Siegel’s Bagels and Lucky’s Doughnuts

Near the end of the summer we went to see a matinee performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor at Bard on the Beach. Luckily we arrived for the show earlier than necessary so we wandered back up to Siegel’s Bagels on the corner of Cornwall and Cypress to grab a bite of lunch.

Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Although I didn’t specify, the cashier at Siegel’s Bagels was wise enough to ring in a “regular” size sandwich rather than the large. Good move. The regular size was more than enough bagel and smoked meat.

When you order a sandwich from Siegel’s you get to choose the type of bagel – I got my smoked meat on a Rosemary and Rock salt bagel. Delicious.

Lucky's Doughnuts
Lucky’s Doughnuts

After the play we decided to head up to Lucky’s Doughnuts on 4th Ave for a coffee and doughnuts. Although the doughnuts were expensive ($2.75 for an old fashioned sour cream glazed doughnut) they were very enjoyable.

The other doughnut had a coconut cream filling and was very light texture and very tasty. Quite a treat.

A good smoked meat sandwich, a great doughnut treat, and a good performance at Bard on the Beach; the Merry Wives of Windsor was a perfectly light, happy, and good way to end off the summer.

  • Siegel’s Bagels is located at 1883Cornwall Ave in Vancouver.
  • The Kits location of Lucky’s Doughnuts is at 2198 4th Ave.

Eating in the Fraser Valley

My blog has been giving me a headache lately – I cannot properly access with my iPhone or iPad so it has definitely slowed down my ability to write posts. However, here I am today writing about my recent eating in the Fraser Valley adventure.

Meatloaf Dinner at Rocko's Diner
Meatloaf Dinner at Rocko’s Diner

On my recent trip up the Fraser Canyon I visited a new eatery – new to me anyway. Rocko’s Diner has been a fixture in Mission since the 1940s and is still going strong.

I had the meatloaf dinner and was impressed with the quality of the meal; the meatloaf had a nice texture, the potatoes were whipped to a creamy consistency, and the corn was perfectly sweet.

I will be returning to Rocko’s Diner even if it is only to try their dessert – deep fried cheesecake. I was told that it is incredible. Same with their deep fried waffles.

Pan Roasted Pork Loin
Pan Roasted Pork Loin

Of course no trip up the Fraser Canyon is complete without a stop at the 293 Wallace Restaurant in Hope.

As usual, I order from their fresh sheet and this time was no different. Pan roasted pork loin on a bed of smashed potatoes with a pool of apple sauce. The pork was a little more lean than I like but it was still very enjoyable.

I also enjoyed the strong pickle flavour of the side of the pickled kohlrabi. The pickle flavour was a nice balance to the sweetness of the apple sauce.

Billy Barker Pub
Billy Miner Pub

Another foodie place I stopped at recently was the Billy Miner Pub on the outskirts of Maple Ridge. A spectacular burger! Big thick slices of bacon and fresh tomato really worked well with the very thick beef patty in the burger. The fries were just okay.

Overall, the food options in the Fraser Valley are great and so much fun to explore. Until next time!!

 

BC Farmers Appreciation Week

Just in case you didn’t know, the week of September 12th – 18th is BC Farmers Appreciation Week.

BC Farmers Appreciation Week
BC Farmers Appreciation Week

In acknowledgement of B.C. Farmers Appreciation Week, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said, “British Columbia farmers are hard working people supporting their families and our communities by growing the foods that we enjoy every day. I ask all British Columbians to join me in celebrating and supporting them during B.C. Farmers Appreciation Week.

“B.C. farmers produce more than 300 farm products from both the land and sea and the food they grow, harvest and process are important to British Columbians. I’d like to thank all of you for support of B.C. agrifood businesses.

“In 2015, sales of B.C. agrifood products topped more than $13 billion, the highest ever. Meantime, the net cash income for primary agricultural production increased 21.5% in 2015 to $440 million, up from $362 million in 2014. We can thank B.C. farmers for helping us in reaching these milestones.

