Category Archives: Great flavors

Smokehouse Sandwich Co.


Smokehouse Sandwich Co

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Last week I was pleasantly surprised to have a friend recommend a new eatery in Richmond that he said he found on my Facebook page?! I must have been looking around and liked a photo or something but this secret little gem must have fallen off my FoodDar but i honestly can report that WOW am I glad we tried it!
This perfect little eatery is tucked in on the quieter side of Westminster Hwy.
When you enter the restaurant the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and comfortable. The friendly faces are waiting to welcome you and recommended the days special or simply direct you to some of their fantastic tried and true favorites.

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The Sandwich Board :

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My friend was as interested as I was to try a few different flavors- we opted for the Samson:
A coffee covered and strawberry glazed slow cooked beef brisket- butter lettuce, red bell peppers and house aioli.
The brisket was melt in your mouth goodness and not chewy in any way.

And the Molly:
Hot smoked salmon – butter lettuce, pickled capers, fresh dill and house aioli.
The chef proudly but humbly proclaimed that One of our staff members caught this salmon yesterday from the Fraser river
Let me tell you, you could tell! Fresh, fresh, fresh!
We all know that the first key to a great sandwich is the bread ! The restaurant doesn’t even boast about the perfect bookends for the perfect ingredients but I assure you they have nailed it!

Another pleasant addition to your plate / pan has to be the house made chips in olive oil with a light sea salt.
It was also refreshing not to find any soda pop on the menu, the restaurant serves 2 house made fresh ingredient drinks – Honey, ginger and lemon (which I had and it was perfect) and Strawberry Mint both served hot or cold.
You could also get coffee and of course water.
The sandwiches were excellent. The ingredients were full of deep flavor, fresh ingredients and a perfect finish with the fresh bread.

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All in all this is a big recommend in Richmond that I know once your visited you will be back for more.
The prices were reasonable and portions just right.
The owners and staff are friendly, humble and happy to receive you.

You Gotta Try This!

Smokehouse Sandwich Co. on Urbanspoon

Air Canada’s Enroute Magazine 2014 Best restaurants – vote for our Vancouver stars!


Happy Wednesday great foodie friends.
It’s that time again for Enroute Magazines restaurant awards.
Support our great restaurants in the Vancouver lower mainland!
Click on the link, quick register and vote for your favorite new restaurant.

EAT. VOTE. WIN.

Have you eaten at Canada’s Best New Restaurant? Vote with your fork and enter for your chance to win a trip to our gala event. Our food writer, Andrew Braithwaite, will narrow down the list to his top 10 in our November issue. Until then, you get a chance to have your say, or just read Andrew’s tips for where to find your next great meal. Here are the 30 nominees for Canada’s best new restaurants 2014*.

click here for tge link to vote

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Our shining stars are:
Ask For Luigi
Blacktail Florist
Cinara
Farmers Apprentice
Little Jumbo(Victoria)
My Shanti

#EatVoteWin

You Gotta Vote For This

S’mores Cookie Pie


S’mores Cookie Pie
Brought to us from Miss Sami Sunshine Blog

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click here for the link to the posting blogger

Do you get unexpected guests? This recipe is so easy that you can just throw it together in no time! It’s so tasty too, you will definitely impress your guests.

I like to make this around “that time of the month”. I’m usually lazy, and crave warm chocolate! This pie hits the spot when it comes to any chocolate cravings.

Ingredients
1 16.5 oz tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (make your own here)
1 8.25 oz tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (make your own here)
1 7oz container of marshmallow fluff
1 bag of chocolate chips (size of your preference, depending on how much chocolate you want)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to the temperature stated on the cookie dough package.

2. Unwrap the 16.5oz cookie dough and press into a 9 inch pie pan. Press on the bottom and up the sides.

3. Empty the marshmallow fluff on the cookie dough crust and spread evenly.

4. Top the fluff with HOWEVER MANY CHOCOLATE CHIPS YOU WANT!!!! You can go crazy or light. 😉

5. Open the 8.25oz tube of cookie dough, grab some in your hands, roll and flatten dough. Place flattened dough on top of the chocolate chips. You can flatten a big piece and take care of the top of the pie in one fell swoop, or, you can flatten smaller pieces and place them so they cover evenly.

