It’s time for a fundraiser! The Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation is building a kids mental health unit and they need our support. Join us at Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey on Thursday October 29th for a Halloween themed Monster Ball!
There will be casks from Big Ridge, Central City Brewing, and Russell Brewing with proceeds going to the SH&OC Foundation. There will also be a 50/50 draw and a prize for best costume so break out your costume A-game. Casks will be tapped at 6pm sharp.
Surrey needs a kids mental health unit, and it needs it as soon as possible. Come out, have some tasty beers, build up some karma points, and make a difference.
About a month ago I was invited to ONE20 Public House for a brewmaster’s dinner featuring Steel and Oak Brewing. Having never been to ONE20 I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was one of the best beer pairing dinners I’ve ever been to. Fantastic dishes, good pairings, great pacing, and top shelf service. I knew Steel and Oak was a fantastic brewery but the level of the food presented by ONE20 was above every other beer dinner I’ve been to except one. I would put this dinner on par with the now defunct Ensemble Tap and the Beerthirst dinner they put on a few years ago.
But here’s the thing. Beer pairing dinners aren’t usually a good indication of what the bar/restaurant does on a nightly basis. It’s a showcase for the chef and quite often the food is way above what is on the regular menu. So in the interest of accuracy I went back to ONE20 on my own time with my own money to see if reality matched a fantastic one night stand.
I started with Albacore Tuna Tartare with house made BBQ chips. The tuna was fresh, light, and properly seasoned. The BBQ chips were great. House made BBQ chips… That’s an easy way to make something simple become something people want to come back for.
For my main I had Braised Shortrib with horseradish mash, grilled scallions, and red wine demi-glace. The portion is BIG. The beef was tender, juicy, flavourful, everything you can get out of a relatively low grade cut of meat. Shortrib done properly is magic and this was just right. The mash and scallions paired up well with the beef and the demi-glace tied everything together. This dish wouldn’t be out of place in Yaletown or Coal Harbour for 50% more money and you can get it at a pub on Scott Road in Delta!
The beer list is very good, 15 craft taps, and it’s overseen by Cicerone Ben Treen. Their wine list is extensive and their cocktail menu is equally deep. Executive Chef Ryan Praskey, who arrived at ONE20 in 2014 after stints at Momofuku, Terra, and Ferrovia, has brought a farm to table approach to the menu embracing local producers and fresh ingredients.
One20 Public House is a pretty special place in a sea of suburban mediocrity. You should go check it out for yourself.
I’ve posted a few pictures from the Steel and Oak dinner at the bottom of this post.
There’s a new restaurant on West 4th. That statement is something that’s probably true on a monthly basis but this one feels a cut above. Mission has moved into the space formerly occupied by the short lived August Jack. The space has been transformed from a dark dungeon-like room into a bright, welcoming environment. Mission also comes with a few well respected names attached to it. Sommelier Chase McLeod and Chef Curtis Luk have teamed up to launch their first restaurant. Chase was formerly the GM at Fable and Curtis has worked as a chef at Fable, Bambudda, and The Parker as well as competing on Top Chef Canada.
The menu hits all the right notes. Farm to table, nose to tail, affordably priced prix fixe options along with a la carte dishes and great vegetarian choices.
Behind the bar you’ll find Justin Darnes, formerly of Pidgin, mixing some fantastic old school cocktails to compliment the finely tuned wine and beer selections.
There’s a lot of talent at Mission and I can’t wait to check out one of their tasting menus in the near future.
Ah The Biltmore Hotel… It has been many things over the years. It currently serves as a social housing facility and is home to the Biltmore Cabaret and its newest tenant, 12 Kings Pub. 12 Kings is the love child of a bunch of Craft Beer fans who wanted to watch sports in a pub that had their favourite local breweries on tap. I remember drinking at The Locker Room, the bar that lived here prior to 12 Kings, while I was building the elevators across the street back in 2007. That place was a dump. After the Whitecaps disappointing home opener I headed over to 12 Kings to drown my sorrows.
The beer list is exactly what you would expect from a place run by former CAMRA Vancouver executives. They have 12 constantly changing taps pouring all things local and delicious. The also have 311 Helles Lager and a shot of Jameson on special from time to time if you like to walk in wobbly lines back to the Skytrain, at least that’s how I remember it.
To counteract the copious amounts of alcohol it takes to forget a loss to TFC I ordered The Hammer Burger. Nice house made patty, bacon, smoked Gouda, crispy onions, drunken mushrooms (whatever that means?) and the usual fixings. I don’t know what I was expecting from the food at 12 Kings but this was a tasty burger. It really surprised me to be honest. Yes, those are tater tots on the side, I highly recommend them. The only complaint I had was that the crispy onions were a little chewy and didn’t seem fresh.
The renovations have erased all signs of The Locker Room. The place is almost unrecognisable, in a good way.
12 Kings runs a shuttle bus to and from BC Place on Whitecaps game days, they offer a Southsiders discount, and they show all of the Whitecaps away games as well as Canucks, Lions, and whatever other sport you’re into.
Well done boys, you’ve found exactly what Vancouver was missing.
