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Economies of Scale.

Due to demand we have reprinted our Slop Press Aprons and since we have the screen already burned and we are printing more units, the Steaks Is High Aprons are now $20.   If you would like to order an apron please email vancouverslop@gmail.com.

For those that live in Vancouver you can get them at Walrus (3408 Cambie Street, Vancouver).

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Fans of the old Transilvania Peasant Bread bakery in Kitsilano, take note: baker Floran Moldovan has now opened up his new spot, Beyond Bread Artisan Bakery, down a few blocks on Fourth Ave and Alma.

Those unfamiliar with Transilvania are missing out on what has been touted by numerous people as the best bread in Vancouver. Moldovan, who graduated with a degree in computer science and worked in the printing and publication industry in Transylvania before moving to Canada, opened up the rustic bakery a few years back.  The former location on Broadway felt more like a workshop from yesteryear than a bakery, and featured a wood-burning oven which Moldovan used to churn out little more than a couple dozen loaves a day, which generally meant that most everything was sold out before the afternoon.

Having relocated to a new location in a relatively-newer building, the wood oven is now gone due to messy legalities.  In their place are more standard commercial ovens, which means that Moldovan can now churn out more loaves than before ("Bread all day long!" he exclaimed as we left the store).  He also has more staff and a cafe, though it's hard to take your focus off the bread.

The loaves themselves are beasts to wrestle down.  Weighing numerous pounds, carrying them home are in-and-of-itself enough of a workout to balance out any carb-guilt.  There are four to choose from: Moldovan's famous peasant bread, a whole wheat sourdough available in two sizes (the one featured above is the small); a light rye; a sprouted wheat loaf; and his rustic baguette.  Each still has that amazing crust, which helps to keep the bread viable for days.  They are a toothsome bite, require a solid effort, but give back in many rewarding returns...enough to take your mind off the heftier price tag (the large peasant bread loaf goes for $12, but it also weighs as much as a small newborn). 

Joe.

Beyond Bread
3686 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
(604) 733-3931

Beyond Bread Artisan Bakery on Urbanspoon

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A friend of mine is putting on her 2nd annual Cupcake Throwdown which is happening at Cafe Deux Soleils on Wednesday January 26th from 7-10pm!!

15 bakers face off for cupcake supremacy and a chance at some great prizes. For $10 you get to decide who has the tastiest and prettiest cupcakes in our fair city all benefiting H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society. It is also a child friendly venue.

Come support her event, and have some tasty treats and support a great cause.   

More info on the Facebook invite.


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Ain't no party like a sloppress party! Amazing food, awesome company, and fantastic booze. What more can I say? Great party.











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Many, many thanks to everyone that came out to our Slop Press launch party last night.  It was a great time for all of us, and we hope all y'all had a great time as well.

A special thanks goes out to all of our great sponsors: Bear Flag Wine, Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, Blank CommunicationsCarlo Brito, Hagensborg Chocolate, Nando's, Re-Up BBQ, Roaming Dragon, Spot Tea, and, of course, Walrus!

Here's a special mix that Marco Primo, one of our Slop Press contributors, made for the night: download it here.  The whole mix is made up of food-related songs, so check out the tracklist (and more pictures of the party) here

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UPDATE: We're amazingly fortunate and thrilled to have Re-Up BBQ and Roaming Dragon provide food, Benton Brothers provide cheese, Bear Flag provide wine, and Hagensborg Chocolates provide chocolates for the night!  And we're building a shrine to Walrus for hosting!  More info to follow over the next few days. 

FURTHER UPDATE:  Just in case we weren't clear about it, the cost of admission is NOTHING.  Yep - it's free!

Save the date!  Keep checking Slop Press for further details to follow!

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By now, you know we've pledged our undying love to both Re-Up and Roaming Dragon, and you should know where you can sample both (hint, hint: Thursday at Walrus).  As a recap, though, let's revisit the two food trucks. 

When we first wrote about Roaming Dragon, summer was in the air and Vancouver had just given birth to its much-anticipated/deliberated street food project.  Let's be clear: the Dragon offers one of the city's best forms of Western-inflected Asian fare in the city, bar none, and while people worry about authenticity endlessly and needlessly, these guys had to balls to set up at the Richmond Summer Night Market.  
Roaming Dragon
Here's what we wrote about Roaming Dragon's mantou sliders: "The pork melts away, tender as childhood love, its delicate saltiness nestling with the mantou’s gentle sweetness and rounded out with the slight acidity of the cucumbers. If one needs a reason to fight through the face-to-skewer-stick crowd of the market, this is it." 

