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Max's goes from from gefilte to chocolate ganache in 60 years

Forty years ago, if you were in the mood for a hefty Rueben or some matzoh ball soup, this was the place to go.

Max’s Bakery & Delicatessen
3105 Oak St.
Vancouver
604-733-4838

maxsdeli.ca

Open Daily: 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Signature Drink: Coffee or tea
Signature Dish: Hot Turkey Sandwich

Rating: ***
Lunch & drinks for two: $25



Forty years ago, if you were in the mood for a hefty Rueben or some matzoh ball soup, this was the place to go. Over the decades, Max’s has morphed into the kind of place that puts samosas next to Texas barbecue and has nixed the rugelach in favour of blueberry tarts and strawberry trifles.

Max’s is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, which gave me an excuse to drop by. It’s become the ultimate Vancouver deli, catering both to older traditionalists looking for their dark rye and sausage rolls, and younger clients who prefer a chai latte with their flaxseed blueberry muffin or prosciutto panini.

A few visits garnered some mixed results. A natural levain loaf ($5.49) was dense, chewy and had the barest hint of rye in its makeup. “Ciabatta” ($4.39), on the other hand, was simply white bread with a bit of extra salt. The texture and flavour was nice, but all wrong for this traditionally more porous bread. Croissants were a bit pricey at $2.19 each and needed a little more butter to live up to their “French butter” label.

Deli items are made fresh daily and priced by weight, so a chicken quarter can run you three bucks, while a rack of ribs can start at $15. Some items -- like lemon-ginger chicken -- were flavourful, tender and moist, while others -- like the veggie samosa -- felt a little dried out.

A hot turkey sandwich was a big hit, and reminded me of something similar I’d had recently at Carnegie’s Deli in New York, except the size was more manageable -- I almost finished this one. Next time, though, I may just stick to the salads since I want to be able to fit through my front door afterwards.

Max’s, along with Stuart’s Bakery, is now owned by Redpath Foods, so the desserts are the same as those you’ll find at the Granville Island location. Items like fresh blueberry and raspberry tarts are popular, as are the pumpkin pies (when in season) and chocolate brownie lollipops -- my daughter loved the happy faces on the latter. It’s not a high-end patisserie, but these are fresh, well-made items that get a lot of love from the regulars.

As far as delis go, this one isn’t too shabby, and, chances are, it’ll be around for another 60 years.

A “Tribute” to Chardonnay and Champions

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery has just released their Tribute sparkling wine, of which a portion of all proceeds will go to support Canadian Olympic athletes in 2010. This VQA bottle is 100 per cent Chardonnay with pale citrusy aromas over a strong apple and stone fruit palate. The finish is a bit sharp on the tongue, so be sure to chill properly. BCLS $30.

Top Shelf

Seven Stones at Senova
On Tuesday, Aug. 25, join George and Vivian Hanson of the Similkameen’s Seven Stones Winery at Senova Restaurant (1864 West 57 Ave) for a five-course winemaker’s dinner. Tickets $79. Call 604-266-8643 for reservations and menu details.

Dining Out

Brunch à La Brasserie

La Brasserie (1091 Davie St) is now open for brunch, but forget the eggs Benny. This menu is in keeping with the Franco-German restaurant, so look for the likes of raw oysters, pain perdu, red-wine-poached eggs, and truffled poutine. Available weekends, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit labrasserievancouver.com for menu details. No reservations.

Get Schloss-ed at Au Petit

On Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m., Au Petit Chavignol (843 East Hastings St) will host Andrea Besslich of Schloss Reinhartshausen for a meal of German wines and cheeses, plus some coq au vin and crème brulée from Au Petit chef Brad Miller. Tickets $65. Call 604-255-4218 or visit aupetitchavignol.com

Food in Brief

So.Cial at Le Magasin has a new executive chef and GM, both poached from C Restaurant. Chef Harman Gill has worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, while GM Jim Bateman has done stints with the Sequoia and Glowbal groups of restaurants.

Mis Trucos, a modern Mediterranean tapas bar from chef/owner Kris Barnholden, opens tomorrow at 1141 Davie Street.

 
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