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Big news on Scout - Toptable Group has been sold to the Aquilinis

Mar 18, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Temper Chocolate & Pastry

Finally made it out to West Vancouver's newest jewel - Temper Chocolate & Pastry today. Though the location is probably out of the way for most, it's definitely been added to my list of worth-the-trip destinations (plus it's on the same block as Dundarave Fish Market and Sebastiani & Co butcher - not a bad combo).

The interior is all white marble and glass with mid-century touches of wood, chrome and robin egg blue.

Here's what I tried
- a latte, Stumptown beans, topped with a branded disc of chocolate
- several chocolates - all pretty tasty. The Vanilla Bourbon was filled with vanilla beans
- the Charlie Bite, croissant bits baked with cinnamon sugar - yum!
- a Montreal smoked meat sandwich and a corned beef sandwich - both tasty (they have a menu of about 5 different savoury sandwiches)
- an orange madeleine, sliced and sandwiched with whipped cream - delicious
- a coconut croissant
- the black forest cake cause I needed something rich after all that - similar to the Thomas Haas execution.

Overall, I was really impressed. If this were closer to home, I would probably end up there way too much.

Feb 06, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Special occasion dinners

That's excellent. You will not find a meal like it in Vancouver at any price.

Jan 29, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Special occasion dinners

You got me. It feels like it's right over the border but in fact it's about 20 min south of it and then there's a crossing you have to take to actually get to onto the island, so Google Maps is not lying.

Jan 29, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Special occasion dinners

Vancouver is apparently too 'laid back' to support a lot of true fine dining but for very good but kinda pricey meals, I would say The Pear Tree, Cioppino's, Blue Water, and Le Crocodile all fit the bill. Also, the room is in severe need of an update but Diva at the Met is serving really tasty food these days.

If you want a *really* special occasion, blow the doors down meal, drive 45 minutes south to Lummi Island and hit the Willows Inn. It's unbelievable.

Jan 29, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)
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Kerry Gold butter? Best Cdn brand butter avail in BC?

UPDATE! 84% fat Stirling butters from Ontario are now available at Lower Mainland Whole Foods (spotted at least at Cambie, West Van and Robson). Unfortunately, it is $5.99/0.5 lb.

I will be testing it out with a laminated dough this weekend...

Jan 29, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New in the West End - Greenhorn

The newest addition to the West End is a coffee shop/cafe called Greenhorn. It features an impressive array of hipster accoutrement including fresh cut flowers and vintage bicycles - who knew the West End was cool? - a limited but tasty looking menu of hot plates and pastries and some solid coffee. So far, I've only tried a latte and a snack but I will report more as I delve further.

Jan 15, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Black Forest Cake?

That's funny. I also tried the Beta 5 BF Cream Puff and found it disappointing. I couldn't understand why it had this super sweet frosting on top - tasted a bit like a candied cherry chocolate from a box of Pot of Golds - not the sour cherry deliciousness I was expecting. The other flavours I tried were very good.

Jan 02, 2014
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Black Forest Cake?

I guess I'll have to take that one for the team.

Dec 05, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)
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Black Forest Cake?

Good to know. How is it? Do they use the right cherries?

Dec 05, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Black Forest Cake?

BFC is hands down my family's favourite, so I'm always on the hunt for the perfect one (though I make a pretty mean one myself). THaas' is very good but obviously not the super traditional version you might be craving.

Thierry also makes BFC - not by the slice but available in the 1-2 serving size that is the equivalent of a slice. It's very good. A bit on the sweet side but impressive to look at.

Cadeaux makes something that's not technically a BFC but hits the spot in a pinch - and it is sometimes available by the slice in the shop. It's got chocolate cake and sour cherries and pistachio cream between the layers.

The two that are on my list but I haven't tried yet are:

- Chiffon (W. Broadway)
- Ganache's Forest Noire (Yaletown)

Dec 05, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Who serves good soba?

I know that 100% buckwheat soba is readily available at Asian markets and even Whole Foods, but most soba dishes you'll find in restaurants are going to use the buckwheat-wheat hybrid noodles that are more common and have better structural integrity.

However, there is a newer place in North Van that makes fresh soba. I haven't been yet but it's supposed to be good. http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2013/07...

Nov 26, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)
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Best chocolate cake in Vancouver?

Hi. I highly recommend the Black and Tan Cake from Black Rook Bakehouse on Hastings.

It's not a straight ahead chocolate cake but it's AMAZING. It's a chocolate stout cake, layered with whiskey buttercream (where you can actually taste the booze) and chocolate ganache. I would get this for any man who wants a special occasion chocolate cake.

