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By Brittany Tiplady

Perched on the corner of Fraser Highway and 64th avenue–smack dab in the middle Cloverdale’s burgeoning Clayton neighbourhood–sits Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen. It’s a bustling spot, and as growing millennial families make their way back from the city to the ‘burbs, it’s only getting busier.

Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen opened their Cloverdale doors in June of this year and they were welcomed with an overwhelmingly positive community response.

“We’re always busy,” says Hugo’s General Manager Sylvain Muschamp. “And because we are near a [residential neighbourhood] lots of people and families and can walk and enjoy some drinks and really have a great time.”

Pork, beef, and vegan tacos with hibiscus iced tea.
Pork, beef, and vegan tacos with hibiscus iced tea.

Hugo’s may be the new restaurant in town, but the roots of this operation go way back. The Garcia family immigrated from Mexico to Canada in 2002, and after settling down in Chilliwack, it was very obvious that they weren’t in Kansas anymore. Instead of searching for the flavours of home, the Garcia’s brought home to the Fraser Valley, opening up a food trailer in 2011 called El Pueblito, and later graduating to a larger space in a local gas station.

Hugo’s has made quite the impression on Chilliwack locals, and since opening up their first location, the Garcia family (Hugo Garcia, sons Dan and Josh, and the matriarch running day-to-day operations) has expanded across the lower mainland: opening up the Instagram-worthy, sweet-tooth favouring Hugo’s Tacos & Churros at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet and most recently, Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen in Cloverdale.

The vibe at Hugo’s is trendy but warm. The decor, helmed by owner Josh Garcia, is chic and minimalist and most definitely not kitschy; a smart move for an intimate space. On a nice day, the dining room is sun-drenched, exposing the subtle Mexico City inspired details.

The menu, while still growing, is bursting with options for varying palates and dietary restrictions. After munching on tortilla chips and a trio of house salsas to start, Muschamp recommends the queso fundido ($12.75); a sizzling pot of cheese, grilled onions, tofu chorizo, and a side of tortillas. Moving onto the mains, tacos of course are the star of the show. I opted for the beef barbacoa, pork carnitas, and tofu chorizo (a vegan option!); $6 each or mix and match three tacos for $15. Both the beef barbacoa taco and the pork carnitas tacos (best enjoyed with the house salsa verde!) are fashioned with fresh ingredients and perfectly braised meat. The tofu chorizo, however, is surprise and delight. Topped with cashew cream, pickled onions and fried potatoes, this is guilt-free faux meat dish could fool any carnivore.

“A lot of people are asking for a fish taco,” Muschamp adds. “We hear that, and we are working on getting that on our menu for the spring!”

This tofu "chorizo" taco is completely vegan.
This tofu “chorizo” taco is completely vegan.

If you’re not in the mood for tacos (but like, why wouldn’t you be?) Hugo’s offers a large selection of main items. The Hugo’s bowl, which Muschamp aptly calls a burrito without the tortilla (vegan options also available for this one!); $14.75, and Taco Loco, a massive burrito/chimichanga love-child, are beloved amongst locals.

“The Taco Loco is a big fan favourite. It’s basically a deep fried burrito, and it comes out with lettuce, pico de gallo, crema and queso on top,” adds Muschamp.

The drink menu doesn’t disappoint either. Hugo’s selection of local draught beers and cocktails were certainly calling my name, but I opted for the Jamaica Iced Tea: Muschamp’s own refreshing and delightful concoction of housemade cold brew hibiscus tea and simple syrup.

For dessert, the churro, served with a pot of dulce de leche, is a no-brainer.

“The feel of the restaurant and the room–especially when it’s a busy night– is a really good time. People are enjoying their food and their drinks and their company. This community is growing like crazy, and [the locals] have really embraced us both personally, and on social media.”

Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen
19181 Fraser Hwy, Surrey
Open Tuesday-Sunday, with happy hour everyday from 3-5:30

By Brittany Tiplady

Giddy-up for the inaugural Clover Valley Beer Festival, happening August 11  in the heart of Cloverdale!

This first-time festival— hosted by the powerhouse team that also produces the Whistler Village Beer Festival and the Great Okanagan Beer Festival—promises an afternoon of coveted craft beer, food truck favourites, live music, and event support from local sponsorship. Clover Valley’s festival team has also partnered with Twins Cancer Fundraising as their charitable partner, who will receive proceeds from ticket sales to support their efforts on raising money for cancer-fighting charities.

