Tag Archives: foodies delight

Video Tour of the Holland America Amsterdam Galley

While aboard the Holland America Amsterdam I asked for, and received a tour of the galley (the kitchen on a ship is called a galley). It truly is amazing to see the team working in the galley to prep and get the vast quantities of food out to the people who are sailing on the ship. This was doubly amazing to me seeing as I was visiting the galley at a non-peak (if there is such a thing) time.

As you will see in my video, I do a very brief intro and then just let the sounds of the kitchen carry the rest of the video.

Take Five Cafe Take Two; Day 10 NaBloPoMo

Ironically I had to “take five” out of my busy schedule in order to re-visit the newest location of the Take Five Cafe in New Westminster’s Brewery District development. And I can say that I am glad I did.

On my first visit I had the medium sized Americano. As I said in my previous post,this is the gold standard coffee that I hold all coffee shops to.

Americano
Americano

Take Five uses Oughtred Coffee beans which are roasted locally, in Delta. I have to say, the medium size Americano had three shots of espresso and was absolute perfection (cost was just over $3 for the medium cup).

I really don’t know the technical language to describe the flavour of coffee but I will say that it was almost like a buttery feel on my tongue. Superb.

They also serve a variety of tea and sandwiches. I’m not a tea drinker but I have to say, if I was to judge these teas by their covers, they look good.

Take Five Teas
Take Five Teas
Take Five Sandwiches
Take Five Sandwiches

 

 

I have not yet had the opportunity to taste any of the food at Take Five Cafe, all the ore reason for me to make another visit.

Overall, the room is very chic looking. The long table in the room is made from recycled lumber and has a great heritage feel to it. It is a nice counterpoint to the otherwise very modern, very clean lines of the room.

With the west “wall” of the cafe being a large glass roll-up door I can just imagine sitting at a table in Take Five on a cool summer evening enjoying conversation and sipping a glass wine (they are or will be getting a license to serve wine and beer) before jumping back on the Skytrain and heading home.

Roll-up Wall
Roll-up Wall

 

Not only for another Americano, but also to try a sandwich, I suppose I will have to return to Take Five Cafe….the things I do for my readers.

In all honesty, it will be a pleasure to return to Take Five. And I will let you know how the sandwiches are after I do visit them again.

Disclosure; this review is based on my personal opinion. I did not receive any form of compensation from Take Five Cafe or anybody else for writing this review.

Mark Brand Re-Opens the Classic Save-On-Meats

It seems like a lifetime ago but in reality it was just over a week ago that I visited the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver to do a little foodie tour. I started at the newly re-opened Save-On-Meats on W. Hastings, walked over to Peckinpah and closed my tour with dessert at the Acme Cafe.

Save-On-Meats
Save-On-Meats

 

 

First, Save-On-Meats, home to the happy flying pig sign at 43 West Hastings Street. A classic revitalized and reborn by Vancouver restaurateur, Mark Brand.

 

The main floor of the four story building is home to the meat shop on one side and the upgraded cafe/diner on the other side. The two businesses are separated by an interior wall.

Save-On-Meats
Save-On-Meats

 

 

The meat shop side of the business sells meats that are cut on site.

They also sell breads and pastries that are baked on site.

 

The diner/cafe is a pretty serious upgrade to the former cafe that was nestled in the back of the old Save-On-Meats. The hipster factor is over the top in the new Save-On-Meats cafe.

Save On Meats Diner
Save On Meats Diner

What was really interesting was the fact that there would be a table full of hipsters and then right next to it would be a table of people who clearly reside in the Downtown Eastside because many of their choices have been lost along the way. Both worlds seemed to be quite peacefully co-existing. (Photo is intentionally soft-focussed so that diners would be anonymous).

The food at the Save-On-Meats diner is very reasonably priced; $4 for a breakfast, $9 for a meatloaf lunch. The meatloaf lunch came with out of this world delicious mashed potatoes and french fries (I asked for a little sample of the fries just to see how they were).

Everything is made on site. The meat is cut upstairs, the potatoes are cut into french fries and the bread, cake, pies ($3 a slice) and even their ice cream is made on site! Believe it or not, a rooftop garden is in the works to help supply even more hyper-local food.

