Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Controversial Kitchen, indeed.

For several years, I volunteered as an A/V tech for Earthsave BC’s annual Taste of Health. Though not a vegetarian, I initially became involved to expand my knowledge in live stage management, and was careful not to wear my leather jacket when attending meetings. Though I learned little about live sound, I learned a ton sitting through dozens of seminars and cooking demos about organic food, and a ton more about my precious McDonalds habit.

Controversial Kitchen aims for the niche I needed filled; organic, omnivorous food. Owned by Barbara Schellenberg, who also owns North Vancouver’s Ethical Kitchen, you’d expect her second restaurant to meet modest expectations. Especially at 10 dollars a sandwich.

On the way in, we were greeted by a nice woman carrying a baby in a diaper as she stood at the register. One doesn’t need to work in the restaurant industry (as I have) to know that if you’re going to be a toddler in the kitchen, you’re going to have to put on some pants. And not attempt to eat the sharpie on the counter. Maybe I should have turned around then. Once we’d ordered, I noticed the lady at the register pass off the baby, hand me my change, and grab a spatula.

“Wait,” she remembered.

“First, I need to rinse off my hands for three seconds without using soap. And I can leave that spatula right there in the food prep area while I start making their meals. I mean, it’s not like money and diapers are THAT dirty.”

Oh no.

Once we seated ourselves near the window, we got our food; a hearty sandwich for myself and some kind of egg concoction for my girlfriend. The food itself was decent enough, but we were put off by restaurant patrons seated outside who were smoking while they chatted; all well within 6 metres from the door, in violation of the city’s smoking bylaw [pdf]. I didn’t order my “nutrient-dense” sandwich with a side of cigarette smoke, thanks. I didn’t really expect anyone to stop them, but I also didn’t expect Fiona, the manager (and Barbara’s sister), to join them for a smoke herself.

I hope these guys can clean their act up. Until then, you’ll find me at Nuba. Or Radha. Or just about anywhere else.

100 Best Local Places to Eat & Shop

I was recently given one of the most interesting takes on a coupon book I’ve seen. Instead of a coupon book with hundreds of “local” discounts on everything from drycleaning services to shock absorbers, this deck of cards focuses on what Vancouverites seem to enjoy most; eating out and shopping. The real treat is that every one of them is in Vancouver, with serious emphasis on the downtown core.

Categorized by neighbourhood (Kitsilano, South Granville), each card gives a synopsis and a price range, and some notable discounts. This is a wonderful pickup for foodies on a budget. Check out Joe Fortes or the Goldfish Pacific for some free “bite size chef specialties”, Stella’s for 25% off the total bill (alcohol excluded) or, if you’re in the mood for buying some exotic housewares, 50% off a single item at Nood.

My only real annoyance with the book is that the cards are double-sided, which can cause problems with a retailer’s lack of familiarity. It’s sometimes hard getting them back to use the other side. They’re also not sub-categorized to separate the food from the clothes, which can be a nuisance when you’re flipping for, say, a restaurant in Kitsilano.

Well worth their cost, you can pick these up for 11.95 at Chapters. Also available in Chinese or Japanese for a dollar more.

Travellers Deck.

Underground dining – figuratively. Maybe.

I had no idea, until I read this post at Senses and Style – apparently there’s a trend (or movement, or what have you) for surprise dining. Dining without a helmet. Ultra-spontaneous dining. Let me elaborate;

No Fixed Address is where you email reservations (to and that’s it – your involvement is done until chewing is required. You know the date you will be dining, but you do not know where dining will occur until the day before (so you can plan transportation appropriately) and you don’t know the menu until the day of (so you can… I’m not sure why? Maybe so you have some option to say “Strawberry’s will kill me” and adjustments can be made for you, or you can back out.) Once there and seated all you have to do is enjoy. I like it.

Have a look at S&S’s adventure in mystery dining here, complete with pictures.

photos by Senses and Styles

Olympocalypse! The gorging!

Yeah, two posts. So?

This is short though – our friends at Sense and Styles have posted this great look at Capone’s and the push to be an Olympic party point.

Passing through Yaletown today, I noticed a lot of the retaurants there are pulling out all the stops, some even putting up covered tents outside. In fact, I get the impression from VPD recruiting trailers and such, plus its proximity to LiveCity, Yaletown is going to be hopping. Keep that in mind, next time you’re down there and looking for a bite to eat.

Indie I Do – Vancouver’s 2nd annual alternative wedding show

indie_banner_webVancouver, at least to a larger degree than most cities in Canada, isn’t a traditional wedding kind of town. And by traditional, I mean, the consumerized* “traditional”. Tuxes and white gowns and cake and flowers, etc. Not that these aren’t fine options, but this is a town where a lot of people already have an alternate take on traditional; traditional Chinese weddings, traditional Hindu weddings, etc. Let’s put it this way – the last wedding I went to was at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, the bride wore white, then switched to red after for pictures, and the groom wore a kilt. It’s a mash-up kind of town.

And that’s before you get to the couples that wouldn’t be caught dead in a tux and gown, and are looking for something different.

So, one might say it’s long overdue that someone put on an alternative wedding show – enter, Indie I Do.

