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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Food (and Drink) for Thought

So we've now been here a whole month already, and in that time we've had a veritable smorgasbord of food! Ian and I are big on meals out, we like our food, and since we've been here we've tried quite a few places to eat and drink at, mostly around the Downtown area.

So here's the lowdown on our findings so far!

Discovering Blenz - and on my bday!
The first place we stopped off at to get anything to eat or drink in Canada...and we found Blenz. A great Canadian owned coffee company, we dived into their protein shakes with gusto - the peanut butter one is immense but ridiculously calorific. They also have a great selection of green teas, I love the Citrus one, but found some of the other flavours to be a bit lacking. My new favourite is the Americano Misto - I'm loving the steamed milkiness - and since Ian is now working there and learning the ropes, he's made loads of suggestions and got me to try all sorts of variations, hello agave syrup!

Zefferelli's Spaghetti Joint
This place is amazing. Really amazing. If you love Italian, even if you just sorta like Italian, this place is a must! We went on my birthday back in May as I'm a massive Spaghetti fiend, and I must say it was perfect. The orange juice tasted freshly squeezed (don't judge, we weren't drinking that day) I had a Caesar salad, yes you read that correctly, I think for the first time ever, I ordered a salad  along with a gd ol' Spag bol, while Ian had a meatball dish to start and a carbonara. We were both very impressed, each of our dishes were delicious and really decent portions. We enjoyed Zefferelli's so much we went back to celebrate our first month in Vancouver recently and I opted for the Caesar again, it's that good! (What's happening to me, salad and no pudding??) For a main I had a Penne Michelangelo, and the sundried tomatoes were so packed with flavour it gave the dish an almost meaty taste. Ian had a simple pizza to start, very cheesy, they don't scrimp on ingredients for sure, and a sausage pasta dish. I also opted for a glass of the house red, and it was divine! I love this place. I want to go EVERY month.

The Lamplighter
We've been to The Lamplighter a number of times now, as we've been partaking in their weekly quiz on Tuesday nights and making the most of the $11 beer and burger deal. the burgers are simple, the fries that come with the burger are alright, but ask to upgrade to yam fries instead and BOOM its an amazing meal. Its an extra $1.50, but oh my goodness is it worth it in flavour, those blighters and great! And every time we go we get a different combination of dips, you never really know what you'll get. The main pull for The Lamplighter for me is the quiz, and catching up with other IECers. Oh, and last week I won a pitcher of beer...

It rather made my day!
The Templeton
This is by far one of our favourite places to eat at. Its got an old school diner vibe, with leather clad booths, and bar stools, a jukebox with some great music, and a great vibe, and huge portions of food that really doesn't disappoint. When we first went tere I ordered a chicken burger, as we've found chicken is quite expensive as a meat out here we've not been eating much, and I was missing it. It was the most ginormous chicken breast I've ever seen, with the most delicious focaccia bread and BBQ sauce I've ever had, washed down with a $6 milkshake! The next time we went, we both ordered the chicken burgers, added bacon, and finished with peanut butter and chocolate pie. The third time we visited it was pecan pie.
Then this morning... we went for breakfast. We both chose a dish called the 'Big Ass Breakfast.' Eggs, sausage or bacon, pancakes or french toast, potatoes cooked in rosemary and toast. Oh and maple syrup. (There is photographic evidence of my excitement, but I have yet to upload!) If you want a chilled, sort of greasy spoon kinda vibe, but with huge portions, great staff, and just an all round cool food experience, go here, you will NOT be disappointed.

The Flying Pig 
I really enjoyed our meal here, The Flying Pig has locations in Gastown and Yaletown, and a great little menu. I tried the chilli rubbed steak for a starter a) I love steak and this was done to perfection, still quite pink in the middle, just how I like it b) it came with a mountain of matchstick potatoes, which were lovely too. Ian went for a cheese board starter, and I think he rated most of them! For mains, Ian went for a simple roasted half chicken with mash and veggies, it was a large portion (great for Ian and his appetite) and I had a BBQ'd Salmon with risotto and a dill sauce. It looked small on the plate, but was incredibly filling, and the sauce was incredible. I'd definitely have it again.

Ah Japadog! What a concept! The basic idea is thus, hot dogs with a japanese theme. Yeah, its almost as weird as it sounds. We dropped into the store on Robson street, as we'd seen a smattering of the stalls across the city and were intrigued. They must be doing well, they have 4 stands and a store in Vancouver, and a recently opened store in New York. I chose a Kurobuta Terimayo, a Kurobuta pork sausage, with Teriyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed. It was...interesting, I enjoyed most of it, the pork and sauces were lovely, however I wasn't quite sure on the seaweed. If had another, I would chose a different hot dog I think. I also really liked the Shichimi and Garlic shaked fries, and would have those again for sure, I loved the idea and they turned out very flavorsome. My only complaint would be the portions. For myself it was a reasonable lunch, but for a big guy like my other half it was more of a snack, it hardly touched the sides and for the price probably not worth it. I'd go again for a novelty, but it wouldn't count as a dinner!

Tim Horton's 
I finally got to try a Tim Horton's! If you like coffee, and not just any coffee, swwet coffee, or coffee with chocolate, sugar, vanilla or lots of cream this is your place. It's sweet heaven, the place is stuffed with ice cream, doughnuts, muffins, cookies and their signature 'Tim Bits.' I had a Cafe Mocha and even for me it was crazy sweet! Its a cool treat I think, but my goodness the calories I coudl eat in there!

Tony's Fish and Oyster Cafe
Last week we made an attempt at Granville Island. But after the whole smashing a glass bottle on Ian's foot thing we didn't get far. We decided to go there just for dinner and chose Tony's as it was supposed to be the best Fish and Chips in Vancouver. We were quite disappointed. We had some Calamari and Clam Chowder to start, they were decent, my Calamari had actual tentacles which I've not seen before, Ive only ever had it as rings so I enjoyed that, and the chowder was tasty. But unfortunately the fish and chips were really not to our taste, I found the batter so thick, dense and over fried, it actually made me feel ill, and wasn't great tasting. If that's seriously the best Vancouver has to offer, I vow not to try any more!

Granville Island Brewery 
We did finally get to do the Granville Island Brewery tour and test out some of their beers. We did the tour first (We got 2 for 1 on the tour price and pretty glad we did, the tour was quite short) and then got to taste a few of the beers. Due to the laws, they were only allowed to serve us 12oz alcohol though, so we only had a few small tasters.
Pictured left to right, the three we tried were Uncle Monty's Best Bitter, Ginga Ninja Ginger Beer and then Cloak and Dagger Cascadian Dark Ale, I particularly enjoyed the Ginger Beer, I liked the Bitter, but the Dark Ale was not to my taste at all! Following the tour we bought a few bottles from the shop and later tried the Imperial IPA (eurgh) the Maple Cream Ale and the Honey Lager (my favourite!) Overall there are some interesting flavours, and the alcohol is actually pretty reasonably priced in the shop, but the tour was a little short and lacking for me.

Anyway, that's it for my foodie round up (unless you want to hear about the Subway across the road that does $5 foot longs!)

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