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Longs Noodle House
I was referred to this place from a friend and with some research I have learned that this place isn't a secret and I deserve a late pass.  Long's Noodle House is a very popular for Shanghainese cuisine which was confirmed by the small line in the restaurant.

Xiao Long bao ($6) is one of my favourite Shanghainese dishes and serves as a barometer for me when I try new places.  Long's xiao long bao was amazing, and is easily the soupiest soup bun I have ever had.  Soo much soup that your gear is in trouble or you might be burning your mouth.

We also got the pan fried dumplings which were also one of the highlights of the meal.
The beef roll came next and this bad boy made my night.  The in house made thin crispy shell was unique and the addition of the cilantro was welcomed, it really added to the flavour of this dish.

Their wine chicken which is one of their signature dishes, was good but for me the rice wine was a little too strong of a flavour.   I needed something fried so we ordered the yellow fish wrapped in seaweed which was plentiful and tasty (pictured above - $13).

The atmosphere is not amazing but fits what you would expect from a hole in wall Chinese restaurant.  Also worth noting that this place has the most charismatic Chinese person that I have ever met.  She made the experience funny and enjoyable.

Bottom Line
This place is the hype spot for the dumplings, beef rolls and the xiau long bao.

Long's Noodle House
4853 Main Street
Vancouver
Matt

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Arthur Chmielewski is a recent Edmonton transplant and is one half of the duo behind the men’s retail concept Haven (www.havenshop.ca). Arthur recently made the move out west when him and his brother expanded their operations and set up shop in the historical Gaoler’s Mews in Gastown. With his busy schedule running the new store and in between buying trips overseas he finds himself enjoying Vancouver’s many choices and eating out on the regular. His top slop:

Guu Garden (M101- 888 Nelson Street, Vancouver) - After Kakarenbo closed down a few month back I was on the hunt to find the new Iazakaya that would end up taking its place.  I eat my fair share of Japanese and Iazakaya and the new Guu Garden is the spot! I find myself coming here often, either to have a full meal or to have drinks with friends.  This new location opened just off Nelson and Hornby and isn’t as accessible as the other locations so it doesn’t have the lineups but it definitely has the best vibe. In the summer this place reigns supreme as they have a massive roof top patio and nothing beats having 1, 2 or even 3 1Litre Mega Sapporos on the patio. Their Saba Sushi and Beef tongue are my go to dishes.  My boy Yasu runs the show out there and him and his staff do an amazing job.

Pho Tai Hoa (1625 Kingsway, Vancouver) – I’m half Vietnamese and after moving out to Vancouver I had a hard time finding a place that could cook a mean Vietnamese meal with that same home cooked flair that my mom does. Vancouver magazine recently gave them #2 best Vietnamese restaurant in the city behind Phnom Penh.  Not in my books! Their menu runs deep and is extensive that it’s often hard to choose what you want to have. You can get just about anything on this menu from the Pho, 7 Color Vermicelli bowls to Grilled pork chop rice dishes and come out with change in your pocket and smile on your face. In my books these guys are much more traditional in their cooking and are hands down the #1 Vietnamese joint in the city.

Phat (1055 Mainland Street, Vancouver) – After a long night out, nothing beats an Eggs Benedict at Phat in the morning. I choose either the Montreal smoked meat or the Smoked Salmon with Dill cream cheese on a everything bagel with a side of their crispy hash browns. You can’t lose with either choice.  It’s also nice and chill here and isn’t pretentious and fancy like the rest of the cheesy Yaletown places. Owner has that super laid back NYC “I don’t give a F…” type vibes about him too which I dig.

Honorable mentions: Kingyo lunch menu is by far the best lunch menu in town, their AAA beef bowl is mouth watering. Hanako sushi in Surrey is out of the way but has some unreal fresh fish alongside Ajisai. Italian Kitchen for their Truffle Spagetti with Kobe beef meatballs and Bone marrow Tartare. Also can’t forget Rodney’s for their Happy hour oysters. 

