Category Archives: vancouver

Pho Tao Bay – Langley


Pho is a source of heated debate among those who love it. People will swear up and down that their favourite Pho place is better than your favourite Pho place and it quickly escalates into a “my dad can beat up your dad” school yard shouting match. Pho Tao Bay in Langley is probably one of those places I’m going to argue with people about. It’s a contender for top Fraser Valley Pho, right up there with Pho Tam in Whalley, one of the best Pho joints in the GVRD.

I realize this opens me up to great amounts of criticism from the Pho elitist community but I can take it, plus I had my Pho Jedi Master, Sheldon, with me to back me up. I had a large bowl of the rare beef/well done beef with the usual plate of bean sprouts and herbal goodness, I added a TON of hot sauce and chili oil, probably a bad move on the hottest day of the year (sweaty). The beef was tender and awesome, the broth is out of this world, it’s some damn fine Pho yo!

I also had a spring roll, pretty average to be honest but I’ve had way worse. The restaurant itself is that magical kind of “almost unclean” that makes you feel right at home, the service is pretty good for a Vietnamese place and the prices are average.

Go check it out and tell me I’m wrong, I dare you.

Scott.

Pho Tau Bay – 5790 203 Street, Langley

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The Park at English Bay


Ya ya I know I said I wasn’t posting any more but when Bodhi Jones asks you to come check out the place he works at you don’t say no! The Park at English Bay is located in the Best Western Sands Hotel on Davie St. just off of Denman in a space formerly known as Checkers. There are few similarities between The Park and Checkers apart from its location, the renovations have transformed an out of date room into a very contemporary space.

The beer list is probably the best in the West End and it is still evolving with manager (or “Park Ranger”) Jamison Prystay at the helm. I had a Driftwood Farmhand Ale and a Howe Sound Devils Elbow IPA. Jamison and his food and beverage team are always looking to add new and interesting beer to the list which is great to see in an area not known for craft beer.

I sampled the Charcuterie plate ($15), it was awesome and could easily be on the menu for $18-$22. The quality of the pate, meats, bread and olives is very high. The ingredients are sourced weekly from the Granville Island Market by the chef and are always changing. Charcuterie always pairs well with craft beer so make sure you explore the beer menu while you enjoy this dish.

Next up I tried the Park Sliders ($7.50), 2 house made Angus beef sliders with horseradish mayo, Jalapeño jack cheese and banana peppers. Normally I’m not a fan of sliders but these were great. They had a nice amount of heat to them and the Angus patties were very flavourful. According to the menu “They’re a little spicy, so you’ll probably want to order another beer.” Those are wise words, beer makes everything better.

Last but most certainly not least was the Georgia Straight Fried Chicken ($15). This dish looked like it was going to be heavy and greasy due to the dark colour of the batter but it was quite light. The batter is thinner that it looks and the chicken is VERY tender. The fact that it’s boneless is a plus for me, I’m not a huge fan of chicken on the bone. There’s a honey drizzle that adds and nice sweetness to this savoury dish and it’s complimented by some garlic mashed potatoes with crispy onion straws and steamed veggies. Overall a very good dish.

I have to say I’m very impressed with The Park at English Bay. The food and drink menu are a perfect match to it’s beautiful location. For all of you die hard Checkers fans fear not, THEY STILL HAVE KARAOKE!! There’s now live music as well and it would be a great place to catch your favourite sporting event!

Scott.

For the record my meal and beers were provided by The Park at English Bay but the fact that it was free didn’t change the way it tasted 🙂 Go Check it out!!

Twitter – @ParkVanCity

Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheParkVancouver

The Dominique


This place is by invitation only and if you’re so lucky to be invited, you have to help make dinner and you might have to help name the creation. 

May I present to you The Dominique, aptly named for its creator, the lovely and oh s0 talented (and tall) Dominique Fricot. Does his name sound familiar to you? His voice has been gracing the airwaves from 100.5 The Peak, and he was recently announced as one of the top 20 contenders for this year’s Peak Performance Project. He and his former band, The Painted Birds, were in the first Peak Performance Project back in 2009 and he credits a lot of his knowledge of the business to his experience in the PPP. He confessed that one of the reasons he entered the PPP last year was so he could go to Band Camp at Rockridge Canyon, and I don’t blame him. Don’t follow the other bands’ Twitter accounts, it will lead to heartbreak when you read about how much fun they’re having and the beautiful setting of Rockridge Canyon. I and many others are scheming to get ourselves to band camp without actually being in a band.  This year he’s back as a solo artist. His song Haunted by  Love is getting quite a bit of airplay and he just released his EP ‘If Baby Could Walk’ which is available for purchase here.

