Meat Craft; Perogies, Bacon, Sausage

I needed to make dinner for the family and a friend of the my daughters this evening and I didn’t want my reputation my dad kitchen skills to be tarnished, so what to do? Stop in to see Butcher Greg at Port Moody’s Meat Craft Urban Butchery to get perogies, bacon, chorizo sausage, and a small tub of Avalon dairy organic sour cream.

Meat Craft Bacon and Sausage
Meat Craft Bacon and Sausage

How is any kid not going to be wowed by quality perogies and bacon?

And I will drop to the bottom line right now and say that the kids – mine and their little buddy were all impressed and ate everything on their plates without any cajoling or bribery. Winning.

To begin, I get a pot of water bowling and then lower the perogies into the pot. I typically add them one by one so that they do not stick together or make a mess. I do it very quickly but I like to treat the little dumplings with respect.

Brewer's Row Bacon
Brewer’s Row Bacon

As soon as that pot is on track, I get another fry pan hot before I add in the 1″ chunks of sausage. I get them warmed up and then add in the bacon. And, I may add, the bacon is made right there at Meat Craft.

Meat Craft Bacon and Perogies
Meat Craft Bacon and Perogies

I like my bacon quite crispy so I let it cook down. I like to lift the bacon out of the fat and then drain the fat out of the pan before I put the bacon back in to get it a little more crispy. Once the bacon is ready, I use a slotted spoon to lift the perogies out of the bowling water and add them to the pan with the crispy bacon.

I give that a little shake about to get the perogies covered in bacon fat and then I let them brown just a bit.

Plated Perogies
Plated Perogies

Then it is time to plate. A dollop of that Avalon Dairy sour cream (14% for the pure decadence factor). And then we eat.

*That squishy looking orange thing? It is a failed experiment – I left the yams in the oven, wrapped in tinfoil for too long and they turned into squishy orange things with very little flavour.

Timber Gastropub; Eating in the City

On the weekend I happened to be downtown Vancouver and seized upon the opportunity to visit one of the restaurants that I follow on Instagram – Timber Gastropub.

From Timber’s website –

Timber is Chef Chris Whittaker’s second West End Restaurant. Timber pays tribute to British Columbia’s rich timber history and the tough people who built this ‘True North Strong & Free’, one two-by-four at a time. The menu reads like a roadmap of Canadian comfort food. Looking for a place to grab a mug of local craft beer and a bison burger while you curse the hockey refs on TV? This is the joint for you.

And I have to say, for a joint on Robson Street, just down from where all the high end fashion shops are located, Timber is a very cool and casual place to eat.

Timber
Smoked Pickled Egg

I started my lunch experience with a smoked pickled egg. Now before you go “EWWW” I have to admit that I was a feeling a little of the “EWWW” myself.

When I was a young man, a buddy and I traveled around BC visiting small towns. We often ended up in the local watering hole wherever we were and the one thing I remember about bar we visited was that there was a gallon jar of pickled eggs on the jar. I never had the courage to try one back then. So my Saturday visit to the Timber Gastropub was my day to finally confront the pickled egg.

Holy crap. They taste great! A good balance of smoke and pickle flavour and an egg that is cooked just safely past a soft yolk but not into the green yolk realm. I liked it. I am still not sure I would take one from a jar in a small town bar though.

Timber
Bison Burger and Fries

Pascal, the server who helped me choose my lunch was very helpful with the menu. He advised me on the strengths and weaknesses of the menu while giving me confidence in the kitchen’s ability. He is a true professional who clearly demonstrated how important the front of the house staff are to a restaurant’s success (or failure).

Timber Gastropub
Bison Burger

But enough about Pascal; back to my lunch. I opted for the Bison burger and fries.  I was assured that it is one of the top three burgers in the city. Well, it is definitely on my top five list of burgers.

One of the factors that works in this burger’s favour is that they cut and chop the burger meat in-house. Therefore, they ask the customer those magical words; “how do you want your burger cooked?”

The truth is, there is no comparison between a burger in any other joint and a burger cooked medium rare. If you do not cut and chop the burger meat in-house you have to cook it to well-done. Once well-done there is no moisture left in the burger and you may as well be eating a charcoal briquet.

But a burger, especially a bison burger cooked to medium rare, with a thick slab of real cheddar cheese and three thick pieces of ultra-crispy and a sort of sweet bacon like my Mom makes…burger heaven at Timber Gastropub.

And the fries…swoon. Super crisp on the outside with the texture of real potatoes inside – obviously cut in house. Beautiful. Truly beautiful.

Timber Gastropub
Townsite “Perfect Storm” Oatmeal Stout

I didn’t have time or room for dessert. But you can bet that when I return to the west end of Vancouver, I will be stopping at the corner of Robson and Jervis for more good eats.

