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No secret here. Ba Le offers a tasty sandwiches for an amazing price ($2.75 for the cold cut sub). The Fraser/ Kingsway location looks like it went through a rehaul but the Main Street one still looks the same. A fairly depressing interior for dinning in but it is perfect for getting a sub for the road. Warning you will have bread crumbs all over your lap.

Foodosophy did a great review of the Banh mis in Vancouver.

Ba Le
633 Main Street
Vancouver, Chinatown.


Ba Le Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon


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Some people know and some people don't. It has been about a year now since Vancouver Slop has been providing the content for the CBC "Road To The Games" website. This partnership has allowed Vancouver Slop to reach a broader audience and to be utilized by thousands of visitors to Vancouver. The CBC website has just gone through a revamp and I wanted to share this resource with everyone.


One of the outcomes of this partnership is a map of many of our favourite places. Take a look.


View Vancouver Slop in a larger map

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Any of my old roommates can tell you how much I love a buttery, grilled cheese sandwich. We would enjoy them together often. I visited one of my ex-roomies in her new hometown of Squamish, and it was only natural for us to go to Grilled Fromage, a diner specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled Fromage's menu has 53 grilled sandwiches to choose from, with 25 different types of cheese, on white, mutigrain, rye or sourdough bread. Pretty much sounds like grilled cheese heaven.

The overall theme of the diner is cheesy, "The Cheesiest Place on Earth" to be exact, decor includes random memorabilia, toys, knick knacks, large ceramic figurines, and has booth seats upholstered with nostalgic cabin style animal wallpaper prints. The menu is displayed on the wall adjacent to the counter where you place your order (as well as on double sided laminated menus); sandwiches with clever names such as "The Missionary: butter and Kraft cheese singles on white bread", "Buffy: havarti with garlic sausage on multigrain" and "Popeye: edam, baby spinach and olives". Some names make more sense than others, but I would imagine it's pretty difficult to come up with clever names for over 50 sandwiches. It's almost overwhelming to choose which sandwich to go with.

My friend went for the Missionary ($4.90), and I played it somewhat safe and went for the "Sofa King: creamy havarti and more creamy havarti on multi-grain" ($8.90). You can also order ants on a log (celery stalks with cheese whiz and raisins) for 99¢; we didn't...really, that's a lot for celery with cheese whiz and ants. Other options include soups, chili, salads, and desserts. Our sandwiches came with cheetos (cute, yet random) and a small spinach salad with a tasty dressing. My sandwich was good, but not so good that I couldn't have just made it at home for waaaaaay less money and with even more havarti.

I think the concept of this place is a really good one, everyone loves grilled cheese sandwiches. It was really busy when we were in there! But, the prices are just too high for what you get. They should consider upgrading their sides: bigger salad, french fries, yam fries, etc. Or simply drop the price of the sandwiches. If you compare it to kids menus in restaurants that offer grilled cheese, you would pay $6 for a grilled cheese, fries/salad and a drink (ie. Boston Pizza's Kids Menu). Also, their most expensive sandwich, the "High Roller: smoked gruyere and lobster on multigrain", rings in at $15.90, whereas Joey's Lobster Grilled Cheese with atlantic lobster, brie & cheddar grilled cheese sandwich served with fries & cocktail sauce on the side comes to $14.99. Just saying. My other suggestion would be to offer people their choice of bread with whatever sandwich they order (I'm sure you can request it, it makes the menu more restrictive to have each sandwich paired with a particular bread)...I hope for that price, their bread comes from a local bakery :/

D

Grilled Fromage
38134 Cleveland Avenue
Squamish, BC

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Bao Bei
Some friends and I took a trip to check out the new restaurant in Chinatown called Bao Bei. Based on some internet research, Bao Bei (meaning precious) is the creation of Tannis Ling from Chambar, with Paul Grunberg (previous GM of Chambar, and Jean George's Market) running the floor.

