Potato Chip Showdown

Is this for real? A blog post about potato chips? It’s as real as a swift kick in the beans, and hopefully will show that while I enjoy writing about (and eating) really fancy things I am not a food snob. The humble potato chip is considered a major food group to those who watch a lot of sports on big screen HDTV’s and pairs well with wonderbread-esque mass produces lagers pumped out of mega factories the world over. The “store brand” chip has always been the ugly duckling of the dog eat dog chip market but Presidents Choice is aiming to crush those stereotypes by introducing bold, out of the box flavors.

The first of these unique flavors is BallPark Hot Dog. A thick cut ripple chip made with “hot dog, mustard and relish seasonings”. The term hot dog seasonings frightens me. These things actually tasted like hot dog. I’m not sure if I liked them though, I like hot dogs and I like chips but a hot dog flavored chip is a stretch. As with most bags of chip left open and unattended around me they did not last long. The actual chip was nice and thick and would have been great for dipping sans wiener flavor.

The second chip sampled, and by sampled I mean devoured and by devoured I mean I ate the whole bag, was Sweet Chili Thai. These were more along the lines of a traditional chip flavor, so much so that they probably should be called BBQ because that’s what they taste like. They were good but the name doesn’t suit the flavor. While I’m on the subject of “Sweet Thai Chili” flavored things…ENOUGH ALREADY!! Every restaurant has something on its menu with these 3 words in the title and quite frankly I’m getting sick of it. Sweet Thai Chili is to the new millennium as cilantro, mango salsa and Wolfgang Puck were to the 90’s.

So the title said showdown and this really wasn’t one. I had to get your attention somehow right? Long live chips and beer.

Scott.

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Wine Down With Delta!

Wine, food and charity in a hotel/casino? Yep, life is rough… As I walked in to Wine Down With Delta at the Delta Burnaby Hotel the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound Of Music was playing in my head. This was my first event invite as “Media” so I wanted to keep a low profile, ha ha ya right! Low profile and Scott are not compatible.

Wine Down was in support of Habitat For Humanity which is an amazing charity that builds houses for low income families. It featured the 3 Greater Vancouver Delta hotels  and their respective restaurants and many BC wineries. Check out the pictures below and prepare to drool all over your keyboard. For the record my personal favorites were the chicken croquettes with black truffle puree from the Delta Burnaby, the lamb meatballs with chorizo from the Delta Vancouver Suites and the chilled Manhattan Gazpacho from the Delta Vancouver Airport.

La Casita

Mexican food!! I’ve said it before, I am not an expert when it comes authentic Mexican food having grown up in a culture that considers Taco Bell “Mexican” food. I hear there are a few places in Vancouver that offer up true Mexican food and one of those places is La Casita in Gastown.

Raul Pacheco, aka Hummingbird604 has said he likes La Casita and he’s from Mexico so that says a lot. My wife and daughter met me downtown recently and we ended up at La Casita mostly due to convenience. We grabbed a table by the window so Hayley could watch the world go by but we still ended up be the people in the restaurant with the randomly screaming baby…joy.

I ordered the Chorizo Chimichanga which may or may not be authentic Mexican but it was damn good. A deep fried tortilla filled with cheese, beans and chopped Chorizo sausage and covered with salsa and sour cream. The presentation was 100% better than any “Mexican” restaurant I’ve been to, it looked like someone cared how the plate looked instead of being a pile of rice, a similar pile of beans and a tortilla on a plate. The sausage was mild and tasty and cooked just right with a nice crunch from the tortilla. The beans were good, not great and the rice was the same, not outstanding but very good. The vegetables were really quite good though, usually an after thought in a dish like this they were fresh and seasoned with a savory salt and spice mix that took them above and beyond what you would expect from a side of veggies.

Unfortunately we forgot to unhook Hayley’s toys (rattle, ball, rings etc. ) from the highchair when we left. Oh well, I’m sure a less fortunate little one can benefit from them as they are easily replaceable for us.

Mexico, I like the way you cook.

Scott.

Davidson Pitstop

I promised a while ago that I would try and write about more Fraser Valley restaurants and lately I’ve been to a few good ones. First was Five Doors Down in Whiterock and now after years of living 6 blocks away from it I have finally tried Davidson Pitstop. Located at 16225 Fraser Hwy in Surrey it  is a throwback burger joint with Harley Davidson motorcycle imagery dominating the theme, hence the name.

