Serious Pie – Seattle, WA

Serious Pie
316 Virginia Street
Seattle, WA
(206) 838-7388

There are definitely folks out there who take their pizza seriously.  It’s no joking matter to them.  From the in-depth discussions about the best kinds of flour to use, the optimal oven environments and of course the ideal toppings to make the perfect pie, the discussion will never result in everyone agreeing on one definitive pizza as the “best”.  At foodosophy, we’ve certainly not been shy about expressing our thoughts and sharing our experiences at various pizzerias around North America as can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Wow, that was a lot.  And not all of them either. 🙂

Now from the Tom Douglas empire comes a boldly named enterprise that would apparently be an apt gathering spot for interesting gourmands willing and able to discuss all things pizza.  Serious Pie.  Just adore that name.  On this visit to Seattle, we had this particular address programmed into our minds but by shear chance, we walked right past the other location in South Lake Union, after checking out the nearby Tesla car showroom.  But keeping with our agenda, we hoofed it back to Virginia Street as we weren’t quite hungry yet after our late morning meal back at Toulouse Petit.

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Campagnolo – Vancouver, BC

1020 Main St.
Vancouver, BC

Campagnolo on Urbanspoon


I have been sitting on this report now for a few weeks. I’m not really sure why I hesitated to publish it. It could be that it sort of broke a minor rule I have of only reporting on smaller, more under the radar sort of places. Campagnolo does not fit this mold for sure. It had received a lot of good publicity from Vancouver’s food press…rightly so. It is a good restaurant that has a lot going for it.


Campagnolo is operated by the group who run Fuel over on the West side of the city. Fuel is a great restaurant with the kind of ethic that this area of the world is known: organic, locally sourced ingredients, “nose to tail” philosophy, talented cooks. Campagnolo is much the same. As a matter of fact, the kitchen had a deer hanging in it getting ready to be prepped “nose to tail” (from primal cuts of meat all the way to the nasty bits that end up in their pate and cured sausages.) The group has also started up a small retail/in-house curing operation cleverly called “The Cure” which will supply Fuel, Campagnolo, and retail.

Campagnolo attempts to serve “rustic” Italian food from the countryside of Peidmont and Emiglia-Romagna. I have a positive bias towards rustic and homey food so I was very interested to see how Campagnolo attempts this style of presentation.


My friend and I started with the Cecci – deep fried chickpeas that have the same kind of addicting quality as good peanuts. The outer skin had a pleasing papery crispness which acted as a counterpoint to the creaminess of the chickpea. The skin was somewhat dark and caramelized…perhaps they pre-marinated it with a sweet concoction prior to deep frying it.


The next dish was their Octopus Salad. It wasn’t exemplary as the Octopus itself tasted strongly fishy. It’s supposed to taste slightly fishy, but this was a bit much…and for comparison, I have had similar dishes elsewhere were the octopus tasted much more refined and subtle.


The we moved on to the salumi platter consisting of pate and cured sausages – all house made of course. This cold plate was decent enough…nothing spectacular and certainly nothing that I wouldn’t be able to source right in my neighbourhood. Perhaps they are still in the process of experimenting and improving their recipes and techniques at The Cure, but so far, the salumi fails to impress. Oddly, it didn’t come with the obligatory bread. I did ask for some at an extra cost…but it is an odd choice on their part to not have included it. The pate certainly would not have worked at all without bread.


The next dish was their tagliarini with pork ragu. The noodles where thin and perfectly cooked…the ragu was nicely prepared and seasoned. The shreds of pork were very tender – perhaps a bit past where it should have been because I felt it lacked ‘bite’ in the texture.


We finished with their Olive Oil cake…this was the most pleasing part of the meal. I’m always surprised how well Olive Oil works as a dessert ingredient – it imparts a floral, fruitiness to this dish. It worked very well with the semolina cake base, vanilla cream and the caramelized pear.