The Dominique   – serves 4-5 hungry people, 25 mins to prepare

Rotini Pasta

½ lb bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 chicken breasts, cubed

White cap mushrooms, sliced

1 jar of Blue Cheese Dressing

The Salad:

Greens – your choice of mixed greens, leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, even spinach would have been good

Mango chunks

Grated beets

Vinaigrette of your choice

Combining two of my favourite things- cooking and music, which happen to be two of Dominique’s favourite things, we set out to make a meal together. I asked Dominique what we were going to be cooking and he confessed that the dish didn’t have a name, and since Bacon-Chicken-Mushroom-Blue-Cheese Rotini is a mouthful, we settled on The Dominique. Apparently Fricot is already a soup; I imagine The Dominique Fricot is a pasta and soup combo with a side of soulful lyrics and a dash of charm. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Cutting the chicken into cubes

I chopped the bacon into one inch pieces while he cut the chicken into cubes. In my opinion, everyone can cook with a recipe, it’s when you start to make a recipe your own that the magic happens. That’s how Dominique started cooking, too. His mom’s friend gave him his first cookbook after he graduated, and he initially he followed the recipes. These days he finds his inspiration online, looking at the comments at the end of recipes for the tips and tricks of those that have cooked before him. However, this dish was unwritten, one that was passed down through friendship, trial, and error until now.

Did I mention he’s tall?

The chicken went into a hot wok with a little bit of olive oil, and after a few minutes the bacon was added. Meanwhile, a pot of water was boiled for the pasta and Dominique got down to business preparing a simple summer salad. I stirred the wok every now and then to ensure that the bacon was cooking evenly, and at the ¾ mark he tossed in some sliced mushrooms and we let those cook down.

Messy and delicious addition to a salad

Dominique prepared a lovely summer salad with greens, mango chunks, and shredded beats. Yes, shredded beats are as messy as they sound, but I think they taste really great in their fresh state. You can do it yourself by peeling the beets with a potato peeler and then using a cheese grater to shred. It adds an earthy, sweet flavour to the salad and it looks beautiful against the orange hue of the mango. Easy like Sunday morning, and a fresh accompaniment to the pasta. Once the pasta was cooked and drained, the bacon, chicken, and mushrooms were added and a jar of blue cheese dressing was stirred in. Voila! Dinner was ready. The pasta was creamy and rich, and surprisingly not dominated by the bacon. This was an easy meal to prepare, and it was delicious.  Definitely a recipe I will keep in my back pocket for unexpected guests which seem to happens at my house fairly often.

Rochele stirring the goods

You know what made the meal fantastic, though? The chef. Do yourself a favour and go check out his music. His tunes are so smooth and mellow, perfect for afternoon cups of tea and lounging. Scott’s daughter even has Dominique’s East Coast Girls on her iPod which she listens to every night at bedtime. Looking forward to Dominique’s musical journey over these next few months as he plays his heart out for an opportunity to win $100,500.00 in the Peak Performance Project. Best of luck and thanks for having us in your home, Dominique. Follow him on Twitter and check out his Facebook page for shows and updates.

The chef being his charming self and his creation, The Dominique

Suika Izakaya #SuikaPunch Package with VANEATS.ca!!!


The team at VANEATS.ca know how to make people happy. They team up with your favourite restaurants and bring you amazing dining experiences for a great price and their latest package with Suika Izakaya is one of their best. It’s called Suika Punch!! (#SuikaPunch if you’re looking for it on Twitter) and it packs a 6 course wallop, 5 food courses and 1 beer course, for only $25! Don’t be fooled by that beer course, it’s a FULL PITCHER of Sapporo! Get ready to drool, this is pure food porn.

Course 1, a full sized pitcher of Sapporo. That’s my kind of course. If this was Yaletown the pitcher itself would’ve been $25… True story.

The first food course is “Chinese Poutine”. Fries topped with spicy ground pork gravy, mozzarella, chilli oil, sansho and minced cilantro. Eating fries with chopsticks is weird, but good weird. The spicy pork gravy with chilli oil is delicious, the cheese has that awesome slight browned colour from being baked in the oven and the fries are nice and thick. A cool twist on a classic French Canadian dish.

The next three courses came together on a platter and looked delicious. SPOILER ALERT, they were as delicious as they looked.

Course three is Yellowtail Carpaccio, thinly sliced Yellowtail with tobiko and sesame soy dressing. Very fresh and light with just the right amount of salt from the dressing. Very nice.

Course four is Tomato Kimchi, Tomato slices marinated in kimchi with cilantro oil and Chinese chives. So simple, so fresh, so tasty. The tomatoes were still firm too, I was worried they’d be a little soft after being marinated but they held up!

Course five is Tuna Tataki, slightly smoked high grade tuna with house made chilli oil on a bed of thinly sliced red onions. This dish was so good that I ordered more after I had finished the 6 course meal. Unreal tuna, so fresh. You have to try this.

Last but certainly not least, course six, the Hellz Chicken. To quote VANEATS.ca, it’s “deep fried and tossed with the hell sauce”. The hell sauce is a devilish concoction made from jalapeño, hot sauce, lemon, garlic, vinegar & Tabasco. A spicy combo to say the least, but the flavours are worth the face punch, it’s a pleasure/pain thing. The Hellz Chicken is damn good.

