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anyone making their own tortillas?

Actually, Bandidas on Commercial makes their own ... but the downside (for purists) is their filings are vegetarian.

Another Vancouver institution gone - Bert's Restaurant closing Saturday

Mourning the loss of these kinds of places is fundamentally misplaced. Yes, there's the nostalgia factor and the lure of the occasional cheap breakfast, but greasy spoons like this were designed to thrive in working class neighborhoods and cater to people with a practical sense of food as inexpensive caloric intake. Once a neighbourhood gets converted by property development from wrong side of the tracks to acceptable to condo buyers these kinds of restaurants cease to have a reason to exist - besides catering to occasional culinary slumming. Best way to prevent this kind of thing from happening is to not move into a neighborhood that contains one of these restaurants. And let's notice that we haven't seen a wave of closures of the new breed of "fake" greasy spoons that are setting up shop all over town, suggesting that people prefer simulacra to the real thing.

Vancouver Street Carts in The Guardian

Can't believe that Vancouver is described as "best food cart scene in the world" and there was no mention of Portland where the sheer number of carts, quality and diversity put us in our righful place as bush-league.

Thoughts on Red Wagon (faux diner) on east hastings

You've got to ask yourself if it really is progress that crappy greasy spoons are slowly being replaced retro-styled diners serving very similar food. Yes, I've written about this before with the case in point being the emergence of Lucy's Diner on Main Street. This time I'm at Nanaimo and Hastings at the Red Wagon and I'm getting a serious case of deja vu. Not, unfortunately, for the lost innocence of days gone by, but for the grim experience of having sat in one too many of these restaurant theme rides.

The Red Wagon is spacious; I'll give it that. And there's a nice 50s turquoise running all over the cupboards, tables and stools. Wood panelling running up the chair-rails evokes the basement suite aesthetic while the highback dining chairs with curvy backs take you back to the 80s, if you can go back that far.

The menu harkens back like the cocktails list at a retro bar. Among the diner standards, you'll find the unlikely reemergence of Cobb salad. One item did stand out for its sure audacity: a pancake sandwich with pulled pork and syrup. It's pretty hard to find a Western-style restaurant these days that doesn't serve pulled pork somewhere on their menu, but this particular execution is inspired. Couldn't bring myself to order it because I think the best thermometer for the quality of a crappy (or faux-crappy) restaurant is how good their burger is. So I got myself the old burger and fries - and it wasn't terrible. The bun was soft and toasted on the inside. The meat did not immediately evoke a frozen frisbee. The lettuce was even thoughtfully shredded, providing a little spring. The fries, happily, cut from potatoes with skins left on, were nicely crunchy and moderately salted.

While the coffee didn't appear to be produced by one of those multi-headed commercial drip machines you used to see in real diners, it still wasn't very good (moderately warm, harsh acidic notes indicating over-roasted beans). That degree of authenticity was well handled. In the end, I couldn't resist the apple pie and this was the highlight. Soft caramelized apples swimming in a dark paste wrapped up in a mouthwatering shell and topped with little boulders of crunchy sugar. Yes, that pie took me back to a time I wasn't alive for, when you could, as they say, walk the streets without fear, leave your doors unlocked, trust your neighbours and all that mythology. I believe it was also a time where non-whites had to eat at separate counters but that thought is enough to ruin a perfectly good meal.

My nostalgic rummaging through history came to a close when the bill arrived - $30 for a couple of entrees, a coffee and a piece of pie. Could have cut that in half at a real greasy spoon, but then the ambience at those places is like a fake diner that isn't fake. That, these days, doesn't make any sense at all.

Poutine in Vancouver: can it be done?

I'd like to add chanterelle mushroom poutine available at the food cart called Freshlocalwild. I haven't yet tried it but i have heard very good things.

Where to order a turkey

Reup food cart is selling organic stuffed, brined turkeys.. Ordered one yesterday from their web site.