Parking in Chinatown was easy but I am a little choked that I now have to pay meter parking till 10:00pm. We got in late on Saturday night (which I found out was Bao Bei's only second night open) and had just a short wait at the tall tables before our table was ready. The restaurant looked fantastic, a long space with beautiful lighting, walnut tables, comfortable seating and some vintage cabinets.

I ordered what was called "the best damn gingerale" ($8) which was stiff and tasty, and an order of toasted dried squid with garlic mayo ($4) and sichuan cucumbers ($4). The drink was great and the squid was fantastic, an incredible texture and a wicked flavour. A pleasant surprise.

About 10 minutes later we were seated at our table and my friends went to work and ordered a bunch of items off the menu.

Steam Prawn and chive dumpling - $7.50
Won Tons in spicy, black bean broth - $6.00
King Pea Tips - $6
Watercress - $6
Omelette with salted turnip and butter - $4.00
Mantou - steamed buns with braised shortrib, hoisin, scallions, pickled cucumber and roasted peanuts - $9.
Ellie's Belly - slow braised pork - $8
Shao Bing - Sesame flatbread with braised pork butt, Asian pear, pickled onion and mustard greens - $7

The whole meal was fantastic. I was kinda worried when I didn't seen an old Chinese person in the kitchen but you could tell every dish was well thought out because every ingredient really complemented each other. It was one of those sittings where people were pointing at the food showing their amazement. The highlight for me was the mantou which completely blew my mind away but my friends loved the Ellie's Belly (according to our server was a creation of Eleanor Chow from Chambar and Dirty Apron) and the spicy won tons.

Price wise, this place is obviously more than Congee Noodle House but the atmosphere is beautiful and is perfect for hanging out, sipping on a drink and eating good food. Call it the Guu of Chinese food with easier parking. We walked out paying 45 bucks each which covered myshare of the food, 3 drinks and tip not bad at all!!!

I definitely recommend paying Bao Bei a visit.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
163 Keefer St
Chinatown, Vancouver
bao-bei.ca

Bao Bei on Urbanspoon

Matt

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From Monday January 18 to Sunday, January 24th.

Various Main Street's restaurants, will offer a three-course tasting menus for set prices of $25, $35 and $45. All restaurants will join the fight against hunger by donating a percentage of their food receipts from this tasty, week long event to The Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Restaurants include

Veras
Public
Cascade
Eight 1/2
3 Lions Cafe
Whip Gallery and Restaurant
The Narrow
Chutney Villa
The Wallflower
Tempest Steakhouse
Hennessy Dinning Lounge
Pings Cafe
Habit
Berts
Zigz Urban Bistro
Lattitude
Locus
Reef
Grub
Chaise
Crave
Foundation
Nyla

http://themaineventvancouver.com/index.html

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How many months do Michael J Fox and Ryan Reynolds live in Vancouver?

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Whenever the topic of favourite restaurants came up, two of my good friends would always ask me if I had been to the Pear Tree yet, they listed it as in their top three in the Lower Mainland. The Pear Tree is a bit off the beaten path, on East Hastings, Burnaby side, just past Boundary Road….if you don't know to look for it, you may very well drive by it. But once you've been, you'll feel like you've found one of those hidden restaurant gems. The restaurant decor is fresh and modern, yet intimate and relaxed; black, white, wood and warm tones accented by fabric panelled walls, soft lighting, a wall sized wine cabinet, comfortable chairs and fresh flowers…and not too crowded, maybe nine or ten tables; a great spot for a date.

With the menu open, my menu considerations are always whether to go with a shared appetizer and a main course, or the two appetizer alternative. Then, there's always the dessert factor. Sometimes I ask to see the dessert menu before I order. There are many times when I will end up getting all three. My friend wasn't as hungry as me, so I opted for two appetizers and a dessert. I ordered the feature appetizer of Sautéed Mushrooms and Crisp Bacon on Toasted Brioche ($16) and a menu staple, the Orange Caramelized Scallops with Double Smoked Bacon Risotto (also $16). My friend with the scallops as well, and was able to get them as a main course, with double the scallops ($30). I love when restaurants are open to suggest to you these types of options, even without you asking…says a lot about how the restaurant is run.