  • The bison burger and fries with a starter of a smoked pickled egg and a glass of beer came to just under $30.
  • Timber Gastropub is located at 1300 Robson Street in Vancouver.

Romer’s for Dine Out 2016

I am still in Vancouver’s very trendy neighborhood of Yaletown doing some intensive training work. Tonight instead of working through dinner we took a short break and were able to wander off on our own for dinner. I chose to stop in at Romer’s Yaletown location. 

 

 I went for the $20 Dine Out Vancouver menu option at Romer’s. To start I chose their Kale and Romaine Quinoa salad. The menu said it came with avocado and bacon. There was lots of bacon and it was very crunchy with excellent flavour. However, if I hadn’t been told there was avocado in the salad I would have missed it all together.

The dressing on the salad was very good and made the kale quite palatable.

  

For my main I went with the Magic Mushroom burger. The menu says “the flavour will blow your mind.” Well, my mind was not blown by the flavour. 

Yes, the beef patty had excellent flavour and consistency but that was it. The menu also lists caramelized onions as the first ingredient – and yet there were only two small pieces of onion. The mushrooms were good, but nothing magic about them. 

Burgers at Romer’s do not come with fries and I just can’t imagine a burger without fries so I ordered a side of sea salt fries. They were hot when they arrived and held their heat well while I was eating. Their exterior was very crisp with just hint of salt on them. 

  
I finished off with an order of the Romer’s Drunken Doughnuts which were awesome little flavour bombs. 

With a sleeve of Moody Ales beer my bill was just over $30. The food was good but certainly not great and to be honest, I will probably not return to Romer’s again for a beer and burger. 

Romer’s is located at 1039 Mainland Street in Vancouver’s Yaletown. 

Cooking the Gammon Bacon

Before heading out of town for a weekend at my cabin I visited the folks at Port Moody’s Meat Craft Urban Butchery to get some meat to take along.  

I bought four slices of Gammon bacon and a monstrous strip loin steak (more about that piece of meat tomorrow).

Although it is more expensive than grocery store bacon, the $4 I paid for these four slices of Gammon bacon was definitely money well spent.

Gammon bacon is a combination of what Canadians call “back bacon” and a strip of regular bacon.

I cooked the bacon in a cast iron pan with the stove set to medium-high heat. The back bacon cooked a little slower than the strip of bacon so it was more crispy than I usually do.

Once the back bacon was just about finished, I cracked two eggs into the pan and did them up over easy.

The back bacon part of the Gammon bacon had a rich, ham-like taste to it. It was amazing.

And honestly, four slices was probably too much for one person and would have been enough for two people.

The Gammon bacon was a nice little treat for myself on my weekend away at the cabin.

If you want to try some unique bacon or quality meats, visit Meat Craft Urban Butchery at 114 Moody Street in Port Moody. They will set you up with whatever your heart desires!

Jack’s Restaurant 

A burger patty stuffed with bacon and cheddar cheese, topped with onion fritters, slices of super fresh and ripe tomatoes all on a bun baked in the same Agassiz neighbourhood as Jack’s Restaurant – awesomeness. 

  

The Simple Way to Make Candied Bacon

If you want a simple way to make candied bacon, watch and learn from my video. Sure, you could make a brine with a bunch of complicated ingredients and use a fancy brush to coat the bacon all while taking it in and out of the oven and brushing and coating each strip of the bacon. Lots of fuss and lots of mess.

Or you could do as I show in this video; the simple way to make candied bacon. (For some reason people cannot get the image to play if they try clicking on the image below so I have included a hot link as well – for my friends with i-devices.)

 

Limes and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Limes
Limes

A follow up on yesterday’s post about “limepocalypse”. I was across the border in the US this afternoon doing some research for a client and in the Blaine grocery store I saw a large display of limes – 2 for a dollar! So much for my theory about criminal organizations taking over the lime business.

Also, did you know that today is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Yes it is. Perhaps the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever eaten was one that my mother made with bacon in it. Yes bacon.

She cooked the bacon until it was completely crisp and then crumbled it. She wouldn’t tell me how much bacon she added to the cookies (has to have her secrets) but there was just enough of a hint of bacon to tantalize the taste buds. Those are my favourite chocolate chip cookies.

Poutine; the Quintessential Canadian Food

I consider burgers, apple pie, and cheddar cheese as the quintessential American foods. That  got me to wondering what the most quintessential Canadian foods are. What are the foods identified around the world as “Canadian”?

Canadian Bacon
Canadian Bacon

After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that poutine, maple syrup and Canadian bacon are the quintessential Canadian foods.

What are your thoughts? Am I accurate to claim that two out of the three quintessential Canadian foods have their roots planted in Quebec, the one province that continues to question their relationship with Canada?