Florentine's Profile

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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.

Commercial Drive highlights: where to eat?

For me, Commercial Drive's not just about the restaurants and cafes, it's equally about the craft/Belgian beer options, the vibrant bar scene by evening (often with live music/entertainment), and the grocery shopping options... all interwoven with the restaurants and the cafes. When you factor those other elements, that's what makes Commercial Drive a vibrant place.

You've pretty much covered my favourites.

Maybe add Bandida's over at 12th and Commercial for a healthy dose of vegetarian Mexican cuisine. For the carnivore, the tacos at Mezcaleria (owned by the folks at La Taqueria) are sublime, if you can get a seat. I've also been meaning to check out Carthage Cafe, the Tunisian/French bistro across from Falconetti's - but the last time I strolled by, they were closed for renovations.

For the beer connoisseur, there's something wonderful about grabbing a pint of a local saison, porter, or IPA, or a dangerously strong Belgian trappiste, and sitting on the patio at the Tangent Cafe in the mid autumn sun... or up against the stage when the jazz bands play late on Thursday evening. At times I forget I'm in Vancouver there.

For pure selection of craft beer, St Augustine's is my favourite "love to hate" local haunt - I hate the sports bar ambiance, and the food is nothing to write home about, but when I'm in the mood for some seasonal craft beer, the fact that they change their menus daily and that they have 60 beer on tap rarely disappoints. Plus, the people watching is unparalleled.

Likewise, when you feel like imbibing on proper Belgian ales, BierCraft is good and the ambiance is cozy in the cooler months. And recently in the old Avanti's Pub location is Stateside Craft (owned by the same folk at Portland Craft), where they've got a decent selection of 40 odd American craft beer with a $5 happy hour special on some of them... making it a dangerous place for a craft beer lover to live nearby, ahem.

None of these places I'd be bragging about for their food, mind you, but having these places interspersed with everything else is one less reason for you to be puzzling over Commercial Drive.

Best restaurant on this list? Need your vote!

The best cocktail joint in the city is right next door - The Keefer Bar: http://thekeeferbar.com/

Others to consider:

The Diamond: http://www.di6mond.com/
L'Abattoir: http://www.labattoir.ca/
Pourhouse: http://www.pourhousevancouver.com/
Revel Room: http://www.revelroom.ca/
Hawksworth: http://www.hawksworthrestaurant.com/bar/
The Refinery: http://www.therefineryvancouver.com/
The Union: http://www.theunionvancouver.ca/

Vancouver Ramen or Sushi and a splurge

I know you've already came and left, but for the benefit of others, I went to Farmer's Apprentice for the first time last week on Thursday. Happened to be attending an art show next door. Not wanting to cook that evening, and having always wanted to try Farmer's Apprentice, we decided we'd take a chance that very moment. We walked in I'm guessing between 7 and 8pm and managed to get a table immediately at their bar (our choice to sit there). There was another table for two outside on the patio, too, but we preferred the cozy, social atmosphere inside. So it's possible to go in unannounced without a reservation... at least on a Thursday evening!

Looking for the name of a long-closed restaurant in Vancouver

The first McDonald's to open in Vancouver (in Richmond, on No 3 Road, south of Westminster Highway - it's still there!), was actually the first McDonald's to open in all of Canada. Why I know this, I don't know, other than this was the McDonald's of my childhood, and this piece of trivia has always stuck in my mind: http://www.richmond.ca/cityhall/archi...

Kid Friendly Brunch?

I know the Oakwood would be okay. I've been there for brunch and it was crawling with kids. Yolk's, I imagine, would also be kid-friendly. Another person visiting from San Francisco brought their 4 year old to Farmer's Apprentice for dinner without any fuss, so it sounds like it can be done. Unsure about the new Chambar location, and haven't been to Ask for Luigi yet.

New to Grandview area (Victoria/Venables) - recommendations within walking distance please!

Norman's Fruit & Salad is still going strong... there's also Triple A Market a few stores south which a friend of mine describes as "the thrift shop of grocery stores". Though some of the stock looks like it's been sitting around for a while, it's always worth poking your head in as you'll never know what you're going to find, and when they bring in the fresh local produce, it's excellent and cheap.

Longtail vs maenam

It depends. Are you looking for a gourmet food court experience or refined fine dining with table service?

Coincidentally, I dined at Longtail on Sunday - my first time back to New Westminster in 4 years. I didn't even know of Longtail beforehand, but the boyfriend eyed it, and we decided to give it a go. We sat on the patio and had some delicious beef green curry (me) and their beef/rice special (him). I was expecting Bob Likes Thai Food or Urban Thai Bistro quality food, but it was certainly a few steps above, with some authentic ingredients (pickled galangal, pea eggplant, etc.) and beautiful presentation. It's definitely the best casual Thai food I've had in the Lower Mainland, complete with Thai condiments on the table - roast chili flakes, crushed peanuts, chili oil, etc., so you can make it as spicy as you want. It's the kind of place where you order at the counter, they bring it to your table, and you're expected to bus your own table after your meal. The kind of place where you pour your own water into paper cups. The kind of place where, once you get your food, nobody's going to check on you again. It really does feel like you're going to be served fast food Thai, but the food exceeds your expectations - it looks beautiful and tastes beautiful. I'd dine there again if I was in New Westminster, but I don't think we'd take the Skytrain from East Van out to New West just to dine there. This isn't knocking Longtail - the food is delicious, but it's a really casual dining experience, I don't think of it as a destination dining experience.

Maenam is more of a refined dining experience - elevated ingredients, well balanced/sophisticated cocktails, proper table service, a contemporary/hip dining room. I remember dining on a halibut green curry the last time I was there and loved it. Maenam is to Thai food what Vij's is to Indian food, in my mind. I am no Thai food expert, however. If you had to choose one, Maenam would be obvious to me simply because you get the full experience, and it's a destination restaurant.

Best value happy hour in Vancouver

$5 proper pints of craft beer at Stateside Craft on Commercial Drive. 40 American craft beer to choose from - almost none of it swill. 4-6pm daily.

Morning coffee/muffin in Vancouver

I know you're looking for west of main, but something to add to your list is Prado on Commercial and 4th, as it suits what you're looking for. Great people watching, lots of natural light, free parking on the side streets, good baking (had a delicious pain au chocolat recently, and their cranberry ginger muffins are good), and 49th Parallel coffee.

CA + GA friends visit Vancouver for Asian food - need help!

Richmond is an island at the mouth of the Fraser River. Minoru's a nice serene park in the middle of what's otherwise an ugly city, but if you get a chance to get along Richmond's waterfront - not its industrial waterfront by the night market, but its Richmond West Dyke Trail or Steveston's Garry Point Point waterfront, it can be quite awe-inspiring.

CA + GA friends visit Vancouver for Asian food - need help!

I wish I could say I've tried their food, but I only ventured there once in the evening for an art opening... so that doesn't really count! But everything I've heard about the Greenhorn has been favourable - a culinary/coffee oasis in the West End!