We started with some brioche and butter…heavenly. [Speaking of, I have been trying to buy brioche and have gone everywhere to find it (Whole Foods, Meinhardt's, Urban Fare, Choices, Safeway, Thrifty's, etc.)…does anyone know if they sell it anywhere? Or is it something that I'll have to bake?]. Our meals came and everything was presented beautifully. I cannot even begin to tell you how much mmmmm-ing there was. It was one of those dining experiences where you cut everything into little bites so that you could enjoy it for longer. Although a bit on the small side, the mushroom bacon brioche was quite tasty; the bacon was perfectly crisp without being too crispy; the mushrooms, in their tasty sauce, were sautéed to flavour perfection; and all atop the toasted brioche, yum. The scallops were amazing, soft, yet firm, the caramelization process adding a nice sweet (and not overly orangey) texture; paired with the melt in your mouth risotto, the smoky bacon flavour complementing the sweet caramelized flavour oh so very nicely. Deliciousness. We ended our meal by each ordering the Fresh Lemon Tart - Caramelized and Served with Crack Sugar and Black Pepper Ice Cream ($11). Lemon tart is pretty much my favourite dessert ever, if it is on the menu, I will order it. And this one did not disappoint; not too lemony, creamy texture, tasty crust, the black pepper ice cream a surprisingly great accompaniment.

Although the portions were a bit on the small side and the menu a bit on the pricier side, I will definitely be back to enjoy more of their menu items. The food was great and the service attentive and friendly (the chef bid us farewell and asked how our meal was on the way out). Next time, I'll have to try a main, and some more scallops…and well, probably the lemon tart!


D

The Pear Tree
4120 East Hastings Street
Burnaby, BC, Canada
http://peartreerestaurant.net

Pear Tree on Urbanspoon

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Paul's Place

Lately, I have been eating out a little bit less but I still manage to get out to have brunch on the weekend. Paul's Place is a great breakfast spot in South Granville and was quite busy on both my recent visits.

For breakfast, I ordered the Denver Omelette (ham, onions, green peppers, and cheese)

The omelette was super tasty, and their home made hot sauce was off the hook, a nice extra treat. On my way out, I spotted a friend who was having a sandwich and I had to steal a fry. Those fat potato wedges with a crisp taste were perfect and made me go back to order a shrimp sandwich.

Give Paul's Place a try if you are looking for a nice omelette to start off your day. Meals are about 10 bucks.


Paul's Place Omelettery
2211 Granville Street
Vancouver BC

Matt


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Old news but I forgot to post this.

Zagat released a 2010 Vancouver Guide based on a survey of 2,721 consumers. Some of the highlights include:

Maenam - Best newcomer.
Nat's Pizzeria - Top bang for the buck.
La Belle Auberge - Best kept secret
Vij's - Most popular
Bishops - Top Service
Season's In The Park - Top decor

Check out more at the following link, it is a worthwhile read.




http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/zagat-2010-vancouver-guide-in-time-for-the-olympics-79376907.html

Write in the comments section if you agree or disagree.

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Ben Tour - The Tour Show

1.Quing Jong Schezuan.
2.Guu in Gastown.
3. Havanas.

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Some Links


1. Irish Heather has extended the Long Table Series. This is an amazing deal so get your reservations in.
From January 11th to February 11th the Irish Heather will be serving 11 new entrees and 3 new beverages, including a first time pairing with red wine


2. 50% off Global Lunches til the end of January.

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One of my new years resolutions was to cook more and eat out less. As an incentive for this change I decided to buy myself a nice knife. Just before Christmas I picked up a Global Santoku, and then while walking the streets on Boxing Day I found the same knife on sale for 25% off so I picked it up in hopes that I would return my pre Christmas purchase. Unfortunately, I lost my receipt for my first purchase and ended up with two Global Santoku knifes (yes, I feel like an idiot). Having two of the same knife seemed pointless to me so I exchanged my Global Santoku for a Wusthof 8 inch chefs knife.

