December 23, 2008


1111 Mainland St, Vancouver

Founded in 1994, the YALETOWN BREWING COMPANY was built with the vision of being a true neighborhood pub in the up-and-coming warehouse district known as Yaletown. This 160-seat Restaurant and a lively Pub has been voted Best Brewpub in Canada on several occasions and still works diligently to wow customers with seasonal beers, evolving menus and entertaining event nights. YBC has become a one-stop destination for everything from large corporate events to quick after-work beers with the regulars. But let’s get serious, if this place is going to continue to thrive, it has to serve good food. So how good is the food?

Not bad at all. Here's what we had: MANCHURIAN CHICKEN (Bite-sized chicken pieces drizzled in a Spicy Sweet Ginger & Garlic-Cilantro Sauce), GUACAMOLE BURGER (A monster beef burger saddles with Swiss Cheese, Bacon & Fresh Guacamole on a fresh toasted bun. Served with Beer-battered Fries), PULLED PORK SANDWICH & BEER $10 LUNCH SPECIAL (Slow-smoked Pork in-house brewed beer braised onion, coleslaw & chopped fresh cilantro on a hoagie bun. Served with house-made potato chips and a glass of Iain’s Downtown Brown Beer) and the ROASTED CHICKEN SALAD (Tender Roasted Chicken, Sundried Cranberries, Goats Cheese, fried Garlic Chips, Avocado & straw Veggies in a lemon/lime vinaigrette and a fig-balsamic reduction).

Sounds all right doesn't it? Well it was, the burger was fresh and juicy, the pulled pork delicious and the beer-battered fries were out of this world. Unfortunately the Manchurian Chicken was drowning in sauce and the pieces were quite chewy, other than this disappointing dish, the others were great. The service at YBC was decent and the vibe is always lively so all in all, it's a great place to eat. Are there better choices? Sure...are there worse options... absolutely but if you want some good grub in a decent place then the YALETOWN BREWING COMPANY might be the spot for you.


December 18, 2008


980 Granville St, Vancouver

DEUCE BUNGALOW is Granville Street's newest Lounge/Bar/Restaurant and there is the problem, it doesn't know what it wants to be and does all three styles half-heartedly. A jack of all trades and a master of none. Sporting the décor of a club & sports bar and featuring a menu filled with latin-inspired dishes, DEUCE BUNGALOW is in danger of disappearing quickly if it can’t forge its own unique identity soon and work on its food quality sooner.

My biggest issue with the place, is the overuse of pickled onions and Avocado Sour Cream, these two condiments are on virtually every dish that is served whether you like it or not. I do like both of those flavors... but not on everything! This is what we feasted on: Pablo's Mortar & Pestle Guacamole (Home-made Refried Beans, Pink Pickled Onions & warm Tortilla Chips), Deuce's Double Breaded Chicken Wings (Avocado Sour Cream, Deuce's Special Hot Sauce), Yucatan Avocado Fries (Smoked Ancho Aioli, Heirloom Tomatoes, Pink Pickled Onions) and the Salsa Verde Braised Beef Taco Skewer (Rajas, Tender Flank Steak, Chilled Gazpacho Shooter).

Their guacamole is actually quite tasty but the Black Bean Dip underneath the Guac was so hard, no chip could pierce the dip and we had to use a spoon to get any Black Bean out. The Wings were bland on their own (the breading was quite standard) but the house made hotsauce was a definite winner and brought these otherwise average wings to life. The biggest disappointment were the Avocado Fries, this is supposedly the “signature dish” at DEUCE and if you look at the online reviews, this is one of the best received dishes at the eatery. I did not like this dish at all. First off, Avocado is a subtle yet rich flavor that explodes when accompanied by another flavor, these were just slices of avocado, breaded and deep fried. So it tasted like avocado-flavored breading and to make matters worse, the Avocado was not ripe. Yikes! If this is the signature dish, it needs a lot of help. Our final dish, the Beef Tacos were probably the tastiest dish of the lot but the gazpacho shooter was a waste, it didn’t add anything to the meal.

I don’t know if I would return to DEUCE BUNGALOW, the food was only so-so and the ambiance was awkward. Is it a club? Is it a lounge? Who knows, but I will say this, if it’s a restaurant, they have a lot more work to do.


December 16, 2008


52 Powell St, Gastown

I’ve had numerous people recommend COBRE to me as the “best Latin Food in the city” which I always smiled and thanked them for but never acted upon. Then both my Dad and my cousin who are both restaurateurs recommended it so I knew I had to go there eventually. So this week we hooked up with out fabulous “foody” friends Vicky & Dan and decided to pull the trigger on COBRE … boy am I glad we did.

