Kid friendly restaurant…well actually just all round friendly just off ‘the drive’

Little Nest
1716 Charles Street, Vancouver   V5L 2T5
604.251.9994

 

Little Nest just off commercial is a quaint, bright, kid friendly place to grab a lovely sandwich.  I enjoyed a humous sandwich with walnut and veggies.  They have a new fresh sheet every day written on the blackboard.  It reminds me a bit of Finches Tea House gone family style.  They are supposed to have great cakes, but I haven’t tried them yet.  Kid friendly is something I’m not usually that attuned to…sorry folks a reality of my lifestyle (not by desire, but by design).  Not only is there a fun play area for kids, but lots of room for strollers to navigate and staff that seems happy to clean up the play area.  Big tables, lots of seating, and definitely a good place to meet a friend for breakfast, lunch, or a snack and a chat.  I’m giving it a Very Good.  Open Tue-Fri 9am-4pm; Weekends 9am-5pm.

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Bistro Marcel for lunch in Calgary

Bistro Marcel
Suite 110, 520 – 5th Avenue SW, Calgary, T2P 3R7
403.237.7993

 

If you are near the corner of 5th and 5th in Calgary SW you’ve got to try this place.  The pizza dough is really good, thick and yeasty, just the way I like it.  The Calzones are yummy, and the Souvlaki wraps are great as well.  The chicken satay sub is spicy and deliocious, on the best fresh roll!  I’m not a big fan of their salads, but the price is right on lunch for sure.  The downsides are sometimes you might wait a little longer than you want, the joint is in desperate need of a restaurant makeover so there is almost no seating and pizza oven just sitting in the middle of a restaurant like an old car parked out in someone’s lawn.  The folks that work there are like a sitcom in personalities, which makes the waiting a bit amusing.  The food is great and so are the prices.  Also they cater lunches and the pizza is great. Open for lunch Monday – Friday.   Thanks to John Lee for this suggestion…looking forward to going back soon!

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lo·cus – noun {plural} pronounced /lo-kəs/ loh-kuhs /

Locus Café
4121 Main Street, Vancouver BC Canada V5V 3P6
604.708.4121

 

So I had picked Grub because I really wanted to try it, but they were unexpectedly closed so Lisa saved the day by suggesting Locus on Main. It has a great atmosphere that I won’t do justice by describing, but it is a bit edgy with unique lighting, intriguing artwork, and interesting installations around the ceilings and walls. The brunch/lunch menu has lots of great options, but we both picked the blackened snapper sandwich. Before our sandwiches arrived they brought some lovely bread to the table with an assortment of spreads – the simplest and most delicious of which was butter with cinnamon and sugar in it – brilliant! The snapper sandwiches were solidly good and the service was equally good. Price point is good, and it offers variety from the breakfast usual suspects.  Thanks Lisa for saving the day with this find!

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What’s the line up all about?

Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna
1124 Davie Street, Vancouver
604.683.2555

 

Usually the line up outside this place is outrageous…which leaves the passer by wondering what delights are inside. A couple of weeks ago at lunch we were passing by and there was no line up so wandered in. There is nothing really fancy about it, but it has a quaint atmosphere with a Mediterranean flare. The service is prompt and the prices are great! We enjoyed chicken souvlaki, but to be honest, didn’t blow me away. The meat was tender and delicious but everything else (fries, salad, tzatziki) was just Very Ok.

 

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It is race weekend…and I’ve got my shoes shined up!

Bean Around the World (Yaletown)
1002 Mainland Street, Vancouver
604.685.9929

 

So it is a lazy beautiful Friday in Vancouver. I took the day off to do some half marathon preparations including getting our team shirts made (oo la la!), a beautiful hair cut (very aerodynamic), a massage…ah life if good. If you’re making posters to cheer me on that’s Gayle..with a Y After my massage a la mainland…I dropped into the Yaletown Bean Around the World. I love this coffee shop, although I’ve never had coffee here, the sandwiches are pretty good and today I ventured outside my coffee shop sandwich comfort zone and had the spinach roti which was delicious! Not nearly as good as my roti favorite – Gandhi – but much closer to me than Ghandi’s Toronto location J The Bean Around the World roti has the right flavors and texture I love…so I’m giving it a yum. I’m also giving it a ‘I can’t believe I’m eating roti at a coffee shop’! The tables are big and there is a lot of space to fold open your newspaper and indulge in a little reading while you soak in the afternoon…and take a break. I live to taper!

We’re not singing the blues (we’re slamm’n them)…birthday part 2

Me & Julio
2095 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
604.696.9997

 

This ‘modern Mexican kitchen and cantina’ is the spin off of another one of my Vancouver treasures Lolita’s. So given my admiration of the classic margarita it was a perfect stop for me to kick-off the weekend birthday festivities! And there is so much to celebrate. Spring has sprung in Vancouver, the Canucks are rocking the playoffs, and it is of course my birthday. We feasted over fresh chips and an assortment of yummy salsas and guacamole. I love salsa verde but the mango salsa was my favorite in the salsa trio, and the margaritas were delicious!! Me & Julio is larger than Lolita’s which makes for a nice open restaurant with a great buzz and atmosphere, with bigger tables and space for a party than Lolita’s but with a smaller group or a date definitely try Lolita’s. Me & Julio gets a Very Good, and I’m looking forward to going back and trying a meal.

