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For today’s post, my good friend Colin (of Impossibrew) and I decided to collaboratively drink the Brews Brothers Collaboration Mixer Pack recently released by Parallel 49. We also consider ourselves Brews Bros of a sort, so it seemed fitting.

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Unfortunately, Colin lives in Winnipeg, while I’m here in Vancouver. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology we were able to spend an evening drinking over Google Hangouts. In Part 1 – we drink six beers from the P49 box. Here are our thoughts:

House of the Rising Sun – Table Saison – with Dageraad Brewing

Colin – Definitely not very funky. Lacking in body, I think. It’s not often you get a saison that’s 4.5%, which explains the lack of body. There’s basically no hop profile. Actually, that might be why it’s called a table saison and not just a saison.

Bryan – I feel like it’s good but not great. It has a bit of subtle spiciness to it and the basic saison flavours. It does what it needs to be good but it’s almost afraid to get out and try something crazy to differentiate itself.

Colin – The atomic elements of a saison are there, but it’s missing what you would expect to make it great. Like a session IPA. All steak and no sizzle, baby. This is a starter beer. You might go out and mow the lawn, and then come back in and drink this beer.

Bryan – Yes! Which makes it a good choice for us to start off with.

Little Red Rooster – Red India Session Ale – with Bomber Brewing

Colin – That’s not bad. There’s actually a surprising amount of flavour there.

Bryan – Truthfully, I’m enjoying this more than I did the first time too. There’s more hop than I remember.

Colin – I’m impressed how full the malt profile is, considering it’s a session ale.

Bryan – I have to change my expectations with session ales. I know it’s wrong to judge a style based on another style, but I’m still adjusting to it. I keep waiting for a session that doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of flavour. This seems to come as close as any I’ve tried.

Colin – Hey what song is that? I don’t recognize it. (Note: All the beers are named after songs)

Bryan – (Googles the answer) Wow it’s a Rolling Stones song! (Queue grooving.)

Backdoor Man – Basil India Pale Ale – with Storm Brewing

Bryan – Dirty jokes aside, prepare yourself to be slapped in the face by a heavily spiced Italian dish.

Colin – (After drinking) Honestly, I kinda feel like I want more basil. I know that’s weird, but…

Bryan – What? Really? You aren’t German, you’re Italian. I’m going to start calling you Mario.

Colin – Hah! What’s nice is that the base beer is really good. It’s a really good amount of hops and bitterness. And it balances really well with the basil, this is something I would definitely drink again.

(At this point we spent about 10 minutes talking about how awesome James Walton and Storm Brewing is.)

Bryan – You know what, Storm does their own Basil IPA. I wonder what the difference is between the solo version and this collaboration version?

Colin – That would be an interesting experiment! I’d like to try that.

Bryan – For sure. But as is, this is a great beer. There’s a lot of basil, but I’m totally OK with that. Makes it different, but in a good way. James makes a lot of crazy beer and he knows how to balance it. In general, it’s all up to taste, of course. Some stuff might be too much, but I’m almost always a fan of amping up flavours so I’m totally down with it.

Colin – You know what, now that it’s warming up a little bit. I change my mind, this is just the right amount of basil. I don’t want more now.

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Boom Boom Boom – Triple Hop Belgian Tripel – with Moon Under Water

Bryan – You’ll see that this beer suffers from a bit of a misnomer, in terms of what sort of expectations the name sets. Continue Reading »

Last fall, I was invited to a fun dinner at Tasty Indian Bistro where I was picked up in downtown Vancouver by the Vancouver Trolley Company then taken to the North Delta restaurant. While the food was great, it’s always hard to evaluate a restaurant based on the food they serve at an event. So when we were looking for an Indian restaurant for lunch the other day, we went back to Tasty to give it another try.

Lunch at Tasty Indian Bistro

Food

The Vegetable Pakora was very good. It was crispy outside, but light and pillowy inside. You could see and taste the pieces of vegetables in the batter. The tamarind sauce brought some sweetness to it, while the mint sauce added freshness to the fried dough. We like the size of the pakora, taking only two bites each.

Vegetable Pakora

I’m a fan of Saag dishes (in a spiced spinach cream sauce). Instead of paneer, this time we ordered Lamb Saag. The meat was tender, still with a bit of gamey taste, and it was really good. Continue Reading »

Partnering once again with the team at VANEATS, we were invited to sample the #SpringFling package at Mosaic Grille & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. I haven’t been back since the Taiwanese-inspired dinner with former Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich, so I was quite excited to try their new offering.

Food

The $27 package comes with 1 appetizer, 1 entree and 1 dessert. We sampled the entire menu, so we can give you some insight as to what you should pick.

The first appy choice was the Earth Apple Farms Mixed Kale. What a pretty plate! There was fresh and pickled radish and edible flowers, and a good mix of greens including baby kale. It’s refreshing with a good combination of texture, and the salad dressing had a good amount of acidity. It may be a salad but it wasn’t a boring plate.

Earth Apple Farms Mixed Kale

The White Asparagus Bisque reminded us of a cauliflower soup. Mr. liked the fact that it’s not fully strained so it still had some grainy texture. It had a hint of sweetness, it’s creamy and rich. The parmesan lavash was a good idea to add a crunchy element, but I personally prefer just a hearty slice of baguette.

