The folks behind Wildebeest, Bufala, and Lucky Taco have added another thoughtful expansion to their mini-empire in the form of the anti-sports bar sports bar Bells & Whistles located on Fraser just south of Kingsway. The food is typical sports bar/pub grub/comfort food like burgers, wings, nachos, onion rings, etc, but done with atypical care and better ingredients, served in an atypically bright and family-friendly environment, with a very atypical craft beer menu with absolutely NO macro beer in sight.
Admittedly, the pricing for the food and beer is a bit high (especially for the neighbourhood), but in the week and a half they’ve been open, it’s been absolutely packed. I guess that shows that people have been wanting something like this for a long time and are willing to pay for it. For myself, I really appreciate their approach — casual accessibility, eyes on quality, no “Bells & Whistles” despite the name — but if things were maybe a couple bucks cheaper across the board, I’d come back more often, and with less hesitation.
Continue reading Rock the Bells: Bells & Whistles on Fraser (Bonus: Zwanze Day 2017)
I wasn’t gonna do a blog post about Parallel 49 Brewing Company‘s new Street Kitchen, but another website posted their article on it today (the one with the effusive hyperbole), so hey, fair game, right?
Long story short: ambitious menu, perhaps a bit too complicated for the crowd, great service, servings too small, prices too high.
Continue reading Lunch Quickie: Parallel 49 Brewing Company’s Street Kitchen
Belgian beer-focussed brewery Dageraad Brewing in Burnaby just had their 3rd anniversary party on Saturday, May 13. I went, had tons of fun, plus some achingly good beers. Here’s a quick photo recap of the event, plus a sneak preview of their new tasting room.
Continue reading Recap: Dageraad Brewing Third Anniversary Party
We killed three birds with one stone on a sunny but cold Saturday. Wicca and I checked out the brand-new South American-themed Andina Brewing (opened March 1, 2017), the new larger location of The Pie Shoppe (opened August 2016), and the Italian-inspired Luppolo Brewing Co. (which opened in late October 2016). Just as with the foodie-worthy Fraserhood area (Fraser & Kingsway), the same “cluster effect” is happening in “Yeast Van” and is delivering some exciting eating and drinking opportunities. No soulless, corporate chains in this area (yet)! Andina and Luppolo, in particular, are bringing a much-needed cultural influence that’ll help make them stand out in this extremely crowded craft beer market.
NOTE: I must apologize for mispelling “Colombian” as “Columbian” throughout this post. It is now corrected. Thanks to grayelf for pointing this out to me 🙂
Continue reading East Van Mini-Crawl: Andina Brewing, The Pie Shoppe, and Luppolo Brewing Company
Wildebeest totally made up for their “Budweiser incident” (background info here and here from late May 2016) by putting on this great Brassneck vs Four Winds beer pairing dinner — a Southern-style menu by Chef Alessandro Vianello paired with beers from arguably the best two breweries in BC! Five courses and 10 beers for a very reasonable $69 (plus tax and 18% gratuity). There are actually a lot of these kinds of beer-pairing dinners going on if you know where to look, but I usually pass on them because I’d end up poor! But this one I couldn’t refuse.
I didn’t take any notes, so my writeup isn’t as detailed as usual. I was more into just enjoying the food, beer, and company that night. Actually, I’m lying. I took two little notes, which I’ll bury in this post.
Continue reading Brassneck x Four Winds Head-to-Head Beer Pairing Dinner at Wildebeest
Britannia Brewing Company has been open a bit more than a month as of this writing. Aside from Hog Shack and Gudrun, there aren’t many other serious craft beer places in historic, slightly touristy Steveston. Britannia fills a niche that I think will work for them.
Continue reading First Look: Britannia Brewing in Steveston
I was invited by epicmedia (Donnelly Group‘s PR company) to judge their 4th Annual Chicken Fight bourbon bbq wing competition:
It was my first time doing anything like this. All the judges got free wings and beer, so why not?
Kitsilano area restaurants were invited to participate, and each team got 20 lbs of wings and a bottle of Jim Beam Apple Bourbon to use in their recipe. This year’s teams:
Unfortunately, lots of other restaurants backed out this year, including Au Comptoir and Fable 🙁 booooooo!
Continue reading Chicken Fight IV: Bourbon BBQ Wing Competition at The Bimini Pub in Kitsilano
So what the heck is a “FEFs Night Out”? It’s our foodie-centric take on the infamous Munchies web series Chef’s Night Out, where they follow a group of chefs going on a food and booze crawl, getting various degrees of shit-faced. We thought the Vancouver episode (with Tannis and Joël from Bao Bei/Kissa Tanto, with cameo by Ken Tsui) was way too tame and responsible, so a bunch of us booze-friendly food bloggers tried to do own unhinged version one Saturday night. In attendance were Meaghan (Grub is Love) and Kevin (604 Foodtography), with Wicca and few others. The Instagram tag was #fefsnightout (click if you want to see some triplet fashion porn) and the writeup is below. I didn’t take notes during this outing, so I don’t really get into my usual level of detail and analysis. So enjoy the more relaxed me below!
Continue reading #FEFsNightOut: Drunken Gastown Crawl feat. Orchard & The Sea, Darby’s Gastown, & Dixie’s BBQ
R&B Brewing are actually one of the local old-school breweries, having opened in 1997 in the same space (now expanded and remodeled) on East 4th & Quebec St. They’re within walking distance of the new Faculty Brewing, Steel Toad, 33 Acres, Brassneck, and Main Street Brewing. R&B were a near-casualty of the Vancouver craft beer boom, and got increasingly overlooked, out-brewed, and ignored when everyone else was opening up tasting rooms where people could hang out, fill growlers, etc, while R&B were stuck with no ability to open a tasting lounge that’s become a critical part of becoming a successful brewery in Vancouver. On the brink of bankruptcy, they were bought out by Howe Sound Brewing in April 2015, with one of the founders, Barry, continuing on as an employee. With that injection of capital and manpower, they’ve finally opened up their lounge and pizza oven in August 2016. How do their beers fare now in today’s crowded and hot hot hot craft beer scene? And how’s their pizza?
Continue reading First Look: R&B Ale and Pizza House
The Blind Sparrow on Denman (across the street from Kintaro Ramen) calls themselves “Vancouver’s first gastrotavern”. I fail to see the difference between “gastrotavern” and the more popular term “gastropub”. Let’s see if my visit during their happy hour cuts through the bs and answers the question, “Is this place good enough to return to?”
Continue reading Happy Hour Quickie: Craft Beer & Nibbles at The Blind Sparrow