Monday, 30 May 2011

Nick's Sushi - Vancouver, BC

Japan ruined sushi for me.  It was too amazing for my own good.  But if there is one place that gives me hope, it is Vancouver.

Everyone has THEIR sushi place in Vancouver.  The fact is, there are so many great places, but I have picked two places that I consider my favs.  The first is Hiyoro (which I sadly didn't snap any pictures at) because they have the best special rolls I tasted in Vancouver, and they are huge, and for a very fair price.  But steps away from our house in Kits was this place, Nick's Sushi.

This cute (yes, I said cute) little joint seats about 15 people and delivers amazing sushi.  Probably not as good as the overhyped (and overpriced?) places like Tojo's or Miko...but what makes it my fav is the quality considering the price.  Behold, the Crispy Roll!  $4.25 for 8 pieces of tuna, asparagus, tobiko, and crispy flower.  And of course, you are in the Pacific Northwest, so if you aren't getting some Wild Salmon Nigiri Sushi, you are a complete failure at life.  Sorry, but not even Japan can match our wild salmon.  But you will soon read why they dominate us at everything else...

Nick Sushi on Urbanspoon

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Reef - Vancouver, BC

Every city in Canada is severely lacking Jamaican/Caribbean restaurant options.  Except Toronto, which has an INSANE amount of good ones, which mean the competition allows you to find some awesome places for really cheap (that will no doubt be a future blog).

The Reef is constantly voted Vancouver's best, so I went to check it out their Goat Roti.  Yeah, most people get the Jerk Chicken Roti, but live a little!  There is a lot of confussion what  you are talking about when you say 'ROTI', but in this case I am talking about a delicious treat that is mostly compromised of potato, chickpea, and your chosen meat...all wrapped in roti bread.  As you can tell by the picture, not the most delicious LOOKING thing once you cut it open.  But trust me, layer that baby with hot sauce and then enjoy some good eating. 

It was pretty good, and worth the money.  But I am counting the days until we are back in Toronto because me and Craig will be marching off the plane and getting ourselves a giant delicious roti for around $6.

The Reef (Commercial) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Home sweet home...

My portion of the new record is done, so I am back in the always tropical Edmonton AB. 

I will be posting up a few more of my Vancouver pics this week and then moving on to my stockpile of international goodies.  There is a lot of good stuff, especially from Japan & Europe...and I am sure I will even take the time to go visit and post about my favorite local places now that I am home for most of the summer.  Good times!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Nuba - Vancouver, Canada

As soon as I post a blog of my favorite Vancouver restaurant, a new contender throws their name in the race.  We have been working at a studio 2 blocks from the historic Waldorf hotel in Vancouver, which recieved quite the facelift inside and now hosts a bunch of Vancouver nightlift including Nuba, a nouveau Lebanese restaurant.  I will be the first to say I am not well versed in Lebanese food, but wow am I going to be.

I started with Lamb Hushwie, which was a spice lamb served on hummus, avocado, pine nuts, and cabbage.  Then I got the Beef Tenderloin, which was served with a pomegranate & red wine reduction and some sort of a feta cheese & potato pastery.  Such unique flavour combinations, all of them home runs!  The menu is mostly medium plates so you need to order at least 2, but for the quality of stuff they are pushing out, it's at a very reasonable price.

The whole vibe of the place was fun, so after we finished work for the night, we returned to the Tiki Bar and sucked down a couple coconut drinks.  Luckily, the pictures for the night stopped when I was a cooouple drinks in and started to eat the coconut shells.  Mmmm coconut.

Nuba (Waldorf Hotel) on Urbanspoon

Friday, 20 May 2011

Cafeteria - Vancouver, Canada

The new album is almost done, so I better fit in some great Vancouver food before I go.

Cafeteria could be my favorite restaurant in Vancouver (thank you Kristen for the heads up!).  On the wall inside this tiny restaurant is a menu board consisting of 5 starters (for $10), 5 mains (for $20), and 3 desserts, that changes every day.  Small room and small changing menu usually means attention to detail and the freshest possible ingredients.  It fits the stereotype and every single course I have had there has been packed with flavour.

