Florentine's Profile

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Dream burger

Nostalgia, pure and simple.

Vancouver Pizza Culture

Thanks! Not sure if any of this is truly "unique to Vancouver" though, without doing further research on the pizza scenes elsewhere across the country, but it is what it is.

Vancouver Pizza Culture

That cheap dollar-a-slice Granville Street pizza has been a part of the downtown Vancouver landscape since the 90s at least. It doesn't really exist much beyond downtown, with a few rare exceptions around busy transit hubs (ie: Broadway/Commercial), from what I've seen.

I don't associate it with Vancouver pizza culture, but it's certainly a part of the downtown Vancouver nightlife culture. It's always been cheap, greasy pizza that you only eat while drunk after clubbing or as a starving student. You don't eat it because it's supposed to be good pizza, although at 3am it certainly hits the spot in the same way that a steamie in Montreal does at 3am. There's a reason those pizza slice places are busiest at night.

Blue cheese drizzle on ground beef is just one of the flavour combos you'll see. Sesame seeds on the crust is another thing. I was dragged to one of those dollar pizza joints a few weeks ago, and I noticed that one sad slice of pizza had a whole hotdog wiener on it! Comical at the time, but disgusting in retrospect.

Growing up in the Metro Vancouver suburbs in the 80s and 90s, the pizza places we'd order delivery from were often owned by immigrant Greek families, not Italian families. Pizza (with salami, ham, black olives, green pepper, onions, mushrooms) and Greek salad (loaded with feta, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and one or two Kalamata olives) and a sad-looking greasy wedge of garlic toast was the pizza culture of my suburban youth. This was pizza when I was a kid and teen. Mama's Pizza, Caesar's, Bella Pizza (all in Richmond) are examples of these Greek pizza places we'd go to and order from. White Tower Pizza on Robson Street is a Vancouver example of the same type of place. They'd also sell generic baked lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs, served in aluminum take-out containers, always covered in mozzarella that would stick to the paper lid.

There were also the generic chains: Panago, Dominos, Little Caesar's.

Flying Wedge opened up in the early 90s with its "gourmet" pizza (what a concept!) but I always found it too bready. I think locals thought the place too expensive. Martini's Pizza on Broadway had its multigrain pizza crust - popular amongst East Van health nuts. Nat's New York Pizzeria on Denman Street was always voted "Best Pizza" in the locals newspapers.

I suppose Commercial Drive always had its own Italian pizza scene with places like Lombardo's and Marcello's fighting for "best pizza".

Incendio opened in Gastown and was also considered decent, and Steveston Pizza Co opened in Steveston. People would rave about those two places in the past.

Otherwise, Vancouver's pizza scene has never been a scene. Tourists familiar with good pizza would complain about Vancouver's lack thereof.

It really wasn't until Nicli Antica opened in 2010 or 2011 that Neapolitan pizza seemed to take over a real phenomenon in Vancouver, and finally foodies started paying attention to pizza in Vancouver in ways they never had before. Vancouver's pizza scene does revolve around the Neapolitan pizza, places like Pizzeria Farina, Barbarella, Via Tevere, Novo Pizzeria, The Bibo, etc.

Yaletown lunch on a Sunday in March with gluten free options?

Weird. Was there a reason as to why? I thought they were doing well?

Yaletown lunch on a Sunday in March with gluten free options?

I work here and even I'm scratching my head. Bella Gelateria (the new location on the Yaletown Harbour waterfront with Napolitano pizza) has a gluten free pizza as an option, but they can't guarantee cross contamination if GF = celiac, in this case.

Kaide for sushi rarely disappoints, but you've heard me sing that song before. It's really just sushi though. There's also Sakana Bistro, which I like with friends for sharing, but evening only, not for lunch.

I've only been to Good Wolfe once, but I'd look into their menu.

