The Taphouse Guildford. Craft Beer And Good Eats In Surrey

The craft beer scene in Surrey is at an interesting point in its evolution. You can find craft beer at most pubs and restaurants but you’d be lucky to find more than 3 taps and a couple of bottles to choose from. There’s Big Ridge and Central City, both are fantastic but you’re limited to their beers. That’s not a bad thing but it’s always nice to have a little more choice. The Taphouse offers 20+ taps, 12-15 of which are craft with local and non local options. Is there another spot in Surrey with that kind of craft selection? No, not even close, and don’t bring up Hawthorne because that place is terrible.

Hot wings
Hot wings

I’ve been to The Taphouse before but this was the first time I was there to eat. We started out with some classic Hot Wings ($10/pound). Hot but not too hot, nice flavour, good mix of drummies and flatties (ya, I said it). Good stuff.

Brisket beef dip
Brisket beef dip

Sticking with classic pub food I opted for The Beef Dip ($13), slow roasted house smoked brisket on a garlic baguette with light horseradish mayo and a side of jus. The meat was tender, juicy, and full of flavour. The smoke and the horseradish mayo work well together and I may have detected a hint of liquid smoke in the jus but I might be wrong. This is a tasty example of a pub food staple. The fries were good too, fresh cut kosher salted Kennebec potatoes,

Mmmmm brisket
Mmmmm brisket

If you were a Bar Star in the 90’s you already know where The Taphouse is. It lives where The Mirage night club used to take all my money on $1 drink night… 15330 102a Ave in beautiful Guildford.

The only word of caution I have is that a lot of the servers seem new so service can be inconsistent.

Twitter – @taphouse_pub

Facebook – taphouseguildford

Instagram – Not that I can find…

World wide web – thetaphouse.ca

Scott.

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Where Have All The Burgers Gone?

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting much to wflbc.com lately. Maybe you didn’t notice, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The fact is this site has become a bit of a chore. I used to look forward to writing and I used to worry if I hadn’t posted anything for more than 2 or 3 days. Before I wrote about Famoso Pizzeria last week I hadn’t written anything for over a month. I didn’t know it had been that long until I logged in to upload some photos. I  still enjoy writting and I don’t plan on shutting it down but I’m not going to post unless I really feel like it. There are a few new adventures that occupy most of time now and I’d like to share them with you.

The first is civic politics. I am quite active on social media through @SurreyIsTheBomb breaking down mayoral candidates platforms through inappropriate memes and asking them uncomfortable questions. Their responses have shown their true character and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Civic politics impacts the people of a city more so than any other level of government. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for but I hope you research the candidates and cast an informed vote on November 15th.

The other thing that’s become a true passion is photography. Street and architecture photography are my main focus but I love taking pictures of anything and everything. I share my pictures through Flickr and Instagram, Please follow if you like what you see. Back in May my family bought me a Fuji X-A1 mirrorless camera for my birthday. This little beauty cost $399 and came with a 16-50mm OIS lens. It’s small, light, and very versatile. I inherited some old lens from my mom and I use them on this camera with the help of inexpensive lens adapters. I take a lot of pictures with my smartphone too. It’s a Nexus 5 and I love it. I’m able to share this time with my daughter and teach here about her city, the environment, and photography. Here’s a few of my favourites from Instagram and Flickr.

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Does this mean I’m not going to write about restaurants any more? No way! I love food and I plan on writing about it on my terms. I opt out of most menu tasting invites or new restaurant previews I get invited to these days. They don’t offer a fair view of the subject, it’s all the absolute best that you’ll ever get in those situations which is quite often not reality. I do the ones that interest me and I go as an individual diner but mostly I just go out and eat without anyone knowing I’m there and write about it without the guilt or influence of free food and drink. That being said I am going to a beer launch and a vodka/gin launch this week… I am human after all. You can still follow me on Twitter @WFLBC, but please don’t turn into a creepy stalker, ok?

