Monthly Archives: February 2011

Eli’s Serious Sausage


I’m currently having a love affair with 2 things, BBQ and street food. Needing a little break from the WFLBC BBQ Challenge I found comfort in my other food obsession. Eli’s Serious Sausage is located outside the Stadium/Chinatown Skytrain station at the corner of Dunsmuir and Beatty from 11:30 to 6pm Monday to Friday and at various farmers markets on the weekends.

Eli’s is Vancouver’s only sausage stand, serving handmade sausages using local pork and their buns are baked fresh daily at a local bakery. After checking out the menu board there was only one choice for me, the Currywurst. Sounds awesome right?? It was amazing, a bratwurst on a bakery fresh bun dusted with curry powder and loaded with curry ketchup which may be the best condiment ever invented and I fully intend to make it at home. The bratwurst was delicious and tasted like it was made from very high quality ingredients. It was juicy and nice and hot all the way through which is a minor miracle given the frigid temperatures. I’m sure Eli will make fun of me because he’s a recent transplant from Winnipeg and our “cold” weather doesn’t seem to bother him. Well I’m from Edmonton and it seems pretty cold to me, but I haven’t lived there for over 30 years so…

Street food is awesome and you need to go eat some. How do you find Vancouver’s street food? You can Google it or keep reading this blog but the easiest way is to use Street Food App on your Iphone. You can also follow Eli’s on Twitter and Facebook for timely sausage updates. Get out of the food courts and fast food McHeart attack shacks of Vancouver and eat great food, get some fresh air and lose the fluorescent light tan in favor of some real sunshine!!

Scott.

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Iron Grill in Surrey – AYCE Sushi disaster


Sushi in Surrey is always going to be a gamble, but for $12.99 All You Can Eat how could I say no? Iron Grill is a 5 minute walk from my house and I had been wanting to try it since it opened about a year ago. I rounded up some good friends and we all met there at 6:30. We were greeted somewhat promptly and were told a table near the door was leaving in 5 minutes and that we could have a seat and wait. We were a party of 6 and over the next 35 minutes 3 other groups of 4 came in and were seated right away. For the whole 35 minutes that we waited no one spoke to us again and I was left holding my one year old daughter without being offered a highchair. Needless to say we left and will never go back.

We ended up a few blocks away at Il Uk Jo, a sushi and Korean BBQ place that has been around for a long time but I had never been to. The sushi was ok, nothing spectacular although they do offer a few special rolls on the AYCE menu which is rare. The non sushi dishes were also just ok with the highlight being the BBQ beef done at the table by the diners on a grill with broth in its outer edge. I’ve eaten similar Korean BBQ before but the grill was different, more like an actual BBQ. The broth added a little flavor and prevented the charing/burning that usually comes from regular grilling. The prices at Il Uk Jo are also a little high, $19.99 for AYCE but the service was great. We didn’t wait long for our food and just as we thought they had forgotten an item it showed up at our table followed by a smiling man making funny faces at my daughter.

I will probably go back to Il Uk Jo, I will not go back to Iron Grill, especially with my daughter as they don’t seem to care about families or groups of more than 4.

What’s For Lunch BC BBQ Challenge 2011 – Update


Hello all, just wanted to give a quick rundown of where we stand on the BBQ Challenge schedule. Well to be honest there isn’t one, I’m just trying to go as often as my schedule allows. So far I have been to The Campfire Grill…Smokin’ BBQ, The Re-up BBQ and Embers BBQ house.

There are still many more to go, I will try to list them all for you and free to let me know if I’m missing any.

And people wonder why I do all this work for free!! Looking forward to traveling all over town in the search for great BBQ. Stay Tuned!

Scott.

Embers BBQ House


The WFLBC BBQ challenge is in full swing with visits to The Campfire Grill in Squamish and The Re-up BBQ on the streets of Vancouver already in the books. The third restaurant in this meat fueled challenge is Embers BBQ House in Mission which was brought to my attention by fellow blogger and all around cool guy Dylan Redekop. If you like good music and don’t read Dylan’s blog shame on you! Check it out at http://morethanafeelingmusic.wordpress.com/ and you’re welcome Dylan…

Embers is located at #107 32559 Logan Avenue in Mission just across the Mission-Abbotsford bridge at the end of a dead end street. It is a cool little place with great atmosphere with the smell of delicious food filling the air as you walk towards the door. Embers makes nearly everything from scratch including their bread which is baked daily in their stone oven and their wraps which are rolled out and baked to order.

The pictures I have don’t represent the normal presentation at Embers as         co-owner Joanne was kind enough to assemble a sampling of menu items suited to the challenge. There will be some nice shots in the wrap-up article later in the year. In all we sampled 6 items, listed and described as follows. The Heidi Baked, a sandwich with chicken, pickled asparagus, Swiss cheese and mayo. The Marco Spanelli, a wrap with chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sauce. Chicken breast grilled with tarragon sauce. Sweet garlic chicken wings. The BBQ Pork sandwich with Brad-slaw and purple onions and Pork ribs smothered in Embers BBQ sauce.

Everything was really good, The ribs were fantastic and fall off the bone tender with a rich, thick and smoky BBQ sauce. The chicken breast was juicy and not overdone and the tarragon sauce was very subtle but nice. The Heidi Baked was awesome, the bun was super fresh and the pickled asparagus added a tangy kick. The wings were saucy and not to crispy, very good. The BBQ pork sandwich was awesome too, this category is going to be a hard one to judge, everyone’s has been so good! The Marco Spanelli was good and the fresh baked wrap was the best wrap I’ve ever had. The fries were great too!

