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By Ashley Lockyer

The scent of toasted cashews wafts into the streets and ornate Persian silverwork adorns a shop brimming with baskets of colourful flavours. But, this isn’t a bazaar in the middle east, this is Coquitlam. Step inside Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts here or in several locations across Metro Vancouver to sample the roasting traditions and ambiance that embrace the shop’s origins in Iran.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-scoops

“In the middle east, there are nut stores on every corner, people are used to them. But here, we had to build a culture,” said Amir Hosseini, owner of Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-bins

Amir’s father, Ayoub himself, opened a small roasting store in Iran. The country is completely saturated with toasted nuts shops, so it’s a tough market to crack. Ayoub worked at crafting distinct recipes and mixes, and people went nuts! Soon, he had a million dollar business shipping all over the region.

Lucky for us, Ayoub brought his famous recipes with him when his family moved to Canada in 2004.
Lucky for us, Ayoub brought his famous recipes with him when his family moved to Canada in 2004.

Lime saffron, slightly salted, or lime and pepper: Ayoub’s nuts have won over crowds near and far. Why? Because of their obsession with flavour.

“We source products from where they grow best. If almonds are grown best in California, we bring those in. Our fruit, too. Indian mangos have the best flavour so that’s what we want customers to have,” says Amir.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-colours

Their dried fruits and vegetables are also the best the world has to offer. That’s why you’ll find apples, cherries, and some cranberries from BCs Okanagan Valley in store.

Ayoub’s doesn’t just give out samples — they highly recommend them. Since every batch is hand roasted, every day the taste is different. You might love one blend of cashews today, and another tomorrow and that’s OK. Try them all!

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-roaster
Each location has a chef. Like the store’s decor, roasting sticks to tradition using an “old school” machine.

Ayoub’s nuts are dry roasted in small batches to ensure a consistently delicious flavour.

“It’s like coffee roasting, we do small batches… they’re roasted daily in every store. It doesn’t get fresher than that,” says Amir.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-raw-cashews
Amir personally trains the chefs himself. Like cooking, toasting basics can be mastered in a few months but mastery takes years.

Amir shared his three considerations for getting roasting just right:

1. The heat. Toast the cashews as the machine heats up, and end with seeds when it’s at its hottest point
2. The rotation speed of the roaster to ensure they brown evenly.
3. The scent and colour of the nuts in the roaster, not their taste.

Nuts fresh from the roaster sounds like flavour perfection, but it isn’t actually a good indication of how they’ll taste once cooled. Chefs learn to recognize readiness by scent and sight, and leave sampling for later.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-shop

Once you’ve experienced roasted nuts this fresh, you may never go back.

Grocery store products can be months old. Their sourcing process from raw to roaster to distributer to store takes time. Ayoub’s nuts arrive fresh from the farmer at their facility, where they’re kept raw at the perfect temperature. Small boxes are sent out to each store and get toasted on site daily. It just doesn’t fresher than this.

Ayoub’s Coquitlam store chef rolls up fruit leather. If you’re looking to treat yourself or others, Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts also has seasonal and specialty products from the middle east.
Ayoub’s Coquitlam store chef rolls up the fruit leather. If you’re looking to treat yourself or others, Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts has many seasonal and specialty products from the Middle East.
Give or gift rose petal Turkish Delights, saffron cotton candy, and sweet, nutty Lebanese baklava.
Try rose petal Turkish Delights, saffron cotton candy, and sweet, nutty Lebanese baklava.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-chandelier

If their roasted almonds and pistachios don’t draw you in, the giant artistic goblet bins or dazzling chandeliers will.

coquitlam_food_ayoubs_nuts-basket

This shop is located in Coquitlam’s City Centre, within walking distance from Coquitlam Centre and from Lincoln Skytrain Station on the Evergreen Extension, and there are also locations across Metro Vancouver.

For locations in Coquitlam, Vancouver, Vancouver’s North Shore and Burnaby, check out www.ayoubs.ca.

By Brittany Tiplady

For the love of garlic! We’re so fortunate to live in a province that is abundant with beautiful fresh produce year round. Gear up for garlic month happening in August with this list of Metro Vancouver restaurants that have added some garlicky features to their menu, as well as a list of Farmer’s Markets so you can support local and grab your garlic to-go.

Richmond Garlic Festival

You won’t want to miss the 10th annual Richmond Garlic Festival happening August 19. Chefs from various restaurants in Richmond and Vancouver will be volunteering to present festival-goers with a grand selection of garlic-based eats including garlic ice cream. Of course the festival’s supporter, The Sharing Farm, will be selling their famous own-grown garlic as well.

Dates: Sunday, August 19
Time: 10 am- 3 pm; visit their website for more details!
Location: 2771 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC

Kulinarya Filipino Eatery

It’s never too early to get your garlic fix! Check out the new item on the Kulinarya menu: breakfast items featuring a garlic fried rice called a Silog.

Locations: 114 -2922 Glen Dr, Coquitlam or, 1134 Commercial Dr, Vancouver.

The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar

Dubbed as “Langley’s growing little secret” The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar is a lovable contemporary suburban restaurant serving locally sourced and ethically raised product as well as sustainable seafood. Currently on the menu is the fried cauliflower with confit garlic and preserved lemons dressing topped with crispy garlic.

Location: #4 20178 96th Ave, Langley

Fortitude

Chef Romy Prasad’s elegant Fort Langley haunt is producing beautiful, high quality plates with a focus on local produce. Don’t miss the vegetable risotto with asparagus, snow peas, confit peppers, carrots, lemon garlic and the option to add prawns or scallops.

Location: 190, 9220 Glover Road, Fort Langley

Blue Heron Creamery


For our vegan pals, this is for you! Blue Heron Creamery produces beautiful plant-based, cultured, aged “cheeses” that could fool any dairy-lover. Add some Blue Heron locally made vegan products, especially the to your next cheese board we guarantee you’ll be the favourite person at the dinner party. In light of garlic season, we recommend herb & garlic cumulus cheese.

Location: 2410 Main St., Vancouver, note that their store front is only open on Saturdays from 12 PM to 5 PM. You can also find Blue Heron Creamery products on the menu at Heirloom’s new West Vancouver Ambleside location.

Bao Down Gastropub + Raw Bar

It’s “Pacific Rim cuisine with Filipino flair.” If you find Bao’s abundant menu is overwhelming, we suggest ordering the Bao Chicka Bao Bao: garlic and lemongrass fried chicken, daikon, crisp garlic, fish sauce glaze, carrot, garlic scape mayo.

Location: 115 West 2nd, Vancouver

Gyoza Bar


Downtown Vancouver’s contemporary Japanese spot has released a new summer lunch menu that features some garlic goodness! Check out the delightful teppan bistro fillet steak: 50z of tender sliced steak, sous-vide egg, fragrant garlic rice, shiitake mushrooms, corn, and kimchi, finished with sweet soy reduction.

