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.
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.
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!
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!
The Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich, a Canadian icon. Greater Vancouver has a few places that make a decent version but there is one that stands above them all. Estrella’s in Langley is as close as it gets to being in Montreal. Hidden in plain sight on 200th street between Industrial Ave and Logan Ave, you’d drive right by Estrella’s if you didn’t know it existed. It is surrounded by automotive shops, industrial buildings and an oddly placed dentist office.
Now that you know where it is open up your calender and make some time to check it out. The smoked meat sandwiches are the best around, by a wide margin. Most places in Vancouver make a sandwich with meat brought in from Montreal which tends to taste like it’s travelled in a truck across Canada. Other places make their own but it always comes out too salty. Estrella’s house made smoked meat is absolute perfection. Tender, juicy, flavourful without being too salty. You can order it lean (less fat) or marbled (more fat) just like they do it in Montreal. Obviously the full fat is tastier, the choice is yours.
You can get poutine, grilled paninis, burgers, sandwiches, soups, espresso and speciality coffee. Nearly everything is house made from scratch. The poutine is outstanding.
Tired of mediocre smoked meat parading as the real thing? Go check out Estrella’s at 5932 200th street in Langley (There you go random Twitter guy who couldn’t Google the address yourself…)
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.
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.
Every now and then someone at a big multi national corporation leaves the interns with the keys to the advertising department and great things happen. Take Hot pockets, produced by Nestle, and their latest online ad featuring Snoop Dog (who I thought had changed his name to Snoop Lion? Right??), Kate Upton and a few cameos. Remember Biz Markie? Take his hit song “Just A Friend”, make it about Hot Pockets, add in some Minecraft/getting high references and you get this…
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.
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.
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.
Steveston is a beautiful little corner of Richmond, tucked right along side the Pacific Ocean it is still an active fishing community as well as a popular tourist destination. Home to beautiful parks, a national historic site (The Gulf Of Georgia Cannery), a bustling fisherman’s wharf where you can buy fresh seafood right off the fishing boats and many shops and restaurants all within a very walkable old fashioned town centre.
I had lunch at Hog Shack Cook House, a southern BBQ joint and one of my favourite restaurants in Greater Vancouver. Chef/Co-owner John and Co-owner Alan are great guys with a serious knack for making your restaurant visit a great one. I usually order the Smoke Lover’s Combo, So good. Hog Shack also has a terrific craft beer selection.
After our tasty lunch Hayley an I went for a walk around this pretty ocean side village and snapped some photos, enjoy!
A new menu is always a good reason to visit an old favorite and Glowbal Grill in Yaletown is very much a personal favorite. It’s not just the food and drinks that keep me coming back, it’s the outstanding service staff that runs a fairly tight space with military like efficiency. Every time a server or a manager came by the table to clear plates or glasses and stopped to chat for a few seconds there was someone else there to relieve them of their arm full of dishes, unmatched teamwork and a credit to General Manager Brandon Copico and Assistant GM Kyle Johnstone and the rest of the management team.
Now the food. Josh Wolfe, owner of the uber awesome Fresh Local Wild food truck and former Executive Chef of Glowbal Group’s Coast has returned to team Glowbal as their new Assistant Corporate Chef. After chatting with GM Brandon for a while Josh came over and introduced himself, took some time to go over some menu changes and asked my wife and I if we had any allergies or dislikes and then offered to feed us, um yes please!
We started with a small caprese salad with fresh local tomatoes, basil and incredible burrata, it was so soft and gooey, I could eat an inhuman amount of this cheese. The second was a beet salad with baby arugula, sherry vinagrette and big gorgeous chunks of pecorino cheese that were the perfect match to the earthy sweetness of the beets. The beets were prepared an a few different ways that included roasted beets and raw paper thin beets. the third salad was a Tomato and Cucumber salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes, celery leaves, citrus vinagrette and a piece of salty and wonderful crisp prosciutto. Celery leaves are really quite good, stop throwing them away!
Next up Chef Wolfe brought us some Wild Mushroom Risotto made with BC Morel and Chanterelle mushrooms. This dish is not new but is great, fresh local wild (see what I did there??) mushrooms have great texture, almost meat like, and add a nice density to the rich creaminess of the risotto. Also there didn’t seem to be any cream added to this dish which was a complaint I had on my last visit.
Next up was a Bone In Canadian Prime Ribeye with a selection of 4 sauces, Bearnaise, Chimichuri , Horseradish and steak sauce. These sauces replace the selection of salts that used to be offered with steaks. The ribeye was cooked to a magical place somewhere between rare and medium rare and had the full falvour you can only get from well marbled beef cooked on the bone. The sauces were a nice addition, my personal favorite being the house made chimichuri. The side we received was a variation of an old favorite of mine, The Lobster Baked Potato. Gone is the gigantic baked potato typical of most steak houses which has been replaced by smaller roasted potatoes served in a cast iron skillet and topped with hollandaise sauce and generous chunks of lobster meat. This was a pretty ballsy move messing with something so good but the new dish is as good if not better than the old one.
Dessert was a trio of creme brule, vanilla, white chocolate and hazelnut. I’m not really a dessert guy but I’m a total sucker for creme brule and all three flavors were wonderful and prepared perfectly under Chef Wolfe’s watchful eye. Then magic happened, and it was called chocolate bread pudding. What?? This dish is pure food sex. It was topped with house made seafoam (honeycomb toffee). If you like chocolate or desserts in general you need to try this, it’s amazing!!