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Month: May 2017 Page 1 of 3

Bayside Lounge

Friend and fellow food blogger David, of “Picky Diners” had won an online contest where he and three of his friends would be able to enjoy dinner and drinks at “Bayside Lounge”. The prize pack included two drinks each and the ability to share three dishes between four. And lucky for me, he had chosen me to be one of his guests.

The location is really what brings it attention. Located on the corner of Davie and Denman, this second floor lounge gives you a view looking out onto the waters of English Bay. With their slogan centred around seeing and being seen from this perch. Although getting to it was a little hard, the side door entrance isn’t well labeled, with another restaurant and its door right beside it. But the space opens up with a stool furnished lounge and stage. But the tables you wanted to get were by the window. One of several seats following the curvature of the corner room, all centred around the round island bar.

The other three having been before led the ordering charge, warning that “Bayside” is great for drinks, but to not expect too much from the kitchen. This would definitely be my assessment by the end of our meal.

Between us four we had a few of their signature cocktails to get a feel of the place. The “Cucumber Collins” was gin, muddled cucumber, lemon juice, egg whites, and simple sugar. It was refreshingly light yet strong in its use of spirit.

The “Hidden dragon” used Citron vodka, pomegranate liqueur, fresh ginger, lemon juice, simple sugar, and grapefruit juice. It was fruity with the faint heat from the ginger coming through.

The “Moscow mule” was pretty standard, served in a worn copper mug. Vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and fresh mint.

The “Honeymoon” featured gin, Cointreau, Alize gold, grapefruit, juice, honey, and fresh basil. The liquor had no kick, which we deduced to it being due to the cheap gin used.

The “Old fashion” was the worst that one of the guests had, more bitter than anything. Bourbon, cassis, raw sugar, bitters, and orange.

Similarly, I disliked the balance from the “Bayside Breeze”. Visually it was pretty in in blue with vodka, gin, blue caracao, lemon, simple sugar, pineapple, and fresh mint. But it was just so sweet that it grew increasingly hard to swallow, the more I had. You left with your throat feeling pinched and having to nurse the drink in order to not waste it.

For food we strategically ordered our three dishes to earn the most bang for our buck. There was a limitation on price and we kept within it for the three entrees below.

The “Steamed PEI mussels and frites” were the best out of the three. Not the best that I have ever had, but really good when compared it to the others. It was sitting in a lovely Sambuca and tomato broth finished with cracked pepper and garlic, and served with julienne potato frites. It has an handsome serving amount, which they even took the time to plate like an open flower. We just wanted some bread to be able to sop up the sauce with.

The “Harissa beef tenderloin carpaccio” was bland. It was prepared with a roasted garlic aioli, arugula, and pine nuts, but left you wanting more in the flavour department. And the slices of beef were cut so thin that you didn’t have enough meat per bite, you couldn’t even get a good assessment of its texture.

The “Pan seared wild salmon” was just as disappointing. The fish was overlooked and dry. The cranberry gastrique it was prepared with helped a little in terms of giving it a layer of moisture, and the crispy skin of the salmon with its smokiness helped to distract, but it was the basil potato pancake paired with the pear and apple slaw that was the best thing on the plate.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
The food left you wanting more, and therefore looking for your next destination, elsewhere. The drinks were decent, but if you are visiting, it is for neither of the two. Instead you stop by for the view from the lounge and for its proximity to the beach. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BAYSIDE LOUNGE
Best Western Sands Hotel
1755 Davie Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1W5
604-682-1831
baysidelounge.ca
Bayside Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vancouver Foodster’s Caesar Challenge 2017

I was invited to be one of the three judges for this year’s Vancouver Foodster’s Caesar Challenge; an offer and privilege I couldn’t refuse. Especially as it is my favourite cocktail and I actually considered having my blog just on caesars, when I first started writing on food. A decision I saw through with a registered domain and four posts. So to relive that glory now, I would be visiting eight of the participating restaurants, to try their caesars for review and judging.

The Vancouver Foodster Caesar Challenge is a competition that pits local restaurants and bars from all over the city against one another for Canadian cocktail supremacy. Those willing to enter the ring, submit their cocktail creations in for judging. Many of them have been created specifically as an entry for this challenge. Each is offered on the menu of the corresponding restaurant from May 4-28, 2017; during the duration of the competition. And after you, as the diner and fans of the cocktail visit each restaurant, or however many you wish; you then decide who deserves to win for the “People’s Choice award”. Voting is done online at http://vancouverfoodster.com/caesar-challenge. When doing this, you are asked to consider “originality, creativity, uniqueness, traditional, non-traditional, price, value and most importantly taste.” Then to engage in social media tagging “@vanfoodster” and using the hashtag #CaesarChallengeYVR to share your experience.

 

To watch the making of all the Caesars I enjoyed and to take a look at each restaurant, click on the link below.

The following is in no particular order, except that which I visited them in.


This is the “Smokey Feast Caesar” from “Feast Dining” in West Vancouver. What sets their caesar apart is their in-house made spice rub for the rim, and the dash of barbecue sauce used to flavour the drink. Both help to give it its namesake “smokey” quality. Smokey barbecue sauce, vodka, lemon juice, white olive brine, cracked pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. It is garnished with an in-house dried and salted zucchini chip, beef jerky from “Sebastian & Co”, and their famous green Castelvetrano smoked olive.

The toppings were just as much part of the caesar as the mix itself, therefore I wish I had enough of each for more than 4 nibbles paired with 4 stingy sips. They are what elevated it from the classic recipe. The jerky was a little fatty for a nice mouth chew. The smoked applewood olive had the essence of whiskey. The zucchini was dehydrated and sliced paper thin, although a little too salty. And the heat of the rub matched that of the BBQ sauce in the drink.

Feast Dining
2423 Marine Drive
604-922-1155
feastdining.ca

 

I ended up visiting “House Special” for their “Night Market” caesar on national caesar day. Like their modern Vietnamese cuisine, their caesar is inspired by the streets of Vietnam. They prided themselves on the fact that everything in the glass is made completely from scratch, in house. Including their “Clamato” mix which exchanges the traditional clam juice for the popular use of fish sauce in Vietnamese cuisine instead. The “Clamato” mix was a blend of tomato juice, fish sauce, sriracha, red chili, and worcestershire sauce. It came with a vegan option available as well. And your choice of either a lemongrass infused vodka or kaffir lime infused gin. On the rim was an exotic 6-spice rub. And to finish it off, you also got to pick one of four street food-style skewers. Or make it a meal and get “the whole shebang”. All four sticks, which included a spring roll, a betel beef skewer, chicken satay, and crispy tofu.