Residing at another point on the street food spectrum is Re-Up BBQ, the only two-person vehicle we've loved more than Herbie the Love Bug.  While the city's love for pulled pork has exploded in unadulterated form, let's not forget that Re-Up deservedly sits at the centre of it all, geographically and qualitatively: we have a slow-cooked, porcine king, and we are all Re-Up's humble servants.   


Here's what we wrote about Re-Up back in August: "The pork is a labour of love, smoked for hours, the taste of hickory lingering in the air well after its consumption. The meat falls apart at sight, tender and luscious, and there is plenty of it: this is a sandwich that is loved and loves back. It is topped with a generous amount of fresh coleslaw, and somehow held together by a Portuguese bun in a friendly hug."

We're extremely grateful to both Roaming Dragon and Re-Up for sponsoring our launch party on Thursday (at Walrus! 6PM to 9pm! Free!), and we'll be back to write more about our other awesome sponsors: Bear Flag Wine, Benton Bros. Cheese, Carlo Brito, Hagensborg Chocolates, and - of course - Walrus.  (Psst!  We also have door prizes from Nando's and more.)

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I finally made my way out to Five Guys to check it out.

For those who don't know Five Guys is a popular US burger chain that is favoured by both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.  The US chain has now set foot in BC, with locations in West Vancouver and Surrey.   A nice feature is that they have a strict policy of using fresh food.  The burgers are fresh not frozen, the patties are hand made daily and there are no freezers on site.  It is also worth noting that Five Guys was voted best Fast Food Burger in Zagat's Fast Food Survey which is surprising since they beat out IN N OUT Burger who I thought would be the king.  In my opinion it's a survey not a critics choice so there is a chance the results are biased.

The US origin is clear.  The portions are massive.  The basic burger comes with two patties and is enough for most people, the portion of fries are generous and they are just dumped into the bag.   Men's Health magazine awards the large fries a D rating for the 1464 calories / 71 g of fat they supply.    Another sign of their US origin is their toppings.  Toppings are generously applied and if you want more they gladly apply more for free  and this includes extra bacon and extra cheese.

If you are going to Five Guys come with a friend and leave the calorie calculator at home. Ideal ordering would be two burgers (about $8 a piece) and a side of small fries that the both of you can share.   We really enjoyed the fries and felt they rival any other burger joint in BC.   The burgers are juicy and pretty  tasty for a fast food/ semi fast food burger.   Watching the cooks we noticed they smash their burgers on the grill with the spatula.   I have never done this at home as I always thought it pushed out the juices.   In any case their burger was good so maybe it is a technique I should adopt?  However, I really wish they would toast my bun.

All in all, if you are a burger lover you should check this place out.   The price adds up quickly and is comparable to their competition (Veras, Splitz, and Fatburger) however I do find their burger better tasting.   I dislike the fact that the price of a semi fast food burger combo is over ten bucks but it is clearly the new norm.

They had me at free extra bacon.

Five Guys Burger And Fries
501 2202 Park Royal 
West Vancouver, 
BC

Matt

Five Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

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There's not much else we can add about the Dirty Apron deli.  A further extension of the Chambar/Medina family, the deli/market provides another strong presence on Beatty Street (which was already kinda there via the cooking school),  the trifecta providing as much an anchor for the burgeoning Crosstown neighbourhood as the new condos in the area.  The sandwiches ($6.99 to $8.99) are each updates on deli classics: a roast beef sandwich takes a more worldly spin with chimichuri and salsa; a pulled pork (now clearly taking the most-favoured-protein trophy in Vancouver)  sandwich takes cues from the Vietnamese banh mi; a roast chicken sandwich becomes an earthy harvest with anchovy, arugula and chipotle mayo.  The roasts are done in-house, as is a daily pasta and a handful of other things; the market, a quick source for items you forgot to pick up at larger gourmet stores elsewhere.  For office workers, it's worth a bus/bike/car trip from the cubicle for lunch; for residents in the area, it'll be part of home.

Joe.

The Dirty Apron Delicatessen
540 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 879-8588
The Dirty Apron on Urbanspoon

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Chef Ryan Stone's fish platter
We were recently invited to watch the Canadian 2011 Bocuse D'or team, headed by Chef Ryan Stone (West Coast Fishing Club), finish one of their back-breaking test rounds.  Read more about o'er at Slop Press here.

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Thinking about oil and chilies, thinking about 川香阁-- you might know it as MASCOT ENTERPRISES INC. or as Chuanxiangge or as Chuānxiānggé or as that one Sichuan restaurant trapped in a parking lot across an alley from a grocery store. A Westminster Highway address but tucked away.

Images / fragments1 / digressions:

*

Oh, but if there's anything you want, just ask and I'll ask the chef. -- Boiled cabbage. -- Huh? -- Ask him. He'll know it. And he sticks his head out of the kitchen, sticks his head past the grimy aquarium.