“The B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan identifies the next steps in our goal to grow the overall sector to a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020. Farmers, growers, ranchers and the seafood sector will help us get there – it is a team effort.

“I’d encourage all British Columbians to experience your local farmers’ market, roadside stand or agrifood business during B.C. Farmers Appreciation Week and continue to support local businesses throughout the year. You will meet some incredible people producing innovative, safe, high-quality and great-tasting foods for your family, and play a direct role in supporting healthy and diverse communities, and our strong province.”

Mussels and Frites at Salade de Fruits

Curious thing, one of my young daughters really enjoys mussels. When we go to Granville Island she insists we stop at The Lobster Man on the way out to pick up a bag of mussels to bring home and cook.

One hot sunny day this summer just gone, I thought rather than bringing the mussels home, why not take her out to a restaurant for a meal of mussels? So I went to Twitter, asked “where do I go in Metro Vancouver for a lunch of mussels?”

We chose to follow up on my friend Dixon’s recommendation, Salade de Fruits – a little French bistro on 7th Ave, just west of Granville.

Salade de Fruits
French Onion Soup

We started our lunch with a bowl of French Onion Soup.

They only make the vegetarian edition of their French Onion Soup once a week. I should have paid closer attention – vegetarian French Onion soup. It really lacked depth and heartiness and it certainly was not the prettiest plating job. I would give the soup a miss next time.

Salade de Fruit
Mussels

Then it was time for the main course – mussels and frites. We opted for the full meal deal of mussels – $23 for the full pot as opposed to $18 for a part pot of mussels. To be honest, that $23 is a big pot of mussels!!

Not only was it a large pot of mussels, it was a pot of pure taste goodness. Lots of large plump mussels and small tender mussels. Perfectly pleasing.

Salade de Fruits
Frites

The side plate of frites was a great addition to the meal. Very thin cut fries, crisp on the outside and perfectly soft inside.

Overall, the meal at Salade de Fruits was a very pleasing experience. The server treated my daughter with respect and was friendly without being too cutesy. Although I did not like the French Onion Soup, the mussels were a homerun for both of us.

I have no hesitation in recommending Salade de Fruits and I will definitely be returning in the coming weeks. Salade de Fruits is located in the French Cultural Centre at 1551 West 7th Ave.

 

Meat Craft Urban Butchery; Geldermans Pork

I took off to the cabin with my daughters for one last long weekend before the “back to school” frenzy took hold of everyone and as usual, I stopped in to see Greg the Butcher at Meat Craft Urban Butchery in Port Moody for my meat fix.

Gelderman's Pork
Gelderman’s Pork

Seeing as I was going with both daughters, I decided to get two monster-sized pork steaks from the Geldermans Pork section of Meat Craft so that I would be sure to have enough meat to feed me and the girls.

Confession time – I do not particularly enjoy pork chops. I grew up eating the pork steaks, the poor cousin to everyone else’s favourite, the pork chop and all I can say is “THANK YOU MOM” for introducing me to this great cut of pork at an early age.

Pork steaks have fantastic fat marbling all through them and as I have said before; fat = flavour!!

Gelderman Pork
Pork Steaks – Banana for Scale

I gave the pork steaks a thorough coating of the Girl with the Grill heavenly hickory rub and worked it into the steaks pretty thoroughly.

Gelderman Pork
Cooked Pork Steak

The pork steaks went in the oven for about forty minutes at 400 degrees before I flipped them over. I gave them another ten minutes in the oven so the other side got a little heat on it, and they were ready to come out of the oven!

I let them rest for a few minutes before cutting into them – wow. So incredibly tender and FULL OF FLAVOUR!! Good quality meat makes all the difference in the world.

The best part – both kids liked them!!

 

 

Lunch at New West’s Rivermarket

Last week I was in New Westminster so I took the opportunity to stop at the Rivermarket (formerly the New West Quay) for lunch.

Free Bird Chicken Shack
Free Bird Chicken Shack

To begin I had the Free Bird Chicken Shack Banh Mi – a Vietnamese sub sandwich. An awesome combination of pickled veggies, fresh cilantro, and that succulent roast chicken all inside the bread.

