Posts in category "- Main Street"

Vancouver Winter Farmers’ Market

I’m in love with farmers’ markets. When I travel, that is one of the first things I would add to my itinerary. I just love walking from one stand to the next and discovering new foods to try. Raising my hand in guilt, I also sampled too but with each bite my environmentally friendly grocery bag gets heavier too.

This year I bought a bevy of healthy items such as vegan pates, root chips, lots of mixed greens, and cheeses. Also, I didn’t deny myself trying the many street food trucks that were at the market.

Of course I had to grab a bite from the famous pink La Boheme Creperie truck, the popular farmers’ market mainstay. It continuously gets the longest lineups and there’s a reason why. Their crepes are no regular crepes you get when you have hunger pangs while walking through downtown. Their buckwheat style crepes menu is innovative, fun, and experimental. The nuttiness from the buckwheat went well with the savoury crepe of greens, bechamel, cheese, tomato and vinaigrette.

La Boheme Creperie

I’ve been meaning to try Yolk’s Breakfast Truck…especially since it’s regular spot is only a block and a half away from work. It’s an excellent breakfast sandwich of poached free range egg with your choice of toppings and bread. I went for the somewhat classic of english muffin, poached egg, portobello mushroom and hollandaise sauce. It’s a deliciously messy sandwich as within one careful bite the yolk oozes all over your sandwich (and your hand). Of course I felt major fomo when I saw the plates of chicken waffles being handed out.

Another popular truck that was at the farmers’ market this year was Le Tigre which is run by the tag team of Chef Clement Chan & Chef Steve Kuan. You might recognize Chef Clement as he made a run for Top Chef Canada. They serve Modern Asian cuisine made with high quality sustainable seafood and organic meats. I’d say they are serving fusion food right….finally.

Their beet fries were addictive and they remained hot for awhile
The beet wedges were crispy and had a nice blend of umami with plum powder in the batter and the accompanying 7 spice mayo.

The finger licken popcorn chicken was pretty finger licking good.

The marinated chicken bites was tender, moist, and oh so very crunchy. It reminded me of pieces of karaage.

The very tongue in cheek named kick ass rice with pork belly was my favourite from what we ordered. It’s a bowl of complex and savoury.

Each bite was full of flavour as the rice is cooked in sake, butter, dashi and topped with a perfect poached egg,fresh herbs and thai chillies. I think we tried half of their menu that day.

As much as I like to indulge and get excited about trying the food trucks, it’s looking at the different produce that is inspiring. The type of inspiration where recipes whirl in your imagination, and you can’t wait to concoct a dish in your very own kitchen.

I look forward to rest of the summer and the many farmers’ markets that will liven up our city

La Boheme Creperie
La Bohème Crêperie on Urbanspoon

Yolk’s Breakfast
Yolk's Breakfast on Urbanspoon

Le Tigre Cuisine Mobile Food Truck
Le Tigre Cuisine Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Pizzeria Barbarella

All I can say is I’m glad there’s been a burst of good pizzas with the Neapolitan-style pizza craze in this city. Somehow indulging in this type of gourmet pizza makes me feel less guilty compared to gorging on Pizza Hut. Pizzeria Barbarella has been opened for about half a year now and has received generally good reviews.  It’s nice to see these pizzerias popping around the city and not just downtown, like Bibo in Kits.  Like a good Neopolitan pizzeria, it has the signature wood-burning oven, housemade fresh pizza dough and simple yet quality toppings.

Since there was five of us, it was a good opportunity to try and share various pizzas. A good basic pizza and marker for a restaurant is the Pizza Margherita.

This classic pizza is topped with tomato, fior di latte, aged mozza, basil, parmigiano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil. Within a few bites, we noticed that the crust was not crisp and slightly more on the chewy side. In my humble opinion, I prefer a crust that’s a tad more crisp but there’s also nothing wrong with one that is more chewy. It was a fairly nice and light pizza with the mild tomato sauce.

Next came the salsiccia pizza

It’s a slightly heartier pizza of tomato, fior di latte, aged mozzarella, house made fennel sausage, pickled peppers, basil, parmigiano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil. The fennel sausage and pickled peppers gave it a nice spicy kick.

To add more meat to our meal, we also ordered the diavola

Another simple and delicious pizza of tomato, fior di latte, aged mozzarella, spicy salami, nicoise olives and extra virgin olive oil. I enjoyed that with the lightness of the tomato sauce, you can really taste the salami and olives.

The pizzas were good and the prices are quite reasonable at $9-17. It’s a decent spacious spot to try out if you want to avoid the crazy crowds of downtown

Pizzeria Barbarella
654 E Broadway
Pizzeria Barbarella on Urbanspoon

Pho Tan Vietnamese

Pho Tan Vietnamese has been in the Riley Park neighborhood for a number of years now. I should know as I use to live 10 minutes away and our family would go there often for lunch and dinners. It’s located on the quiet part of Main Street and 30th where it’s just at the cusp of SOMA. It grew in popularity over the years and the quality still remains the same. I do remember the years when the patrons were mostly Chinese and Vietnamese, and nowadays you see the Main Street hipster crowd lining up to get in. I’m hypothesizing it became a happy victim of the Au Petit spillover: long lineups at Au Petit, then people figured out there’s another Vietnamese restaurant nearby, then people realized it’s a good darn alternative.

I’m not surprised it has gotten so popular: the prices are affordable, service is fast, and the food is decent. Also the restaurant occasionally adds new items to the menu just to mix it up. For example, as of last year they’ve added the banh mi sandwiches.

The decor is simple and spacious and feels like you’re dining in someone’s old 1970s kitchen. We arrived post lunch rush so we got a table right away. We immediately asked for our basic fave Vietnamese dishes.

Whenever I can, I try to order the Vietnamese crepes

The steamed rice rolls is stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms and topped with greens, sprouts and Vietnamese ham. There’s nothing fancy with these crepes but I do like its simplicity and that it’s a guilt free healthy appetizer.

The selection of pho noodles is plentiful and varied. We ordered both the pho noodle soup and ‘dry’ version. My usual combo of meats for noodles is rare beef, beef flank, and tripe.

It’s a pretty hearty bowl with generous servings of the meat and noodles. I usually share a bowl as I know I would not be able to slurp more than half of it. The noodles were chewy with a slight bounce with each bite..all good indicators of noodles that are nicely cooked. The biggest indicator of a good bowl of pho noodles comes to the broth: the flavours were light and soup colour had a nice medium dark hue. For me, a good broth is even after finishing the noodle soup you don’t have an aftertaste.

For the dry vermicelli noodles bowl, we ordered Grilled Pork and Spring Rolls on vermicelli.

It’s pretty much a bowl of cooked vermicelli topped with a piping hot spring roll, sliced flavourful grilled lemon grass pork chop, cucumbers, pickled julienned daikon and carrots, and a sprinkle of peanuts and green onions.  It’s usually served with the tangy fish sauce dip which you can just dump in and mix it up.

Lastly, I had to order  the moist grilled lemon grass chicken filet

If you want to mix it up, try out Pho Tan instead of Au Petit during a cold day day before you indulge in some Main Street shopping (they also have a Kerrisdale location)…even though Au Petit Cafe’s sandwiches still kicks butt.

Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant
4598 Main St
Pho Tan Vietnamese on Urbanspoon