It was quite the spectacle, ideal for those who believe that when it comes to a caesar it is all about the garnish and how much you can stack on a stick.

Although, unfortunately I found the cup far too salty, even after allowing majority of the ice to melt and water it down. So salty that I didn’t even bother licking the rim of anise, coriander, peppercorn, celery seed, chili, curry powder, and pink Himalayan salt. In retrospect, I could have, and should have just used the cocktail as a dip to dunk, and better flavour all the fried foods on their sticks; instead of just trying to drink it.
House Special

1269 Hamilton St, Vancouver BC
778-379-2939
housespecial.ca

 

The “Premium Double Caesar” from “Bodega” on Main was only available during their weekend brunch service. It spoke to their Spanish cuisine by using Spanish ingredients as the garnish.

The cocktail begins with Walter Caesar mix and to it they add your choice of either Sons of Vancouver chili vodka, Altos blanco tequila, or Ford’s gin. The rim is a mix of maldon salt and chili flakes. It is finished with a prawn, olive, pearl onion, and jamón kebob. It was a tasty cocktail, but what made it memorable wasn’t what was in it, but the ham that balanced over it.

Bodega on Main
1014 Main Street, Vancouver BC
604-565-8815
bodegaonmain.ca

 

Similarly, the “Bacchus Bacon Scallop Caesar from Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge was only as unique as the garnish that named and finished it. Although on the same token, having it didn’t add anything to the cocktail. It was a classic caesar made with vodka, Clamato juice, Worchester sauce, and Tabasco. And I found it a little watered down.

Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge
845 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC
604-689-7777
wedgewoodhotel.com

 

The “Hendricks Tandoori Caesar” at the “Hendricks Resto-Lounge” tasted like liquid tandoori, as its name promised. To make it they used their own house made “Clamato” juice mixed with a jalapeño and black peppercorn infused tequila. The latter was a blend of clam nectar, tomato juice, HP sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, chili flakes, Cajun seasoning, tandoori masala, wasabi, Cholula hot sauce, tabasco, and perrins. For the the rim they used more tandoori and Cajun spices. And then topped it all off with a pakora fritter and cucumber rose with yogurt raita. The cucumber and cream gave you a necessary, cooling bite between the heat and spice of the drink. This one had depth to it. All the flavours together like this was unique and the concept original. For those who like their drinks full of flavour and spice, this one is definitely for you.

Hendricks Resto-Lounge
433 Robson Street in The Westin Grand
604-647-2521
hendricksrestaurant.com

 

At “Ban Chok Dee” I was mesmerized by the intricacies of their “TYG Caesar”. A cocktail inspired by the heat and flavours of Thai style Tom Yum soup. They found a way to represent their culture and their cuisine in this Canadian classic.

There are a few elements to this offering. The first, a “Spiced Bacon Caesar Sphere” made using molecular gastronomy, sprinkled with dried spiced prawns and smoked bacon bits. The process includes taking a liquid and making it into a semi-solid jelly state, before popping it into your mouth to unleash the “bubble” like a wave.

The drink itself is a mix of chilli and herb infused Absolute Vodka, Maekhong (Thai whiskey), tobacco, horseradish, Worcestershire, black pepper, thai chili sauce, lemongrass, galangal, lime juice, lime leaf, and mixed Caesar spices. The cocktail is mixed together then poured into a bottle, presented together with the sphere and a fully garnished glass. This is so that you can fully see and appreciate all the green of the fresh celery and pickled bean, and note the frozen tomato juice sphere and the ice balls frozen with herbs; before covering it all with an emptying pour of the bottle.

And the finishing skewer is just as intricate. Lime, cornichons, chilli pepper, red pepper, green olive, and a crispy shrimp wrapped in noodle.

You are immediately impressed by this show of labour, the amount of work needed just to set it up. Though when it came time to actually start drinking you didn’t know where to begin. The whole display left you feeling overwhelmed.

Ban Chok Dee
20563 Douglas Crescent, Langley BC
778-278-3088

 

The “Stadium District Caesar” from “Fanny Bay Oyster Bar” gave their Fanny Bay Classic Caesar a smokey twist. It is layers of smoke in a glass. Smoked pickle juice brine, olive brine, lime juice, Tabasco, and Worchesters sauce. The smoked pickle juice paired well with their in house smoked Fanny Bay oysters; and the rim mix of Montreal steak spice, celery salt, and smoked paprika. I appreciated their ability to incorporate their popular oysters into the drink.

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market
762 Cambie Street, Vancouver BC
778-379-9510
fannybayoysters.com/location/oyster-bar–shellfish-market

 

And my last stop was the “Mega Caesar One” at “Storm Crow Ale House”. Its name, a reference to “Judge Dredd, 2000 AD”. A reference I didn’t get, but it didn’t stop me from dawning their prop helmet and taking a big sip in commemoration with it. They mixed Odd Society Distillers East Van Vodka infused with sage and rosemary with Walter’s Craft Classic Caesar Mix, Beef broth, and Bean juice. And topped it with an olive, cocktail onion, pickle spear, and a Buffalo and cranberry pepperoni stick from Black Forest Meats in North Vancouver. As a cocktail, it was all pretty familiar and it tasted familiar. Whereas I was looking for the merging of the tangy pickle juice with the rich gravy to have it standing out, but it left you waiting.

Storm Crow Alehouse
1619 West Broadway, Vancouver BC
604-428-9670
stormcrowalehouse.com

 

To see the who won the competition and who took home the people’s choice award, visit the link below.

Caesar Challenge 2017 Winners

Although you will have to wait another year before being able to participate in another (or your first) caesar Challenge. Until then, to keep you occupied, Vancouver Foodster has other challenges from pizza to pies, and tasting plates to try something new. So check a few of them out at vancouverfoodster.com.

Black Rice Izakaya

Today I was invited to a media event at “Black Rice” Izakaya, hosted by “Pork Ninjas”. For me this would be my first time dining here, but for many of the other food bloggers and social media influencers, this would be a repeat visit.

