Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Solly's Bagels

Well folks, I've been running past Solly's Bagels during morning runs and being tortured by the yummy smells for years now, so it's about time that I made it into one!  All thanks to my re-discovered best bud from know who you are.

For those of you who haven't been to Solly's Bagels, it sells far more than just bagels...they have latkes, they have matzo balls, they have babka...just to name a few.  Solly's is a lovely Jewish bakery and deli, which we decided to check out for lunch on this adventure.  I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking!

The view from our table at the 7th and Yukon Solly's.  I was completely surprised by how big the deli was.  Plenty of space and nice and bright to boot!

My kindergarten friend's cottage cheese muffin.  ($2.45)

My kindergarten friend's Chicken Matzo Ball Soup: all natural golden chicken broth served with a matzo ball dumpling. ($4.95)

My Full Meat Deal: hot pastrami on an everything bagel with a small chicken matzo ball soup, potato chips and a pickle spear.  ($11.95)

And the best finishing touch ever...our Babka!!!!  A rich European yeast coffee cake rolled up with dark fudgey chocolate.  Imagine a cinnamon bun but with chocolate instead of cinnamon.  Enough said...just order one!  ($2.95)

The X that marks the spot and the long-lost kindergarten friends...just as silly as we were in kindergarten!  Some things never change.

Twitter: @SollysBagelry

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


A couple weekends ago, I woke up on Sunday morning to the best text message ever.  A very dear friend, who just happens to be Italian, had decided to make homemade gnocchi with her Mom that day and was wondering if I wanted to come for dinner.  Um, heck yah!!!!  She kept warning me that it had been a while and they might taste like cement about underselling your handy work.  It was literally the best gnocchi that's ever entered my mouth.  Unreal!  The only disappointment was that I was busy in the afternoon and wasn't able to learn how to make them myself.  Don't worry, I got a signed rain cheque good for eternity!

The gnocchi waiting for its bath.
Watching the master at work.  You pop them into boiling water and once they float they're done.

The homemade vodka marinara know, nothing special...geeshkapeeshka!
The homemade gnocchi ready for consumption.  Oh how I wish I'd smuggled some out in my purse!  It would have been well worth the drycleaning bill.
Side salad.

Homemade garlic bread: Baguette cut in half, buttered, sprinkled with garlic powder and parmesan, then broiled and cut into individual pieces.  Yum!


Monday, 29 July 2013


Fable is one of my favourite restaurants in all of Vancouver.  There aren't even words to describe how amazing the food is, the restaurant is classy but funky at the same time, the atmosphere is boisterous and happy, and the service is well above par.  Fable is no doubt a fine-dining establishment, but without the pompousness.  You can walk in dressed up for a fancy date, or in your flip-flops and beach attire and be welcomed with open arms either way.  So, needless to say, when my parents were coming to town I had Fable on speed dial to make a reservation.

The only problem was that we weren't sure which night we were going to go for dinner until the day before.  I emailed Fable first thing in the morning to see if I could get a reservation 36 hours later.  I knew it was a long shot, but I had my fingers crossed.  Long story short, I thought we'd got a reservation but in fact we hadn't.  I discovered later that day when I phoned in to double check and was heart broken.  The lady on the phone, Kathy, turned out to be one of the owners of Fable.  She could tell how disappointed I was and, surprisingly to me, went far out of her way to ensure that if there was a cancellation that we would be called immediately, even though they don't normally keep a waitlist.  The way Kathy went out of her way when she didn't need to was amazing.  To be honest, I didn't think that sort of service existed anymore.

If you haven't guessed, there was a cancellation, we were able to get a reservation at a fabulous table, had a delicious meal and an absolutely lovely evening.  So, thank you to Trevor Bird for tantalizing our taste buds, and an even bigger thank you to Kathy for finding a way to make the tantalizing possible!