Location: 622 W Pender St, Vancouver

Burdock & Co


This beloved Main Street haunt, boasts a beautiful seasonal menu full of farm to table freshness. This season, check out the spring green risotto with watercress, pickled garlic scapes, peas, and pecorino, and/or the pizzichi farro pasta with dandelion, anchovy, preserved lemon and black garlic.

Location: 2702 Main St, Vancouver

If you’re wanting to experiment with garlic at home, head on over to the nearest farmer’s market to grab fresh, locally grown garlic and garlic scapes.
Here’s Vancouver’s local markets, but you can see more markets here.

Downtown Farmers Market
Thursdays at šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn Square (QET Plaza)

Riley Park
Saturdays at 30th Avenue & Ontario Street

Trout Lake
Saturdays at Lakewood Dr. & E 13th Ave.

West End
Saturdays at 1100 Comox St btw. Bute & Thurlow

Kitsilano
Sundays at the Kitsilano Community Centre

Mount Pleasant
Sundays at Dude Chilling Park

By Anna Black

The BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival is bringing a little bit of Scotland right to the heart of Coquitlam with a day full of food and festivities (including a whisky school!) planned at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, BC on Saturday, June 16th, 2018.

The Games continue a tradition started in the Scottish “old country” that was a customary part of life in the highlands. Historically, the core of the games included tossing the caber, putting the stone, throwing the hammer, bagpipe competitions, and Highland dancing. Competitions were held to determine who could best represent various Scottish clans or work for the chief or chieftain. As the economy changed in Scotland, the tradition was brought by Scottish settlers to the Vancouver area where it has continued for over one hundred and fifty years.

Although the competitive nature of the games still very much has a presence, there are also a host of other activities to enjoy at the festival, and lots to eat and drink.

You’ve seen the words “malt” and “blend” on the bottles, and perhaps you have pondered over whether to buy a whisky aged 12 years, or one aged over 40. And what is the difference between a Scottish whisky and an Irish whiskey anyways? Enroll in a class at the Highland Games whisky school to taste your way to whisky expertise.

Phat Dawgs hot dogs | Photo courtesy of Tin Lizzy Concessions

Of course will be no shortage of amazing food to sample during the festival – hearty food fit for those who are tossing cabers, hurling stones, and even for kids on the hunt for haggis . Food trucks serving up a buffet of cuisines will be on site offering everything from gourmet mac n’ cheese and tube steaks to mouthwatering bacon sandwiches, square sausages, traditional fish and chips (and poutine!) and be sure to try a piece (or 3) of traditional melt-in-your-mouth Scottish shortbread. There will also be British delicacies a plenty, with the British Store offering up a bevy of traditional offerings from lemon jelly and Devon custard to porridge oats, Turkish Delights, and more.

When you need to escape the action, and give your stomach a chance to digest, there are a variety of tents dedicated to the cultural aspects of Scotland and the Scots in BC. There are also demonstration tents where you can explore Robert Burns, kilt making, cultural fusion in the Pacific Northwest or the Gaelic language and song.

The Games opens on Friday, June 15th with an Open Piobaireachd (piping competition) at 5 PM in the TD Community Plaza at Lafarge Lake Park.  Join the pipers afterwards at the Kick Off Ceilidh Beer Garden at Percy Perry Stadium until 9:30pm.

For a complete schedule of events on Games Day (June 16th), please click here.

Getting There

Getting to the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival in Coquitlam has never been easier. Perry Percy Stadium is located just steps away from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station on the new Translink Evergreen Line, making taking transit to and from the festival a breeze. There will also be ample parking with parking available both on-site at Town Centre Park as well as at nearby Douglas College with free shuttle transportation to the festival gate between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm on June 16th. Please note the shuttle is not suitable for children under 5.

Ticket Information

Tickets will be available on-site during the festival, payable by cash or credit card only. Please click here event day pricing. Children under six are free.

On Saturday, June 16th, come experience a little taste of Scottish history for yourself, complete with the traditions and competitive spirit that have made the games popular for hundreds of years (and counting!), not to mention plenty of yummy multi-cultural cuisine.

BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Percy Perry Stadium
Town Centre Park
1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC

By Kristi Alexandra
& Mary Ann Bell

With indie breweries becoming almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks’ in Vancouver, you’d have to be wearing blinders to miss a brewpub or tasting room on any given block between Boundary Road and Kits Beach. But Vancouver’s not the only city under the influence, as the craft brewing boom has reached through Burnaby to the Valley, taking root in the communities in between.

This year, brews from outlying towns are making a splash at the ninth annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week, running from May 25 to June 5.

Once again this year, it seems communities outside the big city are unofficially on show. The week-long fete’s feature collaboration beer is a shared effort between three breweries found along the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway: North Vancouver’s Beere Brewing, Backcountry Brewing in Squamish and Whistler’s Coast Mountain Brewing.

In keeping with craft beer trends, this year’s VCBW signature beer is a Double Dry Hopped Pilsner. With 7% alcohol and copious amounts of Citra, Mosaic, Vic Secret and Enigma hops this beer is clean and soft, with a “powerful melange of fruit and dankness.”

Sea to Sky Country is just one area outside Vancouver that’s flourishing in beer flow — there’s a whole bevy of brewers that’ll keep you sipping during this seven-day soiree.

Trading Post – Langley

Perhaps an allusion to Fort Langley’s historic trade hub, Trading Post Brewing is all about celebrating community. “It is over a glass of that very creation, a labour of our love, where friendships deepen, family ties strengthen and community unites,” they say.

Beers they’re hawking: Dear James S.M.A.S.H Saison – a single malt, single hop saison with notes of fruit and spice; Hoppy Birthday Bock – inspired by the first beer they ever brewed, the Hop Session Lager, they’ve upped the hops and ABV on this classic style to crate a smooth, easy-drinking Northwest Bock; Raspberry Wheat Ale – sweet, strong and juicy making it seriously crushable during the summer months.

Trading Post beer | Image by Ashley Lockyer

Steel & Oak Brewing Co. – New Westminster

Steel & Oak Brewing Co. is nestled under a passenger bridge near steel and wood train tracks, the most unassuming of places, but one aligned with their brand. “Materials of strength and durability, steel and oak; house, protect and nurture what we stand for most – exceptional tasting craft beer,” as they put it.

Beers they’re hawking: Coorinna – Tasmanian pepper berries and a collection of New Zealand hop varietals create a crisp and dry, oceanic inspired saison with a touch of spice; Simple Things  – crisp, clean, with notes of honey, graham cracker, biscuit and a refreshing and lengthy bitterness; Weekend Plans Sour – light, tart and refreshing, just like you’d want your weekend plans to be. And for 2018 they added passionfruit to one batch and peach to the other … weekend plans two ways.

Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Richmond

With a motto like “Keeping Beer Weird”, it’s no wonder that the brewers at Fuggles & Warlock like to push traditional styles of beer to the limit, but adding a West Coast flair to each batch.