Brides and grooms who have a hard time finding the perfect item for their wedding will breathe a sigh of relief when they attend the second annual Indie I Do wedding event, being held at the Heritage Hall on Saturday, January 23, 2010.

Catering to a diverse crowd, Indie I Do promises something for everyone – be it an off beat theme wedding, same sex do, or simply a traditional couple looking to add a touch of their own unique personalities into their event.

Join the Indie I Do revolution! Buy your tickets now and don’t forget to join us on facebook.

See you at the show!

[VIA Senses and Styles]

*I made a word!

Some January culinary ideas. A person’s gotta eat, right?

The gang at Sense and Styles has some excellent suggestions for yummy things to do this month. Here are the short versions;

The titular Long Table

The titular Long Table

The Irish Heather’s Long Table Series

Running every evening between January 11th and  February 11th, come sit at one big long table with a few dozen other food-minded people at the Irish Heather. Depending on what night you come, there is a different excellent meal, complete with a matched drink, for a mere $15 (plus tax and tip.) For example;

Monday, 11th of January, House Made Beef Meat Balls, Tomato Sauce served with Hand Made Spaghetti, w/ 5oz – Glass of Sandhill Syrah.M $15 plus tax & service

Click here for each day’s offering!

“Just Like Dinner at Nona’s House”

Similar to The Irish Heather, but exclusive to three Tuesday nights only – January 12th, 19th, and 26th – enjoy a hearty plate of food paired with R&B beer for $19. Plus, be there at 6 for the wine bar!

The Main Event – East Meets West

Technically Main isn’t where East Van meets West Van, but that’s the kind of thing that gets me punched in the arm. And pedantry aside, this is an awesome event. Running from January 18th to 24th, a number of Main street restaurants will be offering three-course tasting menus for set prices of $25, $35 and $45. And a portion of those sales will go to The Greater Vancouver Food Bank. So, it will be one of the rare times you can eat AND help others do the same.

I’m particularly looking forward to this, as it is an excellent excuse to try more of the restaurants in my neighbourhood. Click here for a list of participating restaurants.

Eee up to Senses and Styles – I will be keeping an eye on them and you should too!

Fireworks saved by food.

After it looked like the end of the road for Vancouver’s better-than-the-rest-of-the-world fireworks display, The Celebration of Fire Lights Festival, The Keg has stepped in to save the day. Details aren’t known, but apparently the old sponsors have signed back on as well, making it look a lot like they were previously willing to pay some, but not all of the pricetag, and the addition of The Keg’s support made it more feasible for all sponsors. So, get out your beach blanket, and fire up the police helicopters, the fireworks will be back this August!

Ever had lunch on the City Hall lawn?

Yeah, me either.

And yet Mayor Gregor Robertson is in trouble for proposing to turn some of the municipal HQ’s lawn space, which is currently lined up for improvement, into a community garden.

It might be just me, but isn’t turning it into a garden an improvement, and a good one at that? And also, it seems a little hair-up-the-nose to pick a procedural slapfight over a chunk of land none of us have ever really considered let alone enjoyed.

Photo by Dave Ho

Photo by Dave Ho

Coming on the thematic heels of Herb’s recent post, in a town filled with community gardens, isn’t it a good idea to promote the idea on the most high profile lawn around? And do we really want the mayor spending even a half hour debating this in council session, all things considered? Which is to say, isn’t this a non-issue?

Great places for local produce

BC Hot Hothouse Pepper

Photo Courtesy of BC Hot House

One of my most favorite places to get local produce is the Two E’s Farm at 16411 Fraser Hwy in Surrey. They grow a lot of their own organic fruits and vegetables. More importantly, they try to keep all of their food local whenever possible.  They’re the only place that I know of that actually tells you where the food came from, which is a big plus. They have their own farm on site, so a lot of the staples people eat (broccoli, Green Onions, Lettuce) are grown there as well. Tried Kale from Two E’s for the first time last year… very sharp flavour.

Did I mention that they don’t charge you an arm and a leg for their food? Yes, even the organic stuff.

Great produce, and great value… but make sure you pack your paid for produce in their bags… otherwise they’ll think you didn’t pay for them when you go outside. Also, no Credit Cards Either.

If you know of any other places around Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to get reasonably priced, high quality food, leave a comment. Currently, I’m looking for both an egg supplier, beef and milk source. Sometimes Safeway and the regular chain stores  can get quite expensive.

Friday night’s alright for perogies.

Don’t knock it – my first post title was an SCTV reference, “Cabbage rolls and coffee”, but that’s never sounded appetizing to me.

I’ve heard of this monthly event over and over, year after year, and I’ve never been. But I’m thinking about this Friday. By all accounts, you won’t find a more satisfying Ukrainian dinner in town, and you can’t beat the price – two things that have turned this quiet little event into a must-try for those in the know in Mount Pleasant.

Here are the details for the dinner, including a menu, which happens the first Friday of every month (This Friday, Feb. 6th, as it happens.) Also of interest is that besides the vegetarian-friendly varieties of perogy, they also have vegetarian cabbage rolls as well.

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