VieAMaggi.com

Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Month: March 2021 Page 1 of 2

#StandUpForService with bcrfa.com

Year two of the pandemic and the world is slowly, but surely trying to piece itself together. More and more businesses are reopening and the hospitality industry is trying to lift itself up. That is why campaigns such as the following are more crucial than ever, and are in need of your help.

For those dining in or even taking out, BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association (BCRFA) is asking you to pay additional attention to those that interact with and serve you. And if you notice their sparkle and appreciate their extra attentiveness, please nominate them for their service at bcrfa.com. 

 

(The following is taken from the press release).

#StandUpForService is a collaborative effort by the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association (BCRFA), Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Save-On-Foods, and Town Hall Brands. Over the months of March, April, and May they are asking the public to share their stories of great hospitality by nominating an outstanding worker and dining experience. The hope is to help build positive momentum and encouragement for restaurant workers who go above and beyond to make diners feel safe and comfortable. Comfortable in a world still shaky on going out and socializing in public at a distance.

The goal is that for this 12 weeks program, outstanding restaurant workers from across the province will be recognized for their top-notch service at BCRFA.com. Each week, one outstanding server will be selected to receive a $100 Save-On-Foods gift card and a gift from Sumac Ridge Estate Winery. And at the end of the promotion, four individuals will be chosen to each receive a special Sumac Ridge Estate Winery gift pack and a $250 gift card to Save-On-Foods. These superstar restaurant workers will also be highlighted on the BCRFA and BC Tastes Better Instagram pages: @BCRFA and @BCTastesBetter.

So do what you can and recognize someone today, and let’s boost up and rejuvenate our bleeding restaurant industry, in a safe and sanitary way of course.

Fighter Chicken

As we enter year two of the pandemic, we are seeing the world adjust. With the shuttering of many restaurants we are also witnessing the opening of new fast food places and more quick and easy takeout establishments. And here is another one to add to the list.

Not much is more comforting, and can satisfy the masses like fried chicken. It’s one of those foods that doesn’t discriminate between ages or ethnicities. If you like chicken, then chances are you like it fried. And at Fighter Chicken, they are setting themselves apart with their halal, free run, and antibiotic free fried chicken. And not just chicken, they also have a slew of sides and burgers to satisfy any fast food specific craving.

I visited with Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld fame, as we have made it a point to try all the fried chicken that the Lower Mainland has to offer. Plus, this way we were able to try so much more of their menu between us: 2 burgers, 2 fried items, and 2 sides.

You bee-line it right down to their counter at the far back, to order. And linger until it is packed up and ready to go.

I wasn’t immediately impressed by the pale colouring of the breading on the chicken, and even less so on the fish. Luckily it didn’t translate. The chicken was clean and crispy without that heavy oil taste. And it impressively stayed that way, well after our food cooled. And it was still good the next day when I reimagined them as leftovers. It just wasn’t as juicy as how I would have preferred it. And the seasoning felt flat.

Similarly the fish held up, but left me wanting more. The breading remained in tact, hiding chunks of quality, flakey white fish under its thick layering. But as fresh tasting as both the chicken and fish were, I couldn’t help but feel they were missing a sauce or dip. We received a small container of sweet chilli sauce and a brown hoisin-like sauce, but they didn’t really suite. I had hoped for gravy with the chicken and a tartar for the fish. Something to add another layer to either, when you are on piece 2 and ketchup just doesn’t cut it. Especially as you have already squeezed as much as you can out from the packets and smothered it on the yam fries.

The yam fries were really great for fast food quality. Another clean deep fry that was more firm yam than crispy breading, which happens to be how I like it. But a mayonnaise based aioli or better yet, your choice of dips would have been ideal. Not only would it be a draw, but it would have me leaning towards ordering it again.

The popcorn chicken was a better side, although it tasted like all the other chicken items we had. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they could have added a zesty or spicy seasoning over this, thus making it completely new and different.

I liked the buttery buns used on their burgers, they added a nice contrast with their slightly sweetened taste. Other than that it was your standard lettuce, tomato, and onion assembly with a handsome amount of mayo. All of which was necessary to add freshness to an otherwise heavy handheld. Pickles and a slaw would have helped here. Or even some tangy mustard.