If you live near Mission, Maple Ridge or Abbotsford you are pretty lucky to have Embers BBQ House close by. If you live a little further away it’s definitely worth the drive. So far I have not been disappointed by any BBQ restaurant I’ve tried and I hope the streak continues. Thanks again to Dylan and his lovely wife and to Joanne and the whole Embers team for their hospitality and great food! Click on the picture of Embers logo to visit their website and follow Embers on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EmbersBBQHouse

Scott.

2011 Variety Show of Hearts


Wow, what an amazing day. We woke up, got Hayley ready for the day and headed for the Red Robinson Show Theater to meet with Chris Graham, Special Events Manager for Variety BC. Lyndsey had met Chris through emails exchanged in preparation for Hayley’s birthday party and our fundraiser. When we arrived we were taken to the upper lobby where Chris was waiting and were introduced to a few people including Lexa and our tour guide Paul.

We gave our pile of cash to the appropriate people and headed off on our guided tour of the inner workings of the Show of Hearts Telethon, getting to see where the money is counted, where the phones are answered and where the cheque presenters are readied for their time on stage. It was there that we found fellow Tweeter Jen (@jenthebakedlife) who got to meet Hayley and Lyndsey, it’s always great to meet my social media friends and it was really great to meet another person involved with this great cause.

We then watched an on air cheque presentation from the side of the stage and I turned to Paul and asked who the person was who was hosting that segment. “Oh that’s Tammy, she’s been with us for over 30 years, she was a Variety kid when she was younger”. Funny thing is I know Tammy, I went to school with Tammy and I had no idea that she would be there let alone be such a big part of the show! We talked to her after she was off air and she took us in to the area off set where the host relax and get ready for the show and we were introduced to numerous Global BC TV personalities including Lynn Collier, Randene Niell, Robin Stickley and Steve Darling. We told them all about Hayley and her journey and they all wanted to steal Hayley because of her absurd cuteness (just kidding). Steve Darling also has a daughter whose name is Hayley who was also born premature at Royal Columbian Hospital, crazy right? We talked to him and his wife and daughter before he had to go on stage, it was great to meet you “Mound of Sound”. I’ll never tell anyone how I know that…It was great catching up with Tammy and her family and I’m sure we will see them there in future years and other Variety events.

Thanks again to The Roaming Dragon, Tinhorn Creek Winery, Paul Stirfry and The Loden Hotel for helping us reach and exceed our fundraising goal, we couldn’t have done it without your help.

Next year we will be on the air doing a cheque presentation, and we will raise more than the $4200 we raised this year. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring. Over the past few months our daughter has shown us that although she started out life causing us heartache and pain she will spend the rest of her life inspiring us to be better and to do more. She is my hero and I love her more than she will ever know.

Scott.

Questions about the future


Hello faithful readers, I hope all is well in your world on this somewhat chilly evening. I am writing this post because I need your help/guidance/honesty about a conversation that Lyndsey and I had today. While enjoying our favorite guilty pleasure, Jersey Shore, we started talking about our daughter Hayley’s first birthday and the fundraiser we had for Variety the Children’s Charity and how much fun we had doing such a great thing for kids and families that need help and support.

The truth is we want to start our own charitable/non profit foundation and raise money and awareness for charities like Variety. We were able to raise a pretty large chunk of change with our fundraiser and I think that we could do so much more with our own foundation.

I would like to ask anyone and everyone who reads this what they think about this idea, are we crazy, does it make sense, does anyone have any advise for us or some expertise they could share? Hayley’s party was a great day for us and I think both of us realized that this may be what we were meant to do, and we also realized that this was the reason Hayley came into our lives. She has shown us what is really important and what true love means. We want to spend the rest of our lives making sure that other kids have the same opportunities that Hayley had and that other families know that there is hope.

Please give me your feedback, don’t be shy, good or bad I want to hear it.

Scott

How to ensure your restaurant fails


Pardon me for needing to vent a little but I have a giant pet peeve when it comes to restaurants and their websites. On my much publicized (by me) recent trip to Whistler I had lunch at Merlin’s Bar at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and noticed that they had a pulled pork sandwich on the menu, the Pork Barbacoa Sandwich. I thought perfect, I can add this to the WFLBC BBQ Challenge 2011. It sounded great on the menu, sourdough bun with citrus jicama slaw on the side, boy was I wrong.

The meat was flavorless and dry, the bun dry and a little bit stale and the fries were lukewarm and greasy. The biggest disappointment however was the jicama slaw, it tasted like dirt, like actual dirt. Jicama is a root vegetable that is sweet and happens to be one of my favorite treats that my local farmers market carries on a regular basis. The slaw was not fresh and the jicama had obviously not been prepared or washed properly. So with their entrance in the BBQ Challenge quickly becoming improbable I thought that I would have a look at their website just to see if I could formulate a reason for this awful dish.

There in lies my “peeve”, there is no website. To have a good restaurant you need 3 things, good food, good service and a way for your current or potential customers to find you and find out about you. So with the food part of their business not being up to par it came down to the  other 2 categories. The service was good, not great, nothing to worry about but their web presence consists of a Facebook page, that’s it. This isn’t a huge deal as a Facebook page can be just as effective as a website if it has 3 key ingredients, location, menu and hours of operation. Merlin’s page has their location and hours but no menu.

Let me say this very clearly, if you have a restaurant and use the internet then you need a website. Your website, at the very least, should have your location so customers can find you, your menu so customers know what you serve and your hours of operation so customers know when you’re open. Without these 3 things potential customers will go elsewhere.

In the end I think that Merlin’s has little to worry about as they’re mostly known as a place to drink until you’re sick and repeat as needed. The menu is of little concern to their customers which explains the food. Websites are easy, making money as a restauranteur is hard, give yourself a fighting chance with good food and use the internet to spread the love.

Scott.