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Everything posted by jamiemaw

  1. Minko, Depending on which weekend night you're going, Bistro Pastis offers several plats du jour at the bargain price of $19.50. Friday it's skate with brown butter sauce and capers; Saturday is cote de porc; Sunday is an excellent boeuf bourgignon. There are lots of reasonably priced a la carte items as well. Favourites: steak frites with bearnaise ($19.50 and $27.50); braised lamb shank (a steal at $19.50); bouillabaisse (ditto) and grilled sablefish with a black cod brandade ($27.50). There are many other options as well, nice desserts and a budget-friendly wine list. Have a glass of pastis as an appertif. It's one of the cosiest rooms in town, and yes, you're right, the proprietaire, John Blakeley, is a very gracious guy with a twinkle in his eye. Be excited--you've made a good choice for your birthday celebration--let us know how it goes. Bon chance, Jamie Maw Food Editor Vancouver magazine
  2. Mia Stainsby wrote about Chutney Villa (147 East Broadway; 604-872-2228) today in the Sun. South Indian and Newfoundlander proprietors, which sounds pretty much ideal--if you promise not to screech.
  3. Jenna Jamison for President 2004 Campaign Dear Mr. Talent, I passed your request for submission along immediately to Ms. Jamison, and although she typically prefers to be dominate, between takes with Condi she allowed that she would like to hear you out. That is because she is curious, or as she said, 'insatiably curious.' By the way, we used Rummy's unused rose petals to great effect on the shoot, and to answer your next question, Condi looks great in 101st Airborne camoflauge. So fire away. F. Morris Chatters Communications Director PS--To stay on topic, Ms. Jamison wanted you to know that she enjoys a good vindaloo as much as the next (working) girl.
  4. Jenna Jamison for President 2004 Campaign I'm sorry Mr. Talent, but in light of your recent diatribe bemoaning anything hardcore, any 'installing' will necessarily be left to others. Ms. Jamison, however, would like to share with you that she has been wanting to shoot with Condi for some time now. Scrabble and a selection of herbal teas afterward. Sincerely yours, F. Morris Chatters Communications Director
  5. Jenna Jamison for President 2004 Campaign We were shocked and appalled--although hardly surprised--by Mr. Talent's disdain for the hardcore.
  6. Maxmillan, Here's a list of places that we find very reliable for fresh ingradients; 'clean' cooking (ie. not the pond-bottom of muddy flavours on offer from some Indian restaurants; and that have servers who are happy to help you with your education in matters incandescent. One of the best areas to begin your cheap and cheerful sleuthing is in a two block radius of Granville and West Broadway. At Rangoli, Vikram Vij's adjunct to his highly successful signature room next door, you'll find the same cleanly wrought flavours brought into a very pretty new room. On its east wall, look for banks of coolers that offer prettily-packaged take-away, the better to appease your new nocturnal addiction. An active display kitchen lines the other side; in-between, happy diners find it hard to spend much more than $10. The menu is short and fresh, but if Vik is in the room, ask him for a recommendation. And in the men's room, find an endless reel of Bollywood classics paly out on a wall-mounted screen. On West Broadway, just east of Granville near Cru and Memphis Blues, a tiny jewel called Velvet produces careful ramps of flavour. The room has Indian provenance too--it's the original site of Vij's--but the multi-tasking owner is Korean. Welcome to the DNA of Vancouver dining. Ridiculously cheap: chick pea curry with a skewer of chicken for 10 bucks. And romantic too. Two blocks west, just past Fir Street, you'll find a soaring space of many flavours--including local fish (halibut, salmon) wedded to tradtional Indian spicing. Maurya is certainly no hole-in-yhe-wall, however you're more than welcome to do an imprmptu tatsting at the bar. The wine list is the best of any Indian retsaurant in town, the owner Laleet incredibly gracious and a fount of information. Akbar's Own (1905 West Broadway) offers northwestern--Muglai and Kashmiri--quite mildly spiced Indian at reasonable prices: pilaus, biryania, tikkas. Very fresh, and nice folks. Planet Veg (on the Cornwall Avenue cafe strip near Cypress) has vegetarian dishes at death-defying prices. The Basmati pot is just $8 and fresh and vibrant. Rubina Tandoori has a diffusion line of outlets called Rubina Express. You'll find them at Granville Island, Carlyle Centre (downtown) and capilano Mall in North Vancouver. Think Mumbai (Bombay) street food--delicious, quick and cheap. Frequent weekday line-ups at the downtown location over the lunch hour. Del-Hi Darbar on Main Street (2100 block) is also inexpensive: try the murg tikka and papri chat. Other notables as you get your bearings: All India Sweets, Annapurna, Ashiana, Da Tandoori, Himalaya, India Grill, Nooru Mahal, and The Quilon. Happy eating, and let us know how you do. Jamie Maw Food Editor Vancouver Magaziine