I love Steveston. Steveston has some great restaurants, lots of places with extensive craft beer menus, and is home to the best BBQ in BC at Hog Shack Cook House. Tucked in behind the Hog Shack, right on the water, is Kove Kitchen. Kove Kitchen has taken the place of Mandalay Lounge, a steakhouse that was popular with locals but was in need of a change. Kove is owned and run by the same people behind Mandalay and I decided to pay them a visit last weekend. For what it’s worth I never dined at Mandalay so I have nothing to compare Kove to.
One thing that hasn’t changed (that I can comment on) is the view. It’s pretty spectacular, especially at dusk. Kove is, by all accounts, a little more casual than Mandalay was with a menu focused around comfort food made in house using quality ingredients. The beer list is focused on Belgian style beers which is a welcome carry over from Mandalay.
The thing that drew me to Kove was their Scotch Egg. They had posted pictures of it on social media and I had to try it. There used to be a fish and chip joint in Ladner called Uncle Herbert’s that closed years ago, Their Scotch eggs are the benchmark in my mind. Kove’s Scotch egg is very good with a nice crisp breading and a decently thick layer of savoury sausage meat. The dijon aioli is different…but a nice touch. The yolk could’ve been a little softer, it’s best when it’s in that magical place where the yolk is still dark yellow and soft but isn’t liquid. All in all a very good Scotch Egg.
Next up were the house made crab cakes with fresh salsa and Thai chili sauce. This dish was kind of all over the place. All of the parts were great but they didn’t make much sense together. The crab cakes themselves are fantastic. Large, fresh, lots of crab, pretty close to perfection. It’s just one man’s opinion but I’d ditch the salsa and Thai chili and go with something like citrus aioli or just keep them naked with some lightly dressed greens on the side.
The burger was another dish I had seen on social media. There are a few options on the burger menu but I chose the classic bacon cheeseburger. The 7 ounce patty is Canadian AAA and is ground in house. Served on a pretzel bun with double smoked bacon, applewood smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and “Kove sauce”, this is a VERY good burger. The patty is thick, juicy, and well seasoned. The bacon and cheese are strong enough to be noticed but not overpowering. The pretzel bun is actually a good addition, I was worried it would suck. This burger will keep people coming back to Kove Kitchen. The hand cut fries are also very good. I paired it with a Dageraad Brewing Amber which was awesome.
So, is Kove better than Mandalay? I have no idea, but Kove Kitchen is a winner.
It’s been awhile since my last fundraiser so let’s do this! Big Ridge Brewing Co. and the South Fraser Beer Club present Casks for Surrey Memorial. Join us Thursday August 28th at 6pm to help me show my appreciation to Surrey Memorial Hospital for saving my daughter’s life earlier this summer after a near drowning incident. Words cannot express my gratitude.
I hope to see everyone and I can’t wait to do some good for Surrey Memorial Hospital! The Big Ridge shuttle will be making trips to King George Station and it’s regular area, call 7789387433 to schedule a pick up and get home safe. DJ Alibaba will be playing all of your favourite hits from the 80’s and 90’s too.
Hawthorne Beer Market is the newest member of the Pacific North Coast Restaurant Company. Its siblings are the Washington Avenue Grill in White Rock, The Cabin at Crescent Beach, and The Vault which is just down the street from Hawthorne in Cloverdale. I was pretty excited to hear the PNCRC was opening a craft beer focused place and I love the area of Cloverdale where they chose to open it. It’s right on 176th street in old downtown Cloverdale. It took me longer than I’d planned to visit but I finally made it there last week.
It was Wing Wednesday and that means wings are going to happen. Don’t fight Wing Wednesday, just embrace it. The hot wings were quite good, mostly drumettes which was a hit with my dining companion. They aren’t overly hot but the flavours are all there along with some acidity. Nice.
Scotch eggs are the perfect food. Hard boiled egg packed in sausage meat which is breaded and deep fried. Probably not recommended by your cardiologist though. Everything here was spot on aside from the sausage layer being a little thin. Actually it was way too thin. More sausage meat and this is a contender for best scotch egg in town.
The Prime Rib Burger was a huge let down. The patty had the taste, texture, and appearance of a pre made (read – frozen) patty. I’m not sure how long this dish sat in the window before it made it to the table, it didn’t feel overly long, but the fries under the burger were a soggy, greasy mess. There’s a blurb on their website that makes this burger quite surprising “We’re the new kid on the block, and we do things a little different. For starters, we only use the freshest ingredients, and made from scratch sauces. No prepackaged junk you might come to expect from some of the other guys.” If I’m wrong and this burger is actually made from scratch I’m baffled at how you can make fresh ingredients and non pre-packaged junk taste like it came from a Sysco box.
The beer list is solid. I had a Bomber Brewing ESB and a Four Winds pale ale. The staff was friendly but they seemed like they were short a server as one young lady appeared to be covering the entire place (restaurant and bar).
I think Hawthorne has potential, I like the look of the place and the overall concept. I love the location and the beer selection. I just can’t fathom the choice to serve a pre made burger in a place that preaches fresh ingredients.
