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Category: Delta

Il Posto, #pizzachallengeyvr

This is another restaurant I would not otherwise know about if not for the Vancouver Foodster. As I continued to judge all the contestants of this year’s Pizza Challenge I found myself in Ladner, at the threshold of “Il Posto”. A beautiful building, symmetrical with red and teal trimmed windows.

The restaurant is modern with several spaces to enjoy their food at. The main dining area by their bar, a private room towards the back, and a little breakfast nook up front by the windows. We picked the latter to be able to get a look at the sidewalk and the currently closed patio up front.

”Il Posto” has been open for a little over a year now. They are located on a popular strip of Ladner. The street is often closed to host such events as the Delta Classic car show, the cycling competition, Tour de Delta; and the lower mainland’s largest farmer’s market in summer.

They have only been offering brunch since November, and today we were here to get a taste. But first we would accompany our food with some classic brunch time cocktails. The easy to down “Aperol Spritz” in a large glass. Aperol, Prosecco, soda, and orange. And a double Caesar with vodka, Clamato and spices. This was the classic recipe with olives and pickled asparagus as garnish. Though they do ask you if you like it spicer or with extra Worcester.

In general the service here is amazing. You felt the good energy walking in. The hostess is welcoming and vibrant. She and our server made small talk and jokes, you immediately felt comfortable in your seat. During our stay we would meet many faces and it was the same for each. The table next to ours was celebrating a birthday and their server surprised him with a personal sized tiramisu, a lit candle, and a song.

Our second round of drinks included their “Italian 75” made with gin, lemon, and Prosecco. It packed a punch like an adult lemonade. And the Bellini with Prosecco and peach was a lot lighter by comparison. This wasn’t the classic rendition. No frozen slush, but all the flavours you’d expect. Sweet like a fuzzy peach.

For food I considered ordering their waffle dish, but decided against it after hearing that they weren’t made in house. They were prepared locally and brought in as a sweet breakfast option. So instead I took our server’s recommendation and had their salmon Benedict.

“Wild smoked salmon Benny”. Smoked salmon, pickled red onion, caponata, fried capers, and hollandaise on an English muffin. I never had a mix of onions and red peppers on a benny before. It gave this a zesty fajita feel, but it wasn’t one I liked. I found it combative against the likes of the salmon, an already very pronounced flavour. I found myself removing one or the other. I would have liked either on the side as a change of taste. Although the fresh greens and herbed potatoes proved capable in that regard. In fact the potatoes were my favourite part of this order. The restaurant doesn’t have a deep fryer in house, the chef works off of a pizza oven. So these cubes of tasty potato were cook within it at high temperatures for a great crispy shell. They were well seasoned, and for the first time I didn’t reach for ketchup on my breakfast potatoes. I also liked the creaminess of the perfectly poached egg and its runny yolk, and the foamy hollandaise that was much lighter than others I have had.

We also tried one of the “stone oven skillets”, the heaviest of the three options that had “Two poached eggs” with red wine braised beef short rib, leeks, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, potato hash, and a mornay sauce (a white, light, cheese cream sauce). Utilizing the skillet kept our meal warmer for longer, a good thing as the oil and sauce congealed once cooled. By comparison to the above I found these potatoes saucy and soggy. They were a lot heavier with the tender strands of meat. The first few bites were good, but I found myself wanting a break from the flavour. Here, the house made focaccia was great, but there was not enough of it. I could have eaten a loaf as is, it was so well seasoned with coarse salt and herbs. It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with its air bubbles.

I didn’t need any additional seasoning, but if you do, the restaurant offers up bottles of their house made chilli oil and/or a rosemary thyme oil. These are best use as a drizzle or a dip on one of their pizzas. Like the one I was here to try.

This is the “Fat Tony”. Its name comes from the starter dough that they use. A dough that is made and allowed to rest for 48 hours. I liked it, as it was much like the focaccia above. A thin crust dressed with red sauce, sliced meatballs, caramelized onion, caciocavallo, pecorino, basil, and oregano; then finished with a garlic focaccia crumb. I liked the presentation, the fresh and full basil leaves, and the round meatball that crowned it. Although when it came time to eat, I would have preferred the leaves chopped up and the meat ball better divvied up. You got two meat balls in total, the other one was already sliced up and shared amongst the 6 slices. They are perfectly prepared, moist and still a little pink. And they sliced like butter. At the core of it, this is a solid margherita pizza, but with some creative and dressed up elements. It is also a little sweeter due to the caramelized onions and the sweetness in the tomato sauce. The sauce gets drippy and things get messy, it is best to eat with your hands.

 

To learn more about the Vancouver Foodster Pizza Challenge, visit the link. And then try all the competitors to vote for your favourite to win the people’s choice award.

