Pane e Formaggio – Vancouver, BC


Pane e Formaggio
4532 10th Ave W
Vancouver, BC
(604) 224-1623

Artisan breads and specialty cheeses are a big deal here in Vancouver.  Plenty of competition for this segment of the retail and dine-in scene, with new ones seemingly popping up from time to time throughout the city.  Personally, I try to frequent these shops on weekend mornings when I have more free time to browse around, explore all the shelves and showcases and try to gain some knowledge from the folks behind the counter about what they create and sell.  I love hearing the passion they have for their product and how genuinely interested they are in sharing their knowledge and teaching others about things such as cheeses, which can be overwhelming at times given how many varieties are out there…

Located on the far west end of 10th Avenue towards the entrance of the UBC campus, Pane e Formaggio has been around since the start of this decade and has carved a niche as a popular Saturday breakfast/brunch spot for the residents of West Point Grey.  Despite the narrow, bowling alley-like layout, the bright airiness of the space and the fine touches like the dark wooden flooring, high ceilings, and European-inspired tables and chairs, makes this a very inviting and comfortable place to spend your weekend mornings.  It’s usually pretty tough getting one of the available tables however, so take-out is also available.

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Empanada Hut – Richmond, BC


Empanada Hut
#1065 – 5300 No. 3 Rd
Richmond, BC
(604) 273-9130

After my eye-opening experience in Calgary having some excellent empanadas at Empanada Queen in Pizza Roma with foodosopher, I was in a desperate hunt to try and find something similar back in Vancouver.  My initial search led me to Empanada Hut, located in one of my least favorite areas in the Lower Mainland (aka “Ditchmond”) and to bring me down even further, inside a dreary looking shopping mall.  To show how anxious I was, I braved the rush hour traffic with some of the city’s worst and unskilled drivers that make Richmond notorious, and even drove down the brutal No. 3 road to find this place.

Upon locating the establishment within the food court, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made a dreadful mistake.  First off all, the poor older woman hidden in the kitchen seemed to be stressed out, washing some pots and pans.  I was finally able to grab her attention and ask her how her day was.  She replied “very busy”, as it seemed she had recently lost another woman who worked there, and now it was all on her to keep the place running.  I felt sorry for her.

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Cora’s – Toronto, ON


Cora’s Breakfast & Lunch
277 Wellington St W
Toronto, ON

(416) 598-2672

This particular post was recently conducted in Toronto, but was spurred by the sighting of a new Cora’s restaurant opening in South Edmonton.  If you’ve ever spent any time in Eastern Canada – chances are, you are already familiar with the popular breakfast & lunch restaurant operating under the cartoon image of a smiling sun.

Cora’s chain of restaurants is the result of the success story of Cora Mussely Tsouflidou and her first Chez Cora restaurant started in Montreal, Quebec in 1987.  This breakfast chain has quickly grown to become a very popular breakfast destination, while it continues to expand across Canada and South into the US.

The prominent draw to this establishment is their offering of huge portions of fresh fruit, paired with classic breakfast  fare.

coras_waffle

The Fresh Fruit Waffles is the go-to option for my friend and Toronto resident.  A sweet custard over the waffle is topped with a mound of fresh fruit.  Beautiful to look at, and from their expression – it must have been as good as expected.

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Thai Place Restaurant – Calgary, AB


Thai Place Restaurant
2359 Banff Trail NW
Calgary, AB
Tel: (403) 338-4405

September 2010 re-visit post here

Original post below:

Given the high volume of restaurants and eateries that we cover here on foodosophy, its become less and less likely that we’ll find that yet undiscovered place that can surprise us…

But on my last visit to Calgary in late-August, I had just that kind of experience.  And in of all places… within a cookie cutter, value-priced hotel situated next to one of the busiest commuter roads in the city.  Better known as Motel Village (given the other discount places to stay on the same street), its not exactly a prime dinner destination area (although there are a few places to eat directly behind all these hotels – one of which I’ve already posted about).

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Pizza Bob’s Classic Pie – Calgary, AB


Pizza Bob’s Classic Pie
2610 Kensington Rd NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 521-2627

Is there anything in North American food culture as easily identifiable as a take out pizza box?  Some might say those cute Chinese food delivery boxes, but I think that’s more of a media creation and you more often than not instead get such food packed in those white Styrofoam containers or those flimsy metallic trays where you crimp the edges over top a cardboard lid to seal things shut.

Compared to those pizza boxes that have a simple stenciled image of the shop’s name on it (which are appealing in their own way for their old school look), Pizza Bob’s Classic Pie instead had a full fledged artistic logo which I found mildly amusing.  What the heck an alligator has to do with a pizza, while riding atop a sports car is beyond my understanding though…

Being a neighbourhood joint near my friend’s home in West Hillhurst, Pizza Bob’s is a place where we’ve ordered or picked up a pie to share in the past.  I suppose its more a matter of convenience and comfortable routine that we fall into, but when you’re not particularly looking to dine out, portable pizza fits the bill.  If you’ve ever been outside this establishment (located next to a 7-11 convenience store), your first inclination is to think this is a local pub and not a place that serves pizza.  With a small outdoor patio area often populated by folks enjoying their suds, and a heavy wooden door leading inside to a dated and dark space inside, its not the most inviting place you’d pick to eat in.

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Swannie’s – Seattle, WA


Swannie’s
222 S Main Street
Seattle, WA
(206) 622-9353

Say what you will, and I’m sure many of our Canadian readers could if given the chance, about the believed shortcomings of our neighbours to the south, but you have to admit they really know how to go all out when it comes to combining two of the classic male pastimes – eating/drinking plus sports…

Where else can you start from the early morning, drinking beer and gobble down a hearty, greasy breakfast in a pub while watching sports on giant tv screens amid the company of many others who are there for same purpose as you?

After making the short drive down from Vancouver, a group of us made our way down to Pioneer Square, just a few blocks away from Qwest Field, the home grounds of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.  With Opening Day kickoff hours away, we thought we could easily find a free (as in not having to pay money to park) spot to watch the early games playing in the eastern time zone, before we made the short walk to the stadium.  Oh how wrong we were.

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Unforgettable Chinese Restaurant – Edmonton, AB


Unforgettable Chinese Restaurant
7219 – 104 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 4B8
(780) 431-0220

Blink and you might miss this place – located on Calgary Trail (southbound), across the street from Strathcona High School. This restaurant replaced the previous tenant ‘Jewel of Kashmir’ in the early part of 2009.

A big red sign, advertising daily dim sum should catch your eye amidst all of the small shops along this stretch of road.  Limited parking in front, with a few additional stalls in the back.

Arriving shortly after they opened, there was only one other couple which made it easy to get a table.  Once seated, we were promptly delivered a dim sum order-sheet along with an additional list of available items on a separate display card. As we pondered our choices – we were offered a selection of ready-made items: Chinese long-donuts, egg tarts, baked pork buns, and a few others which are escaping my memory.

unforgettable_lemon_tart

This egg tart, was a good start – soft filling with a hint of lemon, in a light pastry with no trace of excess grease at the base.

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