Quick Bite – The Sugar Shack in 70 Mile House

Ah 70 Mile House, the gateway to Green Lake and a place you’d probably miss if you blinked while driving through it on Highway 97. 70 Mile House isn’t known for much but that is about to change. There’s a new spot about a mile past the general store that feels like a slice of Quebec in the middle of rural BC. The Sugar Shack has everything your inner Quebecois desires. Tourtière du Lac-St-Jean, Poutine, Montreal Smoked Meat, Maple baked beans, Cretons, Maple syrup, Maple toffee, Maple bacon… They also do some kick-ass breakfasts and make maple sweetened coffee.

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I stopped in to check out their smoked meat sandwich and poutine. The poutine is very good. hand cut fries, house made gravy, and real cheese curds. It’s up there with anything you can get in Vancouver and wouldn’t be out of place in Quebec. The smoked meat sandwich was just ok. The meat is very salty and a bit dry.

The maple sweetened coffee and poutine make The Sugar Shack a “must visit” kind of place if you ever find yourself in this picturesque part of BC.

Facebook – The Sugar Shack

World wide web – thesugarshack.sfobc.com

Scott.

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Things I’ve eaten lately

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.

Sesame crusted Ahi Tune from eighteen27 in Fort Langley
Sesame crusted Ahi Tune from eighteen27 in Fort Langley
Bigger Better Bacon Cheddar Burger from Earls on Smithe street.
Bigger Better Bacon Cheddar Burger from Earls on Smithe street.
Short rib breakfast bowl from Central City Brewpub in Surrey.
Short rib breakfast bowl from Central City Brewpub in Surrey.
Lamb Bacon BLT with Sriracha Mayo. Lamb bacon courtesy of John from the Hog Shack in Steveston.
Home made Lamb Bacon BLT with Sriracha Mayo. Lamb bacon courtesy of John from the Hog Shack in Steveston.
Prepping for the "black box" portion on the first BBQ competition of the year with John from the Hog Shack. Good times!
Prepping for the “black box” portion on the first BBQ competition of the year with John from the Hog Shack. Good times!
Fantastic ramen from Full Ramen in Surrey.
Fantastic ramen from Full Ramen in Surrey.
Shrimp Po Boy made by Rusty of Rusty's BBQ in a trailer at 10:30pm behind a barn in Chilliwack. It was delicious!
Shrimp Po Boy made by Rusty of Rusty’s BBQ in a trailer at 10:30pm behind a barn in Chilliwack. It was delicious!
Rusty enjoying one of his Po Boys.
Rusty enjoying one of his Po Boys.

 

Word to your mother.

Scott.

Quick Bite – Sciué – Hard to Pronounce, Easy to Love

Pizza, it’s basically the best food ever invented. Thank you Italy. Sciué does pizza a little different than we’re used to in Canada. It’s Roman style pizza that’s like a flat bread, thin crust pizza hybrid. It’s delicious.

A slice of mushroom and a slice of sausage
A slice of mushroom and a slice of sausage

Sold by weight, you choose how big your slice will be. Tons of variety, breakfast options, REALLY great coffee. I have a food crush on Scuie.

Sopressata slice and zucchini with eggplant.
Sopressata slice and zucchini with eggplant.

My favourite pizza at Sciué has to be the breakfast pizza. Scrambled egg, sopressata, and tomato sauce on their amazing thin and crispy crust. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Breakfast pizza
Breakfast pizza

Sciué has locations throughout Downtown Vancouver.

Twitter – @sciuevancouver

Facebook – Sciue-Italian-Bakery-Cafe

Interweb – sciue.ca

Scott.

Breakfast at Acme Cafe

The Downtown Eastside, a good breakfast and running into old friends. When you get all those things in one place you must be somewhere great! I love the DTES, it has an energy unmatched anywhere else in Vancouver. I know it has its share of troubles but you have to look past the obvious flaws, there’s so much good happening and so many amazing, misunderstood people trying to figure out where they fit into a city that has become completely unaffordable for them. Gentrification is an issue for another post but the restaurant scene in the DTES is growing and quickly becoming the place to be for Vancouver’s food lovers.

Baked egg scramble
Baked egg scramble

Acme Cafe has been around for awhile but this my my first visit and who do I run into? The uber handsome Dylan Redekop, Mr. morethanafeelingmusic.com himself! He was having breakfast with Tiffany (who I also know) and Brad ( who I now know). Small world. I love the look of Acme, an updated version of an old style diner. I ordered the Baked Egg Scramble, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese baked into eggs. The eggs were laying on a bed of shredded red skin potatoes and some sauteed mushrooms (shiitake I believe). Everything was high quality, very fresh and delicious. Even the multi grain toast was great (fresh bread) and the little cup of fruit salad was filled with juicy, firm, fresh fruit.