Heirloom Tomato Salad: heirloom tomatoes, Fable-made ricotta cheese, and house-made bacon vinaigrette.  This salad was amazing and I was completely blown away by the portion size.  I would order this again in a heart beat!  ($12) 

My Dad's Steak Frites: triple-cooked potatoes, mushroom, buttered spinach.  ($24)

My Mom's Slow-Cooked Spring Salmon: carrot purée, spring cassoulet.  I managed to wrangle a bite of this dish and it was delicious!  ($24)

My Halibut: chorizo bouillabaisse, mussels, polenta, parsley crust.  This was hands down one of the best halibut dishes I've ever had.  The fish was cooked to perfection, the parsley crust was really neat and added just the right amount of flavour, there were real chunks of chorizo in the bouillabaisse, and there were a surprising number of mussels.  My mouth and tummy were extremely happy with my decision!  ($28)

My Lemon Meringue Parfait: streussel, tarragon ice cream.  We'd seen these coming out all night long, so I couldn't resist ordering was just so much fun!!!  The flavours were amazing.  You had a layer of streusel, then a scoop of tarragon ice cream, topped with the lemon meringue which had been torched so it tasted like roasted marshmallows on the outside.  Amazing!  Word to the wise, it's a sharing size.  ($12)

The Daily Sweet Bites: 2 warm almond cookies, 2 macaroons and 2 chocolate brownies.  I was too stuffed to try these myself, but according to my parents they were fabulous!  ($10)
Twitter: @fablekitchen

Friday, 26 July 2013

Kits Farmers Market

One of my favourite parts of Spring, Summer and Fall are the Farmers Markets around town.  They make for a fun outing, the food is so fresh and flavourful, you get to buy locally and organically directly from the grower, and it challenges you to learn how to cook what's in season.  Way better than any grocery store I've ever been to!  So, if you're looking for a fun outing, or a new way to grocery shop, make your way to the farmers market closest to you! 
  • Trout Lake Farmers Market: Saturdays, May 11th - October 19th (9am - 2pm)
  • Kitsilano Farmers Market: Sundays, May 12th - October 20th (10am - 2pm)
  • West End Farmers Market: Saturdays, June 1st - October 19th (9am - 2pm)
  • Main Street Station at Thornton Park - Wedensdays, June 5th - October 2nd (3pm - 7pm)
  • Kerrisdale Farmers Market - Saturdays, June 15th - October 12th (10am - 2pm)
  • Yaletown Farmers Market - Thursdays, August 15th - September 26th (2pm - 6pm)

Real tomatoes...the flavour that bursts out of these is like nothing you've ever tasted!

Rhubarb and carrots and radishes, oh my!

My favourites...berries!  (3 for $10)  Make sure to show up early if you want some of these.

Fruit and veggies for the week!  Kale, radishes, zucchini, red pepper, nugget potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, rasbperries, blueberries, eggplant and a basil plant.
Twitter: @VanMarkets

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pizza at the Fit Family's

I was recently treated to a very yummy and very filling completely homemade pizza by one of the fittest and kindest Moms I know.  She even made the crust!  I was extremely impressed, so couldn't resist including the recipe.  However, I may have been a little sidetracked by her cutie patootie son and forgot to ask for some of the here's my best shot at how to recreate it.  If I missed anything, feel free to comment and correct me Fit Momma!

  • tomatoes
  • onion
  • jalapeno
  • orange pepper
  • salami/pepperoni
  • artichokes
  • cheese
I forgot to ask for the pizza dough recipe, so I've included a link to one that I found on below.  According to Fit Daddy (a.k.a. Fit Momma's husband...the man who can do anything), you should always use beer where it asks for water in order to make a kick-butt dough.  Fit Momma rolled the dough out and then placed it on a cookie sheet.  I liked the way she did this.  The number of times I've heard of people struggle with pizza stones and getting it circular...this tasted just as good and was very simple.

For the sauce, chop up tomatoes, onions and a jalapeno.  Sauté until the mixture reaches sauce consistency and then set aside.

Slice orange peppers, onions, fresh tomatoes and artichokes, and shred cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, whatever your heart desires).  Ladle the sauce onto the pizza then top with vegetables and meat, then sprinkle with cheese.  Bake around 400F (I think) for about 15 minutes until the dough is cooked and crisp and the cheese is melted.  Eat and enjoy!  Great served with a salad.

Thanks for the lovely dinner and play date fit family!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana Food Truck!

