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Blue Smoke BBQ - Confusing

I'm always on the hunt for good BBQ. There are truly slim pickings around the Vancouver area for good BBQ. So I was excited to spot this food truck on the way out of Home Depot. Their website with current locations is here: http://www.bluesmokebbq.ca/

My first confusion was that I didn't smell any smoke - but I wrote it off to them probably prepping everything offsite and then simply serving it here.

My second confusion was the names of the sandwiches. Instead of classic BBQ descriptions they have cutesy names like the Loudmouth (their name for brisket), the Squealer (their name for pulled pork), the Clucker (their name for pulled chicken), Squealer Olè (their name for a pulled pork wrap), and Juicy Lucy (their name for "meatloaf with cheese nuggets" - still not sure what that is!). In any case, I ordered the brisket ($9).

My third confusion was watching the two people prepare the sandwich. They seemed to be a bit confused as to how to build a sandwich. It was a big production to make a single sandwich.

It was served on a brioche bun with a mound of coleslaw on the bun. The bun held up well to all of that moisture though. My next confusion was the flavour profile which was a bit unusual - lots of horseradish flavour. I noticed they had put a mound of white horseradish onto the bun. I was further confused when there was no taste of any type of traditional BBQ sauce. Everything was just horseradish flavoured. My confusion continued when there was also no taste of smoke at all when I pulled out some of the meat to try it on its own. For a place called blue smoke, you'd expect some of that good ol' smoke flavour common with good low and slow BBQ.

Confusion continued with no signs of smoke rings. I know some places use different methods, but call me a traditionalist. And the confusion continued even more as the meat was not exactly pulled, and not exactly sliced. There were some pulled shreds, and several big chunks that were not cut against the grain. Their slicing parallel to the grain made everything really tough and stringy.

My confusion continued as I sensed the temperature of the meat. I'm not sure it was held at proper temperature as it was bordering between lukewarm and room temp. Very disappointing overall.

And my final source of confusion was a few hours later when I realized I should have been more cautious when sensing the temperature of the meat. Let's just say I paid for it later.

I suppose my only lack of confusion is if I will return. Clearly not.

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Good/"best" pakoras in town ?

Agree with the Madras Dosa House recommendation. The vegetable pakoras are made with lots of chunks of yam - which is a version I don't see often. I really liked them. They came beautifully plated in a circle surrounding a small bowl of a tamarind and chili based dipping sauce. There were a few nice touches like fresh coriander diced to top the pakoras as well as some fennel seeds in the dipping sauce. The yams added a nice level of sweetness, making this a very nice version!

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Urbanspoon Becomes Zomato - implications for BC/Vanc and PNW users

I've switched to just using RSS feeds of the blogs I trust. Load them all using Feedly and I'm good to go. :)

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

In search of lunchtime wok hei

Great tips, LR. Thank you! The restaurants don't have to be in that general area though - I'm willing to travel for lunch! Richmond, Burnaby, etc. all ok too.

I've got to check out Golden House. Never thought to pop in, and it sounds pretty good. I've been to Golden Harvest on Main and had some decent meals there too.

Uncle Mings sounds very promising too - although the menu looks very Canadian. They do good wok hei?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

The rumours of my expertise are greatly exaggerated!

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

In search of lunchtime wok hei

I've been craving really good lunchtime Cantonese stir-fry lately served up as either beef chow fun or green beans. My primary criteria is good ingredients and excellent wok hei.

Ho Yuen Kee is doing a decent job on the green beans - although their preparation is a bit too salty, and could use a little more wok hei for my taste. I do appreciate their complimentary soup with the green beans - it makes for quite a satisfying and reasonable lunch.

Moon cafe does a decent job on the beef chow fun, but it isn't 100% there yet. Appreciate the milk tea served complimentary with it.

Where have you found the best lunchtime wok skills as signaled by excellent wok hei?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Big Lou's Shuts its doors - nooooooooooo!

I've never been to Big Lou's - had always meant to check it out, but hadn't yet. But for what it is worth, they are doing a pop-up on June 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19th at 337 East Hastings. The first two are lunchtime and the last three are late night dinner from what I understand.

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

Are bad puns a sign of too much doughnut consumption?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

LOL. What would make you ask that?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

I'm definitely looking forward to trying more of their menu and seeing what else they add to the menu as they get fully going.....
For now it seems quite promising with really friendly people!

