Monthly Archives: September 2011

Iceberg Vodka Event at Alta Bistro

Is Vodka boring? Modern bar tending tends to overlook it in favor of sexier libations and the vodka cocktail has certainly fallen off the radar because if its simplicity. The fact is that vodka is an amazing blank canvas for talented cocktail technicians to create something great.

Alta Bistro, my favorite spot in Whistler, held their inaugural Iceberg Vodka cocktail and infusion competition on September 15th and kindly invited me to come and use my borderline “12 steps” skills and judge from a list of some of the best bartenders from Whistler and Vancouver. The restaurants and bars represented were as follows. Sidecut at the Four Seasons Whistler, Hawksworth Restaurant in Vancouver, Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, Alta Bistro (obviously) in Whistler, Maenam in Vancouver, The Mix in Whistler, The Cascade Room in Vancouver and Chambar in Vancouver.

Each bartender had to make an infusion with Iceberg Vodka and then create an original cocktail featuring their infusion and prepare 4 drinks in 5 minutes. I could go on and on about how amazing everything was but lets face it, you guys just want to look at the pictures right? The runner up was Tanya Roussy From Meanam with an infusion of orange, red cedar, noble pine and vanilla and a cocktail called the Full Moon. The winner was Arthur Wynne from The Cascade Room with 2 separate infusions, one was black tea, marigold and passion fruit and the other was shiso leaf. His cocktail was called Shiso Pretty. They both won a trip to Newfoundland to visit the Iceberg Vodka distillery!! Special mention to my man Scot from Alta bistro who’s infusion was crazy complicated and awesome and his cacktail, the Jardin de Vie was also great and to Derek from Chambar for making a caesar with a chipotle, cummen, black pepper, oregano, ancho, coriander and garlic infusion. Caesars rule.

Dinner was awesome as usual, 3 courses consisting of a pate and charcuterie board, a tuna nicoise salad and seared bison with green peppercorn sauce. I have yet to be less than blown away by the food Alta Bistro serves and the price points they are able to do it at, simply outstanding. Huge thanks to Eric and Edward from Alta Bistro for inviting me!

Check out the pics!!

Fresh Local Wild

I’ve eaten a lot of street food this week and I’ve also had Chef Josh Wolfe’s food twice in less than 7 days. I love my “job”! Fresh Local Wild is located at Hastings and Burrard in the heart of Vancouver’s business district and serves up fresh predominantly seafood dishes.

Before we get to what I ate, let’s talk about the trailer, the truck that moves it around and why they’re good for the future of street food. The trailer holds over 400 litres of fresh water which means Chef Wolfe can really use the kitchen on wheels as a real kitchen! The generator that powers the trailer runs on bio diesel, made from the oil used to make the fish and chips that Fresh Local Wild is know for. The truck that tows the trailer around also runs on bio diesel. The long term benefits of not using petroleum based fuels are obvious and I hope other food truck can learn from this. There’s also a patio on the trailer (!!!) made from stained western red cedar that has a great view of the action in the kitchen.

Sockeye Fish and Chips looked too good to resist and I waited in line to place my order along with lots of other people, this place is pretty popular and having been recently filmed for The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” the crowds are sure to get bigger! The fish is taken from the cooler and battered to order, not pre battered and it makes a huge difference. The fish was hot and not dry with a nice firmness that the crispy fresh batter matched with perfectly. The Fries were hot and fresh, the best food truck fries I’ve had to date and the house made tartare sauce was really good with both the fish and the fries.

This street food is a little different from the rest, how many street food trucks can say that they have the Assistant Corporate Chef of the Glowbal Group making your lunch? I have to try the seafood chowder poutine…


Naan Wraps

I finally got to try Naan Wraps after missing them at 400 Burrard due to their limited schedule at that location. Wow!!! The smell wafting down the street from the authentic Tandoori oven is amazing! I love Indian food, I live in Surrey and grew up eating home made Samosas, Lamb Korma and Butter Chicken from my friends families kitchens. Needless to say I know good Indian food.

First up was a newer menu item, a hollow bun filled with a choice of savory goodness, in my case it was Butter Chicken. The buns were really fresh and soft and soaked up some of the sauce and the chicken was tender, juicy and delicious. The bun isn’t traditional but the Butter Chicken sure is and it’s great! Next up I had the Tandoori Chicken Wrap. Naan bread is so freaking good, so to use it as a wrap for something as awesome as Tandoori Chicken should be illegal, I mean it’s just not fair to other food trucks! Rumor has it (actually Jay from Nann Wraps told me) that they’re going to be testing out some new menu items and some other top secret goodies that I’m not at liberty to discuss, it’s all very secret agent like and awesome sounding. Follow them on Twitter here to keep up on these changes ant to find out where they’ll be if you’re looking for some tasty South Asian eats!


Cartel Taco

Korean style tacos seem to be a bit of an over served item in Vancouver’s street food scene. There are at least 3 if not more separate vendors that offer their take on this Mexican-Korean mixed marriage. Cartel Taco sets itself apart by making this the only thing they serve, in both beef and pork. Described as Bulgogi which I’m told means fire meat in Korean (?) they are served on a doubled up corn tortilla with cilantro, onion and kimchi.

Both tacos were tasty with nice flavor from the kimchi and “fire meat” and I actually had people following me through Pacific Centre where I ate them to ask where they were from, the aroma was that good. As far as value goes street food in Vancouver can be a little pricey but you usually get what you pay for. In Cartel Taco’s case the more you eat the cheaper the tacos are. 1 for $3, 2 for $5.75, 3 for $8 and 4 for $10.