I’ve been told that the burgers here have been named best in Surrey but I’ve never personally seen that in writing. I asked what the best burger they was and I was told to order the deluxe with cheese and bacon. The burger patty itself was good, nice and juicy and not overcooked with a nice amount of seasoning and good texture. The cheese was of the processed American variety so no fireworks there and the bacon was thick cut and noticeable in both flavour and texture. The veggies were fresh but the bun failed to live up to the rest of the burger. It was a typical sesame burger bun that you can buy at the local grocery store and could have used a little time in a toaster.

The fries were double fried and hand cut and should have been quite good but they were over cooked in old oil causing them to be a dark brown color and quite greasy. Fries need to be cooked in fresh oil where as onion rings and other deep fried goodies actually benefit from used oil. Most restaurants have 2 fryers, one for fries and one for everything else so I’ll assume that Davidson Pit stop only has one.

So the overall verdict is a little mixed. The burger was good but let down by a mediocre, soggy bun and the fries would benefit greatly from some fresh oil. I’ll definitely go back though as this food is 10 times better than any fast food joint. Davidson Pitstop is a small tweak or 2 away from having a destination worthy burger.

Scott.

Great Pizza 2 for 1

It’s time for a shout out to a local favorite of mine. There are a ton of pizza places in my hood and they’re all pretty good, such as Royal Oak, but my regular pizza joint is Great Pizza 2 for 1. Now I’m not saying it’s the best pizza ever but it’s pretty good as far as bargain 2 for 1 pizza goes and it’s cheap, much like myself, good and cheap… Great Pizza, located at 15820 Fraser Hwy in Surrey, has been open roughly as long as I have lived here, 10 years or so.

There’s a big Hobart mixer in the back so I’ll assume they make their own crust which is average at best and the toppings are ok too. The cheese is not bad either…but man is it cheap! 2 large pizza’s with 2 toppings for under $20. On this particular visit i had a large Hawaiian and a large “Scott Special”, pepperoni and double cheese. Double cheese is actually DOUBLE cheese, it’s about as thick as a magazine!! Their Lasagna is actaully really good and the staff is efficient. There’s one person who I assume is an owner who knows me from day one and always wants to chat about life but if he’s not there it’s hard to get the rest of the staff to crack a smile. No matter though, I’m not there to chat, I’m there for pizza. If you’re in Fleetwood and need some cheap pizza you can’t really go wrong with Great Pizza 2 for 1, especially if you’re drunk and wandering the streets which is perfectly safe despite what you’ve heard about my fair city.

Scott.

Arturo’s Mexico To Go

Sunny days, short shorts and street food, a good day in my opinion. The short shorts were on other people of course as elevator repairmen have to wear pants. A couple of days at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Place (250 Howe street) meant I was within smelling distance of Arturo’s Mexico To Go, another of Vancouver’s street food vendors. Taco trucks are a regular sight on the streets of LA and have a reputation for being very hit and miss. I had my fingers crossed that Arturo’s would be as good as the rest the street food I’ve had since I started writing this blog.

Arturo’s is run out of a trailer which is spacious compared to any other street food setup I’ve seen, wide and easy to get around. It makes me think that this trailer would be better suited for something more labor intensive and complicated than tacos and burrito’s. I had a Sirloin Beef Burrito ($7) and the Tacotino ($4). Being a sunny day the lineup was long but moved along quickly. I’m not one to normally carry cash so I appreciate street food vendors who offer debit/credit but it really slows down the payment process and I make a point of always paying in cash so I don’t hold up the line.

The food, the Tacotino, rotisserie pork with chipotle and lime sauce in a tortilla was not what I was expecting. The meat had a strange texture that was a mixture of crunchy/chewy/dry which was overpowered by onion and chipotle flavors. The taste stayed in my mouth for hours after lunch even after some water and a tictac. The Burrito was much better, the beef was tasty and the other fillings were nicely seasoned. I especially liked the use of corn which added a nice summery sweetness to the dish.

One winner, one loser. I’ve been told the Gringas are quite good, I’ll have to try them next time I’m in the neighborhood.

Scott.

The Bright Side

Today started out with a bang, Lyndsey set off to work for the first time since our daughter Hayley was born and was promptly fired as soon as she walked in the door. I had planned to write a ranting diatribe about the mistreatment of women returning from maternity leave fueled with extra venom given our situation with Hayley being 3 and a half months premature and all of the emotional and financial hardships we have been through, but I have decided to remain positive. There’s way too much negativity in the world and I fear my words would be lost to those who didn’t want to hear more stories of downtrodden souls.

