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!