Mamzelles Bagel – St.Jerome, QC


Mamzelles Bagel
72 de la Gare
St. Jerome, Quebec
(450) 304-3777

Saint-Jerome, the gateway to the Laurentian Mountains – is a small town located north of Montreal.  We stopped in for a quick bite before heading out to Mont Tremblant, and found this bagellerie.  “Looks cute” says my wife.

What caught my eye more than the ‘cuteness’ factor, was the sign stating “Bagel cuit sur place” (Bagel baked on premises).

mamzelles_exterior

The menu listed just a handful of bagel options filled with your standard items of ham, turkey, and tuna;  but I chose the club au poulet (Chicken club).  Served with a nicely prepared salad, this bagel sandwich was straight-out delicious.  The shredded chicken was lightly dressed and (although hard to see from the photo) was plentiful enough to make this a fully satisfying lunch.

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Aki Japanese Restaurant – Vancouver, BC


Aki Japanese Restaurant
745 Thurlow Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 682-4032

Since 1963

Granted I wasn’t even born then, but pretty amazing to realize just how long this business has been around. I’d love to see images from its early days (probably in a different location) and visualize in my mind of how it was probably one of the early (and few) restaurants offering Japanese cuisine in this city during the sixties, but that is now filled with so many of them (the majority being very poor in quality and taking too many creative liberties in the kitchen and behind the sushi bar).

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Fairmount Bagel – Montreal, QC


The Original Fairmount Bagel Bakery
74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest
Montreal, QC
(514) 272-0667

Montreal’s first bagel bakery, continues the tradition with a time-tested recipe of  hand-rolling, and baking in a wood burning oven.  This is another perfect example of a single store, making one thing, really, really well.

fairmount_bagel

I enjoy bagels, but growing up in Western Canada, my exposure to this carbohydrate packed treat has been limited to those available in grocery stores or the local donut shop.  When we arrived at this bagel factory, I’ll admit that we were overwhelmed with over 20 varieties to choose from.  So, we asked if the purveyor would choose a dozen of his favorites, plus a couple of the ones which just came out of the fire.

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MIX the Bakery – Vancouver, BC


MIX the Bakery
4430 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
(604) 221-4145
Monday to Saturday 7am to 5pm; Sunday 8am to 4pm

View Larger Map

My neck of the woods has a few gems when it comes to simple but cozy cafés that pump out solid sandwiches. I’ve written about some of them previously: Coco et Olive, and Pane e Formaggio.

MIX the Bakery is another one that churns out not only fabulous artisan breads made fresh in-house (which can be seen from the order counter at the front of the house), but also a solid array of sweet desserts and pastries, and take home preserves that utilize wonderful BC sources (such as Fraser Valley blueberries and Okanagan peaches).  To top it off, they also have a catering service as well.  It’s a great spot for a quick lunchtime meal or takeout, and the following are my thoughts on two recent pickups there…

A hearty but incredibly satisfying part of MIX’s menu are their homemade soups.  With the weather turning for the worse as we head towards winter, I can’t think of a better way to get a meal going.  On this day, they had a trio of offerings: a pork adobo, a butternut squash, and pictured above, a corn chicken chowder.  Filled with healthy vegetables including onions, potato, celery and flavoured generously with cilantro and cumin, it was not fully creamy like a seafood chowder would be, but not totally thin and liquid-y in consistency either.  The large size take away container (three inches high, and four-and-half inches in diameter) was plenty for two.

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Off Broadway – Charlottetown, PEI


Off Broadway Restaurant
125 Sydney Street
Charlottetown, PEI
C1A 1G5
(902) 566-4620

offbroadway_signage

After a few hours of exploring Old Charlottetown on foot, the sun was starting to fall out of the sky and we happened to find ourselves at Off Broadway Restaurant (which matched one of the places I had scribbled down from my quick search earlier that morning). With no reservations, we were still able to get a table in the back of the restaurant.  Exposed brick and dark woods made for a romantic space.

The featured Table d’Hote,  and accompanying wine flight ($18) seemed interesting, but I still had oysters on my mind from earlier that day, and a desire to try the local scallops.  My wife on the other hand, just couldn’t pass up anything with lobster.

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Kanpachi Japanese Restaurant – Vancouver, BC


Kanpachi Japanese Restaurant
457 Broadway West
Vancouver, BC
(604) 879-8228

[prefectionist1] I had my eye on this newcomer to the Cambie Village Restaurant scene and I was happy to take up Shokutsu’s offer of grabbing a bite to eat.  With the recent opening of the Canada Line, Kanpachi is in an ideal visual location as it is one of the first restaurants you see upon exiting the the new Broadway/City Hall Station. It seemed like the the Russian cuisine restaurant Rasputin, was transplanted overnight with yet another Japanese restaurant.  I had walked past Rasputin on several occasions but with the dark interior, I was never tempted to sit down for a meal.  Kanpachi provides much improved street appeal and I also heard a few things about the new digs before we decided on it for dinner.  BBQ was on my mind but that’ll have to wait for another day…

Sushi Shoot ($3), essentially seared tuna.

