Thursday, 28 February 2013

Comfort food at its finest...

Homemade mac and cheese with bacon and tomatoes...need I say more?  A good friend, and university roommate of mine, taught me this recipe years ago and it never fails to make me feel warm, comfy cozy, and full!  So, without further delay, here's how to make this yumminess...

  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and broken into little pieces
  • 1/3 - 1/2 of a tomato, cut into little pieces
  • butter (about the size of 1 pat of butter)
  • flour (about 1-1.5 tbsp)
  • milk (probably about 2 tbsp)
  • cheddar cheese, about five grates and the older the cheddar, the better!
  • macaroni noodles - I normally just measure these out on my plate to figure out how much I want/need
First thing's first, turn your water on to boil.  At the same time, cook your bacon.  Add the macaroni to the boiling water and, while you're waiting for everything to cook, grate your cheese and cut your tomato.  When the bacon is cooked, pat it down and break into little pieces.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it and move the pot to a different element on low.  Add the butter and melt.  Add the flour to the melted butter bit by bit, stirring the whole time, to create a thick liquid.  Then, add your milk bit by bit, stirring consistently, until you have a thick sauce base.  Add your grated cheese, turn the heat up to medium-low and stir regularly until your cheese sauce is sauce consistency.  Turn the heat back down to low.  Add the macaroni noodles back into the pot and mix.  Last but not least, add the tomato and bacon, stir until mixed and warmed (maybe a minute or so) and serve.  The ingredients above are for 1 serving, so mix and match quantities to get the combination you like for the number of people you're serving.

Ooey gooey goodness.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A little taste of the Caribbean...

The Reef is one of my all-time favourite restaurants in Vancouver.  No matter how rainy and cold it is outside, it is always warm and sunny inside this restaurant.  Add to that they make scrumptious food, a mean mojito, and they always have great music really can't go wrong with this restaurant.  So, if you're dying to eat in a beach-side restaurant in the Carribean, get your butt down to The Reef!

My oh so yummy ginger beer.  I love ginger beer and their house-made ginger beer is up there with the best I've ever tasted.  ($3.50)

My dining partner's Vincy Fish: fried tilapia with a savoury onion, tomato, pepper & fresh thyme sauce. Served with coconut rice.  There wasn't even a piece of rice left on the plate, so I'm assuming it was yummy.  ($17) 

My Maracas Bay Mahi: curry & lime pan-seared fillet with a colling cho cho & apple slaw. Served with coconut rice & local vegetables (carrots, bok choy and beets).  Delicious as always!  This is hands down my favourite dish at The Reef.  Flavourful, refreshing, and you get a good chunk of fish, all for a reasonable price.  ($18)

We, and by we I obviously mean me, were feeling more like salty than sweet after dinner.  So, we opted to finish the meal off with some Plantain Chips with jerk mayo instead of dessert.  Just what the doctor ordered!  I love this appy.  ($6)
Things to note: instead of bread, they bring scrumptious Caribbean doughnuts to the table that you eat with butter.  These are free, so if you want more, just ask!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal...

This past weekend I was spoiled rotten by a friend and her husband who invited me over for dinner.  Not only did I get to play with their absolutely adorable baby girl before dinner, but my friend cooked up a feast, we watched the Canucks game afterwards and I got to wear Lululemons and chill out on their couch through all of it!  It truly was a treat.  Now, on to the food!

Baked brie with sundried tomatoes and Wisecrackers to start.  Anytime cheese is involved I am definitely a happy camper, but I really liked the addition of the sundried tomatoes and the crackers rocked!

Kale salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and an olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar dressing.  So refreshing and flavourful!  She massaged the kale with olive oil and sea salt to get it to a lettuce consistency.

