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

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Oshpaz, Uzbekistan cuisine

With the unpredictable and sudden nature of Covid this last year, a lot of people have had their lives disrupted and uprooted. Many have lost their jobs, and only a few have been given the opportunity to pivot. In comes new local, family-owned business. Small mom and pop shops operating out of their own kitchens homes for supplemental or sole income. I don’t know much about their legality or how they operate, so when Oshpaz serving out of Surrey approached me, I was happy to have them be my first such experience.

They promised an introduction to the “flavours and culture of Uzbekistan” through their cuisine. A nation and people I know nothing of, and certainly was curious enough to want to try. “ Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia. It is surrounded by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the south-west.”, as taken from Wikipedia

Precovid, this small batch operation had its eyes on popping up at farmers markets, and introducing their unique food there, before going mobile in a food truck. This dream would eventually lead them to a brick and mortar restaurant, serving the authentic Uzbekistan cuisine and experience. However, with their plans stalled, they waited a year before coming to the to conclusion: why wait? So here they are currently, offering take and out and delivery options. And as this is their soft launch, and they are still working out logistics, and therefore their menu is limited. As such, the following is what we had.

Pick up was from the owner’s house. The food was packed up with utensils and spices. Although traditionally, the cuisine is enjoyed with hands, eaten with the entire family, sharing from one large platter, all on the floor. Having heard this and a few other traditional dining intricacies, we decided to replicate what we could.

As per said traditions we began with dessert to warm up our appetites. This is “medovik”, a popular Uzbek dessert made with walnuts and honey. Despite all the cream between thin layers of flakey crumble it wasn’t too sweet. I can see the honey helping to strike up the appetite. And this was a nice start to our meal

From there you transition to your main, accompanied by a dense loaf of bread coated with olive oil and plenty of salt, called “non”. It offered texture and tastes breaks from the rice and meat below.

The national dish of Uzbekistan is “plov” it is a rice dish made with carrots, chickpea, and garlic. With Oshpaz you get your choice of protein between chicken or beef. We had one of each for two people. Comparing the two, you get more meat with the chicken, four pieces of breast meat to ration amongst all the rice below; as opposed to the only two pieces of beef. Therefore it is no surprise that my critique includes more meat than rice, and for the meat to be less dry by way of a sauce or a spread. Although the heavily oiled rice did help as a lubricant, and when you are reheating it later, you only need to pour it all into a pan and fry. The rice is definitely the highlight, I appreciated all the garlic used and the even distribution of spices.

And last was Uzbekistan‘s most common salad. An undressed serving of cucumber, tomatoes, and onion, with salt and pepper to taste. The goal with this is to add some freshness and cleanse the palette from all the garlic above.

As a whole, this was comfort eating, familiar flavours done with slight variations to make it new to your mouth. A great new experience to add to my foodie repertoire, though a little inconvenient to travel to, from where I reside in (Burnaby to Surrey). Here is hoping that they gain popularity and can offer their food on delivery apps, after all where else can you find Uzbekistan cuisine in the Lower Mainland?


Tonight was our monthly blogger get together, we choose a restaurant that many of us have yet to visit and were prepared to feast. It is enjoyable dining with like minded people, those who value the experience and the trying of fine foods at a premium cost, like I do.

Tonight’s destination was chosen based on one of our group’s previous visit. She wrote a glowing review of their pasta that she tried, enough for us to want to visit, and for her to try more of. Plus, “Scout magazine” declared “Cinara” as the place where other Vancouver chefs go to dine, and that you can typically spot them at the bar.

In actuality “Cinara” will be no more after this year. It will still be the same restaurant in an essence; the same chefs, management, and owners. Only its name will change and a few cosmetic upgrades will take place within. Their new title marks the redefining of their brand, in parallel to their sister restaurant. Much like the planned extension of their bar and an update to their lighting. I hope the latter includes making them brighter, I found it impossible for my eyes to adjust to the romantic ambience with its soft orange glow.

The restaurant was simple. All white walls hung with rectangular mirrors, wood under elbows and under foot. We were seated smack dab in the centre of the dining area, and my seat gave me the perfect vantage point to peer into their open kitchen. It attracted your eyes, given how white it was, and how well-lit with florescent bulbs it was. Stainless steel shelves surrounded the casual dressed team of chefs. The were comfortable in tees and ball caps, working together in unison. Utensils hung over them and the island kitchen counter they shared. Throughout the night, I continued witnessing multiple hands go to plate and dress one dish with superb teamwork.

We all agreed to getting their 6 course $75 tasting plate, a requirement being all of us had to want to. It promised dishes from off the menu and a couple that isn’t. However, I found it more like a couple of dishes that strayed from the fine print of the menu. This was just a cost effect way to try smaller portions of the same dishes that you can order a la carte, and it looked like it too.

We began with some bread for the table. A half loaf of their fresh baked sourdough, served with whipped butter and Kosher salt. It had a crunchy crust, made dryer with its coating of flour that clung to the roof of your mouth. The centre of the bread was spongy and chewy, flavoured with that tell-a-tale faint sour tang that sourdough has.

It was here Picky Diner taught me that bread to start not only serves as an intermission to the meal ahead, but you can also ratio it on your side plate to use throughout your meal. Rip a piece and it becomes a base for the tartare, another helps sop up some sauce, and most of the time it serves as a palette eraser, setting your tongue and taste buds back at 0.

Next we were treated to an amuse bouche, a small bite that serves as a glimpse of the chef’s style and the meal to come. And it spoke true. I found this chicken liver pate both rich and overly salty, as I did everything else that followed it.