6. Bake the pie the amount stated on the cookie dough package, or until its golden brown.

7. Cool completely(if you can handle waiting) and serve with a tall glass of ice cold milk!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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You Gotta Try This!
My Shanti on Urbanspoon}

Eat Vancouver! Food and Cooking Festival


The Eat Vancouver Food and cooking festival is right around the corner!

As in the past you will see new and innovative food products and be able to try many tasty treats.

Click here to buy tickets online

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The Food Network Celebrity Stage is where you will find your favourite Canadian chefs cooking up a storm! Watch live 45 minute demonstrations featuring such hosts and chefs as Rob Feenie, Chuck Hughes, Vikram Vij, Lynn Crawford & Ned Bell, each eager to impress and entertain the audience with their masterful techniques and charming characters. The Food Network Celebrity Stage will also feature special techniques and grilling demos from Weber Specialist,
Michael P. Clive. Check out the stage schedule, you don’t want to miss seeing ALL of these superstars!

Famoso Pizzeria hits South Surrey


Happy Sunday great foodie friends,

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A wonderful pizzeria has come to South Surrey! Famoso
Who is Famoso?
Famoso Story
In the summer of 2005 co-owner Justin Lussier traveled through Italy and Naples and fell in love with the mouth-watering fire-roasted pizzas served throughout the country.

After eating at Pizzeria Sorbillo in Naples, Justin found a payphone and immediately called his friends and future partners, Jason Allard and Christian Bullock. They soon decided that they needed to bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Canada.

Training with the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), organization preserving the standards of authentic Neapolitan pizza, the Famoso boys learned about the unique ingredients and cooking process required.

The rest is history…
Famoso wisely imports it’s flour and tomato sauce from Italy and takes the fine ingredients along with there unique training and brings you a taste of Italy to your back yard!

The restaurants are upscale casual and have a unique style of service. You browse the menu and then write down your choices and go up to hand your order in and pay. Take your seat again and the rest of the service will be brought to you.
The pizzeria has an impressive pizza oven that bakes your authentic Neapolitan pizza in a mere 90 seconds due to its intense heat.
Famoso’s menu is full of great flavours and choices but is also simple as Italian food should be. They know who they are and what they want to bring to their customers so keep it simple.

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If you are dining in, you have your choice of a full size pizza or a Pizzetta (a personal size)
Try their fire roasted Tomato bisque or one of their fresh salads…. Each dish brings you flavour wow and will leave you wanting more.

Where are they?
Surrey

Morgan Crossing
Tel: 604-560-9544
15865 Croydon Drive
Sun-Thurs: 11am – 11pm
Fri-Sat: 11am – Midnight

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If you don’t have time sit and dine, call ahead for a take out pizza.
This location is brand new so is doing their best to work out the initial training and new opening trials but the flavours and great tastes are already right on the money,
You Gotta Try This!

Did I mention to try the gelato? If not, ITS A MUST!

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (Morgan Crossing) on Urbanspoon

BBQ bacon-wrapped chicken bites


Out of this world BBQ bacon wrapped chicken bites!

Happy Friday great foodie friends,
I have been putting together a Superbowl menu list and this is a MUST!

What you need:
*6-8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs (you could use chicken breast but the thighs are much more flavorful)
(If you can’t find boneless, the bone is easy to take out!)
*At least 1 lb of bacon (I love and use Geldermans)
*House of Q -house rub
*House of Q – Slow smoke gold BBQ sauce
(You could substitute the rub and sauce if needed but I really suggest you try to get your hands on these two beauties)
*Tooth picks (as many as the bites you prepare)

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What you will do:

*If the thigh still has the bone in it remove it (it’s quite easy, just work two fingers down the bone and pull the bone out and down. At this point you can either pull the bone out or cut it out)
*Cut the thigh into bite size pieces
*Cut the bacon in half
*Now put your chicken bite on to the bacon and basically wrap or roll the bacon around the chicken and secure with the tooth pick.