Similarly, the fish burger echoed the same sentiment. Heavy with a peppery mayonnaise. This was not what I was expecting, as I don’t think I ever had a fish burger without the tangy pickling of a tartar sauce, which I kept craving here.

In short, this isn’t your typical North American style fried chicken place. It has Chinese influences and nuances, and if you can keep that in mind, it is nice to have what feels like a healthier fried chicken option, amongst all the giant chains.

Fighter Chicken
8631 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6P 5A2
(604) 225-9518
fighter-chicken.business.site

Vermouth Martini presents Como Taperia

Missing the small plate sharing, tapas scene I was happy to be able to cease the craving today with Como Taperia, a Spanish tapas restaurant I have been meaning to check out.

I was gifted 2 boxes for 2 to go. Each equipped with 2 self mixed cocktails, 6 small plates, and a dessert. The goal was to showcase Martini Vermouth, and how it pairs well as a digestive for traditional Italian food. Plus how easy it is to mix in a variety of simple cocktails, making it great on this casual weekday with its lower alcohol content.

Martini Vermouth has been made in Pessione, Torino, Italy; the original city of the Italian Aperitivo for over 150 years. Martini Vermouth’s secret recipe with over 500 botanical samples is created at the discretion of their master blender for quality & consistency year over year. (As taken from Martini’s press release).

I would take my boxed goodies over to my friend’s place and bring girl’s night out, in. Some assembly was required as two dishes needed a good pan fry, and they were best when done right before eating. When done, we re-plated and brought everything together on a handsome tapas board with our Martini Dry cocktails.

The first of the latter was the V&T, made with Martini Dry spirit, cucumber bitters, and Indian tonic. You basically mix everything together over ice and garnish with cucumber slices. This was a refreshing and easy to drink cocktail. It made for a great start as an aperitif, and paired well with all the dishes to follow.

The second cocktail was SL’s Negroni 4.0, made with Martini Bianco, Lumette N/A gin, Wood Ciaro Amaro, and orange. Another easy mixer, but with a more complex flavour. We got woodsy and floral notes that evolved the more we put lips to glass. This served as a great drink to cleanse the palette with, and to end our sumptuous meal on.

The Shishito Peppers required a toss in the pan before eating. Such blistered green peppers are a staple at most tapas bars in Spain. You add oil to hot pan, over medium heat, then cook the peppers until they start blistering. Finally finishing them off with quality sea salt. These were so simple, yet turned out to be my favourite items in the box. I will have to buy some of these peppers myself and repeat this again at home. Or I can always just get it done perfectly from Como. I guess that is one of many reasons to actually try their dine in service.

Similarly the Jamon croquettes needed some time frying in a pan, before eating. Each log was stuffed with jamon iberico and breaded, then bound in a rich sauce. To get each golden brown and crispy, we heated vegetable oil in a pan, searing each side until the desired colour; making sure to not leave them in the oil for too long, otherwise they would explode. To finish, you dry them on paper towel to blot oil and cool. This was my second favourite small plate. They served as the only carb, and a much needed element to round out our meal with. Whereas a loaf of crusty buttered bread to use as dip and a base for the following would have been ideal. Especially with the octopus below and all its seasonings and herbs.

As for the croquettes they were crispy on the outside and had the texture of whipped mashed potatoes on the inside, speckled with the salty ham. It ate deliciously as is, but I couldn’t help but want a tangy dip to coat it in. All the flavours of these breaded sticks melds together, giving you a nice full taste of the ham, and not just cheese that over powers.

The rest are served room temperature, like the Gordal olives. These big and juicy olives were imported from Spain. With plenty of juicy flesh, these weren’t too salty. They were great to nibble on, and served as a fine pairing with our first cocktail as a rejuvenating agent.

We got more olives with the Glida. The classic Gilda is a simple assembly of guindilla (a type of chilli pepper), anchovies and olives, topped with quality Spanish olive oil. You eat it all in one go and get a burst of flavour for our efforts. Salty and tangy, this one will be good with a full bodied red wine.

The Goats cheese stuffed peppers offered some much needed sweetness to the assembly (outside of the dessert). Peppadew peppers stuffed with citrus whipped goat cheese. The sweetness of pepper and salty rich cheese meld well together.

