Posts in category "- Commercial Drive"

La Mezcaleria

Full disclosure: This was a tasting menu invite from the great folks at Popcorn. I’ve been to La Mezcaleria before so I can vouch that the food here is amazing.

La Mezcaleria has become a cherished spot in the Commercial Drive area where each night is packed like a Friday after work getaway. When you enter the restaurant, it has that lively buzz that marks it as the ‘IT’ place to be. Even amidst the hum of chatter and kitchen noise, you can still find an intimate spot at the bar or booth to share food and drinks.

La Mezcaleria

There were a few items that my dinner partner in crime and I decided to tackle and the first obstacle was the customized Espadin Mezcal Flight served with Sangrita and Lime. I’ve never been a straight up clear liquid type of drinker..but there’s always a first time right?

lemez_tequila

The mezcal clearly primed my palate for our appetizer – the Queso Fundido
La Mezcaleria

This now must have signature appetizer is a molten cheese fondue served in a pretty awesome hot volcanic rock molcajete which looks like a large mortar with a choice of salsa verde or Mexican chorizo..we picked the latter. The manager deftly demonstrated how to twirl and swirl the cheese into the warm soft corn tortilla. Seriously how does one critique a cheese fondue? It’s a delicious greasy mess of hot gooey melted cheese with the additional grease from the chorizo. And all you can do is failingly try to contain all that hot cheeseness in the tortilla. Fair warning that this will make you full but since I decided to gulp instead of sip my flight mezcal I didn’t face this issue.

As my main, I picked the Parillada
La Mezcaleria

It’s a hot plate of grilled beef short ribs marinated in a home made pasilla chile sauce served with Mexican chorizo, nopalitos, toreado peppers and green onions. It came with tortilla so the idea is to combine all of that up with a good serving of their homemade chilli sauce. The beef short ribs was lightly seasoned with that essential charred flavour to give it that slight smokiness. The spice and savouriness is rounded out by the hot peppers when you wrap all of that up in the tortilla.

My dinner mate ordered the wonderfully bright and delicious Tostadas De Pato
tacos

It’s a tostadas of Fraser Valley duck confit, guava, fruit mole sauce (aka manchamanteles), chayote squash and radish. The pulled duck was soft and tender with the sweet mole sauce combined. The chayote and radish gave the balancing touch of crisp, crunch and citrus.

There’s something personal and intimate with eating your food with your hands. There’s no room for pretences when grease is dribbling down your mouth and fingers, mysterious crumbs land on your lap, and laughter erupts when one puckers up while downing the mezcal (oh wait that’s me). When you enter La Mezcaleria, leave your table manners and modesty at the door and come forth with an empty stomach.

La Mezcaleria
1622 Commercial Drive
La Mezcaleria on Urbanspoon

The Red Wagon Cafe

There’s only a few places in Vancouver that makes me crave to go back and try every single item on the menu: Red Wagon is on that list. This old school, no fuss, friendly diner is backed by a chef with quite the local pedigree. His name is Chef Brad Miller and he was worked at notable local kitchens like Bistro Pastis, West, and Au Petit Chavignol. He had a stint in serving food goodness in Paris and you could tell that experience influenced his menu. Red Wagon is simple French cooking with a simple approachable comfortable dining experience.

When you step in, it really feels like your neighborhood diner that has stayed around since the 1950s. But when you take a closer look at the menu, it tells a different story. You can see the French influence with dishes like confit pork belly and croque madame. And pretty much the whole menu shouts gourmet.

I ordered the very fancy sounding country pate sandwich with celery root slaw, apple mustard
cornichon on baguette with side of fries.

Country pate is, in short, a fancy meatloaf of mostly ground pork mixed with lots of spices and sometimes there’s liver in it. A country pate can be quite dense and heavy to eat but the celery root slaw and apple mustard gave it a nice tang and freshness that cut into that density. I was pleasantly surprised that it’s not as heavy as it looked and easily inhaled the whole thing.

My friend ordered the very gut filling The Croque Madame with a side salad

It’s a grilled ham and swiss sandwich, béchamel with a sunny side egg on top. If you ever want a decent breakfast sandwich, this would be it. You got your protein, dairy, and more all in one gooey bite.

The prices here are of course more than your greasy spoon diner. But if you want simple inspired high-quality food, then this Food Network gem is definitely worth checking out.

The Red Wagon
2296 East Hastings Street
The Red Wagon on Urbanspoon