Save On Meats Burger
Save On Meats Burger

The classic Save-On-Meats burger also lives on. Because I had other foodie appointments for that afternoon I did not sample this burger but I can say that it looked like something you might find in burger heaven.

I will definitely be back to Save-On-Meats to sample more of the menu.

Peckinpah
Peckinpah

After leaving Save-On-Meats I walked over to the Gastown barbecue house, Peckinpah. I had not been in Peckinpah since the night before they opened to the public so I was anxious to see how things were going.

All reports are that things continue to go well. They have made some changes to the menu due to customer feedback but the spirit of the North-Carolina style BBQ is still respected.

One of the new sandwiches Peckinpah introduced was the Chopped Beef Po’boy made with double smoked beef brisket on French bread. They were looking for something to do with all the ends of the brisket when inspiration came to them; chop them up, smoke them again and make a po’boy. This is one of the sandwiches ($10.50) I look forward to sampling when I return to Peckinpah with an appetite.

After my visit with the people at Peckinpah, I walked back over to Hastings Street for a visit to the Acme Cafe. The Acme Cafe is an open kitchen bistro like place with super friendly staff.

Acme Cafe Apple Pie
Acme Cafe Apple Pie

Because I had already lunched at the Save-On-Meats cafe I only had room for a piece of pie with a scoop of ice-cream.

I have to admit, I was under-whelmed by the pie. The flavour was very good but not memorable. And there was only one very small scoop of ice cream. At just pennies under $6 I would not eat this pie again. This is especially true when I consider that Save-On-Meats, just a couple doors along sells a slice of pie with ice-cream made in house, for $3.

It was a wonderful day of food and conversation. I will have to return to Save-On-Meats and Peckinpah when I have another afternoon off. The Save-On-Meats burger and the Chopped Beef Po’boy are large on my radar for sampling. I will report out as soon as I have had the time to sample these items.

Disclosure; I have received no incentive or financial reward (I paid $9.50 before tip for my lunch) for writing this blog entry. I am not obligated nor expected to write this blog entry about Vancouver’s Save-On-Meats, Peckinpah or the Acme Cafe. In any blog post I write or publish on my site, I retain editorial control at all times. Should you have any questions or concerns, contact me at editor@theleftcoast.ca

Best Advice of 2010…Coming Soon…and So Much More!!

We have almost completed compiling the best advice of 2010…with any luck it will be posted tomorrow, the 30th of December. Stay tuned!!

We are also working on a Food and Drink file after a delicious visit to the Romana Restaurant in North Burnaby;

Eating Pizza at Romana Restaurant

We are also working on a number of posts for our Essential and Not-so-Essential Gear file. One of the devices we will be writing about is the Sony “Bloggie Touch”. This is a very compact HD Snap Camera that is used for recording and apparently quite easily uploading video to YouTube or Facebook. We have already posted our first video on YouTube for you to watch.

Another device we will be testing and writing about is the Samsung Galaxy Vibrant. We have returned to the touch screen smartphone marketplace for the first time since the unbelievable failure we had with the very early edition of the HTC Touch. We are hopeful the Samsung will restore our faith in touch screen technology.

Oh, and speaking of touch screen technology, we will also be writing about the Apple iphone 4 that appeared in our house this Christmas season as well.

And of course we are getting ready to launch our first giveaway/contest of 2011! Get ready for it.

Yes, we have a busy year ahead of us. We are ready for it, are you?

Christmas Turducken for our Family Meat-Feast

I have decided, rather arbitrarily that our family Christmas feast will be centered around a Turducken. For those unfamiliar with such a beast, it is a chicken deboned wrapped inside of a deboned duck with the final outer layer of flesh of a deboned turkey.

However, such a feast can be ridiculously expensive so I am throwing a twist into our Christmas meat-feast. Mine will be a sort of do-it-yourself Turducken.

Also to keep costs down I am substituting a goose for the turkey. I am just on my way to Stanley Park to get a goose. Of course on the way back I will stop at the new Vancouver chicken shelter and adopt a chicken for the inner core of the meat-feast. And the duck, well, Trout Lake is maggoty with ducks at this time of the year, so I suppose I will stop there to get the duck!

I will post up more after I return from my meat quest.

It is now 5pm. I am home from Stanley Park and Kits Beach. Did you know that it is a federal offense to kill a Canada goose? And did you also know that Canada geese are freaking tough and mean?