Located in historic Gastown, COBRE offers us a mix of Argentinean, Cuban, Brazilian & Mexican flavours in an elegant setting. It’s a beautiful scene, a multiple leveled room showcasing a mix of slate floors, exposed brick, warm ochre and the spotlight copper ceiling piece (Cobre means “copper” in Spanish). COBRE is gorgeous, this isn't your typical “taco joint” so we asked our waitress for her opinion and she gave us a description of the type of food they offer, she was extremely friendly and willing to help us make our decision. She offered a few suggestions and we were off and running! This is a Tapas joint so the portions are small and meant to be shared, no dish is over $15 which means you can order as much or as little as you want without going into overkill. I should note that overall, The service was spectacular! We were so caught up in our conversation that the server had to come up multiple times to ask for our orders, but she never once looked frustrated and was very gracious about it. Anyways on with the food…

We started with a classic Ceviche, Local albacore tuna y pipian rojo azteca, warm Peruvian causa. This was a small but tasty app that blended the tuna and potato it was sitting on perfectly. Michelle wasn’t sold on the warm potato mixing with the cold Ceviche but I found the mix tasty. Next we tackled the Taqueria, Pork saddle al pastor con pina, traditionale which was a nice blend of multiple flavors and textures in a classic taco, each bite was an explosion of goodness.

Then onto the main Tapas. First off, White corn free range chicken taquitos w/ fresh house guac. Not too adventurous as it is one of the more “mainstream Mexican” choices but its’ delicious regardless and the homemade guacamole was light and refreshing. Next up, Wild Mexican sea prawns y pipian verde w/ butter browned corn arepas. These were my personal favorites of the night as I loved the combination of the spicy prawns on the corn cake, this was a tasty dish. Finally, Michelle’s favorite, the Maple chipotle glazed beef short ribs w/ sweet potato chips. The chips were excellent, deep fried to perfection very crispy. The short ribs had a bit of an Asian influence, but the chipotle kept it grounded in Latino flavors but it was like eating spicy Maui Short Ribs. Not that that is a bad thing cause these ribs were delicious.

We finished the night with some White Sangria and two great desserts. The classic Dulce de Leche, a rich caramel pudding served with caramelized banana and espresso churro. the other is a Pecan Pie with sliced pear and horchata cream. Both are worth a taste!

It was a fantastic night and COBRE offers up some great, great Latin-influenced food. I cannot recommend this place enough. The décor, the service, the ambiance, the flavours, it all makes for a great night out and primed for a return visit. COBRE, we will be back!


December 14, 2008



Location: 4121 Main St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-708-4121
Website: LOCUS

While LOCUS remains one of the staples of the Main Street Food District and usually serves up some delectable eats, this time they did not, this time, it was a disappointing meal. That being said, the service and ambiance were top notch but the food was not. Michelle opted for the Spicy Chicken Quesidilla while I went for the Duck Sausage Eggs Benny... here's the dillio.

The Quesidilla is a mix of spicy roast chicken, crisp bacon, fresh tomato white cheddar cheese in an organic whole wheat tortilla fresh cut salsa, spiked guacamole & sour cream organic green salad, sounds good right? Well it would be but the chicken chunks were gigantic making the Quesidilla awkward to cut and the cheese was so very strong, it completely overtook every other flavor in the mix, including the bacon and you don't want to mess with Bacon. As for the Duck Benny, the sausage was very gamy and greasy and I know that those are traits of duck meat but I've had duck sausage before and this wasn't a high quality one, the meat replaced the other flavors in the dish which was a shame. At least there is one constant at LOCUS and that's their thick-cut, chunky style,fried Brunch Potatoes, they still are and will always be awesome. Also the Baily's Latte is a great way to spend a few indulgent moments out from the holiday cold.

All in all, I would still recommend the LOCUS as a great place to have a bite on Main Street but this time, the meal was a disappointment. It would be fair to say that I will return but next time I will be ordering something else.

December 9, 2008



Location: 1079 Mainland St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604 602 0835

Opened since 2002, this 100-seat eatery has become somewhat of a staple in the hood called Yaletown, from it's open concept Kitchen to its award-winning Executive Chef John Crook, GLOWBAL has maintained a consistent vibe and clientele that sees the establishment busy every day of the week. Add to that, the 50-seat lounge AFTERGLOW located at the back of the restaurant and GLOWBAL definitely becomes one of the hot spots to visit in Vancouver.

This time around, a few of us at work decided to make GLOWBAL our holiday luncheon destination and am I glad I did, not only was the service fast & friendly but my meal and all the others were delicious!

