Monthly Archives: June 2014

Vikram Vij- A chef to watch and follow


Happy Thursday great foodie friends.
I wanted to share my experience at an event I was l honored to be invited to. #VikramsTour
The very second that you meet Vikram you are captured by his stories, words and demeanor. Vikram is the true balance of being genuinely humble but so charismatic and colorful at the same time.
You quickly realize that this magnate is true example of hard work and true proof that you should never look at a mountain as too high to climb.
In 1994 Vikram and team under his wife and fellow chef Mee­ru Dhalwala opened their first restaurant in Vancouver- Vij’s – a 14 seat flavor and aroma wonder that hit the Vancouver culinary scene with truly traditional Indian cuisine. You can never equate Vikram’s style of cooking as main stream or faddy but rather a true reflection of the unique flavors of his homeland. Flavors and recipes simply from his grandparents, parents and family friends kitchens and true to the ancient heritage and routes of genuine and regional flavors.

Vikram started our tour of his Vij’s at Home take home curries in Langley with several food writers, media and the film crew of Dragons Den. If you haven’t heard yet Vikram will be one of the two new Dragons!

20140625-082140-30100119.jpg

Vikram definitely captures the attention of the group while passionately describing his first steps on the property in 2007 and how important it was to maintain the natural lands he was building on by minimizing the impact of the build out. Vikram also spent countless hours looking at different options to build

green

back into this new building and opted for a “green” roof and investing in the structural engineering to accommodate that. If you see the building from the air, it would almost look like green space!
We now started our education of Vikram’s at Home and the aromas gently greet you upon entering the building.

20140625-082833-30513010.jpg

20140625-082833-30513349.jpg
One issue that Vikram stayed focused on like a laser was how to preserve the unique and beautiful flavors through the large batching, processing and packaging process. He wants to ensure that when we open the package at home that your kitchen would fill with the tastes aromas and flavors that were intended to show!
Pasteurizing is a typical and lower cost option to preserve the food but can’t ensure that the product would taste the way Vikram wanted it be. Vikram looked at another option that worked just right! Blast freezer
By taking the product from 80 degrees to 4, then minus 32 within approx 35 minutes it preserves the unique flavors and quality that Vikram strives for.
All that said what you quickly notice is that even though you are in a food factory and expect complete automation you will see that the important part of Vikram’s secret weapon is to continue to infuse the passion and love into each and every package through many hand made processes.
The spices are still roasted traditionally and manually every week, and many of the ingredients are still hand cut.

20140625-084231-31351549.jpg

20140625-084230-31350866.jpg

20140625-084231-31351218.jpg
After a great education and reassuring confirmation that this truly respected chef that believes in the same exact core values that I have always believed and found on my culinary journey – “Get in the kitchen and cook, but do it with smiles in your heart, love, soul and passion and it will surely show in your food” Food doesn’t define us necessarily but it does connect us to family, friends and new friends. Even in a “commercial” application of Vikram’s food, this key ingredient is not overlooked.
The tour wrapped up in Chef Vikram’s office and some more intriguing stories of his days gone past.

20140724-091550-33350174.jpg

20140724-091548-33348700.jpg
Vikram showed us one of his prize possessions- a wood menu that he hand carved for his restaurant.

Now off to My Shanti, Vikram’s new eatery in South Surrey. Being that I live in the area I was thrilled to see this flavour train arrive and bring a new twist to the restaurant scene in South Surrey.

From the moment you turn the corner to look for My Shanti, it’s right front an centre and not easy to miss! In True Vikram Vij style the outside of the restaurant is unique and not like any other in the area.

20140724-091919-33559071.jpg
It really is a preview to the wonderment that the diner is about to experience once inside.
Attention to every detail of what Vikram’s wants you to experience is seen everywhere. A successful entrepreneur knows that in these complicated times you don’t win the battle of patrons with a good this or that, but rather you do win when you create an

Experience

, a whole feeling from start to finish to relax yet entertain you.
Vikram had this hand woven and hand painted mural commissioned in India specifically for My Shanti

The Tree Of Life

is made from one piece and fills nearly the whole wall that you see once you enter the dining room!