Chicken liver parfait on a crispy sourdough flatbread with their own house fermented cornishons. It was highlighted by our server as one of the four things that never changes on their ever revolving menu. I loved the presentation, but you definitely had to spread the parfait over the cracker with your butter knife first. The pate was overwhelmingly strong, just as much as the pickle that choose to battle it with its own tangy strength of flavour. I liked the smooth velvety paste, it made for a great contrast to the crunchy cracker with large air bubbles; resulting in a dense and salty start.

Given the next course was creamy buratta cheese, I expected it to be underwhelmed by the course above. In actuality this was the most rich cheese dish I have ever had.

Burrata cheese delivered from Italy on the day, served with a smear of preserved and fresh plum purée, and drizzled over in their best balsamic, best olive oil, and cracked pepper. The salty plum purée drastically changed the taste of the cheese. I found myself separating it on the plate as it really added nothing for me. And instead I made effort to smooth gummy cheese into the sweet balsamic. Here, I missed the usual raw tomato pairing. Foodgressing was impressed then puzzled by the sheer quantity of cheese that we got on each of our plates. It really didn’t leaving you wanting more. Here, the bread above came in quite handy as a base to balance out the creamy texture, it also played a similar function for the tartare below.

House ground strip-loin beef tartare with pickled pear and creme fraiche. Finished with a dusting of herbed bread crumb, salt, pepper, and olive oil. It too was salty, but I enjoyed the refinement of the dish a lot. Fresh and free falling on the plate, whereas typically it is severed tightly packed and towered.

The “Pacific halibut cartuccio” was explained as fish wrapped up in parchment then baked in the oven. It is prepared with potato, carrot, and escarole; poached in plenty of butter. Once out of the oven it is topped with aerated potato cream; before it is presented before you, still in the parchment. Everyone agreed that the fish was over cooked, it flaked in chunks and was as dry as it felt under the pressure of your fork. The foam cream and the pond of butter did help in this regard. I ate the fish as to not waste it, but I didn’t enjoy it, nor the bone or something sharp that I accidentally swallowed. I only realized I did so as I felt it slowly and painfully creep down my throat. The best part of this dish was the potato. It was buttery and tender, and wasn’t too salty. Overall it felt in complete, like you were missing an element to help round out the dish.

The pasta course was the best course, and the first time I have ever had Tortelloni, a larger version of tortellini. Instead of a small rounds, these were boat shaped crescents with plenty of firm dough surrounding the tightly packed centre. It had a good flavour, but too salty with butter and the shards of Parmesan. Four each was plenty as without a side I could see the flavour growing tiresome.

The braised pork collar was a shoulder cut served with a cipollini onion, cannelloni beans, apples, chanterelle, and Brussel sprouts. The meat had a great texture, but I didn’t find the taste all that dynamic. It was flat with a meaty flavour, surrounded by a collection of vegetables offering their texture to the flaky meat. I preferred it to the grainy lentils and the slightly bitter chanterelle mushrooms.

Dessert was a strong end to a strong meal, whereas I wish I got something a bit more refreshing to wind down on. Salted caramel tart with crushed pine nuts and a dollop of apple purée. It was decadent and sweet, and I liked the slightly chilled temperature it came at. This sliver was plenty for me.

I called ahead and made the reservation, so in doing so, requested something special of one of us, who had just celebrated a birthday. The result, a lone candle on Foodology’s dessert plate. Given the velocity of the spinning fans overhead, it arrive cloched by a wine glass and she was told to blow it out quick. Given our commitment to the meal it would have been nice to have the moment a little more special.

I am glad we got the tasting menu as to not commit to full servings of each course. With it, it felt like we got regular portions doled out six ways. It didn’t look like much, but altogether plenty of food. Although if you add up each individual course we had (including 2 servings of the bread and the complimentary amuse bouche) it would total to approximately $162, around $32 each. I feel we would have been just as satisfied sharing all the above five ways and saving on the $75 per person charge for a little larger bites.


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.
Having our last tasting menu serve as such a success in value and taste, then comparing it to the dinner before, things fell flat. I would like to see what their rebranding yields, however, based on this meal I don’t feel the need to revisit. We tried plenty and nothing really stood out. The pasta was good, but as are others at other restaurants offering their own homemade version. I did like the presence of who I assume was the manager. He was great at explaining each dish that came before us, even slowing down so I could gather more notes than what the menu offered. He was also the one that took the time to run through the future of “Cinara” for us. Don’t deny your cravings.


350 West Pender Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1T1
Cinara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

De Dutch, Robson

I am fairly familiar with the “De Dutch” chain, having been to, and written about several of their locations. This is just one I didn’t know was here on Robson Street. Located in a much smaller place than the others I have dined at. It was like a miniature version, not unlike their pannekoek we tasted today.

To read about my first experience with a “De Dutch” pannekoek house, and learn more about a pannekoek click below.

De Dutch

Today I was visiting as part of the @vanfoodster downtown brunch crawl, as the plus one to local food blogger David of “Picky Diner“. This was the second stop, and a second chance for those attending to try something they may not otherwise consider. The “Brunch Crawl”, featured five restaurants located downtown on Robson and Denman street. At each location, for the paid a forehand fee of $50, all registered diners would get small tasting plates from participating restaurants. Two to four bites of a dish they themselves can order during any breakfast or brunch with them.

The restaurant was partially tiled in their trademark orange and yellow hues, reminding me of candy corn. The other half of the restaurant was decal-ed in windmills. The colours of grey and yellow matching the scribble carpet pattern under foot. There are three rows of tables, and thanks to those participating in the crawl like us, the restaurant was fairly full. Luckily we were able to grab the last booth all the way towards the back, just in front of the kitchen pass.

Sadly the sickly yellow light washed out the food. It actually looks much better in person. Our participation gave us scaled down versions of their regular pancakes. To help the kitchen keep up with regular diners having regular breakfast, our pannekoek was prepared in the dining hall by two men over two griddles.

