Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

How to Mac a Chick Pea

Hope you all had a nice weekend! Ever since Friday, when Ash and I served homemade Coq au Vin to our wonderful friends, I have been on a recipe rampage. Tonight I’m making Chana Punjabi with the spice kit my mother bought Ash from Vij’s Rangoli. I found the recipe on the blog,  The Wednesday Chef, who writes: “I have been rendered mute by a chick pea.” What a great sell.

Also, I read this post recently on the blog of food writer, Dorie Greenspan. Very Champagne Wednesdays, don’t you think? This weekend, for the first time in so long, we pulled our little grey, wicker loveseat out to our front patio to enjoy the spring weather with home-fried pot stickers and edamame. The sun, much like a good bottle, should never be saved. We find Stella Artois in our fridge hard to save as well.

MacBook
MacBook

Lastly, much excitement in our home about the recent purchase of one of these babies! I am hoping it means big things to come for Champagne Wednesdays and a few other projects we have in the works. That’s one of the things I love most about life with Ash – we have so many great ideas together, the best of which happened one year ago this week. 

No one wants to see pictures of snow (Lost Lake Trail and other things you’ll need to know about Whistler)

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When it’s all sun and cherry blossoms in Vancouver, it’s hard to imagine that a short 1.5 hour drive away you could be faced with snow – and lots of it. All over the trail and in your way while you’re trying to be active so you can justify drinking more champagne.  That’s why in the pictures below we look terribly under-dressed for such arctic conditions, just so you know.

On Friday, we decided to head up to Whistler and walk the Lost Lake loop trail with Whiskey. We packed the following essential hiking supplies, none of which are available at MEC:

  • Tim Horton’s water – check
  • Unfinished squares of Mink’s PB & hint of J chocolate bar – check
  • Begging Strips for Whiskey – check
  • Half a bottle of champagne  – check

Luckily, despite the lake’s frosty appearance, it was really quite mild out. Even luckier, our trained eyes spotted the perfect opportunity to chill our champagne with a quick burial in the parking lot snow drift. Here are instructions for a lovely day and night in case you find yourself in a similarly distressing situation:

wolf blass burial

First, dig a hole.

Burying champagne in the snow

Second, place the champagne in the hole (bury it a little so other hikers don’t find it before you get back).

the border collie cross

Warning: your dog will look highly unamused at being delayed.

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Once the champagne is secured in its bed of ice, commence hiking.

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If the road looks treacherous, take some time to ponder your options.

Grandfather's Beard

We suggest finding some grandfather’s beard in order to look more ponderous than usual.

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Whatever you do, do not fall into the ice. It is, afterall, called Lost Lake for a reason. Chances are no one will find you.

IMG_1747 Girl and her dog

Rest often.

When you finish the 5km loop, drink the champagne.  Don’t be afraid to pretend you hiked farther than you did. The champagne will taste better the farther you say you hiked.

Next, get a walk-in rate ($159/night; dog bed included) at the Whistler Hilton.  

Do not eat soup at the Mix at the Ric’s. Even if you are really, really poor and think soup will save you money, get the burger. Trust me.  

Finally, re-live your respective  pre-wedding parties like it’s 1999 at Buffalo Bills

Eat breakfast here if you care about things like bacon and hashbrown (and you should!).

Then, return home along the confusing new sea-to-sky (it’s so disorienting not to see the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal anymore) without ever once mentioning to your wife/girlfriend/buddy that she/he sleeps with their mouth open like a stoned caveman.

Crazy Tuesdays

Jennifer & Ashleah's Mexican Honeymoon

Celebrated Champagne Wedesday a bit early last night with Rich and Erin at Zefferelli’s and then Le Crocodile for dessert (both the solid and liquid varieties). My creme brule was a bit disappointing, especially from one of Vancouver’s most famous French restaurants, but the champagne was perfect, crisp and sparkling. We had a good laugh with – or at – our Frenchy waiter too, who was kind despite our dessert-only dining. As for Zefferelli’s, Ash and I have been there a number of times and I just plain like it. On all levels, it’s a comfortable place to dine. $25 bottles of Tollo wine. Generous and reliable pasta (not mouth-watering but wholly satisying). Antipasto bar. Windows overlooking Robson Street. Pleasant waitstaff over the age of 18.

I like when we make the most of a Tuesday. It adds a little speed to the week. Plus, we all got to reminsice about our recent trips to Mexico.

Jennifer & Ashleah's Mexican Honeymoon

Ahhhh, Mexico.  Ahhh, honeymoons.

Erin – I hope your neck feels better soon!

Adventure Saturday: Fort Langley, BC

One year and 200 posts later, I celebrate my blog’s anniversary with a return to antiquing. You might recall last March when I came home with this champagne bucket from Mission. That seven dollar bucket still brings me great joy. It’s funny how far small wins can take us. I am glad I stuck with blogging – otherwise I wouldn’t have this circle to complete  and a few wonderful readers to complete it with. I really appreciate everyone who’s stopped by Champagne Wednesdays and I’ve especially loved when you’ve left your comments. I’m pretty certain a few bottles of bubbly have been cracked as a result- and that is the ultimate reward.