Beers they’re hawking: Destiny IPA – a light, easy-going malt profile with hop aromas of mandarin oranges, grapefruit and passionfruit that launch your taste buds into the cosmos; Gin & Lime Pilsner – a crisp, refreshing pilsner brewed with fresh limes and infused with Unruly Gin from Wayward Distillation House; Kiwami Plum Sour – a delicately tart wheat kettle sour brewed with fresh plums.

Red Racer – Surrey

Central City Brewers started out with a single silo in a brewpub and they’ve now “tapped-out” beyond their craft beer limits. Known best by their signature Red Racer beers, the brand has also come to distill high-end spirits as well as break records in beer production. “We approach our spiritual side with the same care and honour as we do with our beer” — or so their mantra goes.

Beers they’re hawking: Red Racer IPA – an iintense aroma and a long lingering finish. A beer for the connoisseur, this is the brewmaster’s choice; Red Racer Pilsner – This light and golden Pilsner has a distinct hop aroma and flavour with a dry, crisp finish; Ruby Sunset Across the Nation – Created in collaboration with Fuggles & Warlock for their Across the Nation Collaboration pack, Ruby Sunset is a delicious sour ale using pomegranate juice that is reminiscent of a west-coast summer sunset.

Mariner Brewing – Coquitlam

Mariner Brewing, Coquitlam’s first craft brewery, is driven by a desire to explore territory unknown and push the boundaries of craft beer. Instead of specializing in one or two styles, they love a lot of different types and want to offer it all … done well, of course. Look for beers ranging from eclectic to classic by merging tradition and new-school style.

Beers they’re hawking: Northeast IPA – lush malt and vibrant yeast temper the intense tropical fruit flavour making for an seriously quaffable beer; Tropical Stout – brewed for summer, this tropical stout is full of rich roasted malt, toasted coconut and blonde roast espresso from Coquitlam’s Creekside Coffee; Venture Blueberry – a sour ale brewed with 1000 pounds of local blueberries, lactose and an aromatic extract of mosaic hops that’s fruity, tart and delicious.

Deep Cove Brewers – Vancouver’s North Shore

This North Vancouver based brewery places an emphasis on providing uniquely distinctive craft beer flavour profiles using only sustainable Canadian ingredients. They provide an array of unconventional pairings that yield seamless, well-balanced beers while paying homage to the creative history of the industry.

What they’re hawking: Method – a dry-hopped pale ale that is being fine-tuned through multiple batches that has a  soft and full mouth feel from a healthy dose of oats; Sentinel –an IPA that boasts big, fragrant hop character with a balancing sweetness; Watershed Witbier – pairs the refreshing flavours of a Belgian-style witbier with the lemon-mandarin profile of the Yuzu fruit.

 

 

by Catherine Dunwoody

Friday March 23rd kicks off this annual Francophone festival and you don’t want to miss out. Musical artists, family cultural activities and of course fabulous food bring the big heated tents at Mackin Park in Maillardville, Coquitlam to life.

Festival du Bois is the largest festival of its kind in BC, bringing a little bit of Québécois culture to the west coast. Friday’s kick off includes the first-ever Friday Night Contra Dance, featuring live music from The Sybaritic String Band, Vancouver’s premier contradance band. What’s that exactly? Contra dancing is social dancing done in lines of couples to live traditional music. There’s a dance caller who teaches easy “figures” on the spot, like in square dancing, and prompts you during the dance. Fun!

Traditional poutine at the festival | Image courtesy of the Festival du Bois

But since we are all about the food here at WestCoastFood, we are super stoked about the booth at the festival where they sell cuisine traditionnelle. Try the pea soup, or go whole hog with the lumberjack plate, complete with traditional tourtière, pork and beans, coleslaw, bread and pate. Sweet tooth? Tuck into a slice of sugar pie, a favourite Quebecois dessert or stop at the André Beauregard Sugar Shack for maple taffy on snow.

Grab some tickets to the pancake and maple syrup breakfast Sunday at 10am for $7 adults, $3 children – but do note that this doesn’t include admission to the festival site itself.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, musical groups include Le Vent du Nord, Bon Débarras, Les Chauffeurs à pieds, Mazacote, Gabriel Dubreuil, Jacky Essombe, Blackthorn, Podorythmie, Alouest, Boris Sichon, André Thériault, Alphonse et Lola and Vazzy.

Get schooled on Maillardville’s history at the “post office”, shop at the artisan kiosks carrying all kinds of crafts, and plan to stop at at C’est si Bon, a local food truck serving brioche sliders served with their famous pommes dauphines, crêpes, beef bourguignon, and pastries.

Maple Taffy | Image courtesy of the Festival du Bois

To fully embrace the spirit of the festival be sure to wear your plaid to honour the lumberjack heritage of the community and celebrate its French-Canadian pioneering history. And while you look the part, why not try your hand at axe throwing with the Axewood Crew, a fully mobile axe throwing experience?

In addition to the grand chapiteau (main stage – big tent) where the music will rock you day and night, pop by the children’s tent (petit chapiteau) in the zone jeunesse (youth zone), and the workshop tent (tente de ateliers), plus the folk jam tent where you get to play along, the improv tent, and pioneers tent.

Francophone family fun!

For tickets and information visit www.festivaldubois.ca.

By Catherine Dunwoody

If being elbow-deep in the freshest, tastiest seafood around is your kind of feast, then The Captain’s Boil is your new go-to eatery. And with so many options of flavor, spice, and sides, it’s a crowd-pleaser for everyone in the family.

With numerous west coast locations, including Richmond, Coquitlam, Vancouver’s North Shore (coming soon), and Vancouver, this Canadian chain restaurant offers a classic Cajun-inspired seafood boil that you customize to suit your tastes perfectly.

 The Captain's Boil Lobster
Image Courtesy of The Captain’s Boil

Start with choosing from a variety of freshly caught fish and shellfish, then add sides and sauces from a lengthy menu of options. You’ll be given a plastic bib and gloves to protect your clothes and hands from the delicious mess, and you wont find cutlery on the table either. Shellfish crackers are provided and the fun begins.

Try the Cajun crawfish with a side of okra, or the king crab legs with lotus root, or lobster with corn on the cob. Select your sauce, from mild to smokin’ hot, from lemon pepper to garlic. You get the idea. Mix it up, share with your tablemates, and get set for perhaps the most fun you’ve ever had at a meal.

Eat in, or take the feast to your dining room table.

For locations and hours, visit:

The Captain’s Boil
thecaptainsboil.com

By Mary Ann Bell

Cupcakes are little hand-held delights of the baking world. They’re just enough to feel like you’re enjoying a decadent treat, but not so much that you feel like you’ve eaten the entire cake. With as many variations as you can dream up, they come in simple as well as unique flavours, and are topped with everything from frosting and sprinkles to bacon and pickles.

