October 25th, 2013
A little Latin flavour is always welcome - especially on our plate.
With that in mind, we made our way to a newly opened grab-and-go spot on Broadway and Granville, Boca (Spanish for mouth, and short for bocadillo). The space may be wee, but the menu is long on choices - Peruvian potato salad ($5), tortilla soup with shredded chicken, pinto beans and corn ($6) and palm size empanadas (we opted for the beef with peas and carrots, $1.50) are all sure bets.
But it's the bocadillos piled high with ethically raised meat and poultry and locally sourced ingredients that take centre stage: the Puerco en chic (Salvadorian roast pork with jack cheese), Merken (Chilean braised chicken with chimichurri) and Pastel de Carne (pork, beef and longganisa sausage with olive tapenade and spiced tomato mayo), $9 each, boast the slow-cooked, multi-ingredient and savoury flavour we associate with Latin cuisine.
Made with love, even for lunch.
1513 W. Broadway, Vancouver, www.boca2go.ca
Photo by Michael Sider.
October 18th, 2013
Summer turns to fall, and salad turns to soup (at least for our lunch routine).
Just in time for the big chill, Happy Planet has released a line of Canadian-sourced, locally-inspired soups that are heat-and-serve ready. We've tried the Chilliwack Broccoli and cheddar (with florets sourced from Chiliwack, BC) and the Fraser Valley Mushroom and Mascarpone Soup - both tasted fresh, savoury and subtle.
We'll get around to making our own stock one day, we swear. But until then… —Maria Tallarico
September 28th, 2013
If you usually have a rapt audience while you whip up meals and snacks, turn those curious kids into kitchen helpers. Here's how:
Get them comfortable: Anything that has a blade or requires electricity may be a bit advanced for smaller kids, but you can get them comfortable with a mortar and pestle. They can crush spices and nuts, and they’ll love seeing the result of all their hard “work." $62 at Williams-Sonoma.
Let the Making Begin: There’s a reason ham-and-cheese is such a classic – it’s a comfort combination loved by eaters of any age. For a warm, gooey take on this family favourite, use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and this simple 3-ingredient, 20 minute recipe for Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups at www.mypillsbury.com
Don’t skip dessert: Keep them motivated with the promise of chocolate (mixed with fruit of course). Chocolate dipped strawberries (if they are out of season, try bananas) don’t have to be fancy - or neat: melt down a bag of chocolate chips with a bit of shortening, wait for it to somewhat cool and let them go to town with fruit and even sprinkles. A word of warning: lay down some parchment paper or your kitchen will look like Willy Wonka’s factory. Martha Stewart does hers with crushed pistachios; the kids can shell and crush the nuts with the mortar and pestle. Find the recipe here.
September 27th, 2013
So powerful is the popularity of mustard that even Malcolm Gladwell has explored the Grey Poupon phenomena in a New Yorker essay.
Salad dressing, dips, sauces, dolloped on top of poultry or fish - this condiment doesn't have to hide in the back of the fridge like ketchup. But who knew that 90% of mustard seeds are grown in Canada? Ontario company Kozlik's, that's who. With 60 years in the mustard biz, Kozlik's knows its stuff, and has branched out with Amazing Maple (using two Canuck greats, maple syrup and mustard seed), Triple Crunch (with a splash of Canadian Club) and Sweet & Smokey, perfect for the grill (including hot dogs, of course).
That's one luxe mustard. —Maria Tallarico
September 6th, 2013
Egotistical characters, backstabbing, cat fighting - no, this isn't an episode of Real Housewives, it's the underbelly of the restaurant world. Herewith, the food-centric Twitter accounts that serve up the dishiest food news.