They were unveiling a new menu with us, which included them now offering a weekend lunch from 11-3pm . (By the time I post this review, both should be in full effect.) The head chef/owner admitted to not making any changes to their offerings since their inception 2.5 years ago, so now was the time. He explained how the menu was previously more innovative, but that they have stepped away from that. They have been long doing what others wanted from them, offering what everyone else did. But now they are stepping away from stepped up food and moving towards comfort eating with comfortable prices. Though their sushi rolls and bowls will be staying the same and they will keep their lunch sets, as both are fairly popular.

And as I like to do, when given the opportunity to pick the mind of a restauranteur, I asked him a few questions and basically let him tell me what he thinks of the place and what was his proudest achievement. As a business minded individual, I asked why should patrons travel to have sushi and Japanese cuisine here, as it’s a dime a dozen business on the streets of Vancouver.

He spoke with pride over the ingredients they use and how they interpret and present it in any given dish. And he feels most accomplishment from the experience of his combined kitchen staff. Not one member of their back of house team has less than 7 years of experience in the restaurant industry; even the dish washer, who is also their sous chef. In fact most have 8 years and have once own their own restaurants or were the head chefs in their own kitchens. So to be here is a sacrifice, which is made up for in their ability to be creative with their cuisine. They have a venue and avenue to work and play within. And are just a machine doling out company mandated menus.

When you enter, you pass under a cloth banner. The bar is to your left, flanked with sake barrels and well stocked with Japanese beers on tap. There is group seating in this area, but majority of the tables are towards the back, separated by a wooden fence and ramp. The kitchen is back here too. It is fairly exposed, allowing you an honest look into their inner workings.

Truth be told, due to all that was going in during this event, I actually wasn’t able to truly try and taste enough of everything to give you readers a full assessment of what I had, but will include what I can, so please pardon the brevity in my writing.

However for a more revealing review, please visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei and check out my behind the scenes look at all the festivities. Including many of the at the table demonstrations that you can expect when dining here yourself.

 

As always, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

One of their popular lunch sets is the “Teishoku B” which centres around six pieces of angus nigiri that is torched table side until buttery. Even when it was allowed to cool, it was just as tasty. This was due to the quality of the Canadian certified angus beef used. There is also the opportunity to upgrade to Snake River Farm US wagyu.

It came with a few sides like their “j-maki”: two larger pieces of sushi filled with radish sprouts and prawn. I liked the chewiness of the rice, but not that same chewiness in the seaweed. Overall a descent roll, but nothing new. Very much like the agedashi tofu, the assorted oshinko, green salad, and miso soup. Solid staples of Japanese cuisine.

Another popular lunch box was the “Teishoku C”. The main here was a grilled miso zuke black cod steak with rice. The fish was nicely flavoured and tender to a flake. It came with a basket of three pieces of assorted tempura. This tasted as expected, like the crispy fried side of chicken karaage. And like the set above, this too had agedashi tofu, assorted oshinko, green salad, and miso soup.

The “Yaki Tofu” is pan grilled tofu seasoned with their house brown sauce. It was served in a larger square for you to cut and simply spoon into your mouth. The tofu had a nice, crispy breaded rust, flavoured with the sprinkling of bacon crumb and green onions overtop. But mild in flavor overall.

The “Tebasaki chicken wings” were served in a bamboo basket. Prepared in their house sauce glaze, and deep fried with a charcoal grill finish. The chicken skin was well seasoned in a garlic and honey flavour, but after it, the wing itself needed more flavour.

The “Buta kakuni” was soy sauced braised pork belly. The pork was a nice balance between fatty and lean. Although the sauce left me wanting more. Something heavier for such a luscious cut.

The main features and certainly the ones that held our attention were the cuts of meat cooked on a heated stone. The “Beef Yakiniku Moriawase” was the Chef’s choice of three kinds of prime Angus beef. It varies on occasion, today it was Angus short rib, Flat Iron and Galbi. Half the fun was pulling piece by piece and searing it on the heat of the smooth polished rock. Each slicedwas seasoned, and the cooked meat was tasty, but much better when dredged in one of the three sauces provided.

The “Gyu katsu” was panko breaded beef steak deep fried rare. It is served with the hot grilling stone for you to cook on top of as well. It is served with the similar soy, sesame and tonkatsu sauce as above. This seemed to be the group’s favourite for its mix of textures and its originality. The former was actually the reason why I didn’t prefer it.

The flame came back out for the “Unagi Roll”. Here they used the whole eel to cover the entire top of the black rice maki of shrimp, avocado, and egg. The roll is placed on a metal grill, over a dish of rum and herbs. It is then lit on fire and allowed to run its course. The smoke from this exchange infuses the roll with the flavour of rosemary. And it is really this added flavouring that sets it apart, that and being able to watch orange flames rise around the sushi roll and not singe it, leaving the eel buttery smooth.

The “Black Mentaiko” roll too got a good char, but this time not table side, but at the back, before it even reached us. This was deep fried breaded cod with creamy Mentaiko mayo on black rice. I was surprised at how tender the rice was, when I imagine the dryness of brown rice when compared to the chewiness of sushi rice.

The “Lollipop” was more for splash, the referred to it as a crunch refreshing roll on a stick. This was a fish and vegetable roll sliced thinner and the punctured to balanced on top of skewers, like lollipops. The pickled flavour and sweet spinach paired with the stewed vegetables’ texture made this a no for me.

The “Black Rice Hakozushi platter” was aburi Salmon, Chopped scallop, Ebi and Saba. I found there was more rice than fish, therefore I didn’t make out much of the above’s texture of taste. Especially when it came to the salmon. Although little details stood out. The cod I found overcooked and over soy-ed to a point of being soggy. And the however tiny olive slice distracted from the lightness of the fish it came on.

To finish and refresh, we each had our own miniature bottle of in house made “Yuzu Ice cream”. I found it extremely tart with a hard scoop and a chalky finish. And there was quite a bit of it to get through. Though I did like the caramelized lotus root though, it was a clever interpretation.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Your standard Japanese style cuisine, with some potential for some while dining. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BLACK RICE
782 Cambie Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 2R5
7781379-0416
blackrice.ca
Black Rice Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Campagnolo Roma

This is one I have been too, and enjoyed enough to come by again today when looking for a quick dinner with my particular partner.

We were worried that there would be a wait for dinner at 7pm given the day and the long weekend ahead. Instead we walked in at 6:30pm and were given the last two top left. However many tables emptied after and those who came seconds after us, only waited 10 minutes at most.