Now that's what I call a piece of salmon!  Marinated in "Mike's" marinade.  I can't remember what was in it, but it was full of garlic, soya sauce and brown sugar yumminess I do believe.  It added to the flavour of the salmon without overpowering it and kept the salmon nice and moist.  All in all, a scrumptious dinner! 
Thanks again friends! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

East is East

My little cousin was back in town for reading week, so I was super excited when she suggested getting together for dinner and even more excited when she wanted to go to East is East!  First of all, I love this restaurant.  Second of all, I haven't been in far too long.  Third of all, I had never been to the Main Street location and was super excited to check it out. 
As always the food was delicious (there wasn't a scrap of food left on any dish), the service great, the atmosphere as warm and inviting as ever but much more open and bright than the Broadway location, there was an amazing band playing (I believe they were called the Chai Orchestra) and we were even lucky enough to watch some fabulous belly dancing care of a patron.  All in all a fabulous visit and meal!  If you haven't been to East is East, you definitely have to add it to your "must try" list.
Boulani: traditional Afghan whole wheat roti stuffed with potato, green onion and herbs, served with chickpeas, dehydrated yogurt, beets and sprouts.  Very yummy!
My cousin's Afghan Nomad Roti Roll: lamb roasted in ginger, onion, garlic and five spice curry.  Served with green salad and dhal soup.  (Approximately $14)
My Uncle's Ghengiz Khan and Persia's Favourite Roti Rolls, served with green salad and dhal soup.  The Ghengiz Khan had minced beef with mushroom, green pepper, tomato and herbs.  The Persia's Favourite had a lamb kebab with spinach and white basmati rice.  (Approximaely $17)  
My Aunt's Mango Prawns: prawns sautéed in a spicy mango, lime leaf and star anise curry on basmati rice.

My Rumi's Meal Roti Roll: beef, eggplant, mushrooms, red pepper and Afghan rice.  Served with green salad and dhal soup.  Absolutely delicious!  (Approximately $14) 
Dessert!  Eastern Ecstacy: rice pudding, ice cream, and a warm gulab jaman (traditional indian cake) on top with rosewater, pistachio and cardamom.  Very yummy!  ($7.50)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

My first trip to Manila...

Okay, maybe not all the way to Manila but it felt like I was a good chunk of the way there after lunch at the Symphonie Restaurant.  I was going out for lunch with some colleagues and they had a craving for Filipino food so off we went.  I had no idea that there was a Filipino restaurant near where we worked, so I was looking forward to trying it out.  The restaurant itself is cute.  Street level, tucked away, plenty of seating, friendly staff and a wide variety of food. 
They have sandwiches and soup amongst other dishes, but the reason we went there was for the Filipino Lunch Specials: 
  • Monday: Pork Adobo - pork ribs cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic
  • Tuesday: Bistek with Pickled Cucumber - beef cooked in soy sauce and lemon juice
  • Wednesday: Kare Kare - beef and pork cooked in peanut butter sauce
  • Thursday: Daing na Bangus with Mungo - marinated boneless milkfish with mung bean soup
  • Friday: Jollibee Fried Chicken with sweet spaghetti
One of my colleagues is Filipino, so I was even lucky enough to get the low-down on the food that I was eating.  We were there on Friday, so there was no question about it, I had to get the Jollibee Fried Chicken.  This was truly homemade fried chicken.  According to my colleague, it is also very authentic.  Just like the fried chicken that her mother-in-law makes, or the type that you would get in the Philippines.

As for the sweet spaghetti, it is exactly what it sounds like.  Spaghetti but sweeter with hot dogs.  My colleague explained that this is traditionally served at kids birthday parties, so the sauce was made sweeter since kids prefer sweet sauces and hot dogs were added because what kid doesn't like hot dogs?  So, the long and the short of it is that this is one of the ultimate Filipino comfort foods.

The food was yummy and it was a great learning experience, so I definitely couldn't complain!  If you're in the mood for some Filipino food, you should make your way to Symphonie Restaurant on Pender between Thurlow and Bute.

