Anatolia’s Gate – Burnaby, BC


Anatolia’s Gate
7084 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
(604) 525-2519

On my visits to this building which also houses Nao Sushi, I had often seen Anatolia’s Gate to be a busy place with customers inside, including many who visually seemed to have ethnic ties to the Arabic world – always a good sign when those who probably know best are eating inside.  Promising myself I’d come back to visit, I did a while ago and got a take away dinner to go.  With less than thirty minutes before closing time, the trio of employees who were still there were quite accommodating as I took my time perusing the menu full of Middle Eastern delights.   I was happy to see the wood burning oven out front was still churning out a warm glow, but just to be sure I asked if the full menu was still available, and I was told that indeed it was.  Perfect!

However, broken up into the following sections, there was a lot to choose from within each:

a) Cold Starters & Salads
b) Hot Starters, Wraps
c) Kabob Sofrasi
d) Steaks, Oven Dishes
e) Gourmet Pizzas & Sweets

Sharing between two people, I could expand on the selections somewhat, more so than if I was eating for one.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

Continue reading

Old Bread Factory – Edmonton, AB


The Old Bread Factory
110-4211 106 Street Nw
Edmonton, AB T6J 6L7
(780) 466-5211‎

I happened to be in Whitemud Crossing, and spotted this new bakery as I was leaving the area.  Thinking only that it would be nice to pickup a fresh loaf of bread before heading home – I noticed that the smaller print stated The Original Mexican Style.

old_bread_factory_signage

The inside is filled with display cases showcasing a massive assortment of cookies, pastries and breads. First – grab a tray and a pair of tongs, and load up!  I didn’t count the number of options – but if memory serves, I’d say there were at least 80 different things to choose from.

Continue reading

Romania Country Bread – Richmond, BC


Romania Country Bread
3680 Moncton St
Steveston Village
Richmond BC
(604) 304-0170

I have a certain fascination for places that sell only one thing. You see this type of operation more often in other places in the world – Ramen-ya in Japan, Food stalls in South East Asia, Cheese, Yougurt, Sausage, and Ham makers all over Europe, etc. This type of specialization is quite rare here in North America where we value convenience when we shop for food.

bread01

Romania Country Bread is an extreme anomaly when you consider that this place is located in Richmond BC where strip malls, supermarkets and other types of convenience shopping abound. Romania Country Bread sells only one thing….their hearty Whole Wheat Loaf. (Well…they sell two things if you count a half-size version of this loaf.)

Continue reading

Honey Doughnuts and Goodies – North Vancouver, BC


Honey Doughnuts and Goodies
4373 Gallant Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
(604) 929 4988

Honey Doughnuts and Goodies on Urbanspoon

The easternmost district in North Vancouver known as Deep Cove, is home to a quaint little street populated by several eateries and shops.  This two-block stretch of Gallant Avenue is where visitors and locals alike can stop in for a bite to eat while enjoying the natural surroundings.  Honey Doughnuts and Goodies stands out as the most popular destination along this strip, given its decent sized eat-in space and convenient snack offerings that are easy to buy-and-go.  I’m sure part of its appeal is also due in part to the steady line-up that brings in the curious and the sweet smells that flow out onto the sidewalk.

As the name suggests, doughnuts are a hot seller.  In the glass display case inside where you also place your order, an assortment of healthy (e.g organic) and more sugary varieties of doughnuts can be had, as well as scones, muffins and other pastries.  The donuts here are “richer” looking, the kind with a heavier consistency and the glazed ones I saw were really attractive.  I would not go as far as to say they were all-out gourmet, but certainly more than the generic Tim Horton’s.

While in line on this day, a man ahead of me in the cue ordered a whopping $150 worth of donuts!  Its not like he had pre-ordered this, so as the girls behind the counter were busy counting and putting them into brown paper bags, it was clear the supplies would be threatened for those us in still waiting to get our goods. I later saw a tented parking lot that looked like it was an eating area for a film set, which might explain this large order – as homes in the neighborhood are often rented by the television and movie industry.

In addition to the sweets, Honey Donuts and Goodies also has on their menu, some good looking breakfast dishes, along with some soups and sandwiches.  With plans to go hiking on the nearby Badden-Powel Trail, I thought it best to warm up and chose the Soup & Bread Combo, with the soup being Chicken Kale.  It was a hearty soup, with beans, onions, plenty of kale, and chunks of chicken in a rich, slightly salty broth.  Aside from this, I got a Blueberry Muffin to go as a snack for later on (sorry, not pictured).  Towards the end of my hike, I opened it up and had a few bites.  Good flavor, not too brittle and dried out.  I am sure they taste much better hot out of the oven.

I found it interesting that it seemed many members of the kitchen/wait staff were of Latino heritage.  We overheard a discussion, it seemed there was some mention about Argentina between one of them and another person in line, so its possible that’s where they are from.  I don’t think its had a huge impact on their menu, but interesting nonetheless.

Honey Doughnuts and Goodies on Urbanspoon

Swiss Bakery – Vancouver, BC


Swiss Bakery
143 3rd Avenue East
Vancouver, BC
(604) 736-8785

Swiss Bakery on Urbanspoon

collection_of_pretzels_swiss_bakery

Someone once asked me if I knew of a place that sold authentic German style pretzels. At the time I didn’t know of any place in town…and not being an aficionado myself,  I asked around. A colleague of German descent told me about an relatively unremarkable bakery in an industrial zone just off the South Main district in Vancouver. They serve, he told me, the closest thing to a German pretzel that you can get in Vancouver.

Indeed they look interesting. These pretzels have what looks like a dark caramelized crust.

pretzel_swiss_bakery

The pretzel-making process is very similar to making bagels: after a rising the dough, raw bagel dough is first boiled in water sweetened with honey or maltose for about a minute prior to baking.  The sugars from the sweet solution caramelize and give bagels their crunchy-chewy outer skin.

The pretzel, however, gets its colour from a lye water bath. The chemistry is unclear to me…the starches and proteins of the outer surface of the dough are somehow changed by this alkaline solution so that it bakes to a deep mahogany brown. The results should be crackling crunchy, but not sweet like the a bagel’s crust.

The pretzels today were not as crunchy as ones I had previously purchased a couple of months back. We have been having some moist and foggy weather of late…perhaps this moist air contributed to this chewiness.

outside_swiss_bakery
While their pretzels seem to be their specialty, Swiss Bakery have some other worthy items for sale. They also sell decent crusty hearth breads (their Cranberry and Walnut Bread has become a family favorite – excellent toasted,  buttered and served with a sharp cheddar)….in case you aren’t a pretzel aficionado.

Swiss Bakery on Urbanspoon