He knows it, he knows it. And: a ceramic tureen of 开水白菜...-- boiled cabbage: the simplest of simple. A heap, a pile. But, actually, almost ironically presented here. A plate of boiled cabbage-- a dish of surprising complexity, a classic of Huang Jinglin's kitchen (the kitchen that prepared it for Chiang Kaishek during his slow inland retreat).

The boiling water is boiling water but also: a stringy hen with muscular dark dinosaur legs, dark # boiled boiled until its fats and flavors seep out; a careful handful of dried seafood-- pearly, cracked scallops-- allowed to infuse, give up their particular, complimentary, breezy flavors. The stock is cleared and we see the chef adding a sip of wine # barely any, okay? a sip; a snip, a shred of ginger and a shred of green onion # dunked inside to swim one lazy lap across the pot, then pulled back out. A tall white cabbage is brought into the kitchen, its jacket removed by the maître d'hôtel... its shirt unbuttoned... down and down until we are left with a faintly yellow and much smaller and tighter version of the same cabbage. Faint yellow, the color of the stock. A leaf goes in, floats and then is sucked into the stock, which is heated until it might just boil but doesn't. This is boiled cabbage.

And--

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Jonker Street, the former Malaysian restaurant next to the BC Liquor Store on Pacific Boulevard, always reminded me of Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me.” Yaletown wasn’t – and isn’t – known for its diverse breadth of dining options, and a small restaurant featuring a traditional Malaysian menu just seemed to be a matter of the wrong place at the wrong time. It didn’t help much that everything seemed slightly off about the place (consistency seemed to be its second biggest foe), but beggars, choosers, etc…it was alright with me.

That restaurant was replaced with Fresh Bowl, a re-conceptualization of the place through the eyes of Moeski Consulting (though original co-owner Tommy Ng still remains). The lights are brighter, the décor sleeker, the food faster: though much of the menu is still offered, this is a leaner, newer machine specializing in takeout for a neighbourhood that often demands little else. For all the clichés that get thrown around about Yaletown, here was the embodiment.

And here I find myself back at the beginning, at former Jonker Street co-owner Charles Thong’s new venture, Mamak Café in Gastown. Thong has taken over the kitchen at Pub 340 on Cambie Street, a restaurant inside a bar, as he doesn’t have the capital to open a new standalone place of his own. It’s an unlikely partnership: there are many other things that come to mind other than Malaysian cuisine when one thinks of Pub 340. While it’s more Cheers (at best) than Trees Lounge (at worst), “dive bar” is still the most appropriate description one can give for the place…albeit one serving up sambal, satay and curries.


The menu has largely remained the same despite being in its third reincarnation. Start with the roti canai ($3.50), which sits within the average of those offered elsewhere, though served with a curry sauce that’s delicious. In fact, double up on that sauce – a rich, layering of spices and flavours that, when Thong is firing on all cylinders, can be quite good – with an order of kari ayam ($8.90), a curry chicken that’s unfortunately served with all white meat, when bone-in dark meat could have been transformative. Thong’s assistant offers a sample of their house-made sambal, used for both a prawn and a chicken dish (both $8.90), which is sweeter than it should be.

Mamak Cafe's Beef Rendang
Alternatively, choose the beef rendang ($8.90), a dish that most remember fondly from the Jonker Street days. A dry rendang – often described as being ‘curry like’, as it shares the same complexity but exists entirely in its own sphere – owes much of its raison d’etre to coconut, and at Mamak Café there is coconut in spades, with toasted coconut in addition to, among other things, coconut milk, resulting in a sweet and savory sauce that’s got both depth and soul, which the fork-tender beef is slow cooked in. If you’ve never had a reason to visit Pub 340 before, here’s your first.

Fresh Bowl's Beef Rendang
And if you can’t see past whatever trepidation you might have about eating in a dark and dank Gastown bar, let’s go back a step. Click through Fresh Bowl’s website and order the same dish ($11) to contrast. Their sleek version is one-note and flat, a coffee-table house remix of the original, served with enough bean sprouts, carrots and peppers to be distracting, reliant on garnish for contrast in its singular dimension. There might be a shiny comfort that Fresh Bowl can offer over Pub 340’s beer-stained tables, but there’s also a real loss in substance that’s disturbing.

Despite Jonker Street’s – and now Mamak Café’s – shortcomings, both had/have a potential that kept you going back to see if they’d ever finally nailed it. People might have given up on Jonker Street, and, if they don’t get past the Pub 340, they might never give Mamak Café a chance. But if, in the end, all we’re left with is Fresh Bowl, then we’ll always be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that, frankly, won’t be all right with me.

Joe.

Mamak Café (inside Pub 340)
340 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 602-0644

Mamak Malaysian Cafe on Urbanspoon