My Jollibee Fried Chicken with Sweet Spaghetti.  ($7.95 tax included)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bandidas Taquiera

So, I'm not going to lie.  I debated whether to include my trip to Bandidas Taquiera on my food blog or not.  If you haven't noticed, my posts are honest but not harsh.  This is because I only post about places I thoroughly enjoyed, would go back to myself and would take friends to.  If I wouldn't go back, I simply don't post about it and feel that that is punishment enough.  Who knows, my bad experience could be a one in a million experience and peoples' livelihoods depend on these restaurants.
Which brings me to Bandidas Taquiera.  The food was sublime, the portions out of control, the atmosphere unreal, and the prices very reasonable.  So, it was a fabulous experience except the fact that they veganized the wrong order.  I was really looking forward to the meal I ordered, so I was disappointed.  However, I chose not to say anything and eat it anyways.  It was still a yummy meal, I have no doubt that they would have re-made my order without a problem if I had said something at the time, and they were apologetic when we explained what had happened when it came time to pay.
So, Coles Notes version of what I'm trying to say is that I think this restaurant is fabulous.  I did not have the greatest experience my first time, but that was as much my fault as anyone's and I don't feel they deserve the punishment of not getting a post.  I would go back in a heart beat, plan on doing so soon and I hope you consider doing the same.
Buck Enchiladas: three handmade corn tortillas filled with steamed spinach & pinto beans, covered with salsa verde sauce and cheese.  Served with rice and beans.  ($11.25)  
Dani's Enchiladas: three handmade corn tortillas stuffed with melted cheese, kale and roasted butternut squash, covered with enchilada sauce and daiya cheese.  Served with salad.  ($11.25, plus $1.50 for kale, plus $1.50 for daiya cheese)   
I don't know what it is, but I love it when a restaurant serves you water and beverages in mason jars.  On the left, my water.  On the right, my hibiscus lemonade...out of this world yumminess!  ($3)

The view from our table.  Such a great atmosphere!

Friday, 22 February 2013


When a groupon came up for Freshii a little while ago, I couldn't resist looking into it.  With a name like Freshii, I just had to know what it was all about.  Turns out that it was founded by a fellow who was previously a Marketing Manager for Oscar de la Renta in NYC.  He was sick of grabbing unhealthy lunches on the go, so he got the idea to create fresh, quick, healthy food that would energize people at an affordable price.  Needless to say, I was suckered into the Groupon.

The food was delicious, the atmosphere a cross between cafeteria and restaurant, and the restaurant was was bright and full of natural food court dungeon here.  Overall, it was a lovely lunch (which may have had something to do with the lovely company as well!) and I definitely plan on going back.

Things to note: the nutritional information of each and every dish is posted on Freshii's website.
The Fiesta Salad with Chicken: black beans, corn, avocado, pico de gallo, jack and cheddar cheese, on top of field greens and accompanied with cilantro lime vinaigrette.  My lunching partner thoroughly enjoyed this meal.  ($8.50, plus $1.50 for the chicken)
My Mediterranean Life Bowl with Chicken: half brown rice and half salad greens, served with kalamata olives, feta cheese, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, almonds and red pepper sauce.  This was great!  It was filling but not too much, the ingredients were super fresh and flavourful, and it was a little bit of everything so you never got bored with anything.($7.50, plus $1.50 for the chicken)
The X that marks the spot!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Nat's Roasted Mushroom Soup - Whitewater Cooks

When I told my sister that I was trying the Whitewater Cooks Roasted Mushroom Soup, she just about blew a gasket.  I believe the exact word she used multiple times was "Phenomenal!"  I could even hear the capital "P" and exclamation point over the phone.  This all from the girl who I clearly remember falling asleep at the kitchen table because she refused to eat her mushroom soup growing up.  Wonders really never do cease. 

Needless to say, I was even more ecstatic to try this recipe out after chatting on the phone with my sister.  I have to admit, my experience wasn't quite as phenomenal as hers, but that was mainly due to the fact that I added twice the amount of flour I was supposed to (ooopsy daisies!)...which obviously sucked a lot of flavour out of the soup.  That being said, it was still a really yummy, hearty soup, I plan on trying it again and I would recommend trying it if you're in the market for some mushroom soup to fill your belly!