Longtail Chicken Wings
Longtail Chicken Wings

I added a side of chicken wings from Longtail Kitchen – again, a wonderful eat-treat. A perfect combination of salty and sweet with that ultra-crispy coating over the moist chicken meat.

Another great lunch at the Rivermarket.

Langley’s Hilltop Diner

This summer I am making a point of exploring some of the classic eateries in Metro Vancouver. First was the Ovaltine Cafe, and now I can say that I have also visited another classic, the Hilltop Diner in Langley.

Hilltop Diner
Hilltop Diner

I can also say that although it felt like I was on a very long day trip to get out to the Hilltop Diner, the drive out to the far reaches of Langley, almost into Aldergrove, was definitely worth the drive.

Seeing as I made it out to the diner after breakfast hours were over, my brekkie choices were limited, so I went for the lunch menu. I asked the server what their most popular burger is and she pointed me to the Hilltop Burger.

Hilltop Burger
Hilltop Burger

The Hilltop Signature Burger has a 5 oz, hand formed beef pattie with crumbled double smoked bacon, fried mushrooms, fried onions and a thick layer of melted cheese. It is served on a bun with mayo and their Signature Hilltop sauce and topped with crisp lettuce, and a thick slice of tomato.

Hilltop Burger and Fries
Hilltop Burger and Fries

I have to admit that when the burger was brought to my table I thought it looked small. And then I started eating. My goodness, it is a very filling meal! I was barely able to finish eating the burger and the fries (the fries were phenomenal – crisp on the outside and potato-like inside without any mushy mouth feeling. Really nice.)

One thing that surprised me was that the cheese on the burger was a slice of processed cheese and not cheddar.

Flapper Pie
Flapper Pie

Seeing as I had driven to the eastern edge of my world to eat at the Hilltop Diner I felt it was imperative that I at least try one of their desserts. So I asked which one of the MANY pies that they have was the “lightest” and least filling.

The server told me that the Flapper Pie was probably my best choice because it is the lightest pie they serve.

Their Flapper Pie has a graham cracker crumb crust with a very thick layer of vanilla custard and a meringue cover. Honestly, it was an amazing experience. And be aware, they do not serve small slices of pie – they are very large. However, I would drive back to the eastern edge of my world for a slice of that pie.

I told the server, after I had eaten a little of the Flapper Pie, that it is “light” like a 5 ton truck is “light” when compared to an 18 wheeler. Oh my. I didn’t even come close to finishing the pie.

I will definitely be returning to the Hilltop Diner – when I can. If you want to make the drive out to the diner, it is located at 23904 Fraser Hwy in Langley. It is worth the drive.

 

Lunch at Memphis Blues Barbecue

The barbecue scene in Vancouver has certainly improved over the last few years; there is the Hogshack out in Steveston, Dixies on Hastings Street, Peckinpah in Gastown, and of course a number of locations of Memphis Blues Barbecue House.

Last week when we were hankering for some barbecue, we decided to visit the Richards Street location of Memphis Blues for lunch.

Barbecue Ribs
Barbecue Ribs

Our visit to Memphis Blues Barbecue House was perfectly timed as they were just pulling the racks of ribs and rib ends out of the pit. What an impressive sight!

Being unfamiliar with the work that the pitmasters do at Memphis Blues we chose to order the Memphis Platter – a massive platter intended to serve 3-5 people. However, it has some of each of their barbecued meats and a sample of each of the side dishes.

This is a good way to sample the entire menu and guarantee a heap of leftovers*.

The Memphis Platter
The Memphis Platter

The Memphis Platter more than covered our lunch needs!

My favourites on the platter were the pork ribs and the brisket. The ribs were cooked so that they were tender to the bite but not melt “fall apart” mushy. The best part of the ribs was the smoke “bark” on each rib. Deep and smoky flavour!! Lots of flavour without being too smoky.

The brisket was also wonderful; ultra tender with enough fat in it to add a great degree of tenderness. Ohhh…so good!!