We have visited before so knew what we were in for. They are one of my favourite spots for some simple and clean Italian flavours. Not to mention, their ice cream is fantastic as well.

To read my original post with decor descriptions and first blush impressions visit the link below.

Campagnolo Roma

When faced with the “tonight’s features” on the chalkboard directed at the door as you enter, I finally decided to jump on the spot prawn train. It is this season’s IT ingredient, for a limited and short lived time. I ended up getting their last available serving, as the next couple that sat down after us, were informed that there was no more to be had. They sold out this Friday by 6:45pm.

The “Trottole with spot prawns”, chanterelles, pecorino, and white wine. “Trottole” pasta noodles are like half spirals, just the top part of a screw going from thick to thin. They were cooked wonderfully to a soften chew. It paired well with the equally tender earthy mushrooms and the sweet juicy shrimp. I can see why everyone clamours for the latter. It was all saucy without being drenched in cream, and besides chomping on a piece of jagged shell in one bite, everything about this dish was simply delicious.

My partner had his usual “Margherita pizza” with fior di latte, tomato, and basil. The small menu makes it easier to order, and most on it guarantees you a good time. This was a soft pizza with crispy crust. I eat pizza with a knife and fork, but with a crust this crisp the work is better left to your teeth. A little oiler than I remembered or like, especially when it drips off your chin after a handsome bite. The fragrant greens and the sharp cheeses gave it depth of layers. Everything tasted so fresh, and it made all the difference. However it lacked cheese or we felt it needed more. This had us wishing we got the pizza feature of “Quattro formaggi” instead.

I had to save room for dessert. They serve a rotation of soft serve ice creams made in house. Tall swirls served in little cups, eaten with wooden paddles. Today it was a “Vanilla soft serve ice cream with caramelized white chocolate”. It tasted like the middle ground between not quite vanilla and a little more white chocolate. It is a good one serving amount, leaving you feeling like there is just a little too much. It was so fresh and the cream just so milky. I really like it for its texture the most, as it is definitely one of my favourite places for soft serve in the city. Although I recommend eating fast because that creamy texture means it melts quick, and the paper cup it sits in doesn’t have a long life either.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
It’s been a while since my first “Roma” experience. Since then I have visited all of Campagnolo projects and have become a fan of their brand. This remains one of my favourite spots to recommend for great simple Italian out of downtown, at a fair price. Not to mention great soft serve ice cream. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ROMA
2297 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5L1V2
604-569-0456
campagnoloroma.com
Campagnolo Roma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lamplighter Public House

Gastown chicken fight: BBQ wing competition

 

I was delighted to be asked to be one of the three judges for this year’s annual “Gastown Chicken Fight”. This is the sixth time that “The Lamplighter Pub” has invited wing lovers to their neighbourhood competition. A match up where teams compete to see who will “bask in the glory of being Gastown’s wing masters”. An afternoon with chicken topped trophies, $5 beer specials, and plenty of Jim Beam bourdon.

To skip the reading, visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei. And watch my behind the scenes look at the competition, with a play by play of each wing and their creative competitors.

This afternoon, eight Gastown restaurants and pubs were pitted head to head with the goal of preparing the best wing. This was to be determined in terms of taste, originality, and presentation; as decided by the judges. The rules: each competing team was given 20lbs of wings the night before and a bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon (6 year aged whiskey), to utilize in their preparation of it. The next day all teams arrived at “Lamplighter” with their wings already marinated and ready for their time on the grill. Competitors were given 30 minutes to set up and start cooking, out on the patio.

The smoke, sights, and smells attracted the attention of many on-lookers. Passer-byers who had to ask what was going on, especially given the amount of paparazzi photo taking and video recording that was going on, which included the likes of me. That is why I was surprised that this wasn’t a more popular event. And I can’t believe I am only hearing about it now. Had I known, I would have been here for the event, all six years prior; just like a handful of those in the audience today.

Each team was given their time across one of the three lengthy grills, at random draw. One by one they approached the barbecue and one by one they flipped, tossed, sauced and plated. When the wings were cooked and ready to go, they were served up in individual portions to us judges. With the rest heaped on high across metal serving trays, and then served piece-meal style to all those in attendance.

The final outcome of the completion would be based on the combined votes of the judges, with consideration given to the fan favourite. The latter was a decision made by casting your ballot (a white pebble) into the ballot box (a glass carafe) labeled with a restaurant’s name. The one with the most at the bottom would be the people’s champion.

Before we begin, just a warning: Between all the beers and shots I had, while trying to take photos and shoot videos, simultaneously carrying out my judging responsibilities; I did not capture all the footage I would have liked to, or even in a quality that was usable. Similarly, this post will not be in my typical thorough writing style, as I failed to take many notes. For once I lived more in the present, than trying to remember this day in the past.

But at the end of the day, it was a great event, and one I would love to attend again, hopefully returning as a judge, but if not, just to participate as an audience member would be nice.

The following wings are in the order in which their restaurant name was drawn and they were invited to cook and present.

First, representing the establishment we were currently in today was the “Lamplighter” wing. Inspired by chicken adobo, served with a cooling, tangy creamy dip.

Next was Mamie Taylor’s, who ended up wining third place for their Caroline style mustard wings with Kentucky bourbon, and pork floss topping. It looked cheesy, but tasted zesty.

The kitchen staff from the “Blarney Stone” took a more classic approach with their French cured wing in an orange Demi-glaze.

And last year’s champions “Bao Down” were back to defend their title with their Hong Kong style chicken jerky. Apparently within this competition they are known for their unique interpretation of the challenge. Here they removed the wing component completely, serving their chicken as jerky in a lettuce wrap topped with a Filipino style sauce and a pickled pineapple slaw.

The team from the “Metropole” pub were quick to finish their saucy wing coated in a sprinkling of crushed ketchup chips. They also added flair to the judge’s table by pulling out bottles of Smirnoff Ices from their pants and cracking them open for us to enjoy. We all appreciated a good bribe.

First place unanimously went to “Clough club”, six years competing and they finally won their first trophy, and first place to boot. Theirs was a pickled back wing that tasted like dill pickle chips. An unexpected twist accompanied by fried kale.