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Rosemary from about three sprigs, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (I used vegetable)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat then add the onions and cook until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and fresh rosemary and sauté for a few minutes more.  Add the mushrooms then and stir well to combine.  Dump the contents of the pot onto a baking sheet and bake, stirring a couple of times, until the mushrooms are tender and golden brown (about 25 minutes).  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Melt the butter in the same pot.  Add the flour and stir.  Pour the milk in slowly while whisking to prevent lumps.  Simmer over medium low heat for about five minutes until thickened.  Pour your stock into a blender and add about half of the golden mushroom concoction.  Blend until very smooth.  Add the purée and the rest of the mushroom mixture to the soup pot.  Stir and bring the soup to a simmer for a few minutes.  Season with salt, lots of ground pepper, and leftover rosemary if you feel the urge.  Serves 6.

Things to Note: For those of you who have the cookbook, it says that it serves 8.  This is definitely on the generous side and I would say it serves more around 4-6, with a grilled cheese on the side.

Nat's Roasted Mushroom Soup


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Brunch at the Sunset Grill

This past weekend I had a solid brunch at the Sunset Grill.  Nothing fancy or out of the ordinary, just a tasty, filling brunch at a decent price, which was exactly what the doctor ordered.  The biggest bonus was there was no line-up, our food arrived quickly, and we weren't rushed out.  So, if you're looking to add another brunch locale to your normal repertoire, you can't go wrong with the Sunset Grill in Kits.

The Irish Breakfast: eggs, bacon, bangers, sauteed mushrooms, baked beans, grilled tomato, home fries & cheddar soda bread.  I quote, "this soda bread is so good!"  ($13)

Me and my Kits Breakfast: eggs over easy, bacon, toast, home fries & 3 silver dollar pancakes.  I think my brunching partner thought my eyes were bigger than my belly and was hoping that a pancake or two may end up sliding onto their that's what I call wishful thinking!  ($11)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Sweet and Sour Pork

This was one of my all-time favourite meals growing up.  So, when I made it the other day, I couldn't resist sharing.
  • 1 lb pork
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
Combine the vinegar, soya sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch in a measuring cup and add cold water to make a cup.  Mix well.  Cut pork into bite size pieces and cook in a sauce pan over medium heat until browned.  Remove the pork from the pan and add the sauce.  Stir constantly until the sauce is sauce consistency.  Turn the heat to low, return the pork to the pan.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Serve over rice with veggies. 

Yummy in my tummy!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Leafy Cleanser - Feed Life Starve Cancer

I've been popping a handful of spinach or kale into my regular smoothies for quite some time now, so I figured it was time to take the plunge and make a green drink in the morning.  I picked the Leafy Cleanser recipe from the Feed Life Starve Cancer workshop I went to recently.  They'd made this cleanser during the work shop and I'd really enjoyed it.  However, they had warned us to build up to incorporating green drinks slowly, as it might be a bit of a shock to your taste buds at first.

I'm not going to lie, I think I may have taken the plunge a bit too early and will most likely end up reverting to my kale and raspberry smoothie for a bit longer.  It has nothing to do with this recipe in particular.  I just think it was too much, too fast.  For those of you who enjoy a green drink in the mornings, I think you would really enjoy this recipe.

Leafy Cleanser
  • 1/2 cup leafy greens (I used spinach)
  • 1/4 cup parsley or cilantro (I used parsley)
  • 1/4 box broccoli sprouts
  • 1 thin slice lemon
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 stalk of celery
  • 1/2 date
  • 1 cup water
Place all ingredients into blender and blend well.  Makes 1 serving.

 Ready for blending!

My first official, homemade green drink.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The best eggs benny in Vancouver...

If I ever have a hankering for eggs benny, there's only one place to go in my mind: Café Zen.  They're scrumptious AND you can order two different types of benny for no additional charge!  I think the photos will tell the rest of the story very well, so here goes:

My eggs benny: Left egg - Benji Mushroom (bacon and mushrooms).  Right egg - Flo Benedict Greek (ham, spinach and feta).  Scrumptiousness on a plate!  ($10)  What you don't see is the large, and when I say large I mean large, glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  ($3.95).  This is the only breakfast place I've ever been to where I can justify the price of freshly squeezed orange juice.