Here's a look at what we had:
  • THE SATAY PLATTER: A giant platter filled with one of each of Glowbal's signature satays including: Garlic Jumbo Prawn, 7 Spice Ahi Tuna, Braised Beef Short Rib, Grilled BC Salmon, Mushroom Tempura, Kobe Beef Meatball, Diver Scallops, Rosemary Lamb Chops, Louisiana Fried Oyster & Ginger Brushed Chicken. They are served with Asian slaw, spiced pappadam and a trio of dipping sauces: ginger soya sauce, smoked chipotle mustard with fresh thyme & sun-dried tomato aioli.
  • KOBE MEATBALLS & SPAGHETTI: The Glowbal Signature dish and according to the hostess, the most asked for dish on the menu. 4 giant, rich meatballs served in a spicy tomato basil sauce with garlic confit and fresh parmesan cheese.
  • BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH LINGUINE: The staff favorite according to two waiters and one of the cooks. This explosion of flavour is served with woodland mushrooms, toasted pine nuts and a light café au lait sauce.
  • CHICKEN PARMIGIANINO: The Daily Special but no less impressive. A massive breaded Chicken Breast friend golden and served with a fresh Tomato Basil Linguine.
  • PAELLA RISOTTO: A twist on the Spanish Classic, this seafood staple comes with mussels, clams, chorizo, calamari, prawns and it's all mixed together with a saffron cream.

This was a fantastic meal, all of the dishes were extremely tasty and worth a repeat order, I should know, I tried a bite of all of them. Personally I ordered the Meatballs & Spaghetti and I wasn't disappointed, it was truly delectable, light yet filling and spiced perfectly. Paige, a co-worker had the short ribs and said "I was sad when it was over, I didn't want it to end" while Alia commented on the Chicken Parm, "wow, that was good". You can't get much better than that.

GLOWBAL will definitely be a place for me to revisit in the future. It's a small room, with a great vibe and the food that I tried this time around was great all around. I look forward to trying something different next time.


December 5, 2008



Location: 562 Beatty Street, Vancouver
Telephone: 604 879 7119
Website: CHAMBAR

CHAMBAR is the small Belgian hideaway that is well known for it's funky atmosphere, its diverse Beer selection and its legendary Mussels. Seriously, if you are a Mussel fan, then do yourself a favor and dig into a giant pot of these beauties, you won't be disappointed. I had been to CHAMBAR once before for a Birthday Party and this time, 9 of us went for a Holiday Work Dinner.

Here's a look at some of our selections for dinner:
  • Foie de canard ‘Villa Lorraine’ (Spiced Foie gras terrine with Port reduction, Kriek Granita & truffled brioche french toast)
  • Moule Frites: Coquette (Mussels cooked in a white wine cream. Smoked bacon lardons, spring onions)
  • Moule Frites: Congolaise (Mussels cooked with a tomato coconut cream. Smoked chili and lime. Fresh cilantro)
  • La morue charbonniere (Pan seared sablefish, marinated artichoke, fingerling potatoes, lemon yogurt remoulade & saffron rouille)
  • Steak Bourguignon (Grilled AAA ribeye steak, pommes frites, roasted king oyster mushrooms, fried shallots, Bourguignon sauce)
  • Chevreil aux Chataignes (Roasted venison short loin. Parsnip puree, elk salchichon, caramalized chestnut & baby winter vegetables)
  • La cafe belge (Espresso cheesecake with Belgian chocolate mousse, creme de cacao gelee & crisp chocolate wafers)
  • La bombe d'Alaska (Italian meringue, matcha ice cream & vanilla sponge cake with lemon curd & fresh pomegranate)

Overall, the food was spectacular. Again, the mussels proved to be the table favorite as people fought tooth & nail to sop up as much of those tasty sauces as possible with all the fries & bread available, seriously, there's that good. The Foie Gras was divine, the Sablefish fresh and the Venison to die for... but then there was the Steak.

Now as you know from previous reviews I am a steak lover, I loves me some steak and so did a lot of people at dinner last night as 5 of the 9 people there ordered it. 4 out of those 5 were awesome, mine was not. It was probably the fattiest steak I had ever had in a restaurant and while the spices and sauce made it tasty fat, it was still fat nonetheless. I know some people like a lot of fat in their steak, I don't like THAT much in mine, an epic disappointment for a meat-fan like myself.

This did not ruin the night for me however as the rest of the food was top notch, the service professional and the company was fantastic. We topped it off with probably the richest cheesecake I have ever tried (La Cafe Belge) and a scotch, what better way to end an evening out with friends.

While I may hold off on the Steak, you can bet that I will return to CHAMBAR for another evening out. As I said, the great atmosphere and those "to die for" mussels are worth a return visit.