New to the Gastown area, and attending their first “Chicken Fight”, was “Crab Park”. Although, most notable for their seafood, they took this poultry challenge and made it their own. They prepared a salted caramel wing which held up. It didn’t necessarily pair well with the salty chowder. But when presented with a hot serving of chunky and creamy chowder in an edible bowl, we were happy.

And last, but not least was barbecue house, “Pekinpah”. They played off their strength and made a smokey wing. Cream soda braised bourbon wings, topped with a pickled jalapeño and peach salsa.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
What a fun way to dine: a dinner and an interactive show. I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for this one and joining the “Lamplighter” crew for year seven in 2018. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LAMPLIGHTER
92 Water Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1B2
604-687-4424
donnellygroup.ca/the-lamplighter
The Lamplighter Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wild Rice Market Bistro

This evening I was invited to a media tasting for “Wild Rice”, a new-ish restaurant by the waters of New Westminster. I remembered their original incarnation in Chinatown, and recalled leaving none too satisfied. Therefore was particularly interested in returning to them almost 4 years later (yes, I have been blogging for a very long time) to see if anything has changed, besides the locale.

The move has now made their restaurant a destination, and less a stop simply out of connivence, as they once were. Here, they are still within walking distance of the skytrain, but parking is limited and the distance to travel from Vancouver is a little out of the way. But it is a shame that this New West area doesn’t see more dining traffic, the whole waterfront view is lovely. And what a great place to spend some time at, after dinner, strolling the boardwalk.

When you walk in, the restaurant fronts with a little connivence shop. A cash desk behind a metal fence displaying their wares as you walk into their lounge. They sold bottled sauces, homemade rubs, and full leaf spices that they used in their cooking. And that after your meal, you might want to take home and recreate yourself.

The lounge was a dark space, kept romantic with strung up bulbs, two by two. The back wall displayed various sizes of metal woks. Under it, giant paper fans and some bamboo steamer lids balanced on their sides, it certainly spoke to the Asian influences of the restaurant; much like the Chinese newspaper they used to wallpaper the hall, on route to their row of single stalled washrooms.

The lounge area was flanked by their bar on the right, with a rotation of local and neighbouring beers on tap. And on the left their open kitchen, which is a point of pride for the restaurant. They have nothing to hide when it comes to their cuisine. So showcase themselves, and their chefs, with an open pass and a window on the side, that puts prep work on display. From chopping up fresh vegetables and sectioning out portions of noodles, to carving a whole pig down to manageable chunks for stews and stirfrys.

This transparency aligned well with the chef/owner: Andrew’s, belief in being sustainable, and keeping in touch with his local community. I enjoy these events most, to be able to create a report with such proprietors and to create a dialog on their vision. So was very happy to learn that Andrew had no qualms about sharing.

He prides himself on the fact that they purchase their produce from small family farmers, to keep the prosperity as centralized as possible. Everything these small farmers offer is natural and organic, an Andrew does regular site visit to ensure these standard are being maintained. He also invites the very same farmers into his restaurant to show them what becomes of their hard work, thus building a different relation of farm-to-table.

The restaurant also grows their own herbs out front, in planters. They simply stroll outside and harvest as needed. We each walked away with a bag full of fragrant chives, basil, rosemary, and thyme.

And they have preached and collaborated with the other surrounding businesses in organizing several garbage and recycling pick ups. This is so that all waste matter is properly disposed of, in the most eco-friendly way possible. Even their takeout boxes are eco-conscious.

Our group of eight was given a seat in their dining area, right at the back, under a living display of overreaching leafy and vine-y plants. The entire dining room was hung with red, white, and green lanterns. It gave the space a very whimsical feel.

Before we got down to eating, the owner/chef took the time to give us a bit of background information on his restaurant and its concept. He originally learned how to cook from his grandmother. She sparked the flame and he continued to fan it with an education at a French culinary school. So now, as a homage to his grandmother they serve their food family style, in large portions, divided between a handful of people. This is in her belief that food should be eaten at its optimum. One course at a time, as it is served fresh. Which was ironic today, considering that this was a gathering of bloggers and social media influences, and one of the things we do is take dozens of photos before digging in. And what is often the case, is that what we eventually eat is typically cold and far from optimum. None-the-less, given good reason, our group was more cogniscent of our cooked food, and therefore made every attempt to click fast and eat soon, in support of “grandmothers” ideals.

When it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

We started with their “House Salad” which was a mix of greens with cucumber, tomato, and toasted pecans; all coasted lightly in their mirin soy vinaigrette. I am not one for salad, but with a few trying bites, all I tasted was the vegetables, I was missing the dressing, and left looking for a vinegary tang.

The “Peking Duck Tacos” were made with Yarrow Meadows duck confit, house pickles, wonton ribbons, scallions, and a creamy hoisin sauce. It was spicy, then sweet, and ended salty. I liked all the textures and the crunch from the wontons, I just wanted more duck and for the tortilla to be made fresh, or at least heated up. You could tell it wasn’t by how great the filling tasted in comparison.

Their “Siu Mai Dumplings” are quickly becoming my favourite dish to recommend. They take a tried and true classic and give it a refreshing twist, a grown up and fancy take worth revisiting. New and clean made with local pork and shrimp and served with a scallion verde.

The “Chicken Skins” were fried crispy and served with more verde, pickled veg, and ponzu, for dipping. The ponzu gave you a salty light soy flavour, the pickle a tangy brine, and the verde offered some herbaceous-ness. Each was good in its own way, adding acidity to the otherwise greasy finish of this meat chip. Definitely great with their beers on tap.

The “Spicy Chicken Kung Po” mixed free run chicken, broccoli, twice cooked peanuts and rice noodles in a rich coconut sauce. The noodles were light with the refreshing flavour of coconut. And it paired well with the subtle peanut flavour. I just wished that the noodles were gummier, and a little less sniff, which then left me wanting more sauce for a stickier chew.

And for dessert we had a “Sticky Toffee Pudding”, it is normally a larger serving, but for a tasting, this was plenty. The pudding is half baked then finished off by steaming. Thus giving it a moist almost buttery texture. It is served traditionally with butterscotch sauce and a Tahitian vanilla ice cream scoop. Delicious.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
They are a great option for modern Chinese food in the area, a bit of a drive for those not in local to New West skytrain. A great addition to the neighbourhood, offering something different and exciting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

WILD RICE
810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster BC
778-397-0028
wildricebc.ca
Wild Rice Market Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Microplane, kitchen tools review

A non chef visits a showcase of kitchen tools and applies her amateur logic to the use of each one.