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Despite its French-inspired name, it's all about scones at Creme de la Crumb, a tiny bakery tucked away on Granville Street between the Trees Cafe and a lingerie store, and across the street from the Canada Line station entrance.

The scone is a tenuous affair.  Like most things, the world is littered by mediocre versions (particularly on this side of the Atlantic), with a small minority left to balance out the baked good's reputation.  Unless one has high tea frequently, the scone is usually left as an afterthought, something you pick up at a chain cafe if one doesn't feel like a biscotti.

This, despite its alleged regal origins: the scone is purportedly named after the "Stone of Desitny," the Scottish coronation stone at the Abbey of Scone, stolen (and now returned) by the Brits and oblong in shape, with markings of chiselling on the top. (As with all items now in ubiquity, the Welsh, the Dutch and the Germans all lay claim to the biscuit as well).  Poems have been written about it: think of that when you bite into the next dry and chalky scone you purchase purely out of hunger pangs.



Lydia Lai, head baker and - together with her husband - owner, has thankfully restored some decorum to the scone.  They are sumptuous and they are good: moist and light on the inside and crisp on the outside, another reminder of baking's indebtedness to butter.  There are a variety to be had, each ($2.75) made daily and seemingly rotated (or simply sold out) through the week: lime and coconut; cranberry and white chocolate; vanilla bean and pear; apple and cinnamon; apple and cheddar.  The seasonal version - pineapple and dark chocolate - is perhaps the best, with the pineapple adding an extra touch of moisture.  There is plenty of other baking available as well, most of which is made in-house, though all pale in comparison to the scones (the carrot cake, made with coconut, comes close), which Lai has obviously laboured on to perfect.

As with all downtown eateries, Creme de la Crumb offers a handful of savoury items for working lunches: the bakeshop is too small to offer seating, save for a lone table outside.  Apart from a hearty grilled steak and blue cheese mayo sandwich, served with carmelized onions, mushroom and arugula and among the better of sandwiches-to-go in the downtown area, the other sandwiches (all $6.95) are sufficiently satisfactory, and would be no more memorable if not for the bread on which it is served on, sourced by Lai from another local bakery but equally as fresh as anything made in-store.

Joe.

Creme de la Crumb
466 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 683-5595
(Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm; Saturdays 8am to 4pm, though Saturday hours seem sporadic)

Crème de la Crumb Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

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Here is some great news for your Wednesday!!!!!


On Wednesday Sept. 22nd, when you visit www.GoodNews.com  you will be able to purchase a one-flavour cup of gelato for $1. Your entire dollar will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. It’s a great excuse to have delicious gelato and give back at the same time!

You would be an idiot if you didn't do this.

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It’s the basic things in life that engender the most love, and so it is with the basic hamburger.  More has been written about a meat patty sandwiched in between a bun than many other things in life.  It’s a topic of passionate debate, as much an American cultural touchstone as rock or jazz.  As Leslie Bremmer put it in Saveur’s September 2009 burger issue: 
“A hamburger is a complex food, possessed of all kinds of flavors and textures and temperatures.  It’s the synergy of the thing: the bun, soft or firm, brushed with butter and grilled; the cool, crisp lettuce; and that seared, juicy ground beef.  You take one bite and it all comes together.  It sings.”
As the name implies, Romer’s Burger Bar is a shrine to the staple.  It’s named after Jim Romer, co-owner and well known for being Milestones’ executive chef.  This connection is made obvious at the burger joint: it feels much like a pared down Milestones, one wherein much of what one dislikes about the chain has been stripped away.  The televisions are still there, and the décor still family-friendly.  It’s a simple, back-to-basics place where the focus is narrowed and bettered (though the service remains just as lacking).

But the burgers: there is variation upon variation here, with different meats, different toppings, different condiments, different combinations…it’s all breathtakingly abundant, much as a burger joint should be.  All sides are just that - ordered separately - with each burger served on its own excepting a lone olive and pepper, the fries having cleared the stage for the main attraction (there are various side salads to be had, and of course the fries, all of which are a faint memory next to the burgers).

