Where I Ate In Auckland – Part One – WFLNZ

The food in New Zealand surprised me. I had heard the beef and dairy were good but they were SO GOOD. I ate as often as possible in New Zealand because it rarely disappointed. Let’s start in Auckland and see where I ended up.

The Meat Pies…

They said they were good. I thought they were exaggerating. There is something magical about meat pies in New Zealand. From a cafe or a gas station, it doesn’t matter. I tried a bunch of meat pies. Mince, Steak, Steak and Cheese, Beef Potato Topped, the list is very long. You should, no you NEED, to try a meat pie in New Zealand.

MMMMM Pie.
MMMMM Pie.

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The Cheese…

Being a bit thrifty can lead you to some fantastic food discoveries abroad. I made a few trips to the grocery store to save a few bucks while in New Zealand. In Auckland I went to Countdown and New World to stock up on snacks and beer for my hotel room. The cheese, my god the cheese. Apparently the Mainland brand is just regular quality cheeses in New Zealand but it is so far above Canadian non specialty store cheese it’s ridiculous. I ate an unwise amount of cheese in New Zealand, totally worth it. That 24 month aged cheddar made me consider marriage. Hot travel tip, always travel with a multi-tool. The knife and the bottle opener are worth their weight in gold.

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Fried Chicken From A Convenience Store.

I didn’t pack a lot of clothes and planned on finding laundromats to make my small wardrobe last 2 weeks. In a serendipitous turn of events I found one of the best things I ate in New Zealand right beside Bubbles Laundromat in Auckland.  NZ Convenience Store didn’t look like much but their sign said “Sensational Fried Chicken.” The sign didn’t lie. Halal chicken, amazing seasoning, something called “chicken salt.” It was also priced right which is great as New Zealand can be expensive.

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Random Pizza.

Pizza is everywhere in Auckland. I was craving a slice or 2 so I Googled who had the best pizza near me. Sal’s Authentic New York Pizza was near the top of the list and 2 blocks away. Thin crust, foldable, greasy in the best way. Sal’s was way more authentic than I expected to find so far from New York.

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That’s Part 1! In part 2 we’ll talk about sushi, burgers, and pub food.

Scott.

 

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Win Tickets To Meat, Beer, and Cheese Night At The Portside Pub from WFLBC!

Event Logo

 

Meat, beer, and cheese. These are three of my favourite things. On February 26th The Portside Pub in Gastown is having an event and you can win your way in with WFLBC!

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THE EVENT:​ The Portside Pub Presents… A Meat, Beer & Cheese Night Vol. 2
THE DATE: ​Thursday, February 26th – 8-9pm
THE LOCATION:​ The Portside Pub, 7 Alexander Street
THE EXPERIENCE: ​Hosted by Cheese Mongers & Parallel 49 at the “friendliest bar in
Vancouver”’, your ticket to the Meat, Beer & Cheese Night Vol. 2 includes a flight of 4
sample craft beers paired with a variety of cheeses and meats for your enjoyment.
SOCIAL MEDIA​: For more information, please follow: @ThePortsidePub on Twitter,
@ThePortsidePub on Instagram, The Portside Pub on Facebook and use hashtag
#PortsideMBC
RSVP:​on The Portside Pub’s Facebook Event Page
WEBSITE: ​www.theportsidepub.com
TICKETS:​$20 each through Ticketzone at http://goo.gl/Ku1kbU. $25 at the door
SPONSORS: ​Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, ​Parallel 49 Brewing Company, ​D Original
Sausage Company and Cheese Mongers.

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How do you win your way in? Simply tweet the following “I want meat, beer, and cheese @ThePortsidePub with @wflbc! #PortsideMBC” You can also post a picture of meat, beer, and cheese on Instagram. Make sure you tag @wflbc and @theportsidepub and use the hashtag #PortsideMBC so I can find it!

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The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, February 25th and your tickets will be waiting for you at the event. Portside is planning on making this a regular event. I’m going to get gout!

Scott.

 

Local 360 – WFLBC in Seattle

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.

 

Local 360, 1st and Bell.
Local 360, 1st and Bell.

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?

Fried chicken* Bacon mousse chicken roulade, cheesy grits, collard greens, sunny-side up egg
Fried chicken*
Bacon mousse chicken roulade, cheesy grits, collard greens, sunny-side up egg

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.

Butcher's grind house burger.
Butcher’s grind house burger.

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.

Web – local360.org

Twitter – @Local360Seattle

Facebook – Local 360 Seattle

Scott.

 

Beast and Brine

The Beast is here
The Beast is here

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.

Words to live by
Words to live by

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.

