It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially to something you’ve enjoyed doing. And I have truly enjoyed writing this column for the past two years and working with the wonderful folks here at Metro.
But timing is everything, and with new opportunities on my horizon and big changes for this publication (stay tuned), this seemed like an organic time to wrap things up. If you’d like to stay in touch in future, I can be found at foodgirlfriday.wordpress.com.
Instead of writing yet another review, I thought I would look back at some of my favourite food experiences from the past two years. In no particular order. Enjoy.
2240 Chippendale Rd.
It’s ironic that this was the very last place I reviewed for Metro, as it also happened to be the very first. Over the past two years, it has changed chefs and gone through several seasonal menus, but the attention to quality and taste has only improved, and with chef/co-owner Dino Renaerts now at the helm, things are sure to continue along the same path.
I had a culinary epiphany here with a very simple dish of seared Qualicum Bay scallops, housemade lobster ravioli, and peeled asparagus, drizzled with lobster vinaigrette.
162 Water St.
This spot snagged the number one spot on my Top 10 list for 2009 for their redone comfort food menu and excellent bar program. My “moment” here arrived in the form of some Humboldt squid, scored, grilled and served up as large, juicy steaks topped with crispy flakes of garlic, threads of chilli pepper, and fresh chopped green onion.
Charlie’s Restaurant & Bar
1265 Hamilton St.
This is a place to have a cocktail, down a few slices of pie, and watch Argentina kick Greek butt. I wasn’t expecting much here, but it turns out these pies are the ones I would want if I ever had to choose my last meal. In particular, the poutine pizza, with its bordelaise sauce base, shaved fingerling potatoes crusted in rosemary salt, and the abundance of squeaky cheese curds that sit partially melted over the whole.
1141 Davie St.
This modern Mediterranean tapas bar has redefined the meaning of sexy food. Start with the wild venison tartare on brioche with truffle and a slow-cooked quail’s egg, and finish with the white truffle and lobster risotto finished with herbed crème fraîche.
Au Petit Chavignol
843 East Hastings St.
I firmly believe that if you were to strand me on a deserted island with cheese and bread, I would never leave — at least, not until I needed a refill.
And Au Petit would be the first place I would go. Their housemade chicken liver and cognac pâté with apricot glaze has caused many palpitations of the clicker since they opened their doors.
This Franco-German bistro located in the heart of Davie Village is a veritable fountain of artery-clogging, palate-soothing food. The red fleurs-de-lis on the walls, and the rotisserie chickens in the open kitchen just add to the backwoods-Europe feel of comfort and heartiness. It was the suckling pig that first made me fall in love, along with the accompanying schupfnudel (little pillowy fingers of pan-fried and herbed potato dumplings). Later visits also introduced me to the truffled poutine. Not a dish for the faint of heart—and I mean that literally, as the aortal valves will be working overtime after this one.
1091 Davie St. | 604-568-6499 | www.labrasserievancouver.com
La Taqueria: Pinche Taco Shop
In case you’re wondering, the “pinche” stands for “fu*%ing,” which is, for some strange reason, what these little types of taco shops are commonly called in Mexico. Regardless, this downtown hole-in-the-wall boasts handmade, authentic, soft corn tortillas (made at the front counter), which are then topped with heavenly things like braised Pemberton Meadows beef tongue, Chilliwack pork cheeks, Maple Hills chicken with mole sauce, or sautéed mushrooms in spicy chipotle sauce. One of the best cheap eats in town.
322 West Hastings St. | 604-568-4406 | www.lataqueria.ca
This modern Chinese restaurant with its contemporary lounge feel will be celebrating it’s 10th anniversary next year, but the food is something that never loses its freshness. Despite sticking to the original tenets of Chinese cooking—like the absence of all dairy products—owner Andrew Wong and chef Todd Bright manage to create inventive dishes that continually challenge our ideas about what constitutes Chinese food. The spot prawn and Sloping Hill pork dumplings or the Fraser Valley lamb potstickers are reason enough to go, but only if you don’t count the lychee brulée.
117 West Pender St. | 604-642-2882
This is the home of the famous spot prawn boil, of the whole hog dinner and sundry other carnivorous delights. Chef Rob Belcham has always been an expert in the animal protein department, and his buttermilk fried Polderside chicken is no exception to that. Neither is the pulled pork sandwich, or the dry aged beef burger, or the housemade pork rillettes or the roasted bone marrow, or…you get the idea.
1944 West 4 Ave. | 604-288-7905 | www.refuelrestaurant.com
When it comes to classic French bistro fare, there are several great options in this city, but some of my favourite moments have been at this long-time Kitsilano favourite. Warm yellow walls, and the welcoming smiles and Gallic greetings of proprietor John Blakeley and his crew have never failed to put me into just the right mood for sole Meunière, le canard a l’orange, le tournedos et le foie gras, or the crepes Suzette au Grand Marnier.
2153 West 4 Ave. | 604-731-5020 | www.bistropastis.com
This Sunday, June 27 is the annual Greek Day Festival, complete with all of the wonderful vendors offering souvlaki, spanakopitas, grilled corn, and baklava. Visit www.greekday.com for more info.