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Photo Visit – Burdock & Co – September 2013

8 Sep

2702 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5T 3E8

T: 604 879 0077
www.burdockandco.com

If you are familiar with the Vancouver food-scene then the name Andrea Carlson will likely conjure up thoughts of “Bishop’s“. Chef Carlson was the Executive Chef at the acclaimed “Bishop’s” restaurant for years before she branched out to “Harvest Community Foods” and recently opened “Burdock & Co” on Main Street. Burdock & Co opened in the old “Cafeteria” spot on E 11th Ave and has been on my list of places to visit since they opened in the Spring. On Friday night, B & I went for dinner with friends and happily lingered for hours over wine, numerous shared dishes, and dessert.

The space is small and feels intimate, particularly once the sun sets (an ideal spot for a romantic date?). The menu is focused on farm-to-table and organic, local ingredients which allows the menu to reflect the season. The friendly servers encouraged us to share plates and, whilst in theory this was a great idea, the serving sizes meant that we only got a few bites of each dish. I think the sharing of plates would work better with a table of two or three people.

The dishes were well-executed and enjoyed by all, although the fried chicken, oxtail ramen, and the corn, chanterelle and bean ragout, were stand-outs. The chicken so much so that we ordered it twice. Some people may balk at the portion size, especially for the price, but when you take into consideration that the products are local or organic, that may help justify the cost.

Roasted corn, chanterelle mushroom, and Romano bean ragout with crispy wheatberries – $12

P1070756Fried chicken and pickles, charred chili vinegar – $14

P1070758Rosemary smoked mussels, pickled garlic, fennel, and buckwheat shoots – $12

P1070762Slow Roasted Bison Ribs, Spicy Tomato Glazed and Charred Green Onion – $18

P1070765Heritage pork and burdock sausage, dandelion and potato salad – $12

P1070770Harvest Oxtail Ramen, Beet Green Kimchi – $13

Burdock & Co is another restaurant that doesn’t accept reservations and it was extremely busy when we were there (I can’t vouch whether this is always the case). Certainly worth a visit if you are in the area as there really isn’t anywhere else on Main street, besides The Acorn, offering the same innovative, polished menu.

Burdock & Co. on Urbanspoon

Weekend Round Up – April 2013

21 Apr

Like most people, I tend to get caught up in returning to my favourite restaurants/cafés/bars time and time again. Let’s be honest, it can be difficult to continue exploring new places when you know exactly where to find your favourite pizza/burger/pasta/whatever. It is a habit I occasionally slip into and so this weekend I made an effort to visit some places that I’ve had on my radar but hadn’t managed to get to yet.

Beta 5 (Industrial Ave/Main Street)

I have been wanting to visit their location for months and I finally made it there. As I’ve already tried their chocolates before,  I was keen to visit them more so for their fresh baked goods. Their baked goods absolutely did not disappoint – in fact, I returned today for another pastry hit. I sampled their butter croissant and their vanilla cream puff, which was texturally very interesting. It was similar to the cream puffs that Beard Papa sells however this had a firmer, crisper shell, which provided a really interesting texture to the bite. Just look at that bite…

Vanilla Cream Puff

Beta 5 makes some tantalizing pastries, such as their chocolate croissant and their twice-baked croissant, but I had to go with the original butter croissant. At just $2.50, this is incredible value. There was a lot of butter, a lot of layers, and many flakes – just how I believe a croissant should be. I would definitely recommend their baked goods (and their chocolates). I also picked up one of the Snickers-inspired peanut and nougat bar, which was well-worth the calories.

Butter Croissant

Hawkers Delight (Main Street)

This is a hole-in-the-wall on Main at King Ed and they do cheap (super cheap) dishes from Malaysia and Singapore, which happen to be some of my favourite cuisines. The restaurant is quite small and was an absolute mad house when I visited, which added to the charm of the place. With all the yelling and chaos I felt as though I could have been in humid, exotic South East Asia (for a few minutes anyway). I ordered the mee goreng, which is essentially fried noodles, and I was surprised at two things. 1/ The price – only $6.50 and 2/ They were really good! The reason why this place is so busy would come down to the value for money – serving sizes were huge and the prices are cheap.

Mee Goreng

Harvest Union (Union Street)

I’m really starting to love that stretch of Union Street that is home to The Union, The Parker, and Harvest Union. I visited Harvest with one thing in mind; green onion and cheddar waffles with bacon and a fried egg. It is one of the items on their brunch menu, however, once I got there the ramen with pork shoulder and candied bacon somehow managed to persuade me. Harvest is super cute inside and they have a simple menu (mostly ramen or udon) with a focus on local foods. Their small store also sells local products, such as Earnest Ice Cream and Beta 5. I really enjoyed the ramen, particularly with the addition of some chilli oil, which gave it a great kick. I’ll be returning for the waffles.