When I was perusing the Vancouver Street Food App a couple weeks ago and saw Via Tevere Express, I almost lost my marbles.  I quickly did some googling and discovered that the oh so fabulous Via Tevere pizzeria from the Commercial area had most definitely opened up a food truck!  I'm not going to lie, I may have done a little happy dance at my desk.
The truck serves Saltimbocca sandwiches which is like a pizza in sandwich form if you ask me.  Imagine bread that tastes like pizza dough, baked in a wood fire oven (yes folks, this food truck most definitely has a built in wood fire oven!) then stuffed with fresh, simple ingredients.  Mouth watering goodness!  I literally was transported back to the sandwich that I had when visiting Pompeii.  Add to that, that the portion was filling and the price was reasonable...I was very impressed.  I'd definitely recommend making your way to this food truck sometime soon!
Things to note: (1) The Via Tevere Food Truck is located on the West side of Burrard between Pender and Hastings, Monday through Friday.  (2) I believe it is cash only, but don't quote me on that.

My Prosciutto/Arugula Saltimbocca: prosciutto crudo, fior di latte, arugula, tomato, basil mayo.  AMAZING!  ($8.50)'re going to make my taste buds oh so happy!!!
Where the magic happens.

What exactly is a Saltimbocca?  Now you know.

The menu.

The truck!
Twitter: @ViaTeverePizza

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My two new favourite recipes...and my four favourite men...

As I was enjoying the sun and some sparkling rosé poolside during my trip to Penticton, I started flipping through a Shape magazine that one of my riding companions had brought along.  I hadn't read a Shape magazine in quite some time and was pleasantly surprised to find some yummy sounding recipes at the back.  I was a little skeptical since they also sounded very healthy and healthy always leads to a healthy waist line but not always happy taste buds.  But I'm really glad I gave them a shot!  They were both scrumptious, are going to become staples for me, and if someone had just served them to me, I would have had no idea that they were healthy.  So, if you're looking to get creative on the grill, I'd definitely recommend trying my versions of the recipes below!  They're also really nice cold and would work well as leftovers or a picnic at the beach.

Grilled Lemon-Mint Pork Chops and Peaches
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Leaves off 2 large sprigs of mint, chopped
  • Handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 dashes of salt
  • 4-5 grinds of pepper
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1" wedges
  • 2 peaches, pitted and cut into 1" wedges
Combine the lemon juice, mint, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper in a container suitable for marinating.  Add the pork chops and red onion wedges.  Mix so everything is coated, cover and place in fridge to marinate anywhere between 2 hours and overnight.  Remove the pork chops and onions from the marinade and grill until cooked and lightly seared...a few minutes a side.  The onions will cook best in one of those BBQ veggie cooking containers.  At the same time add the peaches and cook, turning, until tender and each side has grill marks.  Serves 4.


Grilled Potato and Zucchini Salad
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes
  • 1/2 zucchini, quartered length-wise and chopped
  • 1 rib celery, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Couple dashes salt
  • 4-5 grinds of pepper
Place potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Cook for 12-15 minutes (until fork tender).  Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl.  When the potatoes have been drained, dried and are cool to touch, slice in half and lightly coat with a small drizzle of olive oil.  Place them on the grill, cut side down and cook until crisp and golden.  Add the potatoes, zucchini, celery, green onion and potatoes to the dressing and toss to combine.  Serves 4.

Grilled Eggplant for a side. Brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and grilled until tender.

All ready for the Bachelorette hometown dates!
Dinner!  Scrumptious, if I do say so myself.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Culver City Salads

I recently made my first trip to Culver City Salads with one of my favourite ex-colleagues of all-time.  Normally I'm so busy busting a gut (literally...I swear I get a better ab workout with her than at the gym!) with this ex-colleague that the food takes second place...but my salad from Culver City Salads was so good this time that it actually demanded attention between tears of laughter.

Culver City Salads is one of the new food trucks this year and I'm sure happy it's out and about on the streets now!  The salad was amazing, the ladies in the truck were super friendly and happy, service was quick since the salads are made fresh every morning (no 15 minute line-up here!), the prices were reasonable, and I was really impressed with their eco-friendly attitude.  Every part of their container was recyclable or compostable and they even had a jug of water for you to fill up for free, as long as you had your own container.  After this trip, Culver City Salads has quickly jumped onto my favourite food trucks list.  Definitely a must visit!

Things to note: (1) Cash only. (2) They are located in the new food truck pod at the Queen E theater (corner of Georgia and Hamilton), and (3) How it works: (a) pick your salad, (b) pick your dressing.  The Creamy Green dressing is their staple dressing.