Acme Cafe is a winner, I’ll definitely be back.

Scott.

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.

Thursday is Jerzday and some work talk

I love Jersey Shore. There, it’s in writing now, can’t take it back. Jersey Shore is everything that I am not, illiterate, promiscuous and violent. Based on those qualities you can see why I love it right? Well neither can I but it seems similar to the old “can’t look away from a bad accident” thing that most people suffer from. If you don’t watch it already I suggest you don’t start as it will ruin your Thursday nights. Now on to other things.

I’m off to Whistler again on Monday for work and I’ll be there until Thursday. I really enjoyed my last stay there and eating at Alta Bistro, Splitz Grill and Panoli’s Pizza. I will definitely be going back to Alta Bistro and I will also be stopping at The Campfire Grill in Squamish because that place is fantastic and Inger and Mike are super cool. I am feeling a little guilty though, while I am enjoying working in Whistler there are a bunch of Elevator brothers of mine who have recently been laid off. Most of us started around the same time and because we are in a union there really isn’t a reason why they aren’t working other than just being a number.

Unions are a funny thing, and this being the first I have been a member it still blows me away when someone who is good at their job gets laid off over someone who is a moron that costs the company money and grief just because they’ve been working for an extra year. I guess I shouldn’t complain because I’m still working but it does bother me that I could face the same fate through no fault of my own.

Time will tell, luckily I have a pretty deep network and a terrific family and they’re all more important than a job. Thanks for reading and I hope I’ll have some entertaining things to write about from Whistler V2.0

Scott.

Thank You.

This has been one crazy year, easily the most rewarding of my life. I learned a lot, met some great people and became a father. I have learned that Fish Sauce tastes awesome on everything, Bristol Palin lists one of her qualifications for paid public appearances as “unwed mother” and at the risk of upsetting most women and teenage girls I have discovered that the true message of the Twilight book series is that all men are monsters who crave young flesh. That last tidbit was revealed to me on a new TV show called Community staring a much older looking than anticipated Chevy Chase, and it’s really not that funny. Well done Stephanie Meyer, you have solved the mystery of men once and for all.

As the year approaches its end I feel like I have really found a rhythm in my life, one that has really never been there before. I have a great family, wonderful friends, a good job and the coolest dog ever who is soon to have a little sister, sorry Cooper but you knew it was coming. To top off all of that awesomeness I have THIS. This blog has given me a release for some creative energy that my day job can’t provide. I have met some cool people, found some great food treasures and figured out that I am a total social media junkie. I am hopelessly addicted to Twitter and I find myself scanning my Twitter feed looking for tweets from my favorites. They include @therealcabbie, @SandraOldfield, @jminter, @hummingbird604, to name a few. I also have some ACTUAL PEOPLE I KNOW who I follow on Twitter such as @HeatherVince, @eye_candy_photo and @dylan_redekop.

I love the local blogging scene and without my old pal Dylan I wouldn’t be doing this at all. His Blog, More Than A Feeling Music, was my inspiration and I still read every post he writes, really good stuff. My friend Erika was inspired somewhat similarly by me! Totally flattered and I think she is an amazing photographer. Her blog, Eye Candy Photoworks, has some great stuff, including some shots of yours truly and my little girl. There are some other local blogs that I read on a regular basis as well such as Miss 604 by Rebecca Bollwitt and Hummingbird 604 by Raul Pacheco-Vega. I have discovered that this city has infrastructure to support freelance writers and bloggers in the form of co-working spaces like The Network Hub.

This year has been full of great food discoveries like The Roaming Dragon, Argo Cafe, Nuba, Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar. I have received great feedback about my posts from all over the world and I am continually evolving my writing style and content to try to make it as appealing and user-friendly as possible. I have also launched a new company, Ninety3 Days Media, to oversee this blog and act as a promotional arm for a book I’m writing about my daughter Hayley.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading this blog or following me on Twitter or Facebook. It still amazes me that people take time out of their busy lives to read what I write. This will be my last post this year so that I can take it easy over Christmas so whatever and wherever you are celebrating this holiday season I hope it is fantastic and I look forward 2011 and everything it will bring.

