Vancouver’s Food Truck Scene Kicks Toronto Butt!!

The Vancouver street food scene is awesome. My recent visit to my home town was filled with many culinary pleasures, but my main focus was to explore the “food truck scene”. The downtown core has 110 stationary and 27 mobile food vendors. The choices are abundant, and both locals and tourists have embraced this food craze with total abandonment.  Vancouver also hosts a #FoodCartFestival in the Olympic Village each Sunday from 12pm to 5pm, which is a great way to sample treats in one festive area.  Conversely, many of Toronto’s food trucks change locations and hours of operation which means an app is necessary to track them down.

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With Vancouver having so many food vendors located all over the city, a strategy was definitely necessary; my first order of business was to question friends and family. After listening to their delightful and dreadful stories, I decided that the #FoodCartFestival would be the best method to maximize the street food experience.  Once inside the grounds, I realized how daunting this culinary adventure was going to be. With over 20 different trucks to choose from, I should have allocated more time to indulge in the endless choices.  And frankly…. there’s not a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than consuming tasty bites of food truck deliciousness.

After spending some time evaluating the offerings, I went back to a personal favourite, Vij’s. Although I had not tried Vij’s Railway Express food truck before, I was betting on them to deliver the goods based on many great meals I’ve had at Vij’s Restaurant . Rumour has it, this restaurant is the best Indian food in North America and I can definitely concur.  Here’s what TripAdvisor has to say.

Vij’s Railway Express menu items were limited, but this did not discourage us. My husband chose butter chicken and I ordered the lamb wrap. Both items were a perfect balance between spice, flavour and heat. After our meal, we noticed festival revellers devouring the most exquisite ice cream sandwiches. This would be the perfect dessert to cool our warm bellies and complete our street adventure. We decided on a Peach Blackberry Rumble ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies. All I can say is, YUM!!

Having watched my fair share of Eat Street episodes, checking out the Vancouver food truck scene was long over due. My experience was outstanding and tops my list of tasty things to do while visiting the city. Not wanting my culinary adventures to end, I decided to try a Japadog enroute to the airport. And wow!  It was a great way to end our visit to Vancouver, enjoying a crazy delicious Kurobuta Terimayo dog, and my husband having a Tonkatsu cutlet sandwich.  The West coast definitely kicks Toronto’s food truck butt, so I encourage all #TOfoodies to support the growing food truck scene, and to share the name of your favorite truck.

Last Week I Discovered Gastropost

Every Saturday, Canada’s National Post features a two page spread called Gastropost-Food Missions for Food Lovers.  The objective is for foodies to complete a weekly “Gastronomic Mission”.  Successful entries are featured and participants are given the bragging rights of being published in a major newspaper.

These assignments allow food lovers to choose a favourite meal from a restaurant or to make a fabulous dish from home.  Once you’ve decided how and what you are going to complete, proceed with the task.  If you’ve decide to post an image from a restaurant add #gastropost, and if your pic is a creation from home add #further #gastropost.  The next step is to send your photo to one of the following: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or the National Post’s website before Wed. 10 am.  If selected, your post along with your name will be published in the Saturday Gastropost section.

The mission I completed was based on a Mediterranean Diet.  I was given freedom to choose any country bordering the Mediterranean Sea.  The dish I prepared was a Cyprus inspired salad of grilled halloumi, watermelon, cherry tomatoes and a mint basil pesto. The best part of this refreshing salad was that I got to serve it at a friends cottage along  Long Point Beach, Lake Erie.  My salad was a hit and the warm beach air helped to create a memorable Mediterranean experience, thanks Long Point, mission accomplished.

I encourage all my foodie friends to participate in the next mission-secret weapons.  This challenge is to share a secret sauce, an undiscovered dish, or a master technique with other food loving folks.  For additional information and an opportunity to see early entries for “secret weapons” check out http://gastropost.nationalpost.com.

Butter Sponges!

I would like to share this recipe with “Big Lake Life.” She requested an alternative method of preparing mushrooms so they don’t become calorie laden butter sponges.  It took a bit of research but I manage to find an outstanding alternative with only a trickle of extra virgin olive oil.

“I’m not a fan of mushrooms as butter sponges!”

– Big Lake Life

Baked Mushrooms

Baked Mushrooms with Truffled Goat Cheese

Funghi al Cartoccio al Forno mushroom baked in a bag

Rewards abound with this aromatic side dish, tear into the parchment pouch and release the intoxicating earthy and herbaceous mushroom scent.  I always encourage adapting recipes to ones personal tastes, feel free to experiment I used truffle oil and goat cheese.

  • a few spring of each fresh bay, sage, rosemary, and thyme tied into small bundles
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 14 oz. firm wild mushrooms, brushed and trimmed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of white wine or vermouth

Preheat your oven to 400 F

Create the package by using (4) 15″ sq pieces of parchment paper.  Place prosciutto off-center on parchment, place herb bundle on top, then pile mushrooms. Season with S&P and drizzle with olive oil.  Brush the edges of the paper with beaten egg then fold over edges 2 or 3 times. Scrunch the sachet a little to remove air before adding 2 tbsp of white wine.  Make sure each of the packages are tightly sealed.  Place on a hot baking sheet.  Cook for 20 minutes, until package puffs up. Serve the mushrooms in their bag so guests can experience the delicious aromas as they tear into it.  You can make 4 individual packages or 1 large pouch. Serves 4

Adapted from Jamie Oliver * Jamie’s Italy.

Coffee and Doughnuts

Need I say more?

P.S.  JMD uses only the finest ingredients!

I’ll Scratch Yours!!!

I’ve been a big Jamie Oliver fan since watching his 1999 TV show called “The Naked Chef“.  For over a decade, Oliver has been responsible in many philanthropic projects and continues to work tirelessly to promote healthy food consumption.  His message is extremely powerful; he asks for accountability from parents, educators, and corporations to serve quality food to our children.

One of Jamie’s most commendable campaigns was to challenge McDonald’s to change one of their substandard food practice.  The appalling truth which he aggressively exposed was that they were using beef considered, “not fit for human consumption” for their US burger market.  To lower costs, McDonald’s was decontaminating meat by washing it in ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria and ecoli (a process approved by the USDA).  This raises serious questions about the safety of our food supply and some of the practices of big corporations which governments approve.

Fortunately, as of January 2012, McDonald’s in the US has stopped using the questionable pink slime process.  Even though Canada and many other countries do not use cleaning solutions to kill toxins in their food supply, Jamie’s message remains the same.  He encourages all communities to buy wholesome affordable food that is not genetically modified and free from chemicals and nitrates.  It’s all about searching for the best quality food and being mindful and connected to our “Food Soul”.  If you support these principles, pass this message along to support “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”

Who Doesn’t Want to Eat a Stinky Frenchman!

Yesterday, I though I’d check out “Little Fish Cafe and Bakery” in the Junction to check out their breakfast offerings.  I’ve heard positive comments about this restaurant and their huevos rancheros, from a friend.  I love this breakfast dish so I was definitely tempted but I thought I would peruse the menu anyway; thank you instincts.

One dish in particular stood out from regular breakfast fare, it was “Julie’s Stinky Frenchman”.  The combo consisted of fluffy scrambled eggs, black forest ham, sautéed leeks and blue cheese served on thick Texas French toast with maple syrup.  Wow, what an unbelievably delicious breakfast treat!   Thanks Little Fish for raising the bar on tasty breakfast dishes!  Check out Blog TO’s review of Little Fish.