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*Now sprinkle both (all) sides with the rub (the amount is up to you)
*Now your ready to grill- I use a Cookina pad (similar to silpat) on my BBQ but you can cook it directly on the BBQ grill.

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*Grill until the chicken and bacon are nicely browned and almost caramelized (approx 15-20 mins)
*Now it’s time to brush on the BBQ sauce on both sides and continue to BBQ for another few minutes – look for a perfect color and glaze with an ice caramelized finish.

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Now all that is left is to plate these delectable treat and enjoy!
These will sure to be a winner so make sure that you make enough for all to try but be careful, they are honestly addictive.

Thank you as always to Brian Misko (BBQ Brian) of House of Q for the recommendations and tips not to mention the great run and sauces that help create these BBQ treats!

You Gotta Try These!

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Vancouver’s 4th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival


Recently announced the 4 Annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

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The word chocolate alone is enough of a reason to attend this wonderful event I assure you. The list of Chocolatiers should be your reason to drool at the thought of what creations these masters of the coveted love candy will create for this years festival!

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Chocolatiers & Venues
Chocstars
The following is a list of this year’s participating venues:

Blenz Coffee, International Village (603 Abbott Street)
Blenz Coffee, Waterfront (232 Howe Street)
Blenz Coffee, South Granville (2506 Granville Street)
Blenz Coffee, Fairview (695 West Broadway)
Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe
Bel Cafe
Bella Gelateria + To Die For Banana Bread
Chocolate Arts
Chocolaterie De La Nouvelle France
Coconymph Chocolates & Confections
East Van Roasters
French Made Baking
Koko Monk
The Last Crumb Baker & Cafe
Schokolade Artisan Chocolate & Cafe
Thierry Chocolaterie, Patisserie, Cafe
Thomas Haas Chocolates
UVA Wine Bar
Gem Chocolates
Leonidas Chocolates
Soirette Macarons & Tea
Terra Breads

Keep your eye on this link for this years event
Hot Chocolate Festival

The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival Runs January 18 through February 14. Funds raised from the 2014 Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival will be donated to the downtown Eastside women’s job skills program.

You Gotta Try This

To Die for mascarpone Stuffed Lemon Loaf French toast


Happy Friday day great foodie friends,

This delightful twist on French toast was something that I dreamt up before the holidays and I am finally getting around to sharing!
These flavours were literally out of this world!
Of course I truly have to give most of the credit to To Die For foods as the lemon loaf all by itself is incredible.
First search out To Die For Lemon loaf click here for the link on where to buy To Die for Lemon Loaf

Why To Die For Lemon Loaf you ask?

Here is why: (provided by To Die For)
Forget the artificial flavouring and the bottled lemon juice. My ‘LL’ wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot-pole. It will contain the juice of organic lemons, which I will juice myself.
Toasted organic coconut flakes and light organic coconut milk add that hint of je ne sais quoi to the creamy (yet non-lactosey), moist loaf.
The main thing I believe most lemon loaves are missing is texture. Plain old cake texture justdoesn’t do it for me. This new loaf needed something new and exciting. Some crunch. So I added classic poppy seeds and toasted organic millet. Not too much, just enough to add someoomph to each bite. I’m kind of obsessed. You should try it in your home-made loaves.
The loaf is spread with a light glaze and coated with toasted organic coconut. – I updated the recipe to include a lighter glaze (it’s main purpose is to hold the coconut securely on top of the loaf) and organic coconut flakes as opposed to the coconut ribbons, for easier slicing and chewing.)
Like To Die For Banana Bread, it’s made by hand in small batches.

