Uh oh I forgot my race packet…but rocked out my time – woo hoo!!

Krause Berry Farms
6172 248 St, Langley, BC V4W 1C3

 

So I finished my half marathon on Sunday under my target by 39 seconds and an overall time improvement of over 15 minutes from the last race – woo hoo! And to celebrate we jumped in the car and headed out to Langley (who knew there was something past Surrey?! 50 min drive from downtown Vancouver) to pick strawberries, enjoy the sun, and eat yummy treats. Now I’m not suggesting berry picking is the best activity post race, but with only a week left of U-pick strawberries we had to get out there. The good news is though that they have U-pick raspberries coming into season this week so if you don’t get out for strawberries consider raspberries and then in another three weeks or so blueberries! When you do U-pick the price is great, of course it includes your labour but as we found it is a great activity to do with friends on a beautiful day. And to reward yourself you can go to their market and buy yourself a shortcake, piece of pie, or the strangely good corn pizza (although it is more like corn casserole than actual pizza). If you don’t bring your own containers you can buy buckets for $1.50 (that’s a picture of my bucket above!), and don’t forget your sunscreen.  After we finished at the patch I made a couple quick batches of microwave strawberry jam – stay posted and later this week I’ll share the recipe.

never checked in…and never checked out – clean up on aisle 4

Meinhardt’s
3002 Granville Street, Vancouver - 604.732.4405
3151 Arbutus Street, Vancouver - 604.732.7900

 

Two locations in Vancouver to serve all of your foodie desires. I’m a regular at their Granville location which is both an easy stop on the way to the airport and the way back into town from the airport. I’ve found the rack of lamb here isn’t quite as good as Granville Island, but the prepared foods and variety of specialty food stuffs are excellent. You’ve got to watch the price of speciality items to avoid sticker shock, but they’ve got an assortment of fresh vegetables that you can buy individually which is perfect when just making dinner for one or two. I’m also a big fan of their pre-made and then panini pressed sandwiches…roasted vegetable, tomato bocconcini basil (caprese), salmon they are all yummy! (They have a pretty good orzo salad, but if you’d like to try to make one yourself that I really love click here) The store’s service is clearly inspired by the it’s creator and owner Linda Meinhardt who I think (didn’t realize at the time) was helping me locate goat cheese the other day when I was there! I’m giving Meinhardt’s a Very Good!

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A Great Sandwich for Strawberry Season

Strawberry Chicken Club Sandwiches

Rachel Ray does drive me a bit crazy, but more importantly she’s got some good stuff especially in a couple of my favorite categories – like sandwiches. Valerie picked this awesome sandwich recipe to make for us which has a surprising but delicious combination of flavors – avocado and strawberry! Rach’ calls these triple decker strawberry chicken club sandwiches, which is a bit redundant as club sandwiches are by definition triple decker. But Valerie made these just single layer which worked really well so you could actually fit the sandwich in your mouth. The other awesome thing she did was substitute bacon with bison bacon, which I can eat and is yummy. I love bison bacon! Strawberry Chicken Clubs get a Dish it! again n’ again!

 

click here for the recipe for strawberry-chicken-club-sandwiches
 
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i’d hop provinces midweek again in a heartbeat to eat here!

The Cannery
2205 Commission Street, Vancouver
604.254.9606

I’d heard things here and there about the Cannery, but I’m surprised no one had suggested this place to me before – because it is fabulous! The décor shouts ‘made in the 70’s1′, but is classic enough to stand the test of time. Located in an elite gated community, so to speak, in the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority(VFPA) district2. From the elevated dining room the view is spectacular. You can see my beloved Lions3, for which the Lions Gate Bridge is named, which you can also see. Views of the city scape, Stanley Park, North Vancouver…and the perfect view of the sunset complete the picture. Excellent impress your date venue, but also very good celebratory family atmosphere. The menu includes an extensive Fresh Sheet, and a good selection of regulars. It was here that I tried many foods for the first time…mussels, prawns, and scallops (in order of preference!). The mussels were amazing…rosemary, pine nuts, saltiness of the sea…mmmmmmm…and I’m told that even to a seafood experienced palate these are the best mussels around. They send a basket of bread to the table and fill a plate with Lobster oil and balsamic (yummy!) 4. My main was smoked bc black cod which melted in my mouth. I don’t really remember my sides, but who cares about sides when you’ve got mains like this. Skipped dessert, so I can’t report…if you know share a comment. Perhaps the most memorable part of our experience at The Cannery was our Rocky and Bullwinkle service duo (Server and Busboy). Our server was excellent, and made some very subtle and very funny jokes and our busboy defies explaination, but was really fun too.  If you want to try something special they also have a Fly and Dine program and do Sunday Brunches (including a special Father’s Day Brunch). Mmmm..yummy now I want to go have brunch there! So all in all, I’m giving The Cannery a Great! And for now (based on my limited experience), ranking it as my all-time favorite meal at a Vancouver restaurant – which is some feat!