When I'm trying to appease vegans and vegetarians, and I'm with friends before a show, Nuba's Seymour location can sometimes hit the spot... as long as you don't mind the tiny location and ordering at the till. Gluten free options? Hold the pita, and that's most of the menu. I mean, expectations are low here, but food is tasty and fresh. And it's Yaletown. So it somehow makes it more acceptable because where else are you going to go?

Yaletown itself is kind of uninspiring as a dining destination. Homer Street Cafe could be an option...

Help ! Need a St. Honore cake for Sunday/8th

Good to hear Fratelli's worked for you. Another place to consider for next time is Notte's Bon Ton Bakery on W Broadway in Kits.

Every week sushi?

Haha, thanks! It was a rather entertaining evening. ;)

Every week sushi?

It's not loud or boisterous, for one. Looking around at the other diners, there were more than a few families with teenage kids, parents and grandparents. We had an elderly couple with us, and they loved it. It's not dowdy or depressing or anything like that... it's understated elegant and beautiful - the kind of place you go to with your parents for a nice night out, when you want to relish in the company and enjoy conversation. That's all I meant. I'm in my thirties. My parents are in their sixties. My boyfriend's parents are in their seventies. We all enjoyed it, hence = perfect for parental units. They're not going to feel alienated, whether they're Japanese aficionados (like grayelf's mum), or like my boyfriend's mom, completely ignorant on what constitutes Japanese food. Both will enjoy the experience.

Every week sushi?

It's the perfect restaurant for parental units. ;) I forgot about the free kinpira gobo, which was excellent (and one of my favourite foods!). If you end up there, let me know how it goes!

Every week sushi?

Hmm. Good question about the prices. I know they were higher, certainly, but, say... Kishimoto or Kaide higher, not Minami higher... if that makes sense. I would certainly go back. Not weekly, but monthly? Sure.

Edit: This blog post shows some of the prices: http://www.idearabbit.ca/2014/07/09/t...

Every week sushi?

What about Kaide in Yaletown, tucked away in a nondescript condo on Richards by Pacific? That's my go-to every week sushi, usually for lunch (I work nearby). It doesn't look fancy, but the sushi's terrific: http://vancouverkaidesushi.com/

Also, has anyone been to Takumi on W 10th (by Trimble) in West Point Grey? http://www.takumisushi.com/

I ended up there, kind of by accident, a few weeks ago and was floored by how authentically Japanese it was. It was somewhat old school Japanese with its understated elegance (as opposed to the modern/hip vibe you get from other popular Japanese restaurants these days), but it was the only Japanese restaurant I've been to in a long time where not only the waitstaff and the chefs were Japanese, but so were the patrons. Multiple generations of Japanese families were dining the evening I was there. There were other tables - men in jackets, a young couple dressed to the nines at the sushi bar. What kind of alternative universe had I stumbled into? Atmosphere alone was unlike your typical Vancouver Japanese experience. We had some cooked items (we were visiting with unadventurous elderly Winnipegers, excited to see "noodles" on the menu) - ordered some agidashi tofu, eggplant robata, assorted tempura (I normally hate tempura, but this stuff was immaculate), and pork yakisoba, and sadly had to cancel our sushi order because we had to run off to a show at the Chan Centre, but I'd love to come back and properly experience this restaurant. It's best not to be in a rush. Service was fantastic. Food, from what I tasted, was phenomenal.

Fresh truffles to purchase?

All I know is that Urban Fare used to sell them.

Please help me shorten my list!

Which food courts? A lot of them are accessible from the Canada Line stations along No 3 Road, so pretty easy access without a car if you're staying downtown. Unless you're talking about the ones closer to Garden City.

Please help me shorten my list!

I get your desire to try poutine if you've never had it before, but do recognize that it's no more representative of Vancouver's food culture than a New York pastrami sandwich is a a part of the San Francisco food culture.

Poutine, I find, is also a food best eaten in the right context. It's a junk food developed in Quebec, best eaten at a greasy spoon fry shack at 3am when you're drunk and the Montreal nightclubs have poured into the streets. You gobble it up to soak up the booze.