Stuff from my first visit
Stuff from my first visit
Buffalo Brats
Buffalo Brats
Heritage Bacon (The BEST)
Heritage Bacon (The BEST)
Pickles and sauerkraut
Pickles and sauerkraut
Delicious craft sodas
Delicious craft sodas
Amazing Avonlea clothbound cheddar
Amazing Avonlea clothbound cheddar
Charcuterie
Charcuterie
Cheese porn
Cheese porn

Twitter – @BeastAndBrine

Facebook – Beast & Brine

Interwebz – www.beastandbrine.com

WFLBC Must Buys

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.

Scott.

Quick Bite – Moderne Burger in Kitsilano

Moderne Burger in Kits
Moderne Burger in Kits

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 Steak Burger with bacon and cheese.
Moderne Steak Burger with bacon and cheese

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.

Yum
Yum

Next time you find yourself in Kits go check out Moderne Burger.

Twitter – @moderneburger

Facebook – facebook.com/pages/Moderne-Burger

Interwebs – moderneburger.com

Scott.

WFLBC holiday gift guide!

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
Bacon

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!

Mmmm salt
Mmmm salt

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

Benton Bros. on Cambie
Benton Bros. on Cambie

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.

WCIPA
WCIPA

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.

Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus everyone!

Scott.

Benton Brothers Fine Cheese

Every now and then life takes you in a direction that you just didn’t see coming. When I started writing about food it was just for me and maybe my close friends and family to find new places to enjoy great food. 6 months later it has snowballed into an amazing second “job” and will hopefully one day occupy enough of my time that I can focus solely on writing. Along the way I have found some great food and this weekend was no exception. As you may or may not know I am a bit of a social media junkie, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Hootsuite, they are all amazing tools for getting your message to potential readers/customers and it just may be the best free advertising you can find, something like word of mouth on steroids.

I found Benton Brothers Fine Cheese on Twitter and a few days after following them I received an email saying they were having a Grand Opening at their new location at 3432 Cambie Street in Vancouver. Cheese is usually in most dishes I enjoy provided the type of cuisine and region it comes from use cheese on a regular basis, for example, cheese and sushi do not mix, ever. I hopped in my truck on Saturday afternoon and headed for Cambie street. I had a Seahorses and Stone Roses playlist flowing from my Ipod because as everybody knows, John Squire is the best guitarist of the last 20 years and it seemed like a good fit for a super cool day filled with cheese, wine and roasted bison.

I parked a block away from Benton Brothers and wandered down to the shop, passing 2 empty bottles of Olde English 800 sitting on the curb outside a church reminding me of my misspent youth. As I approached the door I realized this shop was a pretty big deal. The place was packed and the staff was busily readying gourmet cheeses, patés, cured meats and other delights for the excited crowd, all the while explaining where every cheese was from and offering pairing recommendations to go along with the wine and beer samples they were handing out.

The shop itself is very nice with a very hip, rustic feel very fitting of somewhere you can buy food of this quality. There are also fine oils, cheese knives and other items to accompany the core items along with grilled sandwiches that were too tasty looking for me to pass up. I had to try the Roasted Bison sandwich with blue cheese, romaine, tomato and onions. I also spotted drinks from the Pop Shoppe that I used to drink as a kid. I added a healthy slab of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a container of cheese curds to my order and waited in the line up of happy people leaving with their dairy based treasures.  I had planned to introduce myself but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of fine cheeses from Benton Brother to customer and I know I will be back soon so I quietly paid and slipped out the door to go and eat my roasted bison sandwich and drink my Pop Shoppe Cola.

The sandwich was terrific with a great kick from the blue cheese and the bison was like eating shaved prime rib, fantastic. The Cola from the Pop Shoppe was a really great nostalgic moment that made me think fondly of the days when you could get Pop Shoppe soda from the Pop Shoppe itself, you would bring your empties back to where you bought them and they would reuse them, sort of a precursor to todays recycling programs. What a great lunch, I headed back to my home base thinking my anonymity was intact but it seems my camera, my ultra cool wooden eyeglasses and twitter conspired to reveal my true identity. It’s kind of a Bruce Wayne thing…during the week I look like an Elevator guy so most places have no idea who’s Tweeting about their food, but the weekend is another story and I’m kind of obvious.

Benton Brothers Fine Cheese is a must for cheese lovers or anybody else who appreciates quality product and great service. They supply some great local restaurants with awesome cheese and give local foodies a friendly and personal alternative to large chain retailers in the search for great food. Their other location, 2104 West 41st Ave, has been around for a while and I have it on good authority that it is just as great. So thanks to Benton Brothers Fine Cheese for inviting me to their Grand Opening, for providing great food to this amazing city and for pointing out that my wooden glasses are super cool, which my wife may not agree with.

Find them on Twitter here and follow them on Facebook here but actually go there, that’s what real fans do!!!

Scott.