Every February, animal rescue organizations including the BCSPCA are holding their annual National Cupcake Day* to raise money for animals, and what better way to get into the spirit than with a cupcake party?

Bake your own or visit one of these Metro Vancouver bakeshops:

Pink Ribbon Bakery
103-306 6th Street, New Westminster

This funky little shop is New West’s go-to spot for cakes and cupcakes.  With their newly introduced “flavour of the week” cupcakes like Mountain Dew x Doritos, Nanaimo Bar or Dill Pickle, in addition to their more traditional flavours, you’re guaranteed a flavour explosion.

Image courtesy of Pink Ribbon Bakery

Butter Lane Bakeshop & Tea House
6607 Royal Avenue, Vancouver’s North Shore

This cozy, mother-daughter-owned bakeshop & teahouse in Horseshoe Bay has a vanilla cupcake with vanilla bean frosting that will change the way you feel about a “plain” vanilla cupcake.  Perfect for settling in for a quiet afternoon with your cupcake and a pot of tea.

Image courtesy of Butter Lane Bakeshop & Tea House

Cassia Bakeshop
1706 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Self-proclaimed cupcake lovers, the folks at Cassia Bakeshop know their way around a cupcake. Originally a cupcakery, specializing in all things cupcake (including gluten-free and vegan), Cassia recently expanded to offer cakes, croissants, cookies and a tasty lunch menu, but cupcakes remain their first love.

Image courtesy of Cassia Bakeshop

Happy Cakes
101-18640 Fraser Highway, Surrey

Is there any dessert happier than a cupcake? The folks at Happy Cakes don’t think so, hence the name of the shop. Choose from filled cupcakes like Caramelicious which is a vanilla cupcake with caramel filling, caramel buttercream and topped with toffee pieces. For a more traditional un-filled cupcake, try their chocolate cupcake topped with their signature blue frosting and sprinkles. At least fifteen different cupcake flavours are offered daily.

Image courtesy of Happy Cakes

Frosting Cupcakery
20411 Fraser Highway, Langley

Sky-high frosting and mouthwatering flavours are Frosting Cupcakery’s cupcake trademarks. Flavours change daily and seasonal cupcakes like the 100% Canadian Cupcake (all things maple) or the Blueberry Bliss make limited seasonal appearances.  Gluten-free cupcakes are also available every day.

Image courtesy of Frosting Cupcakery

The Clever Cupcakes
109 – 2985 Northern Avenue, Coquitlam

Creating an all-natural cupcake with no artificial flavours or colouring, without compromising taste or looks, is the goal of the team at The Clever Cupcakes.  And they definitely deliver.  Baked daily in a nut-free facility, they offer feature flavours such as raspberry or banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Gluten-free cupcakes are also available, in addition to a wide variety of flavours and sizes. Giant cupcake anyone?

Image courtesy of The Clever Cupcakes

Prefer to make your own? Try the Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout Cupcakes recipe from Old Yale Brewing Company.

 

*National Cupcake Day™ is a coordinated Canadian event to support local shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies. In 2017, animal lovers across Canada raised over $600,000 in support of their favourite societies. The campaign has raised $2.45 million to date!

By Catherine Dunwoody

It’s February – have you made your Valentine’s Day reservations yet? Celebrate your most beloved loved one with a special evening for two at one of these restaurants across Metro Vancouver. Champagne optional (but not really – bubbly is pretty much essential).

My Shanti

Surrey

Considered to be one of the best restaurants for Indian cuisine in the lower mainland, this Vij’s owned eatery has an exotic, dreamy vibe that is sure to set hearts aflame. Plus, spicy food helps.

Interior of My Shanti in Surrey
Interior of My Shanti in Surrey | Image Courtesy of My Shanti

Wild Rice

New Westminster, in River Market

Order the share table for two, $60, with $5 from every meal donated to Ocean Wise. Nibble on sautéed prawns, organic Angus beef carpaccio, seared sablefish and more. A sexy sharesie meal indeed.

Share table at Wild Rice
Share table at Wild Rice | Image courtesy of Wild Rice

Horizons

Burnaby
The view is absolutely spectacular in the gardens of Burnaby Mountain Park. Book soon to reserve a table early in the evening before sunset.

Globe@YVR

Richmond

Their interactive pop-up chocolate bar, $40, includes a hand-rolled truffle station, house-made cakes and candies, and even a liquid nitrogen sundae station. Live music and a special cocktail list will make it a fabulous night out.

Globe@YVR | Image courtesy of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport

H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore

Vancouver

For $120 per couple, indulge in multi courses including local oysters with caviar, aburi sashimi, beef wellington and dark chocolate fondue. Additional wine pairings are $55 extra and they are so worth it.

Image courtesy of H Tasting Lounge

The Lobby Restaurant at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier

North Shore

Special for Valentine’s Day, The Lobby Restaurant is offering a five-course dinner, $69 per person, that includes delicious choices like lobster bisque, duck confit, panna cotta and more.

The Fat Cow

Langley

Try a 4 course aphrodisiac dinner for $69 per guest, that includes raw oysters to start (naturally), plus choices of mains including pan roasted salmon and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

The Fat Cow
Image courtesy of The Fat Cow

Carnivores Rio Brazil Steakhouse

Coquitlam

Why not make your V-Day a carnivore carnival? Meat lovers can share a Rio-style meal with a great glass of red. Who says bubbly and oysters are for everyone, anyways?

Carnivores Rio Brazil Steakhouse
Image Courtesy of Carnivores Rio Brazil Steakhouse

By Brittany Tiplady

Beer can be romanticized in so many ways but the great Charles Bukowski nailed it: “stay with the beer,” he penned “beer is continuous blood. A continuous lover.” The holidays have come and gone, but Metro Vancouver’s mild winter weather is here to stay, at least for a few months. Curl up with these seasonal winter brews found in Surrey, White Rock and Coquitlam.

Russell Brewing Company

13018 80 Ave, Surrey

Winter Stout, 6.5%

The name says it all. Available now in 650ml at private liquor stores, Russell Brewing’s Winter Stout is chock-full of chocolate and black malts and roasted barley.

Black Death Porter, 6.5%

Buckle up for this one! The Black Death Porter, part of Russell Brewing’s Brewmaster Seasonal Series, is a heavy porter brewed with Canadian and Scottish malted barley. Find it on tap or on the shelves at private liquor stores but buyer beware: Russell warns that the Black Death Porter may result in some quirky behaviour.

 

 

Central City Brewers and Distillers

11411 Bridgeview Dr, Surrey

Thor’s Hammer-Limited Release, 11.5%

If barley wine is your palate pleaser, try the award-winning Thor’s Hammer -aptly depicted as a big flavoured and big bodied winter sipper. Crafted from fine barley malt, boasting deep and rich notes of dried fruit, plum and candy with a walnut finish. Find it on draught or in 650ml bottles.