A good foodie loves a good kitchen gadget and I am as much of a foodie as a sharp stainless steel blade can cut. And a part of food blogging is exploring the tools you may need to prepare your own food at home; or in this case tools that would make preparing food and drinks for yourself, much easier at home.

So when I was invited to attend the “Microplane” showcase, I took the opportunity to see what I was missing out on, by having a sub adequate kitchen drawer with only a couple of utensils.

They had their entire collection of kitchen tools laid out, ready for demonstration on separate tables. And as the first and only person there right at door open, I got the whole speal all for myself.

They had peelers that you cup with any hand, and can swipe to peel from any direction. They looked like mason jar lids with serrated blades, and a punched through centre. I likened them to the wheels on luggage that you can roll in any direction.

The plastic tube was called the “veggie wedgie”. And using it with enough down force allowed you to chop softer fruits down to wedges for easy snack-ability. Basically kiwis and peaches because the fruit can’t have a pit if this is to work. And a grape would be too small and pointless.

I liked their “see an opportunity and fill the need” approach, but they lacked practicality when it came to storing all these extra and excess tools. A painstaking labour, if you don’t cook or eat at home often and have a small kitchen. Here, I started realizing that I wasn’t their core demographic and I was more suited to a showcase where ladles are shaped like the Loch Ness monster, and egg moulds allow you to fry your egg into the shape of a skull, that you can cross with bacon strips underneath.

However it didn’t stop me from continuing to enjoy all their unique and specific tools, with their single utilities. What they all had in common was how easy they were to use. Each demo was preformed with ease, like the tool for ginger below.

I was amazed that they had a tool just for ginger. It was a grate that was solely designed to shred ginger into a fine paste, but can also be used for garlic as well. Although who uses that much ginger that they would need this, i thought. Although it’s peeler on one end and blade on the other are very useful for peeling and chopping ginger, giving this a few more uses.

The three in one tool seemed like a good investment, as it is basically three different tools all in one handheld (to spell it out). But only for citrus fruit, which is especially useful at the bar when making a cocktail or two. It peels rinds into strips for garnish, it reams juice for mixing, and it also zests for flavouring. “Microplane” is noteworthy for positioning their blades in such a way that when zesting you don’t get any of the pith (the white part of the fruit, under the skin and before the flesh. It is most notably bitter.) I wish I made my own cocktails, and enough in a month to justify one.

Its companion tool was a round container that only zested rinds, but kept it all together within its covered pinch bowl holding. Once again a very specific use. This one is most beneficial on the counter of a baker.

There was also their ultimate bar tool, that only zested and peeled with the intention of decorating and accenting a cocktail in mind. Its channel knife made twists, its peeler gave you thicker cuts for flaming and peels, there was a strainer, you scored the fruit with one side of the tool, and stirred and muddled with the other.

The apple corer looked especially effortless when you don’t have to get a running start to pierce the fruit. Ideal for mothers of young children, slicing them fruit and for those who like to make apple pies.

And then there were the tools yet to be launched, with a fall release in mind.

Their herb stripper would be one of the only made from metal on the market. It comes with different gauges of holes, with larger ones that are ideal for removing leaves from stalks of kale. It also comes with a trimmer, in case you wanted to cut a little bit off and didn’t want to reach for a knife.

I found their new butter tool intriguing, living with a French Canadian who loves his butter, and learning that worst is needing some off a frozen block. This metal grating knife takes butter of the block and melts it for spreading on bread in the process.

And lastly their spice mill was large enough to fit whole nuts, and strong enough to shred them into a fine powder.

But it is their series of graters that have put them on the map, earning them the “Red dot design award”. They are the sharpest on the market using surgical stainless steel, thus making them very durable. They are packaged in such a way that you can see them for yourself, before purchasing.

So there you have it, some tools you may not have known existed and others you now know you need. All simple and easy to use, because who needs to work any harder and any more in the kitchen.

us.microplane.com

Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates: Burnaby Heights

I have had the opportunity to attend a handful of “Vancover Foodster’s” tasting plates events to date, and they have yet to disappoint. He is the only one in the city, organizing self directed tours in specific neighbourhoods, or for specific food types. Breakfast on the west end, tacos around town, and today it was discovering the Burnaby Heights area. These events not only allow you to taste, try, and discover new places; but it also gives local businesses some recognition that they might not otherwise get.

This is a ticketed event. Prices are based on restaurant participation, with applicable early bird rates. Each theme runs for one night only, and there is a set duration for when it runs. You are able to leisurely travel between destinations and eat at your own pace. But first, everyone begins at the same check in point.

Today that was the “Caffe Artigiano” in Burnaby. There, we all checked in and traded our tickets for maps. Until this point we didn’t know how many restaurants there would be, which ones were participating, and what they each would be offering. I was most excited to see that out of all the listed places, I have only been to one. Admittedly, despite this being in my neighbourhood, I don’t frequent the Burnaby heights area all that often. And after tonight, I realized I should.

At “Caffe Artigiano” they were serving roasted halves of sandwiches with your choice of filling between the likes of shrimp and sprouts in a croissant and pastrami on grilled focaccia.

They also had flaky savoury pastries in Parmesan and leak, and roasted tomato and olive oil. These were my favourites for their flaky and buttery shell.

For dessert you had a choice between brownie bites, a section of a lemon square, or half a giant chewy cookie. I went for the lemon square as I appreciate tartness in an otherwise overly sweet dessert.

And of course, this being a coffee shop, we each walked away with a small cup of coffee in either caffe latte, cappuccino, or an Americano. And despite the crowd, every milked based coffee drink included some beautiful latte art done skillfully. I don’t actually really like or drink coffee, but I will when there is aesthetics involved.

After eating at your own set pace, you clean up and head out to the next stop. Tonight’s festivities was all along the same few blocks on Hastings, so it was easy enough to travel back and forth between each. So one after another you move on and on, until you have visited and tasted from all six participating restaurants/cafes.

We actually didn’t eat at “Artigiano” first. Naturally, after checking in, you’d think to grab what they are offering behind their counter first. But the line to check in and then to eat had us strategically travelling to the restaurant furthest North. Then doubling back to “Artigiano” as our second stop, considering that they would be closing at 8pm, despite the event ending at 10pm.