This March, we headed to Fort Langely, in part to peruse the Antique Mall, in part to go to the Fort Langely pub, and in part to try and ride the Albion Ferry before it closes forever this July. Here is what most Vancouverites know about the Albion Ferry: 7 to 10 sailing waits. You hear it everyday on the radio and it makes you really, really happy you don’t live outside of the Vancouver-core – at least that has been my experience.

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Unfortunately, Fort Langely was very rainy and very cold. So we cut short all the hustle and bustle of Fort-life, skipped the obligatory gelato, reminsced quickly about the days of yore and headed fairly directly to the pub. But even in our rush to be seated fireside with beer, we saw a few gems that are worth returning to on sunnier days:

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1) Coast Perrenials – a pretty little garden shop with every variety of well-marked herb you can think of at growers’ prices. Next to the hardware store.

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2) Summer house: a charming, weathered atilier with modern fashion and bohemian antiques. Perfect for finding the quintessential white summer dress.

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3) Admittedly hard-to-spot through a jungle of trinket-hell, a few fine antiques at good prices. This Medalta stone pot was a steal for $92.

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5) A little puppy love along the Fort to Fort trail linking Fort Langely to Derby Beach Regional Park. It’s not the prettiest trail but you can walk forever along a riverside path with no cars. What more can a dog-owner ask?      

6) And finally, the pub itself.  A pint of Rickard’s Red and a colourful meat draw between 1pm and 2pm. It’ll have you singing, I’ve been working on the railroad before you know it. I would stick to your standard beef dip, burger, french fries fare. I saw a shrimp melt. It wasn’t pretty.

Oh yeah…and there were hats!

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PS: We did not ride the Albion Ferry afterall. There was a long line-up.

Noted in the margins

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Perfect spot for blog strategizing with beer: Post Restaurant & Lounge, Seattle.

Patricia Gray, I am so glad you are from Vancouver. I am also glad you told me about these.  Spring picnics anyone?

And this snippet, from the poem Marginalia by Billy Collins and found on the blog Wide Open Spaces. It made laugh heartedly:

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

Good Husband – check.

Climbing on Santorini 

I am one of those lucky women who can say they married well. Very well.  Look how he saved me from falling over this steep and unruly cliff. 

Ok, maybe he didn’t save my life, but he made my life. Even better.

Today’s proof: a smorgasaboard of muffins delivered to my office (in-person) from Fratelli Bakery – the centre of all things good, Italian and buttery on Commercial Drive.

Thank you, love.

J

Undercover

Campagnolo Restaurant, Main Street

(Please ignore the covert, spy-quality blackberry photo)

Risky business(es): 1) Intravenous Drugs; 2) Opening a restaurant next to the Ivanhoe.

Undercover as a grossly ignored corner of Vancouver’s most troubled area, something interesting springs to life. A restaurant. It kind of reminds me of this:

 Overgrown

Having been raised in East Vancouver, the word “Ivanhoe” conjures up a lot of imagery pertaining to infectious diseases, stolen strip loins, shopping carts, mouthwash and system failure.  But now that I’ve been to Campangolo, I can add Tagliarini Pork Ragu with Basil and Pecorino to the list. And a few perfectly roasted beets to start.

Located right next door to the Ivanhoe, Campagnolo neither fits in nor sticks out. It’s the artsy, bohemian, arguably hotter brother of the far preppier Fuel on West 4th.  The atmosphere is all very five o’clock shadow and suits a moody glass of red wine (a highly suggested pairing for adventures on the outskirts of town). The dining room faces Main Street with a seperate wine-bar tucked on the alley-side. Both rooms have nice architecural features (beamed ceiling, light fixtures, brick walls) that create an overall dining experience that is really just about you, the person you’re sitting across from, and the food.    

The food itself is an easy conversation on the plate. Each ingredient has its own story to tell and needs be noticed – much like the people outside on the street.  

I definitely recommend you take a look.

The Girl Likes…

Things this girl likes today:

The song, The Girl, by City and Colour (especially how it ends and then starts again faster and more feverously, as if to say he really means it the second time).

The owner of Provide Home, who welcomed me into his fabulous store yesterday with pleasant conversation and a Nespresso cappuccino.  Across from Chambar and Cafe Medina on Beatty Street, you really need to go see this store…I wanted everything! I still want everything. It’s one of those places you could happily linger away an afternoon.

Provide Home

Provide Home

And lastly, the view from my office window. Of which, there is no photo to show you. I can only try explaining how the snow is beginning to melt away, the mountains are blue again, the light is dull, but more importantly, there is light. Yes, I can see it, finally. An eye of sky just opened.

Our second last…

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…Champagne Wednesday as fiance and fiance , we plan to spend alone. 

I suggest you go to the Libra Room and listen to live Jazz over a Roasted Beet Salad with Boursin ($7) and a bottle of Il Mionetto ($18!).

As Ash tells me people in the smoky underground Chicago Jazz clubs say: 

That’s it Charlie. You got it Charlie.

Jen