My Soba Salad: spinach, arugula, mixed greens, soba noodles, chopped cabbage, blanched cauliflower, lentils, shredded carrot, zucchini, beets, sesame seeds, avocado and edible flowers with the Creamy Green dressing (miso, tahini, parsley, apple cider vinegar and garlic).  So fresh and absolutely scrumptious!  I was also very impressed with the size and contents.  It's not very often that I find a salad that will fill me up for lunch, but this one got me 99% of the way there.  If I had asked for extra avocado and extra soba noodles, it would have been perfect!  ($9)

The truck!  So cute. 

The menu.  I love the fact that it's set up like post-its on the side of the truck!

Twitter: @Culvercitysalad 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Food Cart Fest

Ladies and gents, if you're looking for some fun in the sun this weekend, make your way down to the Olympic Village and check out Food Cart Fest!  I went this past weekend and it was one of the funnest (yes, I've decided that that is most definitely a word) afternoons I've had all summer.  Granted, food carts tended to make my tummy giddy with excitement at the best of times, so 20 of them all in one location had me doing cartwheels in the street!  Not to mention that they've paired up with the Vancouver Flea Market so there are clothes and goodies to peruse, and there were even tents with life-size versions of Jenga and Snakes & Ladders...awesome!  If I have my way, this is going to become a weekend staple for me. 
Things to note: (1) Food Cart Fest is located in the empty parking lot between Olympic Village and Cambie Bridge (the one with that cardboard tank that is now breaking down and becoming a garden).  You enter off the seawall and can approach either from Cambie Bridge or Olympic Village.  (2) There is a $2 entry fee.  At first having to pay to buy food bugged me a little.  However, $1 of the $2 is donated to a Loving Spoonful (a great charity) and the other $1 is well worth it when you see the misters, which brings me to my next point (3) They have people walking around with misters!!!  So, when you get hot you can just walk through their mist and cool off.  Brilliance!  (4) Most trucks are cash only.  They have an ATM there, but if you want to avoid ridiculous bank charges, make sure to have plenty of cash on you.  (5) There's music.  (6) There are tents for shade and tables and chairs to eat at.  However, the chairs and tables are hard to nab, so word to the wise, bring your own beach towel to lay down on the ground and sit on.  (7) Here are some of the vendors that took part in last week's festival:

Almost there!

First stop of the day: Italian Soda!  This was delicious, refreshing, probably the most inexpensive thing you'll see at the festival all day, and the kids were fabulous!  So polite, organized and each had their job to do.  I loved it!  Best $2 ever spent.

Stop 2 - Lunch!  I've been dying to try JJ's Trucketeria so was thrilled to see them at Food Cart Fest.  They definitely didn't disappoint.  The food was uber fresh and oh so yummy, the portions were solid and the prices were really good.  I can't wait to try more of their yummy goodness sometime soon! 
The menu.

Pick me, pick me!

Okay...I'll pick you!  My "Featured Salad."  Amazing!  ($5)
Twitter: @jjstrucketeria

Stop 2 - Lunch continued!  I don't know about you, but I just can't resist a cob of freshly roasted corn...especially when it's smothered with all sorts of yummy goodness!  Plus, this truck is only out and about at special doesn't have a regular Monday through Friday how could I resist?  Interesting fact: it's affiliated with both the Roaming Dragon and Vij's Railway Express trucks.

The menu.

Roasted corn with cotija and parmesan cheeses, mayo, chile, paprika and a lime wedge.  They're making a killing at $5 a corn, but it was absolutely scrumptious!  I've definitely never had corn on the cob like that before.

And the icing on the cake (or should I say the filling in the pie)?  A strawberry rhubarb pie ice cream sammie from The Pie Hole!!!  Jenell, you completely outdid yourself with this creation!  Complete and absolute heaven.  Scrumptious cinnamon pie crust on either side of what I do believe was homemade strawberry rhubarb ice cream.  AMAZING!!!  Cold and refreshing, but not too sweet.  Next time I just might bring a cooler so I can bring a few of these home with me. 
Word to the wise, let it melt a little bit before eating so the ice cream is not too hard...but remember that once the melting starts there's no going get chewing and make that tummy of yours happy!
Twitter: @pieholevan
Human snakes and it!
Twitter: @ArrivalAgency