My online research showed that Wusthof and Global are always listed in the top 5 knifes for the home cook. The Wusthof knife was made in Germany and the 8 inch chefs knife was on sale for 135 dollars while the Global Santoku knife was made in Japan and on sale just over 100 dollars. The packaging that the Wusthof came in was pathetic, the blade guard made it look like it was a cheap knife that I found at the dollar store.

I may be comparing apples to oranges here but I preferred the feel of the Global Santoku when cutting my veggies. Even though the Wusthof had a better camber on it which provided a smoother rocking motion for cutting, I still found the Global Santoku better. Maybe the Wusthof which was heavier and felt a little thicker will be better for cutting my meat or if I ever grow 6 inches and put on 30 lbs the larger sized knife may be a better fit.

In the end at this level it comes down to personal preference. It is really hard to tell how a knife performs when you are at the store, they really should have some vegetables there so you can actually try cutting something before you commit. For me, being a small Asian man the Global Santoku was the better choice. I ' ll try my friends Global Chefs knife out to see if it the shape of the knife that I prefer or the manufacturer.

Does a good knife make a difference?
Yeah, I think so. Not only because you feel like you are holding the Hattori Hanzo of a knife (its weird, but there is actually a Hattori kitchen knife ), but they perform better, feel better and I am banking on that they will hold their sharpness longer. You may not have to spend this much but since most people will put their knife to good use it maybe a worthwhile investment.

So Vancouver Slop may start to have posts of my journey into the world of cooking. Don't get excited it might be like an adult taking middle school Home Ec.

Matt

HST
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I just put my name down on the petition on nomealtax.ca. Since my parking invoice is going up 21% and I had to feed a parking meter after 8 pm yesterday, I might not be in the best mood to write this.

On a personal level I don't like my food getting taxed but I do appreciate what my taxes pay for. On the bigger scale, I do feel that low income families may want to eat out occasionally or get a coffee before work and will feel the impact from this tax. I assume why food and children's clothes were tax free were because they were considered necessity items. While food at your grocery store won't be affected by the HST, your coffee or pizza for the family will be. Why should the mom who buys her kid 300 dollar jeans not pay HST but the family who orders pizza for the kids be taxed?

My real issue with the HST is that the large corporations are going to benefit the most from this. The tax will be mostly felt by the consumer and the small business, while the savings will be from the big corporate chains. Our Scottish friend Ronald just got richer. We need to make the bigger companies pay more and support the smaller businesses and taxpayers.

You can tax my luxury things like airplane tickets, movie tickets, bicycles but leave my food, heat, and haircuts alone. I rather you not tax my bike, movie tickets or flights but if you have to.

I am not telling you what to do, but for me I don't like seeing a tax shift that benefits the big corporations and penalizes me, so I signed up for both nomealtax.ca and stophst.ca

Matt

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Monday night can be a hard night to get sushi but it is a great night to go for Dosas. The House of Dosas on Kingsway has a special on Mondays where all dosas are $5.99.

The first time you have a dosa, you will laugh and be amazed by the size of these things. They are actually soo large that table real estate becomes an issue. The filling doesn't go end to end.

Our tabled ordered a mixture of dosas. The paper dosas appeared to be bigger and thinner than the regular dosas but tasted equally as good as the regular version. Everyone seemed to be quite pleased with their meal and for the price it was a great value.

Next time you find yourself outside of your favourite Japanese restaurant reading a sign that says they are closed on Mondays take a trip to House of Dosas for a cheap and tasty meal.

House of Dosas
1391 Kingsway
Vancouver BC
Houseofdosas.ca

Office Reference
Is it bigger than a bread bin? Is is something I can put in my mouth?

Matt