On this particular day, the item that caught my eye was Crispy Pork Belly (New Orleans Style).  The pork was a meat paradise, with a tasty grainy dijon mustard sauce.  Top it off with a cajun classic, red beans, chorizo & rice...and I think it was the best meal I have had out here so far.  HOWEVER, I chose to pass on ordering the Peanut Butter Pie for dessert.  I fucked up.  I fucked up really bad.

Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sophie's Cosmic Cafe - Vancouver, BC

Everyone has been bugging me to try Sophie's Cosmic Cafe, and I have been putting it off even though it's a couple blocks away from our Vancouver house.  There is a lineup down the street there every weekend morning for Brunch.  The decor of the place is pretty 'cosmic', it reminds me of the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto (before you make any's a bar...not an actual sex club) because their walls are covered with antiques, toys, and junk. 

I got the special, which was Smoked Salmon Eggs Benny.  You can't fuck that up, and if you do, you suck at life.  I wasn't blown off my feet, but I will give them the benefit of doubt for now because it appeared that everyone who ordered something that wasn't the special was given a mound of food that no sane person should eat in one sitting.  Big food, big value.  And after we got our food, they placed a bottle of their signature home-made hot sauce on the table.  Home-made hot sauce?  Yeah, that's a power move.

Sophie's Cosmic Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 15 May 2011

C Restaurant - Vancouver, Canada

Food Rule #2: Food is always more delicious when you don't pay full price

I am a huge fan of Groupon, Living Social, and all those sites that offer discounted coupons for restaurants.  Why eat at Denny's when you can eat an expensive restaurant for the same price? ...Well Denny's is delicious, that's why... But that is beside the point.  I love justifying fancy meals by discounts.

So I got this Groupon for a 4 course tasting lunch at C Restaurant for $20 (regular price $40).  Am I going to pay $40 for lunch ever?  Absolutely not.  But for a meal this good, I can understand the price-tag.  The main course of halibut bouillabaisse was exactly what you would expect from a restaurant like this...Amazing, nothing I could come close to making.  The real treat was the surprise I got from the two starter courses

The salad came with a maple vinigrette.  Maple dressing on a salad?  That was a first for me, and it was awesome.  For the starter soup, the waiter came out and left a large bowl with a mound of smoked trout & crème fraiche...and then returned to pour out the potato & leek soup into the bowl from a kettle.  That is a POWER move.  That's like getting someone to shave your face in front of a group of people.  After a start like that, you know you are in for a good lunch.  However, word on the street is that without a Groupon, the bill gets a little out of control at this place...and people are not too stoked on that.

C Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, 13 May 2011

Pelikan - Stockholm, Sweden

Another quick break from Vancouver...I start vocals on the record this week so I will be stockpiling some serious lunches now that I have control of the vehicle.

Last European tour I took a trip to Stockholm, which ended up being my favorite city from around the world (so far).  A city of luscious green islands connected to each other, loaded with buildings from the 13th & 14th centuries.  Never seen a mix of history and modern hipness quite like it.  The first thing I did when I got off the plane was ask where the best authentic Swedish food was.  They eyed me up and down and asked me how much I was willing to spend, and I said money was no object...they smiled and immediately knew where to direct me.

It took me some time to find it, but Pelikan lived up to their billing.  After walking in to the uniquely classic decor, you open the menu to read a story of the history of the restaurant and the origins of the home-style food you are about to eat.  I went cliche (on the recommendation of the waitress) and got Swedish meatballs.  They were huge, moist, and the gravy was a perfect match.  But the best part was been how well the lingonberries & dill pickle paired up with a big bite of meatball and mashed potatoes.  You could taste every flavor, and they all went so well together.  Then wash it down with some beer and start again...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ensemble - Vancouver, BC

I don't consider myself a foodie, a food expert, or a food critic.  But I gotta admit, I felt pretty cool tonight going to the opening of Ensemble, the restaurant of my favorite Top Chef Canada contestant, Dale MacKay.  It's one of the few food shows that everyone in the band is into, so I got Sandy & Patrick to come with me while the others were stuck in the studio recording guitars.