The Galician style octopus was slowly poached then grilled, served with yellow German potatoes, anchovy verde, olive oil, and pimenton. This too was served at room temperature. Saucy with the oil and flavourful with the seasonings, you fully made out the texture and flavour of the cephalopod; and went back for more bite after bite.

For dessert we had the Arron Con Leche. This ate like a fun oatmeal, topped with juicy peach slices. Mildly sweet with a nice porridge-like texture it served as a great way to cleanse our palettes and end our meal on a satisfying note.

All together the food was on point, and everything paired well with everything else, and the drinks. This teaser taste definitely deserves a second go with a dine-in at the actual restaurant. I got a look around when I picked up my order, and noted how cozy the space was, and how the decor cleverly incorporated marketplace goods for sale. All definitely deserving of a repeat, Martini Dry drinks and all.

#martiniwithfriends
@martini
@comotaperia

Como Taperia
201 E 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 0B4
(604) 879-3100
comotaperia.com

Mooby’s Pop Up Vancouver

This St. Patrick’s day there isn’t much to do. With the pandemic lingering and an imposed alcohol sales curfew in place, many like myself aren’t celebrating the traditional way. (Traditional as in bar hopping and green beer drinking). So @monkeyeatsworld and I got our tickets to Vancouver’s latest pop ups. With so little going on socially, the chance to attend a unique event could not be missed. Naturally there was a premium for the experience, one we deemed worthy of patronage for novelty alone.

Hosted at the side lobby of the spacious Dublin Calling bar, they are making the most of the space. Fans of the movie references will appreciate the nostalgia. For those who don’t know, Mooby’s is the infamous fictional restaurant from Kevin Smith’s movies: Jay & Silent Bob and Clerks. To visit them you need to choose your meal and book your pick up time in advance. The “restaurant” is a counter where you pick up from. At the back splash a Jay & Silent Bob movie plays in silence. The rest of the decor is accurate to the movie, with purple walls that matched the Mooby packaging, their menu posted up, and a counter stamped with their mascot.

Each ticket is $22, it includes a Mooby’s Meal with your selections of a Moo Main + Salt Lick Side. Vegan & non-vegan options are available. Admittedly, this is pricy for a combo that doesn’t include drinks. And even though there is purple Mooby meal boxes and paper cups, they aren’t used for your meal. The branded merchandise is extra. $6 for the box, that I guess doubles as a collector’s item. Similarly, they also have cans relabeled as Mooby Beer. And if you want the whole shebang, they also have Mooby tee shirts, hoodies, and toques for sale.

Dining in isn’t an option, so we took our food in its paper bag to a local park.

Joyce got the vegan Beyond Burger Cow Tipper burger. This is 2 Beyond smashed patties, vegan cheese, pickle, chopped onion, and their MOOBY’s sauce. She finished her burger, but was left hungry. It wasn’t anything outstanding, just a run of a mill vegan burger.

My burger was similar: a standard patty and bun. This is the Cock Smoker Chicken Sandwich, and I ate it with gusto, given the quality of the chicken used. There was nothing wrong with it, but you just are expecting something with more personality, given the setting. Maybe something more sumptuous that a stoner would love, given the reference? At least my burger was saucy and tasty, dressed with plenty of hot sauce and mayo on top of buttermilk fried chicken and crispy slaw.

For sides we got the Onion Rings to rule them all. Another good, but nothing remarkable menu item. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was from frozen.

The same goes for the Hater Totz. Clean and crispy with the necessity for ketchup.

In short, this one is for the fans. Or for those who want to emerge themselves in another world, a more simpler world. This was a quick and fun way to escape an afternoon of reality.

Mooby’s pop up
moobyspopup.com

Kings Kitchen 京東, Peking duck special

I was surprised to learn that there is an authentic Hong Kong style restaurant downtown Vancouver; on the Granville Entertainment strip, of all places. Given the location, lack of parking, and immediate demographic, this is unexpected and definitely one of a kind in this area.

Naturally, the one to discover this gem is the knowledgeable Chinese cuisine enthusiast, @pickydiner. So I was excited to not only check this place out for the very first time, but to indulge in their new promotion: a Peking Duck feast, with him.