The savoury option was a ham and cheese, prepared using very salty bacon with fairly salty cheese. I however preferred the pancake as it was, as it was already pretty tasty.

The sweet pannekoek was one with strawberry and syrup. The menu advertised whipped cream but it came without, not that I missed it. The strawberries were sweetened in the syrup making them soggy. I didn’t like its texture all that much, and would have preferred the strawberries sliced up fresh. Once again the pancake was already tasty, so to have so much sugar took away from it, and that is a shame.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I like their breakfasts and often find myself ordering their full ones with bacon, sausage, eggs, and potatoes; over their thin pancakes that I like so much. As for as location goes there have so many, and it’s a matter of finding the one you like best. I recommend the one by the waterfront for a great view, visit the link below to read more about it. Don’t deny your cravings.

De Dutch

1725 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1C9
De Dutch Pannekoek House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Klaus’ Kaffee Haus


I was invited to this new cafe for its opening media event. I normally don’t accept such offers as I don’t drink coffee and cannot appreciate the generosity like someone who does. However this was an Austrian cafe, ran by an Austrian family, serving traditional Austrian coffee and food; all very unique to the Vancouver food scene, and a cuisine that would be new to me. I would go in with questions and leave with a little more knowledge on Austrian culture.

As a disclaimer, 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.

Located in Chinatown, I don’t exactly picture them when I reflect on the area. There aren’t too many cafes modern cafes in Chinatown and I could see their wares being more popular somewhere like railway town or Gastown, for that rainy day coffee shop vibe. However, they were one of the many newer restaurants moving in to the area, creating a block of must try eats on Pender Street.

The exterior isn’t exactly eye catching. They opened in October 2016, and were still waiting on an awning to shield it’s all white exterior. The red sign in the window and the small sandwich board offered little information. You could easily miss it, if not looking for it. I recalled passing by a few times before this visit and never thinking of stepping in. Peering in, its bright lights make for great food photography, but not necessarily the vibe of a cozy cafe for a quick sit and a warm beverage. Or that mellow study spot where you can sip and take notes at. And either would be their target demographic considering their menu.


Walking in, it looks like their decor accommodates and takes influences from Chinatown. The ceiling is lined with red cloth banners, a familiar in Chinese celebration. Although for all I know, this could be very indicative of the Austrian culture as well. Their shelf of Chinese artifacts is a little more forward though. Oversized bamboo steamers stacked high, paper fans spread wide, Chinese characters on planters and printed on tea sets, painted porcelain dish ware, and window box displays. Although the lowest shelf showcased items more familiar to Austrian cuisine, and it foreshadow one of the things we would be trying today: fondue.

We grabbed a couple of stools by the front window, or rather the front sheet of plexi-glass. I image that the intention of this removal wall is a pull away front that opens out to the sidewalk. Possibly an appealing feature for any cafe during warmer weather. However, maybe not necessarily in this area surrounded by grocery store hawkers broadcasting their wares through shouts, and the slabs of meat or fish on ice visible from the neighbouring butcher and fish shop windows. But today it was “closed”, but not sealed so that the cold winter wind would waft in tickle us with its bites.


I appreciated the pristine menu behind the counter to order, and the overall cleanliness of the cafe. The menu’s clear black and red print was visible and easy to read. However for the novice, the menu still needed much clarification. Despite the descriptions, I still didn’t have much luck navigating the coffee listing, given my lack of experience in the bean brew. A new name for a different drink that varied between one or two shots of espresso, hot or cold milk, or to have whip or none.


According to the owner, I presume “Klauss” who I spoke to, Austria is known for its coffee scene. Apparently the country showcases over 250 varieties, unique to them as how they make it. But here they are only able to offer a handful. I took the his suggestion, and tried his daily drink, the “Einspanner”, a double espresso with stretched hot water, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. I liked the fact that the cream was clearly made fresh and it was a nice visual treat.

My other coffee choice was something more in my wheelhouse. Coffee with a scoop of ice cream. The “Wiener eiskaffee” had a scoop of vanilla ice cream, cold milk, kaffee, and whipped cream. It was like dessert for the start of your day. I requested it in one of their branded mugs. Like on their business cards and loyalty stamp cards it featured the owner’s face in black sketch. A jolly man with a round face and ear to ear grin.


There was a stack of them on the counter, which I presume were for sale as a souvenir of your experience? Or maybe a clever way to advertise their social media if you captured your drink with them.


As for the food they were all once “grandmother’s recipes”. The “Krautstrudel” was offered two ways. First there was a savoury, filled with a bacon and cabbage. I was worried about the potential sogginess of the leafy greens being baked in flaky pastry, but it had a nice chew that matched that of the salty bacon. A mild flavour to accompany a more robust beverage.


The apple strudel used a similar pastry to house sliced apples in cinnamon and sugar. I got to it a little cold and can suggest its best taken warm. As expected in taste and texture.

If you are looking for more snackable eats they also offer traditional Austrian sandwiches accompanied my green and potato salads. I was curious over the differentiation of “European ham”, and what schicken speck and Hungarian salami was like. But the rest of the ingredients between Vienna loaf, multigrain, and German marble rye was fairly familiar.


What was new to the menu was the ability to try their traditional Austrian fondue. It is a cross between the principles and ingredients of Chinese hot pot, and the equipment used in french cheese or chocolate fondue. But the array of raw meats and vegetables are cooked in bubbling canola oil and served with a chipotle mayo-like sauce instead. The process took a while as the pot was small, like the heat source that struggled to keep it warm. With a narrow top, only a few picks pierced could take a swim in oil. I sadly did not get to try any of the meat, as I was weary over it being properly cooked. But I did taste a semi raw nugget potato with no issue.


Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Being foreign to traditional Austrian cuisine, I do not know what to make of this one. I would not expect any of what I had, and without an introduction and the ability to ask questions, I may have been even more confused. After all there is no other Austrian anything in the city, to compare this too. Not doing some research and not knowing any better will have you thinking that they were trying their hand at fusion and coming out raw. A try for experience sake and to say that you have. And a repeat only if you like what you had. Don’t deny your cravings.


291 East Pender Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 1T8
Klaus's Kaffee Haus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

De Dutch


Looking for an early breakfast by the waterfront, our solution for a nice sit down was “De Dutch”. And having been to a few of their other chain locations, this was most notably the nicest one I have been too. The restaurant certainly dressed itself up for the area and the view before it. A view you were able to and forced to take in, as you walked to the restaurant. It was view of the water, the mountains, the city in front of it, and seaplanes taking off from and landing on the water. All this visible from the patio and through the all glass windows of the restaurant’s exterior. You could hear the latter and even appreciate the sounds and sights of a helicopter as they flew over head. This feature made this restaurant pretty unique.


At 9:30am the patio was already fully seated, so we were forced inside to wait for a table to clear up, but the wait indoors was just as nice. Wooden tables, upholstered chairs, and c-shaped booths. The room was themed in a soft yellow-green, orange-Amber, and white. There was definitely some consideration of thought put into the place. A ladder-like shelf divide the room with decorations. A collection of colanders, hour glasses, ceramic containers, vases, and pitchers in orange.

Even the menu was dressed up. A bound and metal tipped book with a cloth cover. Everything within it would give you a taste of volendam, in the Netherlands. It was laid out with tabs for drinks + omelettes, breakfast, pannekoeken (Dutch style pancakes), and lunch.


They get a lot of tourists the the area, you can tell them apart with the amount of luggage they travel with, and the map by the foyer asking you to pin where they came from. They were as many drops as ten times all the people that were dining here today. The city had cruise ships docked in its port today and therefore it was extra busy here.


You come for the “Pannekoek”. It is a traditional Dutch style pancake, it resembles a western style pancake in flavour; but thinner, flatter, and lighter, like a crepe. Typically it has a circumference of 37” and a diameter of 12”. And traditionally its rolled up and cut into to bite size pieces. But as it is presented flat and topped with ingredients, it is just easier to cut and eat as you go. They had these sweet with fruit and real whipped cream, and savoury from regular ham and eggs to a perogie with potatoes, onions and sour cream. There was even one called the “rio grande” that came with salsa and sour cream. The sweet pannekoekens are served with “stroop”. It is the equivalent of maple syrup on pancakes, but “stroop” is dark Dutch style sugar syrup.


One guest got the “Boer’s pannekoek”. It came with two eggs, bratwurst, slices of debakon, and ham. All this on top of their signature pancake. It was served with hash browns and their hollandaise sauce. “Debakon” is “De Dutch’s” own savoury, thin cut cottage roll. It is basically twist on Canadian bacon with a similar ham-like texture and taste. When this plate was originally served it had both scrambled and sunny side up eggs, where as the menu only gave you one style of eggs, and he only requested the former. Though through sleuthing we figured out that the double sunnies belonged to the next dish. Either way we sent them back and got new ones. We found a hair in one of the yolks. As for the plate as it was intended, it was a hearty and meaty mix, everything you wanted in a morning meal and their pancake used as a plate for it all.


How the “boer’s” breakfast was intended and the new set of sunny side up eggs. The sunny side eggs were suppose to be an add on to the “Meat lovers” pannekoek.


This one came with debakon, ham, sausage, Turkey, bacon, and Edam cheese, topped with tomato slices. I liked that our server took the time to warn us on how all that meat would be presented: chopped up and blended in with the pannekoek dough. It was like a omelette but made with pancake dough. But first this order was also mixed up, a hash with toast showed up first. When we got it, the actual pannekoek was disappointing, we should have kept the hash. What should have been light and fluffy was dense and doughy. The meat’s grease saturated every inch of the dough enrobing it. It was greasy and with the bites with melted cheese, it only got greasier. More tomato would have helped give it some much needed freshness.


I went with the “eggs Amsterdam” with ham and Edam. I wanted to try a “rusk”. The menu was helpful at calling out traditional pieces from the Neatherlands, and I wanted to try all the highlights. So given the option for the rusk or an English muffin, or one of each, I went all rusk. It was the opposite of a soft and spongy English muffin. It had a texture like a crouton. It was very crispy, so much so that it shattered in pieces from the pressure of a knife and fork. For the eggs I had the option to have them poached or grilled. I just wanted the eggs runny. I also had a choice of side salad or mixed fruit. I choose the former for both, but when my dish came, the fruit did not.


I had to ask for it, and received a dish with apple slices, tart mango cubes, and a whole strawberry. They were a nice refreshing bite in between luscious hollandaise and deep fried potatoes.

They also had an extensive lunch menu with sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, burgers, and chicken and fries. Each burger was named after an adjective and a person. The “simple Simon” came with mushrooms. “Gentle John” combined fried egg and dill pickle slices. “Meek myrtle” had fresh onions with bacon and cheese. And “humble Helen” featured an all beef wiener.


I was intrigued by the “bitter ballen”. This is a popular pub snack from the Netherlands. They are deep fried balls stuffed with beef, vegetables, and spices. The suggested that the way to enjoy them is with Dutch mustard in one hand and a beer in another.


It looked like how I imagined it, but it’s filling caught me off guard. Instead of minced and ground up meat and vegetable, all the ingredients were whipped smooth like a spread. The exterior was crunchy like a falafel with its perfectly breaded and even crunch from first bite to last. It got better with every additional taste. The peppery flavour grew on you, and it would have been best with beer.