Also, agree that it's a waste of time to send Californians to a diner like Yolk's or the Red Wagon. The lineups are ridiculous for what you can no doubt get better at home. Vancouver doesn't do American diners. You're setting yourself up for disappointment. Prices are higher, portions are smaller, booze is taxed astronomically, there is no free-pour, and the whole diner scene is forced. If you're seeking a good Vancouver brunch that'll give you a taste of Vancouver personality, I'm a huge fan of the Oakwood Bistro in Kits on W 4th. It's a tad more locavore, but I've never had to wait, service has been excellent, and the food has always been delicious and perfectly executed.

Christmas in Victoria...?

Haha! Actually, I embarrassigly missed that. This will teach me to respond to threads on my iPhone. Didn't see the 2010 date at all.

Christmas in Victoria...?

Can you tell us what beer you drank, or what breweries you visited in Victoria & Vancouver? What's your idea of a good microbrewery in Seattle or Portland? As far as Vancouver's concerned, I've noticed there's often a disconnect between the breweries & pubs that tourists are recommended (or what casual beer drinkers recommend) and where the craft beer lovers venture. For example, while in Vancouver did you visit Brassneck? 33 Acres? Bomber? Powell Street Brewing? Alibi Room? Or did you end up at the Molson Coors owned Granville Island Brewery? Or Steamworks or somewhere like the Yaletown Brewing Co? What sort of beers do you enjoy drinking? I'd be happy to point you in a better direction. Heck, this would be a great separate CH thread. :)

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

That looks AMAZING! If I didn't have to serve a pork-a-phobe, that would be in my oven on Christmas. ;) Maybe another special occasion in the future.

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

Thanks waylman! We've decided to go with a fresh turkey. I have a meat thermometer and have made gravy from scratch, and will be sure to rest the turkey. I think I needed some sort of reassurance that you can indeed cook a turkey dinner in a tiny apartment kitchen. ;) The plan right now is to roast the veggies and make the mashed potatoes while the turkey's cooking. I'll make the cranberries a few days before - making your own is a million times tastier than anything out of the can. ;)

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

I'll be making Christmas dinner for 6 (possibly) 8 people this year. The torch has been passed from my parents to my sister and I. Both of us live in small East Van apartments with our partners, and a utilitarian oven with 4 burners and no dining room table. We can make it work and we want to make it work. It will work but wow, where do begin with 8 days to go?

While I love cooking and have roasted numerous chickens, and have occasionally made roast beef, I've never cooked a turkey, a Christmas ham, nor have made any fancy Christmas dinner prime rib. The idea of cooking a turkey doesn't intimidate me, though I question how I'll fit anything else in the oven other than the turkey.

So, I'm throwing the question out there:

What are your Christmas dinner plans?

If you're buying a turkey, where do you like to source it? There are numerous butchers I may seek out - Pete's Meat, Pasture to Plate, Big Lou's, Windsor Meats, etc. Maybe I opt for a frozen President's Choice special at the Commercial Drive SuperValu, or pre-order via Spud's (who donates $10 to the YMCA)! Maybe venture to Granville Island Market? With 8 days before Christmas, I still have time... I think!

While Christmas turkey is my own family's tradition, part of me wants to change it up and go with the traditional English prime rib, an acknowledgement of my Dad's English heritage. With a bit of direction, I'm sure I can do it, but is this something to experiment with on Christmas?

Decisions, decisions. I'm not really looking for answers here, I suppose, but I thought I'd open the discussion to see what my fellow Chowhounders are doing. I need inspiration. :)

new year's eve with well-behaved kids

Funny enough, we celebrated my mother's retirement at Season's in the Park a few weekends ago. My mom's choice - I offered a few suggestions (Fable, Maenam, etc.) and my sister suggested Seasons, thinking Mom would prefer to go there. She was right. Miserable isn't the word I'd use - traditional, perhaps, but not miserable. It certainly is a "special occasion" restaurant in Vancouver, especially for groups with multiple generations. They run a tight ship - service is fast (but never rushed), the food is safe but well executed - I was happy with the pork chop w/mango chutney that I ordered. While I don't think it's what you're looking for, there are worse places to end up at.