[prefectionist1] It seems that whenever I get together with Shokutsu, we tend to have the same approach to menu selections…  Either we go for the most obscure, or the most traditional items.  My thought process is that if you are going to push the culinary boundaries, go to the extreme; if you go traditional, do it right and have respect for the original creation.

The menu at Kanpachi was straightforward with  everything on the menu being relatively inexpensive.  The first choice for dinner this evening was the Sushi Shoot which was just a fancy name for seared maguro (tuna) nigiri sushi.  On the palate, the ponzu infused diakon overpowered the delicate flavor of the maguro.

It may be my opinion, but searing raw tuna serves to add complexity to the generally light flavour profile of the fish.  With the heavy handed addition of the ponzu infused/soaked diakon, I wasn’t overly sold on the dish.  It wasn’t bad, nor exceptional so I would give it a <shrugging shoulders> “meh”…

[shokutsu] I’m all for light searing, especially when it involves quality maguro (tuna).  I think we were more intrigued by the name of the item more than anything else.  The fish itself was pretty good in terms of its texture and flavour.  On the topping, I’m with prefectionist1, it didn’t do much for me either.

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Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar – Vancouver, BC


Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton St (Yaletown)
Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4
(604) 688-8078

I wanted to like Blue Water. I really did. The Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar, from all appearances, was everything i wanted to like. They are in a nice space that isnt too pretentious and has a lot of energy. They serve environmentally sustainable seafood. The service was immaculate. Decent wine program. They even recognize the Japanese approach to seafood, and brought in Itamae Yoshihiro formerly of Yoshi’s on Denman to serve two very different styles of West Coast seafood. I really wanted to love it, and yet, i didnt.

Upon walking into Blue Water, we were immediately greeted by a friendly hostess. We had showed up early so we could have a seat at the bar, and take it all in.  Our bartender was busy – prepping drinks for tables, and other bar patrons, but took the time to let us know he’d be right with us. Through the course of our time there, he was friendly, efficient, helpful, and engaging.

IMG_3272

Besides the really tasty (and free) bread sticks that are available at the bar, we wanted to sample some oysters. While we were handed an oyster menu with 12 or 14 choices, listed, they typically only bring in 6 to ensure maximum freshness. We sampled these extensively, and while not all were to our tastes, they were all very fresh. We did find a couple that we loved, and ordered several more of those!

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McDonalds – Antigonish, NS


McDonalds Restaurant
37 James Street
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
(902) 863-4484

After a ferry ride across the Northumberland Strait from PEI to Nova Scotia, we continued to head east towards Cape Breton Island.  As we approached the city of Antigonish, we saw a sign for the McLobster.

mcdonalds_sign

I have a rule when travelling:  Never eat at a chain which I can find back home.  This was the FIRST time that I have ever broken my rule, as my curiosity just got the better of me.

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Ah Beetz – Abbotsford, BC


Ah-Beetz
2664 Gladys Ave
Abbotsford, BC
(604) 746-2121

Vancouver’s lack of decent pizza is well known amongst the city’s foodie circles. It’s hard to explain the dearth of a good slice. After all, the city is known for its vibrant food scene…and one would think that some of this energy would have rubbed off on pizza. Sure there are a few bright spots, but compared to a city of similar size like Portland OR, the Vancouver pizza scene is a wasteland.

The typical Vancouver pizza slice is greasy; the crust thick, cakey and doughy; and the toppings are institutional-grade (think “cheese” and “salami”).

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Ah Beetz is a pizzeria about an hour’s drive away in Abbotsford. It has some underground cred: Vancouver Pizza fanatics have been known to drive this way just to get a decent slice of NY style pizza.

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Carr’s Oyster Bar – Stanley Bridge, PEI


Carr’s Oyster Bar Restaurant & Lounge
Stanley Bridge Wharf, Route 6
Stanley Bridge, PEI
(902) 886-3355

Traveling without an itinerary is my favorite way to travel; however, there occasionally comes a time when you’re stuck trying to find accommodations in the dead of night, or trying to find something to eat with no idea where to go.

The latter was the case on this particular day, as we were exploring the western coast of PEI.  As it was off-season for tourists – we were having a hard time finding a restaurant which was still open, when we stumbled upon Carr’s.

carrs_signage

Perched next to Stanley Bridge Harbour, the view of the boats and dock are framed beautifully from within the restaurant.  The shucking station is the first thing you see when entering the premises – where staff were busy prying open fresh shellfish.