Of note, they even had a page on the menu dedicated to Nutella inspired creations. It was Nutella in everything.


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.
Chalk it up to an especially busy day, but the food was average. The staff were pleasant enough and the view plenty breath taking. We eventually got everything we asked for and they took the eggs off the bill. We were well fed and full, and the cost for it wasn’t too steep. But once again you come for the view and the scenery and the food is just a consequence. Don’t deny your cravings.


1055 Canada Place, Vancouver BC, V6C 3T4
De Dutch Pannekoek House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kaisereck Deli, Public Market


The food court at Granville island, located in their market place is like no other. Here your dining selections do not include any restaurant chains, or fast food in the sense of burgers and deep fried sides. Much like the artisan vendor craft stalls and small farm tables around, everything is one of a kind and homey. But like at any food court, you still have your choice to seek out lunch from various stalls, and can convene in a number of seating areas. So if you come in a group, you need not all eat at the same place. A great option when trying to seek out a venue for a variety of tastes, in a unique place, at a budget effective price. It was hard for me to choose what I wanted, not knowing what they had. It required a lap or two around the twisting and curving isle ways of the Market Place.

We stopped at the “Kaisereck” stand specializing in sausages, sandwiches, and salads; with the promise that they would be made fresh daily. It all seemed safe with familiar items like sausages and perogies, egg and bacon breakfast platters, and classic sandwiches made the way you want them.


Their stall laid all they had to offer before your very eyes. Their sandwich bar was an array of fresh ingredients in bold colours, all available fixings sliced thin and neatly stacked in metal buckets. This wasn’t bulk on a budget at “Subway”, they look like some of the freshest toppings, probably sourced right from this very indoor market. This visual display made it easy for the diner to point and choose at want. Slices of red onion, tomato, cucumber, dill pickles, alfalfa sprouts, spinach leaves and lettuce, spicy peppers, and black olives. They had a great array to craft your perfect sandwich in sesame bagels or ciabatta buns, between toasted white bread or within crispy rye.

If the need to choose and all the choices makes you dizzy, you can always rely on their classic sandwich list to take out the guess work. Familiar options like a Ruben with warm corned beef and Swiss cheese; a kaiser club with the classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato combo; and even a sandwich crafted around a German schnitzel with German sauerkraut to match.


Around the corner, the side of the stall doubled as a hot dog stand. A quick and easy way to get your sausage between two buns. With a bevy of help yourself condiments in squeeze bottles, and toppings in metal containers at your disposal.


Though as great as all that sounded, we had to go for their specialty: sausages and perogies. Each gourmet sausages choice came with a detailed description and a photographic guide. Smokies and bratwurst in beef, turkey, and pork. They made perfect sides to their premade mini perogies sitting at the ready in heated trays. Cheddar and potato, onion and potato, and even chicken stuffed pockets.


The “perogy platter” was your choice of perogies and gourmet sausage for $10. This plate was the “Spicy bratwurst”, a slightly smoked pork sausage with a “kick or paprika” partnered with cheddar perogies, and the addition of caramelized onions. The perogies made a great base for the juicy and zesty meat logs, and the onions rounded both out with a sweeter tang.


This platter paired a “polish” kielbasa, which is slightly smoked pork with a touch of garlic with a mix of all the mini perogies. Cheddar, garlic, and chicken. It would have been nice for some sour cream, or a cheesy dipping sauce to coat the dry perogies with.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The whole Granville Island experience is a unique one. It includes a backdrop like no other. A calming respite in a busy city of metal. Green plants under the feet of water fowl, parked boats over parked cars, running water under wooden boardwalks, and scenic views under the Granville Street bridge. The perfect stop for a homey meal at their convenient food court. A food court with one of a kind stalls, serving homespun meals at reasonable prices. A smorgasbord of selection to keep you trying new items for months to come. Don’t deny your cravings.


Granville Island Public Market
1661 Duranleau Street, Vancouver BC
Kaisereck Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BierCraft Tap and Tapas Bar



I have been here before, but we were going on a pub crawl down Commercial Drive and this was listed as stop number two.

It’s yellow stucco exterior and red roof were visible from its street corner. The narrow covered patio would have been nice on a warm day, but with today’s drizzle it was closed. Instead we were able to grab two tables and move them together to provide ourselves with a window watching view.


As you enter, the bar is the first thing that you see. It pretty much runs the expanse of the building, glowing in a dull orange from the back lit panels and the cylinders of light hanging from above. A seat here gives you a look at their 20 beers on tap and the 100 in bottle. Though most of the shelf space was dedicated to the various glass cups and goblets they used for each specific beer that was requested. I really appreciated their ability to match beer with branded stein.


We detoured right to the sunken dining area. A step down to a space surrounded in cushioned booths and stone work. It felt like a cozy cabin, especially with the rustic painting of a horse posing in a dry field. And as I mentioned earlier, the slower traffic allowed us to grab two tables to form the perfect window view seat to enjoy our beers and people watch at.


Even before we ordered or even got the menus we were given a complimentary serving of seasoned popcorn to start. They were preassembled bowls that hit the table as soon as your butt hit the seat. It was real corn kernels popped and dressed in a spicy buffalo flavour. I don’t like cold or room temperature popcorn so I passed on this. I find it stale and the bits get stuck in the most uncomfortable nooks and crannies between my teeth.

The menu was thorough. I was naive in not knowing that there was this much to beer. That there were so many varieties with their own subcategories. They go so far as to acquire rare bottles that come in limited quantities. They had “trappist” beer brewed by their namesake monks: the Trappist, members of the Cistercian order. Interestingly only six breweries in the world are legally allowed to produce said beer. And to do so they would have to do it within the walls of a Trappist abbey, with majority of the profit benefitting social work. Rare indeed. Then there was Belgian “witbier” that is cloudy and unfiltered beers. Pale colour and crisp in flavours. Hops do not play an role in the style or aroma of this type of beer.