Overall I was pretty pleased with Cartel Taco, my only tip would be to ask for only one tortilla per taco as the more traditionally Mexican 2 layer tortillas were a little much and dominated the texture. Go check them out at Dunsmuir and Hamilton just outside Pacific Centre on follow them on Twitter here.


Glowbal Grill and Satay Bar – New menu and old friends

A new menu is always a good reason to visit an old favorite and Glowbal Grill in Yaletown is very much a personal favorite. It’s not just the food and drinks that keep me coming back, it’s the outstanding service staff that runs a fairly tight space with military like efficiency. Every time a server or a manager came by the table to clear plates or glasses and stopped to chat for a few seconds there was someone else there to relieve them of their arm full of dishes, unmatched teamwork and a credit to General Manager Brandon Copico and Assistant GM Kyle Johnstone and the rest of the management team.

Now the food. Josh Wolfe, owner of the uber awesome Fresh Local Wild food truck and former Executive Chef of Glowbal Group’s Coast has returned to team Glowbal as their new Assistant Corporate Chef. After chatting with GM Brandon for a while Josh came over and introduced himself, took some time to go over some menu changes and asked my wife and I if we had any allergies or dislikes and then offered to feed us, um yes please!

We started with a small caprese salad with fresh local tomatoes, basil and incredible burrata, it was so soft and gooey, I could eat an inhuman amount of this cheese. The second was a beet salad with baby arugula, sherry vinagrette and big gorgeous chunks of pecorino cheese that were the perfect match to the earthy sweetness of the beets. The beets were prepared an a few different ways that included roasted beets and raw paper thin beets. the third salad was a Tomato and Cucumber salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes, celery leaves, citrus vinagrette and a piece of salty and wonderful crisp prosciutto. Celery leaves are really quite good, stop throwing them away!

Next up Chef Wolfe brought us some Wild Mushroom Risotto made with BC Morel and Chanterelle mushrooms. This dish is not new but is great, fresh local wild (see what I did there??) mushrooms have great texture, almost meat like, and add a nice density to the rich creaminess of the risotto. Also there didn’t seem to be any cream added to this dish which was a complaint I had on my last  visit.

Next up was a Bone In Canadian Prime Ribeye with a selection of 4 sauces, Bearnaise, Chimichuri , Horseradish and steak sauce. These sauces replace the selection of salts that used to be offered with steaks. The ribeye was cooked to a magical place somewhere between rare and medium rare and had the full falvour you can only get from well marbled beef cooked on the bone. The sauces were a nice addition, my personal favorite being the house made chimichuri. The side we received was a variation of an old favorite of mine, The Lobster Baked Potato. Gone is the gigantic baked potato typical of most steak houses which has been replaced by smaller roasted potatoes served in a cast iron skillet and topped with hollandaise sauce and generous chunks of lobster meat. This was a pretty ballsy move messing with something so good but the new dish is as good if not better than the old one.

Dessert was a trio of creme brule, vanilla, white chocolate and hazelnut. I’m not really a dessert guy but I’m a total sucker for creme brule and all three flavors were wonderful and prepared perfectly under Chef Wolfe’s watchful eye. Then magic happened, and it was called chocolate bread pudding. What?? This dish is pure food sex. It was topped with house made seafoam (honeycomb toffee). If you like chocolate or desserts in general you need to try this, it’s amazing!!

Huge thanks to Chef Josh Wolfe, GM Brandon Copico and AGM Kyle Johnstone for being fantastic hosts and all around awesome guys. Click on their names to find them on Twitter and give them a follow!


Nimby Burger

NIMBY, an acronym for Not In My Back Yard, is a term used to describe people who oppose and change in their immediate vicinity. Having spent a number of years as a manager at Home Depot and Best Buy in my 20’s I am all too familiar with the NIMBY crowd. Nimby Burger resides in NIMBY central, also know as Kitsalano, at Cornwall and Yew. A throwback to the classic beach side burger stand, NIMBY is a walk up take out window on the side of Local Public Eatery, Serving only burgers, fries, milk shakes and cold drinks.


With a simple menu like this I was expecting great things from this cool little burger stand, so with that in mind I decided on the Dooblay, a double burger with double cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato and house made secret sauce. I backed that up with fries and a chocolate shake. The burger is made to order and isn’t sitting around before you get there, I can verify this as I saw them fire it on the griddle just after I ordered. The verdict? It was good, not overwhelmingly good though. I was honestly expecting fireworks given the burger only menu. The patties were quite thin so I’m glad I ordered a double. I think I was expecting something more like Five Guys and sadly this didn’t come close. Don’t get me wrong it was a tasty burger but I think that it could be so much more with a little tweak to the meat size and toppings available. Thankfully the fries and the milkshake were there to save the burger!


The fries are hand cut, as you can see in the picture to the left, and are shoestring which is not the norm for hand cut fries. These fries are so simple yet so good, just salted with no crazy seasoning. They were cook very well and were very hot and fresh. They are worth a return trip along with the milkshake, which was chocolate of course. This is a “real” milk shake made from real icecream and it’s damn good. they have 3 flavors, chocolate, vanilla  and strawberry, which means they only have 2 flavors because strawberry milkshakes are gross, right Rochelle?

Nimby Burger is only open for the rest of the Labor Day long weekend so if you want some beach side burger action and some good fries and a tasty shake get your butts down to Kits Beach for some summer goodness. Fear not though, they will be back next summer and their menu is available at Local on the Late Night Menu year round.