I was hoping to have a picture of me like Ernest Hemingway, standing proudly displaying the fruit of my hunt. It was not to be.

And to add further indignity to the afternoon, I am sad to report that the stupid chickens that the City of Vancouver has “repossessed” are only “adopted” to homes where they will be kept as layer hens? Same with the SPCA, the rabbits they have dozens of rabbits there and they also would not give me one. How ridiculous is that?

So back to the drawing board for the DIY turducken.

Peckinpah; Vancouver’s Carolina-style Barbecue House

Vancouver has a new barbecue house. Peckinpah is a Carolina-style barbecue house that is opening tonight. And how cool is this, it is located in Gastown on the site where the original Gassy Jack’s Saloon was located.

Peckinpah's Opening Night
Peckinpah's Opening Night

Although Peckinpah officially opens tonight, Saturday night, the good folks at Peckinpah welcomed me and my Banker into the barbecue house last night for a sneak peak and a very delicious sampling of the barbecue flavours that Vancouver can expect to enjoy.

Peckinpah's Bar
Peckinpah's Bar

Here is a pic of the sample table that we had the opportunity to enjoy…

Peckinpah's Sample Table
Peckinpah's Sample Table

The dish in the front of the above photo is a heap of pulled pork. My Banker, a connoisseur of pulled pork and butter chicken assured me that this is the best pulled pork he has ever tasted.

My first move was to reach for what appeared to be a dinosaur rib. Alas, it was not a dinosaur rib but actually a bison rib. The bison, born in northern Alberta and raised to the north of Pemberton, BC are hand selected (I suppose this is a team you would not want to get chosen for) by Phyllis, Peckinpah’s Pit Smoker.

Bison Ribs at Peckinpah
Bison Ribs at Peckinpah

The bison ribs were beyond delicious. I kept going back and forth from the beef brisket to the bison to see which I preferred and, you know, after eating some eleven ribs and six pounds of brisket, the bison was my preferred choice. The meat is much less fatty but still tender enough to pull away from the rib.

This is not to say the brisket is a second place loser. The brisket, sadly an under-appreciated cut of meat in Canada, was wonderful in its own way. The bark that develops on the brisket was just the right crunch to make the tender inside of the cut that much more appreciated. With a quick dunk into the vinegar and pepper sauce that was supplied, the smoke flavour just teases your palate, but does not overwhelm.

Peckinpah's Brisket
Peckinpah's Brisket

One thing to keep in mind is that Peckinpah does Carolina-style barbecue. That means Peckinpah does not serve that sticky, messy, barbecue sauce slathered meat like you might get in Texas. The 14 hour smoking process that the brisket, and beef, pork and bison ribs go through is what develops the dry “exterior bark” that holds in the flavour of the meat until you give it that quick dunk in the vinegar sauce.

Another very cool thing about the menu at Peckinpah is that all the meat is locally sourced and processed. The barbecued beef sausage they serve is processed in North Van to specifications developed by Phyllis Cornacchia Tanga, the Peckinpah Pit Smoker. The beef and bison are from the north of Pemberton.

Barbecued beef sausage on bed of poblano peepers
Barbecued beef sausage on bed of poblano peepers

When I asked Tyson Reimer, the owner of Peckinpah (and nearby Cobre and Deacon’s Corner) why he wanted to open a Carolina-style barbecue house in Vancouver and Gastown in particular he told me, “Well, ’cause nobody else was doing it. And I wanted to, help keep Gastown from turning into another Yaletown. It is part of keeping Gastown real.”

Tyson Reimer, Proprietor of Peckinpah
Tyson Reimer, Proprietor of Peckinpah

I believe that the Peckinpah crew will no doubt do their part to keep Gastown real. Peckinpah looks like a home-run. I can imagine how hungry the sweet aroma of Tennessee white oak fueled barbecue will make the neighbourhood. Although they only have thirty seats inside, I’m sure the soon to be open take-out window will keep the passersby barbecue-lust satiated. Well done. Very well done.

Peckinpah is located at 2 Water Street, Vancouver. You can call them at 604.681.5411 for more information.