Starting on March 17th and running until March 28th, you and 3 in your bubble can indulge in a 6 course meal for $99. In doing so you are gifted a $50 gift voucher to put towards your next meal with them. Reason to come back and try the rest of their delicious menu. Be warned the special does require 24 hour notice, as it takes time to prepare a whole duck so thoroughly.

This is Cantonese style Peking duck, inspired by Peking’s traditional Peking duck. Where as the latter puts on a show, slicing it in front of you, and presenting the most uniform pieces of duck skin, this is the more speedy version. Quick and causal, Cantonese style Peking duck comes with all the classic accoutrements: the thin pancake, sweet bean sauce, and spring onion. You assemble each wrap yourself and eat it with gusto. This is a sumptuous dish that somehow always leaves me wanting more.

The actual duck meat is chopped up small, and mixed with crispy noodles and diced vegetables; to be used as a filling for a crispy and fresh lettuce wrap, with the same sweet bean sauce as above. Tie is one that leaves you wanting more. No other flavours and dishes like this.

The duck’s bones are used to make a duck soup with lettuce and tofu. This is a truly satisfying soup that warms you inside out. For those unfamiliar, the pile of bones on the side of the murky broth soup can be unappealing, but for those who grew up eating such bone broth soups, having the meat on the side allows you to easily gnaw on them with a dash of soy sauce.

Still hungry? They have you covered with the rest of the feast. Classic Chinese dishes done wonderfully with quality ingredients and bold flavours.

If you are just coming in for one dish, let it be the sweet and sour pork. Each juicy nugget of crispy pork is heavily coated in a sticky neon red sauce, along with coloured peppers, onions, and pineapple for freshness. Great as is, but better with rice to help soak up all that gooey sauce.

When at a Chinese restaurant, why go for plain white rice when you can have it fried with shrimp, bbq pork, and veggies. Yet another classic done well, that did not disappoint. This dish also rounds out the meal, to ensure you leave utterly full.

Looking for something lighter, the fish and green peas dish offers a break. Crispy vegetables and fish that easily melts under the thick clear gravy.

Overall, this is a great feast and easy to order for those who are familiar or unfamiliar with Chinese cuisine. Where else can you find something so authentic downtown Vancouver? Not to mention the terrific promotion to get your through the door.

Kings Kitchen 京東
1149 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1M1
(778) 379-0538
kingskitchen.ca

Happy Singh Street Eats

Looking for more food after our initial meal, we ventured across the street to Happy Singh, a fast food restaurant serving Indian street food.

Walking in, I didn’t know what to expect. But simply taking it all in from the threshold it quickly became an exciting experience. The decor is modern and fresh, the space large and inviting. The accessibility of it all, made more welcoming by the helpful staff and a picture focused menu that made Indian food approachable for those unfamiliar. Point in case came from the heavy rotation of ethnicities that ventured in after us, and ordered to go.

You place your desired order through a kiosk, and it prints out your receipt and individual order slips, after payment. You then take said slips to the appropriate counter, where an employee assembles your order. When ready your order number is televised and you are beckoned to pick up your food on a plastic tray. From there you assemble all your dishes at your chosen table and eat.

The following is what we had, based on my guest’s preference and suggestions. All except for the Bun samosa cocktail, which I had to try out of novelty sake. It is exactly what it looks like: a potato samosa sandwiched between a bun with a smear of mint chutney and tamarind chutney. It tasted okay, but it could have been better. The bun was incredibly oily on its exterior. Although the samosa was good, it wasn’t enough to be the main filling of this burger. I needed a different texture to maw through, some pickled vegetable or a protein, if not just more of either chutney spread. Even the side of regular potato chips and ketchup packet would have help as a filling.

I liked the pageantry put into their drinks, from the use of the glass milk bottle, to the striped straw, and the finishing touches in the form of a salted rim and sprinkled dollop of whipped cream.

The Mango peach original is a blended smoothie with the likes of mango and peach fruit. Creamy and rich, it is sweet enough to be considered a dessert. The Gajar halwa badam shake is a delicious carrot and almond Indian dessert, blended and made into a shake. I enjoyed this the most out of the three we ordered. The Tamarind peach lassi is more yogurt focused, and therefore a lot more tangier than the other two shakes above. Not a lot of peach flavour, and you don’t get much tamarind outside of the rim.