I love exploring new spots and this weekend reminded of how many great new places pop up in Vancouver and why I should continue to keep exploring, even when sometimes I just want something familiar.

Photo Visit – The Acorn – October 2012

20 Oct

3995 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P3

T: 604 566 9001
www.theacornrestaurant.ca

A friend of mine, who is vegetarian, had her birthday dinner at The Acorn on Main Street last night.  In attendance were vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. I think it is a huge achievement when all of these people can leave a restaurant completely and utterly satisfied. The Acorn managed to do just that; they satisfied each and every one of us, particularly the vegans and vegetarians. Job well done!

The menu has changed slightly since I was there in summer. There is definitely a fall influence on the menu now, with pears, beets, apples, and pumpkin all being showcased. One of the new items was the Walnut & Portobello Pate, served with pickled shimeji mushrooms and juniper crisps. Plates of this were ordered for the table and they were devoured immediately. When we ran out of the crisps, they provided additional crisps at no extra cost. I loved this dish and would absolutely order it again. I’m even thinking of re-creating this dish at home…

Walnut & Portobello Pate, served with pickled shimeji mushrooms and juniper crisps – $9

The beautifully plated Raw Zucchini & Cashew Cheese Lasagne, Lemon Sage Cream, Spinach Coulis, Pine Nuts – $17

Chocolate Peanut Terrine, Berries, Coconut Whip, Raspberry Coulis, Lemon Thyme – $11

We were fortunate to get a table with no problems as we had reserved the group table, however, the restaurant was super busy again and it remained so for the whole time that we were there (for almost 3 hours). I highly recommend a visit, if you can get a seat. Perhaps try on a weeknight and get there either really early, or after the dinner rush.

I have loved The Acorn both times that I’ve been but to see my fussy vegetarian friend, and my even fussier vegan friend, enjoying a meal out and being excited about their dishes proved to me that The Acorn is offering something new and innovative to Vancouver diners. I am looking forward to my next visit.

The Acorn on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – The Acorn – September 2012

23 Sep

3995 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P3

T: 604 566 9001
www.theacornrestaurant.ca

When you are the first to arrive at a restaurant for dinner at 5.30pm and a line forms behind you, you get a slight inkling that you are on to a good thing. When you are the first table seated and within 20 minutes the whole restaurant is full (and a wait-list has been started) it becomes apparent that you are at one of the hottest new spots in the city. What is surprising about this particular hot spot, is that their menu is completely vegetarian. Who would have thought that people were willing to stand in line for vegetables?!

Last night, B and I made our way to The Acorn with anticipation that this vegetarian restaurant would be different from other local vegetarian restaurants. With a chef who has done a 6 month stint at world-famous noma at the helm, The Acorn most definitely stands out from the pack. The food was excellent, in taste and in presentation. Service was steady, and the atmosphere was casual and inviting.

Before the restaurant filled up.

Kale and Tempeh Salad with Smoked Paprika Croutons, Crispy Capers, Olives, Caesar Dressing and Asiago – $9

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Toasted Potato Scallion Bread – $9

Seared King Oyster Mushroom with a Peppercorn Sauce, served with Spelt – $19

Beer Battered Halloumi, served on Zucchini Pancakes, Smashed Peas, and Yogurt – $19

Strawberry Black Pepper Sorbet, Rhubarb Confit & Puree & Short Crust Crumble – $9

The salads were brimming with vibrant vegetables and flavours, a zing from the tomato salad and a creamy Caesar-like flavour from the kale salad. We ordered the small salads, or you can share a large salad for $15 (I found the small quite filling, actually). The serving of beer battered halloumi was very generous and the sweetness of smashed pea worked well to balance the saltiness of the halloumi (a brined semi-hard cheese from Cyprus). I preferred this dish to the mushroom dish. Dessert was a must-order.

If you are planning to visit, please note that they do not accept reservations ahead of time so you will have to show up and hope for the best. Good luck!

