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Rob - Torontoslop

Gyoza King – When Josh first brought me here in 2004 it blew my mind. I had never been to an Izakaya before and it was something completely new and different. A few dishes that stand out. Chikua with melted cheese in the middle and the negitoro/nori wraps.

Ajisai – Matt and Josh brought me here a few years a go to taste some of the freshest sushi I have ever eaten. Tuna that melted in your mouth and the beef sukiyaki rolls were amazing.

Yuji’s – Another Izakaya that blew my mind. The tempura-battered spicy tuna maki and prosciutto, cream cheese and mango roll were taste explosions!

I could do this all day. It’s hard to pick a favourite but I’ve been to these spots numerous times and they always come through.

Side Note – I would kill for a Japadog, and the tomatoes from “Stoney Paradise Farms BC” that come to the Granville Island farmers market from Aug-Oct.

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Why does everyone hate Toronto? People always talk how much they hate the city or even the people. So much that there is even a movie/documentary on it. I have a ton a friends in Toronto and I they showed me some amazing food spots. Here is a short recap of my Toronto visit.

Matt

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Beefy Beef Noodle
Beefy Beef Noodle is owned by the same people as No. 1 Beef Noodle located on Willingdon and Moscrop. This spot with the funny name took over the space where Rekados Grill was located and boy did they luck out. They got a spot with decent furniture and a nice interior for what I assume would be a good deal. I have dined here a few times now and I have had a pretty decent meal each time.

What I like about eating Taiwanese noodles, other than it is mad cheap, is that I can have deep fried goodness (crispy chicken) with my soup. For about 8 dollars you can get deep fried salty peppery chicken with a bowl of noodles. The broth the noodles were served in was a little bland but I do think that flavour is intentional. The deep fried salt and pepper chicken is fantastic, and I still can't put my name on the spice that they use on these tasty joints. If you want a noodle with a tastier broth, try the spicy beef noodle but it you are missing out on the salty peppery chicken that are crunchy like those all batter pieces that you get in the bottom of your KFC popcorn chicken container.

Give this a place a shot if you are looking for some cheap eats and you live in the hood. Walk up the street to Hawkers if you want even cheaper eats.

Warning, its cash only for accounting purposes.

Beefy Beef Noodle
4063 Main Street
Vancouver BC

Matt
Beefy Beef Noodle on Urbanspoon


If you want to make it hype take a trip down to Wangs in Marpole.

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La Piazza Dario
I was going to let Mama Roma review this one but I think she is retiring from blogging. Mama Roma likes to do all things Italian, like play bocce, wear Prada, listen to Italian disco, watch Moonstruck and ride Italian bicycles, so we took a trip to have a meal at La Piazza Dario. La Piazza Darios is located on 12th Ave (Grandview Highway) inside the Italian Cultural Centre, where they even park a Porsche outside to show that they are big time. There are a couple of Greek restaurants that I know of that park high end cars outside as well.

The four of us sat down on their large patio and ordered a bottle of wine and an antipasto plate ($18 - serves two). Mama Roma was so excited that she said the bottle of wine was on her. The antipasto plate was pretty standard and Mama Roma claimed her Tortellini in Brodo ($6) soup was yummy.

For dinner we ordered the mussels (special for that day around $12), Tortellini Cardinal ($13), Manicotti Vegetariano ($18) and the Fettuccine alla Bolognese ($14). All the pastas were around the $15 dollar point which I thought was more than a fair price. The tortellini was OK but the other dishes were fantastic. The bolognese was absolutely amazing, I was freaking out how good it was. For dessert, a few orders of the tiramisu came out, which we all rated as just OK.

Overall, everyone was pretty happy. Pasta this good at this price point is pretty hard to come by in Vancouver. Usually, it is either the ghetto pasta that is already pre-made or you are at a fine dining spot paying 30 dollars. Even the major restaurant chains charge around 18 dollars for their pasta now. Mama Roma was really stoked, she ate Italian food, got to speak Italian with the waiter, and danced on the patio to Sinatra and even got a photo in front of a Porsche. I 'll come back to give this place another try to see if it as good as I remembered but I recommend giving this place a shot.