My favourite dish that we had, had to be the Gol gappa. I have had it before from other restaurants, but I have always just mixed and matched the water and ingredients myself. So to have it done with a perfect ratio, by someone who knows what they are doing, makes a world of difference. The crispy, hollow round is broken into. You then carve out a hole and fill it with the accompanying ingredients. Then finish by pouring in the mint and/or tamarind flavoured water to your tastes. Then in one bite you take it all into your mouth, and with lips closed bite down. The result, a flood of flavoured water married with a crispy crunch. Both fun and tasty to eat.

The Pau baji is popular in Mumbai. It is a mashed vegetable curry seasoned with lime and onions. Served with two buttered buns, it reminded me of an Indian sloppy joe. The veggie mix even had a chunky meaty quality to it. I just wished it had more salt and seasoning to it.

The Tawa tikki is potato croquettes seasoned with Indian spices. Served topped heavy with a mint cilantro chutney, sweet chutney, beaten yogurt, and onion. It ate like a potato salad, you only need to do all the mixing yourself. This had a great assembly of contrasting flavours and textures, from the spicy chutney to the cooling yogurt, and refreshing pomegranate. Finished with a nice crispy topping.

The great thing about ordering all these small plates and sharing them amongst a group is that not only do you get to try them all, but you also get to mix and match flavours and sauces from all the dishes, as they are all complimentary.

In short, this was a fun place for causal Indian snacks and food. An approachable menu and friendly staff makes this a great place to learn and try more of the cuisine. I recommend it for tasty eats and a good time!

Happy Singh
8821 120 St, Delta, BC V4C 6R6
(778) 578-6666
happysingh.com

Saravana Bhavan

On a whim my guests and I decided to go out for an early dinner after work. Seeing as we were in the area by Surrey, and I don’t often get out there, let alone know where a good place to go for Indian food is; We decide to go to one of my guest’s favourite vegetarian Indian spot. Here, I would get a crash course in South Indian cuisine.

Two of us arrived early and were forced to wait for our third party member to arrive. In the meanwhile we decided to grab a couple of drink to pass the time. We had to ask for the drink menu despite the bar being so prominent in the dining area. Then when we had questions, the gentleman who seated us wasn’t able to explain what went into any given cocktail. And simply excused himself saying that the bartender was on break and it would only be a 5 minute wait in order to order a drink.

20 minutes later we were still waiting. The gentlemen never cared enough to return to check in on us. We weren’t asked if we wanted to order anything else as we waited. When a young girl finally arrived, we were no longer in the mood or interested in getting a drink. The service soured our experience and the lack of care explained the decor. The entirety of the restaurant seemed unkept. From the waving Santa figure by the door in March, with the matching Christmas orbs to match. To the giant slouching teddy bear and empty bar, lacking bottles.

Nonetheless my friend vouched for the food and agreed that the service culture isn’t there. The following is what we ordered as recommended by her: traditional South Indian dishes. All three are basically dough focused items used for dipping.

Idly steamed rice and lentil patties served with chutney, sambar, and idly podi. Dry and cakey, these were tasteless rounds that you peel and dip into either the spiced vegetable side, the spicy sauce, the cooling coconut mix, the refreshing mint one, or the tangy tamarind dip. Or all of the above, all together, as our host recommended. The sensation of using your hands to eat is certainly part of the experience, added with the option of mixing and matching flavours.

The Onion masala dosa is a thin rice and lentil crepe stuffed with mashed potatoes and onions. My guest recommended unrolling the crispy crepe then smearing the filling evenly across it, before rolling it back up and pinching off what you want. Smaller bites to dip into the same assembly of sauces above. Similar flavours, but with a greater crisp in the base, and a more filling entree overall.

I liked the Channa batura the most. This was a large puffed fried bread served with a chickpea stew. It comes looking like a pillow, but quickly deflates. It has a similar feel to roti; where you pull, peel and use it as a base to the bounty of chickpeas on the side. The latter was incredibly tasty, but a little more on the spicy side for me. The side slices of cucumber and green onion did help to add some freshness and beat the heat.