  7. A visit to Cin Cin last night for my fiancees birthday party confirmed that Thierry Busset continues to bake the best restaurant breads in the city, at least that I've come across. He's lightened up the rolls since his time at West--they're made from white flour now and served with a precocious tapenade, although I asked for some cold butter and gave a grind of salt. A lesson in one thing, perfectly done, and a finger in the eye of Dr. Atkins! Even more stunning was the birthday 'cake' Thierry created--actually a chilled chocolate jewel-box with creme-filled bon bons inside. And neither pastry nor a birthday candle in sight. As delicious and guilty a confection as the cast of the Young and Restless who were dining nearby. You should check out MIX bakery on West 10th, although for my money, Notte's Bon Ton on West Broadway is the mother of them all. Everything is beautifully crafted; their 'Special' Orange cake particularly light on its feet. But veterans order the Diplomat cake for celebratory occasions--its butter icing is rich enough to send shivers down your back, the internal texture the product of a thousand delicate layers. Their cheese-straws recall an earlier Vancouver, when there were many more local bakeries such as The Dainty Maid and The Cookie Jar, gone now, like their customers. Jamie Maw Food Editor Vancouver Magazine
  8. Thank for the kind offer Sun-Ki. Mission is to hitch up with a chef and visit the farms on this island near Waimea, and next week near Makawao. Then we follow those excellent ingredients back onto the plate each night. We're also here to organize a Vancouver: Hawaii Chefs on Tour event--I'll send you a note on the specifics. Had an extraordinary piece of pink snapper yesterday--if only the shut-ins could have shared it they might be more open-minded about your beautiful home. Apologies for any typos--am typing this on a keyboard aout the size of "Bon Juste's" sense of humour. Jamie Maw Food Editor Vancouver Magazine
  9. To say nothing of Spam, that delicious product of the Hormel Corporation that is the bane of taste arbiters everywhere. "Help Me, Rhonda" --Brian Wilson
  10. qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqQQ-sattelite end Can't say I've been to Kihei since Wardair cut out the free rum punch, KT, but thank you (and our always gracious headmistress- mot betta) for warning me off. Goodness knows, with my lack of imagination it's amazing II can make it out of town at all. Actually, the future Mrs. M (and former Pabst Blue Ribbon spokesmodel, which plays quite well up here with the cowboys) and I have been clinging to the side of the volcano on Hawai'i (the island) near the Parker Ranch freezing our arses off--it rains like Ireland and is as lush, like me, and as beautiful, like her. Of course we've been admiring the heirloom cattle. Even if I might preferr to slip into a warm jersey. But as the cheap bourbon cut in and the cowboy talk lit up, I felt I owed to myself to ask the cowpoke beside me, "So what's an heirloom cow?" " 'Bout 30-days dry aged, I s-pose," he said, and then he flipped our steaks fast and neat, as if a change in the weather might be coming on. By the way, Ringo don't drink, even if it wasn't always that way. NEXT WEEK: Our docudrama: Profiles in Courage:Extreme Wasabi Rabching in the Waimea Gulch "Always avoid the digitally manipulated; build it, they come." --Sherwin Williams
  11. Keith is bang on although surely Mrs. Talent must be at least mildly uncomfortable with the unpopular positions part. Is that like sand in your Schlitz? You really owe it to us to explain, Keith, especially as you seem to be in an uncommonly good mood today. The state is riddled with expensive restaurants that can be unsatisfying--what one server called 'burn 'n turn': get the mahimahi out fast and turn the tables. But there are lots of casual and Asian restaurants that serve quality food at locals' prices. One of our favourites is The Smokehouse just north of Lahaina. Just Harleys and pick-up trucks in the parking lot (no rented Toyotas)--surely a good sign in front of a barbecue joint. Beer is served in frozen tankards, the ribs are slow-smoked over kiave wood, turtles hurtle into the surf. There are several fine dining restaurants on each island, though, that are great: terrific fresh stuff and the chef knows when to get out of the way. Hawaiian regional cuisine really got going a decade or so ago, thanks to Merriman's on the Big Island, Alan Wong on Oahu, George Mavro (now moved back to Honolulu) and Bev Gannon on Maui etc. Of course Roy's really started it all, and now you see them everywhere, even in Plam Springs. But I heard that Roy's is now owned by the Outback chain of steakhouses, which might explain the rapid roll-outs. I'll let you know how it goes--especially in that three stool Malaysian place near the airport that we sniffed out. Cheers, Jamie
