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Friends and I (including Joyce and Bryan) have formed a beer club called Garibaldi Club. To date our Garibaldi Club has had 13 beer nights, so it was about time we had a wine night. Plus it was good timing for not one, but two couples in our club, who are getting married this year, to obtain some feedback/ideas on potential wines for their nuptial-day shenanigans. Please note: Prices listed below are mostly based on the BC Liquor Stores website and may vary depending on monthly promotion, and it will be priced differently at private, independent liquor stores as well.

Wine Tasting Party

Whites

Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Gewurztraminer (2012/2013)
Canada – Alc 12% – Sweetness 02

If you are looking for something light and crisp to go with a spicy meal (or samosas, which we just so happened to have whilst sipping on this semi-sweet Gewurz) then this is a great choice. It’s got a lovely balance of flavour and sweetness without being too much. Out of 11 people there was only one or two people who said it wouldn’t be their choice, but overall it was quite enjoyable. BC Liquor Stores: $13.29 – good price for a VQA

Saint & Sinner Pinot Grigio (Vintage Not Specified)
Canada – Alc 12% – Sweetness 00

Now for someone who isn’t usually a Pinot Grigio fan I actually really enjoyed this white. It’s sweetness rating is 00 yet in my palate’s opinion it was closer to a 01 – not super dry as a 00 rating may suggest. Overall there wasn’t a negative comment in the house – it was easy drinking and quite refreshing – this may very well be seen at one (or both) of the weddings! BC Liquor Stores: $11.29

Gazela Vinho Verde (Vintage Not Specified)
Portugal – Alc 9% – Sweetness 00

I’m not going to lie, this was just not my style. Continue Reading »

As part of our trip to Victoria, we decided to discover some brunch places. Remember seeing the stack of red velvet pancakes on You Gotta Eat Here, we got to the door of Jam Cafe in the old town area.

Food

After a 40-minute wait, we were finally presented with the menu and my eyes were no longer on the red velvet pancakes. Instead, I got myself the Chicken French Toast. Oh my, it was a huge, pretty plate!

The whole chicken breast was nicely fried, crispy, crunchy, with just the right amount of breading. The meat was still juicy. As you know I’m a sucker for brioche so the brioche French toasts were really enjoyable for me; perhaps they could be soaked in the egg mixture just a bit longer. The highlight for me was the Tabasco honey, in place of a syrup, which was sweet with a hint of heat. The dish was a very well executed combination of sweet and savoury/spicy. Will order that again.

Chicken French Toast

Mr. ordered himself a messy burger. The Union Beast sandwich looked irresistible and sure enough, it tasted very good.

The Union Beast

The tangy cola BBQ sauce was a bit sweeter than regular BBQ sauce, but not overly sweet. Continue Reading »

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 »

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