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The Hungry Nomad: 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011

May 31, 2011

Big Lou's Butcher Shop (Vancouver, Canada)

I was introduced to this amazing butcher/sandwich shop not too long ago.  And folks all I can say is that it is incredible. From the friendly service, to the amazing selection of fresh meats and sandwiches Big Lou's Butcher Shop is a true hidden gem. Allan Bosomworth and Karl Gregg, chef/owners of the wonderful Two Chefs and a Table on Alexander Street opened this 800-square-foot, Brooklyn-modeled butcher shop and delicatessen on the corner of Powell and Gore. The 1930s-style joint is outfitted with a dozen bar stools for on-site sandwich scarfing and a long glass case to scope the locally sourced cuts, from Pemberton beef and Sloping Hills pork to Fraser Valley poultry and local game meats (all butchered on site). Take home their line of wet and dry rubs, sauces, and bagged meals like coq au vin and Moroccan lamb shanks.

First time around we ordered the house made pastrami which is made over the course of 6 days. It goes best with the fresh baguettes they sell in store. Next time around I purchased some of their amazing sausages including the spicy merguez and the sun-dried tomato infused sausage. I will definitely be going back to try their fresh cut meats. 

Big Lou's Butcher Shop on Urbanspoon

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May 24, 2011

Campagnolo (Italian Restaurant) (Vancouver, Canada)

This is my favorite Italian restaurant in Vancouver. Campagnolo is located on Main Street between terminal and Chinatown. It offers affordable, casual, Italian dining in a very warm and inviting atmosphere. I love the food because you can get true rustic Italian dishes (inspired by the Piedmont and Emiglia-Romagna regions of Italy).  The atmosphere is simplistic and modern with really interesting light fixtures ( I want one for my home). 

Having been here several times I can say with no reservations that every single dish on the menu is delicious. I was there for my birthday and our table of 12 tried most of the dishes. The pizzas are all amazing and so are the pastas. You really cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. My favorite pastas are the Tagliatelle served with pork ragu, basil and pecorino Romano cheese and the Gnuddi served with ricotta and spinach. As for the pizzas, you can opt for one of the several combinations or you can create your own. I love prosciutto and arugula pizza and the great thing at this restaurant is that it gives you the option to combine such flavors. As for starters the beef carpaccio and Bruschetta are musts!

Tagliatelle Pork Ragu

Procuitto and Arugula Pizza
Beef Carpaccio

Campagnolo on Urbanspoon

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May 23, 2011

Sura (Korean Restaurant), (Vancouver, Canada)

Delicious Korean treats are to be had at this downtown restaurant!!!

I have walked by this restaurant many times however due to its location (being nestled in between two of my top favourite restaurants in the city [Guu and Gyoza King]) I never paid much attention to it. And it was by pure chance and hunger that we ended up here yesterday. Originally, with Gyoza King in mind we walked down Robson only to be disappointed by the fact that Gyoza King was only offering its lunch menu (which is quiet different from its dinner one). So we decided to leave the Gyoza experience to another night and try something new. Sura is located beside Gyoza King. It is very modern and clean looking and despite some negative reviews of the place the Count and I absolutely LOVED it. 

Korean food in general is delicious and as a non-Korean I thought the Korean short ribs and bibimbap here were delicious. For those of you not familiar with Korean cuisine, bibimbap is the signature Korean dish. The word literally means 'mixed meal'. Bibimbap is served as a bowl (here in a hot stone bowl) with warm white rice topped with namul (sauteed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste).  A raw egg or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are then stirred together (as was done by our server at Sura) just before eating. 

Sura on Urbanspoon

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May 22, 2011

L'Abattoir (Vancouver, Canada)

Friday night some friends, the Count and I headed to l'Abattoir. I had read some mixed reviews about the place but figured I'd have to check it out for myself. Located on Carrall street in the heart of Gastown, l'Abattoir is just another new 'hip' restaurant to pop up in the area. 

I'll start with the good and make my way to the bad: the decoration and ambiance were great. The restaurant is set in a refurbished brick and beam building and combines classic french tiles with industrial  fixtures, natural woods, and glass and steel finishes. It was definitely very aesthetically pleasing with detail in everything. The service was great. Our server was very professional and explained a lot of the dishes and drinks to us in impressive detail. 

Claiming to have a mixture of west coast and french food... the entire experience was less than satisfying. The selection was very limited and hugely overpriced for the amount and quality of the food they served(See menu). I had read somewhere that they had amazing cocktails and so I tried two of their more popular ones and didn't find it any more special than cocktails served in other trendy restaurants around town. But then again I am not a mixologist so what do I know about the intricacies of mixing alcohol with non-alcoholic flavors.  