La Piazza Dario Ristorante Italiano
3075 Slocan Street,
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
V5M 4A3

Dario's la Piazza Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Reservations are recommended by the restaurant.
Matt

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Jennilee Marigomen - http://www.jennileemarigomen.com
Curator | http://www.nightvisionexhibition.tumblr.com
Art/Creative at Timebomb Trading | http://www.timebombtrading.com

Hunger Hut- Secret location
Having a meal at Hunger Hut is a one of a kind, humbling experience. I've already said too much.

Guu Otokomae Izakaya #105-375 Water Street, Vancouver
Amazing flavours and sake mojitos.

Six Acres - 203 Carrall Street, Gastown Vancouver
There is something quite charming about having a glass of wine at Six Acres on a cold, rainy night, while people watching through their foggy windows. Best bathroom music.

Cheesecake Etc. - 2141 Granville Street, Vancouver
This place makes you feel like you are in a Parisian jazz club in the 1950's. I like coming to this place after seeing films.

Whole Foods Salad Bar - Various Locations
My friend Redia Soltis and I basically live here, especially when we go to the states. The mint edaname salad is my favorite!

Honorable mention:
I visited Kakurenbou Izakaya for the first time and will definately be visiting this place more often (793 Jervis Street, Vancouver,BC)

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I would say that brunch at the Alibi Room is one of my favorites. Firstly, the patio is always sunny, so it’s a great place to sit in the morning or early afternoon. Secondly, they serve brunch until 3pm on weekends, pretty great when you’re hungover and a late riser. The staff is friendly, stylishly unique and have personality (don’t you find that at some restaurants, you don’t even consider personality, so it’s sort of refreshing when you even notice it). One time, the owner even plugged our meter when we were too slow to react to the meter cop heading down the street towards our vehicle, and then didn’t let us pay him back...nice, right?

Both times I have been there for brunch, I’ve ordered the two eggs (poached), toast (sourdough), and home fries (just the right amount of crispy!). So simple, yet so tasty, and under $10 (can’t remember the price to be exact, I think it was $7.95). The portion was just the right size, I was happily full (for a guy, you may need more to eat though), and I like that it comes with watermelon (in the summer anyways). My friends were equally satisfied with their meals: a tomato, spinach, and goat cheese omelette and the eggs, toast, home fries and sausage. Next time, I'll be more adventurous with my order, but it was nice to get a simple breakfast just right.

Tasty spot for a sunny brunch!

Alibi Room
157 Alexander St
Vancouver, BC
www.alibi.ca
Alibi Room on Urbanspoon

D

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Matt and I went to Zipang Sushi during one of the 30C heat wave days in Vancouver (which feels like forever ago now!). I've never been to Zipang before, but I had heard great things about it, so was excited to give it a try. The restaurant itself is cute, a combination of tables and booths, and large framed poster art (maybe magazine covers) hanging on the walls. It’s super casual, you can just pop in should you be in the sushi mood. It was already full when we got there, and we were seated by the window, which was a bit hot with the 30C sun beaming in. Service was good, cute staff, and they were pretty attentive, up until the time when all our food had arrived, after that, we were left on our own, pretty thirsty for water on a sweaty day.

I like testing out sushi restaurants by ordering some of my standard favorites: spinach gomae, salmon sashmini and yam tempura; we threw in some negitoro rolls as well. The spinach gomae at $3.75 was pretty watery, the sauce was dripping off the spinach, and thus consequently, splashed and stained my shirt. It wasn't even close to a mediocre gomae, liquid consistency and lacking flavour, I would never order it here again. The six piece salmon sashimi at $8.50 was okaaaaaaay, nothing amazing, the texture could have been better...although I’m not sure if that’s a quality of fish or quality of cut factor. For $2.95, the negitoro roll was good, pretty standard. Yam tempura is always good, it’s really hard to mess up, and I love my deep fried; for $6.95, it was the best thing we ordered.

I wouldn’t really come back here, it was just okay. The prices were standard, but overall, the food was below standard. Too bad, I had heard good things….maybe I ordered the wrong menu items?

Zipang Sushi
3710 Main Street
604-708-1667
Zipang Sushi on Urbanspoon
D

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I used to say that Fritz has the best poutine in the city but that was because every time I had a Fritz poutine I was really drunk. The truth, it is not the best poutine. But who has the best poutine? Fritz, Frenchies, Belgian Fries, New York Fries, KFC, BK, Chambar, Pings. Ok, lets leave out the gourmet poutines and stick with the street/mall versions.