 

White Rock Brewing

#13 – 3033 King George Blvd. Surrey

White Rock Mountain Ale, 5%

White Rock Brewing is an under-the-radar nano brewery that’s passionate about pouring fresh, chemical-free beer brewed onsite. Keeping it hyper-local, White Rock Brewing gets their hops from Chilliwack Hop Farms. Seasonals rotate every week, but we encourage you to head down quick and give the Mountain Ale a try-molasses, roasted barley grain, golding hops and a mild English finish.

Mariner Brewing

H-1100 Lansdowne Drive, Coquitlam

Night Sky Mocha Stout, 4.85%

It’s no secret that we are big fans of Mariner Brewing over here and we encourage you to pop into their sleek tasting room for a fresh, unique, and quality pint any time of year. This winter season, head into Mariner for the Night Sky Mocha Stout-a bold flavoured stout brewed with Creekside Coffee Factory coffee. Try this one in cans, on draught, or take a growler home with you!

 

 

 

 

 

Want more winter craft beer? Check out the seasonal winter beer in Vancouver’s North Shore, Vancouver, and New Westminster & Richmond.

By Brittany Tiplady

‘Tis the season for ubiquitous social media photos, Instagram stories, and Snapchats of holiday parties, outings, and events. Amongst the many options to get into the festive spirit in Metro Vancouver is the Lights at Lafarge.

Conveniently located only 140 metres from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Evergreen line station, the Lights at Lafarge the largest free outdoor lights display in the lower mainland. Free, being the operative word. Enjoy the display after dusk while going for a light stroll around the LaFarge Lake-a suitable and lovely outing for families, couples, and dog owners.

Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

As we enter the winter months, and temperatures drop, warming up after your walk through the Lights at Lafarge is essential. Browse through this selection of restaurants, cafes, and watering holes nearby.

Pappa Roti
Unit 100 – 1196 Pinetree Way
If you haven’t given these fluffy, decadent, Malaysian style buns a chance-now is the time! Warm up with a coffee, and a treat in Pappa Roti’s cozy, and comforting cafe atmosphere.

Open seven days a week.

Tacoreano
100-2970 Glen Drive
You can literally never have too many tacos. Pop in to Metro Vancouver’s original Asian fusion taco restaurant, a quick three-minute drive from the Lights at Lafarge. Recommended: The tofu 7” taco: Korean spiced fried tofu, cabbage, guacamole, pickled daikon. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Mariner Brewing
H-1100 Landsdowne Drive
Well worth the drive is Coquitlam’s first and only craft brewery, Mariner Brewing. This nautical themed tasting room is a sweet spot to grab a quality brew, gourmet hotdog, or hot spinach dip after a jaunt around LaFarge Lake. Highly recommended: Order the Northeast IPA, a tropical, juicy IPA with a bold (and not too bitter!) finish. Food is served Wednesday-Sunday.

Check out our feature on Mariner Brewing here.

Image courtesy of Mariner Brewing

La Ruota
1168 The High Street
Walk, no, run, only 20 minutes to La Ruota’s artisan, hand-crafted, Neopolitan style pizzas. Open seven days a week, you can order a La Ruota pie to-go ahead of time and enjoy at home. Recommended: The Capicola a divine marriage of mozzarella, fior di latte, grana padano, capicolla, and mushroom.

NULIFE Living Food Cafe
2957 Glen Dr
Healthy, nourishing, local food, only 900 metres away. Book a table or simply pop in for an organic specialty coffee-NULIFE’s veggie forward menu is truly food for the soul. Open until 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and until 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

Craving something onsite? The Lights at Lafarge concession stand is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Stop by for the classic concession treats and favourites.

By Catherine Dunwoody

“I used to work for an investment firm for 15-plus years,” says Rose Samaniego, co-owner of Coquitlam’s Kulinarya Filipino Eatery. She decided to take the leap and open Kulinarya while still also working her full-time job.

Fast forward from 2009 to today, and Rose clearly feels she made the right decision to leave her day job and focus on this busy restaurant, including plans to open a second location on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

Image courtesy of Kulinarya

Rose is passionate about bringing authentic Filipino cuisine to BC, and guides her chef Joemel Gracilla to keep it real when it comes to the dishes served. So much so, that Kulinarya was given honourable mention for Best Southeast Asian restaurant in the 2013 Vancouver Magazine awards.

For those not familiar with Filipino food, think Asian with a strong Spanish influence. Signature dishes? Kaldereta (beef and potato in a spicy tomato sauce), crispy pata (Deep fried pork leg) and kare kare (beef, tripe, and vegetables in peanut sauce) are menu items to watch for.

“We also started kamayan (eaten with your hands) where people eat from banana leaves with their hands, no utensils,” Rose says.

Image courtesy of Kulinarya

Will the new second location on Commercial Drive offer the same menu? “It will be slightly different with more vegetarian choices and some new Spanish dishes inspired by our recent visit to Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.”

Kulinarya Filipino
2922 Glen Drive, Unit 114
Coquitlam, BC
kulinarya.ca

By Brittany Tiplady

It’s risky to open a craft brewery in such a saturated local market. With tasting rooms lining the streets of Vancouver, and Port Moody’s beloved Brewery Row, how does one launch a new craft brewery that we haven’t already seen, and sipped, so many times before?

Mariner Brewing found the recipe to do just that.

26-year-old Byron Vallis brought his love of craft beer to his hometown of Coquitlam, just a few blocks from his childhood home. The vision he and his team shared was to bring a unique element to the craft beer scene in the untapped market of Coquitlam, so that folks like him (and girlfriend Lauren Ang, Chief Consumption Officer of Mariner Brewing,) could enjoy doing what they love most, right at home.

Mariner Brewing opened their chic and nautical-themed tasting room on August 30th 2017 with four brews on tap, and has been busy serving local customers ever since. And, in offering an eclectic selection of gourmet hot dogs (Vietnamese, perogy, donair, and the classic dog), they don’t let their patrons go hungry. If you’re not a hot dog fan, chow down on the spinach dip – it promises to be like none other.

The current lineup of Mariner beers may seem ordinary to the untrained eye, but that is the farthest from the truth. The Northeast IPA is a delight for the senses: tropical, robust, and hoppy but without the notorious IPA bitter aftertaste. The Cream Ale is deceptively golden and pale, paying homage to a traditional lager, but met with a truly creamy finish. The Amber Ale and Sour Weisse also do not disappoint: boasting flavours that could appeal to all beer-drinking palates and preferences.

Adorning the main wall reads a poignant quote: “Set no path, never be lost.”  WestCoastFood sat down with Vallis and Ang to learn more about the newborn brewery and what they have to offer.

WestCoastFood: You are so new! How has your opening been going so far?

Byron Vallis: Good, it’s been going really well. We’ve been really busy for the most part and had lots of people coming through the tasting room. We also have two of our beers in cans and we are being served in a bunch of bars and restaurants.

WCF: Who is your brewmaster?

Vallis: Kevin Wilson is our brewmaster. He was formerly the head brewer at Russell Brewing Co, and we are so lucky to have him here.