The food was not bad however for the quantity, quality and price it could have been a lot better. We paid $200 for the four of us which would not have been so bad had we had many drinks or any appetizers but for three entrees and one smaller dish it was too expensive. And it would have been justifiable had it been an amazing culinary experience but it wasn't.  The best thing about the food was the bread basket served in the beginning. It was clearly homemade and fresh and truly delicious but when we asked for more bread little did we know they would charge us an extra $2 for it.

I opted for the 'handmade gnocchi and lobster'. I have to say in my opinion there was nothing handmade about the gnocchi. I had just had amazing handmade gnocchi the week before at Mangia E Bevi Restorante in West vancouver and this dish failed in comparison. The Count had the lamb loin and sausage... and as the Count put it was 'just okay'. And definitely not worth the price.
If you are looking for a night out for an amazing culinary experience I would not recommend l'Abattoir as your destination. However, if you are looking to hang out in a trendy , hipster-type crowd and have some overpriced cocktails then definitely check it out. 

L'Abattoir on Urbanspoon

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May 7, 2011

The Twisted Fork (Vancouver, Canada)

Rumors have it that this is the best place in town for brunch. As a self-proclaimed food/travel blogger I decided I had to check it out for myself. And I can confidently say that this has quickly become my favorite place for brunch in the downtown Vancouver area. 

The Twisted Fork is located on Granville street between Davie st. and Helmcken st. 

Everything on the menu looked delicious but our group opted for the Eggs Benedict and amazing Banana Stuffed French Toast.

Eggs Benedict with avocado

Eggs Benedict with Prosciutto

Banana stuffed brioche french toast

Eggs Benedict with Chorizo
The eggs were perfectly poached and runny, resting on top of some brioche and generously doused in Hollandaise sauce. The chorizo was only cut in half rather than sliced in small pieces so it was actually quite juicy and added a hint of spiciness to the rich eggs and sauce. I didn't love the brioche and would have preferred it was served on a traditional English muffin. Accompanying the eggs was some sauteed spinach, potato patties, and baked beans. The spinach and beans were actually quite heavy so I only ended up picking at them because I was pretty full from my eggs benny and the pieces of French toast that I stole from my friends plate.... the French Toast was amazing and very creative. I have never had stuffed french toast before and this was very tasty. It was only slightly which was great since it was served with a side of syrup and you could adjust the sweetness according to taste. 

French Press Coffee

They seem to have a dinner menu as well. So I will have to go back to test their menu and report back to my faithful readers. 

Twisted Fork Bistro on Urbanspoon

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May 6, 2011

Lilette (New Orleans, USA)

Lilette, located Uptown on Magazine street is one of our top ten places to dine in New Orleans. The restaurant serves authentic French cuisine and carries an extensive list of wine from all regions of France. 

Be prepared to wait while before you are seated.  We went there last weekend with the start of the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Perhaps this is why it was busier than usual but having made reservations in advance we expected to be seated in a timely manner... 2 hours past our reservation time we were seated. In fact by the time we sat down most tables were finishing up their dinner. I'm wondering why they take reservations when they can't keep them. Not to mention our party included a very pregnant friend who had to stand on her feet for two hours.

Complaints aside: once we were seated and the food arrived everything was great. 

First on the list was the  potato gnocchi with sage brown butter and parmigiano cream. It was PERFECT. The count and I absolutely love gnocchi and seem to order it whenever its offered on the menu. This one was delicious with a perfect creamy sauce. 

Our table also ordered a cheese plate which included several different types of specialty cheese including blue and goat cheese. The bread was served right out of the oven...and perfectly warm. 

Cheese plate


The escargot served with mushrooms and Calvados cream. If you like snails then you can't go wrong with an order of the escargot.

The Escargot in creamy butter


Fried Kurobuta Pork Belly with a salad of melon, pea shoots and cucumber

Steak Frites with bordelaise sauce

Roasted Poulet Breast
And after all that I absolutely had to order dessert...which was beautifully presented and amazing. 

All in all the meal was fantastic. The ambiance is also very inviting. The restaurant is almost always busy so it makes for a great night out. There is also the newer addition to the Lilette family called the Bouligny Tavern located right next door. They have a wonderful cocktail menu. So if you ever have to wait for  a table make your way over to the Bouligny for a drink. 

Lilette on Urbanspoon

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May 3, 2011

Rue de la Course (New Orleans, USA)

Great coffee and an interesting eclectic mix of people. It mostly attracts the laptop crowds due to its unpretentious environment. There are two locations: one on Magazine street and the other on South Carrollton. 

Rue de la Course on Urbanspoon

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