January 30, 2011

dine-out vancouver alternatives - recap

How's everyone's Dine-Out Vancouver experience going? Any stand-outs? Any fizzles? Any straight-out regrets? Post a comment and let everyone know!

So it's been a week of DoV Alternates and I thought I'd recap them all here in case you missed some:

Tuesday: La Buca (4025 MacDonald Street in the West Side)
Sincerely one of my favourite rooms in town. It's become my birthday dinner tradition 5 years in a row now and going strong! They serve some spectacular Italian cuisine, ranging from rustic to refined - and the servers know their stuff!

Wednesday: Don Guacamole's (1333 Robson in Downtown Vancouver)
Arguably offering the best Mexican eats in town. I've taken a few ex-pats there and they've been quite satisfied. The menu is quite varied and doesn't just have your typical tacos and burritos - definitely a place worth exploring.

Thursday: Hi Genki (6680 Southoaks Crescent in East Burnaby)
An unusual room to say the least, it's actually located in the lobby of the National Nikkei Heritage Centre in Burnaby, just off Kingsway. The Japanese food ranges from warming donburis to grilled yaki platters, with the occasional sushi special. It's owned by the Fujiya group so they get the freshest ingredients, and the very demanding clientele requires them to be on their game. It's always packed and they close by 8PM so come early, no reservations taken! Oh yes, save room for the tempura ice cream. It's to die for!

Friday: Tapenade Bistro (3711 Bayview Street in Steveston)
The hands-down best western-style restaurant in Richmond. Chef Alex Tung knows what he's doing with creative and definitely local specialties crafted with a master's hand. If he's got a fish special, order it. Why? It's about as fresh as it gets - you can probably see the boat it came from just out the window.

Saturday: Adesso Bistro (1906 Haro Street in the West End)
Coming back to downtown, Adesso has taken residence in a room that's seen some great cuisine pass through its doors. Enjoy dishes from the Ligurian region of Italy in one of the coziest and classiest rooms in town. They also offer valet parking, a much appreciated perk in that part of town.

Sunday Brunch: 2 Chefs & A Table (305 Alexander Street in "Railtown")
No it's not quite the happiest neighbourhood in the world, but that's no excuse for avoiding this beautiful and charming room that's known for the amazing brunch. For about $10 a dish, you get a big plate of perfectly executed brunch traditions with a twist. Apple pancakes? Wild salmon hash? Excellent! Get there early and bring a fistful of quarters for the meter.

Sunday Dinner: Burgoo Bistro (3 locations)
Nothing more perfect during winter than a warm bowl of soup or stew. Burgoo specializes in warming your soul with their log cabin motif (complete with fireplace in some locations and blankets on request!) - and they also offer the BEST grilled cheese sandwich EVER. Seriously. Ever. I reviewed them awhile back, give it a read if you haven't already!

Another week of Dine-Out and I'll be right there with another week of DoV Alternates so stay tuned! With Chinese New Year on Wednesday/Thursday, you can imagine there will be a theme coming ;-)

Happy Eating and Gung Hei Fat Choi!

January 26, 2011

dirty apron deli (downtown)

Years before the Olympics were even bid on, the small stretch of Beatty between GM Place (now-Rogers Arena) was just another gateway to the destitute Downtown Eastside. Finding inspiration, a wily chef-trepreneur named Nico Schuerman snatched up the spot beside the Skytrain entrance and opened up Chambar, now one of the most celebrated rooms in Vancouver. A few years later, they expanded next door and opened up Medina Cafe, arguably home to the most desired brunch appointment in town. So after opening 2 hit restaurants, and single-handedly rejuvenating a neighbourhood - what do you do next? If you're Nico, you open a cooking school. Where? About 20 feet away from the Medina of course!

January 25, 2011

dine-out vancouver alternatives

Vancouver's premiere culinary event is here once again - Dine-Out Vancouver is taking the city by storm, for better or for worse! I've never actually participated in DoV before - I heard far too much horror stories of shrunken portions, rushed services and crowded rooms to know that it's not for me.

I usually take the opportunity to visit rooms that AREN'T doing Dine-Out since they'll be less crowded (in theory) and I get to help out restaurants that need some love and attention. So this year I've decided to share some of my picks with everyone - just follow @DailySlif on Twitter and you'll get my picks everyday!

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As always, happy eating!

January 16, 2011

bo laksa king (hastings-sunrise)

Mom & pop shoppes. Small shoppes in your neighbourhood run by... well... your neighbours, selling food that wouldn't look out of place on their own dining tables. The true heart and soul of cooking around the world may be found here.

One such shoppe is Bo Laksa King at the up-and-coming Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood in East Vancouver. The owner, Bo Han, has a heart-wrenching story of his escape from Myanmar as a young man that's been told by many. I recommend you give the article a read. (Courtesy of The Friday Lunch) He started out by sub-leasing a counter at a local convenience store, conveniently within 3 blocks of my home. That original shoppe specialized in lunch-fare such as wraps, satay skewers and his trademark laksa. He has since shuttered it and opened up a true dine-in restaurant.

I need to preface all this by saying that I have no experience at all with Burmese cuisine. I have had quite a bit of exposure to Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian, so that's where my reference points are coming from. I don't mean to offend anyone if my experience and opinions are wildly off due to my lack of knowledge in this area. Feel free to leave a comment to enlighten me if I'm off about something.

January 8, 2011

culinary events: cinema to savour

Living in a resource-rich land like British Columbia, it's quite easy to be blinded by the plenty. We have rainforests teeming with mushrooms and wild game; seas and rivers teeming with a world's envy of seafood; and tracts of farmland offering produce and crops that bless us with a level of self-sufficiency. Unfortunately we must always keep our minds to the past, our feet in the present, and our actions to the future. History demands we respect our natural gifts by protecting them so we can enjoy their fruits for generations to come.

The Chef's Table Society is an organization of like-minded professionals from BC's food industry which exists specifically to educate restauranteurs and the public alike on sustainable food selection. They hold events throughout the year which highlight our natural bounty, which oft times, get sent overseas for others to enjoy as they're not as accepted locally (eg. spot prawns/amaebi, geoduck...). They also recently hosted the 2nd Canadian Chefs' Congress conference in September. To throw these events, they do some unique fundraising throughout the year.

January 6, 2011

requiem: the corner suite bistro (vancouver)

It's always sad when a new friend leaves us. After a bumpy opening earlier this year, The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe was beginning to gain some traction and traffic. It all came to a quiet end when they went on vacation on New Year's Day, and never came back.

I'm glad I got to experience their dinner service on Christmas Day. Props to them for even opening on December 25, and they were rightfully packed (I tipped 30% that night). It will also be known as the meal where I had my first cocktail. I asked the bartender for a bourbon drink and he gave me this tasty creation called an "Old Fashioned."

No review today - just a pictorial of my meal on that blissful winter eve.