Thanks for reading. Remember to vote. Take pictures of cool stuff. Include your loved ones in activities you’re passionate about.

Scott.

 

Casks for Surrey Memorial – UPDATED

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.

Casks for SMH

There will be 3 casks of local craft beer on hand. One from Big Ridge, one from Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks (their Super 8 Bit IPA no less!) and one from Surrey’s own Russell Brewing. Lots of local businesses have donated items for our silent auction/raffle including Dead Frog Brewing, Famoso Pizzeria, The Joseph Richard Group, Tasty Indian Bistro, Starbucks, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store,  Dageraad Brewing, and more. Big Ridge Brewing will also be offering up some great swag along with hosting and organising the casks. We will also be doing a 50/50 draw. I can’t say enough about Rob and the whole team at Big Ridge and the Mark James Group, Their generosity over the years has helped me raise a lot of money for some amazing charities.

Hayley says thank you!!!
Hayley says thank you!!!

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.

There’s a Facebook event page here, invite all of your friends!

Please help us spread the word by sharing this on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you can.

Scott.

 

Sabatino’s Trattoria Menu Tasting

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.

Gamberi Napoli
Gamberi Napoli

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.

Barbabietola Arrosto
Barbabietola Arrosto

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
Spaghetti Carbonara

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.

Brasato al Valpolicella
Brasato al Valpolicella

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.

Agavé Julep
Agavé Julep

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.

Frangelico and chocolate cheesecake with biscotti crust
Frangelico and chocolate cheesecake with biscotti crust

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.

Twitter – @SabatinosYVR

Facebook – Sabatino’s Trattoria

Interwebz – sabatinostrattoria.com

Scott.

*My food and drinks were provided at no charge by Sabatino’s for review purposes.

 

Celebrate Oktoberfest all month long with the Joseph Richard Group

October, the one month of the year where I can drink every day of the week because of those crazy Germans and Oktoberfest! The other 11 months I try and keep it to 7 days a week. Every Tuesday in October The Hemingway Public House, located right on the strip in White Rock, is having their very own Beerfest!  With beer from 9 breweries including Hoyne, Central City, Elysian, New Belgium, Parallel 49, Hacker Pschorr, and Schneider Weiss you can guarantee that you’ll see me there at least once this month.

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All Joseph Richard Group pubs are celebrating with awesome beer features everyday! Check out this handy calendar and plan your month wisely, October only comes around once a year! Don’t forget, CAMRA members get awesome perks (aka discounts…) so sign up!

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Twitter – @WEAREJRG

Facebook – WEAREJRG

Interwebzzz – jrgvancouver.ca

Scott.

What’s new at Surrey’s fabulous Tap Restaurant

It always makes me smile when I mention Tap Restaurant in conversation with someone who lives outside of Surrey. When I start describing Tap the envy washes over them, it’s a hidden gem in every sense. I first wrote about Tap WAY back in January of 2012 and it’s been one of my favourites ever since. Tap had a little get together recently to promote some new things they’re doing and they were nice enough to invite me out to see what they’re up to.

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The night was filled with delicious tapas paired with exceptional wines. The tapas were some of the items featured in their Events Package which is really great for anyone looking to have an event in Surrey who wants something nicer than a pub or community hall, the usual options. They are experts in planning and executing special events like weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate dinners, fundraising, bridal & baby showers and they even offer in home dinner parties.

Tap is a great room with a warm, inviting atmosphere tucked away in quiet suburbia. A true oasis in a desert of chain restaurants. If you’d like to know more about Tap’s Event Program give them a call at 604-536-1954 or shoot them an email at taprestaurant@gmail.com

I’m going to post all the pictures of my tapas now so you can drool and wish they weren’t just pictures on a computer screen. Enjoy!