 

Factoids:

1. The Cannery was established in 1971
2. The Cannery’s lease has not been renewed by the VFPA, and they will be moving to a new location in 2010 after the Olympics.
3. Frank Giustra, former investment banker and Vancouver resident, founded the Lions Gate Production company
4. The secret is out: The Cannery shares a selection of Lobster oil recipes here

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A stop before heading out on the town with friends

Trattoria Kitchen
1850 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
604.732.1441

Jumping with a club like vibe that feels a little late 90’s this West 4th venue is a better stop with a group of friends than an intimate dinner. Our evening was one with friends to kick off a weekend of fun so it met our needs. We started with Kobe meatballs appetizer for everyone and the bruchetta. The bruchetta was fresh and the combination of different colored tomatoes made it deelish! The meat balls were good – but I’d say only so so in my repertoire of yummy Italian meatballs. A couple of us at the table ordered the Kobe beef lasagna. Now is as a good a time as any to mention I think it is con’fusion to have Japanese beef on an Italian menu, but my bigger concern here is the ‘overkill’ as it shows up in several dishes. However, in the case of the lasagna…um…it was goooood. There was a section of other dishes gnocchi, carbonara’s and more all enjoyed. Our service staff fully engaged (with controversial opinions and all) in our conversation on countless occasions, ranking it very high on the bad service category. This place also has a tv at the bar – why oh why Vancouver do you need tvs in all your restaurant bars? A little class please. I’m giving the lasagna a Very Good, but Trattoria Kitchen, service accounted for, only gets a Very Ok.

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Trifecta of sports: Frisbee Golf – Golf – Tennis (well kinda tennis)

Rugby Beach Club Grille
#201 – 950 West Broadway, Vancouver
604.736.2438

 

When you’ve just finished a trifecta of sports or a day at the beach Rugby’s is a logical stop! The atmosphere is trendier than a Red Lobster (with an ocean theme but for the younger crowd), but not as ‘hip’ as say Trattoria Kitchen. The restaurant was packed on a Saturday night (woo hoo Saturday!), and with such reasonably priced cocktails and moderately priced mains it is no wonder. I’m not sure why I didn’t order the fish (which I will do next time I’m back)…but we both ordered beef…yes risky I know (that’s how I roll), beef in Vancouver. We had the Top Filet with westcoast rub and the Top Filet with blue cheese and bacon. My steak was solid but since I don’t eat pork I will simply relay that the top filet with bacon was ‘c’est pas bon’ (read: not good). I’ve been informed that they formerly had a Filet Mignon which disappointingly has been replaced by steak placed on top of a strip of bacon – looks more like a breakfast dish. So if you have any connections at Rugby’s suggestion is: bring back the steak wrapped in bacon rather than placed atop bacon.  Our app’ies, crab cakes and some kind of chicken something, were ok to good preference to the chicken. They have a great selection of sides from which I choose Petite baked potatoes (with caviar – weird), and skillet seared baby mushrooms (yum). I’m giving Rugby’s a Very Ok, but suggest if you’re looking for something casual and fun for a bunch of friends in Vancouver that it gets a Very Good.

 

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Happy Birthday Beautiful

Bears Den
254028 Bearspaw Road NW, Calgary
403.241.7611

 

This year my birthday was celebrated in style (finally finishing the bday posts :) . It seemed like when I’d finish one party there was another. From Mexican Martini throw downs, to golf extravaganzas, to an evening in the Bear Den. The Bears Den evening was my actual legit birthday evening and it was an experience to remember. After driving, and driving, and driving from downtown Calgary you drive through the gated parking lot to see a restaurant that while in view of the mountains has surprisingly no windows, not a one. Two beautiful women on their own could not have been more out of place in this dark restaurant with high ceilings and oversized furniture. Reminiscent of a hunting club this place was designed with 50 year old men that smoke cigars in mind. It was a Sunday evening and the restaurant was almost empty. The menu appeals to the locavores with an assortment of Alberta’s finest local game and meat. We started with the Alberta bison & elk crispy spring rolls with organic jalapeño aioli and the bison tartar. Both quite good, but not rock your world style. For our mains filet minion (obviously not mine) and the Alberta Game Trio. Word has it the filet was just so so, but I looved my Alberta game trio. Bison yummy, elk ok, venison yummy… Spätzel okay…but what a taste adventure! To be clear I had a really good main, and I loved the experience here, but against a very competitive bar of restaurants and all factors in including the price point (mains are $35 – $70) I’m going to give Bears Den a Very Ok.

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