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What you need:
To Die For Lemon Loaf
Mascarpone cheese
Two eggs
2 table spoons 1% milk
1/2 cup of vector or corn flakes (crushed)
Juice from 1/2 lemon or Meyer lemon
rind from 1/2 lemon (chopped into small pieces)

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What to do:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 (I use convection)
Cut the lemon loaf into approx 1/2 to 3/4″ pcs

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In a separate bowl put approx 1/2 cup of mascarpone (more if you are making a larger batch) and squeeze the lemon juice as well as add the lemon rind to the mascarpone and blend together until smooth.

Now spread a healthy amount of the mascarpone mixture on both slices and then put them together.

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In another bowl break the eggs and whip it with the milk until light and frothy.
Now carefully dip the already stuffed lemon loaf in the egg mixture making sure that the liquid does cover and soak in enough.

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Now take the dipped pieces and push both dipped sides into the crushed vector / corn flake mixture (pressing firm enough so that the crumbs stick to the lemon loaf)
Now carefully place the dipped and coated lemon loaf in a baking dish and put in the oven for approx 10-15 minutes (watch that the coating browns nicely to a golden brown, this may take longer or shorter depending on your oven)

When golden brown remove from the oven, plate and serve with your favourite topping.

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I can definitely confirm to you that this was

To Die For

You Gotta Try This!

To Die for mascarpone Stuffed Lemon Loaf French toast


Happy Friday day great foodie friends,

This delightful twist on French toast was something that I dreamt up before the holidays and I am finally getting around to sharing!
These flavours were literally out of this world!
Of course I truly have to give most of the credit to To Die For foods as the lemon loaf all by itself is incredible.
First search out To Die For Lemon loaf click here for the link on where to buy To Die for Lemon Loaf

Why To Die For Lemon Loaf you ask?

Here is why: (provided by To Die For)
Forget the artificial flavouring and the bottled lemon juice. My ‘LL’ wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot-pole. It will contain the juice of organic lemons, which I will juice myself.
Toasted organic coconut flakes and light organic coconut milk add that hint of je ne sais quoi to the creamy (yet non-lactosey), moist loaf.
The main thing I believe most lemon loaves are missing is texture. Plain old cake texture justdoesn’t do it for me. This new loaf needed something new and exciting. Some crunch. So I added classic poppy seeds and toasted organic millet. Not too much, just enough to add someoomph to each bite. I’m kind of obsessed. You should try it in your home-made loaves.
The loaf is spread with a light glaze and coated with toasted organic coconut. – I updated the recipe to include a lighter glaze (it’s main purpose is to hold the coconut securely on top of the loaf) and organic coconut flakes as opposed to the coconut ribbons, for easier slicing and chewing.)
Like To Die For Banana Bread, it’s made by hand in small batches.

20140110-091649.jpg

What you need:
To Die For Lemon Loaf
Mascarpone cheese
Two eggs
2 table spoons 1% milk
1/2 cup of vector or corn flakes (crushed)
Juice from 1/2 lemon or Meyer lemon
rind from 1/2 lemon (chopped into small pieces)

20140110-084711.jpg

What to do:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 (I use convection)
Cut the lemon loaf into approx 1/2 to 3/4″ pcs

20140110-090417.jpg

In a separate bowl put approx 1/2 cup of mascarpone (more if you are making a larger batch) and squeeze the lemon juice as well as add the lemon rind to the mascarpone and blend together until smooth.

Now spread a healthy amount of the mascarpone mixture on both slices and then put them together.

20140110-090548.jpg

In another bowl break the eggs and whip it with the milk until light and frothy.
Now carefully dip the already stuffed lemon loaf in the egg mixture making sure that the liquid does cover and soak in enough.

20140110-090730.jpg

Now take the dipped pieces and push both dipped sides into the crushed vector / corn flake mixture (pressing firm enough so that the crumbs stick to the lemon loaf)
Now carefully place the dipped and coated lemon loaf in a baking dish and put in the oven for approx 10-15 minutes (watch that the coating browns nicely to a golden brown, this may take longer or shorter depending on your oven)

When golden brown remove from the oven, plate and serve with your favourite topping.

20140110-090936.jpg

I can definitely confirm to you that this was

To Die For

You Gotta Try This!