My brunch companion's eggs benny during their first Café Zen experience: California (tomato and avocado). 

Saturday, 16 February 2013


As a Christmas gift, a dear friend gave me a jar of her home-made peaches.  Not only did she can them herself, but the peaches came off the tree in her backyard.  Talk about a spectacular gift!  I'd been saving them for a special occassion and finally had no self-restraint left and dug into them the other day.  Amazing!  It took me back to the days when we used to salivate over jars of her Grandma's canned peaches.  You just can't beat home-made!  It officially convinced me that I have to make a trip to the Okanagan during peach season this year, buy a flat of peaches, and talk my friend into teaching me her secret recipe.  Wink, wink...nudge, nudge...there may be some free babysitting in it for you...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Bel Café - The Best Hot Chocolate EVER!

It's official, the hot chocolate festival finished with the best hot chocolate I have ever had in my life!  Imagine the yummiest hot chocolate you've ever had (not too sweet, just the right amount of chocolate), add chai spices and top it all off with a homemade chai spiced marshmallow.  Heaven on earth!  Even the orange palmier it came with was to die for.  My only regret?  That I waited until the last day of the festival to taste this yummy goodness as it's a special release only for the festival.  Mind you, it's probably a good thing...otherwise I'd be over there on a daily basis!

Things to note: (1) Bel Café is a full service café.  So, if you want to eat in, you have to be seated at a table like at a restaurant.  If you want take-out, feel free to go up and order from the counter.  (2) Their baked goods look mouthwateringly delicious.  (3) Their soups and sandwiches also looked very yummy and a decent size.  (4)  Everything is homemade in house.  And (5) they do have a regular hot chocolate on their menu, which I most definitely plan on trying out after the yummy deliciousness me and my fabulous cycling buddy tried yesterday.

Milk chocolate with sweet spices (chai),
served with caramelized honey and orange palmier.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Tokyo John Sushi

I'm generally cautious about trying new sushi places unless I've heard good things about them via word of mouth, because sushi is just something you don't want to mess with!  However, this past week I was meeting up with someone for lunch outside of my regular "work lunch zone," so ended up trying a completely random sushi restaurant.  There were lots of people inside, which I thought was a good sign, and it was.  The food was good, the service was great and fast, and the prices were normal.  So, if you're ever craving sushi at Hornby and Smithe, don't be afraid to try Tokyo John Sushi. 

My sashimi bento box: miso soup, salad, california roll, beef teriyaki on rice, 3 pieces tuna sashimi and two pieces salmon sashimi.  ($15)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

My new pre-game routine...

It's official.  I've found my new favourite pub to go to pre-Canucks game: Pivo Public House.  It's modern but cozy.  Hipster but ski hillish.  But most importantly, they have one heck of a burger!  Absolutely mouth watering and, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, you can upgrade your fries to a poutine that rivals Fritz!  Needless to say I plan on having a few more burgers there this season. 

Things to note: (1) It's only 2 blocks away from Rogers Arena.  (2) It's owned by the same folks who own the Charles Bar.  So, if you like the Charles Bar, chances are you'll like Pivo Public House.  (3) They have Whistler lager sleeves for $4.50 every day.  (4) They have 2 for 1 brunch on Saturday and Sunday. (5) If you happen to be at Tinseltown for a movie, your ticket stub will get you 25% off your meal at Pivo.  And last but not least, (5) We arrived at 5:15 and got one of the last 6 seats in the house for the pre-game sitting.  So, if you're planning on eating and going to the game, I'd recommend getting there no later than 5:20.

