Friday, September 19, 2014

Vancouver: La Tortas

work lunch not working lunch
:South Cambie:

Workplace friendships are much like a buffet. Large selection of this and that, but when you've been to as many buffets as I have you become a pro at finding the good stuff - the quality stuff. So you skip the crap and fill your plate with the things you like.

Poppette is one of those things I like. We don't get to have lunch often. I think she's like me - either we're too busy and when we're not, sometimes it's nice for lunch to be a solo activity. I see it as my little piece of peace at work. Of course I make sure to consistently schedule social lunches here and there. It's happy time selectively sprinkled throughout my calendar and I look forward to each and every one.

Before my latest lunch date with Poppette, I came back to my office to find she left a post-it. She listed a few restaurant choices and told me to pick. I reviewed them and settled on Las Tortas because I've never had a torta, have you? I've had an arepa and thought it was the same. Nope - different and better. I liked the the bread: a crisp and chewy sandwich roll:

Colourful - like a Mexican banh mi?!
Fresh ingredients and condiments amply stacked between fresh bread:

Serious flavours, great textures
The best part of the meal? The homemade chips:

REALLY good...
Service is friendly and I couldn't have asked for more: cheap and delicious. And it started with a post-it. Yay Poppette!

Las Tortas on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vancouver: Whole Foods Market Bakery

what you needed was here

This is a random post but hey, in a couple hours it's no rules Friday.

Let me set the scene: I like Whole Foods. Not for the abundance of organic products or nutritional yeast or local granola, but for overpriced crackers and cheese and the occasional canned good or produce on sale, but mostly (almost exclusively) for their prepared meals and sweets. (As my friends know, I like to heat-eat as opposed to cook-eat). Also, their ginger molasses cookies are one my all-time favourite things.

The Whole Foods bakery is a special place because there is something for everyone. I've never walked out with something I didn't like. Seriously, how is that even possible. It seems improbable that their cookies, cakes, pies and other treats are consistently good and universally appealing. True, I may not love what everything, but nothing disappoints or makes me shed a sad tear. There's nothing more disappointing than bad dessert. I mean isn't the root of happiness sugar?

My latest Whole Foods discovery was with Ceecee. On a random walk through, a staff member gave us a sample. One bite and we were sold.

After weeks of talking about how awesome it was, we had to have it. One of our coworkers was heading to Whole Foods to pick up lunch so I asked him to pick one up. I use asked loosely since apparently I have an annoying tendency to raise my voice three octaves when I want a favour so he knew it was coming before I even got it out.

Of course he came through, thanks Roro:

Meet coconut cream pie.
So good I'm actually going to throw down these !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A few things to note: I don't really like coconut, nor do I like cream. Although I like custard which is not be mistaken for cream.  Papa GG loved both so I assume I'm now channeling his appetite.

Go pick one up. It's only $5.99 for fluffy mounds of love. So good I want to slap someone. See, none of that made any sense. This pie doesn't make's got me that twisted.

Mmmmmmmm....coocoo for coconut cream pie.
Confession: Ceecee and I had it for breakfast. Call us crazy...or maybe after you try it, you'll call us genius?! P.S. This weekend Ceecee is off to Seattle for a food blogging conference. I wanted to go with her but knew it would be sandwiched between too many big expenses for me. There's always next year and I can't wait to hear about it. If you're interested you should check her blog for updates.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vancouver: Don't Argue! Pizzeria

trouble, trouble, trouble
:Riley Park:

I spent my adolescence following the in crowd...maybe that's why I find myself going against the grain in adulthood. I don't like to argue...doesn't mean I won't. 

Don't Argue! isn't worth debating, because it wasn't bad. I enjoyed my dinner date with Totoro. Although I wonder if it was the company more than the food. That's been happening a lot these days.  

I didn't fall for Don't Argue for a few reasons. He wasn't my type. I did like the fact it's a husband and wife duo doing what they are inspired to do - bring quality more traditional Americana pizza to hungry Vancouverites. And for $40 bucks they brought Totoro and I spicy margherita:

Less sauce, more mozzarella please and where's my basil?
And pancetta and pineapple:

I preferred this to the margherita tenfold.
True Don't Argue sticks to its simple formula, and while I' like simple, it fell short because at the end of the meal, I just wasn't that into him. 

If you're going to bring me one layer of flavour it has to be stella and the tart crushed tomatoes and sparse toppings weren't enough to make me stray from GoldiesIf you remember, this place stole my heart - they do simple too and they do it for a fraction of the cost.

Don't Argue! Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Vancouver: Tavern by Trevor

we be brunching
:Spadina + King:

Final east coast post...for now. Actually, probably for a long while. Rather than talk the talk or walk the walk, I intend to work the runway...the runway to the Vancouver love juice everyone else is drinking. Filler up?!?

Weeks ago I was walking up Spadina with Cracker. She took me to another Trevor project. I love Trevor. It's one of my favourite Toronto restaurants. I said it 2010, again in 2011 and if I thought you wouldn't get sick of me singing in all my very tone deaf beauty, I would sing it year after year.

Cracker loves Trevor too, and she loves brunch and of course she loves me. Have you ever had a friend who doesn't just make a face when you're being a first class b*tch but actually yells out, "eh, you're being a b*tch". If so, don't lose them. Because in a world where talking behind someone's back is the norm, you need someone who slaps you in the face. That's Cracker to me and vice-versa.

She took me to The Tavern for brunch (served between 11 and 3). It was what I have come to expect: honest food with flair. I had the egg white frittata with asparagus and 3 year old cheddar. It was more elegant than I expected for $15: Light, fluffy, perfectly cooked and well seasoned with ample amounts of black truffle and a tart arugula salad:

Aromatic and amazing
Cracker had chorizo with crispy poached eggs and sweet potato hash, roquette and red pepper ailoi:

A bright morning medley

Great value for really great food. Comfort food elevated with primo ingredients and a touch of class. I hope this Tavern stays this way until my next visit.

The end of another fantastic east coast trip. As I face what will be endless weeks, months and years of Vancouver - I don't roll my eyes any more. That's at least something. It's my big first step to walking this runway.

The Tavern by Trevor on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 5, 2014

Toronto: Rock Lobster

almost rock bottom
:Queen West:

This place - the definition of premature expansion. Rock Lobster in Ossington was all the rave. So they opened another one. Looking at the reviews on Urbanspoon. They shouldn't have.

I didn't hate it. The patio out back is a great place to grab a drink. 
Their signature caesar
I don't hate anything with vodka. It's my plus one for fun.

The food wasn't great...mediocre bar fare at best. 
Bad fries. Soggy, bland, soggy.
My friends and I had a great time, but that was because of the company not the food. Too bad, but it wasn't sad. Because again, just add vodka.

Rock Lobster on Urbanspoon