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.

2015_0801_14070500

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.

Advertisements

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.

A Food Blogger among Dragons

This weekend I set out to prove something, that a food blogger could actually do a food related job. Food bloggers get a lot of negative feedback from some restaurant types because we couldn’t possibly know what we’re talking about, we’re just bloggers. Not so I say, and my good pals at everyones favorite food truck, The Roaming Dragon, were gracious enough to let me have a crack at assisting them at a catering gig they had for Salt Spring Coffee at their Richmond roasting facility. I wasn’t sure what my job would be but I was willing to work hard and do my best while hopefully not dropping anything or embarrassing myself. I have a lot of respect for what Jory, Jason and The Roaming Dragon team do on a daily basis and I didn’t want to let them down.

The event was very cool, a DJ spinning smooth house music, coffee flavored beer and happy looking Salt Spring Coffee employees. Salt Sprig Coffee has a coffee education center in house and it sheds some light on how the coffee you drink gets into your cup. The space they occupy looks like it’s already getting too small which is great news as that means they’re busy! Salt Spring coffee deals in fair trade, organic coffee with some single origin and small “Micro-lot” roasts that get the coffee geek in me shaking with caffeinated happiness. We all know that Vancouver loves its premium coffee but this stuff is a step above the rest. I sampled a little bit before the Dragon arrived and I was very impressed.

So my job was basically running food from the truck to the tables inside the event, making sure that each of the 4 dishes were well represented and clearing away empty plates. The four dishes were Chicken Karaage, Tuna Tare Tare, Tofu Caprese and Porkbelly Sliders which used Salt Spring Coffee to flavor the pork, so good…The Chicken was the big mover with people hovering around the table and devouring large amounts as soon as the plate left my hand, I can’t blame them though as it’s my favorite too. The Dragon crew were very tolerant of me and all seemed to be having fun while pumping out Pan Asian goodies from their kitchen on wheels. Really impressive given the cramped quarters.

The Vancouver Observer was also on hand documenting my efforts to clear the names of food bloggers the world over. There will be a photo montage with audio coming soon to VO and when it does I’ll be sure to let everyone know. I think I held my own but to be honest they were pretty easy on me. Jason and Jory, co owners of the Dragon made a donation to Variety BC to thank me for my help which was a great gesture as I was fully prepared to do it for free. Check out the rest of the pictures below, hopefully you’ve eaten at The Roaming Dragon before, if not you should…soon.

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.

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.

Voya Restaurant & Lounge

Located at the incredible Loden Hotel at 1177 Melville in Vancouver, Voya Restaurant & Lounge offers culinary creations from Executive Chef Marc-André Choquette. Choquette has served as Executive Chef at Vancouver’s Lumiere and worked at New York’s famous Gramercy Tavern. My wife and I spent the night at the Loden over the weekend as we were both participating in a wedding at the Vancouver Rowing Club in beautiful Stanley Park. The guys all had lunch at Voya before getting into our snazzy tuxedos and heading for the limo for the quick trip to the venue. I had the watercress salad with shaved Granda Padano and citrus vinaigrette. Perfect amount of dressing and just light enough to avoid feeling full before all of the activities of the rest of the day. I also enjoyed a couple of bottles of Innis & Gunn oak barrel aged beers from Scotland, they were fantastic and have earned a lifelong fan.

The wedding was amazing, held on the deck at the VRC with Vancouver’s amazing skyline in the background. The weather forecast looked grim calling for lots of rain but miraculously the sun was shining for the entire ceremony and all of the pictures. Once we moved inside for the reception the heavens opened and it poured rain all night.

In the morning my wife and I headed down to Voya for breakfast before checking out and heading for home. We both had 2 free range eggs, over medium for me and scrambled for Lyndsey, that came with roasted potatoes, bacon, toast and a little fruit bowl. My eggs were perfect but Lyndsey’s were a little runny, the bacon was really good with not too much salt and just the right thickness. The potatoes were slightly over seasoned for both of us, too much rosemary, but were cooked well and not dry which is sometime a problem with roasted potatoes. The fruit bowl was a welcome change from the usual fruit salad from a jar that comes with most breakfasts. It had strawberries, kiwi and blueberries plus the usual melon and pineapple. It’s not that often that I get to eat breakfast at a restaurant of this quality and it was a nice change from coffee shops and cheap cafe’s.

You can check out the Loden Hotel and Voya at the links at the bottom of this post and they are both on twitter as well! The Loden left me a nice little note and some tasty treats in my room as we follow each other on Twitter. Never underestimate social media, you never know when free chocolate will come your way!!! Back to the grind tomorrow…

Scott.

http://voya-restaurant.com/

http://twitter.com/voyavancouver

http://www.theloden.com/

http://twitter.com/LodenHotel

Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar-The best coffee in Vancouver?

Yes, I can honestly say I have found the best coffee in Vancouver. Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar, located at 1319 Robson St in Vancouver, is a revelation in the coffee landscape of this city. Specialty coffee made with care using locally roasted beans roasted to Michi’s specifications, all priced very favorably in relation to the prevailing giant coffee chains of the world.

My wife, daughter and I decided to head to Robson street to give Michi a try. Once there we were greeted by a very modern, cool coffee house with great atmosphere, smooth jazz and the great smell that only an espresso bar can give. The food was displayed in a glass case by the cash register, and everything looked very good, especially after I learned it was all made in-house from their own recipes. I ordered a waffle platter, a 12oz Americano Misto, and a piece of espresso cheese cake to share. My wife had the Breakfast Waffle Platter and a double espresso.

The coffee was made by the owner, Michael, and is truly a work of art. My Americano was so good I didn’t need to put sugar in it as I usually do and my wifes espresso was amazing. Our food arrived very quickly, my waffle platter complete with Banana slices drizzled with chocolate, strawberry sauce, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The Breakfast waffle platter had scrambled eggs with cubes of ham, cheddar cheese and a fruit bowl. Everything was great, the waffles made with imported Belgian powdered sugar, the espresso cheese cake was perfection and the eggs fresh and hot.

Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar is exactly what I set out to find when I started this Blog, a local, unique spot that Vancouver can be very proud to have. Everything is local and/or organic whenever possible, the owner is a hardworking guy dedicated to his vision of great coffee, great food at a good price. If you live downtown, get up and go there immediately, if you are going downtown soon you need to go there first. Make sure you go before the end of June for a $2 Tall (12oz) Latte.

I’m in love.

Scott.