Over 40 craft breweries are expected to set up camp at the fest, including Langley’s Trading Post Brewing, Central City Brewing, and Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing and Parkside Brewery. “We really want to highlight BC craft beers and ciders but we also have some international brews joining us,” explains events manager Tara Myers.

Image courtesy of Clover Valley Beer Festival

For cider lovers, this festival has you covered: you’ll find craft cider mills like No Boats on Sunday, and Rock Creek ready to quench your thirst.

Keeping festival goers well-fed is an array of local food vendors. Snack on some grub from Mike’s Perfect Perogy’s, Vancouver’s Urban Woodfired Pizza, Mediterranean cuisine from Meet2Eat, and ooey gooey gourmet grilled cheese from Sammy J’s Grill & Bar.

While your sip and sample, the Clover Valley Beer Festival team has arranged a fantastic line-up of local performers. Headlining the festival is rock-band Red Chair (they headlined the Great Okanagan Beer Festival earlier this year), and to follow, R&B ensemble JennaMae & The Groove Section, and rock-alt band Mood Therapy.

“Between bands a DJ from JR FM will be joining us to play some music as well!” adds Myers.

For those interested in attending (and why wouldn’t you be?) the damage is slim. A $45 general admission ticket includes entry to the festival and three beer tokens. An express pass will run you $60 but includes entry and 10 beer tokens and a chance to skip the lines.

Image courtesy of Clover Valley Beer Festival

“Cloverdale is such a great fit for [our events]. It could potentially become our biggest festival, yet! We also know that there is a ton of craft beer in the Fraser Valley that deserves to be celebrated, and there’s such a large local audience supporting the craft beer industry.”

The Clover Valley Beer Festival takes place from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM, with last entry at 4:00 PM. Grab your tickets early online now.

By Brittany Tiplady

In search of the perfect cuppa, coffee connoisseurs generally flock to the many Vancouver cafes pouring quality espresso. Outside the city though, you can find some hidden gems. Black Tiger Coffee Co. a new Cloverdale haunt, is offering the city cafe vibe in Surrey’s burgeoning subdivision. You may have heard of the place: Black Tiger has garnered some significant attention on Instagram, posting frequent photos of their mouth-watering-Voodoo-like donuts, frothy lattes, and decadent sandwiches.

Image courtesy of Black Tiger Coffee

“Black Tiger is a fun, relaxing, open atmosphere. This is a place for friends and young families in the neighbourhood to come, chat, and catch up,” says Black Tiger owner and operator Natasha Multani. “We have a lot of regulars coming in. We’ve been open only eight months and we’ve grown quite a bit since we [opened our doors] and I think we can still grow even more.”

Multani, a chiropractor by trade, fell in love with Vancouver’s prominent coffee and cafe scene after years of working in the city. “When I stopped working Vancouver, every time I would get together with friends or make plans with friends I would want to meet up at a coffee shop in Vancouver. Some of my favourites in the city are 49th Parallel, Revolver, Timbertrain, and Elysian, but I really felt like there was a void here.”

Black Tiger was one of the first businesses to open in the new and expanding Focal Point Complex located at 64th Ave and Fraser Highway. The space is bright, airy, and open; boasting high ceilings with wood harvest tables, a statement (faux) live wall, a comfortable lounge area, and bonus, a stunning view of Mount Baker. It’s the ideal spot for a studying student, a working professional, or a coffee date with friends.

“We pour 49th Parallel coffee because they’re local—they roast in Burnaby—and it’s fresh. If you order an espresso today, the latest that coffee was roasted would be last week,” says Multani. “We worked together with 49th and their coffee educators to show us how to get the perfect espresso shot.”

One of the avocado toast options | Image courtesy of Black Tiger Coffee

On the menu there’s truly something for everyone. Black Tiger’s signature donuts are baked fresh daily—the big mini donut is my personal favourite, but for the more adventurous Black Tiger’s fruit loop, cookie crumble peanut butter drizzle, and Smarties* crunch donuts could satisfy any sweet tooth. As for the savoury selection, Black Tiger offers an assortment of sandwiches (vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available!), and avocado toasts (of course), all served on the A Bread Affair’s scrumptious bread. Patrons can take advantage of Black Tiger’s five-dollar donut and Americano special, seasonal donut releases, house-made iced teas, and, of course, coffee in all its forms.

*Editor’s note to non-Canadians: In Canada, Smarties are a candy-coated chocolate candy. Those things our friends from the USA call “smarties” – we call them “Rockets.” Yes, really.

Black Tiger Coffee Co.
110-19255 Fraser Highway, Surrey
blacktigercoffee.com
Open Monday-Saturday 8am- 6pm, Sundays 9am – 5pm