Finally! - decent coffee in Richmond- Rocanini's in Steveston

Richmond has always suffered from a distinct lack of places to go for decent coffee, particularly "third-wave" style with latte art etc. The drought appears to be over now - in Steveston village, Rocanini Roasters has opened and they hit all the marks - latte art, siphon brewing as an option, and a giant La Marzocco espresso machine. I found the service very slow (10 minutes wait for a espresso) but they're just starting up, and training staff, so it's understandable and probably temporary. They failed my gold standard test, which is whether they can produce a latte leaf in an espresso macchiato, essentially a midget latte. This skill really separates the coffeemen from the coffeeboys. Nonetheless, the coffee is high quality, the space is pleasant, and there are many options...

New Legacy Liquor Store-First Visit

Thanks for clarifying.

Preserved Lemon

Halal meats at 25th and main is the place you want. I ended up there on my hunt for preserved lemons a few months ago. They have jars and a few brands to choose from, all from mid east.

New Legacy Liquor Store-First Visit

Yeah, but according to their web site they've only got Growers cider, so as it stands they're not help the sad selection of ciders in town... Boo

Chicas latin heritage foods - south granville

I don't really have a benchmark for decent arepas since they're difficult to find, but, that said, the ones at Chicas are listed on the menu as "Venezuela style". They're very yellow and probably made with corn meal. They're mini-burger sized with various fillings - very much like eating a little, round polenta sandwich (check out pic in my original post). I had no issues with grey, mushy food as noted by kroekerj but let's be fair here - indications are they've either reopened with a new menu and probably a new cook, or they've been taken over by someone who cares. So let's not judge them by past crimes that took place at the same location. I wouldn't say it's worth a special trip but a decent curiosity if you're in the neighborhood.

Chicas latin heritage foods - south granville

If you're out at south granville, around 70th, it's worth a trip to Chicas latin heritage foods for yet another place in town that serves tacos, but also for a few unique dishes that reflect their emphasis on Nicaraguan/Venuzuelan/Columbian food rather than straight up Mexican. The usual suspects are on the menu - tacos, burritos, rice and beans, but they also have Arepas, pepusa-like stuffed, flat cornbread, made with bright yellow corn meal. And there are some interesting empanadas with chicken, potatoes and feta. Prices are reasonable and tuesday taco special is $2. The interior is pretty bare bones, but it's casual, friendly and worth a look if you're in the neighbourhood.

Report: Chronic Tacos at Broadway and Yukon

In the spirit of fairness, I made another trip to Chronic tacos, this time ordered their chicken enchiladas, which - as the pic shows - is a generous portion but it was expensive ($13+) and bland - i could taste canned tomatoes, very little spicing, had to smother it with hot sauce to generate any flavour. Looks good enough on the plate, but from then on it's downhill...

Stella's on Cambie - what happened?

Damn. Won't be able to yell "Stella!!!" when I drive by anymore.

Fresh roasted beans in Vancouver?

Just for the record here, there really is no such thing as "espresso beans" as espresso is a method of coffee extraction, not a kind of coffee. Beans sold as "espresso" represent a recommendation from the roaster that their particular mix will be good for use in an espresso machine. With pre-ground coffee, "espresso" normally refers to the fine level of grind, which makes the coffee suitable for espresso machines. Sometimes, dark roasted beans are marketed as "espresso" because in some people's minds there's an association between the expectation of acidity in espresso and dark coffee beans. Most serious "third wave" coffee shops disagree with using dark roasted beans for espresso because they tend to result in too much acidity and not enough body. In the end, any beans (or combination) can be used for making espresso; the skill is in finding the right grind of each type of bean - this is why many serious home coffee geeks consider the espresso machine to be an accessory to the grinder, not the other way around. And the final key to great espresso is fresh beans, which guarantee precious crema production, so I would make freshness the top priority and look for roast date labels on coffee for sale.