Did you know that there’s a part of Richmond located in the middle of the Fraser River that you can only access from Marpole? There’s a tiny Island called Richmond Island located on Musqueam land that is part of a development called Milltown. There’s a new Bar and Grill at 9191 Bentley Street, which is the home of Milltown Marina. Milltown Bar and Grill is pretty damn cool.
Milltown sits just north of the Vancouver International Airport and has an incredible view of the north runway. More on that later. There’s a rotating craft beer tap, currently Hoyne Devil’s Dream IPA, and a small selection of craft bottles to keep my beer nerd pals happy. The Devil’s Dream was pouring beautifully and was the perfect companion to sunshine and plane watching on the south patio. There’s another patio on the north side that overlooks the marina, they’re both good choices if you like to sit outside.
The menu is a classic west coast bar and grill line-up with all the usual suspects along with some non traditional items like Butter Bhicken, Halibut Tacos, and Salmon Wellington. I opted for the Freighter Burger, a house made all beef patty with Pale Ale BBQ sauce, bacon, and gouda plus the standard veg. The freighter is a solid buger, I’d order it again. The house made patty has nice tecture and is properly seasoned. The fries that came with it are battered, something I’m not super keen on but they were tasty none the less. I’d love to see in house hand cut fries with this burger!
Sitting on the north patio puts you up close with some pretty big planes landing at YVR from all around the world. The noise isn’t as loud as I thought it would be and watching planes land is pretty awesome, ya know? Here’s a couple of 747-400’s I managed to photograph.
Overall Milltown Bar and Grill is a great place to spend an afternoon. There’s tons of parking, good beer, tasty food, lots of action on the patio, and you can bring the whole family (something I did not know until after I got there…oops). Here’s a handy Google Earth shot to show you where they are, followed by all their pertinent links and so forth.
I was recently invited to Sabatino’s Trattoria in South Surrey to sample some dishes from their new menu. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a menu tasting as I’ve been blogging less and exploring Vancouver with my camera more these days but it was nice to be back in the game. I was joined by May and Dennis of pangcouver.com and Sherman from shermansfoodadventures.com, good company indeed.
We were treated to Gamberi Napoli as an amuse bouche, Tiger prawn flambéed in Pernod with garlic, grape tomato, onion and basil. There was a very slight hint of licorice from the Pernod and the prawn balanced well with the tomato and onion. A little more seasoning would’ve made this a home run but it was still quite nice.
Next up was the Barbabietola Arrosto, a lovely roasted beet salad. Roasted beets, goat cheese, tomato, and roasted walnuts with spinach and dill vinaigrette. The dressing wasn’t overly oily and the dill worked well with the earthy beets and the punchy goats cheese. When I started writing about food 4 years ago I never thought that beets would end up being one of my favourite foods.
Spaghetti Carbonara was the next dish to arrive. Rich, rich, did I mention it’s rich? I love Carbonara but it’s not something I could eat often. Prosciutto, egg yolk, and Granda Padano wrapped up in tender spaghetti noddles. Slightly more oily than I’d anticipated but the deep, rich flavours were great.
The main course was Brasato al Valpolicella, red wine braised shortrib on the bone with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. The short rib is from Two Rivers Meats and is outstanding. Braised perfectly, seasoned well, juicy, tender. The potatoes are rich and creamy and quite dense, not your average restaurant mash. This dish was a winner from start to finish.
Along with my food there were some great, original cocktails and bold red wine being served. My favourite was the Agavé Julep, a tequila based cocktail with mint, watermelon, simple syrup and soda.
Last but not least is dessert, Frangelico and chocolate cheesecake with biscotti crust. So decadent, so good. I’m a savoury guy so when a dessert wows me it has to be pretty great.
For all of you craft beer fans out there you’ll be glad to know that Sabatino’s has Fat Tug IPA and Whitebark Witbier from Driftwood Brewing on tap.
If you’re in the mood for Italian check out Sabatino’s Trattoria in South Surrey, it’s a nice spot and a bit of a hidden gem.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a craft beer review. There’s been al lot of talk about craft beer and alcoholism lately and it’s a topic worth exploring. Check out this post by Miles Liebtag from Beergraphs.com that set the Twitterverse on fire last month. Then local beer blogger extraordinaire Chuck Hallett broke it down even further by showing how much alcohol you are consuming drinking craft in comparison to macro beer in a post on his blog barleymowat.com . My bet is session beers, great beer with lower alcohol content, will be the next trend. Let’s check out a new player in the session beer game, Red Racer ISA (India Session Ale) from Central City Brewers and Distillers.
The beer pours a crystal clear golden colour with a pure white head. I’ve had it at the tasting room on draught and from a can and I prefer it in the can (zing!). There’s a nice citrus hop aroma from the Mosaic hops along with some straw notes. It has a slightly sweet taste along with a mild hop bitterness. I really like this beer. 40ibu, 4% abv, and 120 calories. Do the Crossfit people know about this yet?
I’ve struggled with the amount I drink all in the name of being “part of the scene”. Session beers are a godsend and I hope it catches on. I’m a little tired of hearing people talk about “responsible consumption” one minute and seeing them falling off a bar stool at a cask-fest an hour later.