When I return to Memphis Blues (guaranteed I will be returning!) the ribs and brisket are the two meats I will order again. That being said, I really enjoyed the very moist chicken meat, the slices of smoked sausage and the pulled pork. All very good.

The funniest part about the meal was that when we ordered the platter my lunch companion and I both commented that we probably would not eat the baked beans.

Once the platter arrived at our table and we tasted them, both of us couldn’t stop eating them! They were unbelievably delicious. I suppose three hours in the barbecue pit provides that perfect smoky flavor.

The potato salad was “okay” although I would not order it again. There was nothing wrong with it but it just wasn’t my thing. I did very much like the corn bread and the slaw that comes with the meal. The slaw had a strong peppery snap to it.

Overall our meal at Memphis Blues Barbecue House was excellent. Friendly service, good food and a heap of leftovers. Win-win-win.

I’ll be returning for more.

*We had TWO more full meals from the leftovers we took home from Memphis Blues.

 

The Ovaltine Cafe

There is good stuff happening in the Ovaltine Cafe down near Hastings and Main. Grace, formerly an employee of the original Save on Meats cafe from back when Al Deslauriers was the owner, has taken over the Ovaltine Cafe and is working hard at improving the menu and the quality of the food.


Visiting the Ovaltine Cafe is like taking a trip back in time. It looks like a museum and the server actually told me that he likes working in the Cafe partly because it is like a working museum. He added that he also loves working there because Grace, the owner is the best boss he has ever had.

I visited the cafe recently and had the Southwest Eggs Benedict which had two perfectly soft cooked eggs on ripe avocados all on top of two lightly toasted English muffins.


Yes, the English muffins could have been toasted to be a little more crisp and the hollandaise sauce was a little too thick but the perfection of the eggs and the exquisitely perfect ripeness of the avocado more than made up for that.

And the side of pan fried potatoes … Yummy! A flavour hit with me. Crispy on the outside and so soft inside … Lovely.


My brunch companion had the mac & cheese which was on sale for five dollars. Very nice and firm noodles with the perfect amount of cheddar and ementhal cheese. The mac & cheese was not as creamy as my lunch companion would’ve liked. However the addition of some ground up ketchup flavoured potato chips on top of the mac & cheese was a clever flavour-hit.


To finish up, I had a vanilla milkshake. It was handmade with one of those old-fashioned looking milkshake makers with ice cream and milk. Absolute perfection.


The bottom line, I have no hesitation in recommending you to try the Ovaltine Cafe and I will definitely be returning to try more of their menu including the lunch options.

 

Cabin Cooking; the Porterhouse Steak

I snuck out of town to my cabin again, this time to measure the cabin roof and prep it for a replacement. And of course a trip to the cabin means I’m going to cook meat.

As usual, I headed down to see my local butcher – Greg the Butcher at Meatcraft Urban Butchery in Port Moody on Moody Street just off of St Johns.


Okay, I admit. At just under 22 ounces* this is a pretty massive steak. Enough for three or four people. Or enough for me.

The steak I bought is a new to-me “brand” of beef known as 1846 – a brand that signifies that it is grass-fed beef from a BC ranch, kept out on the range, not fed growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics, and treated ethically by ranchers who care about the animals.

The bottom line – the steak had wonderful marbling of fat throughout making it extraordinarily tender and flavourful, because as more and more people are realizing, fat equals flavour.


To cook this exquisite piece of meat I did my castiron cooking routine – I put the pan in the oven for about ten minutes so that it was smoking hot. I added a dollop of butter and then lay the steak in the pan, on the melted butter.

I set my timer for 5 minutes and then put the steak, in the pan under the broiler.

As soon as the timer sounded I pulled the pan with the steak out from under the broiler, turned the steak over and put it back under the broiler.


That’s it. I paired it with a handful of heirloom tomatoes and green beans I picked up from a nearby farm, and lunch was ready. An incredibly tender and flavourful steak, cooked to medium rare with a couple vegetables on the side. Life is good.

* At 22 ounces and $27, this steak was more expensive than I typically purchase but WOW it was well worth it!!