Like I said, all of this is only $25, get your package NOW at VANEATS.ca, you can thank me later.

Full disclosure, my meal was complimentary but I would’ve paid $25 for this. I actually would have paid a lot more but it’s a great deal. Get it, get it now.

Scott.

Pumphouse Pub Bacon and Beer Dinner!


Another Longtable dinner at the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond has come and gone and this one was a doozy! A five course bacon themed dinner, each course paired with a beer from the Beerthirst portfolio, bacon and beer? Yes please!! This dinner had the added twist of being a fundraiser for local golf phenom Nathan Leonhardt with all proceeds going to help his dream of playing on the PGA Tour.

Course one was a bacon, caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche paired with Odin Brewing Co‘s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale. The Quiche had a nice flaky crust with the bacon and caramelized onion giving the filling a salty richness with a slight tang from the goat cheese, very tasty. The Kolsch pairs well with any food, which is what Odin’s main goal is when they make a beer. It’s a nice light palette cleansing beer.

Course two was fried plantains with a spicy Thai bacon salad. It was paired with the Trailhead ISA from Two Beers Brewing Co. The plantains were great and complimented the Thai salad very well. Throw a little bacon in the mix and you really can’t go wrong. The Trailhead ISA was a nice pairing for this dish. It is a very sessionable beer that doesn’t over power the delicate flavours of the plantains. another winner.

Course three was prosciutto wrapped chicken with beurre rouge sauce. It was paired with Odin Brewing Co’s Odin’s Gift Ruby Ale. The chicken was cooked perfectly, quite an accomplishment when cooking for 60-70 people. The prosciutto was a nice salty pork jacket hugging the chicken, delicious. The beurre rouge sauce was good but the dish could’ve used a bit more of it and it could’ve been a little thicker. The Odin’s gift Ruby Ale pairs well with salty meat so it was a hit with the pork snuggled chicken.

Course four was a slow braised pork shoulder with apples, onions and bacon with a few pieces of roasted potato. It was paired with Tenaya Creek Brewing Co‘s Calico Brown Ale. The pork shoulder was well cooked and very tender without being dry but it lacked seasoning. The apple and bacon were a great pair but the dish needed more of both and the potato seemed a little out of place. This dish was a few small tweaks away from being incredible. The Calico Brown Ale paired well with the pork. It’s a hoppy brown ale and I have to say that it’s one of my favourites from the Las Vegas brewery.

The fifth and final course was a warm chocolate chilli brownie with chocolate bacon ice cream. It was paired with Elysian Brewing Co’s Peste Chocolate Chilli Ale. WOW! The brownie was moist and rich and had a great chilli kick to it, incredible. The chocolate bacon ice cream was perfect to balance the heat from the chilli in the brownie. This dessert was outstanding. The Peste Chocolate Chilli Ale has mellowed some since I first tried it but this beer was meant for this dish, it was an unbelievably good pairing.

It was great chatting with Nathan about his ambitions in the professional golf world and I’m happy that Beerthirst and The Pumphouse could raise some money to help him on his quest. Nathan plays on the Canadian Tour and has had success as an amateur and attended Northwood Texas University on a golf scholarship. Few people realize how expensive it is to play professional golf so every penny counts! Good luck Nathan, we’ll be watching your career and cheering for you!

Scott.

Craft beer and chicken wings? Sharkey’s in Ladner has them!


Chicken wings are amazing, craft beer is amazing and putting the two together makes me want to weep tears of joy. The people of Ladner probably don’t realize how lucky they are to live near Sharkey’s Seafood Bar and Grille. Where else can you get terrific craft beer, fresh oysters and a great riverside patio experience in the lower mainland? Now that they put chicken wings back on the menu it’s almost a perfect storm.

Their new wing line up consists of 6 wing flavours, each with it’s own recommended craft beer pairing. I have some friends that live in Ladner that will be pretty happy to hear Sharkey’s has wings again. I’ll be going to check them out for myself very soon, expect a FULL breakdown (and stomach) from yours truly. Go to Sharkeys.ca for the full wing menu!

Scott.

Tacofino!


I’ve had a lot of food from trucks lately thanks to my awesome location downtown during the week. My latest street food lunch came from Tacofino, the orange taco truck, parked on Howe street outside the Art Gallery. Tacofino also has a blue truck that serves burritos at Burrard and Dunsmuir and the original truck in Tofino.

I had the Tuna Ta-Taco, actually I had two of them. Seared sesame soy Albacore tuna, seaweed salad, shredded cabbage, wasabi ginger mayo and mango salsa on a fire roasted flour tortilla. These taco’s are among the best fish tacos I’ve ever had, seriously good. The tuna is delicious, actually I’m not going to bother going item by item here because this whole taco just works together. All of the ingredients work so well together that it’s hard to focus on one at a time, just take a bite and enjoy. It’s made even better by the toasted flour tortilla with its subtle crunch.

Street food rules. As always I use @StreetFoodApp to find great local food trucks and so should you!

Scott.