My heart attack on a plate.  Custom Grind 8oz Cheeseburger: All beef, 8oz patty, aged cheddar, brioche bun, sliced pickles, lettuce, tomato, parmesan aioli with a poutine made with Kennebec fries, cheese curds, and rich gravy.  ($15)  Absolutely scrumptious!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Homemade Holy Crap Cereal - Feed Life Starve Cancer

I decided it was officially time to start making some of the yummy Feed Life Starve Cancer recipes for myself, and I figured there was no better place to start than with breakfast.  This is their All-In-One Breakfast Cereal which I've been told is essentially a homemade version of the Holy Crap cereal that costs an arm and a leg.  It was super easy to make and the cinnamon made it really yummy.  I took it as my morning snack for work, which was great.  However, I'm not so sure that the portion I made would have sustained me fully for breakfast before a morning workout.  So, I'd recommend playing around with portions a bit, depending on when you want to eat it.  Enjoy!

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat grouts
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a glass container and keep in a cool dark place.

I discovered that everything fit perfectly into a large canning jar, which made storage and mixing really easy.
To eat, mix 4 tbsp of the cereal with 1 cup of milk (hemp, almond, cow).  You can let it soak in the fridge overnight or wait 15 minutes and enjoy.  The chia seeds absorb the milk and become a pudding, so if you want a thinner consistency, add more milk.
My snack!  I used skim milk and transported the milk and cereal together in a small canning jar to work.  It sat for about 30 minutes before I ate it and it was still a pretty thin consistency, so I think I'm going to try shaking it up a bit and letting it sit overnight next time.  Let me tell you, though, 1 cup of strawberries is a kick butt topping!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Leonidas - Hot Chocolate Festival

As I was perusing the different hot chocolates partaking in the Hot Chocolate Festival, one caught my eye more than the rest:

Melted praline blended into frozen yogurt, topped with a shot of melted chocolate, and finished with crushed hazelnuts.
Served with a choice of chocolate or liege waffle sample.
Available: every day of the Festival.

I loved the fact that it was frozen.  Plus pralines and chocolate combined?  It had me at hello.  So, I headed down to Leonidas with a spin buddy this past week.  Leonidas itself is absolutely adorable.  A cute yet modern hideaway, right on the seawall, full of yummy drinks, chocolates, pastries and macarons.  I can definitely see myself sneaking in there for an afternoon chocolate and enjoying it on the benches near the big rain drop in the summer.

The hot chocolate itself wasn't exactly what I was expecting.  I was so excited about the frozen aspect that I missed the word blend.  So, I was picturing a scoop of frozen yogurt with a shot of chocolate poured over top and crushed hazelnuts sprinkled on top of that.  However, it was all blended together like a frappucino instead.  It was indeed still deliciously rich and yummy, though.  And the waffle it came with...out of this world!  I would go back just for one of those waffles.  My favourite part was that everything was made fresh right in front of your eyes.  It gave you the time to relax and decompress.  So, if you're every walking along the seawall and start to crave a chocolate, pastry, beverage or a chocolate drizzled waffle, don't be afraid to pop your head into Leonidas!

 My view of my liege waffle drizzled with melted chocolate and my Frozen Noisette.  ($7.78)  A bit on the pricey side, but the drinks and waffle were both much larger than I was expecting.

 My spin buddy's scrumptious dark hot chocolate.  Hers also came with a liege waffle drizzled with melted chocolate.

The view from Leonidas.  Not too shabby!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Mom's Grilled Cheese

It had been a while since I had been to Mom's Grilled Cheese, but with the cool weather recently I was craving some tummy-filling comfort food for lunch, so myself and some lovely ex-colleagues made our way to Mom's food truck at Howe and Robson.  Delicious as always!  If you haven't been, you should definitely check it out.  Yummy food, the ladies in the truck are super kind and fun to chat with as you order, AND, for you vegans/gluten free folk out there, they even have gluten free bread and deya cheese!  So, don't delay...just get your butts down there!