So instead we started at “Romana Restaurant” first. The restaurant at one end, separated from the cluster of the others at the other. Our disappointment in this, our first stop, made us appreciate the generosity and notable flavours in all the others to come.

Like many of the restaurants to come, I wouldn’t necessarily think to visit them, if not for this event. So it’s a shame that our first impression of them wasn’t a better lasting one.

Despite us being one of the first groups to arrive, we weren’t served until after 30 minutes of waiting. And then we were given plates along side all those who came in well after we did. It turns out there was only one chef in the kitchen, and he prepared only one of each of the dishes that they were offering at a time. Each cut up and divided into many small, one bite servings per person. I know this was a “tasting plates” event, but a sliver of pizza isn’t enough to get a proper taste. And looking around the room, at the faces of everyone else getting the same thing set before them, theirs read the same as ours did: disappointment.

We weren’t impressed, and as our first stop it didn’t exactly instill us with much optimism for the places and dishes to come. Thankfully we would be wrong in our blanketed assessment.

The menu listed Kalamari, Humus, Chicken souvlaki, Spanakopita, Pizza, Meat penne, and Pork schnitzel. But as I mentioned, it only sounds like a lot. In reality you only get a bite of each, and three penne noodles. With so little to try, I didn’t have enough to form an opinion on anything. It tasted alright, but none of the morsels were satisfying alone or altogether.

Our wait was improved thanks to our decision to share a pitcher of their beer on tap for $13.98, otherwise it’a $3.99 for a pint. However one of our companions was given a dirty glass, and without paying attention, he pressed his lips against the dirty part of this glass. He ended up drinking from the exact place that a pink lip print was stained on. Either he was given a dirty glass or their washing machine isn’t working properly. Pretty gross if you ask me. And when I brought it to the attention of one of their servers, she took the dirty glass and said, “okay” with no apology and no concern. I was taken aback, especially as the restaurant was still fairly empty at this point. This is enough to have me steering clear of the place, despite my curiosity to try a proper serving of their food, and to actually learn if I actually liked what I had today.

Our next stop is the reason why I like participating in these tours. The “Gray Olive” is an example of what this event is all about. This is one restaurant I can’t wait to come back for, for breakfast. A restaurant I would not have known about if not for this “Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates”.

They are a dressy lunch spot with salads, sandwiches, and soup. Serving brunch with avocado toast and chicken with waffles. Tonight, they cleverly shut down their small space with limited seating, to their regular customers, in light of this event. Which meant, not only was the food good, but you had a comfortable place to enjoy it at. And their regular customers would not have their time here dampen by the crowd and noise that our tour group brought in.

Here, the tasting was like a full meal, miniaturized on a metal tray lined with parchment. A main, two sides, and a drink.

The “Roasted cauliflower salad” was most memorable. A collection of ingredients you wouldn’t think to assemble together, but it just worked. Curry roasted cauliflower with sweet potato, yam, red onion, raisin, apricot, and peas; all in a lime cilantro dressing. You don’t know what to expect going in and you can’t describe it, as you haven’t ever had anything like it. I would go back just for more of this.

The “G.O. potatoes” were crispy fried cubes of potato with soft melty centres. Lightly seasoned, they were best enjoyed with the creamy mayo-like side the smoked shallot aioli provided.

Most of us made “mmmm” noises when it came to the “Ruben sliders”. These three bite mini burgers came with the best corned beef I have had to date. “Corned beef” is a salt cured beef product. The end result of their house made version was a tender and salty slab of pinky meat. It paired nicely with sweetened caramelized onion, tangy sauerkraut, sharp Swiss cheese, and a zesty Russian dressing; that brought the slider all together with the addition of moisture.

And to complete the meal, you washed it all down with their refreshing and simple “iced lemon tea”.

Based on lines and wait times for other places, we headed for some dessert next. It helped to break up all the savoury flavours of the tasting plate before.

“Glenburn Soda Fountain” is a family run dessert destination. They specialize in classic 50’s style, in-house carbonated soda pops, bananas splits and hot fudge sundaes, and milky egg creams. They are always busy after the dinnering hour, no matter the day of the week. However, today even more so as they remained opened to the public during this event. Their four person work force (a father and his three daughters) were slammed weeding out their regular customers from those of us waiting with out tasting maps out.

Here, they generously offered three desserts to each diner, including a mini take out box filled with “assorted home style treats”. Carmelita bar (rolled oats and salted caramel), almond cornmeal bar, and butterscotch confetti bar (rainbow marshmallows). This was very thoughtful as many of us were getting full, and it was a nice option to be able to take these home to enjoy on an emptier stomach.

The two desserts to enjoy in house were the “lemon basil freezes” and “chocolate macaroon brownie sundaes”.

Lemon basil sorbet blended with lemon soda. It was a tart and refreshing slush, ideal for those who don’t like their meal to end on sweet. It starts fairly sour, but before you have time to comment on it as such, it hits you with a wave of sweetness right after.

A scoop of chocolate macaroon ice cream on top of a house made chocolate fudgey brownie, with toasted coconut and whipped cream. This one is for chocolate lovers with chocolate over chocolate. What sets it apart is the tropical flavour the toasted coconut in the ice cream and over the whipped cream bring.

Our last savoury stop was at “Broken Rice” for some fusion Vietnamese cuisine, and I wish we started off with this one as I really enjoyed the unique flavours we had, and it would have tasted so much better on an empty stomach.

It was a fulsome serving with a taste of a starter and two mains.

I liked the “prawn mango salad” the most, with its surprising pairing of tart and crisp julienne green mango, jicama, carrot, and daikon; with crunchy fried onions. The shrimp gave it more substance, but wasn’t essential. The salad and its citron vinaigrette and crushed peanuts held up on its own.

I could have used more duck in the “duck confit slider”. Otherwise it and the pickled carrots, daikon, carrot, cucumber, onion, cilantro, and ginger hoisin sauce tasted great. There was just more steamed bun than filling, to leave you wanting more flavour and more sauce.

I would also like to revisit their “can tho satay noodles”. Beef and rice noodle in a homemade satay soup with peanuts, coconut, lemon grass, and sesame. It was a uniting of ethnicities and their interpretations of soup noodles. Something special, with nothing else quite like it to compare to. Salty, sweet, savoury, spicy, and peanut forward. The meat was over cooked, whereas the noodles benefited from the extra soak in murky, neon orange broth.

