Tag Archives: Main Street

Brunch at Burdock & Co

8 Feb

2702 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5T 3E8

T: 604 879 0077
www.burdockandco.com

It is no secret that I enjoy eating brunch out whenever I can. As a creature of comfort, I tend to return to my favourite spots (Nook Kitsilano, Au Comptoir, L’Abattoir, West, Ask For Luigi) over and over again, but occasionally I will branch out and try other spots. You know, sometimes you just gotta switch it up.

Burdock and Co is a small restaurant, with a relaxed vibe, that is focused on farm-to-table, organic ingredients. The brunch menu at Burdock isn’t your traditional “bacon and eggs” brunch menu. Yes, you can get a benny (on a gluten-free scone), or you could mix it up and try the chili fried eggs on toast with avocado, poached eggs on salt cod polenta, or fried eggs with smokey tomato, black beans, and corn tortillas. If you want something other than eggs for breakfast, the heirloom squash dumplings with chestnut browned butter sauce, or the winter fruit clafoutis, offer an alternative, as does the smoked chili broth ramen or the spicy fried chicken.

Smoked Chili Broth Ramen, Crispy Pig Face, Sprouts – $14

B.F.C. Spicy Burdock Fried Chicken, Kimchi – $16

Grilled Maple Fennel Bacon – $6

German Butter Potatoes with Pickled Garlic and Marjoram – $6

Weekend brunch runs from 10:30AM to 2PM. It appears that they do now accept reservations (I don’t believe that this has always been the case). You’d be best to phone ahead as this place does get busy (and also a little noisy).

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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

Photo Visit – The Acorn – August 2013

21 Aug

3995 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P3

T: 604 566 9001
www.theacornrestaurant.ca

I am extremely grateful that summer in Vancouver this year has been epic! We broke the record for the driest July EVER and we have had vast amounts of sunshine. Needless to say, I’ve been out enjoying the great outdoors, as well as indulging in the bounties that the season brings (fresh berries, anyone?).

The Acorn is quite easily one of my favourite places in Vancouver for a meal. The menu is unique, seasonal, and vegetarian (no, I’m not vegetarian but it’s nice to get some well-prepared veggies into my diet every so often). I try to visit each season to sample what is new on the menu and, with an abundance of tasty and interesting vegetables, summer would have to be my favourite season. I popped in recently for dinner with my sister and was pleasantly surprised that we got a table almost immediately (at about 8pm on a Wednesday). You may remember from my other reviews that The Acorn doesn’t accept reservations, so plan accordingly.

The Acorn Summer Harvest (tempura zucchini blossoms, potatoes, corn, in a chanterelle butter sauce) – $19

P1070661Chanterelle Summer Salad (marinated chanterelles, green beens, Camembert, walnuts, roasted garlic vinaigrette) – $9 for half-serve

Dessert special: Sage roasted Okanagan apricots, spritzed with bourbon, with white chocolate frozen yogurt – $8 (?)

The summer harvest plate, which changes daily, was out-standing! I’m a complete sucker for zucchini blossoms so these, paired with the freshness of mixed local produce and a delightful chanterelle sauce, pushed me over the edge! It is dishes like this that make The Acorn a must-visit because although the ingredients are fairly simple, when mixed together and finished with a quality sauce, they become anything but simple.

The chanterelle summer salad was good, but I’d likely order the tomato salad next time over this salad, as I have very fond memories of the tomato salad from last summer. Finally, the dessert, which was bourbon-spritzed roasted Okanagan apricots, was a light and simple ending to the meal. It satisfied the craving for dessert without being heavy or sickly sweet.

I highly recommend a visit to The Acorn before they make the switch to their fall menu, particularly if you’ve not been before. The chefs are masters in showcasing the seasons best produce.

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.

Vancouver’s Sweet Side – Part 1 – Donuts

22 Feb

Alright Vancouver, what’s your weakness? I have spent years searching the city to find treats that will satisfy my sweet tooth and I’d like to share them with you, on one condition; that you will tell me your favourites too! I hate not knowing ALL of the good places, so don’t be shy – let me know!