Lucy's Eastside Diner - Main street's latest boho-pomo diner

Thanks for that, curlygirl13. Your experience and those photos confirm my impression of the place. "In need of inspiration" is right. Although it has been argued that the lacklustre food and uninspired presentation are signs that Lucy's is doing an incredibly accurate impression of a old school diner. See this press release posing as a restaurant review at scout mag.

Most interesting is the discussion below the article where the author defends his fawning praise and recommends you go with "low expectations".

To quote the author (andrew morrison


"It’s diner fare. Not the organic, local and seasonal re-imaginings thereof, but cheap and greasy and fast and satisfying without pretense or over-reach. It is what it is, and I can’t help but like it so. Go with low expectations, as you would a proper old school diner, and enjoy them being well met."

So, In the end, Lucy's is a theme park ride and it's clearly not for anyone interested in food.

Lucy's Eastside Diner - Main street's latest boho-pomo diner

While we're reminiscing about the 80s, let's not forget Doll and Penny's on Davie - comfort food served up by transvestites. Now that was a "theme" restaurant.

Report: Chronic Tacos at Broadway and Yukon

Peer in the window of Chronic Tacos (Broadway and Yukon) and you'll see what looks like a genero modern bistro / sports bar - leather booths, bar tables, flat screen tvs. This gives the impression of a sit down restaurant with servers but that's not the case. Chronic is really a fast food outlet, modelled on the Subway "point to what you want" school. The food counter is somewhat hidden in the back of the restaurant and that's where you order, customize, pay and walk away with your plastic tray laden with mexi-food housed in branded wax paper. The incongruity pretty well stops there, because you quickly realize that the interior design is trumping the food. Tacos are like hamburgers - many places make them but not many make them well. The stock ingredients vary slightly but the nuances are what separates an average taco from a great taco. I ordered a round of three - carnitas, fish and chicken - and quickly realized, as the server loaded up, that this place probably serves the most generous tacos in town. This compensates for above average pricing (more than $3 per taco) and you could easily get away with two, three max. All in all, though, pretty middling food. The tortillas were not sufficiently warmed and lacked flexibility. The fillings, too, were cold, pretty flavourless and everything was bulked out with shredded lettuce and, disappointingly, grated yellow and white cheese food product. I smothered it all with hot sauce and then wrestled to finish it all. I was full but it was only a slight upgrade from Taco Time at the mall. Pretty well the only option in the neighbourhood, though.

Lunch in Nanaimo - suggestions

I think a "not to eat" list would exhaust the generous character count allotted by Chowhound...

Lunch in Nanaimo - suggestions

For the record, ended up at Gina's Mexican cafe, which is billed as a place on a cliff with a great view, but it's actually a place on a hill with a view of a parking lot and a budget rent a car. Nonetheless, it's a quant little house outfitted to emulate a small town Mexican restaurant, serving a wide range of Mexican classics and many plate combos, which allow you to try 3 or 4 things at a time, but it's pretty average food and not particularly distinctive. Best comparison would be Taco del Mar.

Lucy's Eastside Diner - Main street's latest boho-pomo diner

I think the point here is that Lucy's is not actually a "diner" but it's a place doing an impersonation of a diner. With that comes expectations that the food will not actually be historically accurate since diners are traditionally associated with food that has neither style or substance. There's actually a real diner with real diner burgers a block away at Main and Broadway (Reno's) and no one gets excited about that. So, something else is going on here: At Lucy's, diner food is being served up to trendy urbanites in an atmosphere that guarantees that they won't actually be dining with the kind of people that traditionally go to diners - and they won't have to set foot in an actual diner to get the experience of going to a diner. It's a simulated experience and their culinary accuracy is no cause for celebration.

Lunch in Nanaimo - suggestions

Forget to mention i will have a teen with me, so pubs are unfortunately out of the question...

Lunch in Nanaimo - suggestions

Ok, I'm in Nanaimo for lunch this Sat. Looking for casual dining, open to worldwide cuisines, nothing too fancy, but really hoping to avoid generic food troughs... any suggestions gratefully received.