 

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My birthday present from British Columbia – my BC drivers License!

Finches Tea House
353 Pender Street West Vancouver
604.899.4040

 

To kick off this weekend’s birthday extravaganza and get me through an afternoon of DMV fun, when I’d already spent the morning there as well I headed over to Finches Tea House to fuel up. A corner restaurant in a prominent building at Pender and Homer this inviting tea shop is a delight for the senses. The menu is chalked on to ornately gold framed chalk boards, and old books, records, and antiques are cluttered around the room and hanging from the walls.  Water is always available for patrons to pour themselves a glass and there is a selection between water with cucumber slices and one with lemons. The beverages are typically premium Italian juices and waters and they have a large loose leaf tea selection. The offering of sweet treats from oatmeal chocolate cookies to dark chocolate brownies, and their selection of baguettes and salads all thoughtfully prepared. Baguettes are served in brown paper if you’re eating in, and wrapped and tied in brown paper if your taking away. It doesn’t matter what you order it will be fresh and delicious, but my favorites are the free range egg salad and the Bononcini tomato basil sandwich. The great news is after I left here and headed back to the dreaded licensing bureau of BC I got my first birthday present of the weekend – My BC driver’s license! I live in the most beautiful place on earth and now I can drive and vote here. So all the me stuff aside I’m giving Finches a Very Good…in the sandwich department alone though it gets a Great!  I believe they serve breakfast as well, but I’ve not been yet for that.

 

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These are a few of my favorite things…

Flour
1595 Washington St., Boston, USA
617.267.4300

 

On my most recent trip to Boston I was treated to many wonderful things. The Science Museum, the Aquarium , a backstage pass to a hockey game, and several yummy food experiences. But one of my foodie stops, Flour, was so good, I had to go twice. In a thrown down with Bobby Flay Pastry Chef and Owner of Flour, Joanne Chang beat out Bobby in the sticky bun category…and now I know why! I only ate the sticky buns once, and I only had a half, but that was the most delicious half of a sticky bun I’ve ever had. But what is more the reason I actually went back again was for the sandwiches. I love sandwiches! The breakfast egg sandwich has a dash of horseradish in it, the basil pesto tomato sandwich comes with roasted tomatoes, and the fresh bread (whole wheat or white) will make you think you are in carbohydrate heaven. I stole a bit of the smoked salmon sandwich which is amazing, but don’t get too attached to it, because it is on the special menu, so I don’t know how often they make it. I’m glad I don’t have to walk by this place on my way to work, because I wouldn’t be able to resist! Joanne has a career path I have to admire, from consultant to Pastry Chef, and in following her passion she has been successful. I’m giving Flour a Great!

 

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Wander over to the Gypsy

The Gypsy
817- 1 St SW, Calgary
403.263.5869

 

A quaint little bistro whose name suits its appearance and ambiance. The menu isn’t too ambitious (avoiding one of the classic Calgary pitfalls), and has a range of selections from meat, to fish, to pastas. The service staff was prompt and courteous, albeit not that polished. I had the lamb special which was so yummy, and my companion enjoyed one of the pasta dishes. I’ve heard they have a great lunch, so I may go back and try it someday. Prices moderate (normal for Calgary). I’m going to give it a Very Okay rating, not quite sure why, but not feeling the very good on this one – I may revise when I go back again.

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At Ouisie’s Table I was welcomed home.

Ouisie’s Table
3939 San Felipe Drive Houston, Texas
713.528.2264

 

Sitting on Lucy’s porch last weekend I was reminded of the spirit of my great grandmother, Nana, who owned and operated a tea house in a small lakeside community in the mid 1900’s. And in reading more about Elouise Adams Jones, the proprietress & Executive Chef, I understood why. Her establishment is clearly a labour of love and each room and menu item is thoughtfully arranged and prepared. While I love my life and work, Ouisie’s (pronounced We’ – zee’s) made me dream of a life of afternoon lunches in sundresses and heels with my girlfriends. And sitting there with two of the most beautiful women I know it didn’t take too much imagination. We started with The Original Taster Plate that included amazing egg salad, pimento cheese, and saltine crackers. My main course was Sautéed Belly of the Salmon & Deviled Eggs. I haven’t seen devilled eggs on a menu before, but they were great, and what is more the salmon belly was amazing. I’d eat at Ouisie’s Table again and again, so it gets a Great. And if I lived in Houston I host showers and birthdays here.

Special thanks and congratulations to V.A.J. and S.O.J.B. 

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