November 23, 2008



Location: 2616 Main St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-709-8650
Website: CASCADE

It's Saturday night, you and 14 friends want to go out to celebrate someones birthday, have some eats and some funky cocktails... where do you go? Well, actually, in this city, there are alot of places to choose from but this time, our friend Sarah chose to celebrate her birthday at THE CASCADE ROOM. It's a funky joint from the owners of HABIT that, as they describe it, "takes you back to the golden age of the cocktail" which sounds good to me but what didn't was the food. I'd never eaten at CASCADE but from what I had heard, the food was the weak link to this place, so much so, some friends chose not to go back because of it. We were informed that a new menu would be in effect, so we decided to give it a shot and I'm glad we did, the food was great, the cocktails were fantastic and our night at THE CASCADE ROOM was a hit.

First off, let's talk cocktails - this places has an extensive list of kick ass and crazy sounding cocktails. While I stuck with my ususals (Caesars & Cuba Libres), people tried: the cascade room cocktail (bourbon shaken hard with fresh pressed apple & lime juices, vanilla bean, bitters and egg white, served straight up with a shaving of roasted hazelnut), dark 'n' stormy (dark bermuda rum built with fresh lime, bitter and topped with ginger beer), moscow mule (vodka, fresh lime juice and a dash of bitters, topped with ginger beer, served tall), pimm's cocktail (pimm's topped with ginger ale, with mint, cucumber, orange, lemon and an apple thrown in), bellini (peach brandy and white peach puree topped with champagne), mint julep (fresh mint muddled with sugar, filled with crushed ice and a generous measure of kentucky bourbon) and the absinthe cocktail (prepared traditionally, absinthe on the rocks, gently stirred with spring water and flame dripped sugar). All were big, tasty and sensational, this place definitely knows cocktails.

Now, how about the food?!? As I said, previous reports said that the food at THE CASCADE ROOM was quite disappointing but while Sarah was making the reservation, the hostess informed her that a "new menu" was being launched this very weekend, so we gave it a shot. Here's a sampling of what we tried:
  • Rocket Salad (toasted pumpkin seeds, dried apple, herb crusted goat’s cheese, black currant vinaigrette)
  • Crisp Calamari (lemon & oregano breading, roasted red pepper & smoked paprika aioli)
  • Malaspina Mussels Lafayette (white wine, garlic, Cajun spices, light cream & flatbread)
  • Tagliatelle Amatriciana (smoked, then braised pork cheeks, tomato sauce, fresh chili, tagliatelle pasta)
  • Organic Mushroom Risotto (carnaroli rice, organic mushrooms, rosemary & tempura oyster mushroom garnish)
  • Northern BC Buffalo Top Sirloin (aged white cheddar & potato gratin, maple glazed beets, Tawny Port jus)
  • Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef Burger (white Ivanhoe cheddar, house made bacon, crispy shallots, three mustard aioli, hand cut fries & mini green salad)
  • crisp polenta fries (with curried mayo dip)
I am happy to report that the food is a hit! Honestly out of all of the dishes here, people enjoyed them all except for the Buffalo Sirloin which was surprisingly tough but otherwise, thumbs up all around. I had the Burger and this was one hell of a burger, thick cut bacon, ivanhoe cheddar and crisp onions on top, this thing was a taste sensation. The Polenta Fries were massive and for only $6, a hell of a deal. The Risotto was fresh, light and falvorful and the Tagliatelle, rich, scrumptious and finger-licking good. Another point of concern was that the Mussels were served with crisp flatbread which made it really hard to soak up the yummy mussel sauce, they need some soft bread to help lap up the goodness, crisp bread just doesn't cut it. All in all though, the food was dynamite.

For a group of 15, the service was fantastic, our waitress was friendly, attentive and prompt, the food came quickly despite the business of the restaurant, and as I mentioned earlier, the cocktails were massive. THE CASCADE ROOM is a definite hit with me, not only for their eats but for a place to hang out and have some drinks. Good food and a great lounge make THE CASCADE ROOM a casual winner!


November 19, 2008



Location: 871 Beatty Street, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-682-BREW
Website: DIX

Everyone loves a good BBQ and I mean c’mon, how can you not! Slow cooked meat, spices, bean & taters on the side, mmm, just thinking about it gets my mouth watering! Now, Vancouver is not the south, the fine art of BBQ is not as predominant as it is say in Tennessee or Louisiana but we do have MEMPHIS BLUES if you need a BBQ-fix and every second restaurant in town seems to offer a Pulled Pork Sandwich of Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs, so there are options. But DIX calls itself a BBQ & Brewery, not only do they make their own beer, but everything on the menu comes outta the BBQ, smoker or slow-cooker. With that in mind and a belly ready for a “meat-hangover”, my buddy Steve and I decided to give DIX BBQ & BREWERY a shot.

DIX has been around for a while, it’s located steps from BC Place and sits around 150 (Pub & Restaurant) peeps so you know it’s a party at game time! As I stated, they brew their own beer right on the premises, "Red Truck Lager" and "Red Truck Ale" and they pride themselves on offering “southern backyard BBQ favorites” in their menu. Speaking of the menu, the offer some BBQ facts on there as well, like:

  • 42 percent of consumers say barbecues or cookout parties are their most popular form of home entertainment. They cite great-tasting food, easy cleanup and a change of pace as top reasons.
  • 57 percent of grills are used year-round.
  • Aluminum wrap is the most common utensil used in the preparation of side dishes, followed by skewers.

Alas, BBQ facts on a BBQ menu do not make a BBQ Restaurant great, the food does, so let’s dig in. Despite my wish to share the Fully Stacked Nachos For Two (tortilla chips loaded with pulled chicken, beef, BBQ beans, cheese and topped with salsa and sour cream), we opted for the Lager Marinated Beer Wings tossed in Carolina BBQ Sauce. These little beauties were sweet with a hint of spice on the end, the chicken was juicy and fresh but I though they could have been a little crispier for my liking. Despite my personal preference, they were still finger-liking good and at only $0.34 a wing on Wednesdays, a hell of a finger-licking bargain!

Next up, we went for the Mighty Butt Rub Burger, a monster of a beef burger spiced with Dix's own BBQ Rub and topped with cheddar, bacon, guacamole, BBQ'ed onions and jalapeno mayo. Yes, it sounds as good as it tastes, this was one fine and messy BBQ Burger. Despite the numerous toppings, they all worked together and add the side of "fresh" coleslaw (yes, it was fresh: crisp cabbage, tasty and not drowning in dressing) and this burger is a lunchtime winner. I definitely recommend this as it is a flavorful experience and will keep you full for the afternoon.

All in all, I enjoyed my experience at DIX, the wings and the burgers were tasty options but safe ones. Next time, I will dive deep into their BBQ-fare and report back on my findings. Until then, DIX BBQ & BREWERY will remain a lunchtime winner!


November 13, 2008



Location: 1479 Robson St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-696-9335

A lot of people talk about "Box Stores" stealing business and originality from the little mom & pop shops around town, well the same can be said for "Box Restaurants" especially in Vancouver. In a city filled with generic siblings like EARLS, MILESTONES and CACTUS CLUB comes the latest youngster to join in on the fun, BROWNS SOCIAL HOUSE.

Now what separates this joint from all the others? Not much. Cool design, top-heavy waitresses in tight clothes, burgers, salads, steaks and drink specials. In fact, Browns has a smaller menu and much more of a casual low key atmosphere. For a generic restaurant, it's pretty good.

It was a quiet Thursday when Lesley and I walked in for lunch and we were seated immediately. BROWNS has a few unique appies that are worth trying like the Pulled Pork Nachos and the Lobster Wings but I opted for the Hot Wings because as you may have guessed, that's how I roll. Now for regular Hot Wings, these were pretty damn good, crispy, juicy and spicy but the best part? Real Blue Cheese in the Blue Cheese Dip, trust me, it makes a difference.

For mains, Lesley went with the Blackened Chicken Cowboy Salad while I went with the Blackened Fish Sandwich (as you can see BROWNS likes their food blackened). The Salad is always a crowd pleaser filled with corn, walnuts, dates and feta and it didn't disappoint this time. As for the Fish Sandwich, awesome. A nice-sized sized piece of blackened cod housed in a big bun chock full of coleslaw. It was served with a generous portion of yam fries and chipotle mayo. This is a great sammich and I will definitely order it again.

All in all, BROWNS SOCIAL HOUSE will not break the mold of Vancouver Box Restaurants but the food was good, the service was prompt and the price was right ($43 for 2 drinks, wings and the 2 mains). But if you want a change of locale and a few different options on you menu, then give Browns a try.

As a side note, a few Sundays ago we went to the BROWNS in Kits on Sunday where they had a Pizza/Caesar Deal. Pizzas were $8 and Caesars were $4... you do the math... good times.


November 10, 2008


Location: 1137 Marinaside Cr, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-488-0555


There are a ton of great burger joints in this city and while I have favorites like VERA'S BURGER SHACK or MODERNE BURGER, sometimes you come across a restaurant that has some tasty "hockey pucks". One such place is HURRICANE GRILL in Yaletown, while they offer a cornucopia of choices, I do love their burgers.

The menu is huge, perhaps too huge, they have a lot to offer and I'm sure if an eatery like this were ever on "Restaurant Makeover" the chef would cut have of the options out! Nevertheless, there is something here for everyone but a co-worker and I decided to stick to the meat so we ordered Wings and Burgers.

According to the menu, you Gotta Do the "Wing Thing" so that's what we did, we ordered classic Hot Wings. 10 wings come complete with fries, carrot & celery sticks and dip. The Wings were crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside, I couldn't ask for much more other than a spicier Hot Sauce on the wings themselves. They needed some more kick!