White Asparagus Bisque

We often incorporate quinoa into our grain, but we never make quinoa risotto before. The Green Garlic Quinoa Risotto is the vegetarian entree option, and it was surprisingly good! Continue Reading »

During our search for the best Chinese restaurants in town, we made a stop at Uncle Lu in Richmond. It’s the sister restaurant to Corner 23 on Cambie Street.

Food

Suggested by its Chinese name 萬巒豬腳, the restaurant’s signature dish is its pork hock. My mom is really good at making pork hock dishes so I had high expectations. This Pork Hock was legit! The skin was gelatinous, a little bit fatty, while still giving you a bit of a bite. The meat was tender, well-seasoned and flavourful. They could have done a better job plugging the hair out of the skin, though, as pieces of hair were still visible. The dipping sauce added some garlicky flavour, but it was cold. If the sauce was warm, it would help maintain the temperature of the meat, which would make it even more enjoyable.

Pork Hock

Their Three Cup Chicken is a dry interpretation of this Taiwanese classic. The portions size was quite big here. Continue Reading »

As you know, for about 2 months I was out and about eating at many Chinese restaurants in Lower Mainland to help discover the best restaurants for the Chinese Restaurant Awards. If you are following our Twitter and Instagram feed you would see pictures of some of the places I visited, without leaving you a clue of what I thought about the food. Well, it’s secret no more! Together with Sherman, Chloe and Jesse, here are the results of the Food Bloggers’ Choice Awards.

Food Bloggers’ Choice Winners

Best Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) 蝦餃
Yue Delicacy 鮑粵軒

Shrimp Dumpling, Yue Delicacy

Best Five-spice Beef Wrapped in Pancake 大餅夾牛肉
Long’s Noodle House 小龍記麵家

Five-spice Beef Wrap, Long's Noodle House

Best Tea-smoked Duck 樟茶鴨
Shanghai Elan Restaurant 上海粗菜館
Continue Reading »

The contest is now closed. We’ll announce the winner soon. Thank you for entering!

Catelli, the Canadian pasta maker established in 1867 in Old Montreal, recently launched a new product line called Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains. It’s made with 100% Canadian whole wheat with five ancient grains: quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet and sorghum. I was invited to its launch event in Vancouver, over an intimate cooking experience with Chef Lynn Crawford.

Chef Lynn Crawford Cooking Demo

We got to taste-test the doneness of the pasta and find out what our preference was between 7-minute, 8-minute or 9-minute cooking time. For me, I thought cooking the pasta for 8 minutes would give me the perfect al dente texture without being too hard. Overall, the pasta texture is firmer than white pasta, but less grainy and more flavourful than regular whole wheat pasta.

Scroll to the bottom to find out how you can win a year’s supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains pasta!

Taste test doneness of pasta

We also sampled the pasta with Chef Lynn Crawford’s marinara and pesto sauces. Now, if only I could get a hold of those recipes!

Rotini with Chef Lynn's Marinara SauceSpaghettini with Chef Lynn's Pesto Sauce

The cooking demonstration was quite interactive. Did you see my video of Amy Bronee from Family Feedbag jamming with Chef Lynn while making the pesto sauce? It’s all about the basil!!

Marc Smith of 30 Days of Adventures also got called up to help with plating the pasta dishes.

Interactive demo with attendee participation

At the end of the evening, we all had a chance to replicate Chef Lynn’s recipe of Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing. It was easy to make and tasted light and refreshing; it would be a great dish for the warmer days to come this summer. I’ll share the recipe with you at another time.

Joyce cookingWith Chef Lynn Crawford

Now is your chance to get your hands on some of these nutritious pasta! I’m giving away ONE-YEAR SUPPLY of the Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains pasta. Yes, one year’s worth of pasta! I’ve won a year’s supply of product before, and let me tell you, it’s a pretty sweet deal :)

3 ways to enter

Continue Reading »

My family and I used to frequent Nagano near Coquitlam Centre a lot, before it’s closed temporarily due to a fire. Since then, we have been going to Matoi at Sunwood Square by Lougheed Highway.

Food

This time around, in addition to our usual staple, we also tried a few new things. First, Fresh Sea Urchin (uni). I mean, the whole thing! If you follow me on Instagram, then you would see the video of the live sea urchin as it arrived at our table. The flesh had some natural sweetness, not stringy, and didn’t have the unpleasant fishy taste that some may have. It was served with strips of nori (seaweed), and with a few drops of soy sauce, the taste of sea was accentuated. It’s not cheap but definitely an occasional treat that’s worth every nickel (as we phased out our pennies hehe).

Fresh Sea Urchin (Uni)

Usually Japanese restaurants serve Beef Sashimi almost tataki style, with a quick sear on the outside. Not here. It was straight up slices of raw beef, and with a dip into the yuzu based sauce, you can actually taste the beefy flavour. Our order had some nice marbling, so the meat slices just melt in your mouth. I was hesitant about the 100% raw beef but it was actually really good.

Beef Sashimi

We usually add conch to our soup, so Conch Shell Sashimi was a first for all of us. Continue Reading »

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