Jun 05, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

This new Bruneian restaurant just recently opened at 7355 Edmonds Street in Burnaby, and has a very limited menu so far. Service was extremely friendly and welcoming - almost like going over to a friend's place - if they had several hole in the wall dining tables in their living room.

I spotted Seria Kolomee ($7.95) on the menu, so I had to order it! Right after ordering the waitress brought a nice clean placemat and chopsticks. The kolomee took only a few minutes to prepare even though the place was fairly crowded.

The pork was very tender and nicely prepared - both the ground pork and the char siu. The ground pork was cooked perfectly and well seasoned while being very balanced. The char siu was very homestyle and extremely tender. The fish cakes were thinly sliced, but with nice texture. The greens were cooked without being overly done so they still had a slight bit of crunch. The noodles were toothsome. They were a slightly flatter variety, and cooked absolutely perfectly. The broth was underneath the noodles, and when mixed in nicely coated everything. The vinegar jalapenos served on the side really added to the overall flavour of the dish and created the perfect balance. This was a very nice rendition of kolomee!

For a hole in the wall, the restaurant was pretty clean too. The overall feel was very welcoming and homey, and I'll be curious to see how the menu expands as they move through their early opening period. It definitely shows promise!

OH NO !!! Cartems coming to Main & 6th

The only school I knew of was one that helps train people to help people with issues and challenges. Perhaps there should be a CA group started there? :)

May 28, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Good hk style cafes in the city

It is old school, but sometimes old school hits the spot! Take your niece! :)

May 28, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

OH NO !!! Cartems coming to Main & 6th

LotusRapper, I bet you could find a good counselor to help you work through your Cartems "issues and challenges." :)

May 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Good hk style cafes in the city

With the numerous options for Chinese food all around the Metro Vancouver area, including areas like Richmond with all of the recent immigration, I have to confess that I frequently overlook the old Chinatown area of Vancouver when thinking of places to eat.

Goldstone (139 Keefer Street) is a classic old-school HK Cafe, and I'm disappointed that I hadn't stopped in before.

Granted it feels like going through a bit of a time warp - everything from the faded menus under the glass top of the table to the waitstaff uniforms. But somehow the time warp matches really well with the classic comfort food on offer.

I ordered my classic HK Cafe order of baked pork chop on rice ($8.25), and took the option to add borscht ($2) and a cold milk tea ($1 add-on for the ice - hot is included). Yes, they do the classic HK Cafe thing of charging for ice on the included coffee or tea. I'll never fully understand that other than "classic tradition."

The cold milk tea was first to arrive, and it was a nice strong classic flavour. It wasn't sweet at all (the way I like it), but they had sugar available if you want it. Good start!

Next came the borscht. This was overflowing the veggies and had the classic HK style flavours - slightly sweet and very tomatoey. It came with a complimentary roll that was SOOOO fresh. A bonus of them operating a bakery on-site, and based upon the freshness of the roll I made a mental note to come back for Chinese baked goods in the future.

Then the main course arrived - the pork chop rice. It was huge. Particularly considering it was lunch time and it was the lunch special. The rice was slightly stir-fried with bits of scrambled eggs. I like it normally with a bit more wok hei, but it was good. The pork chops were surprisingly tender. Lots of times in this dish the chops are tough or chewy and sometimes even overcooked. Not here. Nicely cooked, and tender. The sauce was a very classic simple tomato sauce. Overall a very simple but well executed version of this classic comfort dish.

Overall sometimes the classics are just the comforting treat you need! I'll be back!

Asian options on Commercial - blanking

FWIW my two meals at Kin Kao were both underwhelming. More details on the Thai thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9853...

May 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Smoked mackerel in GVRD?? also good seafood market in 'burbs? (Surrey, Burnaby, Langley, etc)?

Alenka European Foods on the corner of Kingsway and Fraser has a selection of whole smoked fish - their mackerel is very good when available. Good idea to call in advance to ask which ones they have available any given day.

As a side note they make their own pieroge too, and those are pretty good too!

May 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Hikari Cafe - Japanese Cafe with large menu

This newish cafe (been open since December at 5701 Granville Street) offers up a wide variety of Japanese and Western food in a bright comfortable atmosphere.

Donburi? Check.
Curry? Check.
Omerice? Check.
Sushi? Check.
Sashimi? Check.
Salads? Check.
Sandwiches? Check.
Coffee? Check.
Waffles? Check.

