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New on the Drive: Wishes + Luck

Dropped into a new spot on Commercial Drive at 6th, next to Jamjar for an impromptu dinner after failing to get a table at 3 other spots. Wishes + Luck's big draw for us was the elevated wooden slat patio but the food was pretty well executed. The menu is super westcoast - we had house-smoked salmon, house-cured ham, salmon belly toasts with nori, squash salad and beef tartare - all very decent. The cocktails were promising but could use a little more finesse.

All in all, it's nice to see another viable option on the Drive - every neighbourhood in this city should have decent restaurants and bars.

Didn't have a chance to take photos.

Restaurants near Delta Burnaby hotel

Well, the restaurant in your hotel is actually pretty good, as is the Grand Dynasty Seafood place literally around the corner from the hotel. The neighbourhood is definitely for car folks; it's especially not friendly for walkers.

I would venture up to Hastings. That area of East Hastings has a number of tasty options including Kazu Sushi, Chez Meme, Cioffi's, Chad Thai, and Glenburn and Chez Christophe for treats. There's the Pear Tree for a splurge. I would go solo to any of them.

I Guess It Was Inevitable-Artisan Perogies

I know some of this is mockery but I have totally been wondering why this hasn't happened with a number of Chinese comfort foods - especially congee, dumplings and barbecue. Honestly, ramen has its limits.

I Guess It Was Inevitable-Artisan Perogies

I wouldn't use the word artisan because ew, but I am a big fan of the frozen pierogies from Piast on Cambie St. When I am too lazy to make my own, they are my go to.

Where to buy pre- marinated meats for Korean barbeque

Not sure about the grill but HMart downtown might be worth a look.

New on Lower Robson - Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizza

I think theirs were more in the $3-4 per slice range depending on toppings. Don't Argue's by the slice is a favourite of mine but this is closer to home for me.

New on Lower Robson - Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizza

Had the chance to check out the just-opened pizzeria Straight Outta Brooklyn (350 Robson St.) this weekend. As the name suggests, the pizza is New York-style (crisp/dry bottoms and a lot of focus on delicious salamis). It's pretty darn tasty and they have *slices* available, which is as good an excuse to go to the library as any. I didn't know til we were paying but there seems to be an ownership relationship with Via Tevere (I'm not a detective but credit card slip said Via Tevere)

St. Paul's area

Not a great everyday option because of price point but maybe a spot for a treat and open all day is the C Prime in the Century Plaza hotel. I haven't been yet (it just opened) but I have faith in the Chef Miotto who owned an amazing restaurant here a decade ago.

I would also suggest Shizen-Ya on Hornby and Maumi on Bute for sushi over Kadoya. Next to Maumi is Exile which will def have gf options.

And Gurkha Himalayan on Davie (upstairs in an old house, next to the Shoppers Drug Mart).

Nutty cake, not too sweet?

For sure chinese bakeries are a possibility. I have also found Ganache Patisserie's cakes to be on the less sweet side in general, compared to a Thierry. And they have many praliney options

Three Nights in Vancouver

If you are staying in the West End, I would consider Le Crocodile for your anniversary night.

New Taco joint in Gastown - Tacomio

It looks like Tacomio had a soft opening this weekend. Haven't gone yet but the menu has chicharrones so it'll happen soon.

La Taqueria NĂºmero Tres (North Vanc) Opened Yesterday ?

Yes it's open. Go lunch from there today and the menu is the same. It's nice to have one plausible taco option on the North Shore.

They said it would be a couple of months before the tortilleria part is up and running - boo! (Sorry, no pics.)

Bao Down Coming to Old Lily Mae spot.

Clearly, someone out there likes me... and wants me to weigh 1200 pounds.

Who makes the best sausages in Vancouver?

I haven't had one from Original D's or Big Lou's that I didn't love. As for best? There's just too many out there to pin me down! Don't ask me to pick a favourite wine, sausage or cheese.

