Posts in category "- Kitsilano"

The Bibo

I’m a bit wary now of disclosing when my meals get comped by the restaurant as I was previously rudely thrashed and slashed for being a ‘food blogger’. And for the record, I’ve paid 98.99% of the meals and rarely disclose that I’m a blogger at a restaurant.

So I’m putting it out there my meal at Bibo was comped which I wasn’t aware of until end of the meal. We also insisted in at least paying for the bottles of wine we got.  I appreciate the gesture but it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to bite the hand that fed me.

Bibo is the latest addition to the ‘authentic’ Italian movement that seems to be popping up in Vancouver in the last few years. Its Kitsilano location also helps with its popularity. The restaurant uses quality authentic ingredients for its rustic Italian dishes. They hired a young pizza maker from Naples to make Neapolitan style pizzas and the pizzas are brought to your table uncut to keep the flavours. I saw the young man shake his head in disgust when we asked if we could get our pizza cut up….easier to share among a group of people! But I do appreciate his passion for making pizzas.

The room is a nod to the popular casual fine dining feel ie think Joeys or Moxies but a tad smaller. While we were there, a Fellini film was projected on the back wall which was a fun quirky addition to the atmosphere.

In general, the food we had was hit and miss but you could definitely all the dishes were fresh made.

To start, we got the colourful Bibo Italian Flag

The BiBo arrangement of Italian DOP* Burrata cheese with Arugula and fresh Italian tomato. As noted in its description, the Burrata cheese was exceptional and its a good dish to order to share.

Of course we had to order the pizza and face the wrath of the young pizza making phenom.

We ordered the Crudo pizza with extra anchovies…anchovies are awesome on pizza trust me. The Crudo a simple pizza of of mozzarella , prosciutto , arugula flakes, and parmesan. The crust was nicely crisp, light and chewy.

To continue our carb-athon, we ordered a couple of pastas. The first was the fresh made gnocchi with pesto

The gnocchi came out softer than expected.  The pesto was made with fresh basil specially imported from Italy but even with the fresh herb I was surprised there was not much flavour to it.

Next we tried the simple bucatino which is rare pasta to find around town.

Bucatino is a type of thick hollow spaghetti and is usually served in a light tomato sauce. This was the preferred pasta of the night for us.

To end the night, we ordered the traditional tiramisu to share

This classic dessert is made of Italian savoiardi biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks, italian mascarpone and flavored with liquor and cocoa.  Maybe it’s Bibo’s take on it but the usual noticeable liquor taste to it wasn’t apparent.  It also lacked the multi-level texture of smooth creaminess and crunch from the biscuits.

The owners take their restaurants and ingredients seriously.  They ensure all if not most of their ingredients are fresh and are made in house…going as far as importing items from Italy.

Even though the managers knew we were there, we were treated differently.  They were friendly when they did come by but most of the time I felt like we were ignored.  I think they forgot that even though we are bloggers, we’re also their customers who happen to have a blog.

The Bibo
1835 West 4th Avenue
The BiBo on Urbanspoon

Romer’s Burger Bar

Romer’s Burger Bar opened in Kitsilano with quiet fanfare but boy their burgers offer big bites. They are all about making the best and freshest burgers with natural organic ingredients served on a brioche bun.

Romer’s is located in the spot of old Pinky’s Steakhouse. Since Pinky’s was a casual dining establishment, guess Romer’s got lucky and didn’t have to do too much renovations. When you walk in, it’s a pretty dark themed decor similar to a sports bar but not really.

It was a late lunch so when we arrived we got a seat right away.  The very sweet waitress was extremely personable and the type of girl you want to be friends with. She was helpful in making recommendations on what we should order. It was quite the intimidating menu with names that sound like you could get yourself some muscles and chest hair afterwards…names like ‘Man’s Man Burger’ ‘Righteous Rib Burger’ and ‘Rodeo Star’. I went for something a bit safer to get me the protein: the SO CAL Turkey Burger

It’s made of layers of Fraser Valley turkey, fresh-sliced avocado, Soleggiati tomatoes, organic watercress, red onion, and orange mayo. My first bite into the burger elicited a ‘oh my god this is good!’. The ingredients are ‘Californian’ meaning fresh and vibrant (you can use the word ‘vibrant’ to describe food right? The generous portion of seasoned turkey was moist and loved the different flavours; it was like eating a savoury vegetable garden one bite after another.  The brioche bun was warm and melted in your mouth; it wasn’t as sweet as the one served at Stackhouse.  With brioche bun, it made eating the burger easier and not have a mouthful of carbs with each chew.  I accompanied my meal with a side beet salad.