  12. Mahalo Coop. And as our good mothers always taught us, never get into a piscine contest, even with reporters from Calgary. That's why I chose beef. Not unlike this website, perhaps food is all about the threads too: from farmyard to plate that is. And it's pretty much a maxim that the closer you can keep an eye on it the better it will taste. Chatters aside that is. But here's a concept, and an invitation. How would you and Mr. Talent like to come out in a few weeks and take a peek at a couple of new restaurants? I promise that I won't make you wear the traditional Joanne Cates disguise kits. Thought you might find it informative. And we'll be sure to delegate to KT the washroom inspection bit. Sorry in advance, can't boost for Mrs. Coop on our budget, but if we turn up something good, you can rush back. Let me know, Jamie "No sane man can afford to dispense with debilitating pleasures, no ascetic can be considered reliably sane." --A.J. Liebling
  13. Thanks Poutine. Hopefully other will get it too. By the way, before we also hear from outraged vegetarians--I love them equally. Cheers, Jamie
  14. Oh for goodness sake, Justin. Our message to (hit or) Miss Fortney was simply meant as a good-natured jibe against her trite stereotyping of the two cities. She certainly took it that way. By striking against their solar plexus of steakhouse dining, I thought the humour might have been more obvious. perhaps we were hoping that it might cheer you up too. But Coop raises an interesting point. When Michael Noble accepted Stephen Reid's offer to become a partner at Catch several years ago it raised a lot of eyebrows here in Vancouver. Michael, after all, had put Diva squarely on the map as a serious, contemporary, regionally-driven hotel dining room. The only other one at the time was the esteemed Chartwell. And Michael was just as well known for his captaincy of the Canadian Bocuse d'Or team that did so well in Lyons. He was (and is) also widely recognized for his keen interest in the welfare and training of apprenticing chefs, and for simply being a great guy. So in addition to raising eyebrows here, Michael's move also raised the standard of piscine dining in Calgary hugely, so much so that we soon ran a highly positive review in the Globe and Mail. I like restaurants that offer options: casual oyster saloon downstairs, more formal tasting menus up. Both great--thank Westjet. Catch, quite deservedly I think, also won enRoute magazine's inaugural award for 'Best New Restaurant in Canada' the year before last. So far from squabbling, I think you can dine very well in Calgary (and Banff for that matter). Ned Bell, also ex-Vancouver is cooking well in Cowtown at Murrieta's. You may also recall that Michael Allemeier (ex-Bishop's and FNC's Cook Like a Chef) also made a huge contribution during his tenure at Teatro. He's now installed at the Mission Hill Winery and busy sourcing great local stuff, including some Enderby boar cheeks that he braised and served to us a couple of weeks ago. Almost sorry to say it Keith, but they were great with the Oculus. Overall, it's great to see the Okanagan chefs (Rod Butters at Fresco too) working in much closer collaboration with the small, mainly organic farmers--in pursuit of excellent local ingredients. Sort of like what Bernie Casavant started a decade ago at Whistler and Pemberton when he was at the Chateau. And also ironic: a century ago the apples and stone fruit of the OK Valley were winning awards as far away as London. But it's taken that long for the valley to get back to its roots, so to speak. So here's to more collaboration, especially between the two cities. Now that Scott Baechler's going so strongly at Diva, perhaps the Met should host a springtime homecoming dinner, with Michael and Scott working the menu together. By the way, if you still want to taste some of Michael's emancipated cooking, but don't want to visit Calgary, order his signature black cod hash with scallion oil and poached eggs. Surely one of the best darn eating inventions of the 90s, way ahead of its time, and still available breakfast/brunch at Diva. Off to eat Neo-Tiki in the inappropriately named Sandwich Islands, where the cuisine is chiefly informed by Spam, which is an aquired taste. I promise to avoid those burn 'n turn joints (friends had an expensive disaster at the newish Spago a couple of weeks ago) in favour of plate lunches, poki and then, with any luck at all, accelerating to ramen speed. Cheers, Jamie
  15. Backround: Many of you will have been less than amused by the recent reports of Valerie Fortney of the Calgary Herald, She's been visiting Vancouver during the playoffs to report on the seeming differences between the two cities. Instead, she dragged out every hackneyed stereotype ever known--weather, choice of footwear, mind-set et al. Particularly galling, though, was her choice of restaurant to summarize Vancouver dining: The Naam. While I enjoy a bowl of granola as much as the next guy, she painted a picture of us as Birkenstocked chumps where the hills are in fact alive with the sound of muesli. As I doubt they'll ever print this, beneath I attach a response. An Open letter to Valerie Fortney The Calgary Herald April 10, 2004 Dear Ms Fortney, Of the many clichés that you exhumed in attempting to incite the good citizens of Calgary and Vancouver, your choice of The Naam as an