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What's Missing From This Picture?


jamiemaw
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For all the bragging we’ve been doing recently, there remain certain things impossible to find in Vancouver.

In addition to good local newspapers, it's freakishly tough to get a decent sandwich. And in a city of a thousand seafood-centric restaurants, it's difficult to find great hot (non-Asian) seafood, especially classically sauced.

A decent pizza means a long drive from most precincts. Want a simple crab or shrimp Louis? Good luck. And, let's face it, most Vancouver sites suitable for restaurant occupation are architecturally challenged.

What are your pet peeves? And what would you do to fix it them? And they needn't be limited to just the food . . .

Time to chime,

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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When I worked at the Havana we had a few great sandwiches, my fav was an open faced sandi called Media Noche; they said it was a famous Cuban Sand, one side with roast pork the other with ham, one side swiss one side cheddar, finaly pickle and tomato, the bases was mayo and dijon mustard.

do not know if it is still on the menu

I have not been there for years, so I can not say anything about what they have now for sandwiches

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Hawker's is fantastic, in fact that's where I'm eating tonight. But I don't consider a minimum 30 minute wait to be street food. Sure, I wait on the street....still one of the better inexpensive restaurants.

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Automatic doors. Agree completely with the street food suggestion, my dream street food vendor would be selling takoyaki (wheat flour dumpling containing bits of octopus, ginger and green onions or cabbage with a sauce and sometimes mayonnaise) and taiyaki (a kind of waffle filled with sweet bean jam).

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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Let's see... For me, I think this question can be answered in part by thinking of what foods I go out of my way to get when I visit my parents in the Washington, DC area.

I happen to be one of the gang who thinks our Mexican offerings are sorely sorely lacking.

And Salvadoran... oh how I love love love B.C., but oh how I wish we had a home-cooking, hole-in-the-wall Salvadoran restaurant.

One of my very favorite foods is crab, and when growing up near the Chesapeake Bay, we always ate them "straight" -- steamed with rock salt & Old Bay* seasoning on the outside. No butter, no sauce for the meat ... if you MUST dip it in something, it's just good ole white vinegar seasoned with onion & black pepper.

It has proven to be ridiculously difficult to get just PLAIN OLD steamed crab in Vancouver...no sauce, just steamed, please. (Although whenever I can't stand it anymore, I do go to Rodney's and plunk down the $50 or more bucks. Sometimes I need the fix...)

And if there's good pizza downtown, I've not tried it.

* which reminded me -- Old Bay seasoning used to be one of the things impossible to find here (I used to hand-carry it home), but after Bon Appetit did a small feature on it last year, Urban Fare started carrying it. It's delicious on not only seafood, but roasted red potato too... It's my "secret ingredient" that everyone always raves over...

Edited by Xando Head (log)
Food Lover -- nothing more, nothing less
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jazz lounge?

I like The Cellar jazz club on West Broadway. Great music and the food is pretty good too.

My husband has been complaining lately that he can't find a decent veal schnitzel, goulash or spatzle anywhere.

-Christine

Thanks that's very interesting, will have to check out The Cellar one of these days. Can you casually walk in or you always have to make a reservation?

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-we need GOOD BAKERIES! that's what i miss the most... Just thinking about it makes me sad (but it also got me into making bread),

-we need a welcoming, chatty, casual little wine bar with killer wines from small producers at a reasonable price,

-we need a freaking BC equivalent to "the french laundry", a place where the food just blows you away, where you give up all defenses because it just tastes fantastic

What we really need is more simple, satisfying food. What i'd like to see:

authentic tapas bars, great falafels and kebabs, killer couscous... Authentic, as opposed to someone's poor, lazy rendition of it.

Cause we're doing good when it comes to food from Asia, but Vancouver really sucks when it comes to traditional european, african or south-american.

For a start, i suggest that Wildfire and Brasserie l'ecole move to Vancouver!

Eddy M., Chef & Owner

Se.ed Artisan Foods, Vancouver BC

Follow Se.ed's growth at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/fromseedtofood/

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Spatzle - have you tried Katzenjammer Cafe on 10th near UBC? Really, really good. All of their sausages are specially made by Freybe's and everything else is made on site. i was impressed. OF course, I can only eat there once a year when I'm really hungover.

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Vancouver Food needs.

1) Great Deli - actually I'd settle for good Deli

2) More Neighbourhood restaurants, little (30-50) seat trattorias and cafes etc. that are not on main parking challenged, noisy traffic arteries, are family friendly and serve honest food with reasonable pricing. Hachi Bei on 16th is a good example.

3) More respect for the industry, we still put waiters and bartenders in the "when are you going to get a real job" bin, it's getting better but still has a long way to go before we create a culture of professionalism.