Oct 23, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Eater Vancouver launches

Hey. I don't know who else reads it but the popular food blog Eater has launched a Vancouver pod. http://vancouver.eater.com/

Including an iteration of its 38 essential restaurants list. http://vancouver.eater.com/archives/2...

Let the endless debate begin!

Oct 03, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Great takeaway dinner for two near robson & denman?

So much delicious at that corner - including Nook (decent pizza and pastas), Banana Leaf, Sushi Mart, tacos from the Casita, as well as numerous izakaya and Korean spots.

Sep 27, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

What Happened To Rob Feenie?

Dale MacKay struck out on his own a few years back with Ensemble (in the old Piccolo Mondo > Saveur > Corner Suite location, now the Purple Olive), then Ensembletap (around the corner from the ScotiaBank Theatre). I suspect that the two locations over-extended his funding because they closed pretty quickly. That Thurlow location has been a challenge for people!

Last I heard, MacKay was heading back to Saskatoon.

Sep 09, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Peking Duck With Buns in Vancouver

I'm not a food historian and I've never been to Beijing but when my aunt visited my family from Beijing and taught us how to make the crepes because Peking Duck is a Snuggles family favourite. I believe that the crepes are the more traditional style. I've only really ever seen the buns in the US.

I love the pancakes!

Aug 14, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Anniversary trip help

Congratulations!

For dinner, I would check out L'Abbatoir.

One place that I think is really under the radar in the city but pretty solid is Kitsilano Daily Kitchen. Burdock and Co is new and worth a look as well.

Bishop's and Le Crocodile are excellent but also totally classic so probably won't be what you are looking for.

Everyone love Meat and Bread. If you're looking for porchetta sandwiches specifically, the one at Big Lou's is pretty great.

Honestly, the Greek situation in Vancouver is pretty drab. I look at the lineup at Stepho's every day and sigh. As was previously mentioned, Nu is a good option but I've never had a really impressive Greek meal in this city.

Thierry is downtown, their desserts are delicious and they are smartly open late so it's perfect for an after dinner stroll since you are staying downtown. If you're into doughnuts, try Cartems (their new shop on Pender should be open by the time you get here).

There is also really, really tasty goods to be had at Beta 5, which is more out of the way but easy from downtown if you have a car with you (it's in an industrial area).

Aug 09, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Los Cuervos Taqueria opening soon

Oh my god - yes! With some chipotle crema.... want.

Aug 01, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Los Cuervos Taqueria opening soon

I also went to check it out last night. We tried many of the long list of available tacos - the housemade chorizo was outstanding and I really like the prawn. I've always wondered why more taquerias don't do a prawn here. Can you really go wrong with fried seafood and guac?

A couple of notes: we tried the tuna - it was cooked well done. I guess when I think tuna, I assume it's going to be just seared. Otherwise, why not just use a fish that does not dry out so much when it's totally cooked through? Also, the tacos are all served on 6" tortillas which felt like a lot of wrapper. This is not to say that they were shy on ingredient - especially not for the price point of $3.5-4/big taco - but the wide diameter made them feel a little like little burritos.

Jul 31, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Sushi Bella on Davie in Vancouver

Unfortunately, Sushi Bella is not as good as it should be. I think their specialty rolls and sushi pizza are decent but the sashimi, the ruler by which any sushi place should be judged, is sooo poorly cut. It's not as good as Miko, Juno or Minami.

Jul 15, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Meals near Vancouver General Hospital

Lots of options in the area for sure.

Dynasty Seafood is almost next to your hotel - it's great dim sum option, super convenient. There's also a location of the local Malaysian chain Banana Leaf another half block up Broadway.

About 6 block further west but worth it is Suika, an izakaya.

There's the Taqueria on Cambie, just up from Broadway. Solly's Bagels (7th & Yukon) is good for a quick breakfast.

Jul 12, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Shishito peppers

I think the biggest difference between them is that padrons are a spicy pepper. Though they are usually harvested before they mature, every batch of padrons I've ever had has had at least one super spicy one sneak in. Shishitos are always mild.

Jul 10, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Cuchillo - now open on Powell St.

So many openings in Vancouver this year already, I have been feeling really behind. Found out that Cuchillo, Stuart Irving's (ex-Cobre) new restaurant, quietly opened over the long weekend. Like Cobre, the menu is decidedly pan-Latin but I would say that it's a little less heavy overall. Every dish we tried was designed to be shared, including the section of the menu that you would think of as mains. Everything was served in sets of 3 or 4.