Cheers,

Scott.

Commune Cafe

Located at 1002 Seymour street in Vancouver, Commune Cafe is a trendy new spot located in a very competitive area in the Downtown core. Just a block from Granville street and a few blocks from Davie street the competition is fierce ranging from 24 hour pizza shops to sushi to fine dining, it is a tough place to have success as a new kid on the block. Commune Cafe sets it self apart by using free range meat and eggs, organic milk products and produce, locally sourced 100 percent sustainable seafood and is a member of Oceanwise and Greentable.

I have been to Commune several times over the last few weeks as I am working in the area. The coffee is good and the breakfast pannini’s and croissants are excellent, especially with the free range turkey sausage. The lunch pannini’s are also good but at around $8 for a sandwich that really isn’t that big I think there are better lunch options very near by. The breakfast sandwiches come in at around $6 which is also a little on the high side considering there are restaurants in the area you can get a full breakfast for a dollar more.

That is my main concern with Commune. The food is quite good and given the building they are in, a high-end furnished hotel for the wealthy, the prices may seem ok for downtown but it’s quite easy to find good food for less money in every direction from Commune’s front door.

The decor at Commune Cafe is very minimalist, modern and cool with banquette seating along the windows, a large communal table running down the spine of the restaurant and a large patio. The staff is mostly friendly apart from a certain staff member from “down under” who really seems inconvenienced by any customer. The General Manager is in the restaurant quite often and the service and food quality seems to improve when he is there which is a little worrisome. Mistakes in ordering are quickly cleared up and on one occasion GM Anthony Starns gave us a complimentary sandwich due to the kitchen mistaking rosemary ham for prosciutto.

I think Commune Cafe has great potential given its location and its commitment to quality food. All new restaurants go through ups and downs during their formative months and hopefully Commune Cafe gets the kinks worked out soon, and maybe have a look at the sandwich prices while they’re at it.

Scott.

Movember, fighting prostate cancer with the power of a moustache.

This Movember, the month formerly known as November I’ve decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer.  My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I know will generate conversation, controversy and laughter.

I’m doing this because 4,400 men die of prostate cancer in Canada each year and one in six men will be diagnosed during his lifetime. This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada.

This year my cousin Kurt and I are stepping it up a notch by not shaving our heads, which have a cul-de-sac appearance, for the entire month leaving us with a sweet horseshoe up top and an even sweeter moustache warming our upper lip.

To help, you can either:

*  Click this link http://ca.movember.com/mospace/31977/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
* Write a cheque payable to Prostate Cancer Canada, referencing my name or Registration Number 31977 and mailing it to: Prostate Cancer Canada, Suite 306 145 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit: http://ca.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs.

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men’s health.

Scott. 

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts & Coffee

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, are they still around? The answer is yes, but it seems they’re only hanging on by a thread. Brought to the Canadian market riding on a publicity high in 2004 followed by a quick move into bankruptcy protection in 2005. Out of a planned 32 Canadian locations there are only 4 that are still operating in this country. The only BC location is in Delta at 7153 120th Street (Scott road) and is the only location west of Mississauga, Ontario.

So what went wrong? There are a few things that Krispy Kreme did wrong when entering the hotly contested Canadian coffee/doughnut market. Tim Horton’s and Starbucks control a staggering percentage of the coffee market sitting somewhere in the 70% range combined. When Krispy Kreme came to the party they thought selling doughnuts would be the marketing strategy that would bring Canadian success, this was most certainly not the case. Coffee sales drive both Tim Horton’s and rival Starbucks with any additional product being a spin-off of coffee sales. In Tim Horton’s case they have greatly expanded their product line in recent years but coffee remains the key metric in their business plan and without it they would sell very few doughnuts, or anything else for that matter.

Krispy Kreme sells coffee as well, but know one knows if it’s any good because that’s not what they’re there for. The doughnuts are as good as advertised though and are 50% of if you buy a dozen after 9pm. There is a red neon sign that gets lit up when there is a fresh batch of glazed original doughnuts fresh off the line but rumor has it that it doesn’t get turned on very often these days. The only thing that really sets Krispy Kreme apart from the competition is that they make their tasty treats on site, which Tim Horton’s stopped doing a few years ago, opting to truck in pre cooked frozen doughnuts and reheat them on site.

If you like sweet, airy doughnuts that are almost as addictive as crack (not scientifically relevant or proven) then head over the Alex Fraser bridge and have a doughnut, before it’s too late.

Scott.