This is what a beet a salad should look like: a small bowl packed full of organic roasted sweet beets, sweet onion, arugula, local goat cheese.  It was pretty much a bowl of beets for you to enjoy.

My lunching companion ordered the burger of all burgers: the Ultimate Kobe Burger

It’s filled with premium Kobe beef, horseradish jack, chanterelle mushrooms, onion strings, truffle mayo, organic watercress, garlic mustard, robust red wine demi-glaze on the side…and specks of gold (I’m kidding). I didn’t try it but my companion loved it.

We also shared a basic fries which were pretty good (sorry didn’t take picture). They came to our table crisp and piping hot.

Romer’s Burger Bar defines what a ‘gourmet’ burger is about: eclectic selection, fresh ingredients, and all natural meats. What really impressed me about this restaurant is their social media savviness. They use Facebook and Twitter actively to interact with their customers and conducts regular polls to see what people want on the menu. The day we went the People’s Choice for featured burger ingredient was ahi tuna.

I will be back again and I may man up and order the Man’s Man burger with a crazy side of truffle oil reggiano fries.

Romer’s Burger Bar
1873 W 4th Ave
Romer's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Kits Daily

We’re no New York but we do have quite the micro-lens when it comes to our restaurant scene. Somewhat like the Big Apple, when there is a whisper of a new restaurant with a ‘name’ behind it, the press, food critics and bloggers, and twitter are set a buzzed. Therefore it was a surprise that Kits Daily with prolific Chef Brian Fowke behind it opened with quiet reception. Like its hidden Kitsilano location, I’m guessing he wanted to keep low key.

Well I’m a keener and been wanting to dine at this new concept eatery since it opened. Brian shops daily for fresh ingredients, returns to the kitchen and then makes up the complete menu for that night. So if you wanted to know what’s on the menu for that day, check out the website before you head over or follow their twitter.

The night we went the menu had a mix of seafood such as Island Clams, Dungeness Crab, Sockeye Salmon and Prawn. There was also a rich selection of meats: Sloping Hill Park, Pemberton Beef Tenderloin, and Bison Striploin.

As my starter, I decided to go for the Chilled Puree of Winter Avocado

The avocado puree soup was topped with double smoked bacon lardon, tomato, and Banyul’s. I rarely have chilled soup and I somewhat liked it. One can’t really complain about bacon and we usually joke that bacon makes everything taste better. I liked the mixed flavours and textures of warm crisp bacon with the smooth rich soup. It was both refreshing and hearty at the same time.

I ordered the ‘more than I could handle’ Roasted Rack of Sloping Hill Pork

The hunkin’ piece of pork loin was on top of buttermilk mashed potatoes, apple and fennel salad. I liked the nod to the popular ‘pork chop and apple sauce’ dish. I rarely eat pork aside from noshing on the Chinese BBQ style but apparently what I ordered was worth the money. It was such a huge portion that I only managed to eat more than half of it. But for such a huge serving, it was surprisingly on the overcooked side.

My dinner partner in crime ordered the Tenderloin of dry aged Pemberton Beef served with farmhouse cheddar, potato croquettes, and carrot butter. I only tried a bite of it but both us remarked that the cheddar was an odd strong cheese choice for the tenderloin.

Before my friend dived into his piece of meat, he started with Steamed Savory Island Clams

It was cooked in a broth of champagne, peppercorns, and peppergrass. You could tell they were rare quality clams but it was unfortunate that each clam was gritty.

One cool thing that happened that night was finally meeting Wine and Restaurant consultant, Stephen Bonner (@SBonnerABV). He was acting as wine connoisseur and front of house that night. We introduced ourselves to him and he came by often to chat and treated us to glasses of wine that went well with our dishes.

I like Kits Daily concept but in terms of long term viability and consistency they may need to reconsider its strategy. It may make more sense to have a small regular menu that they have perfected along with the daily menu.  Originality is rare in this city and is even harder to maintain in an economy that’s coming out of recession.  I hope they succeed and stick around.

Kits Daily
1809 West 1st Avenue
Kitsilano Daily Kitchen on Urbanspoon