As a whole, it was a great experience to try these dishes, although I wouldn’t necessarily travel all the way for this, and would rather give my business to a place that is more appreciative of it.

Saravana Bhavan
8701 120 St, Delta, BC V4C 6R4
(778) 578-7575
saravanabhavan.ca

Kumare Express

Looking for something heavy and satisfying we looked to Filipino cuisine; driving to Joyce sky train station, where such a community exists and the food is fairly authentic. There are a few restaurants all lined up in a row, the hard part is figure out which one to walk into, and what to get when you don’t know what is good, or what anything is. Especially when they don’t list the ingredients and dishes are labelled with names like “pinakbet” and “bopis” and you order by looking past the sneeze guard at full trays of miscellany.

Luckily I had a guide to all this and simply took their lead. Normally, I would be too intimated to venture into such an establishment, not knowing the culture, not speaking the language, and feeling out of place in general. You felt like everyone knew everyone and the casually clothed staff didn’t have the time to explain to you what anything was. At least they had an electronic menu of items made to order. If you could make out the fine print, you knew what to ask for. Or better yet, just ask for a chaperone. This is definitely one of those take out places that serves its immediate demographic.

The following is what we had, based on what my chaperone was craving.

Pork bicol express is a spicy pork stew cooked in coconut milk. You definitely make out the creaminess in the sauce. Thick and rich, you coat your rice in it and it is enough. Helpful, as meat was inconsistent, some chunks were all fat, others all dry. However, the flavour was so good that it didn’t make much of a difference, in my opinion.

We also ordered Sizzling sisig. Sisig is a Filipino dish made from parts of a pig’s head and chicken liver, usually seasoned with calamansi, onions and chili peppers. Having to take it out, you don’t get to enjoy it actually sizzling.

So I suggest taking it home and re-baking it in the oven until crispy. Then making it more saucy by stirring in a raw egg. Naturally, this is better warm so that the meat is tender. When it cools down it becomes a harder chew. With its high salt content and flavourful ginger strands, this makes for a great dish to have with beer. I personally liked it with rice and/or the Filipino style congee below.

Goto is one of the items that they make to order. Beef tripe and tendon in a sticky rice porridge, served with a whole boiled egg, and topped with fried garlic. This is the most flavourful congee I have ever had, with plenty of salt and garlic. It was thick enough to eat with a fork. I especially liked the chunks of tripe and intestine to chew through, with the silken porridge. It ate like a full meal, so comforting that I can see myself craving this again. Great for breakfast or a sick day in.

I never knew Filipino food was so tasty and diverse, this is a great gateway to trying something that might not look all that tasty, but is worth recommending.

Kumare Express
5183 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G8
(604) 564-6338

Whistler Blackcomb in the 2021 Nissan Rogue

Last year I have taken up a lot of new hobbies. One, to help pass the time in a world of a pandemic. And two, to continue to learn and grow, despite the world being on standby. But I digress. One such hobby I have proudly latched on to us snowboarding. So when getting restless and in need of an escape, I looked to my board and began planning a little snowboarding trip to Whistler. The two hour drive is enough kilometres to be classified as a much needed getaway. A getaway during the dreariest of all the months: February.

 

And any extended drive deserves the proper vehicle, so we loan the 2021 Nissan Rogue in a champagne hue, and off we went. With its spacious cargo room, back seats that fold down, and a covering to keep your cargo discreet; the Rogue was an asset on this excursion, where we had to transport our multitude of equipment to and fro.

From eco mode getting out of the city and on to the highway, to sport mode on the sea to sky, and finally snow mode when we got into Whistler Village; the Rogue handled all the terrain we threw at it, and well.

We set out from Burnaby a little after 9am, planning on catching the last few hours of the mountain’s opening. Whistler Blackcomb is only open from 8:30-3:00pm. This is so that if anyone goes missing they have the time to search for them before nightfall, as the mountain is huge and there is a lot of terrain to cover in a rescue search.

 

Tickets aren’t cheap, but they are guaranteed. If you don’t end up using them for whatever reason, you simply get a refund for your troubles, no questions asked. At the other ski hills I have visited, all sales are final regardless of circumstances. So we booked the Friday and the Saturday, with the option to cancel on the latter depending on the weather conditions and how we felt after a day of boarding.