Lucy's Eastside Diner - Main street's latest boho-pomo diner

Years ago, Main Street was alive with truck stop cafes/greasy spoons offering serviceable, basic food to working people in need of uncomplicated, inexpensive meals. Spring forward to the present and we've now got themed restaurants based on the idea of an old fashioned diner, furnishing a trip down someone else's memory lane, and providing greasy spoon simulacra for urbanites. Slickety Jim's was an early pioneer of this self-conscious retro ambience, but a fire did them in last year (although rumour has it that they're coming back to Main Street soonish). Filling in the gap at Main and 11th is the latest attempt to make the old new - Lucy's Diner. Compared to Slickety Jim's, which essentially suffocated you with eclectica, Lucy's restrains itself with a version of the 1950s as imagined by Ikea. The space is small, even cramped. Most of the seating is around the bar with a couple of tables in the front and a couple in the hallway in the back. I don't think anyone goes to a themed restaurant expecting to be blown away by the food and, unfortunately, Lucy's does very little to confront this preconception. All the trucker standards are there on on the menu - mac n cheese, fried chicken, tuna melt, all day breakfasts, burgers - and it has to be said that the pricing is fair enough for what's on offer, cheaper than you might expect, even. I had the everyday burger deal, which give you a burger, fries and a milkshake for $10. All the breakfast items, soups, sandwiches, entres - are less than $10. In fact, there's nothing on the menu over $10. Now, this can be a little deceiving once you start enhancing your order with add-ons and drinks, which seem disproportionately priced compared to the mains. A simple burger will cost a perfectly reasonable $6 but add in some bacon and cheese and you're now looking at $9.50. Pop and shakes go for $3 to $5 and old fashioned apple pie goes for $4.50 . Our waitress told us the place is running 24 hours a day (quite a rarity in Vancouver), and they have a full liquor licence, so it's possible that the food will be taking a back seat to the drinks and what we have here is a themed bar with food on the side. Judging by the burger and shake deal, there's nothing innovative going on here foodwise; I believe the intention is to give you exactly what you would expect to get had you travelled back in time and set foot in one of the original restaurants that Lucy's is based on. This is not great news for those familiar with culinary standards of the time. I was hoping for a modern twist, or some ingredient upgrades, but there's no evidence of this. I'd say it's worth a visit if you want to enter the meta-narrative of post-modern, old-school, historical revisionism. Or if you want a cheap burger at a place that won't ask you if you want fries with that.

- Paul

Serious coffee place in Vancouver?

Another reason to check out Kafka's on Main is the variety of methods to offer to prepare a cup of coffee - they've got espresso (of course) but they also offer old fashioned syphon and the low tech aeropress. I don't think anyone else in town offers these two brewing methods. Syphon is worth it just for the theatrics...

New Mexican coming on Broadway and Cambie

To resuscitate the debate over who has the best tacos, let me put Bandidas Taqueria at Commercial and 12th on the table. Depending on your purity level, you might scoff at a place that purports to serve tacos but does it without any meat, substituting beans, nuts, yams and various other veggies. The result is interesting to look at (see pic) and palatable enough, although meatless tacos is like a dog without a bone. They get points for making their own corn tortillas and they artfully squirt their sauces Jackson Pollack style.


I believe dollar grocery on commercial has mix for horchata.

Serious coffee place in Vancouver?

I've coffeed all over town, including these places, and received many raised eyebrows of approval from the baristas. Even though the macchiato is part of their classic repertoire, it's an under-ordered item.

Serious coffee place in Vancouver?

I agree with the elsyian room and kafkas as a newcomer. But the true test of a decent cafe is if you order an espresso macciato and the Batista gives you a knowing nod and possibly a wink.

Mexican Food a la Bayless?

Don Guacamole's on robson might be what you're looking for. Authentic and more modernist than salsa and agave.

Don Guacamole Restaurant
1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA