Monday, April 21, 2014

THE FLYING PIG – Sounds like something out of a fairy tale only Vancouver style.

The Flying Pig is one of Gastown’s best establishments comfortable and causal a perfect place for a first date.  Although sometimes it may get a little loud the atmosphere lends itself to make a good first impression.  It has a loft appearance with cloth napkins and excellent service.

It bills itself as “nouveau Canadian Bistro” what that means I really do not know. I call it casual with an upscale vibe and a down home BBQ flare.  So relax its all good from this point on.  The only way you can really screw up is to be pretensions as this restaurant does not lend itself to that type.  So if you are from Toronto or Beverly Hills this is not a place you will fit in.  But if you are of the type that less is more than this place is definitely someplace to see and be seen.

The amount of food can be ridiculous so if you are eating light I recommend the appetizer menu.   I indulged in mussels in white wine and garlic served with a side of frits.  Yes this is what is considered an appetizer.  The menu is season so it does change but I have noticed that the main staple is pork and some form of it remains on the menu.

The mussels were nothing less than fresh and although I am trying to cut back I eat the frits.  Unfortunately for my waist line they were addicting so I could not just stop at one.

Ah…the pork.  The Red Wine Braised Beef Short Rib served with roasted bone marrow and aged white cheddar mash was rich and tender.  It melts in your mouth. In case you have been living under a rock roasted bone marrow is all the rage.  It appears that every cooking show is featuring some version of it.  It is not an easy recipe to follow but if you have technique then it is a winner on any cooking show. 

Do not be scared to bring your date as there is something for everyone from Pan Seared Queen Charlotte Halibut to Wild Seafood Pappardella.  The sides are exceptionally appetizing and “different” but in a good way.  Try the Bone Marrow Cheezy Bread, yes I said the bone marrow again, or how about the Lobster and Prawn Risotto.  Canada’s specialty dish is also available Andrew’s Pulled Pork Poutine.  Yes this dish is catching on in the US. 

The service is exceptional as they are always ready to ply you with alcohol or any drink of your choice.  The only draw back is the price it might seem a little high if you’re a tourist but for the locals it is spot on.  The dessert is served but I prefer to walk down the street and order a crepe.  This place is 3 ½ Forks Up.  Ready set go!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cardero's in Coal Harbour – The sea, the view, the food.

Just when you thought it could not get any better it does.  The view from the restaurant is amazing.  The locals will tell you that it’s a fabulous restaurant and one of the best which would leave you to believe you must be dressed to the 9’s to enter the establishment but that is simply not true.  This place is casual and relaxing located in the Harbor itself. 

The one thing about Cadero’s is it is not a local secret.  Tourist and locals dine here together.  It is not my local hole in the wall that first attracts me to a restaurant but it is the atmosphere and location that hooked me.  As I sat by the window I had an impressive view of the Harbor with its ships coming in and out.  Nothing better than a glass of red wine as enjoyed the moment and with that thought I ordered the oysters on the half shell which were simply put delicious.

 It was lobster season so what better dishes to order than Lobster Fettuccini with Saffron.  There was just a dash of saffron not to overwhelm the buttery flavor of the lobster which was done to perfection. It has always been my father’s contention that you never order fish unless you are at a fish restaurant by the sea.  I could not argue with that logic as the lobster was fabulous. 

The fish so fresh that it jumps out of the ocean is not your taste then they also cater to those who prefer a land.  The pork chops and chicken are a treat for those not of the sailor type. 

Finish the meal with a dessert and you will not be disappointed. I always rate my desserts as to whether or not they are worth the calories.  Unfortunately for me the answer was yes.  Thus my diet when I got back to the States.  That is what I get for asking the waiter what he suggested.  Of course the answer was a brownie sundae.  So good but yet so bad for you so I went straight to my hotel room and did 50 sit ups like that was really going to help.  But it did ease my conscious a little bit.

This establishment is casual, relaxing and well staffed.  The food was good but it was a little pricey for my empty wallet.  I recommend a definite trip for cocktails and appetizers in the bar area.  It will not break the bank but it is fabulous to sit in the middle of the Harbor and just relax.  Three Forks Up because my wallet did not match my appetite.

Located at: 1583 Coal Harbour Quay, Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC. 

Reservations recommended 604-669-7666

Reservations are strongly recommended and encouraged.  However, if you fail do not despair as there is a fantastic bar area to warm up in with a wide arrange of selections.