So since they specialize in it, we had to have something Belgium, bypassing the menu on everything else. Belgium strong ales are over 7%, they are known to go well with most food. We had the “St. Feuillien triple” at 8.5%. A pale amber ale described as having a distinct maltiness thanks to its unique combination or aromatic hops, spices, and a second fermentation. And one of my guests had the “Grimbergen blonde”.


To match we had Belgium fries and Poutine with Belgium fries. The “Belgian fries” were a cone of fresh cut kennebec potato fries served with an Andelouse sauce for dipping. “Andelouse” is a Belgian specialty sauce. It is made from mayonnaise, tomato paste, and peppers like pimientos or roasted bell. You definitely tasted the tomato and mayo blend. Like when you mix ketchup and mayonnaise together, but much blander. The fries were at least good. Crispy on the inside and chewy at its centre.


The same fries were in their “Poutine”. Belgium fries, Quebec cheese curds, a kronenbourg blanc (beer) and miso gravy, and green onion. It was salty and meaty like I had hopped. Though also light from the beer and salty from the miso. The cheese added another layer to the mix, but it still lacked depth. Wasn’t as satisfying as most meat gravy poutines.


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.
I have been to both their location several times. It is one of those pubs I recommend when you are with a larger group and want more than just greasy pub food. The food is solid and chances are everyone will find something that they want. The same can be said for their beer collection. Don’t deny your cravings.


1191 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5L 3X2
BierCraft Tap and Tapas Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



I have been to chambar before, but never to its new location. I can see why they moved one store down. The space is much larger and they are now equipped with a patio.

Given the option I choose indoors over outside. The patio was a closer and more uncountable sit next to your neighbour. Instead we were able to grab a corner booth inside. If possible always go for the corner booth. It allows you to sit closer to your guest and have not have face them. Not everyone looks good eating.


The dining room went far back. Past the regal bar it was all red brick, wooden posts, and cement walls. It was all very rich and warm. The bar was especially impressive, something worth sitting across from.


Their lighting was really something else. Various glass bobbles over bulbs. Single bulbs suspended by thin wires. The feature ones were a web of colour protruding from a bronze axis. It reminded me of our solar system. Very whimsical.


Having been before I knew their “Blue fig” was worth trying. This was a cocktail made with oven roasted fig infused gin, and served with a side of blue cheese. It was definitely a unique drinking/eating experience. You take a sip and you enjoy some savoury cheese after it. Though not surprising as sweet figs and sharp cheese do compliment one another.


The “Moi et fernet” was made with El jimdor reposado, Amer Nouvelle, fresh grapefruit juice, and a licorice twist tea syrup; and finished with a fernet branca float. I choose this for the belief that it would be like a float. It was not what I expected, but a new flavour worth trying none the less. And the best part, the liquorice wasn’t as pronounced as I had feared. Its savoury tone actual really went great with savoury dishes below.


“Scampi”: Harissa prawns, preserved lemon, and a herb salad. The creamy sauce was unlisted, so therefore an unexpected surprise. Though if “ebi-mayo” has taught us anything, shrimp Amaya’s goes well with plenty of creamy and tangy mayo. Though here the prawns were just as good without it. Most surprising was how fantastic the salad was. I didn’t expect a salad of mint and cilantro would show up, nor did I expect us to finish every leaf. The citrus dressed salad went really well with the juicy prawns. They balanced one another out. Isn’t it always the case that that best dish of the night was the most simple?


They are known for their mussels so we had to partake in a pot. Out of the three different flavours we choose the “Congolaise”, made with mussels, tomato coconut cream, smoked chilli, lime, and cilantro. Served in a pot with its lid, the latter would be later used as a vessel to discard empty mussels shells in. The shells were fairly large, but sadly the mussels in them not so much by comparison. The stew was like a spicy tomato broth, and would have went well with bread instead of fries. A loaf for dipping or a sandwich for eating with. Though to their credit, the fries were crispy and well seasoned.


“Fletan au tamarin”. Haida Gwaii halibut, sea asparagus, sweet peas, mustard greens, spicy tapioca, and jalapeño pistou; in a tomato tamarind broth. The fish and its sides came first, with the broth after. A server completes the dish by pouring a spouted creamer’s worth of broth over the whole lot. It was poured over the dish right at our table, I regret not capturing this on film. The dish was light and and refreshing, filling without being stuffed. The crisp green beans paired well with the soft flaky fish. This is the first time I have had sea beans, and I conclude that I liked their wiry texture. But it was the savoury broth that stole the show. I could just drink it like soup.

Our server was a delight. She was so well spoken and so thorough with her replies. She knew the menu and painted a vivid picture of what she recommended and why. Though sadly, I find that I never take a server’s suggested recommendations. I ask because I am curious, though in reality I already know what I want. I must be very annoying. Our server was also very attentive. She checked in often and whenever our eyes met in the distance she held it with a smile. She followed up by coming as soon as she could to tend to us. I have never felt so welcomed.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I couldn’t see this as a regular dining destination. But instead, the perfect spot for a first date or any occasion. This is a good place to you take someone that you want to impress. A comfortable setting and an original cuisine like at no other restaurant. Don’t deny your cravings


568 Beatty Street, Gastown Vancouver BC
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Medina Cafe


Today we were visiting the newest location of “Medina Cafe”. They were clever enough to have signs on the corner of Richards on the busy street of Robson, directing you to walk down Richards to visit them. Otherwise I wouldn’t have know they were now in the neighbourhood.