I am putting up Fritz Poutine which has major line ups every Friday and Saturday night against New York Fries which is located in almost every mall.

Price: About the same. 5 dollars at Fritz or NY Fries.
Gravy: Got to give it to NY Fries
Overall Taste: I hate to say it but I think the NY Fries poutine is better.
Misc: Well you can make the Fritz Poutine into an Italian for a few dollars more. Once we went across the street to the hole in the wall and put BBQ pork on our poutine. Fantastic.

In the end, I have to say NY Fries wins. I like to order it with the gravy and cheese on the side so I can regulate the amount of cheese and gravy I have in every bite.

The question is now, is Belgian Fries' Poutine better?

New York Fries on Urbanspoon
Matt

Whats your favourite spot?

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Michelle Morgan - Heartland

Michelle is currently starring in the stunningly beautiful television series HEARTLAND for CBC. After two hits season's the show is back by popular demand and will begin shooting season three in May. Michelle plays the character of Lou Fleming, the prodigal daughter who returns to Heartland from New York after her mother’s death.

Michelle is also writing and developing a Comedy series titled THE WORKS, about a pinup girl who dreams of hosting her own cooking show.

Templeton
The Templeton has great food, cozy retro diner decor and a very relaxed vibe. I like to try different things on the menu every time because they have interesting stuff like a Lentil Loaf (so good!). But my favourite is the breakfast, and their Huevos Rancheros are really stand up. Plus you can substitute scrambled Tofu which tastes even better.

Foundation
It might take you awhile to get served at the Foundation, but the food is worth the wait. My favourite menu item is the Sesame Society, a dish that can't decide if it's a meal or a salad. Vegetables and Tofu sautéed in a tahini-ginger sauce on a bed of spinach and quinoa. It's so delicious, and it's nice not to feel guilty after having such a healthy meal.

Vera's Burger Shack
I went to highschool in West Vancouver, and Vera's started out as a burger shack right near my place in Dundarave. Me and my friends would sit on the logs at the beach eating their onion rings. My favourite is the Lamb Burger.

www.michellemorgan.net

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Sabra
I needed a quick bite to eat so my Italian friend and my Filipino friend went to check out Sabra on Oak Street. I thought I must have had toilet paper dragging from my shoe because all the Jewish people outside and inside were just staring at me. Like an evil cold grill that made me feel like I was in the wrong hood. It was kinda like when the cops in Police Academy walked into the Blue Oyster. It was uneasy.

The weird thing is when I walked into this Jewish Restaurant and grabbed a menu it said "SABRA - Glatt Kosher Restaurant - Chinese and International Cuisine". After reading that, I was pretty much WTF, these Jewish people can't cold stare at me walking into a Chinese restaurant. This is partially my hood.

We all ordered falafels while the patrons of the restaurant continued to stare at us, in the end it was too much and I had to walk to the other side of the street to eat my falafel on the sidewalk. The falafel was pretty good but not amazing, I crown the Nuba falafel as the best in the city.

Sabra
3844 Oak Street
Vancouver, BC

Sabras Kosher Bakery on Urbanspoon

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I rarely cook but sometimes there are things that I just have to know how to recreate. Terroni's baked mushroom salad is one of these things.

Oyster mushrooms cut
A light glaze of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Sprinkled with fine grated parmigiano reggiano and bread crumbs
Baked for a short while.
Served on arugula
A mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic drizzled on top as a dressing.

It is amazing and seems pretty simple. I am going to try it out anyone else interested.

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Ok, I just came back from Toronto and Montreal and I will have a recap for you shortly.
The following are my highlights.

Toronto
Island Breeze
Ghandi Roti
Terroni
California Sandwiches

Montreal
Poutine everywhere
Pied du Cochon
Schwartz

Matt

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GMAN - Timebombtrading / Gmanandrizk.com / Fortune Sound Lounge / Livestock

1. Hunger Hut- if I told you, I'd have to kill myself.

2. Guu Gastown- I'd be surprised if this didn't show up a few times on people's lists. It's in the hood and it's staple. I never get sick of Guu. Guu is Guud.

3. Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant- this place is great because it usually means that there's some sort of celebration as I don't go here with less than a full table of family or friends. It also means that there will be a good 10-12 courses to feast off of.