Disclosure; I have received no incentive or financial reward (I did eat a heap of bison ribs and brisket, but that was just to inform my writing) for writing this blog entry. I am not obligated nor expected to write this blog entry about Vancouver’s newest barbecue house, Peckinpah. In any blog post I write or publish on my site, I retain editorial control at all times. Should you have any questions or concerns, contact me at editor@theleftcoast.ca

Lunch at 3G Restaurant on Cambie Street

After it was announced that the Lotto Max $50 million winning ticket had been purchased at a convenience store in Vancouver, my father-in-law made the assumption that he had won the Lotto Max jackpot.

Assuming that he was now a very wealthy man, he called to invite us to a special lunch. Keep in mind that this was before anybody had checked to see if in fact he was holding the winning ticket.

As it turns out he did not (nor did we) have a Lotto Max winning ticket. However, we decided to enjoy our lunch date anyway. So we headed over to Cambie Street, to what is now known as the Cambie Village. That is the stretch of shops on Cambie between King Ed and 12th Ave. Our destination was the oddly named 3G Vegetarian Restaurant.

When we got to the restaurant there were only two other tables with people at them. We took over the big round table at the back of the restaurant with three adults and high-chairs for the twins. I especially like the feeling of a round table with the large “Lazy Susan” on the table to share dishes. The round table makes conversation so much more enjoyable.

All of the menu items at the 3G Restaurant are vegetarian and many are vegan. We decided to go for the dim sum menu so that we could sample a number of the food items.

First to arrive was the congee.

Congee at 3G
Congee at 3G

We always order the congee because the twins seem to enjoy it. Not so much today. It lacked the complexity of flavours that seem to come from the addition of seafood. I liked it, didn’t love it.

Next was another soup, the Dumpling Soup.

Wonton Soup at 3G
Wonton Soup at 3G

This soup was a hit. The twins liked it and even more importantly, their mother liked it. The broth had a complex and very rich flavour and the dumplings had a perfectly soft mouth feel. Loved it.

Next came the shrimp pockets.

Shrimp Pockets at 3G
Shrimp Pockets at 3G

Another hit. These are my Sweethearts favs from the now closed Dragon Palace. The 3G Restaurant’s veggie alternative was a very close second.

Spicy Pork Buns arrived next. Unfortunately they were devoured before I could even snap a pic. A little too much bread and not enough spicy pork filling for my liking. Keep in mind that none of the food had “real” meat. It is all simulated meat. And it is typically delicious.

The stir-fried veggies and chow mein were add-ons to our meal. When the server took our order he asked if we wanted it spicy or not-so spicy because of the kids with us. We chose the not-so spicy. I have to admit that I would like to return and try the meal with the more spicy option.

Stir fried assorted veggies
Stir fried assorted veggies
Chow Mein Noodles at 3G
Chow Mein Noodles at 3G

The chow mein noodles were fried to perfection. Not at all greasy. I prefer them with a greater variety of veggies cooked into them but overall, they were good.

The bottom line? I would like to return and try a greater selection of dishes with the full-on spicy option turned on. Good so far, maybe it will be great after our second visit. And there will be a second visit.

Men’s Night Out…Where to from here?

Every year about this time,or sometime before Christmas, I organize my Annual Men’s Night Dinner. It is a night of fine single malt scotch, cigars and brotherhood. Even more importantly, my Men’s Night Dinner is the dinner where I put aside my vegetarian ways and go for the carnivore special.

Last year we went to the Q Steakhouse in Abbotsford. We were expecting one of our big eaters to join us and chow down on the Q’s 72 ounce steak dinner but our friend cancelled. At any rate, we had a great dinner and I enjoyed the 16 ounce rib-eye.

So this year, where shall we go? I have been considering the Memphis Blues Barbecue House. Their Elvis Platter looks tempting…and I have also been considering the Kansas City Barbecue Shack that is in a bowling alley on Lougheed Hwy in Burnaby. This place intrigues me just because it is in a bowling alley. Oddly enough, I could not find a webpage for them to have a look at. And on the Dine Here restaurant site nobody has reviewed the Kansas City Barbecue House. Intriguing.

My question then is, do you have a House of Carnivore specials that you would recommend? Other than the Brazilian place downtown Vancouver. I went there last year with a large group and was not impressed. I had the non-meat meal but watching what my dinner companions were eating did not impress me. Sure it was good, just not great enough to make me want to try again.