Wow. There is such a surprisingly large and varied menu for a cafe with only 4 tables!

I ordered the oyakodon ($8.50), which during lunchtime comes with a salad and miso soup as well. The oyakodon was a Kansai style with lots of broth. The chicken was very tender, and the broth was nicely developed. I would have liked to have a few green onions to round out the flavours, but overall it was a comforting dish on a cold day. The salad was simple and fresh, and the miso soup was strong and had lots of tofu pieces and seaweed.

The three Japanese speaking staff were all very professional, and very welcoming. Although it looks like a cafe where you would order at the counter, if you are eating there they have table service.

They have a VERY large menu for such a small place, so I imagine they will likely have to trim that down to stay on top of food costs, etc.

I do wish them well in this location, as I think the spot has promise as they find their footing. I will definitely be back to see how things progress!

Apr 29, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Poutine in Vancouver: can it be done?

Time to revive the search for the best poutine, eh?

One to scratch off the list is the Montreal Steamie food cart.

I spotted this food cart on the corner of Granville and Georgia I hadn't seen before, and couldn't resist trying out a small poutine ($6.50).

The fries were a bit soggy, and VERY oversalted. The gravy was oversalted. The cheesecurds were not squeaky. Overall this salty, soggy, non-squeaky serving was meh.

Where are the best currently?

Apr 29, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any great Thai in Vancouver?

@Dennis - you are too funny.

Lotus, I agree, Thai Basil does a good pad kra pao usually. I've had some consistency issues there - about 4 out of 5 times they are spot on though.

Apr 29, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Balkan products- Vcr & vicinity

Nice find, grayelf! Based on that listing it looks like the grilled meats will be expanding soon!

Apr 29, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Schnitzel Sandwiches / Burgers in Downtown Vancouver?

They use a ciabatta. It has never tasted stale to me - just with the regular ciabatta chew you'd expect.

Apr 29, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Schnitzel Sandwiches / Burgers in Downtown Vancouver?

They do frequently park on Terminal Ave - so likely one in the same. The spots I usually find them are Railtown, Terminal Ave., Renfrew, and occasionally around Quebec or Ontario.

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Any great Thai in Vancouver?

I think there is a good chance they have now re-appeared here. You should pop by and see if it is the same person if you get a chance! :)

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Balkan products- Vcr & vicinity

I was always a huge fan of Bernie's Balkan Kitchen out in Burnaby, so I was saddened when I passed by and found it closed last year. The closure left me high and dry when looking for good Serbian food.

Imagine my joy when I randomly stumbled onto this new restaurant with a similar name in Vancouver. It couldn't be the same, could it?

Well, one thing is definitely not the same - this is a MUCH bigger space and it has an open kitchen so you can watch everything being made from scratch.

They just opened in December, so are still getting things in order. But they already have a lot of the old menu items, including goulash soup, bean soup, and a variety of freshly made bureks (Beef, cheese, or spinach and cheese when I visited).

Apparently the delicious pljeskavica served on housemade rolls will be on the menu again soon - just have to get up and running.

I tried the beef burek "regular" slice ($8), and it was just as good as the Burnaby location. They make the kore (phyllo) in house. Yes, in house, not frozen made in a factory. That is a lot of work - but it entirely pays off. The kore was thin and crunchy and was wrapped in many layers around the nicely seasoned beef. Delicious! The portion size is quite large too, and they do offer a "small" slice which is about half a "regular" portion as well. But I couldn't resist a "regular" since it has been so long!

Welcome back, Bernie! Back here where we need ya! (Bonus points if you know that reference!) :)

Address: 5737 Battison Street, Vancouver

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New on Lower Robson - Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizza

I got wax paper on my latest visit. I have to say I preferred it without wax paper. It made a greasy mess. They should get bigger plates!

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Banh Mi Saigon - new banh mi purveyor on Victoria Drive

Was the bread slightly underbaked - or just the lighting? Looking forward to the evening news......Seems like they now have plates - an upgrade!

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Schnitzel Sandwiches / Burgers in Downtown Vancouver?

I look forward to hearing your review!

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Earnest ice cream - a bit disappointing

Bella is superb. I love their super dark chocolate options. :)

Apr 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Banh Mi Saigon - new banh mi purveyor on Victoria Drive

Are CH decoder rings lap bands?