Top 5 Food and Drinks in Vancouver
Having casual drinks, eating great food and having ample conversation with dear friends is always something that I truly value in life. I wouldn’t call myself a ‘foodie’ per say because the name bugs me as much as the definition, and I am definitely not a food expert. However, I do love discovering something good and being able to share it with good company.
1) Chambar – Congolaise mussels
You really can’t go wrong with this dish. The broth is so rich with the aromatic tastes of tomato coconut cream, smoked chili and lime, and fresh cilantro. I have often wondered how the mussels are always so plump no matter what season it is. I have been going to Chambar for years and this dish is consistently good. It also feels rather healthy even when I indulge with Belgian fries. Just talking about it makes me instantly ravenous! This meal is even better when you pair it with a nice glass of white wine.
2) Rodney’s Oyster House – Caesar
Rodney’s Oyster House has the best Caesars I have ever had, hands down. They go down very well with oysters on the side. I always call a Caesar a meal in a glass. All you need is one or two and then you have to move on to something else – so why not make it good?
What adds to a great Caesar is the garnish which compliments the drink itself. Normally in Vancouver when I order a Caesar, I lower my expectations. Most of the time it ends up just being satisfactory and maybe if I am lucky, it will include an olive. However, Rodney’s puts a lot of love into their Caesars, which they are famous for. It is served in an extra-large glass with two shots of vodka. They use fresh horseradish (not from a bottle), grind it with ice so it makes the drink extra cold and spicy, and garnish it with a fresh plump prawn. Just try it…you won’t be disappointed…
3) Motomachi Shokudo – Black Charcoal Ramen
I usually end up at this ramen joint on a mellow Sunday afternoon with a friend. I love this spot because it is small, quaint, and has a nice atmosphere, compared to the others a few doors down where they have blinding florescent lights to ensure you can see all of your friends facial imperfections. Not only is the ramen amazing here, but they also make a special one that is only served in this restaurant in North America called Black Charcoal Ramen. The broth is blended with their in-house miso broth and powdered bamboo charcoal ingredients making it rich and flavourful. To complement the broth, they add barbecue pork, bamboo shoots, half an organic egg, thinly sliced Japanese leek, seasonal greens, and Japanese spices. Also in Asian culture, bamboo charcoal is used as a medicinal digestive supplement to absorb toxins from the body which is a nice added bonus to a very unique meal.
4) Kingyo Izakaya – Lunch Menu – Special Lunch Bento Box
We are blessed with such an abundant Japanese food culture in Vancouver. Not only that – it’s cheap! My friend Matt introduced me to Kingyo Izakaya’s Special Lunch Bento Box and it blew my mind. How can lunch be so satisfying at such a decent price? They only make 10 bentos of this kind daily and every day it’s a delicious surprise. So if you want in on this – you need to go early! If you are not that hungry, try the Negitoro Avocado Bowl. The concoction in this bowl is a bed of rice topped with diced tuna, avocado and tororo mountain potato. It is served with miso soup, pickled garnishes, fresh grinded sesame, and homemade chili oil. Yum!
5) 1927 Lobby Lounge, Georgia Hotel – Bourbon Sours
I love a good hotel side lounge. They are always hidden gems that you don’t want to share with anyone else but your close friends so that the vibe of the place doesn’t get ruined. When you go to The Georgia Hotel’s side bar, the service is as impeccable as the drinks, the staff is personable but classy, and you feel like you are in your own private Idaho. I am obsessed with a good bourbon sour, and I give theirs 4 thumbs up. What makes their bourbon sours distinct is the balance of sweet and sour using quality ingredients. Also egg whites are added to the blend. The bartender always ensures never to over shake the drink so it is left with a frothy flavor in the end with a dash of bitters. The presentation is always quite nice too, with a lovely pattern left on top of the froth reminiscent of a latte from Artigiano’s. Needless to say, I have stumbled into a cab on many occasions after having a bourbon sour binge here.
Redia Soltis is Editor in Chief of Zero 1 Magazine. The 8th issue of Zero 1 will be released in January, 2013.