Simple is when the only complication is salt and pepper | 315 Carrall St. | nelsontheseagull.com | $5
Outstanding dinner at The Acorn last night, even if creative chef Brian Skinner forgot the meat. Oh wait…
“Tete de Lion” | Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie | 163 Keefer St. | $11.50 | www.bao-bei.ca
Mmm, who doesn’t love new menu items at Bao Bei? This one – dubbed the Tete de Lion – sees a hot chicken broth surrounding and soaking into a fist-sized pork meatball underneath a thick and buttery puff pastry cap. And thus, winter was defeated. Let’s hope it stays. #noms
Gnocchi with Parsley, Lemon and Goat’s Milk | $13 | The Parker | 237 Union Street
by Andrew Morrison | A shockingly good dinner went down the other night at South Granville’s celebrated West Restaurant. This year’s Canadian Culinary Champion, Marc Lepine of Ottawa’s Atelier, was behind the line collaborating on courses with West chef Quang Dang. It’s hard to say which of their many dishes was the best of the lot (I was pretty partial to the slow-cooked pork belly with the ’09 Whitehaven “Greg” Series Pinot Noir), but the entirety was one of the best meals I’ve had so far this year, right up there with The Pointe at the Wick, Sonora Island Resort, and Chez Panisse. From start to finish, everything about it was seamless.
I had the good fortune to be on hand in Kelowna for the Culinary Championships this past February and was floored by what I saw and tasted from Lepine. The competition threw low food costs, harsh time constraints, mystery wines and a black box full of “who knows?” ingredients at the mild-mannered chef, yet he excelled. I mean this with no disrespect to his fellow competitors, but he quietly and confidently made short work of them. It was a freakish thing to behold, and it was not something that I or any of the other judges expected, especially with chefs like Rob Feenie and JeanPhillipe St-Denis in the mix. I’ve yet to eat at Atelier, but wow do I ever mean to!
Equally impressive on the evening, of course, was Dang and the whole operation at West. These days, most of the new restaurants that I test drive for work are decidedly more casual affairs, so it was a cozy thing indeed to see the orchestration of fine dining up close again. I couldn’t possibly do it every day, but from time to time it’s nice to be deliciously reminded of what the high end is all about. Take a look below…
Andrew Morrison lives and works in Vancouver as editor-in-chief of Scout, food columnist at the Westender, and National Referee & Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He also contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and television shows on local food, culture and travel; collects inexpensive things; and enjoys rare birds, skateboards, cocktails, shoes, good pastas, many songs, and the smell of camp fires.
Burrata Cheese | Les Amis du Formage | Comes in on Thursday and has a way of selling out | $14
I recently hinted that the first act of incoming chef Andrea Carlson at Strathcona’s Harvest Community Foods would be to create a proper ramen soup (something the neighbourhood is missing). As you can see from the shot above, it’s now on the menu. That’s candied bacon, egg, watercress, corn, and two slices of pork belly over a nest of ramen noodles in hot and silky trotter broth. They’re still tweaking it, but my first bowl was pretty damn zippy, especially with the accompanying chili oil. Nom nom nom.
Mmm, we love Mogu, the new izakaya-themed food cart, especially their pork cutlet (“katsu”) sandwich with its red miso sauce and hot mustard coleslaw. We dug into it with a side of chicken karagge (and a shocking amount of other things) at yesterday’s Food Cart Fest in the back parking lot of The Waldorf Hotel. There’s only one of these gatherings of our mobile food vendors left – a last blast of summer – and it’s this upcoming Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. See you there.
Bonus: there’s a beer garden and some pretty kickass DJs.
Mellifera Honey (Lemon, Vanilla Bean or Cardamom Infused)
by Andrew Morrison | A leisurely meal on The Terrace at Kelowna’s Mission Hill Family Estate during the height of last week’s swelter saw chef Matt Batey’s crew at the top of their game. Case in point was their Sezmu (wine fed) Beef Tartar, which came deliciously complete with whipped dijon cream, tomato brioche, pickled carrot ribbons and a perfect little quail’s egg. I’ll be writing about the experience in this week’s paper, but thought I’d first share a few photos of the meal below…
Bonus: the view from our table on Instagram
If it’s true that any food spritzed with truffle oil is a food costing boondoggle designed to bedazzle gullible palates long blunted by crap, then these Kennebec potato chips with truffle oil, parsley and salt from Rootables Chips are the shit (and we could give a damn). If memory serves, they’re about 4 bucks a bag. Totally addictive. Pick yours up Wednesdays at the Main Street Farmers Market.
by Michelle Sproule | The good folks over at Cadeaux Bakery on Powell St. (conveniently located around the corner from the No. 5 Orange) are now serving Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Sundaes. As you can see from the above shot, we tried the Strawberry and Caramel and they were both pretty awesome (as good as they look). The toppings will change according to what berries or fruits are in season, so we’re looking forward to trying blueberries and raspberries, then peach and cherry, then maybe even a blackberry toward the end of the summer. Caramel and fudge flavours are also available. $5 per and worth every penny.
Local company The Jerky Baron is kicking ass. We recently got our hands on some of their “Bengal” jerky, and it was delicious stuff with good chew and nuanced spice (nothing too crazy). It’s $17 a bag, which is admittedly rather pricy, but it’s not the kind of stuff you find in gas stations and supermarket checkout lanes. The beef is free range, grass fed, grain finished Black Angus, and it’s finished with soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, and cardamom. Plus it tastes so much better! We scored ours from Le Marché St George, but you can also find it at Crome Yellow, Lucy’s Eastside Diner and Pleasant Beans. Lots of flavours, all of them unique. | Details