And lastly we chose right in ending with “Fortuna Bakery” and their platter of sweets. Portuguese egg tart pastries, cake pops, mini New York cheesecake, and mini pastry puffs filled with either hazelnut, mocha, or vanilla custard. I appreciated each offer being the same, but with different little touches. Different slices of fruit on top of the cheesecake. And either a pink, blue, or purple fondant flower decorating the cake pop. They were delicious morsels to end the night on, fluffy and creamy without being too sweet.

 

And thus we closed out our night at this edition of Vanfoodster’s tasting plate. I recommend giving one of these events a try if you haven’t already. Do something different, and try some restaurants you might not otherwise think to.

 

Vanfoodster.com

Tastingplatesyvr.com

Takoyaki in the making

I was invited “Sarlo’s Awesome Eatery”, a hobby home cook’s renovated kitchen, where he and his friends are known for the preparation of over the top and delicious dishes. Where bigger is better and the camera eats first, just my kind of crowd. On tonight’s menu: the popular Japanese street snack, takoyaki. But with a twist, we would make the batter and balls from scratch, but give ourselves flexibility in our choice of filling. Not just octopus but wasabi, sharp cheddar, and even black garlic and chocolate would make an appearance in the cabbage and ginger balls.

As per the requirement of any Ron event, you pull up and sleeves and come ready and willing to you work for your food. The night began with prep work. The slicing, chopping, and grating of all ingredients needed.

To watch the video version of this, visit the link on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

 

 

Chopping up lettuce and picked ginger.

Slicing green onions and frozen octopus tentacles.

Shredding pieces of seaweed with kitchen scissors. And even making the mayo dressing from scratch with multiple egg yolks.

And the peeling and grating nagaimo, a type of Asian yam. When grated down, the finished product has a thick and stringy texture, much like semen, humorously. For a select few, having skin contact with it causes an allergic reaction, many break out in hives. I am lucky to not be one of those folks, as I did the job without consequences. Its starchy texture is used to help to give the takoyaki batter some structure and its defining melty chew.

The end result, multiple bowls filled with finely chopping meat and vegetables. And as I mentioned earlier, we were also creative in finding unique substitutions to fill our takoyaki with. This would later become a game of takoyaki roulette for us. A game of chance where you don’t know which ball of dough and its filling you would get, but you pick it up you eat it to find out.

 

But as prepared as our multiple bowls of coloured ingredients seemed, when it came down to it, actually assembling the takoyaki in its specially designed dimpled tray proved difficult. We needed some practice in the actual ball making.

It took us over five tries to get the dough and the cooking time just right. Whereas at the night market they make the process look so quick and easy. In reality it is a series of constant flips of the wrist and turns of the ball, as you rotate the dough into a round shape baking it to a golden brown hue.

The end, we had decently dressed and delicious octopus filled balls (and others) that I would charge money for. If you ever get the chance to, I suggest trying this cooking project yourself.

Match Pub, Penticton

When travelling with a more discerning diner, big chains such as this, are a safe bet. Plenty of options and international flavours to have everyone finding something they’d like.

The place was modern. It was well lit with vaulted glass ceilings and large windows. And felt new with its well varnished wood panelled walls and sturdy table and bar tops. There was plenty of space in between seats, across high tops, booths, and all around the island bar; so that the roar of the room didn’t hinder your privacy and any conversation you would be having with your co-diner.

Overall I found them a great addition to the area, and a great accompaniment to the new Cascades Casino; which just opened along with “Match” in Penticton, about a couple of months ago.

The huge space was well staffed with multiple hosts and servers. We weren’t kept waiting at the entrance, but instead, invited to prop up at the bar for more immediacy to our meal.

We came on a Thursday and took advantage of their Thursday food special, a pound of wings for $6. There were a handful of flavours including a coca cola BBQ and xo sauced wings. But my partner went for the tried and true honey garlic. They looked juicy with plenty of seasoning. A little on the small size, but at least the sauce to meat ratio was spot on. Had we known they were this good and how everything else compared to them, we would have simply gotten two servings of wings each and called it breakfast. (We came here for our first meal of the day.)

The serving is considerately accompanied by a dish of warm water and a couple of napkin tablets. Basically they are compressed paper towels that expand in water and function as a wet wipe to sanitize before your meal or clean yourself after it.

For his entree my partner got the “Chicken and waffles” and was disappointed; which is surprising considering that, according to their menu, this is their signature sandwich. Buttermilk marinaded crispy chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, bacon, maple bourbon aioli, stuffed between two Belgium waffles. The chicken was the only part about this that we liked. It was cooked fresh and breaded crunchy. A fact that was noticeable when compared to the soggy waffle that crumbled apart after your first bite into it. It lack a golden brown hue and the crispiness of a good toasted waffle, hiding a pillow soft and chewy centre. It was definitely frozen and thawed to order. It was so bland that we asked for a dish of maple syrup to give it some flavour and sweetness, as we expected from a platter chicken and waffles. Some more aioli or a thick smear for mayonnaise would have helped as well.

I on the other hand, have been eating too much junk food (as is typical when spending days and nights with my partner), so needed some fresh vegetables to cleanse. I found their “Big toasted veggie sandwich” most appealing for this reason. Roasted beets and portobello mushroom, hummus, goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and a crispy onion ring; served on toasted multigrain bread. Like my partner’s sandwich, this too was dry. The bread was very rough when compared to the texture of the soften vegetables. I needed more cream, spread, or sauce to pull it all together. The side of pickle slices and ketchup helped to add flavour, but not enough to have me recommend this. I liked the idea and the consideration to texture, but not the execution.

To it, I added on an order of onion rings as my side, choosing it over fries or salad. No regrets for the $3 more. They were nice and crispy, with a good audible crunch. They were not overpowering with thick cuts of onion turned slimy in the cooking process. Definitely this and the wings were the highlight of our meal. At this point I would recommend their appetizers over their entrees. Two for two, they seem like a better investment.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Your typical, casual bar type feel with burgers, nachos, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, rice; and everything in between. I suggest sharing appetizers and toasting with drinks. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MATCH PUB
201-553 Vees Drive, Penticton BC, V2A 8S3
778-476-8555
matchpub.com
Match Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 
 

To watch the rest of our trip: exploring nature and wildlife, visit the link.

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