House of Wings – Burnaby, BC


House of Wings Restaurant And Lounge
7155 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
(604) 540-6465

Sports on big screens + beer + wings.  A trademark trio of any proud joint that offers the key staples that satisfy the average athletics loving, red-blooded Canadian male when out for some drinks with the boys.  Throw in some pretty girls as service staff and a win for the home team, and you pretty much have paradise.  Yes, men are easy to please.

With the Canucks season long over, the tv sports scene is in a state of limbo, as its still early in the MLB season and football is still months away, so the likes of MMA (such as last night’s UCF 114, and the upcoming UFC 115 in Vancouver) are what keep most of these places busy with thirsty customers on a late weekend evening.  And to fill the seats before the rush, is that phenomenon called happy hour (with 37 cent wings).

With a name like House of Wings, frankly they better do a good job with these chicken appendages.  As the other wings place down the road was busy with a public fund raising event, it became the default choice for this quick stop with tee.

Continue reading

KwaTay’s – Seattle, WA


KwaTay’s Restaurant and Lounge
315 1st Ave. N.
Seattle, WA
(206) 588-2070

Is there a more enduring food service concept, fraught with both lovers and haters of it, than what is popularly known as “happy hour”?  Clearly this novelty was established to generate some needed revenue during the lull of the early to late afternoon, especially for bar proprietors that also serve food who have an interest in filling their cash registers as much as possible before the night rush happens.  In some more refined locations it seems to be a dying breed, but like a pesky cockroach, it will find a place to scurry into and stay for as long as possible until its flushed out and the life is stomped out of it.

The key allure of happy hour is definitely the reduced prices of regular menu items.  Food and drink inclusive.  At times, ridiculously low that even some drab surroundings, dubious service and a sense that you wouldn’t have stepped foot inside had it not been for the prices, are not enough to deter you from walking back through the entry door.  As you can see by the spartan space pictured above, that was more dance floor than restaurant dining area, you wouldn’t come to a place like this for the ambiance.  I’m sure you wouldn’t be at all shocked to hear that this is the kind of place that offers beer by the bucket as a crowd drawing special.

Continue reading

Central BBQ – Memphis, TN


Central BBQ – Central Avenue Location
2249 Central Ave.
Memphis,TN 38104
(901) 272-9377

Every Southern State (and sorry purists, I include Texas in the South – well, when it comes to BBQ anyway) believes their version of BBQ is the best. In travelling from State to State, I’ve come to recognize that the differences are not as great as they would have you believe. Yes, there are very fine differences in flavours, sauces, and ingredients, but most people would have a difficult time discerning these. These days, there has been so much cross-pollination of ideas and accessibility of ingredients, that i find BBQ is more about style, skill, and choice.

The greatest differences in BBQ come down to two key things: wet or dry, and choice of ingredient. While many people claim that Memphis-style BBQ is about wet (sauce) BBQ and pork, I found wet and dry preparations of ribs in most establishments. And while they also  serve mostly pork, there was some beef, and  there was a lot of  poultry (chicken, turkey) as well. Choice of wood, temperature, time, rub, I don’t feel there is  “regional” exclusivity any longer. I’ve even seen mesquite, traditional Texas smoking wood,  used in Memphis BBQ preparations.

So the question meat lovers need to ask is not “which state has the best BBQ”, but which establishment serves the best BBQ that they prefer.  Central BBQ is one place in Memphis trying to stake their claim.

Central BBQ has two locations in Memphis, but I was reassured by locals that the original location on Central Ave was the one to go to. As we pull up, we see a smoke shack in the back, billowing smoke into the atmosphere, a fragrant, delicious smell. Our appetites are immediately whetted.

Continue reading

Toronado Pub – San Francisco, CA


Toronado Pub
547 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 863-2276

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers on Foodosophy. In honor of US Thanksgiving, I’ve imbibed a tremendous amount of beer. Making this post, well, a lot less verbose than my usual posts.

In honor of the beer I’ve imbibed, I would like to introduce you to Toronado – quite possibly the best pub in North America. I say quite possibly because I haven’t been to every pub in North America. But I have a hard time imagining a better pub from a beer standpoint.