You wait by the door, you can only be seated if your full party is present. So like its main location, there is a scramble to call your co-diners over quick, if you are the first to arrive. I left my name on the wait list. I waited hungry. An awkward place between the door and the cabinet that functioned as their hostess booth. No seats, and no place to stand out of the way. You constantly feel like you are hindering the revolving traffic. One of the patrons awkwardly waiting with me urged the host to give him a table, mentioning that the other half of his pair would be here in a matter of seconds. I was in the same boat, it didn’t make a difference. Though the host took the time to assure everyone that the turn around rate was high and that he was doubtful that there will be a wait when our guests would finally join us.


The space was almost double the size of the original, even with its who shops merged into one structure. It was necessary given the popularity of the place. It also felt busier because at the other location their large space was divided into two halves and the wall down the middle created some much needed privacy. Here, the open room with its closely spaced tables took that option away from you. And on this Wednesday for lunch, the place was busy and the crowd was at a roar.


The hostess booth was a cabinet with drawers. Its whole set up looked like it belonged in den or study. On the top rested a typewriter, it welcomed guests with its paper fed, its message in mid type. Out of place in our modern world, but it matched well the other antiques adjacent. A stack of dusty encyclopedia-like tomes and a rusty desk lamp. It was the cordless phone and the pad of paper and pen that stood in contrast. It was also here where the white and teal titled foyer floor transitioned to a matte hardwood floor. As you can tell my wait gave me a lot of time to write.


Their well known waffles were in a showcase, within view area of the front door. Strategic, I feel. After seeing these you wouldn’t think to avoid the wait and go somewhere else. A multi-tier stand tantalizing you from the waiting area. Sadly our full meal and my full belly did not allow me to have any, though considering they are pre-made, I technically could have taken some to go. It’s not like they serve them fresh or warm, or at least that is what I can recall from memory. But, here you are able to dress your liege-style waffles up with a whole slew of different and unique toppings, unlike any at any other waffle shop. You add each one at the cost of $1. Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Lavender, White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater, Salted Caramel, Raspberry Caramel, Peach & Bourbon Butterscotch, Fig Orange Marmalade, Mixed Berry Compote, Quince Compote, Maple Syrup or Yoghurt. And for $2 you can have Earnest Cardamom Ice Cream with Bittered Sling Plum + Rootbeer Bitters. Some fancy waffles.


As I mentioned earlier, we were seated between two other very narrow and very closely spaced tables.  I felt like I was in a constant shrug with my shoulders tense, to give others around me some personal bubble space. Maybe Belgium has a different definition of personal space. In front of me was their bar. Wood finished shelves sitting in a brick alcove, numerous bottles lines each one. Above it, a handsomely done copy of their logo; it had a worn wall, faded tee shirt look and print to it. To my right was the kitchen where I couldn’t make out much past their counter window.


The cuisine was Belgian. Bold flavours, with a warming heat. It is sometimes said that Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with the quality of French food. Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer, we didn’t get any of those things. Most of the menu felt foreign to me, a lot of it I wanted to try. The house sodas in particular were interesting. House sodas were nonalcoholic drinks with unique ingredients, think a virgin craft cocktail. I had the “Bergamot and buttermilk cream soda”, with Madagascar vanilla, bergamot citrus, buttermilk, and chocolate bitters. There was also the option to add in cardamon infused cachaca for extra. This was the fanciest drink I have ever had. It was seasoned with Indian spices and had a strong resemblance to chai. Fragrant. You got the yoghurt’s colour and its creaminess. And the syrup used offered the beverage some sweetness. I didn’t plan it, but it went well with my un-expectedly spicy brunch. Like milk, it helped to dull the burning heat of my meal below.

I will have to come back to try the “Rose Hip + Jaffa Orange Crush” with Honey, Eucalyptus, Rosewater, Rose Hip, Jaffa Oranges, Cranberry Bitters and the “Hawayij Root Beer Float” with Barley malt, Blackstrap Molasses, Vanilla, Cardamom Ice Cream, Plum + Rootbeer Bitters. Both had the potential to become boozy beverages with the addition of gin or bourbon. The perfect set of drinks to transition from day to night.


“Paella” with One fried egg, orzo, spicy chorizo, seasonal vegetables, grana padano, avocado, and spicy charred tomato salsa. Orzo is short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It as if you were eating a hybrid of pasta and rice. You get the starchy chew of pasta with the ease of eating from smaller grains of rice. The pasta was cooked tenderly and its texture was enjoyable. The pot was like a vegetable soup stew, with mashed bits of tomato.


“Tagine”, two poached eggs, spicy merguez sausage; and seasonal vegetables in stew of chickpeas, black olives, and preserved lemon. Served with a side of grilled focaccia for dipping or use with the side of dip included. The creaminess of the sauce was also helpful in cooling off my tongue. It was a little too spicy for my taste. I find chilli sauce distracts me from tasting the food, and enjoying the moment of eating because I am so caught up on how my mouth feels when l it is on fire. I wasn’t sold on the poached egg, or having its runny yolk spill over my already very watery dish. I was like the traditional egg and sausage breakfast, but instead of hash browns there were chickpeas and beans to make things feel more hearty. Overall, as good as it was, I also don’t know how I feel about having this first thing in the day. A lot of spices and flavours to wake up to. Pow! Goodmorning! In your face! Plus given the warmth of the day, maybe something to heat you inside out isn’t a good idea. My guest reminded me that lamb meat is often served in winter for that very reason, it’s ability to heat one from the inside out. It was the reason I got this instead of the “Les Boulettes” with spicy Moroccan Lamb Meatballs.


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.
Considering we were too full for a waffle I will have to come back. And if I arrive first I will have to wait. I enjoy the diversity of the food, familiar ingredients but in a delightfully different presentation. It all felt very authentic. Don’t deny your cravings.


