurants use fresh oil for fries only and deep fry everything else in day old oil. This oil was perhaps a little older than recommended though.

Over all I was a little underwhelmed by Bob’s BBQ, although they are a couple of easy tweaks away from making a really good sandwich. Round four in the books, as Jay-Z would say it’s on to the next one.

Scott