WCF: Why did you choose to open in Coquitlam?

I grew in Coquitlam, just up Mariner Hill, and this has always been my neighbourhood.

I was looking at my home brew equipment and really thinking about what it takes to make good beer, and around that time Coquitlam city council was just starting to debate a bylaw amendment that would allow craft breweries, because before that there wasn’t any in the city. So I started looking at the area, and thinking about how my friends and I are going to Vancouver, or Brewery Row, every weekend and it was obvious that there was a loophole in the market.

The community response has been great! People have been so excited after getting familiar with the breweries in Port Moody that they finally have one in their own area.

WCF: The design concept is gorgeous. Who did you work with?

Vallis: Glasfurd & Walker – they did the signage, and all of the merchandise and cans. We spent a lot of time working on the cans, and we are so happy with them.

When we were figuring out names, Mariner was on the list because of Mariner Way here in Coquitlam. But we started looking into what exactly a Mariner is, and what would that name mean if we picked that. The name resonated a lot with what we want to do with the brewery. A Mariner is someone who navigates the ship, and explores new areas in uncharted territory and that’s what craft beer is all about for a lot of people. It comes across in a lot of the beer styles we have done, for example, the cream ale, there are only two others in B.C. right now and we wanted at least one of the beers on our lineup to be something unique. 

WCF: The food looks awesome! Let’s talk more about your menu.

The kitchen is an in-house prep-style kitchen. We keep things simple, and there are a lot of good restaurants in the area so we didn’t want to be another pub. For our food lineup, our focus is on the gourmet hot dogs. We are really stoked on them! We have gotten a lot of positive feedback.  We worked with [Taryn Wa] of The Savoury Chef to build our menu concept and put together the recipes which was fantastic.

The Beers

Northeast IPA, available on tap and in cans

ABV: 7.5 FG: 1.014
IBU: 67 SRM: 7

“This is by far the most popular beer we have. Northeast IPA’s are also something just catching on, as new IPA’s are coming out, and this is something that really drives our business development. It’s really hazy, and blasted with hops. There are about 10-20 times more hops than usual, so this beer has a really nice tropical fruit aroma. It’s dry-hopped twice and you also get a lot of hops towards the end of the boil of the beer. It’s fairly strong, at about 7.5% – it’s a northeast style, so a bit less better and a smoother finish with more focus on the aroma.”

Image courtesy of Mariner Brewing

Sour Weisse, available on tap and in cans soon

ABV: 4.5 FG: 1.009
IBU: 5 SRM: 4

“It’s a traditional berliner weisse style. Definitely tarte, but too overpowering. Being in Coquitlam, and introducing our first set of beers we wanted something that was fairly approachable but still unique in flavour and style.

Cream Ale, available on tap and in cans

ABV: 4.8 FG: 1.01
IBU: 12 SRM: 3

“Second most popular beer. It’s based on an ale but modelled after a lager. It’s quite light and refreshing, aged gold for about a month, same as a lager, to make it really crisp. We use a variety of hops to create a snappy flavour. “

Amber ale, available on tap and in cans soon

ABV: 5.1 FG: 1.01
IBU: 30 SRM: 12

“It’s our malt-forward beer. We use multi-Canadian malt, and some German specialty malt to get the caramel flavour and colour.”

Mariner Brewing
H-1100 Lansdowne Drive
Coquitlam, BC V3B 5E2
marinerbrewing.ca

There’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker on Canada’s West Coast. The region is undergoing a craft brewing renaissance and it seems that there is a new craft brewery popping up every week.

Let WestCoastFood and our transportation partner, Burnaby Tours, be your host as we guide you to some of the best craft breweries in the region.

Enjoy an in-depth look at the art of beer making with a behind-the-scenes tour at one of the breweries, and get a full sampling of the breweries’ finest beers. (If you left beer fans at home, be sure to pick up a growler or two!)

On this tour, you’ll visit:  

Mariner Brewing, Coquitlam

One of the new kids on the block, Mariner Brewing opened recently to much fanfare. Beer enthusiasts can expect their first offerings to include a sour weisse, a dry-hopped cream ale and a Northeastern IPA, which is billed as less-bitter than a traditional IPA.

Dageraad Brewing, Burnaby

Dageraad Brewing is named after the Dageraadplaats, a neighbourhood square on the east side of Antwerp, Belgium and in keeping true to their name they brew only Belgian style beers, like the Burnabarian, a Belgian session ale, brewed with oats and lightly spiced with coriander.

Steel & Oak, New Westminster

This brewery in Western Canada’s oldest city uses a mix of North American, English and German brewing styles, techniques and ingredients. Try the Royal City Pale Ale, the Roggen-weizen, Red Pilsner, Dry Hopped IPA or their made-to-order Radler.

BOOK HERE

Your ticket includes transportation, a brewery tour, 3 flights or pints of beer (1 at each brewery), and gratuities for the brewery staff. Price does not include tax (5% gst), driver/guide gratuity, or food and additional liquor purchases.

Must be 19 years of age to partake.

If you are interested in booking a group of 10 or more and would like to customize your own Craft Brewery Tour, please contact Burnaby Tours for alternate breweries and pricing.

Header image by Jackie Dives

By BC Association of Farmers Markets

The BC growing season is in full swing, and you can experience the palette of summer with a trip to some of the 145+ BC farmers’ markets. Whether you’re headed here on a weekend with family or friends, or taking the summer to explore Canada’s West Coast, here’s everything you need to build a farmers’ market visit into your summer travels across the province.

Nat Bailey Stadium Farmers’ Market in Vancouver

Step 1: Know your BC farmers’ markets

With over 145 BC farmers’ markets across the province, you’re sure to discover more than a few that you’ll love to return to year after year. This helpful BC Farmers’ Market Finder tool will help you make the tough choices (popsicles in White Rock, or honey in Richmond?) and you might be surprised to see how easy it is to access more than one farmers’ market closer to home. Here’s a tip: BC farmers’ markets are a smart place to stock up on the freshest summer ingredients. Not only is the food fresh and local, you can get great advice from the farmers who grew it! Ask for tips on produce varieties, preparation, storage, preserving, and recipes.

Step 2: Bring your appetite

High summer is prime time for taste, no matter which region you visit in BC. Nectarines, plums and peaches are all must-buys at farmers’ markets from the Vancouver area to the Thompson-Okanagan, and cherry fans can sample their fill fresh from the Kootenay/Rockies. If you’re looking for blueberries, head to Langley, Richmond, and the Fraser Valley – farmers from Richmond to Agassiz supply 97% of Canada’s highbush blueberries. On Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, look for wild crafted delicacies like seaweed and blackberries, along with delicious cheeses from the Cowichan Valley. And if you need a reminder that farmers’ markets are a perfect place to find locally produced baked goods and handmade treasures, check out the farmers’ markets even further north – Prince George’s award-winning year-round farmers’ market features outstanding baked goods and locally roasted coffee, while markets throughout the Cariboo/Chilcotin area offer locally sourced pasture-raised meat…including interesting products like llama!