The Acorn on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Matchstick – August 2012

11 Aug

639 E 15 Ave (Fraser & Kingsway)
Vancouver, BC
V5T 2R6

T: 604 558 0639
www.matchstickcoffee.com

It is another glorious, sunny Saturday here in Vancouver and that means coffee, food, and fun. B and I like to start our weekends with coffee at one of our favourite coffee shops. That could be Revolver, JJ Bean, Bica, or Matchstick. We haven’t been to Matchstick as much as we would like (the location isn’t that convenient for us) but occasionally we make our way there, as we did today.

I took a few snaps whilst I was waiting for my latte (which was fabulous, thanks for asking). What sets Matchstick apart from the rest is their quality coffee and friendly, neighbourhood-vibe cafe. They also appear to be doing more food now, such as sandwiches, in addition to the baked goods that they sell.

Don’t mind if I do…

Bread ‘n Apples

Bags o’ coffee

Pretty space

What we really came for…

Matchstick Coffee on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Sawasdee Thai Restaurant – July 2012

13 Jul

4250 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P9

T: 604 876 4030
www.sawasdeethairestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of only a few authentic Thai restaurants that I’ve discovered in the city. Tucked up on Main street and 27th street, this family-owned restaurant serves up tasty Thai dishes at affordable prices.

I almost want to blow off my “visit three times before reviewing” rule with Sawasdee. Spoiler alert!! So far, I’m really impressed with the food and the service at this friendly restaurant. I was there again this past weekend and even though I could have been extremely content re-ordering exactly what I ordered on my first visit (stuffed chicken wings, panang curry and pad Thai), we opted to order completely new dishes so we could get a better idea of what is on offer at Sawasdee.

Cho Muang – $8.95

I have never seen, let alone tried, the cho muang before. Cho muang is intricate flower-shaped chicken and spice dumplings. I couldn’t help wonder how they managed to shape these so delicately and so true-to-form.

Garlic Beef – $11.50

My favourite dish for the night was the garlic beef. The meat was thinly coated in a sweet/savoury sauce, almost like a marinade, and the dish paired well with the coconut rice that we ordered as a side. The rice had kept its texture well and wasn’t a sloppy mess like other rice sides that I’ve had in the city.

Red Curry with Prawns – $13.95

The red curry with prawns was quite good but without the servers asking about what level of heat you would like, I keep forgetting to order it hotter than their standard curry. Personally, I like a bit of kick to my curries and their regular curry just isn’t hot enough for me. My one suggestion to the servers, who have been extremely friendly, would be to prompt diners for their heat preference.

My final visit is likely going to be very soon, so stay tuned if I haven’t already spoiled the ending…

First Glance – Sawasdee Thai Restaurant – June 2012

20 Jun

4250 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P9

T: 604 876 4030
www.sawasdeethairestaurant.com

I started this blog over three years ago as a way of sharing my food experiences with people that are interested in food and, more specifically, the Vancouver food scene. Whilst I have learnt a lot about the local food scene, it is constantly morphing and evolving, and one person cannot try every new, as well as every old, place in the city. Trust me, I’m trying. Obviously I enjoy sharing my knowledge with friends and my readers, but I also truly value getting recommendations and I often follow-up on suggestions that are given to me. (If you have any, don’t be shy! Send ‘em my way!)

Knowing how desperate I have been for authentic Thai food since my return from Thailand in January, a good friend mentioned that she regularly visits Sawsadee on Main Street (at 27th). I made it a priority to visit over the weekend and with the first taste of the Panang Chicken and the first forkful of Pad Thai, I knew that I had been directed to some of the best Thai food in the city (Maenam being the only other notable mention). This is the exact reason why I love getting referrals!

The Pad Thai was not the typical North American take on the dish that I’ve found in countless restaurants in the city – instead it was made with tamarind paste, rather than with overly sweet tomato sauce (although that is an option). The tamarind paste version was exactly like some of the Pad Thai that I sampled in Thailand. More please!

Panang Chicken is my favourite Thai dish, although red and green curries are also strong contenders. The Panang Chicken at Sawasdee was the right level of thickness, with a slight hint of sweetness, and it wasn’t over-garnished with a ton of not-necessary vegetables. You can choose different levels of heat and, unfortunately, I forgot to specify so next time I will be ordering it with some spice as I prefer my curries with more heat than their standard version offered.

I did find that the stuffed chicken wings (one of my favourite market snacks) stuffing was lacking in flavour and I did find a few small pieces of bone in my wings so I will likely give these a miss next time. That’s a shame as I don’t find them on menus in Vancouver often.

This was only my first visit to Sawasdee but I’m already planning a return trip with my sister so I hope to do a full post soon!

What is your favourite Thai restaurant in the city?

Sawasdee Thai on Urbanspoon