So over to you, where should we have our men’s night out this year? Feel free to post your comments here. As you may have noticed, comments are no longer moderated so you do not have to tell me your super-secret email address. I would rather have you post your comments than email me…just easier.

So where is dinner going to be this year?

KFC Double Down Comes to Canada

One of my guilty pleasures is having Breakfast TV on while I am getting ready to head to the office. And speaking of guilty pleasures, yesterday on BTV they were talking about and eating one of the new KFC “burgers.” The new “burger” is called the “Double Down.”

The Double Down is a burger without a bun. Sort of. Instead of a bun there is chicken, bacon, cheese, super-deelish sauce and then chicken. The chicken replaces the bun.

I found it quite amusing watching the BTV crew “eating” the burger. They were astounded by the fact that the Double Down has a 540 calories and 1740 mg of sodium (that is salt, doncha know) and kept going on about how unhealthy the Double Down was. Now granted, that is a significant calorie and sodium count, but consider what one might ordinarily order from the good old Colonel.

How about you order something like a snack pack? I’m not positive of what is in it but say you get two pieces of original recipe chicken (thighs). Add in fries and gravy and a side of coleslaw to round out the meal. Well, be prepared to consume 1135 calories and a colossal 2670 mg of sodium!!

Tempted to upgrade those fries to a single order of KFC poutine? The poutine by itself has 860 calories and 2450 mg of sodium. That would add an extra 520 calories and an extra 1680 mg of sodium to your meal if you ditch the fries and get the poutine.

So the Double Down by itself is not necessarily the most unhealthy thing that you can order off the KFC menu. However, if you are going to try the Double Down, you better do it soon; it is only going to be available for six weeks.

Celebrating Sunday Night Dinner

One of my favourite memories from my childhood (other than the fact that our entire family moved, to live for a number of years, to our summer cabin…how cool is that!) was our weekly Sunday night dinners. Our family always feasted so well. Perhaps that was where and when I developed my appreciation for food…food as more than sustenance, food as a time of gathering of family, telling stories and sharing the kind of love that only comes from family.

This summer was my Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. As some of you may know, for a variety of health reasons my Dad lives in an extended care centre. Fortunately my Dad’s care centre is relatively close to where my Mom lives. So for their 50th wedding anniversary my Mom cooked a feast at her home and we transported it over to my Dad’s place for the limited number of family who came to visit.

50th Wedding Anniversary Table
50th Wedding Anniversary Table

Notice my place setting with the Blackberry beside the dessert fork.

There were only a few of us who came to the celebration but my Mom has never stopped cooking for the entire extended family that would gather in our home for celebrations. So for this celebration Mom cooked a side of beef, a five gallon tub of gravy (the best homemade gravy…so good that in spite of my vegetarian ways I will sneak a spoonful onto my garlic smashed potatoes), a fifty pound sack of potatoes and assorted veggies and salads.

However, even though my Sweetheart and I are the lone vegetarians in a family of card-carrying-carnivores, my Mom always treats me like royalty. At every dinner she will produce a new and guaranteed to be tasty entree for me. And this dinner was no different. As I watched her carving the side of beef (sorry, my Mom is very private and would carve me into unrecognizable pieces if I posted a pic of her carving the beef) she told me to open up my entree. My dinner treat was Meatless Meatloaf…and it was absolutely stunningly delicious.

Meatless Meatloaf
Meatless Meatloaf

The Meatless Meatloaf is the round thing on my dinner plate. If you look above my plate you can see three more of the dishes ready to be served, even though I am the only vegetarian she doesn’t want me to go hungry. I have to admit that the one on my plate is enough to feed a family of four (or me).

Without further fuss, here is the recipe for the Meatless Meatloaf.

MEATLESS MEATLOAF

  • 4 cups Special K cereal
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sweet basil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs beaten

Mix all the ingredients well. Put in a loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with mushroom, béarnaise or any cream sauce favourite. It’s great cold, too. (I will add in here that it is spectacular sliced about an inch thick and then flopped into a hot frying pan with a dollop of butter. Brown one side, flip it over and brown the other. Serve with two eggs, over-easy for breakfast. Bob’s your Uncle.)

But for Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary we finished the dinner off with a beautiful cake.

Anniversary Cake
Anniversary Cake

And of course, Mom and Dad holding hands like a couple of teenagers.

Holding Hands
Holding Hands