Pizza Challenge

 

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? – Yes.
If they were in Vancouver I could see myself returning and frequenting. It is a nice restaurant, but a far commute for a meal, from my home in Burnaby. I don’t know much about Ladner, but based on our experience and overhearing all the positive conversations of the customers around us, this is the place to be. In their food you could taste the farms that surrounds them. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

IL POSTO
4866 Delta Street, Delta BC, V4K 2T8
604-946-1300
ilpostoresto.com

Taco Bell

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We drove all the way to North Delta, to one of a handful of far reaching “Taco Bell” locations in the lower mainland. Sadly, the one closest to us, had already closed for the day, and we had a craving we had to fulfill. We came all the way to try the new “Taco Bell naked chicken chalupa”, but sadly it was not to be. The clerk had no idea what I was talking about or showing her on my cell phone. Although she and her colleagues weren’t all that engaged in what they were doing and were simply going through the emotions of taking your order and preparing it, just to be rid of you. It wasn’t until later that I realized this limited edition menu item was only available in the United States. Why don’t we get any of that cool fast food stuff here?

So instead, this disappointed Canadian got what she could, settling on the tacos made out of Doritos chips and the nacho crunch double layer tacos.

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The former was once a limited edition item itself; but it soon became so popular that not only did it become my regular order, but also a regular menu item for everyone to enjoy year round. Who doesn’t like the flavour of cheesy tangy Doritos as part of their tacos? It gives the otherwise traditional Tex-Mex Taco some zesty life. Extra spices where lettuce, beef, cheese, and sour cream can only do so much.

As a combo it just came with a bag of regular fries. Whereas my partner’s order had sides with more bells and many more whistles. He had the double stuffed taco, which is essentially a taco within a taco. A cheese soft taco spooning a hard taco of beef, vegetables, and even more cheese. It gave you meaty bites and a bevy of textures within its two layers.

The cheese fries it came with were regular fries topped with concession stand pump cheese, sour cream, tomato chunks, and chives. It tasted much like taco above. Good, but pretty standard fast food fare.

But the one that is memorable and worth trekking down here for are the cinnamon twists. It wasn’t what I expected when my partner substituted them for the regular combo dessert, but it is the one that instantly liked and ended up finished myself. They were airy like rice crackers, fried light before generously being dusted in sweet cinnamon and sugar. I could eat a few bags full myself. They were crispy and addictive like chips, but left you feeling much more guilt-free.

So in summary, come for the food and expect nothing from the staff.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Taco Bell is one of those fast food chains you have had a handful of times as a child, and you continue to go back to now as an adult. It has a specific flavour, and you get specific cravings for their fun menu items. They just need to be more inclusive of their limited edition snacks here in Canada. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TACO BELL
#101-8737 120th Street, Delta BC, V5C 6R4
778-578-5062
tacobell.ca
Taco Bell Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kumare Restaurant & Bakery

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I have known my guest for a while and I have always known him to be a conservative eater. McDonalds over any bowl of pho, Uncle Willy’s over a sushi set. However since marrying his wife, she has shown him a whole new world, and he himself was becoming well versed in Chinese and Filipino cuisine. So today I invited myself to their date night to see this in action. Not only will this night serve as a great chance for us to catch up and for me to formally meet his wife, but she would prove to be the best guide for this tour of traditional Filipino cuisine.

The restaurant is in their neck of the woods, one I have never heard of. But apparently the area has recently emerged as a new Filipino neighbourhood, and this is one of their favourite spots.

Located in a shopping plaza, it seems like a convenient place for families to go, when no one wants to cook. It certainly looks like they took care of their community well, the way so many individuals were gathered her tonight. Many tables were sat, and many of those on them spoke Tagalog. I however, felt out of place, waiting for my food guides to come, they would be my “in”.

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“Kumare” is a newer establishment, with a bakery and plenty of dine in space. Their baked goods were displayed on top of the counter and behind a refrigerated glass display. They were well stocked in pastries and breads, that many diners bought on their way out. I, myself included. Seeing how many people came in and how many of their baked goods left the shelf and refrigerated until each time, I went ahead and got some of them myself. The ones I was interested in I took go, before my meal began, and before they were sold out.

Basically their was anything with purple yam in it. Ube is popular in Filipino cuisine and its bold purple hue is always worth capturing in my books.

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The “Ensaymada” is a brioche style pastry with a creamy ube centre. I loved the taste of the purple yam, and wished there was a lot more of it, for an even bread and filling ratio. Butter, sugar, and cheese; the dough is like a bready yet cakey doughnut. And the granulated sugar topping it lent it a nice crunch.

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The “Lipstick” was a tasty pastry with a funny name. We suspected the name came from the fact that the deep purple ube, looked like it was coming out from both ends, like lipstick in its dispenser. It is one of the better things I have put in my mouth. I could just eat sheets and sheets of the sweet yam cream. It looked like gel, but was actually thick and solid. The bread part was good too, but a lot more dense.

The decor was fairly simple and things still looked pretty new. Their logo was a bird on a branch, it graced the back of their counter along with their name. Wooden tables and chairs with their seats unscuffed. Red booths against the wall feeling crisp, only a few spots looked stressed with customer wear.

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Reading the menu, with its limited photos, it was hard to tell what was good. Under each traditional dish name was its list of ingredients, I could only imagine how each tasted. So I conceded and allow my hosts to steer all the ordering. I was at least able to navigate the dessert menu with ease.