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Twitter – @TapRestaurant

Facebook – Tap Restaurant

Internets – taprestaurant.ca

Scott

What do I think about the “Surrey, The Future Dies Here” shirts? I’m glad you asked!

00_07_van_surreyshirts_combined
Photo – Metro News

So, someone is making shirts that play on the official city logo and poke fun at Surrey’s crime rate eh? This should surprise no one. Surrey has a crime problem, Surrey has a murder problem, Surrey has a robbery problem, look up the stats. Surrey has a bad image and it’s there for a reason, there is more crime committed here per capita than in our big brother Vancouver. Do I like the shirts? You know what, they’re kind of funny and kudos for to Mr. Don Pitcairn for having the stones to make something like this considering he actually LIVES IN SURREY! Would I wear one? Hell no, they’re ugly.  I’m sure the Main Street/Gastown hipster crowd will love them though. I proudly wear my Surrey Is The Bomb shirts because I like living here.

I’m sure you guys thought this was going to be a ranting, raving post full of finger pointing but it just isn’t worth it. I tried to promote Surrey but all I found was people who don’t consider themselves Surrey residents, they’re either from somewhere else or they say they’re Vancouverites. The cease and desist order put forth by the City of Surrey is toothless as far as I can tell, they might have a minor copyright infringement case but it’s pretty thin.

I’m as surprised as you are that I’m so indifferent about this, life’s too short to pretend everything’s made of roses and sunshine and unicorn farts you guys. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go sit on my couch in my affordable home while I sip fine single malt Scotch and think about how easy my morning commute is now that they’ve replaced the Port Mann Bridge. While you chew on that remember this simple fact proud Vancouverites, it’s pretty hard for people who live in a city that has a place as dark and disturbing as the Downtown Eastside to throw stones at anyone, then again most Vancouverites avoid the DTES more than they avoid Surrey. Cheers.

Scott.

Central City Brew Pub

Central City Brewing Co. is living proof that Surrey is indeed the bomb. Located in (wait for it) the Central City complex that houses a shopping mall, an SFU campus and one of the best looking buildings in Greater Vancouver, they make world class craft beer that has won numerous awards over the past few years. Did I mention the building they’re located in? I seriously love the Central City Tower, it’s a true architectural gem that is very under appreciated by most of the GVRD. I stopped in for a few beers, dinner and some NFL playoff football watching recently with my cousin Kurt (@truKrenruT).

Central City Tower
Central City Tower

Central City has tons of free parking and is right next to the Surrey Central Skytrain Station, I highly recommend my readers from north of the Fraser hop on the train and give Central City a try. I would list all of the beer/brewing/brewpub awards they’ve racked up since 2008 but it’s easier to just give you guys the link. I started out with their amazingly good Imperial IPA which has won some sort of beer award every year since 2008 and it’s quite deserving of the praise it gets. I followed that up with their Winter Ale, a seasonal beer that is unlike other overly sweet winter ales. This beer has a nice malty body with a subtle hop finish and a very mild sweetness. It’s quite nice.  I had an ESB as well before returning to the fantastic imperial IPA. I’ve never met a Red Racer beer I didn’t like (aside from a lemongrass infused pin cask of their pale ale…). 2013 will be the year that BC breweries start to overtake their Pacific Northwest and Californian competition, you heard it here first. Canadian craft beer has never been better and it gets better with every new brewery that opens up!

Red Racer Imperial IPA
Red Racer Imperial IPA

The food at Central City is also outstanding and has really moved upmarket since the hiring of Executive Chef Carl Sawatsky a few years ago. Having spent time as the Executive Chef at Bacchus Bistro at Domaine De Chamberton Winery Chef Sawatsky has changed a very pedestrian pub menu into something that encompasses locally sourced, high quality ingredients and non traditional dishes along side modern twists on traditional pub grub. After publishing this post I’ve learned that Chef Sawatsky may not be with Central City any more (he’s still listed as Executive Chef on their Facebook page) but his menu remains and is still executed quite well.