Soft Peaks - organic soft serve in Gastown

Hi ho. Decided to pop into the soft opening of Soft Peaks last night. The concept is organic soft serve (plain) available with a few toppings. I tried the very appealing North Pole Breakfast which was topped with cornflakes and a drizzle of honey. They also had one with chocolate sauce and Tim Tam bits, another with pink salt and chocolate caramel, a multigrain powder and honey and others.

The ice cream itself had really lovely thick, smooth texture and a pure milk flavour that was not sweet. And there isn't anyone else in town doing an upscale soft serve so that's a plus. I have to admit to occasionally craving a DQ and hating myself the minute it's weirdly petroleum finish sinks in so I am glad it's there.

That said, I found their pricing a bit aggressive. A small plain cup is $4; my large cup with a sprinkle of cornflakes and honey (pictured) was I think $6. For cornflakes and about 2 teaspoons of honey. There's a $0.50 up charge for what looks like a totally run of the mill wafer cone. I also spotted bottled chocolate sauce so I don't think they do anything but the ice cream in house. Price wise, that puts them in the same arena as Bella whose product generally has a lot more going on than milk and sugar.

The Dine Out dilemma...

I've done Dine Out at Pidgin and had a really great time. Not Wildebeest's biggest fan so I'm not the person to ask.

I wish there was a place as great as Altura here!

Robson is a bit of dining dead end if you are not looking for ramen, izakaya or korean but Left Bank at the very top (Denman) is decent.

Unfortunately, Farmer's Apprentice, is closed until Jan 26. Fable is doing their own version of Dine Out with a $30-something dollar prix fixe.

Vancouver's underground supper clubs

I don't have a ton of experience but I have gone to a few of the more popular ones. I would say that Bird's Nest is a favourite because it's so adorable and the food is tasty. Swallow Tail has never really impressed me. Farm 2 Fork seems to be one of the most food-forward and I believe they are doing more open seatings as a pop-up of sorts this season. Can't remember where I saw that.

Every week sushi?

Maumi is definitely legit - very small husband and wife operation importing fish fresh from Japan a few times a week. Their hours are a little hard to nail down. I will check next time I'm there to see if it's settled down.

Miko is totally solid and a personal downtown favourite for sure but our bills there have really crept up over the years, not that it was ever a cheap sushi joint. $80 would work for two non-gluttons... I would imagine.

For really good value, I would nominate Shizen-Ya (downtown and in fairview) and Tsuki on Abbott St.

Cheese fondue in Vancouver

This might not be the alpine evening your friend is hoping for but Les Amis du Fromage will lend you a fondue set for a day if you buy cheese from them. I find most fondue I've had in town to be lacking in quality cheese...

Christmas dinner - Turkey? Prime rib? Ham? And where to source it?

I took over holiday dinners when I was pretty young and have made them in all sorts of random living situations. Whatever you choose to do, it's all about having a gameplan. Some 30 thanksgiving/christmas/etc. dinners later and I still sit down and write out a plan starting with when people are meant to sit down and worked my timeline back from that, including sometimes a little diagram of what would be in the oven and how many burners I would have to have going at once and what time I would need to start heating the oven, etc. Might be a good place to start.

And both prime rib and turkey benefit from a nice rest period, which does free up your oven at the very end for re-heats.

Scissor Buns

It's not quite a Safeway scissor bun but Terra Breads does do the epis which are tear-apart buns in a laurel leaf shape.

Kerry Gold butter? Best Cdn brand butter avail in BC?

They carry the unsalted Sterling high fat butter at WF on Cambie and in West Van but it's painfully expensive ($5.99/half pound).

Good Bread in Van

I don't mind the pain de campagne from Terra or some of the 'mixins' breads they make, but I would say that the overall quality of the 'regular' breads from Terra Breads are totally lacking. The flavour is super flat and they all seem to have dry, hard (as opposed to crispy) crusts. The baguette in particular seems like a fail - there's something really insubstantial about it.