Snowboarding is a tiring sport, you can only do it for so long. And as a beginner, who is still working on her heel and toe, even less so. We would take the main gondola up to the very top and from there take the green whiskey jack trail mid way, thrice. Doing so before going all the way to the bottom and finishing off at Whistler Village, for our last run. And at this point I was spent. Multiple breaks were necessary and the need to sit and be off my feet, plenty. The result: a tiring and constructive day with the sore muscles and jelly-like limbs to prove it. Well worth it if you are going to maximize a $150 or so ticket to ride and board. In consideration of our fatigue, we decided to make our two day into one (getting our refund in full from customer service, with no fuss, no muss).

This experience is well worth it in my opinion. If not so once a year, once in your life time. Whistler is a five star ski resort that ski and snowboard enthusiasts travel great distances for. Why not take advantage of what is in your very backyard? The views and the surreal feeling of being on a giant mountain, such as this one, is like no other.

And then there were the one of a kind weather conditions. We witnessed mini blizzards and tornadoes to shake us on the chair life, and to chase and board along with. Both of which I doubt is available at a smaller mountain. This is an experience that is worth the travel time for. Especially after I learned that the tornadoes are called snow devils, and deemed a very rare occurrence.

And if you plan things right, you can end your day with a drink and a snack and one of their many patios. The one at the very end of the village, with a view of the mountain base is Longhorn’s. We grabbed a two top on the patio and relaxed with a couple of pints in amber and blonde ale. And accompanied it with carbs in a classic gravy soaked poutine and breaded chicken strips with more fries. I can think of no finer way to end our tiring day, other than being seated by one of their fire pits for ambiance.

From there it was check in at our hotel. We would spend the night, anticipating a second day on the slopes. So reserved one of the least expensive suites, from one of the hotels closest to the gondola.

We choose our stay at Whistler Village Inn and Suites, liking the idea of one of their studios. Which included a patio, fire place, living room space, and kitchen to utilize during our evening stay. All this only to realize that the patio view is of a back alley. The fire place only takes real wood logs, (no one has those lying around). The living room included some of the most uncomfortable sofas and chairs with little back support and not enough butt room to be able to fully recline. And the kitchen housed some of the most worn out appliances. Not to mention I had trouble looking for cutlery and dishware, wondering why they didn’t have any in a studio they advertised with kitchen; only to realize everything was in the dishwasher and not put away.

And then there was the space saving Murphy bed that we folded down. It was not firm enough, but I am sure better than the fold out couch. The pillows were decedent, but I wanted better than the two scratchy throws for blankets. Luckily with the heat cranked on full, warmth wasn’t an issue.

Noise was though. Each suite shared an entry way with another, and it wasn’t sound proofed. We could hear our neighbour’s comings and goings, as well as their louder conversations. Just like I am sure they could hear us playing video games into the wee hours and watching television to sleep to, to drown out their sounds.

The suite met our one night needs, though truth be told, I will spend more for a better experience and accommodations in the future. At least the washroom was clean, the towels were plentiful, the shower head had good pressure, and the hair dry plenty of heating power.

For dinner and breakfast the morning after, we would grab some premade food from the Fresh St. Market, at the heart of the village. A full rotisserie chicken, a hard and raw potato salad, and a cheesy sun dried tomato penne for sides. This was paired with plenty of tea, boiled water, and Gatorade to replace our spent liquid and electrolytes from today’s workout.

For breakfast it was a ham and cheese sandwich with pickles, enjoyed with hotel brewed coffee, served with their cream powder and sugar.

Then it was time to check out and stop for provisions, for our drive back home. Pure bread is the local’s go-to for savoury and sweet pastries and bread, paired with a large hot chocolate with marshmallows. We grabbed a box of goodies that included a sundried tomato brioche, their nutty brownies, a cream filed cinnamon and sugar bun, and a lemon and pistachio frosted cake.

And so ended our quick getaway, with warm and safe drive home in the 2021 Nissan Rogue. Taking advantage of the empty roads and the clear skies, pulling over from time to time to take it all in. Sometimes you need to travel a little to appreciate what you have in the comfort of your own home. Thank you Nissan Canada for the great cruise.