Raymond Sokolov demands that “it should start with beef, the humble ground chuck,” and most of Romer’s variations take heed.  We tried the Man’s Man Burger ($11), comprised of a suitably thick Angus patty, topped with applewood smoked bacon, amber ale cheddar, fried onion strings and smoked alder salts, the sort of burger that makes one want to wear Old Spice, throw on a flannel shirt and chop some firewood.  The Americano ($10) reads like a standard – patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and mayo – but topped with a battered and deep fried cheese plank, its a reminder of all that lovely, lovely excess from the hamburger’s place of origin.  Sokolov also said that “burgers provide quantitative evidence…that Americans are a bunch of insensitive louts,” but what a lovable bunch of insensitive louts they are to have brought us this.

(As many may point out, our friends to the south may have a home turf advantage when it comes to burgers, as many American burger joints can serve one medium rare.  The misconception is that our health authorities will simply not allow for it; they simply frown upon it, particularly when the ground beef is mass produced.  A handful of places – Hamilton Street Grill, DB Bistro Moderne – will give you the option.)

There are non-beef options available.  The Maple Bacon Pork Burger ($10) is exactly that, the ground pork dotted with spice and reminiscent more of a good sausage patty, perfectly complimented with apples sliced into matchsticks and grilled frisee, though tell the server to keep it light on the Gorgonzola garlic sauce (which is good, but can overpower the apple).  The So Cal Turkey Burger ($10) is the most akin to Milestone’s burgers, served with avocado, tomatoes, onion and mayo.  Those even more health conscious can forego the brioche bun – which every burger option is served on, and is more functional than memorable – and go for the “green” option, which replaces the bun with leaves of iceberg lettuce, perhaps the most antithetical gesture one can make.

Beer, of course, is the most obvious partner for a burger, save for fries.  Both are playing second fiddle at the restaurant.  The beer selection isn’t quite as large, and the fries not as crisp, as both should be.  Perhaps it’s the single-mindedness of Romer’s that has relegated both to ugly step-sister status: it’s all forgivable with the burgers being as broad and beautiful as they are.  It’s clear where the passions lie, and all else are mere distractions.

Joe.

Romer’s Burger Bar
1873 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 732-9545

Romer's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

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Nook
The 15 dollar price point for good pasta in this city is almost a myth.  There are your casual fine dining spots and even some places that call themselves a pasta bar or a pasta house, but I find all those spots to be lackluster.

From the creators of Tapastree comes a place called Nook which makes a tasty pasta at a reasonable price point.   The pasta and pizzas run you about 15 dollars a plate and they are delicious.  The 30 seat interior is cute and if there isn't a big line, this place would be ideal for a first date.  Nook has everything that I would want for a first date location, a 15 dollar price point where you wouldn't cry about paying for dinner if eHarmony was wrong, a cozy interior with a perfect amount of lighting (the perfect amount of lumens so that you can pick out the strobelight honey and not feel like you are in an interrogation room), great service and they serve beer/wine in case you need a little assistance with your jokes.  

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Perry Pugh is the sales rep for some of your favourite brands (ob1enterprises.com) and a part owner of Canada's Premier LifestyleTradeshow (knowshow.ca).  When he's not siring flesh and flame bbqing on his deck you might find him on a bike, kicking a soccer ball with the WNSL or lacing up the skates with the HOSERS Hockey Club to pass his free time.

Here is Perry's Top Slop.

1) Vij's - Somewhere in between the delicious snacks roaming around the waiting area and the table visit by Mr Vij himself you realize you might have just had your best meal in Vancouver.  I couldn't justify menu high lights, just grab your family and or friends, enjoy the table wait and ask them to bring you enough food for all (and they will make sure all are taken care of).

2) Happa Izakaya - The Kits location (Yew and Cornwall) is my favourite, and my countless visits  made it feel like my living room during my tenure in Kitsilano.  Ishiyaki and the Spicy Sockeye Salmon Sashimi are my go-to items, though there is plenty of other matches for a cold pint of Sapporo, Happa Caesar (love the Wasabi touch) or  a Sake Margarita.