20140724-092454-33894164.jpg

The dining room is comfortable and welcoming leaving you relaxed and ready to experience a culinary flavour ride from Vikram’s kitchen.
Vikram has a unique awareness of balance and humility always recognizing those who are on his culinary journey of life always recognizing that he couldn’t do it or be successful without his awesome team.

The food at My Shanti is unique to traditional Indian fare, not like the North American perception of Westernized Indian dishes. The quality of ingredients is evident and the care in preparing the dishes is present in the depth of flavours, textures and unique presentation.

IMG_0403.JPG

IMG_0400.JPG

IMG_0406.JPG

The dishes we tried were all unique and truly had depth in flavours to set you up thinking what is next!? To truly enjoy Vikram’s new concept restaurant you must go for a great dinner where you will be taken care of his staff who is there to help guide you through the beautiful dishes that Vikarm and his culinary team have created. The attention to detail is evident and furthermore you are likely to have the smiling face of Chef Vikram or Bena drop by your table to ensure that they see you are enjoying the experience. You are not going solely to eat but rather to have a culinary experience- sight, smells, tastes and all around experience.

Take a look at the wonderful bar that Vikram has created that has chosen to serve real drinks from days gone past and new creations all made by hand with fresh ingredients and in the style of “Speak Easy” concoctions rather than the premixed versions you so often find in many other spots.
Do you recall that I mentioned Dragons Den ?
Well in case you hadn’t heard Vikram Vij is one of the new Dragons and will surely be as entertaining with his passion and colourful demeanour in the den as he is in the kitchen.
We are thrilled to have Vikram’s My Shanti in South Surrey and look forward to many great dinners to come.

Remember that just like all of Vikram’s retsuarants- they don’t take reservations, it is first come first serve and true to Vikram’s belief that we all are created equal.

IMG_0418.PNG

You Gotta Try This!
My Shanti on Urbanspoon}

Tiramisu – chocolate cups – a great dessert for your Valentine


Tiramisu – chocolate cups – a great dessert for your Valentine.

BBQ Arts 101: Good Woods To Smoke With


A great and straight forward read on what woods for you to use when trying to make a smoked magical culinary surprise!
Thank you patrons of the pit!

Patrons of the Pit

As you delve further into the BBQ arts, eventually you’ll wish to smoke something. It’s just the natural course of things. You need not fight it. smoke woodWhere to start, you ask? Well, as a general rule of thumb, if it grows fruit or nuts, it is probably a legitimate candidate for a smoke wood. Use common sense tho. Make sure it is seasoned, (not green) and not growing some sort of unruly fungus or anything. And please people, no smoking with green treated one by sixes off your back deck. That’s very bad!

Now one of the most common mistakes made by newbie smokers is over-smoking. The assumption that more is better is wrong. Don’t do it. Such antics can impart a bitter taste on your meat. If you see your pit puffing like a choo choo train, tweak the dampers, lift the lid, or wait it out. Wait for the…

View original post 571 more words

Easy-Peasy Mousse au Chocolat


I’ve tried a very similar recipe and yes it was VERY yum! Try this and impress!
Thank you Nade in the Kitchen for sharing!

nade in the kitchen

Born in Graz, growing up in the city centre and moving to the outskirts at the age of eight, I went through quite a lot of changes when we moved, as my friends will be able to recount in detail (which thankfully they will not be doing here). One of them is that I adapted to the language used on the country side. Not without reason the rest of the people residing in Austria say that Styrians “bark”, because, as a matter of fact, they do. If you do not understand how humans can transform to dogs, you might find this amusing if you speak a little german, even if you won’t understand a word (cause not even I do). Or this. I actually really like that song, so you’d better not say anything insulting about it. Really. Look at those lyrics. (which might not win an oscar…

View original post 544 more words

Chimichurri Baked Chicken


What a great flavour punch for a summer dish! Serve with a salad and corn on the cob! Yes please thanks Sybratica!

Sybaritica

Chimichurri Chicken 1

In my post about the Argentinian Chimichurri sauce for grilled meats, I noted that the preparation is also used as baste and marinade during the cooking process. Chimichurri is probably most closely associated with beef but the tangy-herbaceous notes also work very nicely with chicken. Today’s recipe would be terrific on the barbecue but, this not being the season in these parts, I am going to bake in the oven instead… 

View original post 237 more words

High Tea at The Roof – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver


Worth a visits I’d say!

Vancouver Bits and Bites

DSC_0021

High tea at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has moved to the elegant newly re-opened “The Roof”, combining elegant surroundings, gorgeous views, with fine tea blends and sweet and savoury bites. The Roof high tea is the perfect occasion to celebrate family and friends.

Chef Cameron Ballendine has created an afternoon tea menu filled with local and organic ingredients. Their teas are blended exclusively by The Metropolitan Tea Company. High tea is $49 for adults and $24.50 for children. For an additional $20  you can add a glass of Moet & Chandon to create a Champagne tea experience.

IMG_4678We started our experience with an amuse-bouche of an asparagus tart and a chicken and apple sausage roll.

DSC_0026Followed by yogurt panna cotta topped with fresh berries

DSC_0024The tea consists of three tiers of goodies. Starting with freshly made butter and orange apricot scones served with house-made fruit preserves and Devonshire clotted cream.

DSC_0030The…

View original post 184 more words

Banana Chocochip Loaf


Looks close to my banana bread but using whole wheat flour! Definitely worth a try!

Cooking Diary By Shruti

Super Moist, Super Chocolaty, Super Yummy. Best Banana Loaf Ever.

Screenshot_2014-06-04-00-48-13-1_wm

Hello Lovely Readers,

Baking a Bread has always been on top of my bucket list but I had never tried them. Honestly, I was always scared that they might not turn out the way they are supposed to be. Well, I am so so glad that I have finally baked them and to my surprise it turned out amazing. They are on my hit list and a Ten On Ten recipe. My family loved it too and trust me they are high on demand. 🙂

Screenshot_2014-06-03-13-47-01-1_wm

Banana Bread is the best creation ever. I wonder why I didnt try them earlier 😦 This Banana Chocochip Loaf is easy  very easy to bake. All you have to do is throw all the ingredients in the bowl, mix them and bake it. Simple isnt it. My super moist Banana Chocolate Loaf along with…

View original post 795 more words

The 22 Hottest Food Trucks across America right now – from Eater.com


Happy Wednesday good foodie friends,

Take a look at Eater.com latest heat map on the trending food trucks across the US right now!

Attention please, it is time to take a look at 22 of the most buzzed-about food trucks across the United States. After bursting onto the American culinary scene a few years back, it’s kind of a weird time for food trucks. In New York, people are speculating whether this is the end of the food truck era, while cities from Los Angeles to Dallas to Minneapolis and beyond seem to be experiencing a slowing of food truck growth. In many cities, food truck owners are focusing instead on opening up brick-and-mortar businesses. And in other cities, such as Chicago, food truck business is still hampered by legal battles. That said, there’s certainly no shortage of food trucks on American roads. The following trucks — listed alphabetically, please note — have all opened over the last twelve months and are garnering some serious acclaim.

These include a boom of sorts of food trucks tricked out with their own pizza ovens, such as those in Boston (Stoked Wood Fired Pizza Co), Dallas (Bellatrino), or Minneapolis (WildEarth WoodFired). Elsewhere in Texas, Austin has a couple of new trailers — conveniently located adjacent to one another — run by alums of the much-loved Ramen Tatsu-Ya (Kyoten and Patakon), while Houston’s Goro & Gun has relaunched the food truck that started it all (The Modular). Former Border Grill chef Mike Minor is also offering a pretty epic take on “urban hipster” barbecue in Las Vegas (Truck-U Barbeque), while the classically trained Wes Avila is knocking food critics’ socks off with his take on tacos in LA (Guerrilla Tacos). Here now, the full map:

click here for Eater.com full listing

20140604-205226-75146241.jpg

HOT HOT HEAT!
The 22 Hottest Food Trucks Across the US Right Now
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, by Amy McKeever

2977

Attention please, it is time to take a look at 22 of the most buzzed-about food trucks across the United States. After bursting onto the American culinary scene a few years back, it’s kind of a weird time for food trucks. In New York, people are speculating whether this is the end of the food truck era, while cities from Los Angeles to Dallas to Minneapolis and beyond seem to be experiencing a slowing of food truck growth. In many cities, food truck owners are focusing instead on opening up brick-and-mortar businesses. And in other cities, such as Chicago, food truck business is still hampered by legal battles. That said, there’s certainly no shortage of food trucks on American roads. The following trucks — listed alphabetically, please note — have all opened over the last twelve months and are garnering some serious acclaim.

These include a boom of sorts of food trucks tricked out with their own pizza ovens, such as those in Boston (Stoked Wood Fired Pizza Co), Dallas (Bellatrino), or Minneapolis (WildEarth WoodFired). Elsewhere in Texas, Austin has a couple of new trailers — conveniently located adjacent to one another — run by alums of the much-loved Ramen Tatsu-Ya (Kyoten and Patakon), while Houston’s Goro & Gun has relaunched the food truck that started it all (The Modular). Former Border Grill chef Mike Minor is also offering a pretty epic take on “urban hipster” barbecue in Las Vegas (Truck-U Barbeque), while the classically trained Wes Avila is knocking food critics’ socks off with his take on tacos in LA (Guerrilla Tacos). Here now, the full map:

AREPA ZONE
ARLINGTON, VA
(786) 554-2009,

Map data ©2014 Google, INEGI
Terms of Use
Eater Food Truck Heatmap, June 2014SEE ONEALL

AREPA ZONE Washington, DC’s Arepa Zone is still young, but gaining plenty of traction locally for its rendition of the traditional Venezuelan arepa. The Washington Post recommends its Sifrina version of the grilled corn patty, which comes loaded with chicken avocado salad and shredded yellow cheese. The truck also serves cachapa (a corn pancake) and tequenos, which are cheese sticks with dipping sauce. Find it @ArepaZone.

ARLINGTON, VA
(786) 554-2009

BAKIN’ BAKERY Kickstarter-funded Bakin’ Bakery is Denver’s new “sweet and savory bacon infused food truck.” Chef Renee LaLonde is selling things like bourbon cronuts, bacon jam, hand pies, gluten-free chocolate on chocolate doughnuts and more using seasonal ingredients. Track these baked goods @bakinbakery.

MOVING TARGET, DENVER, CO 80204
(303) 565-0849

BELLATRINO New on the Dallas food truck scene is the tricked out pizza truck BellaTrino that comes with built-in seating and a wood-fired pizza oven that Eater Dallas writes “churns out super legit Neapolitan pies in just 70 seconds.” Beyond pizza, this truck also offers salads, sandwiches, pastas al forno, and desserts. Catch it @BellaTrino.

DALLAS, TX
800-800-4959

BOXCAR Just today, Eater NOLA named Boxcar one of the seven new food trucks to watch in New Orleans right now. Run by students at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, this truck serves up some gravy truffle fries that Eater NOLA describes as “poutine-like” plus ginger-carnitas nachos, jalapeno poppers with pimento cheese and a white barbecue sauce, and a dreamsicle pie for dessert.

PRESS, NEW ORLEANS, LA
504 940 2917

BURRASCA Florentine food cart Burrasca debuted in Portland last Fall and has been hot ever since, even taking Willamette Week’s designation of Food Cart of the Year 2014. The menu here changes, but right now includes a roast pork loin sandwich on Florentine-style flatbread, chicken and potato croquettes in tomato sauce, and daily pasta specials.