Good Bread in Van

Bread is definitely not a Vancouver special-ty. Even the best places here pale in comparison to bread I've had pretty much everywhere else.

+1 for the baguettes at Faubourg.

I also don't mind Beyond Bread.

Now for updates! The owner of Rise Artisan Bread's storefront on Fraser St., Batard, is apparently very close to opening. I'm very excited about this addition to what is becoming a really food-centric neighbourhood.

The new bakery on Homer, Small Victory, did a soft run last week and will be open open Dec. 1. I haven't tried them out yet but will do soon and report back.

One place I actually have been to recently is Romania Country Bread in Steveston, though I'm embarassed to say it was really very recently. They make one style of bread and it's $10 but it's the real deal.

The situation is admittedly a little sad. I mostly make bread at home.

Potholes in the Vancouver Dining Scene and a Thumbs Up to the Folks of La Buca/Pied de Terre

Yes, London is also about 10 times the size geographically.

The one pastry

Yes, and I love Timbertrain coffee! Finally made it back to Chez Christophe this weekend. Tried the gianduja cerise cake (layers of hazelnut, chocolate and cherry). It was very good. Also got a chocolate eclair which was better than Beaucoup's - might be my fave eclair in YVR. Macarons were nicely flavoured but could have used some textural refinement. Overall, very impressed.

If we are adding savoury to the list, I would put forward the *almost* too rich little quiche from Temper. The pastry is amazing!

Canlis Vs Altura

I've had amazing night at both but the experiences as people have said are really different.

The service at Canlis is as close to perfection as humanly possible but I would definitely not call it stuffy. It is formal by West Coast standards but not in an oppressive way - it's in a way that makes it feel like dining there is a special thing. The room is one of the most beautiful and romantic dining rooms in the country, so +1 to the suggestion of cocktails and apps if you decide on Altura - especially on a starry night. Plus the food is excellent and their wine program incredible.

Altura has a much more casual room but the food is delicious. The kitchen is open which is fun to watch and I would say it's a better choice for adventurous eaters. You really can't make a wrong decision here.

The one pastry

Those are really good too. I would like to sample more of the stuff from Chez Christophe but I never make it out there. Any other recos?

The one pastry

Nah, I wouldn't call not having tried the Black & Tan Cake "a problem" per se ;)

and if it is, at least it's the kind that can be solved with cake.

Potholes in the Vancouver Dining Scene and a Thumbs Up to the Folks of La Buca/Pied de Terre

For the size of city Vancouver is, I think the variety, overall quality and rate of openings here - especially lately - is impressive. I've actually been feeling like I can't keep up with all the new places to try living here full time. Obviously, this city has neither the population base nor do residents here (in general) have the available income of a New York or San Francisco, but from the last year or 2:

Farmer's Apprentice, Pidgin, Cinara, Ask for Luigi, My Shanti, Boulevard, The Fish Counter, Gyoza Bar, Blacktail Florist, The Fat Badger, Mamie Taylor's, Crackle Creme, Dunlevy Snack Bar, Cuchillo, Chicha, Bistro Wagon Rouge, Kessel & March, Basho, Exile, Buck Stop, Forage, Bufala, L'Offucio, Nicli Next Door, Prontino, Bella Yaletown, Fabrika, Curano, Graze, Pazzo Chow, Good Wolfe, Tuc, El Camino, The Abbey, La Mezcaleria, Absinthe, Shirakawa, Belgard, Yolks, Burdock and Co, Feast, Longtail Kitchen, Bambuddha, Bestie, Left Bank, Jamjar, Gringo, Charlie's, Don't Argue and I swear about 5 Flying Pigs.

That's just the stuff I remember hearing about somewhere in advance and not including food trucks, microbreweries, coffee shops and juice bars that seem to keep appearing out of thin air. Other places, like Mr. Red whose owners probably don't employ a publicist, are the kind of thing you learn about from a board like this. For that, I'm grateful.