I don't have photos this time but we tried the traditional ceviche which was excellent; Baja-style fish tacos which could have used a touch more seasoning; pulled duck tacos with duck crackling (yum); a tomato-buffalo mozzarella salad which was a little out of place on the menu but ok; the chipotle glazed pork belly; the hearts of palm with kale; and of course the chipotle fry bread.

The food was tasty (sorry I don't have pics). My only overall note would be that none of the dishes had much a kick, even the duck tacos which were meant to have habanero jam were not discernably spicy.

The room is pretty big and was nicely done. Cocktails were tasty. A good addition to the Gastown/DES scene.

Jul 08, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

The Cronut has landed - Vancouver, meet the Frissant

Yeah. Swiss Bakery's board stated they were only making 200 per day. At $4 a pop, it must be working for them.

Jun 18, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

The Cronut has landed - Vancouver, meet the Frissant

A take on Dominique Ansel's evil genius donut-croissant hybrid has arrived in Vancouver: the Frissant by the Swiss Bakery on 3rd and Main. I dutifully headed there this morning and took the caloric hit for the team.

They had both vanilla and chocolate versions and I bought and tried both (and picked some up for the office). They are as over-the-top as you expect them to be - it is deep-fried croissant dough with pastry cream and sugar after all. My only quibble was that there were huge inconsistencies in the amount of pastry cream filling; some had just a dabble and others were oozingly full.

While I'm sure M. Ansel's originals have a more finesse (and probably more consistent execution), the Swiss Bakery's Frissants were very tasty - and easier than taking the red eye to New York and standing in line for 3 hours.

Jun 18, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Buckstop BBQ on Denman - now open

oops. left out the bbq.

Jun 04, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Buckstop BBQ on Denman - now open

Well, Buckstop has now been open for a week and I've had the chance to try most of their menu now.

First the drinks list. As you would expect, they have a number of bourbon and rye-based cocktails. We tried a number and enjoyed them. We also got a jug of white sangria which had watermelon, cucumber and mint. My favourite drink of the night was a peach sweet tea with apricot pieces and jalapeno-infused tequila.

The food menu is divided into 'Dinner' and 'Barbecue'. Off the small plates, we tried the barbecued buttermilk calamari. It is battered and deep fried and slathered in housemade bbq sauce and mango. It was tasty but a little heavy handed, batter wise. We also tried the brisket-wrapped scallops and microgreens. These were tasty and the ginger dressing that it was served with was delicious. Third, we tried the pickling glazed pork belly, served with a Waldorf salad. Flavour was decent on this dish. Be warned it's served in a slab form. Other things I would have liked to try but didn't were the grilled cheese sandwich, buttermilk fried game hen and the prawn tostada. Prices for the "Dinner" menu were between 7 and 15/item. One notable menu issue was the lack of vegetable content beyond the salads served on the side of apps. I would have expected a collard green-like side, but it wasn't there.

On to the goods. All the barbecue menu items are served with navy beans (very good), celeriac slaw (also good) and fries (tasty but not especially crispy). There were three different housemade barbecue sauces you could order on the side. The menu includes a pulled pork sandwich, Kansas City beef brisket, St. Louis cut maple smoked pork ribs, Texas-style beef back ribs and platters. We ordered a platter which included all of the above and the hush puppies, cornbread and honey butter.

The pulled pork was enjoyed by all. It came on the platter pre-sauced and had good tecture and flavour. The brisket was tasty but extremely lean with almost no fat cap or marbling throughout so it was on the dry side. The beef ribs were one of my favourites of the evening. I love a beef rib and because they were back ribs, they weren't overwhelmingly fatty. Good smoked and nice char crust exterior. The pork ribs were very good with a touch of soy in the baste. A couple of them were totally dried out which I don't think should have been served.

The hush puppies and cornbread both need work. They both lacked flavour and, unlike almost everything else on the menu, there wasn't a special touch that made them a little less boring. One of my companions who grew up on her grandmother's cornbread spotted the number one problem right away - no cast iron crust. That was disappointing.

Overall, the Buckstop is a much need addition to the West End. There are a few kinks that I've noted but nothing that I wouldn't expect in a first week of operations and, most importantly, the barbecue core was pretty good - much more promising than what we currently have to offer in Vancouver.

Jun 04, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)
1

In search of ramps

Thanks for the tip!

May 23, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Buckstop BBQ on Denman - now open

I have been passing by in the morning for weeks and apparently, a new barbecue joint has opened on Denman St. (where the Main Dining Room used to be). Will report as soon as I'm had a chance to go, gorge, lick m fingers clean and nap.

May 22, 2013
NoMoreSnuggles in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)
1