Overall, a fine meal. Campagnolo is a very nice addition to the city’s Casual Fine Dining scene – and it certainly is a very nice, but oddly juxtaposed addition to this very sketchy underbelly of a neighbourhood. It is also refreshing to see some real Regional Italian food instead of the usual generic Italian I normally see. Yet, a few weeks after dining there, I still feel unexcited about this place (quite unlike the feelings I have about Campagnolo’s sister restaurant, Fuel). As I wrote this report, I started to understand. Perhaps its limited and focused menu needs no more exploration on my part – and sampling a few dishes was enough for me to say “I get it.” Perhaps it didn’t feel quite “rustic” enough…it felt too fine? Maybe Italian food just doesn’t excite me as much as other cuisines?

The food was good, the service was excellent, the space was interesting, but I have no real compulsion to return.

Campagnolo on Urbanspoon

Burgoo Bistro – Vancouver, BC

Burgoo Bistro
4434 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
(604) 221 7839

Shokutsu: Big, bold, hearty stews.  I think many cultures around the world have them in some form or another.  Perhaps, its all derived from our primitive roots when meals evolved into these one pot wonders cooked over fire, that were filled with the meat of animals that were killed on the plains, in the mountains and forests of our great planet, as well as the local vegetation that was available to help flavor everything and provide other nutrients for our human ancestors.

Skipping to the modern day, Burgoo Bistro has taken this concept to heart, priding itself on offering ‘food for comfort’.  The ‘classics’ section on their bistro menu features some current takes (some quite liberally I might add) on this stew concept with homages to variations from around the world, such as the Decadent French Onion, Ratatouille Provencale, Lamb Tagine, Butter Chicken and even incorporating their namesake in the Kentucky Burgoo. Having expanded to three locations (two in Vancouver, one in North Vancouver), as well as burgeoning retail and catering elements to their business, the empire continues to grow, and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

As described by the menu, my ordered Irish Stew was comprised of Guinness-braised lamb and vegetables, along with homemade dumplings and garlic tinged mash potatoes.  Honestly, I am not a frequent drinker of this dark beer, but could not really tell if it had added anything to the flavor in this dish.  Perhaps it was the under-seasoned chunks of lamb meat?  I mean they were not overdone, but at the same time lacking any true tenderness, as some took more effort to chew.  If there was a positive, for those who don’t like the game-y scent of lamb, there was very little of it here.  The added vegetables also did nothing to excite my taste buds as they were also very conservatively seasoned, and the dumplings, other than providing perhaps the softest texture in this bowl besides the soft mash, again did not impress and were clearly an afterthought.  Finally, I had wished they had provided more of the broth in which it was cooked and reduced in, as near the end, it was evident that the ingredients were drying out in my bowl, making the glass of water nearby seem more and more appealing.  That should never happen when having an actual meal.

And now, without any further delay, I would like to introduce to you all our newest Foodosophy contributor, and my dining companion on this day, for his thoughts on our meal together…


Prefectionist: First off, my thanks go out to Shokutsu and Foodosopher for giving me the opportunity to express my opinions on Foodosophy. I’ve come to appreciate the writing styles of Shokutsu and Foodosopher and will strive to describe my eating adventures as eloquently as they do.

As a relative newbie to Vancouver, I’m still not used the gray skies and the constant drizzle that’s associated with the change in seasons here. So indulging in something warm and hearty was definitely enticing on this rainy day. Looking at my options, I quickly decided on the Beef Bourguignon. This classic French dish is essentially a stew that calls for braised beef, carrots, mushrooms, pearl onions and garlic. Mashed potatoes, rice or noodles are secondary to the stew.

Once my meal arrived I immediately noticed the generous portion of mashed potatoes topped with the beef bourguignon. In my opinion, the key factor that makes or breaks a bowl of stew is the braised beef. It should be moist, tender and be barely holding itself together. Frankly, the beef was just cooked not braised, making for some tough pieces of meat. The pearl onions lacked any good caramelization and much like the beef, the carrots were undercooked. On the bright side, the mashed potatoes were excellent, but unfortunately, I wanted Beef Bourguignon.

Did it satisfy my initial cravings for something warm and hearty? Yes. Would I recommend it? Probably not. I’m a big fan of French onion soup so maybe I’ll give that a try on another rainy day, which judging from the forecast, shouldn’t be that far away.

Burgoo (Point Grey) on Urbanspoon