Toronado is not about the decor, or the atmosphere, unless you like quirky, unkempt beer snobs in irreverent t-shirts boasting loudly after one too many, while the strong smell of stale beer wafts over each slightly sticky table. While this doesn’t make up all their patrons – it is a bit of hyperbole, certainly, and there really are a diverse number of people who love the Toronado – it certainly makes up a good percentage that will give you the evil eye when you need to slide by them and actually try and get a beer from the bar.

Continue reading

Elwood’s – Vancouver, BC


Elwood’s
3145 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 736-4301

View Larger Map

Along this end of West Broadway, pubs are quite well represented. Perhaps its due to the relative abundance of residential areas just blocks off on each side of this corridor, and the proximity to the University of British Columbia campus. So if you like to have a quick pint after work in your neighborhood or on the way back home from a busy day of classes, this stretch has several options for you (Coppertank Grill, The Shack, Gargoyles, The Wolf and Hound, etc.).

Continue reading

Mexican Chicken Hof – Coquitlam, BC


Mexican Chicken Hof
A1-341 North Road
Coquitlam, BC
(604) 936-1444

H.O.F. Those three letters mean nothing on their own.  Unless you happen to be in South Korea and your eyes are swimming around looking at an unfamiliar language and fonts.  Especially if you are in a busy commercial zone full of restaurants, bars and other entertainment establishments in busy areas such as Kangnam in Seoul.

Derived from the German word hoffbrau meaning ‘royal or court brew’ which originates back in the days when beer was only available to the elite, its now often associated with German taverns.  The Koreans have adopted part of the terminology as their own, and in the modern day, a hof could be described as a Korean pub or drinking spot.  Incidentally, one of the very first hof’s I visited in Seoul over a decade ago was very much patterned after a German brew house, complete with huge beer steins, and delicious sausages on the menu.

Continue reading

Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill – Richmond, BC


Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill
#112-3800 Bayview Street
Richmond, BC
(604) 275-6587

On an afternoon photo assignment taking in the sights and hearing great stories from a dedicated crew of skilled craftsmen ship builders and restorers in the picturesque, frontier seaport town better known as the Steveston Heritage Fishing Village, I decided to end my day with a self-rewarding pint.

Wharfs, piers, boardwalks… wherever they are, always seem to be a preferred base for those establishments that seem to cater to both locals and visitors alike, often with seafood and cold drinks on the menu.  Shady Island Seafood is no exception.

With a deck side view of the neighboring Fisherman’s Wharf, and a cool breeze drifting in from the water, this open section running parallel to the pathway made for a great spot for people watching.  But by then, my mind had switched off from wanting to photograph anything, and I resorted to my simple P&S camera during my meal for images of my meal.

Sticking as local as I could, I opted for a selection from Granville Island Brewing in their Cypress Honey Lager.  Crisp, clear lagers are my favorite beers.  This one was perhaps milder in tone and not as “sweet” as say other “honey”-branded beers I’ve had, so was a refreshing way for me to unwind.  I could have easily had a few more and spent more time watching folks stroll by, but alas, it was getting a bit chilly and I was without a coat.

Despite having been busy for most of the day, I wasn’t terribly hungry.  Perhaps it was the cups of coffee that I had earlier to keep me going that were keeping me feeling full.   So sticking with the stereotypical behavior of one visiting a waterside landing, I took the easy way out and asked for their Seafood Chowder.  Noted as “world famous” on the signboard, and as “mama’s award-winning” on the menu, it peaked my curiosity.

It definitely had “substance” and was very rich and creamy in texture, plenty of pieces of salmon, clams and potatoes, all encompassed in a vibrant red, slightly peppery, tomato-base.  I’ve not experienced many of these more east coast-style chowders, but I can say that I enjoyed it and will look to seek out more of them.

A fairly basic house green salad which was nothing to write home about, rounded out my small meal (not pictured).

The combination of unwinding alone and having a quiet, non-stuffing meal and the quaint surroundings led me to feeling pretty good about my light dinner.  Under different circumstances, would I have come away with such a positive impression – I’m not sure.  But for the view, the brew and a tasty bowl of chowder, I can’t say I had any complaints and would drop by again and check out their fish and chips (which seemed like a popular thing at their takeaway window).

Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon