Downtown diner breakfast

The Templeton
1087 Granville
604.685.4612

A delicious assortment of breakfast and lunch fare. They have yummy house made chicken sausage, serve real maple syrup (for a small fee), and decent coffee and pancakes. The burgers are great and the milk shakes are traditional and good. It is always tough to get a table in this small retro diner, but worth taking a seat at the long bar if you’re in more of hurry or if you’ve got the time waiting for a booth.

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La Quercia Italian surprises served family style

La Quercia
3689 West 4 Avenue, V6R 1P2
604.676.1007

Blink and you might miss this small nook on the corner of Alma and West 4th.  The modern appointed restaurant has you sitting elbow to elbow with strangers and yet you won’t even realize they are there.  The a la carte menu looks delicious but we ordered Alla Famiglia which was five generous and splendid courses.  To my delight they were flexible to food requirements and brought us dishes with pork.  A lovely rabbit pate, a salad with hazel nuts, and a selection of three delicious pastas were fabulous.  Beef carpacio was delicate to bite, and strong on flavour.  The gnocchi was tender and very fresh in a rabbit sauce, which lets be honest tasted like chicken.  By the time the main course came I couldn’t believe there was still more to eat.  After a lovely veal scallopi the meal finished with a selection of three lovely desserts.  The house wine, although I don’t remember the name (do I ever) was delicious.  I was treated for my birthday – what a wonderful treat thanks to my Kili tent mate (and Italian food expert)!  I’m giving it a very good, and I’m looking forward to going again.  The price point on the family style meal is great value for what you get at 45$ per person.  Make a reservation though, I’ve been trying for months to get here.  It has a dedicated following and only a few seatings a night so it books up.  If my first visit was any indication you won’t be disappointed.

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Breakfast just after the bend in the road on Dunbar

Jethro’s Fine Grub
3420 Dunbar Street, Vancouver
604.569.3441

I’d give their regular breakfast fare a very okay, but their French toast gets a very good.  Thick sliced challah egged up and with real maple syrup…  I love real maple syrup, but I’m disappointed to say I think they water down their syrup.  However, when I mixed it up a bit, it got a bit better, and I think I’d prefer water downed syrup to fake syrup…but I might just turn to the Seinfeld technique of taking syrup with me.  The service staff is friendly, there was a wait, but it wasn’t long.  The pancakes look great, and there are several kinds, but didn’t try them so can’t comment.  I had the huevos rancheros which was very okay, and the accompanying corn cake was cold, although the tomotilla salsa they used was quite good.  I’ll give it a very okay, but I’m going to try it again because if those pancakes stand up it will move it into a solid very good.

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This is ‘granola’ as it gets at Gorilla Foods

Gorilla Foods
101 – 436 Richards Street, Vancouver
604.684.3663

This little nook downstairs on Richards boasts “raw, organic, vegan, live foods”.  It has a cult following in the city and it was one of its apostles that suggested it to me.  Having just watched Avatar I’d say it reminds me of hanging out in Hometree.  Not a lot of space for sitting, but given the amount of space they have they’ve done well with it.  I had a slice of the “pizza”, and you’ve got to have an open mind about this interpretation. The version I had was an earthy mix of kale and greens with a sun-dried tomato herb sauce on a “sprouted sunflower and buckwheat, flax and carrot crust” and topped with walnut “cheez”.  I really liked it, but I imagine if you’re trying vegan food for the first time you’d probably want to start with something else…maybe the green taco or the veggie burger.  I grabbed a cookie to go…I think it was called the almond crunch. It was an explosion of flavors and textures.  The crunchy, nutty bottom contrasted with the bright fruity flavored soft top.  So yummy I’d go back just for the cookies.  I’m giving Gorilla a Very Good. Up side is that it is open every day…downside, only from 11am-5pm.

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Bison-Turkey Meatballs in Roasted Tomato Soup … get the skinny on it

bison turkey meatballsCheers to a healthy and happy New Year.  I had a killer Power Yoga class tonight and walked home in the rain, so this made for great healthy comfort food.  It is easy to make, and delicious.  The use of spices and fresh herbs amps it up without having to pile on the calories. I’m taking a twist on a really good post from the beginning of 2009 with a Roasted Tomato Soup with Bison-Turkey Meatballs. The soup part of a bit of a lightened up twist on a recipe by David Hawksworth from Shape Magazine, and the meatballs are a Gayle original recipe.  For the soup all I did was remove the sugar, reduce the oil, increased the broth amount, and switched out vegetable broth for chicken (to see the original recipe click here Roasted-tomato-soup …check out the spicy tuna melts recipe while you’re there).  You can substitute extra lean ground beef in this recipe, but the mixture of the strong flavour of bison with the turkey makes a really great tasting meatball.  And the ground brown mushrooms also add to the meaty flavour while increasing the fibre and healthiness.  If you’re like me and easily bored by plain ground turkey this is a great trick!  If you’re using fresh thyme (please do if you can!)  don’t forget to take out the woody stems, I think I forgot to put that in the recipe…

Click here for the recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Bison-Turkey Meatballs.