SE 28TH AVE, PORTLAND, OR
248-882-7941

GUERRILLA TACOS Guerrilla Tacos has been kicking around LA for a little while now, but has really caught fire in the last chef. Classically trained chef Wes Avila has turned his taco stand into a food truck that LA Times critic Jonathan Gold raved about in a review this past February. Tacos change daily, but might include a braised oxtail taco with pickled onions and almond chili or a roasted sweet potato taco with braised leek, Oaxacan cheese, and red pepper chili. Find them @guerrillatacos.

826 E 3RD ST, LOS ANGELES, CA 90013
(818) 640-3033

KAITEKI RAMEN Kaiteki Ramen was dubbed one of the hottest ramen shops across the US just last Fall as Oklahoma City’s first ramen food truck. The regular menu offers two types of ramen (one of which is vegan), plus pork belly bao, chicken wings, and fried brussels sprouts. The main Kaiteki ramen is shoyu style with ginger ale braised pork belly. Follow the truck @kaitekiramen.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

KYOTEN Also one of the country’s hottest sushi restaurants, Kyoten is commanding great attention in Austin’s trailer dining scene. Chefs Otto Phan and Leo Rodriguez have trained in kitchens such as Masa, Nobu, Uchi, and more, and are offering sushi and rice bowls from their East 6th Street trailer.

1211 EAST 6TH., AUSTIN, TX 78702
(512) 888-7559

LONGSHOT LOBSTA Longshot Lobsta became Louisville’s first lobster roll truck back in November 2013, offering lobster bisque, clam chowder, cheddar bay biscuits, and three kinds of lobster rolls. These styles of lobster rolls include the traditional cold lobster roll, as well as Maine and Connecticut styles. Track it @longshotlobsta.

LOUISVILLE, KY
502-262-2232

MOO SHU GRILL Moo Shu Grill launched in New York in August of last year, replacing what had been the Fishing Shrimp truck. Owners Thomas and Diana Yang are serving moo shus with a choice of proteins: five-spice pork, Taiwanese basil chicken, XOXO beef, tofu, and Peking duck. They’ve also got rice bowls on offer, with an additional protein option of braised pork belly. Midtown Lunch’s Zach Brooks picked it as one of Zagat’s 10 hottest food trucks just last month. Moo Shu Grill is tweeting @mooshugrill.

MOVING TARGET!, NEW YORK, NY 11201
(212) 695-5995

PATAKON Chef Juan Llano, a Ramen Tatsu-Ya alum, opened Patakon in April, focusing on updated Colombian classics such as an empanada, bistec, and papa chorriada. You can find it on East 6th Street just next to the also-hot Kyoten.

1213 EAST 6TH STREET, AUSTIN, TX 78702

PIEROGI WAGON The Pierogi Wagon was among Eater Chicago’s six food trucks to watch this Spring for its Kickstarter-funded Polish dumplings. And the truck also just unleashed a new menu item: Polish sausages. Find them @PierogiWagon.

MOVING TARGET, CHICAGO, IL
(312) 291-1902

PINK BELLIES Pink Bellies launched last Fall with a short rotating Vietnamese menu of pho, banh mi sandwiches, smoothies, Vietnamese iced coffee, and more. They’ve also got variations on traditional dishes, such as the blueberry pulled pork banh mi made with blueberry jam, pulled pork, jalapenos, pickled carrots, red onions, and cilantro. Find them @PinkBellies.

CHARLESTON, SC
(843) 754 – 2422

POMME DE TERRE Pomme de Terre is Detroit’s new food truck hotness from chefs Thom Ingram and Nate Bonkowski, the duo known local for pop-up dinners under The Cook’s Crossing name. Eater Detroit notes that “business is already booming” for the truck that offers its own spin on sandwiches such as currywurst, Coney Island chicken pita, and a Vietnamese banh mi. Follow them @TheCooksCrossin.