3) Suzettes Deli - You might have walked by this unassuming diner on Richards and Dunsmuir 100 times and never thought about stepping inside.  Turkey Snitzel Sandwich.  Now you have a reason.  Pair it with a bowl of soup on a grey Vancouver day, and you'll get through the later half of your daylight feeling like your mom fed you.

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While the city still awaits a proper taco truck during the bewildering street food trial run, it's good to revisit what options remain available.  There are obvious choices - Las Taquerias, Dona Cata, Salsa and Agave - and then there's those that generally get neglected.

Taco Shack is one of those places, assumedly due to its wildly mixed reviews since opening (I seem to recall another food blogger getting into a comment war with one Taco Shack's owners; that other food blog seems to have gone by the wayside, while Taco Shack still remains).  Most of the criticism lies in Taco Shack's purported 'unauthenticity,' the type of opinion that's more fussy than acknowledged.  The remainder of the criticism is more concerning: bad quality, bad service, bad concept.

To be clear, Taco Shack doesn't offer authentic Mexican tacos, nor does it purport to.  It is a distinctly local beast, borne of Californian taco trucks.  They are 'tacos' in the sense that they are comprised of foodstuff wrapped in a tortilla, much as anything on a flat bread with tomato sauce has entered the mainstream vernacular as 'pizza.'  It is all a modest proposition: choose your protein (or vegetarian option), toppings and number of tortilla shells (one or two; go with two, considering the generous portions).  The restaurant is close to the beach, and there is little in the way of atmosphere at the Taco Shack to distract you from it (even less now as David Benefield spends little to no time there).  Quite simply, it is utilitarian: get your tacos quickly and move towards water.

The steak taco is well-seasoned, slightly peppery and tangy, and well-cooked considering that it's been prepared well in advance.  The fish taco does not fare as well, slightly bland, and overly dry, dependent on the guacamole and salsa to revive it back to life.  Ask for all of the toppings and that is exactly what you will receive: each taco comes heaped with onions, red lettuce, roast corn, cheese... an endless list for those with an abundant appetite.  It's absolutely filling, and a good option for those that simply want tacos overflowing with fresh produce, irrespective of what lies underneath.

(Take note: Taco Shack also offers what may be the best selection of craft root beers in town.  There are at least three options, with two - Bulldog and another with extra caffiene - being rarely available in stores, much less restaurants.)

Joe.

Taco Shack
1937 Cornwall Avenue
Vancouver, BC
(604) 736-8226

Taco Shack on Urbanspoon

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The bar has been raised for gelato.  Bella Gelateria is the new boy in the Vancouver gelato world and this place is destroying the competition.  If you are looking for potentially the best gelato in the world, try this place out (and yes I have had gelato in Italy).

When you visit Bella Gelateria be sure to talk to the owner James.   He seems to always be there and he will initiate the conversation if you show interest in his gelato.  This man went to Gelato University in Italy and holds a masters degree, to me he is a Rhodes Scholar of gelato if there was such a thing.  His passion and love shines through in conversation and he will gladly tell you how he only sources the finest ingredients for his product.  His pistachios come from Bronte,  hazelnuts from Piedmonte, and sorrento lemons from California.  While you may be concerned that his carbon footprint is larger than the Sasquatch, he shortens his shoe size by using local ingredients such as a Avalon Milk, Canadian Springs bottled water and local fruit straight from  BC farms.  I know using bottled water is hardly eco friendly but I assume that the chlorine from the tap water just doesn't cut it.

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The Winners of the Nandos contest were

Ian

I would take the colonel so he can see how much better nandos grilled chicken is than his KFC!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mary Anne


When i proposed to my new spouse, i scratched at the ground and sang like a chicken in a cafe right across the street from the new Nandos on Davie...we have a secret chicken dance that we've done for each other since we started dating! It was crowded and full and patrons thought we were insane...and she said yes.
So yes, I would take my new spouse :) 
(and if it helps, we are both chickenheads, eating neither beef nor pork)
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