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Crouching Dragon…Flying Tiger…a high price for street food…a good price for great food

The Flying Tiger
2958 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver   V6K 1R4
604.737.7529

Asian street food, gourmet style.  You might miss this little place if you’re not looking, but it has a great quaint, warm atmosphere inside.  For street food the price point is a little high, but worth it.  Be prepared to share your food, as they are principled in their family style culture and will only bring one dish at a time.  I’m glad they are though, because I tried a few things I wouldn’t have tried were not forced.  The Har Gow (steamed dumplings) and the Vietnamese Sablefish were both delicious, but the highlight of the meal was the Pulled Duck Confit Crepes….these morsels of yumminess danced across my tastebuds, and the bundles of fragrant herbs that you can put on top cut the richness of the duck.  But this dish is rich, so make sure to save room to enjoy it.  I would have loved to try dessert…but there was no room!  What a great meal, I’m giving it a Very Good, and an I’ll be back.  The love hate with West 4th continues :)

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Delicious Polenta Fries and a Great Atmosphere on Vancouver’s Main Street

The Cascade Room
2616 Main Street, Vancouver V5T 3E6
604.709.8650

We’ve got Lisa to thank for this pick, and it is a great one!  Good spot for a date, great for hanging out with your friends.  The polenta fries are so delicious, but I wasn’t a big fan of the mayo dip.  The dip had a curry flavour, which was good, but something in me was craving a dip with a bit more acid to cut the richness of the creamy and crunchy fry.  Now maybe basic ketchup would have been a bit too normal for  this joint, but some kind of dip along that line would have worked better for me.  Now I’m not a calamari connoisseur that’s for sure…but I didn’t really like it all, it was really rubbery, which I’m told means it wasn’t fresh.  I’m giving Cascade a Very Good, and I’ll be going back again for sure.

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Is this really healthy mac and cheese? I dunno but it is Yummy!

I’ve had this recipe up all week, just waiting for the right time to make it.  It sounded brilliant to me.  Butternut squash mixed into macaroni…mmmm yummy.  And indeed it was very yummy!  I couldn’t find the box of frozen butternut squash in any of myP1010411 grocery stores, so I boiled some up.  If I had more time, I might have baked the squash.  Cooking the squash reduces it’s “fright night” convenience, but if you had left over squash than it’s speediness might be redeemed.   I used whole milk, but I found it really rich, so I’m going to try 1% or skim next time.  Also, I only used half a cup of Parmesan; I didn’t miss it, but who knows.  I used old cheddar, is that that same as extra sharp? I’m not sure.  Lastly, I didn’t use the olive oil for the onions, I used a spray of the olive oil pam.   This is definitely healthier than the standard mac and cheese, although I’m not sure I’d call it healthy.  But what’s more this is the first healthy mac and cheese I’ve had where I actually may prefer the flavour.  I’m giving Harvest Moon Macaroni a Dish it again’n again rating!  For the recipe click here.

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Meat stuffed in meat…bison, veal, lamb…yummy thanks Giada for your stuffed meatloaf

meatloafGiada De Laurentiis has some great recipes, and this is no exception. Okay so it is met stuffed in meat…and quite rich, but great winter comfort food.  And it packs great for lunch!   I did modify it in several ways, some I liked, and some I should have stuck to Giada’s rule book (see the notes on the recipe card).  Stuffing the meatloaf keeps the meat really moist and delicious.  I used lamb, veal, and bison (instead of her veal/beef/pork mix).  I love bison, and it is a great, albeit a bit expensive (where I shop).  I did this sans pork, and found this really yummy smoked bison sausage at the market that was a delicious substitute.  I’m sure with the pork products it is also really great.  This was the first time I’ve used Chestnuts, and I found them good, but with all these flavours going on to be honest its not really clear to me the role it played, although I’m sure the nutty richness did add to the flavor.  I’ll look for another way to use the chestnuts though so I get more experience with them as an ingredient.  Open to suggestions if you have a favourite chestnut recipe!

Click here for the recipe for Giada’s stuffed meatloaf with some Gayle Dishes it notes.

I’m giving this a dish it again! n again.  If you cook it up share your rating using the stars below Not OKJust OKVery OKVery GoodGreat (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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No cooking required – yummy, healthy and well balanced – a la Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay mixes up a yummy Chinese Chicken Salad with a chipotle twist.  A quick and easy meal, all you have to do is chop it up, toss it up, and then eat it up!  By keeping the salad leftovers in separate containers it made a great lunch and dinner on subsequent days.  I also heated the chicken slightly for an improved texture, but let it cool down enough that it wouldn’t wilt the salad.  I added boiled ramen noodles to the salad tossed in the dressing, which worked well even for the leftovers.  Don’t forget the peanuts and the lime these excellent finishing touches.  If you’d like you could serve these salads in bowls with chopsticks.

Click here for the recipe Chinese Chicken Salad!

I’m giving it a dish it! again n’ again if you dish it up share your rating using the stars below Not OKJust OKVery OKVery GoodGreat (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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