As for the burgers... BOOYA! I ordered the Blue Cheese Burger (Danish Blue Cheese melted on a homemade patty with crispy bacon) while my co-worker had the BBQ, Bacon, Mozza Burger (A delicious combination). Both Burgers came with a choice of fries or salad (we both opted for Salad) and both were char-grilled giving them both that "home-cooked" taste. Both burgers came on deliciously toasted Whole Wheat Buns complete with all the fixins and the salads were fresh and tasty. All in all, a perfect tasting lunchtime burger.

With that, the HURRICANE GRILL gave me a great meal and I look forward to my next meal there. Perhaps I will try something else but it's going to be tough because I gotta tell you, I love this burger!


October 29, 2008


Location: 1191 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Telephone: 604.254.2437
Website: STELLA'S


In the past, Commercial Drive was usually associated with good deli’s, vegetarian donairs and lots of produce and while all that is still there, the restaurants have really kicked it up a notch. Places like WAZUBEE'S and HAVANA and my previously reviewed REEF and ME & JULIO have really put “the Drive” on the “tasty eats map” but one place continues to shine and it’s not only the food or the atmosphere, it’s the beer. I’m talking about STELLA’S TAP & TAPAS BAR, it’s a winner.

Since moving to East Van, the wife and I have eaten many, many at time at STELLA’S and not once have we been disappointed. They have a kick ass brunch menu, featuring many delights like House-made Belgian waffles topped with whipped cream & Bananas Foster (brown sugar & dark rum sauce), Caramelized Onion, goat’s cheese & red pepper Frittata, and the legendary Croque Monsieur with oven roasted ham, mornay sauce & melted emmenthal cheese. This is some serious brunchy goodness and serious brunchy goodness needs to be partnered with a serious bloody Caesar and I am happy to say that STELLA’S make a seriously good Caesar.

However we are not talking about brunch here, we are talking about dinner and at night, STELLA’S stays true to its moniker as a tap and tapas house, they rock at it. First off, this place has the best Belgian Beer selection in town, hands down, in fact, they have a four page menu filled with Belgian Beer, it’s remarkable. My personal favorite is the Piraat 9% (Massive snow white head. Nose has some spice to it, with some orange, citrus and sugary aromas. Very high carbonation, lemon and green apple bitterness. Swings between fruity bitterness and some sweet alcohol tones). Along with the Belgian explosion they have quite a few domestic & imports on tap and In the bottle but seriously, be adventurous and try a Belgian, you won’t be disappointed.

Enough about the beer, let’s get onto the eats, they are fantastic. Out of the 31 dishes on the current tapas menu I have personally tried 19 of the choices and have not been let down yet. This time around, we went with a few friends, ordered a bunch of dishes and all shared. Here’s what we had and some thoughts:

  • Belgian Poutine - Stella’s frites, fresh cheese curds, Blanche de Chambly & Miso gravy, green onions (rich and delectable, a table favorite)
  • Calamari - Panko breaded squid, flash fried, chipotle aioli (lightly breaded and not greasy at all)
  • Chili Pomegranate Wings - One pound of Piquin chili & pomegranate molasses glazed chicken wings (tasty, cool and flavorful. Sweet & spicy)
  • “Filet”-delphia Cheese Steak - filet mignon medallions, snow goat cheese croute, cranberry salsa (wow, tender meet, potent cheese, awesome!)
  • Tuna - Sesame-crusted, seared Yellow Fin tuna, wilted spinach, wasabi aioli (some of the best tuna around, the sesame takes it up a notch)
  • Thai Mussels - 1 pound of Fresh hand graded Gallo (Washington State) mussels Thai style - Sweet bell peppers, kaffir lime leaf, red curry coconut broth (My wife’s favorite, always ordered no matter what – order some bread to soak up the killer sauce)
  • Green Beans - Soy kissed sambal green beans, black and white sesame (you can’t beat these beans – so tasty)

The food here is fantastic and the prices are reasonable, the most expensive dish was the mussels (1 pound for $14) and the dish was so big it took four people to finish it off. The service is always friendly and like I’ve said time and time again, the food & beer are both deserving of a try. Here’s the kicker, STELLA’S isn’t a secret, a lot of people know about it and enjoy it so it’s always busy especially at night. Prepare to wait but the wait is worth it, STELLA’S TAP & TAPAS BAR is a great place for food and friends, it’s that good.


October 27, 2008


Location: 1009 Hamilton St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604.331.1511


One of Yaletown’s regular haunts is the HAMILTON STREET GRILL located on the aptly named Hamilton Street in you guessed it, Yaletown. I’ve been there for dinner, I’ve been there for a staff party and now I’ve been for lunch and all three times, the meals were good. Not great, just good. It would probably be better if there weren’t so many similar restaurants like this one in Vancouver. It seems that a large number of our fair city’s eateries suffer from a similar syndrome: the lack of originality.