So positivity is the theme of this post, we will move onward and upward from this minor speed bump and and focus on what makes us happy. Item number one, Hayley crawled for the first time on Saturday! She’s now motoring around the house causing the dog to run for cover and making me put up baby gates and other baby related safety devices. This is a huge developmental step for her as her gross motor skills are delayed due to her prematurity. I cried some very happy tears when it happened. It’s also the first milestone that I’ve seen happen because they usually happen while I’m at work.

Item number 2 is Andrew Palooza!! Things have come together quite nicely for this event with Behind Sapphire and Bodhi Jones performing, Carmen Cruz emceeing and some great local comedians and another local band confirming their participation any minute. The event is at the Red Room on June 11th at 8pm and all ticket $’s go to Andrew and his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. I’m not making a penny from this event, same goes for the bands, comedians, emcee and the Red Room isn’t charging us because the owner knows Andrew and his family. It feels pretty good to be able to pull something like this together for a friend. Please come and have some fun for a great cause and a great man!!

Well that’s it for now, thanks to all of you for reading this blog, caring about what I have to say and for being awesome.

Scott.

La Brasserie Street

Everyone knows how much I like street food and a sunny Friday means that eating some is an inevitability. La Brasserie has recently launched a mobile food trailer and has nabbed a prime spot at the corner of West Georgia and Granville near the City Centre Canada Line station. I’ve heard great things from my fellow blue collar workers who have tried the Brass Chicken Sandwich and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one!

Being the first sunny day in some time the wait was a little on the long side but that’s a good thing for street food vendors. La Brasserie Street’s Twitter account claimed 45 person line ups that day, awesome! I ordered my sandwich and payed my $7 and patiently waited as the smell of delicious chicken filled the streets. There’s an added bonus at this location, while you wait for your food you can watch a very spunky little 3 legged dog chase a small rock that his owner throws for him. Seems like a good scam as tons of people were giving him money… Anyways, back to the food. After receiving my sandwich I loaded it up with hot Dijon mustard and took a big bite. My face appeared from the sandwich looking like a tennis ball that had been left out in the rain, covered in gravy and mustard. I’m sure there were many hot ladies walking back to their offices who thought “who’s that hot bearded elevator guy with the messy face?” It’s ok to look ladies but I’m taken.

The sandwich was really good, beer braised rotisserie chicken, rich and well seasoned chicken gravy and crispy onions on a fresh buttermilk bun. Very simple food is amazing when done right. This ain’t no Sous Vide truffle infused gastro wonderchild, it’s a really good chicken sandwich at a good price. That’s what street food is all about and La Brasserie Street totally gets it.

Scott.

Alta Bistro Tweetup for Andrew – May 3rd, Whistler

Event number one is booked! Alta Bistro in Whistler and I are having a Tweetup on Tuesday May the 3rd and 5% of sales are going towards getting Andrew his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. Please spread the word to anyone and everyone who can come out!!! Karma Tuesdays is something that Alta Bistro does regularly and I can’t thank them enough for their support!!

Please share this on Twitter and Facebook and whatever other way that you can!! Event number’s 2 and 3 will be announced shortly and promise to be AWESOME!!!

Scott

Helping a friend, Liberation Treatment fundraising

My friend Andrew Kristoff has Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew is 32 years old and has had MS for over 5 years. He is a great guy who, with his wife Theresa, has twin 1 year old boys. Andrew hasn’t been able to work for a few years now, he’s an electrician by trade but MS has made it very difficult for him to live a regular life and enjoy the little things like being able to chase his boys around or mountain bike which is a passion of his.

Liberation Treatment is a new and exciting development in the fight against MS and has shown amazing results in patients living with the disease. You can get the low down on the treatment here. It isn’t available in Canada but it is available in Seattle and I would like to help Andrew get the treatment so he can live the life he so badly wants and deserves to live.

It costs around $7000 and I want to use my social media connections to help him make this happen. I’m asking for your help in whatever way you can. We would love to hold a fundraising event, maybe get some local bands to perform and donate the proceeds from ticket sales, food and drink sales etc to Andrew. We would also need a venue and some auction items or whatever anyone wants to donate. I know everybody says this but Andrew really is one of the greatest guys in the world.

Please feel free to contact me with any ideas/suggestions you have, let’s make a difference for Andrew and his family.

778-808-4928

whatsforlunchbc@rocketmail.com

Scott.