My classic grilled cheese with a shot of their absolutely to die for tomato soup.  ($10.10)  Sour dough bread, cheddar cheese, with tomato.  The chips come with the sandwich, as does one slice of pickle but I got two extra because: (1) they were understaffed and felt bad about the wait (even though it was a shorter wait than most food trucks) and (2) they forgot my tomato initially and apologized profusely even though it only took them an extra 30 seconds to fix it.  As my love of pickles goes very deep, this made up in spades for two things that I didn't even feel were an inconvenience.  Definitely 10 out of 10 for service.
As for the shot of tomato soup, I discovered something amazing!  I ordered the shot because I knew the sandwich and cup of soup would be too much food for me and I figured the shot would allow me to get a couple of sips and satisfy my craving for tomato soup.  However, when I ordered it, the lady asked if I wanted it now or with my sandwich.  I asked for it with my sandwich, to which she smiled and said "To dip, right?  That's the only way to go!"  I smiled and played along even though I hadn't even considered dipping it.  Well, after hearing how excited she was about dipping, there was no way I couldn't try was the greatest melding of flavours ever!  It took their unbelievable grilled cheese sandwich to a whole new level.  My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it.  So, next time you grab a grilled cheese, make sure you order a shot of tomato soup as well and get some dipping action in.

Cheddar cheese on french bread with a shot of tomato soup.

Cheddar cheese on marbled rye with a shot of tomato soup.

One of the cutest trucks around town!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

From Kiev to Rome...

Last Friday I had one of the funnest (yes, I've decided that is a word) food experiences I've ever had!  A good friend of mine who is a fellow food lover had discovered that the first Friday of every month, the Holy Trinity Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral hosts a Friday night perogy dinner.  It was everything we had hoped it would be and more!  What completely and utterly made my night was the kind grey-haired lady's reaction to the fact that her tray was out of perogies when we got to her.  She stood patiently for about 5 seconds, then walked back to the kitchen, opened the swinging door, fork in hand, and yelled "PEROGIES!"  Then walked back to her station and the perogies arrived very shortly after.  It was classic!  I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking, but needless to say, I highly recommend checking this dinner out.

My Regular Dinner: 6 perogies, sour cream, fried onions, 2 cabbage rolls, sausage and sauerkraut.  ($12).  The perogies were cheese perogies and were heavenly.  Boiled, not fried, the onions were fried to perfection, and who doesn't love sour cream?  I'm not going to lie, I think my Ukranian friend's cabbage roll recipe kicks these cabbage rolls' butt in terms of flavour, but you could tell they'd been perfectly made with love.  As for the sausage and sauerkraut...unreal!

Our view from the end of the line.  The dinner goes from 5pm until 8pm.  When we arrived, the line-up went all the way around the outer edge of the gym, but it's very well organized.  There's a fellow at the front door who gives you a placemat.  You're only given a placemat if there are seats available at a table.  You place your placemats down where you want to sit, so your seats are saved and then you line up in line.  The line went quite quickly.  I'd say 20-30 minutes, but with good conversation it flies by.  The line seemed to die down around 7:15-7:30, but the folks at our table who came then weren't able to get sauerkraut because they were out.  So, I'd still recommend going at peak dinner time and standing an extra 5-10 minutes in line.

The official ordering form.  Each person gets one and you mark down what you want and whether you want sauerkraut or salad.  Cash only.

Mission accomplished!  No doubt about it, I'll definitely be back.

Since we'd been to Ukraine for dinner, we figured there would be no better way to top off the night than a trip to Italy for dessert.  So, off to Bella Gellateria we went!  I absolutely love this gelato shop.  It's in the bottom of the Pacific Rim on the corner of Cordova and Burrard.  Their gelato literally transports you to the cobblestone streets of Italy.  They even won an award for their gelato at a gelato competition in Italy last year.  It's divine!  I will forwarn you that it's not cheap (about $6 for a single cone).  However, in my opinion it's definitely worth it.  They put the gelato on the cone with the spatula so it's more like two scoops than one, and everyone gets a homemade waffle cone.  If you love gelato and haven't been here, you have to go!

Me and my salted caramel cone.  When I first tasted this I instantly thought, "this is too salty."  But then the caramel flavours melded into it and it was unreal.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was like eating a perfectly roasted marshmallow off the campfire that had been sprinkled with sea salt.

The X that marks the spot.

Where the magic happens.