The waitress told to us that the menu was designed for you to order a bunch of small to medium plates.  We shared the muscles, which were in a curry sauce, and a delicious five spice pork belly.

I also had the chilled Mango Soup with Dungeness Crab, which is the picture I included above.  You might remember an episode where Dale needed to create an amuse bouche (one perfect bite) to avoid elimination against 2 other contestants...well this dish was based on that.  Very original, and it kicked ass.  Haven't you always wanted to know what it was like to be a judge on Top Chef and actually taste what they are judging?  Looking forward to going back and trying a few of the other things that caught my eye.

Ensemble on Urbanspoon

Monday, 9 May 2011

Take It and Like It - Food Blog

I just want to give a quick shout-out and plug to my sister Courtney's food blog that she runs with her sister-in-law Brooke, Take It and Like It.  My family inspiration for starting a food blog!  While I am busy eating delicious food and trying to save money on it, she is making it posting: recipes, local food tips, restaurant reviews, and just general good stuff.  Definitely worth taking a look and following.  My neice Helen has slowed down the updates a tad, but she has also blessed my sister with the dreaded baby arm.  An arm so powerful (always having to carry her around), it is no doubt a weapon in the kitchen, and I can only imagine the prep time on recipes has been sliced in half.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Roadside Gas Station - Brussels, Belgium

Taking a breather today from my journey of finding Vancouver's best food to post one of my many tour food pictures.  I remember on our last European tour we had a big drive up to Denmark, and our driver Jon hated to stop for breakfast because he thought a Snickers bar at 9am was a great start to the day, so I was often forced to figure out breakfast when we stopped for gas.  That often lead to a lot of bitching and grumpiness from me, but there were some exceptions.

I remember in Belgium & Germany there were these little kiosks with one worker inside some of the gas stations that would make you a fresh pork schnitzel sandwich.  It was honestly some of the best schnitzel I had while I was over there, even though I usually prefer hot food over cold.  They had this delicious mayo they would put on it, and the kicker was a perfectly sliced up hard boiled egg to put on top.  Subway, take note on that little gem.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

CRU - Vancouver, Canada

Food Rule #1:  Lunch > Dinner
One of my favorite things to do is go to a fancy restaurant for lunch.  Most of the time, you get the same food that is offered at dinner for a much smaller price.  If not, you will at least get the same quality and maybe just a smaller portion (Patrick hates small portions and does not share my food rule).  I am reserving my big spender meals in Vancouver to a few other spots, but the lunch at CRU looked right up my alley.  I got the Crispy Duck Leg Confit with warm bacon vinaigrette, spätzle and goat cheese hash for $15.  Ahhhhh, yeah buddy.

Cru on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Meat & Bread - Vancouver, Canada

It's rare that a restaurant's name can get me this excited.  We have stopped here a couple times already on the way to studio to have lunch.  The menu is only 4 sandwiches, with the crown jewel being their Porchetta sandwich.  I am usually not a fan of pork sandwiches because they are usually dry, but this could be the most deliciously seasoned and moist pork I have ever tasted.  And the kicker: they double cook the skin so it's extra crispy and then chop it up into the pork so you get a big crunch every bite.  Never have the meat sweats felt so good after a meal.

Meat & Bread on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Slickity Jim's - Vancouver, Canada

A few years ago me and Daniel stumbled across Slickity Jim's on Main Street in Vancouver.  The next time we were back in Vancouver, the building was burnt to the ground...literally.  A couple years later we are back doing the record and they just reopened at a new location.  Dan says the food and vibe is 'wicked vintage'....which makes him a weirdo

Slickity Jim's Chat n' Chew on Urbanspoon