Our meal began and was peppered with great historical information as well as fun facts from my guide. She explained how everything would be presented family style. We would be ordering several dishes with rice to share. The meal would not come with knife and fork, but with fork and spoon. The spoon’s edge was used to cut; the fork, a shovel to move food onto the spoon. (It dawned on me that before being with my French Canadian partner I never used knife to cut or shovel either. I guess it is a cultural thing.) Fun facts included how in the Philippines folks ate bananas with ketchup. Words and names of things repeated themselves to give it a sing songy feel. Salads are treated like a condiment, rather than a side. And rice goes with everything, for breakfast it is flavoured in garlic.

But what I found most interesting was to hear my host describe Filipino food as “an example of appropriation in culture, in a good way”. The thought is that Filipino food is a mish mash of cultures, picking and taking what they want to make it their own. This included Chinese, Spanish, and American dishes made using Filipino ingredients. Although sauces and flavours changed from region to region. Therefore there was no such thing as “proper” Filipino cooking, which is why there isn’t any Filipino cookbooks. How can there be when each island varies in their version of one dish, there was no consistency, no one is aligned. Everyone does their own style and it is accepted as being good.

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Our first dish was the Filipino version of Chinese spring rolls, “Lumpiang Shanghai”. Bite sized, deep fried pork and shrimp rolls filled with minced vegetable and meat. Best enjoyed with the sweet chilli sauce on the side. The meaty filling reminded me of a sausage, how it was packed in tight, like a tube. It is surrounded by a light crispy shell for a nice texture. And it is really the dipping sauce that gives this dish its flavour.

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The “Sizzling pork sisig” delivered on its name. This was a cast iron plate heated and brought to your table to further bake and cook before your very eyes. It was a mix of pork cheek, onions, and a cracked egg getting crispy on the sizzling plate.

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The history behind this dish is that American soldiers posted in the Philippines would buy up all the prime cuts of meat. They would leave what was left to the locals, which was typically random pig parts and their organs. But it is amazing that these unwanted “leftovers” would be brought together and used to make something as delicious as this. Often salty and a lot greasy, this is considered classic bar food, best taken with beer. Typically it is served with kalamapsi, a fruit that is the fusion of a tangerine and a lemon. Though the fruit is on the pricier side, so today they have used a lemon wedge instead.

Our host squeeze in then lemon, then mixed everything together with crossed utensils; blending egg and meat together. The crunchy bites of meat at the bottom was the best part. It reminded me of pork hash in flavour and texture, but smelled so much better.

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“Beef kare kare” is the Filipino version of butter chicken; as sweet, but made with beef. The sauce was the best part here, I would have liked it just as much? even if it was just sauce and rice. Made with oxtail, tripe, tendon, and assorted vegetables in a peanut sauce. Once again you can see were all the “leftover” meat went, but no matter, you are “in it for the sauce” anyways. The dish also comes with a side of fermented shrimp paste. Churning a tiny smudge in, cuts the richness in half, and brings the dish more salt.

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The “Vegetable bicol express” is a dish of assorted vegetables in a spicy coconut milk broth. It is named “Bicol” after a region in Southern Philippines, that is known for their love of coconut in everything. The “assorted” vegetables are a mix of okra, eggplant, beans, and bitter melon. It’s colour and taste reminded me of Thai curry, seeing that it is often prepared with coconut milk. It had bold flavours and big spice, going best with a bowl warm steamed rice. Good but a little too similar to the kare above in taste and texture.

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For dessert we shared everyone’s favourite Filipino dessert: “Halo Halo”. It is a shaved ice desert made by mixing together assorted beans, jellies, sweetened banana, macapuno string (a mutation of coconut flesh making it creamier for a soft jelly-like texture. Like candy coconut), jackfruit (a tropical fruit), leche flan, and ube halaya (purple yam). It is topped with evaporated milk and pinipig (Kim a Filipino granola). This is one dessert borne from the merger of a few others and their toppings. The candied coconut was my favourite for its creamy texture and the jellies their chewy jiggle. The banana was the sweetest having been stewed in sugar. The one they used seemed more starchier as well, like a plantain. All together there is nothing like it. Nothing that would bring you this many textures and flavours all rolled into one easy to eat dessert soup. We churned it all together, to ensure we got a good mix in one go.

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We also shared the “Sansrival”, a Filipino dessert with Spanish influences. This is almond meringue with a buttercream icing. It is like if a cookie and a macaron had a baby and it came out covered in powdered sweetness. It was hard to cut through, like a slightly softer biscotti, but easy to chew with teeth like a dense cookie.

 

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.
Realistically, getting here required a long drive and a toll bridge fee, so I don’t see myself returning any time soon. However, if they decided to expand and open a location closer to me, I could see myself craving the food again, and looking to take out sweet breads. But that may also be because my food guide knew exactly what to order and I got to try what she thought was the best. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KUMARE
100 – 8047 120 Street, Delta BC, V4C 6P7
778-591-2555
kumare.ca
Kumare Restaurant & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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