Go Fish Ocean Emporium 1505 W 1st Avenue Vancouver, BC (604) 730-5040
“Thirty minute wait for anything fried and ten minutes for the grilled items”. That’s what was being hollered out to the still not fully depleted lineup as the last business hour of the day approached this fine sunny weekend day. With hungry bellies, our rat pack of five quickly huddled and decided we’d opt for the healthier and quicker grilled menu choices, and that was by no means a default as these creations as you’ll see here did not disappoint or a downgrade to the more popular deep fried dishes like their fish ‘n chips.
In reality, the wait was indeed longer than advertised, but I assumed their time clock began once they could actually begin cooking your order, and not from the point of time when the order was actually received and paid for at the til. But with the nearby bench seating providing a view like this, the clock moving slowly isn’t all bad…
Everything Cafe 75 East Pender Street Vancouver, BC (604) 681-3115
Strolling around in Chinatown is an interesting activity. I see many tourists doing it, with cameras slung from their necks, taking in all this part of Vancouver has to offer. Not only visually but also the many places to eat. After all, Chinese culture has a long culinary history and has pervaded its way into North American dining, and has a wide spread familiarity, albeit perhaps not always along the true lines of authentic and regional cuisine that the country has to offer and is yet under-explored by many. I’d say stick around here on foodosophy, as one of our keen writers GastronomyDomine (aka fmed) is a knowledgeable fellow when it comes to this genre and has posted more than a few reports on places you should try out. And hopefully more to come. (nudge, dudge, wink, wink)
Amid a mainly Asian collection of shops, eateries and other stores, you can find the slow spread of other kinds of places that are merging into this neighborhood. You can notice is especially if you walk from Gastown towards the heart of Chinatown. Now whether this is a good or bad thing, it surely is up for debate depending on your stance. I applaud though from a business perspective to give new things a shot, and inject old areas with new life and different choices. At least for me, coming across these on random strolls makes things interesting. Enough so to entice me to stop and go inside. The Everything Cafe was once such place.
Meat & Bread 370 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC (604) 566-9003
The speed of news delivery and the response rate of this city’s fanatical food bloggers never ceases to amaze me. There seems to be a continual rush by this unique niche of internet-based writers to first discover any freshly opened location and swarm on it like a pack of hungry wolves. Incredible I say, and more power to them as spreading any new intel about good eats is fine by us here at foodosophy. Keep ’em coming my cohorts, as after the buzz subsides somewhat, I’ll usually make my way down and partake in a meal much like a hyena or a vulture after the lions have dismantled the wildebeest carcass. 🙂 A case in point, my weekend jaunt down to Gastown to visit the very hot (from a posting perspective) space known as Meat & Bread.
I honestly can’t recall what business occupied this historic building, but it has character written all over it. The hanging chains and massive steel meat hooks right by the front door window is a sign of things you can expect inside. The very industrial theme is then juxtaposed by the very modern-rustic sensibilities of the decor within, highlighted by the thick and elongated wooden table that falls into your field of view immediately upon entering the front door. The warmth of the natural elements continues into the design aspect of the service area with its angled placement of off-colored wood pieces on the counter, and the light colored wooden mini-chopping boards that make up the serving trays upon which the sandwich creations are presented. White painted brick completed the motif, along with glass, stainless steel appliances and multiple units of these large round hanging lights that reminded me of those used in interrogation rooms of spy movies. A large matte black, almost chalkboard-like in appearance wall sign that sits near the front window is the only menu that I saw; as limited as that was with a spartan listing of just their four signature sandwiches. I’ve seen the lamb replaced with veal in other reports so its quite possible that this is one that is in flux.
My poor camera was dropped at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the lens no longer retracts. I loved that camera – but after extensive research, im back in the game with a new camera! Happy to do my first post with pics from my new baby.
On a rainy dreary day, we head down the “ugly” part of Jasper Avenue to try the new restaurant by Carla Alexander of Soul Soup and Sal Di Maio who owns the gastropub downstairs, Red Star. MRKT Market is simply that – a “fresh market” concept restaurant where the limited menu provides you with a few choices in terms of sandwiches, soups, and specials. 3 sandwiches, 3 soups, one special the day we were there.
The interior feels like a wooden airplane fuselage. I’ve heard canoe, and upscale log cabin (rather generous i’d say), it is nonetheless hip, while managing some warmth. The most prominent feature of MRKT market is the long table that allows many diners to share a meal.
Zibetto Espresso Bar
1385 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
Manhattan Gourmet 56
1377 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
A sunny 86F day in NYC with nothing to do in the morning. A perfect setup for a casual walk in Manhattan and to grab a simple breakfast to enjoy on the benches of Central Park. As a die-hard addict in need of a stiff cup of coffee in the morning, my first stop after bypassing those dreadful Starbucks outlets was Zibetto. Essentially a long narrow space that couldn’t be more than eight feet wide and anchored by a sleek looking, white tiled and similarly colored marble counter-top bar accented with some metallic touches, it fit with my mental image of an Italian espresso bar.
Staffed with some slick looking, white shirted gents efficiently buzzing around behind the bar, there was already a strong lineup in place, as well as some other customers enjoying their cups of hot liquid at the tiny armrest like shelves jutting out from the walls. Clearly, its a place to have your drink in a jiffy, no lounging around here sucking up free wi-fi or anything and generally disrupting the business need of turnover on the part of the proprietors.
Pho Thai Hoa
Pho Thai Hoa is one of the best and most well known Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver. It has a lot of competition along Kingsway – Vancouver’s version of little Saigon. Pho Thai Hoa differentiates itself from most of the other Vietnamese restaurants in the area with its clean premises, extensive (and nicely photographed) menu, and generally good food. It is known for its good pho and other Vietnamese classics. Now it is doing something new for this town: a hot banh mi with grilled meats.
Now, I am perhaps presumptuous in my pronouncement that hot banh mi is a recent phenomenon here in Vancouver. After all, I have certainly not eaten at all the Vietnamese places in town. However, in my explorations along Kingsway, known to be on a cutting edge of authentic Vietnamese food, this is the first I have seen this. More recent second-hand reports from others indicate that there are a few places that serve a grilled meat banh mi – but none seem to be attempting it to this scale. Is it perhaps grilled fillings are really only possible in a full kitchen – something a typical banh mi joint does not usually have? Also it is somewhat unusual for the pho-centric restaurant to be serving banh mi.
There are three names that usually come up when Vancouverites talk about their favourite banh mi: Au Petit Cafe, Ba Le, and Tung Hing . I needed to grab a quick lunch from my kids and their friends one day after school. I was going to drive right past these three restaurants so I thought I would take this opportunity to do a side-by-side photo-essay.
I ordered the “Special” at each place to set a base-line comparison. Having ordered the Specials at all three spots over the years, I know how consistent they all are with their production – in other words, what you see here is what you would typically get.
From the left to right: Au Petit Cafe, Ba Le (Kingsway), Tung Hing.
As you can see, Tung Hing’s banh mi is at least 2″ longer than the other two – 10″ vs 8″. Au Petit Cafe has their bread specially made by La Baguette et L’echalotte which has a storefront on Granville Island. Ba Le currently sources from Empress Bakery (I incorrectly attributed their source as Paris Bakery in my earlier post here), but are about to embark on their own baking operation in-house with the installation of some new ovens at the Kingsway location.