7.03.2014

My Top 5 Favorite Bars in Vancouver (So Far)

While I'm usually fairly food focused here, I wanted to share a round up of great spots to grab a drink that we discovered. 

1. If you're craving an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, visit Irish Heather in Gastown where they make simple, craft cocktails without a lot of frou-frou ingredients or garnish.
Bourbon Drinks at Irish Heather
2. After a long morning walk through Stanley Park, we emerged in the West End and decided to pop into Three Brits Public House to watch a soccer match. I ordered up this gin n' tonic, which had grapefruit bitters and rosemary. (I've now added both to my home bar.) In addition to great drinks and plenty of TVs to watch sports, on a gorgeous day, the windows open up to a wonderful waterfront view and breeze.

Gin & Tonic at Three Brits
3. After a dinner at Pidgin, we asked our server where to go to get away from the tourism and he steered us to Diamond. It's a great spot for post-dinner cocktails by candlelight, nestled in a second floor perch overlooking Gastown's late night antics.

4. We also made repeat visits to Bambudda in Gastown where the street-side barstools and amusing bartenders guaranteed a great start to an evening of exploring restaurants.

5. Ok, and rounding out the list would be one that I already wrote about, but Rodney's has the most dangerous bartenders in town. Check out that pour.
Sauvigon Blanc at Rodney's

7.02.2014

Spicy Summer Salad with Peaches and Blueberries

If you're looking for a way to spice up your salads, I've got two new products (that I love!!!) that took this salad to the next level: Mike's Hot Honey and Mrs. Belem's 5 Pepper
Spicy Summer Salad with Peaches & Berries
Start by laying down a bed of greens. Tonight I used sugar snap peas and pea shoots, but kale, spinach or arugula would also work. You want some greens with some bite or bitterness to them to counter topping them with whatever fruit is in season. For the Mid-Atlantic this week, that was peaches and blueberries.

Next, I squeezed the juice of a quarter of a lime on top, followed by a drizzle of Mike's Hot Honey, a sprinkle of Mrs. Belem's 5 Pepper spice mix and a drizzle of olive oil.

The combination of sweet and spice balances perfectly - and is super healthy and using all whole ingredients.

All vegetables and fruits were purchased at Washington, DC's Dupont Circle Farmers Market, which is year round on Sunday mornings.

NOTE: Mrs. Belem's is owned by a friend of mine and the first bottle was gratis. That said, after this one's over, I'm opening up my wallet.

Where to Eat in Vancouver: Rodney's Oyster House in Yaletown

Look, there are a lot of reasons we went to Rodney's Oyster House multiple times on our Vancouver weekend. Some of them were the great selection of local oysters (Kusshis, Kumamotos), the made-in-front-of-you-by-order chowders, the eye candy bartenders, and well, the heavy pour (see below) of wine.
Sauvignon Blanc & steamers at Rodney's
Either way, put sitting at their bar (especially on a rainy day) on your must-do list for Vancouver. You won't regret it.

Rodney's Oyster House is located in Yaletown at 1228 Hamilton Street. There's another one in nearby Gastown, which is located at 52 Powell Street. I can, however, only verify the eye candy and heavy pours at the Yaletown location.

MORE on where to eat in Vancouver: Go Fish & Granville Market

7.01.2014

World Cup: #IBelieveThatWeWillWin

Are you having as much fun with this year's World Cup as I am? I've blocked my calendar from 4pm to cheer on Team USA. I love that there are so many fun spots to watch the game, from Freedom Plaza to the Smithsonian's Portrait Gallery atrium to every bar and restaurant in town. We're even hosting a viewing party at work.

Watch this video and get excited... it's game day, America.

Where to Eat in Vancouver: Go Fish & Granville Market

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I took a recent social media sabbatical in Vancouver. While it was great to get offline, these gorgeous food photos have been burning a hole in my laptop and I wanted to share. 

On this particular day, we woke up to a misty-rainy kind of day. And like any kind of cram-every-experience-in-type, we decided it was the perfect day to do the Grouse Grind. The concierge at the Westin looked at us like we were nuts, but we rented a car and were on our way. I'm not sure I would have agreed to this plan if I'd realized how intense it would be. The climb up Grouse Mountain is 2,800 feet, which means I climbed 2,830 stairs to get to the top. 

But I did it. And, celebrated with this gorgeous view afterwards by having lunch at Go Fish. The skyline view and creek-side patio is worth finding this little fish shack nook, but the real rewards were the fish & chips and fish tacos.
Fish & Chips at Go Fish
It's right by the dock where fisherman were selling spot prawns right off of their boats. (Spot prawns would prove to be a tough find this trip since a lot of restaurants eschewed their absurdly high price this year. Of course, we paid the absurdly high price when we found them at Le Crocodile. Incidentally, that's the one meal I don't have photos of... it felt too nice to whip out my phone and start snapping shots.)
Fish Tacos at Go Fish
With full bellies, we crossed the bridge to explore Granville Market. It's an adorable, walkable island full of food vendors, restaurants and shops. A must-do on any trip to Vancouver.
Pastries in Granville Market
There's more to come... a lot more... but that's a solid day right there. Hike, eat, enjoy.

Go Fish is located at 1505 West First Avenue in Vancouver, British Columbia. As you head down to the docks, there are a few parking spots to the right for Go Fish. You can also take a water taxi, boat, bike or public transportation to Go Fish & Granville Market.

And, while we rented a car for Grouse (and I'm glad, because it was exhausting), there are also buses that go straight there from downtown.

MORE on where to eat in Vancouver: Rodney's in Yaletown

6.30.2014

First Impressions: Bread Furst Bakery in Van Ness

I just popped into Bread Furst while out running errands and it's so cute! But more importantly, check out these sandwiches and baked goods:
Multi-Grain Bread

Muffaletta

Ham & Cheese Sandwich

Housemade Fig Newtons

It's not quite as close to home as Palena Coffee Shop (RIP) was, but I can't wait to go back to Bread Furst, sit at one of the outdoor cafe tables and enjoy a pastry and coffee or sandwich and soda.

PS. When the staff caught me snapping photos, I loved that their response was, "We're on Instagram! Tag us!" Oh, you bet I did. Tagged. Followed. Blogged.

Bread Furst is located at 4434 Connecticut Avenue NW in Washington, DC, near the Van Ness Metro stop.

Where to Eat in NYC: Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop at Gotham West Market

I've been following Ivan Orkin ever since I read about him in the first issue of Lucky Peach. So, when I heard he was opening Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, I knew I had to go. (I mean, odds are I'm not making it to his flagship in Japan anytime soon.)

What I didn't realize was that it was nestled into Gotham West Market - an adorable incubator of food concepts on 11th Avenue between 44th and 45th. Upon entering, I went all wide-eyed and wanted to try everything. After all, there are eight different artisanal food purveyors and it's really hard to decide where to focus. 

But, I was on a mission, so I sidled up to Ivan Ramen's and ordered the Spicy Red Chile Ramen... mostly because it sounded like a dare. It was hearty, spicy, delicious... and certainly cleared the sinuses. It came with minced pork and smashed egg, so I thought adding pork belly and egg might be too much. Next time, I'd go big and layer those on too. The richness would balance out the heat. 

Spicy Red Ramen at Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop
After that, I wandered around plotting my course for the next visit to Gotham West Market. I think Cannibal or Genuine Roadside will be the next target. (I'd add Blue Bottle Coffee, which is fantastic, but I've already been there on the West Coast.) I did get sucked into the Brooklyn Kitchen food market and shop where I took home a bottle of Mike's Hot Honey and this amazing macaron chocolate hazelnut ice cream sandwich by Jeni's.
Jeni's Ice Cream Sandwich from Brooklyn Kitchen
Thank God I'm not local. I'd be scouting condos to live above this gluttonous paradise.

6.28.2014

Where to Eat in Santa Monica: Huckleberry Cafe

I flew into Los Angeles earlier this week for work, and before I slogged down to Anaheim, I met a friend for lunch at Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica.

I'd always heard it was great and it exceeded my expectations. The menu for lunch is simple sandwiches and salads that are almost fully locally sourced. I was trying to be healthy, so I pounced on the Kale Caesar Salad. It was. Great mix of greens and Parmesan - and I loved that the dressing came on the side. (I hate a too-wet-salad!)
Strawberry Tart at Huckleberry Cafe
Even though lunch was satisfying, we couldn't resist a return trip for dessert. I mean look at this summer strawberry tart! I was also drooling over the merengue lemon blueberry parfait, the strawberry donut and the ricotta peach salad.

I'll be back for that brunch too.

Huckleberry Cafe is located at 1014 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, CA. Follow them on Twitter at @HuckCafe and try their other restaurants.

Where to Eat in Anaheim

Nowhere.

Am I wrong? If so, tell me in the comments. 

(Just returned from VidCon where food was meh at best... No, I had a lovely meal at Morton's... But I could do that in DC.)

6.23.2014

Lunch at Osteria Morini Feels Like a Vacation

I took the Acela back to DC this morning and was filled with a longing to leap off and escape to the Eastern Shore for the day. Since that wasn't possible, I shifted my city lunch meeting to Osteria Morini so that I could at least sit in the sunshine by the river.

It was so relaxing and the food so fantastic, it made me feel like I was on vacation... Even if I had to be back in the office by 2pm.

Panzanella salad topped with prosciutto at Osteria Morini
There's a $25 two course lunch pairing, so I enjoyed the decadent panzanella salad followed by a pipette with zucchini ribbons and seasonal vegetables.

Pipette pasta with seasonal vegetables at Osteria Morini
I think I may have even picked up a tan.

Osteria Morini is located at 301 Water Street SE on the Anacostia River in the trendy Yards section of Southeast Washington, DC.

PS. Ice Cream Jubilee is opening right around the corner. I'm envisioning enjoying cup of her PB&J or Dark & Stormy ice cream while lazing by this adorable wading pool. 
The Yards Park wading pool and waterfall on the Anacostia River