Step 3: Put your money where your heart is

BC farmers’ markets are tasty and fun, but they also play a vital role in the local economy. Did you know that for the first time in 20 years, the number of farmers aged 35 and younger in BC is on the rise? But expensive land, and high start-up costs can be challenging for new farmers starting out – choosing to shop at BC farmers’ markets is one way to help these new farmers grow (and keep all farmers productive!) The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets runs the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program , which helps increase access to fresh, local food for lower income families and seniors in BC.

Step 4: Take your time

BC farmers’ markets are the ideal place to connect with “slow food”: investing in local crops and taking the time to prepare food carefully. But while the approach is slow, the market isn’t. It’s no surprise that farmers’ markets are a hive of activity: on any given visit you might find live music, chef demos, family activities, new trends like wild harvested food and products, and artisanal food producers. With more evening farmers’ markets popping up across the province, you can enjoy exploring new foods under the stars.

Ready to tour BC farmers’ markets? Take your camera along for the ride and enter the BC Farmers’ Market Road Trip Contest: just share a photo of your farmers’ market adventures with the hashtag #BCFarmersMarketRoadtrip for a chance to win one of five weekly prize draws for a $50 BC farmers’ market shopping trip! This contest runs from July 17 to August 18, 2017. Follow BC Farmers’ Markets on Facebook and Instagram for details.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Sure. We have salmon, spot prawns and Dungeness crab aplenty here on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean we don’t crave fresh lobster every summer as well, like our neighbours out east who get to feast on it regularly.

Loving fresh lobster is easy right now on Canada’s west coast. Here’s a hot list of restaurants serving it up in a variety of ways. Lobster. The love is real, people. 

Vancouver

Lobster Fest is an annual thing at Provence Marinaside, returning every July and on now ‘til month end. Executive Chef Jean-Francis Quaglia created a three-course menu for a sweet deal at $62 with optional wine pairings for an additional charge. Choices of starters like lobster salad with fresh peas and puree or classic lobster Thermidor whet your palate for even more, with main options offered x3. The whole Atlantic lobster done Provençal style is ridiculously delish finished with a splash of brandy. They add the freshest prettiest summer vegetables, making your platter as pretty as a picture. Dessert? A simple shortcake or sorbet sends you on your way home afterward happy as a clam. Book a table pronto, time’s a tickin’.

Surrey: Crescent Beach

We love this charming eatery and it’s no surprise they keep the lobster love year ‘round by offering lobster ravioli on their regular menu. The Cabin serves this signature stuffed pasta dish with an apple brandy cream sauce, topped with asparagus and juicy prawns.

Surrey

How about an Asian take on lobster? Neptune Seafood Restaurant does dumplings like nobody’s business, and their lobster dumplings are exceptional. Or, go for the fried rice noodle dish with lobster in soy sauce.

Is lobster considered lucky? Well, we think so considering the The Diamond Buffet at Elements Casino is offering an endless Lobster Tail and Prime Rib Buffet on July 17 & 31st.

If you have ever had a lobster roll, you know they’re easy to find on the east coast, but here? Not so much. S + L offers theirs for a mere $5 each, and served an upscale but still classic way on a soft buttery roll with lemon aioli, and pickled red onions. Lobster chowder also is a get-it-while-it’s-hot addition.

Coquitlam

We can always count on The Keg to never let us down when it comes to their summer lobster menu. For a limited time get yourself in for a feast, starting with lobster gratinee, and a choice of mains that include a whole 2 lb lobster, and a steak and lobster medallion which is code for bacon-wrapped lobster. Yep, you read that right. Are you the sharesie type? Lobster-stuffed yorkies sound fun too. 

White Rock

Lobster is making a short but delicious appearance over the summer at Onyx Steak & Seafood Bar. Try the Nova Scotia lobster cobb salad, lobster stuffed wild salmon, garlic steamed lobster tail or truffle lobster mac and cheese. Sigh….

FIVE serves their lobster old-school, with a live saltwater tank so you know yours is super fresh.

The Boathouse is a go-to for fresh fish all over the lower mainland with numerous locations. Their summer Atlantic lobster tail dinner is oven roasted and with hot drawn butter, wild rice, and seasonal veg. Yes please.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Bingsoo Korean shaved ice dessert may make you forget about traditional ice cream forever.

Ricecake bingsoo | Image provided by Snowy Village Canada

Also known as patbingsu or bingsu, this treat traditionally uses water as its icy main ingredient, however Snowy Village Canada uses 100% Canadian milk which is frozen and shaved to create a snowy consistency. Red bean paste is the traditional topping, however fresh fruit like strawberries, jelly, Oreo cookies, roasted grain powder and other toppings give it a modern texture that is suited to Canadian tastes.

Green tea bingsoo | Image provided by Snowy Village Canada

Snowy Village opened its first location in Richmond back in 2015, then a second in downtown Vancouver, and a third in Coquitlam.  Surrey and Langley locations are planned for this summer.

Cheesy mochy | Image provided by Snowy Village Canada

As well as bingsoo, the shops serve croissant taiyaki (which is like a filled, press-grilled sandwich), healthy smoothies, great coffee and a variety of savoury and cheesy snacks.

snowyvillages.ca

By Catherine Dunwoody

How cool is it (literally) that this most delicious and special day happens to fall on our very own Canada Day, July 1st? Vancouver and its diverse surrounding communities certainly know how to celebrate two things at once, and the proof is in the cone.

Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by toasting with one of these super special flavours, and some for a very limited time only. Here’s what they are and where to find them.

“Canadian Maple Bacon” | Image courtesy of Welcome Parlour Ice Cream

Flavour: Canadian Maple Bacon

Where to get it: Welcome Parlour Ice Cream, Vancouver’s North Shore

The scoop: This shop just opened this past spring in a 1909 heritage building, and this special flavour is only available for 1 day. Made with caramelized bacon and real maple syrup. Patriotic and proud!

Flavour: Roasted Strawberry

Where to get it: Rain or Shine, Vancouver

The scoop: Brought back for another summer, this fave 4th Avenue shop roasts local strawberries, adds a dash of balsamic vinegar, and mixes into the creamiest of ice creams to create summer in a cup. Or cone. You get the idea.

“Canada 150” | Image courtesy of Spiritual Ingredients

Flavour: Canada 150

Where to get it: Spiritual Ingredients, White Rock

The scoop: Trendy and from Thailand, “rolled gelato” is all the rage. The folks at Spiritual got the machine sent from the source, taught themselves how to make it, and serve theirs like a sundae. Blueberries and maple syrup are mixed into the actual gelato, which is then topped with fresh blueberries, maple syrup, and whipped cream. Multi-cultural cool – just like Canada.