Some restaurants that immediately popped into my head that you may want to look into, based on the fact that they'll likely have New Year's menus and the fact that I have seen children eat there, so you know it won't be an issue. They're also close (relatively speaking) to the West End:

Minami (for sushi): http://minamirestaurant.com/
Chambar (Belgian): http://www.chambar.com/
Hawksworth (French-inspired west coast): https://hawksworthrestaurant.com/menu...
Yew (seafood): http://www.yewseafood.com/menus/new_y... -ignore their cringeworthy stock photography

Edit: I see now that Minami is probably not the atmosphere that you're looking for: http://minamirestaurant.com/2014/12/0...

Also, I see that many of these places are having more limited, safe menus for NYE. Something to consider.

Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Thanks greyelf! We were downtown supporting a friend who's band was playing in the sad Grey Cup party on Beatty Street. We wanted brunch and took the Skytrain downtown and noticed it was open, then decided, "What the heck? Let's do brunch at Chambar." Pricy, perhaps, but worth the splurge when there are so many mediocre brunches in this city who are charging not much less. Again, it's Medina Cafe brunch without the lineups. What's not to love?

Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Oh, one more place to put on your radar for Chinese, is Peaceful - the location at E 5th and Quebec (a short walk north of the Main Street/Science World Skytrain station): http://www.peacefulrestaurant.com/

Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Big fan of Dinesty. You can also hop on the Canada Line (our southbound rapid transit line) south to Richmond, which is a 15-20 minute ride from downtown. Literally hundreds of Chinese restaurants there, many of them good, quite a few excellent. Some argue that Richmond has the best Chinese food on the continent.

If you fancy heading to Richmond, that's another topic entirely... but these posts might point you in the right direction. I know that quite a few Seattle food writers have come up here to write about it:




Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Do you ever explore outside of downtown when you're in Vancouver? You say you're in a rut. You say you're staying downtown. I used to be in a Seattle rut whenever I visited your city, and then I discovered the neighbourhoods outside of downtown Seattle, like Ballard, and couldn't comprehend why I had never been there sooner. Now whenever I go to Seattle, I rarely limit myself to downtown, and I find I spend my time outside in the other areas. I wonder, are you the same with Vancouver? Do you only retrace your steps here? Maybe it's time to head outside of downtown. As many restaurants as there are downtown, it's still just one tiny part of the city. Neighbourhoods like Kits, South Granville, Commercial Drive, and Main Street (Mount Pleasant + Riley Park) are easy to access from downtown, either by public transit or a short (10 minute or less) cab ride.

I'm a big fan of the Oakwood Bistro for brunch in Kits. The in-house smoked brisket on brioche was insane. Other restaurants to consider for Kits: Maenam (Thai), Fable (Farm to Table), Bishop's (a tad more formal and less trendy, but the original 100 mile diet - Chef John Bishop is a gem).

Had brunch at Chambar the other week too, which is the same menu (practically) as Medina Cafe, but without the waits. Chambar recently opened in a new location, a few steps down from their old location. I always used to go there for dinner/cocktails, but never for brunch. I'm now a fan of their brunch and would go there again in a heartbeat. Medina's great for pastries and coffees, too. Thierry, Sweet Victory, and Faubourg are good choices nearby. Gastown is also a hotbed of pastry and coffee goodness with places like Nelson the Seagull. Nearby Granville Island in Kits is Beaucoup Bakery. Good luck getting a seat in their tiny cafe, but the French pastries are worth travelling out of your way for.

For South Granville, you've likely heard of Vij's (modern Indian) and West, but the latest foodie destination there is Farmer's Apprentice. A small seasonal French-inspired Asian fusion. Reminded me a little like Seattle's Walrus & Carpenter, without the oysters. I highly enjoyed my meal there at their communal table. Two of us managed to get in, without reservations, on a rainy Thursday evening back in October.