exemplar for how Vancouverites dine came as a particular blow. Shame on you and your people. Although I maintain that the malodour of composting vegetarians does not necessarily a happy dining room make, it’s not such a bad idea to keep them all in one place. And the fact that the brothers and sisters and miscellaneous comrades who choose to dine there select open-to-the-elements sandals as their footwear of choice is, quite determinedly, because they can. And being a just and tolerant society, we tolerate it, if just. If you didn’t know before your visit, you now do: Vancouverites take the art of dining very seriously—on slower nights it’s commonly perceived as at least a spectator sport, but from Wednesday through Saturday it’s full contact. Vancouver also enjoys something that Calgary (and Toronto, for that matter) do not—a distinct regional cuisine. Close your eyes in many restaurants in Vancouver and you know that you’re eating right here. Close your eyes in most Calgary restaurants, however, and you could be virtually anywhere, such as Fort McMurray. But here’s the rub, or at least the spice-rub. Although your metaphor of Calgary as a red meat town, and Vancouver as its tofu equivalent (lack of ram?) is proforma, it is untrue, and in the spirit of journalistic integrity, the record must be corrected: Vancouver has way more, way better steakhouses. Yes, you might argue that Hy’s was founded in Calgary, but for the past 30 years the chain has been head-officed right here. So too its sister-chain, The Keg, owned by the same Vancouverite. I know, you’ll argue that Saltlik on Stephens is a vibrant, modern steakhouse concept. But sorry again, that’s an adjunct of Earls, also invented and head-officed here. I won’t bore you with all the rest, but at 900 West, Morton’s, Gotham, the Smoking Dog, and even Le Gavroche, amongst many others, you can get a steak far superior than at, say, Buzzard’s Cowboy or the Cattle Baron. By the way, while you're at it, you might want to do something about those names. Now don’t even start on Japanese restaurants (there are about 260 of them in Vancouver) as I have first-hand knowledge that anything even half-baked is held in deep suspicion by Calgarians, with the possible exception of your premier. I’ll give you this though—you folks drink far more rye whiskey than we could ever think possible. Or necessary. You see, we make good wine too. Especially those big-boy Okanagan reds from the Black Sage bench, the ones that go so well with this beef. Yours until the cows come home, Jamie Maw Food Editor Vancouver magazine
  16. Just to add a little more confusion. . . in re-reading your post, it seems that Mark Taylor was recognized at two Playhouse Wine Festival events--the Trade Day Luncheon and the Restaurant Wine List Awards luncheon, which I recall was held the following day. But no doubt sound recognition for Mark's contribution. Jamie Maw
  17. At the Playhouse Wine List awards luncheon, Anthony Gismondi and I announced the Sommelier of the Year, as chosen by a group of food and wine media and industry vets. Of course that was Mark Taylor; we saluted Mark's innovative wine list at Cru, which offers colour-coded wine/food pairings and groupings by wine characeristics versus varietal or place of birth. Thanks for coming--as you know that was its inaugural in that format and was fun--hopefully, as is the spirit of these events, it will float all the boats higher by encouraging restaurants to constantly innovate and improve their wine lists. Two weeks later, as part of the long-established 'Premier Crew' awards(recognizing outstanding service) portion of the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, Brent Hayman of Raincity Grill was recognized for his outstanding commitment to wine education via his early adoption of a significant wine-by-the-glass program, and his dedication to the wines of Cascadia. A lot of us locals have learned at his elbow. Two events, two different sets of judges, two different results. Perhaps leading to your (quite understandable) confusion was the fact that Barb Philip of Sequoia Group was selected by both panels last year. And yes, we think that there are more than enough qualified sommeliers in the province to begin recognizing them as an important part of the dining experience. And perhaps needless to say, we hope that recognition such as these two awards represent will encourage others to take up the saintly craft. Thanks for pointing this out. Jamie Maw Food Editor Vancouver Magazine PS--I read on this website that New York or even Edmonton might have originated the concept that Dine Out Vancouver is based upon. Correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm sure I'm dating myself, but I seem to recall that it originated in London and was started by the British wine critic Jancis Robinson's husband Nick Lander. Sponsored by the Financial Times, it was called 'Lunch for a Fiver' and its great value warmed this chilly Scottish heart. I recall clearly that this took place during the Pre-Arugula Epoch, which of course means prior to 1983.
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