4) FISH MARKETS & LOCAL BUTCHERS

That is my initial list but it is Sunday and I'm a little sleepy.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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It has proven to be ridiculously difficult to get just PLAIN OLD steamed crab in Vancouver...no sauce, just steamed, please.  (Although whenever I can't stand it anymore, I do go to Rodney's and plunk down the $50 or more bucks.  Sometimes I need the fix...)

Try SandBar - plain steamed Dungeness Crab and much less than $50 - their chef is also a fan of Old Bay

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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Thanks that's very interesting, will have to check out The Cellar one of these days. Can you casually walk in or you always have to make a reservation?

I've always made a reservation whenever I've wanted to go because it is a small-ish club. I think you can casually walk in without a reservation, depending on the night (Fri-Sat nights are busier obviously). It's a really nice, intimate club with great acoustics.

Spatzle - have you tried Katzenjammer Cafe on 10th near UBC?

I haven't been Katzenjammer, but thanks for the tip! I'll definitely check it out someday.

4) FISH MARKETS

I was in Steveston yesterday and bought 2 pounds of spot prawns right off the boat at the Fisherman's Wharf for 8 dollars. Yumminess. :wub:

-Christine

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How about a real good cookware store? Seattle has City Kitchens and Sur La Table. We don't have anything even close. It's easy finding stores that sell pots but how about the little things that make every cooking day better? Gadgets and gizmos that are sub-$100.

It ain't the meat it's the emotion

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"it's freakishly tough to get a decent sandwich"

After reading the front page article in the dining section of the N.Y. Times last Wednesday all about the sandwich selections in N.Y., it brought to mind all the great Vietnamese sandwiches I have fond memories of in Vancouver. And that I miss so much.

I'm curious as to what - for you Jamie or anyone else - constitutes a decent sandwich these days?

In days gone by it was all the questions the sandwich maker asked you that was such a revelation; whole wheat, white or rye? Lettuce or sprouts? butter or mayonnaise? mustard? To go or for here?

What is it now? Are there now good/decent meatball sandwiches to be had in Vancouver these days?

s

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I totally miss the ability to get a good smoked meat or corned beef sandwich where the meat is shaved and piled about 2 - 3 inches thick like they do in Montreal and Toronto !!

Buritos and Mexican fast food like, Baja Fresh, Qdoba, and Chipotole in the States.

An outback steak house, I love those chicken wings there.

Chester.

For all the bragging we’ve been doing recently, there remain certain things impossible to find in Vancouver.

In addition to good local newspapers, it's freakishly tough to get a decent sandwich. And in a city of a thousand seafood-centric restaurants, it's difficult to find great hot (non-Asian) seafood, especially classically sauced.

A decent pizza means a long drive from most precincts. Want a simple crab or shrimp Louis? Good luck. And, let's face it, most Vancouver sites suitable for restaurant occupation are architecturally challenged.

What are your pet peeves? And what would you do to fix it them? And they needn't be limited to just the food . . .

Time to chime,

Jamie

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I totally miss the ability to get a good smoked meat or corned beef sandwich where the meat is shaved and piled about 2 - 3 inches thick like they do in Montreal and Toronto !!

Chester ... welcome to eGullet!

Have you tried Kaplans Deli? Corner of 41st & Oak (5775 Oak). I think you'll be able to get your fix there. Or you can wait until Chef Fowke & Chef Wyles decide to do the pastrami experiment again ... but that's a topic for another thread!

A.

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Chester I agree with you about Baja Fresh, they are pretty good, you loose me though on the Outback. I think what we lack in Vancouver is Trattoria and Bistro style places. I hope that's what Chamber becomes but they seem to be going a little up market of that.

David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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-we need GOOD BAKERIES! that's what i miss the most... Just thinking about it makes me sad (but it also got me into making bread),

I am totally with you on that one edm, growing up in Australia, surprising they had great bakeries everywhere, if you are surfing and get hungry there would be a great bakery at the beach, for wonderful meat pies and pasties and even good old vanilla slices. I have never found anything like it here.

I also agree with more neighborhood restaurants, I live in east van by the colisieum and there are no restaurants our way, only italian, and i don't necessarly feel like that all the time.

One of my last peeves is the lack of street food, i think we could do more than smokies

DANIELLE

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-Virginia Woolf

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-we need GOOD BAKERIES! that's what i miss the most... Just thinking about it makes me sad (but it also got me into making bread),

Add another vote from me for good bakeries. I just find a nice one on Commercial, and then those bastards from Cobbs take over the place!! :angry: Fortunately I still have Valley Bakery on Hastings, but Federicos did really good canolli which I miss very much now. :sad:

A.

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