780 Richards Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 3A4

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I was here by way of a social shopper coupon. It promised me two of their deluxe poutines, so I invited a friend along to share in the bounty.

“Frites” is one of the newer poutine places to call the entertainment district of downtown Granville Street, home. This location is a wise one, I can only imagine the lift in traffic from after hours businesses and the serge of additional customers during the weekend nights. After all fries, cheese, and gravy sound pretty amazing when you are drunk, tired, and hungry. It sobers you up and warms you through.

As the new kid on the block it also probably didn’t hurt them to move into an area already known for hosting other successful poutine shops. The healthy competition draws people looking for this very Canadian food item in. And as a result “Frites” probably picks up new customers and additional patrons only now discovering their location. Some willing to compare how they stacked up to their neighbours, others wanting to try something new, those unwilling to wait in the longer lines of their more established competitors, and even maybe those who recognize this chain from its original locations in Toronto. Either way this area probably earned them residual sales. After all it’s about location, location, location; an if you build it they shall come sort of thing.

Its black awning and matching black sandwich board weren’t too striking. It was actually their slogan that drew me in first: “fries with benefits”, it referenced their unique “double-layered poutine”. A poutine that had a more even gravy and cheese ratio to fry, made using authentic Belgium fries.


Inside their shop was where they choose to advertise their offerings with large poster-sized images. Coloured close ups of their waffle sandwiches and burgers, along with their various topped poutines. All a little pointless in my opinion. In order for potential customers to see them they need to enter the shoppe first. And once in the shop it is almost a guarantee that they will buy something. I guess it was more artwork and decoration than anything. Though all they did aid in your decision making process, allowing your eyes to do the ordering.


Seating was very limited, signifying that this was the type of place meant as a quick meal, and not one to linger at. Black cushioned stools were paired with red bar/table surfaces. Majority faced out the window, with a table for two against the left wall. At the centre of each setting is a diamond shaped cut out. Its intended purposes was to hold a cone tipped serving of fries. We didn’t need this, but it told me their most requested item was their Belgium fries as is; as there was a need for this specific table modification.

The process starts when you head to the cash register at the counter. A cashier greets you and takes your order. Behind him is the kitchen. A cut out wall allowed for the viewing of orders being made by another employee stationed in the back. Visible from front door, there was no mystery to their processes.


Like food court style service you look up to a posted menu in order to make your selection. Anything off one of the three television sets broadcasting the expanse of the menu in a fun and engaging way. Your options were fries, poutines, or sandwiches made with waffles instead of bread. Each of the above also came in variations, for a have it your way sort of deal. There were five options for poutine, together covering all the major meat groups: chicken, pork, and beef. Having regular fries opened you to the option of it being served with one of their 22 different gourmet sauces. “Suicide”, “peppercorn ranch”, “Madras curry”, “Jamaican jerk”, “sriracha”, and “Go Ju Jang” their Korean style sauce; just to name a few. They were certainly not exclusively Belgium in style, more a multiculturally influenced smorgasbord. The waffle sandwich gave you the most customizable options. Choose your meat, your sauce, and even the bun; it didn’t even need to be a waffle. Though without the waffle it kind of defeated the relevance found in the name.

Because of the coupon, our choice was limited to either pulled pork, beef chilli, or bacon mushroom. Just as well, as I wouldn’t want my first taste of their food to be with anything, but one of their layered poutines.

After your order is processed, a handful of fries take a dip into oil. This is made to order, done in order. Once crispy, a ladling of pre-made gravy is then generously drizzled over a portion. And finally topped accordingly. Each helping of poutine is served in to go containers with foldable lids and stickers of their banner.


As with most poutines there is a need to eat this one quick as well. A need to shovel in multiple sticks of fries before the gravy gets absorbed and the potatoes get soggy. The gravy used had a light and runny texture. Greasy, with a consistency similar to that of a meaty vinaigrette, or a runny real maple syrup. The dollops of cheese were the size of nuggets. I was most impressed by the amount and freshness of each curd. They were slightly melted by the warm gravy, and become stringy as we pulled them from the box towards our mouths. As promised there was a double layer. There was plenty of cheese and the bottom of the box as well as the tip, not just undressed soften fries.


The “pulled pork” poutine was sweetened by the honey barbecue sauce. We felt it needed some additional spice, a kick to make it stand out. Maybe even some onions or fresh herbs to counter act the dominating sweetness.


We agreed that the “Bacon mushroom” was our preferred poutine. The latter were thick slices of cooked button mushrooms, and the former fried and tossed bacon bits. The bits had a texture of stale crumbs. Overall it had a savoury salty flavour, one I found more enjoyable than the sweet poutine above. As a result it also married better with the salty cheese. I still could have used more bacon though, maybe some in chewy chunks as well and the tough sprinkle.


Poutines are generally salty, I needed a drink mid way through. My guest was keen enough to point out the poster she read by the mini fridge. It advertised a free bottle of water or pop if I liked them on Facebook and checked in my location today. That sounded easy enough for free, and here I was about to just pay for a drink. Clearly this was an advertising strategy meant to leverage my social media following. One I was okay to help in for something free. After the clerk confirmed the above on my phone I was allowed to help myself to a free bottle of water.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I am not a big fan of fries, but as a late night, easy to eat and sober up to snack it fairs pretty well. Especially as there is so many ways to make it your own. Overall I found the food good, but the portions associated, on the smaller side. A convenient cuisine, at convenient prices, in an convenient area. An easy win, on a tested dish. Not the best, but one that could definitely hit the spot in a pinch. Don’t deny your cravings.

1011 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z1L5
Frites Granville on Urbanspoon

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