The Braiser is attached to the the fantastic food blog of the same name, combines US Weekly-style gossip, cringe-worthy food tv show clips and hot-button topics like tipping. https://twitter.com/TheBraiser
Created as a nom de plume used poke fun at the sometimes-pretentious world of food, Ruth Bourdain has been revealed as New Jersey freelance writer Josh Friedland. The avatar photo (a mashup of Ruth Reicl and Anthony Bourdain) is good for a terrifying chuckle and the commentary is still biting. https://twitter.com/RuthBourdain
And speaking of Bourdain, Twitter is the perfect spot for his no-holds-barred attitude. Bourdain doesn't suffer fools (even famous ones) gladly - and he even posts a food photo once in a while. https://twitter.com/Bourdain
Celebrities love Toronto chef Susuar Lee's restaurants (and he ain't afraid to show it). His restos will be a hot spot during TIFF, but even if you can't make it in for meal, he posts DIY videos for his favourite dishes. https://twitter.com/susurlee
August 30th, 2013
Green smoothie for breakfast, salad with free-range chicken for lunch and a bag of cookies for a late afternoon snack. One of these things is not like the others.
When 3 p.m. hits, our food judgement goes right out the window, with feed-me-now cravings taking precedent. But with the sugar high comes the sugar low (lethargy and a "I swear I'm not doing that tomorrow" resolve that lasts about 24 hours). Snack Box can save even the most temptable junk food lover; the monthly services delivers boxes stocked with tasty, all-natural and gluten-free options. Organic peach rings, chocolate covered kale and rice chips are just a few of the salty and savoury options that made it our door.
Just be sure to hide it from your co-workers, or that monthly box will last about a minute.
From $24/month (6 month plan), see more at https://getsnackbox.com
August 23rd, 2013
It's Monday night - do you know where your hearty vegetarian dinner is?
At the now-classic Irish Heather Long Table series, that's where. What started off as a way to share a hearty Sunday roast with strangers has turned into one of the hippest meals in the city. Meatless Monday is no exception: with vegan dishes sourced by Sole Food Street Farms (which grows its veggies just a few blocks away from Irish Heather), we chowed down on mixed vegetables, breaded lentils and a grilled portobello mushroom with a balsamic reduction. This dinner party is as as budget-friendly as ever - $16 covers your meal, plus a beer (in this case, a Kronenbrug Blac).
And did we mention the cute Irish accents….
The Irish Heather, 212 Carrall St., Vancouver, www.itsmenu.blogspot.ca; for reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org
June 26th, 2013
The newly opened Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods serves-up seasonal, simple fare with a focus on veggie heavy salads, sandwiches, soups and stews.
We loved the chopped albacore tuna with avocado, cucumber, pickled red onions, cilantro, and ginger soy dressing ($6.50) but if June-uary” has you craving heartier fare, try the Moroccan chicken with chickpeas spicy stew ($8).
The informal, cafeteria-style service is elevated with light and bright modern design (Eames-style chairs, reclaimed wood tables and concrete floors).
And right next door to YYoga? Perfect for a healthy sweat date with the girls. —Laura Cropper
1903 W. Fourth Ave., Vancouver, www.tractorfoods.com
May 31st, 2013
Overalls and tractors? More like the shepherd who markets to celebrity chefs.
New magazine Modern Farmer (funded in part by BC philanthropist Frank Giustra) navigates the most hotly debated crop topics in its debut issue, which is already on backorder. With a mix of punchy headlines (Honey Laundering: A Primer), aspirational DIY (How To Grow Your Own Cocktail), stellar imagery and farmer-approved products like cool birdhouses and waterproof notebooks, Modern Farmer bridges the gap between reading the organic label and understanding it.
But on second thought, we're keeping the overalls.
Order Modern Farmer, US$7.50 (plus $12.20 shipping, ouch) and find the articles online at http://modernfarmer.com
March 7th, 2013
Running out for milk and bread?
Forget the gas station quick stop and duck into The Mighty Oak, an acorn-sized general store that carries essentials with style — everything from chocolate milk in glass bottles to old-fashioned bars of shampoo. They also whip up espresso drinks and freshly baked goods behind the bar. Their signature? Cheddar and chive scones that are baked in-house ($2.65) and tend to sell out before noon.
It’s how we like to refuel. —Kelsey Dundon
The Mighty Oak, 198 W. 18th Ave., Vancouver, 604-558-0722, http://themightyoak.ca