Winner Winner debuted at the soft start of the new Chinatown Night Market over the weekend. The new street food vendor serves up just one dish, a pile of delicious Singaporean-style chicken over rice with a ginger chili dipping sauce for just $6 a box. The fun operation was launched by Stanley Yung and Bao Bei’s Chen-Wei Lee (center and right in top photo). Once you get close enough to it, you’ll hear Jonathan Grand Pierre (bottom photo) calling out things like “The sauce is the boss!”, “Winner winner chicken dinner!”, “The rice is the main event!”, among other things (he’s a funny guy). The “official” opening of the Night Market isn’t until June 1st, but Winner Winner will be rolling “soft” again this weekend, so check them out!
Every Fri, Sat, Sun until September 8th | 6pm-11pm | Keefer St. between Main & Columbia.
It was quite by accident that we stumbled upon West 2nd’s Cafe Kitsune the other day after a shopabout on Granville Island. The unassuming counter-service tea/lunch spot opened last year, featuring good steeps and a few really clean, healthy, quick, sushi-less, fiddly Japanese-inspired bowls amped up by super bright flavours. Case in point: these buckwheat soba noodles hidden underneath a tangle of cilantro, sesame, radishes, carrot, drunken chicken, ginger, soy, chili, and lime ($8.50). Mmm.
Cafe Kitsune | 1538 West 2nd Avenue | 604-336-3436 | 11:00am – 4:00pm
by Andrew Morrison | The thought of an ice cold chocolate malted shake in a tall fountain glass doesn’t pop into my head nearly as often as it used to. My Mom and sometimes my Grandparents would buy them for my brother and I with burgers and fries at old school lunch counters. They were awarded for our patience after whole afternoons spent listless and yawning on shopping trips for lady bits at Eaton’s or The Bay. Malted shakes are therefore a halcyon thing. I order one – together with a monster steak burger with bacon and swiss next to a big plate extra crispy fries – whenever I visit Moderne Burger at 2507 West Broadway. It’s the shortest, tastiest route that I know of back to being 10 years old.
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when it rains for several days in a row, your windshield wipers put you to sleep, and moss starts to overwhelm the marrow inside your bones? Of course you do. It’s an actual medical condition called Marchsuxicitis, and it runs rampant in these parts (other symptoms include: feelings of empathy towards crows, bewilderment at bright lights, listening to The Smiths, and loitering around tanning salons for the smell). Anyway, I found a cure this week. Take a friend over to La Buca, the tiny Italian restaurant deep in the West Side, and split a couple of pastas after munching on bread sticks and sipping a Negroni. You’ll feel right as…er…rain. We recommend the Vongole (top) and the Carbonara (bottom right). We were walk-ins before the dinner rush, but it’s wiser to make a reservation.
by Andrew Morrison | You know those urban myth horror stories that you sometimes hear about gigantic snakes swallowing entire pigs in one go? I happily joined their ranks over the weekend, eating my weight in pork and lobster at Yew in the Four Seasons. It was a special Visa Infinite supper, a course by course duel pitting Yew chef Ned Bell against John Jackson and Connie DeSousa of Calgary’s meaty Charcut. Greasing the rails were some outstanding local wines from Sumac Ridge, Meyer, Tinhorn, Le Vieux Pin, Painted Rock, and Orofino, with all being bookended by a couple of original Yew cocktails (one included a lobster claw and the other a strip of candied bacon). Personal highlights included the lobster bisque accented by vanilla and pineapple from Ned Bell (it sounds weird but it totally worked) and the savage, family-style delivery of ham hocks, Hunter sausages, and hominy from DeSousa and Jackson, two of the most enthusiastically pork-loving, burst-worthy chefs I’ve ever had the pleasure to blame for a morning of physical immobility. Take a closer look in the shots below…
Marc Lepine, chef at Ottawa’s famed Atelier and the current Canadian Culinary Champion, cooked an amazing meal for judges, Canadian Olympians (that’s Jamie Salé with all those black truffles) and special guests up on Big White last night. Seeing as the competitions start tonight, it was billed as his “last supper”. We weren’t disappointed. Lepine cooked a great many things, among them kusshi oysters sexed up with horseradish foam and foie gras croquettes floating in chanterelle soup, but the meat course was my favourite: insanely marbled wagyu beef striploin on hot and buttery corn juice with shavings of black truffle and dollops of truffle sour cream. It was as good as it looks, ending his reign on the highest of notes.
Tableau Bar Bistro | 1181 Melville St. | $11 for the soup, $9 for the beer | Pricy, but damn…
Vancouver company Sugo Sauce has come out with their very own lemon-infused organic extra virgin olive oil. We picked up a bottle (along with with a fresh baguette from the new Finch’s in Strathcona) and took it for a pleasant spin. So simple and so good!
Lemon Infused Olive Oil (Sugo Sauce) | Finch’s Market | 501 East Georgia | $14.50 a bottle
Feeling a little decadent? This beauty has a chocolate cookie crust, a chocolate glaze with caramelised peanuts, and creamy innards of peanut butter mousse punctuated by toasted peanut bits. Though it looks a little like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, don’t be fooled — the PBPP is 10 times bigger, 20 times tastier, 50 times richer (we measured), and wholly forkable. It’s also made with genuine maternal affection instead of weird things that even Jeremy Irons couldn’t pronounce. In other words, it’s freakin’ amazing and you should probably get yourself a slice right now because you work hard, you miss your Mom, and the sun doesn’t always shine on Thursdays.
Cadeaux Bakery | 172 Powell Street | www.cadeauxbakery.com | $3.50 per slice
There are a lot of bad things in this world that one can easily get addicted to, and then there’s the smoked salt-dusted maple bacon chocolate caramel bar with roasted almond and nougat made by BETA5 for Meat & Bread. We think it’s hands-down the best chocolate bar being made in Canada right now. If it could be chain smoked, we’d buy a pack and light the hell up. | $3
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie | Beaucoup Bakery | $3.75
You know those soups that you sometimes chance upon on especially rainy and shitty Vancouver days, the ones that restore your affections for the wet and cold like angels singing Holst on vinyl next to a fire with two fingers of Talisker in one hand and something good smoking in the other? This was one of them: hot and silkily textured leek puree with lemon, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and a whack of black pepper on vintage china.
Soup of the Day | Finch’s Market | 501 East Georgia at Jackson in Strathcona | Take a look
by Andrew Morrison | Poutine can be pretty gross in and of itself, but what of the poutine that has gone ahead and coupled itself with some meat? A disgusting self-indulgence, right? An over-self-indulgence. Well, not always. It’s actually not all that far removed from a Sunday dinner, minus the sprouts, yams and Yorkshires. While it is absolutely excessive, it doesn’t have to be as disgusting as it sounds. This one – found recently at The Oakwood in Kits – was pretty damn decadent without being repulsive. The pile of brisket had been smoked in-house and was added last as a crowning garnish (still warm, and untouched by gravy). The meat had great texture and flavour; prepped to a standard a carnivore fetishist would aspire to with exacting care in the kitchen. In the photo you can see a fatty edge or two, and there in lies the magic, the draught that convinces the eater that all is right in the world, that no pounds will be gained, that the next Star Wars movies won’t suffer a Jar Jar Binks or dialogue made of pine. The fat accelerates the meat’s overall melt on the tongue, and it’s a beautiful thing to feel as much as taste; so much better than the usual soggy short rib’s molar invading chew. Added bonus: the dish is presented in a skillet on top of a tree stump. How cool is that?
“All Canadian Poutine” | The Oakwood | 2741 West 4th Ave. | www.theoakwood.ca | $10