I recently read “Paris, my Sweet” which is written by self-confessed sweet-aholic, Amy Thomas. The book details her recommendations of Paris and New York’s most outstanding spots to get your sweet fix. I was inspired to do the same for Vancouver and have started with my donut, or doughnut (seriously, which is it?!), selections. Over the next few posts, I will also share my favourite ice cream, bakeries, and chocolatiers. But for now, put down your Tim Horton’s donut and check out some of these local hot spots.

Cartems Donuterie (Gastown)
408 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC

Cartems is, quite simply, all about the donuts. They sell nothing else but that – no coffee, no other treats – just old-fashioned donuts. What makes them different from Tim Horton’s and Krispy Kreme is that they aren’t the airy, yeasty donuts that you’ve come to expect. The Cartems donuts are dense, with an almost cake-like consistency – yum! My personal favourites are The Earl Grey, The Carrot Cake, The Classic, and Cinnamon Sugar. Prices are about $3 per donut.

Stack o’ Donuts

Earl Grey

Lee’s Donuts (Granville Island)
1689 Johnson Street
Vancouver, BC

Lee’s was the first really good donut that I had in Vancouver. In fact, I made sure that I had one on each trip that I made to Granville Island. They must be doing something right – Lee’s has been around for more than 25 years! The donuts are made fresh daily (you can even watch through the window) and fresh, still-warm batches are regularly added to the large wall of donuts throughout the day. There is a huge variety of flavours, including jelly, powdered, old-fashioned, and Dutch chocolate. My favourite is easily the honey-dip donut, particularly when they are still warm.

Lucky’s Doughnuts (Main Street)
2902 Main Street
Vancouver, BC

Lucky’s is a fairly new addition to the donut scene (they opened in Summer 2012) and can be found on Main Street, inside the 49th Parallel Café. A Kits location will be opening soon. Lucky’s offers donut-lovers some bold flavours such as salted caramel, bacon apple fritters, and peanut butter and jelly. I found the simple glazed donut to be wonderfully airy and light, with just the right amount of sweet glaze. The donuts are made fresh daily and all jams, glazes, and fillings are made from scratch. Because of the higher than Tim Horton prices (around $3 a donut), a friend of mine refers to this as “The Holt Renfrew of Donuts”, which makes me giggle. You can also enjoy a coffee or tea in the beautiful café space (if you are able to snag a seat).

Lucky’s Glazed Donut

My “Best Mid-Priced” Restaurant List

2 Dec

This year’s Georgia Straight’s Golden Plate awards results got my ire up, although that is nothing new. Almost every year I’m left grumbling and ranting about the winners in at least a handful of the categories (and for the record, yes I vote). For those unfamiliar with the awards they are the result of an online survey by a free local newspaper called the “Georgia Straight”. Every year they ask readers to vote on the city’s best options in a range of categories, such as “Best Italian” or “Best Fine Dining Restaurant”. I take these results with a grain of salt as I don’t always think the “best” wins. I was particularly disappointed with this year’s results of the “Best Mid-Price Restaurant” category.

Foodies all over the city must have shed a tear when the three winners of this category were ALL chain restaurants. It’s nothing against chain restaurants but with such a large amount of incredible independent mid-range restaurants in our city, how are there no independents on this list?

I had a thought that perhaps there are readers that are uncertain of what other options there are for mid-price restaurants in Vancouver. That’s cool – I get it. Firstly, let me start by saying that I know it can be scary to try new restaurants. There are so many minefields to deal with; Will I like the menu? Is this place too posh/too hipster/too serious for me? What if I don’t understand what some of the ingredients are? What if I waste my money on a dish I don’t like? I know there is a lot to contend with when trying a new place which is why I want to help.

I’ve eaten at quite a few (some might say too many) restaurants in this city; some fancy, some less fancy, and so I’ve done a lot of the dirty, and expensive, work for you. And I’d like to share my favourite “best mid-priced restaurants” with you. I classify mid-priced restaurants as those with mains for between $15 to $25 (the same cost as a main at a Cactus Club).