Shortrib Beef Dip
Shortrib Beef Dip

Kurt and I both ordered the same thing, the Braised Shortrib Beef Dip and I’m happy to say this is one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in recent memory. Red Racer beer braised short rib, pickled grilled zucchini,  stout cheddar from Farmhouse Cheeses in Agassiz, crispy onions, horseradish Dijon mayo, served on a house made ciabatta bun with Au Jus for dipping. I think I got a little lucky because my short rib was roughly an inch think, Kurt’s was less thick but it was still enough. The pickled zucchini is awesome, the stout cheddar is rich and delicious and the bun is fresh and tasty. The fries are good, nothing mind blowing but good non the less.

Great Beer, great food, great building, great pub. Go check it out if you’ve never been and if you haven’t been in awhile it’s worth a revisit.

Scott.

152 Street Liquor store, a new Craft Beer hot spot in Surrey!

Craft Beer is really making a surge in terms of availability around the lower mainland. There are lots of restaurants and bars adding  craft beer to their menus every day. Private and government liquor stores are also getting in on the act and the latest addition in my home town of Surrey is 152 Street Liquor Store.

Yay beer!
Yay beer!

Located at 9082 152nd Street in the Price Smart parking lot (just off of 152 st and Fraser Hwy), they’ve just launched a pretty extensive craft beer program, which I found out after Lyndsey went there and brought me home a 6 pack of Philips Hop Circle IPA, which I didn’t know they carried. I’m quite happy to have a liquor store with a good selection of craft beer close to home, I love Central City and Big Ridge but their Liquor Stores are about a 15 – 20 minute drive for me, this is more like 5 minutes!

Why the change? They’re under new management and they’re obviously very intelligent,  ridiculously good  looking people just like all other craft beer fans.

Check out their website 152stliquorstore.com, They aren’t on Twitter or Facebook though, something I’m going to have to talk to them about 🙂

Scott.

Red Robin, It’s like a 90’s time machine!

I remember it like it was yesterday, I was in high school. My first visit to Red Robin was in the mid 90’s at their brand new Guildford location in Surrey. It was great, lots of retro posters all over the walls, a train that circled the room hanging from the ceiling and these crazy shaft driven ceiling fans. The menu was centred around burgers which were pretty good and they had “Non stop pop” which wasn’t that common in 1995.

It's a plane!
It’s a plane!

Fast forward 17 years, outside of Red Robin it’s 2012, inside…it’s still 1995! The same posters cover the walls although they’re very faded, the fans are still there but the train is sadly gone. There’s so much brass in this restaurant and the colours are pure 90’s. The fact that “What’s the frequency Kenneth” by REM came on while we were eating was perfect, it totally fit the mood of the place. The menu is pretty much unchanged with a few new burger variations, the beer menu is pure Macro brewery garbage but at least they have Guinness on tap. Somewhere over the last 17 years they’ve added “Non stop fries” to their menu, I’m ok with that.

Prime Chophouse Burger
Prime Chophouse Burger

I ordered the Prime Chophouse Burger, a heavyweight for sure. Nestled between it’s Onion bun (with about 4 specks of onion on it) is a surprisingly good beef patty, horseradish, steak sauce, provolone cheese and crispy onion straws. All of this was held together with a large steak knife thrust through an onion ring into the heart of the burger.You know what, this burger is pretty damn good! I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did and the steak fries, which come seasoned with Red Robin’s own seasoning salt, are good to!

This location has always been busy, there’s almost always a wait for a table but Red Robin has seen some local closures in the last few years, most notably their Surrey/Newton location and their Vancouver/Broadway location. Red Robin works in the suburbs, for now, but it desperately needs a HUGE face lift. It’s so dated it makes me feel really old because I remember being young and it looking exactly the same. 17 years is too long to stick with one look. I wonder how much longer the Robson location will last?

Scott.