Now I don’t want to get on a soapbox here because there are hundreds of unique and original restaurants in Vancouver worthy of enjoying and filled with good eats but it seems like in the core of our downtown, there are a lot of similar themed joints with similar styled menus that offer similar tasting food. Oh, HAMILTON STREET GRILL offers up a pulled-pork sammich? So does Dix and both Earls and Keg have it as a special this week. You see what I mean? I know we can never escape this as it comes with the territory of having so many different places to choose from, you’re bound to get some cross pollination. I just wish that sometimes it wasn’t so blatant. Anyways, on with the meal….

This time around, a few folks from work got together for a quick bite at HSG and this is what we had: 4-cheese Macaroni with Chorizo Sausage, Pulled Pork Sammich and Grilled Chicken Penne. I chose the Macaroni, a deep dish bubbling over with cheese and bits of grilled Chorizo thrown in for good measure. While rich and filling, believe it or not, I found it somewhat dry, like they baked it for just a bit too long as they top and bottom had lost the goo and crisped up. The center was nice and flowing with gooey cheesy goodness. My buddy Nate had the Pulled Pork and in his own words, “I’ve ordered this nine times and I’m ordering it again… it’s good”. When I asked him if he’d every tried anything else on the menu, he said “sure but I like the Pulled Pork Sandwich, it’s the best”. Finally, Ben ordered the Grilled Chicken Penne with an extra breast of chicken, the thing was a monster and he devoured it like it was his last meal (Ben works out… a lot). He was quite please with the chicken itself and the sauce of the perfectly cooked pasta saying “it’s quite tasty”.

So HAMILTON STREET GRILL seems to be a winner. Friendly and quick service, good food and decent prices make it a solid yaletown destination choice for the lunchtime crowd. Next time, I want to grab a quick and tasty meal over the lunch hour, I’m sure I’ll find it at HAMILTON STREET GRILL.


October 13, 2008



Location: 1109 Hamilton St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604.684.9111

There are a number of different MILESTONES locations to choose from in our fair city but the wife and I seem to continuously return to one in particular, the Yaletown one, why? Two simple reasons, solid food and solid service.

MILESTONES as a franchise seems to have gone through a major image retooling as they now call themselves a "Grill & Bar" and they now focus on "Canadian casual fine-dining restaurant giving its guests a vibrant and inviting place to enjoy an exciting twist on the classic Milestone's experience". What does that mean to you and me? It's modern, it's upscale, everything is .50 cents more and there are a lot of new things on the menu.

This Thanksgiving weekend we met a few friends for lunch and all of us started with the classic Caesar cocktail. I always start brunch with a Caesar and the Milestones Caesar doesn't disappoint. Smirnoff vodka, Mott’s Clamato, house-made Worcestershire sauce and a Blaze’s spicy bean adorn this tasty beverage, in fact it's so nice, I had it twice! I'm a big fan of their homemade Worcestershire Sauce and always ask for a Caesar "extra dirty".

With the drinks out of the way, it was time for some "thanksgiving nosh". The gents had the same deal, The Smoked Turkey Club while the girls went the breakfast route and had the Eggs Milestones and the Prime Rib Hash.

15 minutes later the food arrived and thank the maker, we were all starved. I am a huge fan of Milestones sandwiches & burgers and the Smoked Turkey Club does not disappoint, it's a monster meal. Served on toasted cranberry sourdough, the piles of turkey come with double-smoked bacon, sliced Roma tomato, and whole-grain mustard mayonnaise. They also add this kick ass spicy house-made avocado salsa to the mix that takes it to the next level. Add those classic curly fries and ask for a side of the "sesame mayo" (it's the dip that usually comes with the the Thai Drummettes) and trust me, you are in for one hell of a "flavourgasm".

My wife went with the Prime Rib Hash as she described as "sweet and tasty". Slow roasted and thinly sliced prime rib morsels tossed with crispy seasoned potatoes, bell peppers, sweet onion and roasted corn. The whole shebang is topped with two poached eggs, decadent hollandaise sauce and on the side, Roma tomatoes and grilled herb toast. Nice!

The final was also the classic Brunch spectacular with a twist, Eggs Milestones. Two poached eggs and more of that kick ass hollandaise sauce over sliced tomatoes, house-made avocado salsa and cream cheese on two slices of those great english muffins. The meal is served with house-fried potatoes and trust me, it's good. I've tried a lot of different Eggs Benny in my day, some good, some sloppy, some overcooked and some just plain bad and Eggs Milestones always holds up.