Main Street is a great area if you haven't explored - may be a tad hipster for your liking, but is known for its craft breweries, local shops, cafes, and restaurants sprawling along Main from E 5th for 20 blocks south. Some great restaurants, too. Some restaurants to consider are The Acorn (vegetarian done right), Burdock & Co (organic/seasonal), and Chicha (modern Peruvian).

Commercial Drive (Vancouver's artsy bohemian area) has Absinthe Bistro, Merchant's Oyster Bar, and Kessel & March, as well as excellent Japanese (Kishimoto) and many casual bars. Most of these places are small, neighbourhood restaurants, but it'll give you a different atmosphere than downtown, more akin to Seattle's Capitol Hill area.

Absinthe Bistro on Commercial Drive may very well be to your liking for a French bistro. And in that area, Carthage Cafe (a tiny, adorable, white tablecloth French/Tunisian cafe) is known for their moules frites and steak frites. If you're in the mood for a Belgian Beer, BierCraft does surprisingly good moules frites, but it's a much more casual environment.

There's nowhere downtown that does remarkable Indian food. Salam Bombay downtown is highly rated based on online reviews, for what it's worth. Honestly, I wouldn't even bother, or keep your expectations extremely low.

If you like Jules Bistro, you'd likely love Les Faux Bourgeois - Stephane, who founded Jules in Gastown, opened Les Faux Bourgeois a few years later in East Van. The Bistro Wagon Rouge may also appeal.

All of these places are a short distance from downtown - places you can either hop on the Skytrain to access or a short bus ride away. If there are a few of you, I'd just grab a cab.

New Yorker looking for quintessential Vancouver cheap eats

Agreed. It's been ages since I was last in NYC, but I'm pretty sure cheap eats in NYC and cheap eats in Vancouver are different experiences. Vancouver doesn't do cheap diner food the way you find it in the USA. Sending an American to a Vancouver diner is often a recipe for disappointment - portions are smaller and prices are higher. I'd even argue sending an American to a Vancouver Mexican restaurant is another potentially disappointing experience.

What thrives as a cheap eat in Vancouver? Cheap authentic Cantonese, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Chinese. Sushi and izakaya. Last year I was entertaining a visiting travel writer from Boston. His mind was blown at how cheap the sushi was. Likewise, wherever I am in the USA, I'm always taken aback at how expensive it is. What else? Fresh wild Pacific salmon, possibly. I'm surprised nobody wrote about the numerous cheap, authentic food courts in Richmond or Crystal Mall in Burnaby.

New Yorker looking for quintessential Vancouver cheap eats

Sushi is a cheap eat in Vancouver, especially at places like Kaide, which is excellent.

Fresh Yuzu

If you're still left struggling, some of the local craft cocktail gurus in the city might be able to point you in the right direction. I'm thinking of Lauren Mote in particular: http://nuvomagazine.com/palate/yuzu-b...

Good Bread in Van

Today I popped into Fratelli's Bakery on Commercial (a request by my OH for their multigrain loaf - he loves it as a toast)... but they were out! Ended up strolling up to the weirdly-named Strawberry Bakery tucked in between the SuperValu and Lombardo's in the Il Mercato shopping centre on 1st. Turns out they bake a few different kinds of European style bread - you know, simple, old fashioned loaves of hearty peasant bread, none of the fancy, experimental gourmet breads. I ended up purchasing a delicious loaf of rye, and I'm looking forward to going back and buying more:


Salmon Shop @ GIM Closed Today

This whole thread cracks me up!

Forgive me, but is the Salmon Shop the place across from Oyama, or the shop at the south-east corner of the market?

Take Out/Delivery Pizza

Indeed. We live on Commercial Drive, not too far from Strathcona, and order from Martini's regularly. I have no doubt they'd deliver to Strathcona.