MOVING TARGET!, DETROIT, MI 48226
(586) 524-8536

ROCKO’S ICE CREAM TACOS Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos has been a popular dessert cart in San Francisco for some time now, but Eater SF reports that it recently took to the road with a brand new truck. Rocko’s has built a reputation on its elevated Choco Taco, which owner Lori Phillips customizes with ice cream flavors from pistachio to salty caramel dipped in a choice of peanut butter, dark, milk, or white chocolate. It’s then flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen. Follow it @RockoSez.

530 SHOWERS DR #7-210, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94040
(650) 762-5608

SOUTH PHILLY BARBACOA Philadelphia diners are excited right now by the Mexican food served up at South Philly Barbacoa. Owners Cristina Martinez (the official chef de barbacoa) and Benjamin Miller launched the cart at the beginning of this year, offering slow-cooked lamb and pancita steamed in maguy leaves with tortillas, consomme, and salsas.

PHILADELPHIA, PA
(215) 694-3797

STOKED WOOD FIRED PIZZA CO. One of the newcomers to Boston’s fleet of food trucks is Stoked Wood Fired Pizza Co, which has been commanding considerable attention with its wood-fired oven installed directly on the truck. Pizza options include marinara, pepperoni, mushroom, buffalo chicken, and buffalo brussels sprout.

MOVING TARGET, BOSTON, MA 02210
(617) 982-3473

THE MODULAR Earlier this year, Goro & Gun owner Joshua Martinez relaunched The Modular, the food truck that led to his opening of the popular brick-and-mortar restaurant. Eater Houston reports that the truck’s menu “will be infused with Goro’s influence” but include dishes beyond the scope of the restaurant’s Asian cuisine. The truck also sports a brand new mural by local artist Daniel Anguilu. Find it @GoroNGun.

HOUSTON, TX

THOROUGHFARE FOOD TRUCK Jessica and Neil Barley launched Thoroughfare Food Truck in August of last year with a menu that TOWN magazine assistant editor Andrew Huang described to Eater as “heavy on combinations of familiar and refined flavors.” That means you might find chipotle disco tots, a rosemary chicken salad sandi with goat cheese cream, or pulled pork tacos with basil cabbage slaw and canteloupe when you catch it @thoroughfareft.
807 SOUTH MAIN STREET, GREENVILLE, SC 29601
(864) 735-8413

TRUCK-U BARBEQUE Former Border Grill executive chef Mike Minor debuted his epically meaty Truck-U Barbeque truck on the streets on Vegas a couple of months back, describing it to Eater Vegas as both “meat candy on wheels” and “urban hipster” barbecue. On the menu, he’s offering a variety of tortas, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more made with barbecued meat such as slow-cooked short ribs, slow smoked pork butt, and slow smoked brisket. Also fried chicken tacos, burnt ends burritos, and barbecue fries topped with things like short rib and barbecue pork. Find it @TruckUBarbeque.

MOVING TARGET, LAS VEGAS, NV
(702) 232-7579

WILDEARTH WOODFIRED According to Eater Minneapolis, mobile pizzeria WildEarth WoodFired met its Kickstarter goal within one week, with most of that coming on its very first day. Though not technically a truck, WildEarth is serving its 10-inch pies topped with any combination of meats, herbs, and veggies at public events all across town. Find it @WildEarthPizza.

MOVING TARGET!, TWIN CITIES METRO AREA, MN 55403

WOK N ROLL FOOD TRUCK Wok n Roll has not quite been open for a month, but has already been written up in much of the local press. The Plain Dealer interviewed owners Tricia McCune and Matt Bolam as they geared up to launch their Asian-inspired street food truck with dishes like okonomiyaki, Korean poutine, and ramen hot dogs.

6251 STAFFORD DR, NORTH OLMSTED, OH 44070
(440) 847-9651

Thank you Eater.com

I also suggest a great site after it’s shows namesake Eat Street for great food trucks in a city near you!

You gotta try these!