All in all, our experience at the newly renovated Yaletown MILESTONES was great. The new decor is eye-pleasing, the staff is on-the-ball and the food is still tasty and enjoyable. I am a little sad that the pizza oven is gone as they made one of the better pies around but the brunch and the rest of the menu makes up for it. Like I said, solid service and solid food.


October 5, 2008



Location: 783 Homer St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-689-2800
Website: No Website

Sometimes you just want a quick bite and there are tons of choices downtown, so I decided to give JIMMY'S a try. A lot of folks at work go there and the place was packed to the gills on this particular day. I went with two co-workers and decided to order a couple of appetizers: Steak Bites and Hot Wings.

First off, the Steak Bites were quite tasty, tender and mildly spiced bits of beef coupled with a tangy sauce for dipping. They were worthy of another bite. Unfortunately, the second appy was nowhere near as good. I asked for some Hot Wings that were extra cripsy and minutes later I was given a plate of cold wings. I kid you not, they were cold, not warm, cold and if extra crispy means soggy? Then yes they were extra crispy... I mean soggy. What a disappointment, you'd think in this day and age, when every other restaurant in town offers decent wings it amazes me that some places still offer crap and think they can get away with it. These were the worst wings I've had in a while.

Despite the popularity of JIMMY'S, I think it will be a long time before I return as a bad plate of wings will deter me for a quite a while. This place may still be popular with my co-workers but it isn't with me.


September 10, 2008



Location: 755 Richards St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-681-7011

Another local haunt for us Downtown work folk is the KINGSTON TAPHOUSE & GRILLE, a multi-layered sportsbar type eatery with a hidden patio and decent-sized drink list. While it is a good place to hang out and watch the game or have an informal team get-together, I've never been blown away with the food and that statement still holds true today.

I went to lunch at the KINGSTON with a co-worker around 12:20pm and were greeted with a fairly busy room. We were sat immediately to paruse the menu and within moments a waitress was there. We ordered the Asian Style Calamari to share, my friend ordered the Grilled Chicken Salad and I took on the Smoked Chicken Alfredo Pizza. The waitress commented that the new Calamari was much better than the old Calamari and then went on to describe what was in it. My friend and I looked at each other awkwardly since I had already ordered the dish, we didn't really need it sold to us after the fact but I appreciated the effort. Alas, we were off to the races.

About 10 minutes later we were greeted with the extremely tasty Calamari which came with Serrano peppers and a pickled Ginger dipping sauce. The waitress was right, the calamari was great, crispy but not oily and the sauce was out of this world, so far, so good. After our plates were cleared however, we waited over 20 minutes for our entrees. My friend's salad came with Blue Cheese even though she asked for Goat Cheese (and on the menu the salad actually comes with Feta), they swapped it immediately. My pizza was big and loaded with toppings (Chicken, onions, 3 types of Mushrooms)although it was somewhat dry, almost like it had been under the heat lamp for too long. Even if it were fresh, it needed some kick to really make the flavour come alive.

To the KINGSTON's credit, they did take off 40% of the salad due to the error but that doesn't make up for the eons it took to recieve the meal. A long wait time for so-so food does not solidify repeat business and I think the KINGSTON will not be at the top of my list the next lunch hour someone at work asks me where I want to go to eat.


August 19, 2008



Location: 1096 Denmen Street, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-683-3333

This is my second meal at BANANA LEAF and it was every bit as good as the first time. We got there at 6:15pm and the place was packed which I wasn't expecting, by the time the appetizers came around, there was a line-up at the door. The BANANA LEAF is a smaller eatery but it's hopping.

As I said, we sat down and ordered drinks (Mai Tai & San Pelligrino) and some appies: Roti Canai - Flaky layered bread with curry dip and Gado-Gado Salad - Cooked bean sprouts tofu salad with potato & cucumber, topped with egg & satay sauce. The Roti was sublime but the Curry Sauce while tasty could have used more kick. The Salad however was fantastic, the sprouts mixed with the tofu and satay sauce was a magic combination, I would definitely order it again.

For our mains we had Scallops in Caramelized Ginger Sauce with Kicap Manis - Jumbo Scallops in caramelized ginger & garlic enriched with Malaysian black sweet sauce and Nonya’s Style Curry Boneless Chicken - Boneless chicken breast simmered in creamy curry with lemon grass, coconut cream. Both dishes were an absolute knockout! The scallops were big and juicy while that caramelized ginger sauce could be a dish on its own, it's that good. The Chicken curry was also extremely flavourful and much lighter than I was expecting.

We were in and out of the BANANA LEAF in 75 minutes with full bellies and smiles plastered on our faces. Everything tasted so good and the bill was under $65, not bad at all. We will definitely be returning to the BANANA LEAF for a third adventure!