Straight and Marrow eatery + bar

Seeing as outings are less commonplace now, the ones you do take, have to count. And this is case in point. Today we were at the well received Straight and Marrow, a restaurant known for using lesser known animal parts and unsung ingredients, and featuring it on a plate. Basically the way I like to eat: the weirdest and most different menu items available. Although be warned, you are paying a premium on the scarcity.

The space is narrow with there being even less room now due to covid restrictions. The bar is behind plexiglass, should you sit there. Similarly the chefs work at the back behind plexi, but within plain sight, plating and staging with precision.

When it came time to order, we looked to their specials board, ordering 3 out of the 5 options based on protein alone! Frog, skate (similar to a sting ray), and pork in a cocktail. The latter was called the Porkolada. A tropical cocktail made slightly savoury with bacon rum and finished with a prosciutto crisp. It basically tastes like a sweet piña colada with pineapple, orange juice, and coconut. I just wish there was more bacon flavour in the mix. I expected and wanted it more savoury like a haiwanian pizza.

My guest got the Bent, Not Broken cocktail; featuring Tanqueray No. 10 gin, vodka, lemon infused lillet blanc, and charred rosemary olive oil. It is stirred, not shaken, and twice burnt. This one is a show stopper with a torch and a fire show. The result: a strong basil finish with oiliness.

His next one was the restaurant’s name sake drink: The Straight & Marrow, that came with a story. The creative bartender combined wine and left over beef broth on a whim and thus this one of a kind cocktail was born. Marrow infused mongrel, B&B, orange, lemon, beef stock, red wine, Miss Betters black pepper, and black cardamom bitters. It was described as being complexed, and it delivered on that. This was a drink that kept changing in your mouth. It started savoury and rich with plenty of warmth form the bone marrow. Then ended, leaving you with a refreshing last note.

From there my guest took his drink to the Inverse Boilermaker. This was a more classic stiff drink, made with Bulliet bourbon, spiced porter reduction syrup, and fig.

As for food, the following is what we ordered, in the order that it came in. This is the fried skate wing with celeriac slaw, guanciale-tomato vinaigrette, and brown butter powder. Skate is like a mantra ray. Its flesh is similar to white fish, but more fibrous. You didn’t taste it, but instead the batter that coated it. The skate had a clean flavour, and a safe one for those fearful of trying something new. It reminded me of a dressed up fish and chips; just missing the tangy tartar sauce. Commercial, subtle, and easy. It just needed some salt.

If the skate wing was like fish and chips, the Frog N’ Grits was like fried chicken. It was prepared with a Creole sauce made with lardon, garlic scapes, and green onion on creamy polenta. With the small bones it ate like chicken feet, but what little meat you got was super tasty for a small plate. I found the garlic scapes noteworthy, they reminded me of green beans, in fact I thought they were until I had to write this review.

The Tongue in Cheek was a clever name for this plate centred around beef tongue. Crispy Beef Tongue, Braised Beef Cheeks, and a Root Vegetable “Risotto”. If you didn’t know this was tongue meat, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was with the way it was sliced and presented, like art. As for how it ate, the initial flavour reminded me of spam, salty then gamey before it dulls and blends in with the diced vegetables. This was as memorable as the others, especially in comparison to the bone marrow below.

This was a large bone dressed with Chicken Cracklin, Pickled Shiitake, and Porcini Dust. You dig and gouge fatty oils from the halved bone and smear it over a hard crostini. It is so rich and sumptuous that you really can’t have too much, therefore it is best to share. I do suggest that you elongate your bone marrow experience by adding on the Cognac Luge option to your dish.

You order a shot of cognac to be able to take by way of a bone slide. To do this you need a friend. You hold the hollow bone to your lips and have a buddy pour the cognac into it. You then slurp and sip the liquor that mixes with the excess fattiness that is still left on the bone. The activity itself has you concentrating on precision and less on the flavour of the spirit. But it is still worth it as the feat is just as fun as the drink.

In short, this is a unique restaurant with a one of a kind concept. A great interactive dining experience that has you trying something new that you may otherwise not get to, or know that you even wanted to.

Straight & Marrow
1869 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1H8
(604) 251-4813
straightandmarrow.com

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén