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(Editor’s note: This is Lisa’s debut post on VanFoodies.com. Enjoy!)

To the followers of VanFoodies, I am a new contributor to the blog. Hope you enjoy my future posts!

It was a sunny day, a day where I burnt my arm and worsened my Tom’s (shoes)  tan by sitting at a tiny sandwich shop at the corner of Pender and Homer. The interior is stuffy almost on hot days, but that doesn’t stop customers from piling into the shop.

The inside of the shop is old. Tables and chairs are fairly dated, maybe picked up from garage sales or vintage stores, glass jugs sitting at the counter with cucumber or lemon water, random ancient books in the corners gathering dust. As soon as you walk in, you look up at their menu, which consists of several chalk boards of chicken scratch handwriting of their different sandwiches, teas, cheese plate, etc. If you look to the side wall, there’s some peeling paint which may possibly explode moths out the wall any second. Beware.

This is one of my friends' sandwiches, the baked brie and pear.

There’s a charm to the place, like an old vintage store. (more…)

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It’s funny that even though True Confections never stood out in my mind as the best place for desserts, I’ve actually gone there quite a few times over the last couple years.

A group of us paid them a visit after spending the day at the beach, and this will be my first review of True Confections.

Overview

I like the open and casual style of the shop, but I’m sure a lesser man out there would’ve preferred it to be more cozy and romantic. It’s pretty neat that they have all their finished products on display, so you know exactly what you are getting a slice of.

I must be getting old and feeble because I can’t believe I’m about to say this—they need to reduce their portion sizes, or at least offer ½ sized dishes. If you are heading in hungry and wants to get full, it’s perfect, but if you have had anything to eat within the last 3 hours, you are better off sharing an order.  Out of the 9 of us, I’m the only one that finished what I ordered, and that’s because I only ordered a drink.

What went in

Having had about two tonnes of meat earlier in the day, I wasn’t feeling particularly peckish. So I ordered a blueberry milk shake. (more…)

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There are way too many restaurants that I would like to try, but my brain is only so big to remember them all. This list is both for me and for you dear readers. I would like to share it with you along with my first impression of the restaurants. My view is obviously a biased one. I like restaurant that has an edge and a personality. I appreciate classic dishes that are done right and creative dishes that actually make sense. I will periodically update the list. Enjoy!

Cafe Barcelona

(Tasted) Serves traditional Spanish tapas dishes; good for snacks and drinks (more…)

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Sorry about the long absence since my last post. In between, I went back to Beijing for vacation. Maybe I will write something to bring you a taste of real Beijing food.

A sister restaurant of the next-door Chambar, Medina Cafe has long been raved about by foodies and critics. A random man on the Hastings (the bad part) also told me that he heard the place is great and would like to try it. I was quite surprised, really. Maybe a good reputation does travel fast, regardless where. My friend and I paid it a visit in hope of an excellent brunch.

I wasn’t very impressed from the get-go. The restaurant was full while a dozen people were waiting outside. I went in to inquire about the wait time and to put my name down, but I wasn’t greeted immediately and warmly. Then the wait started and went on for an hour. To the restaurant, the wait seemed like nothing. The restaurant didn’t attempt to be nice or apologetic about it. Oh well…

We started our brunch with coffee and waffles. I had my waffle with lavender milk chocolate. The topping was great… good flavour and consistency. The waffle on the other hand was definitely on the small side. At $3.15 each, I expected it to be a bit bigger. By the way, the waffles weren’t exactly hot off the iron either. The coffee was great though – good beans and brewed right. In terms of the main event, (more…)

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I came across this interesting website through an article on Telegraph.co.uk. It’s called Edible BC, the largest (so it claims) culinary tourism operator in Canada. It offers a series of interesting public and private events, one of which is called “The Cooking with BC’s Best Dinner Series”. This exclusive (20 diners per night) is offered 2 to 3 times per month. Of the selling points, there are the top chefs in BC, as well as great food and excellent BC wine pairing. The biggest of them is the location – Granville Island Public Market (after hours). Isn’t that exciting? It’s kind of a high-end version of Irish Heather’s Long-table Series. Below is their schedule for 2010. If you are interested and would like a partner in crime, drop me a line. Cheers.

2010 Market Dinner Schedule

Tuesday, March 9 – C Restaurant – Chef Quang Dang – $89.95 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

Quang Dang, C Restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine, exemplifies the new breed of chef making the Pacific Northwest’s food scene avant-guard and ultramodern. He is a blend of styles mixing magician with kitchen improv in a “hold no prisoners” fashion. He sees the alchemy he produces in the kitchen as the practical application of science and wits. His inventive and resourceful nature combines with intense curiosity and high-energy to permeate this young man with a talent so distinct, he is recognized as one of Vancouver’s most ingenious hot new chefs.

Tuesday, March 23 – Raincity Grill with Chef Jennifer Peters  $89.95 per person, plus GST – only 1 space left!

This stunning and iconic location by the beach in Vancouver’s West End is the perfect place for a restaurant dedicated to the celebration of all things Vancouver. Raincity was the name of choice, for in owner Harry Kambolis’  mind, it was simply another way of saying “Vancouver”. Raincity Grill was certainly one of the first restaurants in the city to take advantage of local ingredients and produce and in doing so helped define Pacific Northwest cuisine.  Come meet brand new Executive Chef Jennifer Peters and be among the first to taste her delicious cuisine.

Saturday, March 27 – Whisky Dinner with Cask Strength and Chef Eric Pateman – $130 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

These are the dinners that started it all for Edible BC.  Together with personable and knowledgeable Andrew Starritt from Cask Strength, enjoy an evening of unique and rare single malt whiskies, all paired with rich, sultry dishes created to enhance the complex flavors of the spirits. With price points generally ranging from $80 to $400 a bottle, these dinners provide outstanding value and are perfect for the whisky lover and learner.

Wednesday, April 7 – Yew at Four Seasons – Chef Oliver Beckert – $89.95 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

At YEW restaurant, Chef Oliver Beckert’s deftly handled Pacific Northwest cuisine perfectly echoes the lofty 40 foot ceilings, native maple communal table and masterful sandstone fireplace.  Local edibles shine through the talents of Chef Beckert.  Hailing from Germany, Chef Beckert worked in kitchens around the globe, landing at the Four Seasons in Hawaii before arriving on our coast in 2009.

Wednesday, April 14 – Mission Hill Family Estate Winery – Winery Chef Matthew Batey & Terrace Restaurant Chef Riley Bennett – $89.95 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

Heading up the kitchen at of the top five winery restaurants in the world is no small task. But Executive Chef Matthew Batey and Terrace Restaurant Chef Riley Bennett are both certainly well qualified.  Their culinary style, Cuisine de Terroir, celebrates the freshest of the seasons, the nuances of the geography and the bounty of the Okanagan.  No one better understands and appreciates the pairing of wine and food than a winery chef, and because of this, we will be featuring Mission Hill Family Estate wines for this very special evening.

Monday, April 19 – Locals Comox Valley – Chef Ronald St. Pierre – $89.95 per person, plus GST

Locals motto is “Food from the Heart of the Island”, and there is no better way to sum up one of the most locally-based restaurants in BC.  Experienced and talented Chef Ronald St. Pierre’s passion for and knowledge of the rich bounty of Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley is obvious.  You’ve heard of the 100-mile diet – but what about the 30 minute diet?  That’s how long it takes to traverse the width of the Comox Valley by car – all 15 kilometres of it. Valley-produced organic beef, berries, vegetables, artisan cheese and breads rule his menu.  Join us and taste firsthand the unique terroir of BC’s fastest growing agritourism community.

Tuesday, May 11 – Pourhouse – Chef Chris Irving & Head Bartender Jay Jones $89.95 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

Certainly the most anticipated restaurant opening of late 2009 was Pourhouse, and the wait was well worth the reward.  Talented and travelled Chef Chris Irving’s spin on comfort food is honed and influenced by Tofino’s Wick Inn, Vancouver’s West and London’s Petrus (under Gordon Ramsay).  And Jay Jones is a bartender extraordinaire, if ever there was one, from Whistler’s Araxi to opening West and Nu, heading up Salt through Donnelly Hospitality (gracing The Modern, Pop Opera and Granville Room) before opening the bar at Loden Hotel’s Voya.  On this special evening, Chris and Jay will be showcasing their pairing talents for our very lucky guests.

Tuesday, May 25 – Hart House – Chef Kris Kabush $89.95 per person, plus GST

Located at an idyllic lakeside estate, Hart House is an oasis in the busy Burnaby landscape.  And Chef Kris Kabush is a large part of creating that escape from the bustle of city life.  Casually elegant cuisine is Hart House’s trademark, and has made this a worthy special-occasion restaurant.  From a special date for two, to the summer lobster spectacular, to a spectacular wedding, Kabush and his culinary team deliver.

Tuesday, June 8 – Pastry Chef Wendy Boys $89.95 per person, plus GST

Pastry Chef Wendy Boys is somewhat of an icon around the EBC Retail Store.  You see, her salted caramels are so popular amongst our staff, we have to order extra – just to have enough on hand for customers!  We’re not the only ones who love these addictive sweets – Vancouver Magazine named them one of the top 101 Things to Eat Before you Die.  Wendy served as Executive Pastry Chef at both Lumiere and Feenie’s working with Executive Chef/Owner Rob Feenie. In 2008, with twelve years of pastry expertise, Wendy created her own pastry consulting company working with restaurants like Cactus Club, where she is currently making their dessert menus even more delicious.

Tuesday, June 15 – Sustainable Seafood Evening – Chef Eric Pateman $89.95 per person, plus GST

A very popular evening in 2009, EBC Founder and President Eric Pateman is once again back to introduce new and delicious dishes using our local sustainable seafood.  Learn about Ocean Wise, Vancouver Aquarium’s self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research, and direct action. This delicious evening will both educate and empower guests about the issues surrounding our local waters and the riches within.

Tuesday, June 22 – Sol Kitchen and Windset Farms – Chef Dana Reinhardt $89.95 per person, plus GST

Chef Dana Reinhardt is well known and respected in the BC restaurant industry.  From her time at the Okanagan’s Cellar Door Restaurant to Vancouver’s Raincity Grill and Lumiere before opening CRU, she has made her mark in kitchens across this province.  Dana now owns SOL Kitchen, a food and hospitality consulting company, and is committed to producing fresh, regional and responsible cuisine.  We’re very fortunate to have her talents here for this evening, as few understand BC’s foodstuffs better.

Tuesday, July 6 – Market at Shangri-la – Chef David Foot  $89.95 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

Wednesday, July 21 – West Restaurant – Chef Warren Geraghty – SOLD OUT!

How to summarize West Restaurant?  There isn’t enough room here to list all of the accolades and honours this Granville Street room has garnered. Without doubt, one of the best restaurants in Vancouver – if not North America –  West attracts as many locals as international clientele – all looking for the best dining experience in the city.  Chef Warren Geraghty joined West from London, England with a distinguished resume spanning one, two and three star Michelin establishments, including his most recent appointment as Executive Chef at Marco Pierre White’s illustrious L’Escargot restaurant in Soho. Geraghty is energized by the region’s unparalleled diversity, and his method of using the ingredient at its natural peak and working with trusted purveyors and thoughtful preparation will certainly be highlighted tonight.

Wednesday, August 4th – Chef Afke Zonderland – Raw Food Feast – $89.95 per person, plus GST

We had our first Raw Food Dinner with Afke in 2009, and we were absolutely blown away!  In fact, her food was so delicious and inspiring, guests and EBC staff alike have pledged to make raw food a part of their daily lifestyle.  Afke exchanged her creative talent as kitchen designer for a chef’s jacket two years ago. Her passion for gourmet vegetarian food and a desire for abundant health naturally led her towards eating more un-cooked food.  She continuously amazes participants in her Raw Gourmet workshops how satisfying and delicious Fresh, Living Food really is.  Afke’s understanding of the value of eating, organically grown, minimally processed edibles forms the foundation of extraordinary beverages, meals and guilt free desserts. Her sincere enthusiasm to prepare and enjoy “the best food ever” is contagious.  Afke is the creator behind Krumbleez and Krackleez.

Wednesday, August 11- Bacchus Restaurant – Chef Lee Parsons $89.95 per person, plus GST

One of the most talented chefs in the city, Chef Lee Parsons from The Wedgewood Hotel, has generously offered to come back and join us again this year.  Highly awarded and widely travelled Chef Parsons brings his vast knowledge and understanding of food to Bacchus, and his unique style of modern French meets West Coast always blows us away.  His incredible ability to create the most sensual and lush dishes makes Bacchus a true Vancouver gem, and the lucky few that get the chance to join us tonight are in for a night to remember.

Tuesday, August 24 – Wild Rice – Chef Andrew Wong $89.95 per person, plus GST

Chef & owner Andrew Wong’s contemporary Chinese cuisine has become a Vancouver icon, and Wild Rice will be celebrating nine years of raising the bar for modern Chinese in 2010. Chef Wong’s wish to create a socially conscious restaurant serving local cuisine with influences from his Chinese heritage has been realized, with legions of faithful fans addicted to his chic culinary style.

Tuesday, September 14 –  campagnolo – Chef Rob Belcham $89.95 per person, plus GST – SOLD OUT!

Chef Robert Belcham oversees the kitchen at not one of Vancouver’s top restaurants, but two.  Kitsilano’s Fuel Restaurant (regional, seasonal and approachable cuisine) and East Van’s campagnolo (casual and rustic Northern Italian) are packed daily, and in a sea of dining possibilities, remain two of this city’s best bets.  Chef Belcham sources out only the best quality regional products for his oft-changing menus. By doing all his butchery in house from whole animals, Robert & his kitchen team offer incredible whole roast items and a wide selection of skilled housemade charcuterie.

Tuesday, September 28 – Culinary Capers Catering – Chef Jonathan Chovancek $89.95 per person, plus GST

If you want to know how to entertain with style and create an evening for your guests to remember, this is your night!  Internationally recognized for his culinary talents, Chef Chovancek is in demand globally for his catering. His experience in award-winning restaurants, such as the Aerie Resort and Sooke Harbour House, helped prepare him for the challenges of working in a creative and fast-paced catering environment, and his commitment to using the freshest possible ingredientsto produce fine food rules his philosophy.

Tuesday, October 12 – The Beach House Restaurant – Executive Chef Michael Cameron, Executive Sous Chef Joe Duprey, Executive Pastry Chef Steve Hodge – $89.95 per person, plus GST

It’s very fitting that this iconic West Vancouver restaurant on Dundarave Pier is now overseen by a local boy.  Executive Chef Michael Cameron, a native of West Van, arrived at The Beach House with over twenty years of experience both locally and internationally.  One of the North Shore’s oldest and most celebrated landmarks, this restored 1912 historic teahouse is now the home of acclaimed seasonal West Coast cuisine and award-winning wines. This is the first time that The Beach House has joined us for a Market Dinner, and we can’t wait!

Friday, October 22 – Whisky Dinner with Cask Strength and Eric Pateman – $130 per person, plus GST

These are the dinners that started it all for Edible BC.  Together with personable and knowledgeable Andrew Starritt from Cask Strength, enjoy an evening of unique and rare single malt whiskies, all paired with rich, sultry dishes created to enhance the complex flavors of the spirits. With price points generally ranging from $80 to $400 a bottle, these dinners provide outstanding value and are perfect for the whisky lover and learner.

Tuesday, October 26 – Vij’s & Rangoli – Chef Vikram Vij – Tickets by Lottery $89.95 per person, plus GST

Due to extremely high demand, we will again be offering tickets to this class by lottery ONLY, so if you would like to try and win an opportunity to purchase two tickets to this hotly anticipated class, please send us an email before September 15, 2010.  Vikram Vij is widely recognized as the world’s top Indian cuisine chef – guaranteed to be an evening of a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 23 – Araxi Restaurant – Chef James Walt $89.95 per person, plus GST – one space left!

One of EBC’s must visit restaurants in Whistler is Araxi.  As the first restaurant in Jack Evrensal’s Top Table empire, Araxi holds a place in Whistler history.  No matter how many times you visit, or what season, they never stop improving or fail to impress. Be it an intimate dinner in the heart of winter, a summer lunch on the patio, or oysters and bubbles at the bar, the staff and atmosphere at Araxi always offer something extra special.  And Chef James Walt plays an instrumental part.  One of this country’s leading chefs, James Walt continues to inspire both his contemporaries and his guests, creating compelling regional cuisine based on local, sustainable ingredients.  In late 2009 Araxi was catapulted to the world stage as the winning restaurant for Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. This promises to be a delicious – and entertaining – evening as James will share stories from one of the world’s top ski destinations just months after the world arrived for the Olympics.

Tuesday, December 7 – Holiday Entertaining – Chef Eric Pateman $89.95 per person, plus GST

Our last public dinner of the year before we are into holiday party season, this is the perfect opportunity for you to pick up some tips and tricks on festive entertaining.  Whether it be holiday beverages to start, tasty platters to share or sides to go along with the turkey, this class will help breathe new traditions into your holiday entertaining.

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