July 30, 2008



Location: 1265 Hamilton St. Vancouver
Telephone: 604-637-3135

Steak. It's honestly one of my all-time favorite meals. Ron Burgundy loves Scotch and I loves me a good steak. I love trying steaks at different restaurants but more often than not, I am disappointed with the meal. While some consider it "just a slab of meat", it is actually quite a difficult thing to perfect. It has gotten to the point where I have perfected my own steak at home and now use that as the barometer for restaurant steak and it is rarely if ever beaten.

Sure there are a lot of steakhouse out there but most are far too overpriced for what you get or what you get is overcooked, rubbery and flavorless doused in a sweet or spicy sauce that does little to mask the blandness of the meat. Then along came PINKY'S. I discovered this place while cruising the net looking at the "new joints in Vancouver" so the wife and I decided to give it a go on a Tuesday night (Tuesday is the new Friday, right?).

The place was buzzing, all the tables had people and the lounge was filled with a party. Dark colors, great chandeliers, a "rockstar" light sign above the kitchen, rich leather banquettes, a lively oval-shaped bar... this place is cooler than cool. We were seated right away by a friendly hostess and ordered a glass of House Red and a Horseradish Caeser, both tasty. The menu looked fabulous and we were both Hungry.

As an appy, we ordered the Old School Potato Skins with smoked cheddar, blue cheese, bacon & scallions. They arrived 5 to the plate, hot, and dripping with gooey cheese. These definitely look like the classic potato skins of yesteryear but with the blue cheese kick, BOOYA, these were a definite homerun.

For our mains, we decided to see if this place truly lived up to its name as a Steakhouse. I ordered the 8oz Millionaires Filet Cut Blackened with Creole Butter and served with a "loaded" Baked Potato while my wife went with the 8oz Seasoned Sirloin Steak served with Fettucini Alfredo. The meals arrived and first off, the presentation is fantastic, the steaks looked great, the plate was vibrant with color and each piece of meat also came with 3 onion rings (what's a steak without Onion Rings I ask you!).

The Millionaires Filet was cooked to perfection just as I ordered it (medium rare) with the perfect amount of blackened spice encrusting it and creole butter on top. These flavors helped accentuate the steak's flavour rather than overpower it and add a great baked potato to the mix and I tell ya, it was probably the best restaurant steak I've had in the last 5 years. It doesn't top my ultimate steak (the Tenderloin steak crusted with caramelized shallots and aged balsamic syrup I had for my birthday years back at QUATTRO in Whistler is still #1) but this is definitely a close second. My wife's Seasoned Sirloin was also a winner although we both found her Fettucini Alfredo somewhat bland.

Despite our filled bellies my weakness for one dessert in all the world made us indulge... the Key Lime Pie. Bits of Lime right in the pie atop a great crumbly crust with a hint of coconut in it, this was definitely a nice sweet hit to top off the savoury meal.

All in all, we were both pleased with our experience at PINKY'S STEAKHOUSE, it's a great room and I am happy to say, home to a great steak. It may not mean much to you, but for me, that's a hell of an honor. We will definitely be going back for more!

July 22, 2008



Location: 300 W. Georgia St. Vancouver
Telephone: 604-633-9644

As it is ridiculously close to work, LIBRARY SQUARE is somewhat of a regular hangout for my co-workers and I. It sports a decent look, decent grub and decent prices that make the overall experience… decent.

Food wise they have a lot to choose from. Their salads (like the Grilled Lime Chicken Salad) are enjoyable, the small order of Yam Fries is huge and the Smoked Bacon & Gorgonzola Burger is a crowd favorite but the Wings can sometimes be disappointing (on occasion undercooked and flavorless). They also have “perennial pub favorites” like Fish & Chips, Perogies, Nachos and Steak Sandwich all of which are a delight. Library Square is a “Public House” and they have a giant bar and multiple flatscreens to prove it as well as pool, foosball and pinball.

So whether you are looking for a quick business lunch or a home for the “game”, LIBRARY SQUARE is a decent option in a downtown crowded with more than enough options.

July 18, 2008



Location: 905 Hornby St. Vancouver
Telephone: 604-682-6700
Website: EARLS

I remember the days when I had “Earlitude”, yup, that’s what they used to call it when staff had the “right stuff” and were considered instrumental to the success of an EARLS Restaurant. Those days are long gone for me but I still frequent the establishment from time to time and marvel at how much it has changed over the years… not always for the best. EARLS used to be a causal and somewhat inexpensive place to go and have a good meal or some bevies with friends. The “good meal” and “bevies” still hold true but “casual” has given way to “semi-formal, nightclub vibe” and “somewhat inexpensive” has turned into “quite expensive”.

Join me won’t you? For a jaunt down memory lane as I share my latest experience with the Summer 2008 version of “Earlitude”

It was a Thursday evening at 8:20 and I arrived to the DOWNTOWN EARLS (near Scotiabank Theater) alone as my buddy was about 5 minutes behind me. I was greeted by six hostesses, that’s right, six hostesses none of which bothered to look up and say hello until I said “hi” first. Despite being fairly busy with biz folk, clubbers and socialites, I was given the choice of “dining room or lounge” and then taken immediately to a good corner table in the lounge ripe for “people watching”. I love the people who come here: half look like they are waiting to be seen by the paparazzi while the other half look like deer caught in the headlights wondering “where they hell are we?” As I sat I ordered an Arnold Palmer (½ ice tea & ½ lemonade - try it my peeps) and an order of Hot Wings, my buddy arrived and we settled in for a long discussion about The Dark Knight and other summer films. The waitress arrived to take Jon’s drink order and we ordered our meals at the same time, she was friendly but clipped, obviously a tad busy, no bother though, we continued discussing Batman. The Wings arrived a few moments later (14 wings in total with celery & parm dip), they were tasty and crispy while still somewhat juicy on the inside. Earls always has decent wings, they are never spectacular but never disappointing at the same time.

About 25 minutes later, we came up from our cinematic ramblings to realize that our mains had not arrived, hmm, that’s not like EARLS, they are usually more on top of things. I was about to comment about this to the waitress when two other gals arrived with our food. Sweet. Jon had ordered the 9 oz Certified Angus Beef Top Sirloin with sauteed prawns & mashed potatoes while I enjoyed the Chicken & Tomato Ragu with White Truffle Oil (ground chicken and tomatoes in a red wine sauce with garlic, oregano and bacon, tossed with pappardelle noodles, topped with Parmesan cheese and white truffle oil)… Decadent.

How were the meals? Jon described his steak this way “It was tasty, not stellar but tasty and cooked the way I liked it for once. The last two times I ordered steak at EARLS they were undercooked but hey, I wanted steak so I ordered steak. The prawns were good but the mashed potatoes tasted like they came from a box”. I must admit, I tried some of the taters and they indeed did have an odd taste & texture to them however that did not stop him from eating every single bite.

As for me, the pasta was rich and flavorful (how could it not be with that list of ingredients)complete with those giant pappardelle noodles that really hold the sauce but I couldn’t even taste the bacon, it was lost among the other sensations. I can honestly say that this was the first time in my entire EARLS experience that I have ever been full after eating an EARLS pasta dish, the portion size was perfect and the rich flavors made my belly happy.

After wrapping up the meals and one more drink for the road, we paid the bill (an astonishing $86 for two of us) and headed out the door, again the six gabbing hostesses did not say “thanks” or “goodnight” so neither did we.

Okay, let's discuss: $86 for two guys, two entrees, one appy and no booze? That's a bit pricey. Sure that does include tax and tip but still... it's bills like those that always keep me from EARLS for a couple months just from the wallet shock. I remember when a lot of these meals were under $10, now they are all between $13-$16, sure there's inflation but come on, that's a bit much! Also what's with all the hostesses who never seem to be busy and never seem to engage the customer? Why are there so many of them and why are they all not doing anything. Maybe the food is so expensive because the staff costs are through the roof? Finally, since when did EARLS become a high-end lounge complete with busty "ready-for-the-club" waitresses and chiseled bartenders all happy to serve? I felt somewhat underdressed but really, should I put on my new suit just so I can spill a hotwing on it? I think not.

All in all, despite my gripes above, EARLS will remain a staple in my meal choices. The quality of food is fairly consistent and although I may not agree with the price point or discotheque-decor, I can’t help but return every once in a while for another meal. Either they put a touch of crack in their cooking or they must be doing something right.

July 14, 2008



Location: 1653 Columbia St. North Vancouver
Telephone: 604-988-0038

One of the greatest well-known secrets of the North Shore is THE MARINASIDE GRILL, a little greasy spoon located virtually underneath the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge by the boat yards. What makes this little eatery so great is not the food, but the patio. It's huge, it's always busy and it's a great way to spend a few hours on a sunny day or beautiful evening.

Three of us went there for brunch this past weekend and were greeted with a 45 minute wait. Inside the restaurant was dead but outside was standing room only, people want the patio and they are willing to wait for it, as were we. I said to my friend "wow, the food must be worth it" and she said "it wasn't but the patio is". Interesting. We sat down and ordered drinks (a nice and spicy Caesar for me) then the meals. The ladies had the Grilled Chicken Salad and the Warm Scallop Salad while I took on a classic Clubhouse Sandwich, all three meals were good, nothing to write home about but still good.

My friend was right however, the patio is great. You are surrounded by boats and get a great view of the bridge from an angle you rarely if ever see. We ended up sitting there for two hours just gabbing away, enjoying the weekend sun and I can now see why this little place remains an extremely busy North Shore hideaway. THE MARINASIDE GRILL won't win any culinary awards but it's decent food made better when served on its decadent patio.