Nook (West End)

Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15. A casual, but intimate restaurant. Great value for money. One my favourite restaurants in the city.

Nook’s Rigatoni Boscaiola

p1040264 Nook’s Burrata and Proscuitto Plate

Maenam (Kitsilano)

A popular Kitsilano-based restaurant that offers well-executed, modern Thai food. Maenam is friendly on the wallet, without sacrificing quality or ambiance. Menu items include traditional Thai dishes such as pad Thai, curries, hot and sour soups, as well as innovative cocktails.

Maenam’s Pad Thai

Jules Bistro (Gastown)

A quintessential French bistro in the heart of Gastown, serving up traditional French fare, such as duck confit, moules frites, and escargots. The bistro interior is painfully cute, with rustic brick walls, a black and white tiled floor, and dimly lit chandeliers. It is a definite date-spot that will win you big points.

Jules Bistro’s Duck Confit, Frisee Salad with Bacon and Roasted Pine nuts

La Quercia (Kitsilano/Point Grey)

A small, intimate neighbourhood restaurant located on the corner of Alma and West 4th, La Quercia offers exceptional Italian food and wine at reasonable prices. The 7 course alla famiglia (a chef’s menu that everyone at the table shares) for $45 is great value for money, however, dishes can be individually ordered at a cheaper cost. Book well ahead.

Lamb Ragu Gnocchi from La Quercia

Bao Bei (Chinatown)

A funky, Chinatown-based restaurant offering non-traditional Chinese fare in tapas style. Bao Bei appeals to those who aren’t necessarily looking for an authentic Chinese experience but more of a modern, up-market version of that experience. Really cool interior, interesting cocktails. The food is a modern, almost fusion, take on some old dishes. It is also tapas-style so they do encourage you to order a number of dishes and share them with your table.

Shao Bing from Bao Bei

The Acorn (Main Street)

A recent newcomer to the Vancouver food scene, The Acorn is a completely vegetarian restaurant that comes to us from Brian Skinner, a chef who has done a 6 month stint at world-famous noma. Food is seasonal and excellent, in taste and in presentation. The atmosphere is casual and inviting. Note that reservations aren’t accepted and this place is busy!

Beer Battered Halloumi, served on Zucchini Pancakes, Smashed Peas, and Yogurt from The Acorn

The Acorn’s Walnut & Portobello Pate, served with pickled shimeji mushrooms and juniper crisps.

Campagnolo (Main Street)

A casual, rustic restaurant that focuses on affordable seasonal cuisine from the Piedmont and Emigila-Romagna regions of Italy. Comfortably understated and simple, the menu is unpretentious and tries to remain loyal to its well-researched Northern Italian roots with a strong focus on pastas, pizzas, and characuterie plates. You may, however, need to ask your server for an explanation of some of the dishes as the menu can be slightly difficult to understand.

Pork ragu tagliatelle from Campagnolo

Kingyo (West End)

If Japanese is more your flavour but you are looking for something a little more special than a cheap sushi restaurant, then pop into Kingyo in the West End. There are sushi options, noodles and rice dishes, and plenty of seafood. The atmosphere is less “crazy, loud izakaya house” (Guu), more casual restaurant feel. Back in the day, the interior was quite impressive but the last time I was in, I couldn’t help feel it needed a bit of a re-vamp.

Rodney’s Oyster House (Yaletown)

I’m putting Rodney’s on the list, but with the caveat to be mindful of the price of dishes. The smaller plates, like the heavenly Scallop Galette are about $15 (from memory) but add on a round of oysters and a few drinks and the bill increases quite quickly. Rodney’s is a fun place to indulge in delicious, fresh seafood, such as fresh oysters, chowder, and steamed mussels.

Scallop Galette from Rodney’s

So there you have it, my list of favourite mid-priced restaurants. Between these, the high-end restaurants, and more affordable dining options, we really do have it covered here in Vancouver. Let’s get out there and support our independent restaurants!

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