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foodography – seventh annual Canadian barista championships


Welcome to a new segment here on foodosophy, where less text and more visuals will dominate. In fact, its this ‘foodography’ that initially helped shape the very concept and birth of our blog.

The first series is a collection of images shot at this recent event held in Vancouver, which saw Vancouver barista Kyle Straw of Caffè Artigiano take the title, and earn the right to compete at the world competition to be held next year in London.

Hope you enjoy it!

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Water Prince – Charlottetown, PEI


Water Prince Corner Shop
141 Water Street
Charlottetown, PEI
C1A 1A8
(902) 368-3212

http://www.waterprincelobster.ca

Continuing our trek eastbound, we crossed the Confederation bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island (FYI: it is free to get onto the island, but you pay for the ’round-trip’ when leaving).  As we headed to Charlottetown, we lost count of how many signs we saw advertising lobster, so we figured it was about time that we focus on finding somewhere to feast on one of these sea critters.

Almost every lobster experience of mine has been with hot lobster (boiled/steamed/bbq), so for a change of pace, I was on a hunt for chilled lobster.  Our destination this afternoon was the Water Prince Corner Shop, located in Old Charlottetown.

waterprince_exterio

Part store, and part restaurant, but all amazing seafood.  We started with a cup of the Water Prince’s Homemade Seafood Chowder and biscuit.  This was the most flavourful bowl of chowder that I’ve had in a very long time.  Perfectly seasoned, beautifully creamy, packed with a variety of seafood, and all of the ingredients still identifiable (including bits of lobster).

Moving to the Deluxe Seafood Platter, it comprised of half a chilled lobster, Northumberland Scallops – lightly breaded and fried, and a heaping pile of Island Blue Mussels.  The mussels were juicy, tender and were best when the shell still contained a little bit of the cooking liquid, the fried thin breading on the scallop added a perfect texture to the plump scallop (as if it were perfectly seared).  Last but definitely not least – was the lobster.  I cannot describe how amazingly sweet this lobster tasted.  Good to the last leg.

waterprince_combo

In an attempt to compare hot vs. cold, we also ordered a 1.5lb Boiled Atlantic Lobster. This lobster was served with a heaping pile of mussels, and a high-fashion plastic bib.  There really was no need for the nut-cracker, as they already did a great job of splitting both the body and claws for you.  Does life get any better than this?

waterprince_lobster

When we finally picked out the last morsel of meat – my vote went to towards the chilled lobster (as the sweetness seemed much more prominent), where my wife preferred the hot lobster.

As we’re tied for votes – I’m curious what your preference is on this topic?

Water Prince Corner Shop on Urbanspoon

Captain Bob’s – Woodstock, NB


Captain Bob’s Takeout
3512, Rte 585
Woodstock, New Brunswick

Traveling along the Trans-Canada Highway we left the province of Quebec and entered into New Brunswick.  After quick stops in Edmundston and Grand Falls, we decided to take more scenic secondary highways and visit some of the many small towns along the  St. John River.  After we crossed the longest covered bridge in Hartland a couple times, this sign on the road caught my eye.

captainbob_sign

Just in time for lunch – we followed the cookie crumb trail of signs to this shack parked in the driveway of Captain Bob’s home.  A couple of kids were already ahead of us and had ‘honked’ (as per the posted directions) to let the Captain know of our arrival.

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Le Billig – Quebec City, QC


Le Billig
526 St. Jean
Quebec, QC
G1R 1P6
(416) 524-8341

Before leaving the province of Quebec, we wanted to experience a great creperie.  Scouring the web – we decided on this establishment located just outside the historic Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) neighborhood.

lebillig_sign

The namesake of this creperie-bistro, is a large circular flat-top grill used primarily for cooking pancakes or crepes.  At Le Billig, they have three displayed in their open-concept kitchen  – which churn out crepes and galettes authentic to the Brittany region of France.

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Patati Patata – Montréal, QC


Patati Patata
4177 Boulevard St-Laurent
Montréal, QC
(514) 844-0216

Je parle un peu francais, but there are enough multi-lingual people in Montreal to help you get by.  After spending a few days in Quebec, I started noticing a bit of a trend.  Walk into an establishment to a standard Bonjour! greeting.  Once you sheepishly return this with a ‘Hello’, the English speaking staff-member swings over to serve you.

My French teacher would be so disappointed in me…

As I was on a quest to experience poutine from the source – this location caught my eye both from many online reviews as well as visually, when approaching it along boulevard St. Laurent.

patatipatata_exterior

This place is tiny, a few small tables along the  outside windows and a sit-down bar.  Luckily there was a couple leaving as we arrived – so we were able to grab a table.  Two wall-mounted menus offer a selection of simple breakfast and lunch items, but I was here for the poutine classique. Fresh cut fries cooked to a dark golden brown, fresh cheese curds, delicious gravy, and garnished with a single olive.

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