Flavour: Birthday Cake

Where to get it: The Ice Cream Parlour at Burnaby Village Museum

The scoop: Celebratory indeed. Ice cream with chunks of birthday cake, sprinkles just in time for Canada’s big day.

 Flavour: Melon Bingsoo

Where to get it: Snowy Villages, Richmond

The scoop: This Korean shaved ice dessert is a refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Think balls of honeydew melon atop shaved ice, sprinkled with slivered toasted almonds, whip cream and served in a melon bowl.

Flavour: Creamsicle frozen yogurt

Where to get it: Menchie’s, New Westminster

The scoop: The classic combination of orange popsicle with vanilla ice cream has been around for decades. Top this froyo with anything from sour gummi worms to animal crackers to fresh fruit depending on your tastes and enjoy.

Flavour: Saffron

Where to get it: Urban Gate, Coquitlam

The scoop: Who says ice cream can’t come in unusual flavours? This saffron infused treat has that gorgeous yellow colour you would expect and a subtle flavour. Give it a go.

Flavour: Moose Tracks

Where to get it: Ritual Ice Cream, Langley

The scoop: Can it get a more Canuck-style name? Vanilla ice cream swirled with fudge and peanut butter cup chunks makes for one tasty treat, that’s all we know.

Header image by Lenee Son

By Anna Black

The BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival is bringing a little bit of Scotland right to the heart of Coquitlam with a day full of food and festivities (including a whisky school!) planned at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, BC on Saturday, June 17th, 2017.

The Games continue a tradition started in the Scottish “old country” that was a customary part of life in the highlands. Historically, the core of the games included tossing the caber, putting the stone, throwing the hammer, bagpipe competitions, and Highland dancing. Competitions were held to determine who could best represent various Scottish clans or work for the chief or chieftain. As the economy changed in Scotland, the tradition was brought by Scottish settlers to the Vancouver area where it has continued for over one hundred and fifty years.

Although the competitive nature of the games still very much has a presence, there are also a host of other activities to enjoy at the festival, and lots to eat and drink.

You’ve seen the words “malt” and “blend” on the bottles, and perhaps you have pondered over whether to buy a whisky aged 12 years, or one aged over 40. And what is the difference between Irish and Scottish whiskies anyways? Enroll in a class at the Highland Games whisky school to taste your way to whisky expertise.

Phat Dawgs hot dogs | Photo courtesy of Tin Lizzy Concessions

Of course will be no shortage of amazing food to sample during the festival – hearty food fit for those who are tossing cabers, hurling stones, and even for kids on the hunt for haggis . Food trucks serving up a buffet of cuisines will be on site offering everything from authentic Australian meat and veggie pies and desserts, mouth-watering grilled cheese, and tube steak to gourmet mac n’ cheese, out of this world hot dogs, and traditional fish and chips (and poutine!). There will also be British delicacies a plenty, with the British Store offering up a bevy of traditional offerings from lemon jelly and Devon custard to porridge oats, Turkish Delights, and more.

When you need to escape the action, and give your stomach a chance to digest, there are a variety of tents dedicated to the cultural aspects of Scotland and the Scots in BC. There are also demonstration tents where you can explore Robert Burns, kilt making, cultural fusion in the Pacific Northwest or the Gaelic language and song.

The Games opens on Friday, June 16th with an Open Piobaireachd (piping competition) at 5 PM in the Highland Village on Percy Perry field.  It will be followed at 7 PM by a VIP/Highland Reception open to the public (for a fee). For a complete schedule of events on Games Day (June 17th), please click here.

Parking Information

Getting to the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival in Coquitlam has never been easier. Perry Percy Stadium is located just steps away from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station on the new Translink Evergreen Line, making taking transit to and from the festival a breeze. There will also be ample parking with parking available both on-site at Town Centre Park as well as at nearby Douglas College with free shuttle transportation to the festival gate between 11:30 am and 7 PM on the June 17th. Please note the shuttle is not suitable for children under 5.

Ticket Information

Online Early-Bird ticket sales for the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival are available through Eventbrite until May 31, 2017 at 11:59 AM. Tickets will be available after the Early Bird deadline on-site during the festival, payable by cash or credit card only. Please click here for Early Bird and event day pricing. Children under six are free.

On Saturday, June 17th, come experience a little taste of Scottish history for yourself, complete with the traditions and competitive spirit that have made the games popular for hundreds of years (and counting!), not to mention plenty of yummy multi-cultural cuisine.

BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Percy Perry Stadium
Town Centre Park
1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC

By Jennifer Foden

Craft beer lovers in Coquitlam can rejoice: the city’s first craft brewery is scheduled to open in summer 2017.

After the city of Coquitlam changed their liquor regulations last year (allowing craft breweries to exist in the city), Byron Vallis went ahead with plans to open Mariner Brewing in the city he grew up in. Mariner Brewing will be just a 25km/16mi drive from Vancouver or a 10 minute walk from Coquitlam Central Skytrain station.

Byron Vallis of Mariner Brewing

The 3,000 square foot space is located at Barnet Highway and Lansdowne Drive, just a short walk from Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station. Plans for the brewery include a 50-seat tasting room that will have an “exploration” vibe (look out for constellation designs and lots of navy blue.) The brewery and tasting room will also have growler fills, a food menu (including gourmet hot dogs and charcuterie boards) and, of course, delicious beer.

Mariner Brewing is currently keeping the name of their brewer under wraps (follow their social media to find out sometime in April) but plans for their core brews include an IPA, amber ale, cream ale and a Berliner weisse, a cloudy, sour, white beer. Vallis notes Four Winds, Yellow Dog and Field House as local breweries he’s looked to for inspiration.

Want to learn more?

Follow their progress on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as they build the brewery.

Mariner Brewing
(Will be at) 1100 Lansdowne Drive
Coquitlam, BC
marinerbrewing.ca

With a backyard of clean rivers and lakes, the Pacific Ocean, and rich fertile land, the farmers, chefs, brewers, distillers, fishers, and producers are able to bring their diverse traditions, cultures, and creativity to the plates, cups, and glasses of Canada’s west coast. The taste is hyper local, from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley.

Featured in this video: The Vancouver Aquarium, The Liberty Distillery, Fraser Valley Cider Company, Cherry Lane Farms, Burnaby Village Museum, Bella Gelateria, Crazy Cows, Steveston Seafood House, Campbells Gold, Central City Brewers and Distillers, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Trading Post Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Vij’s

By Ashley Lockyer

How fresh do you like your coffee? Each morning the scent of roasting beans spills out from Creekside Coffee Factory in Coquitlam. Here, you can sip a handcrafted beverage beside the bright red roaster where your drink started its journey, from beans to a piece of latte art.

Modern hipster style meets classic cafe elegance at Creekside Coffee. Warmth radiates from the cafe’s incandescent filaments and European lamp posts.
Modern hipster style meets classic cafe elegance at Creekside Coffee. Warmth radiates from the cafe’s incandescent filaments and European lamp posts.

Owner and roaster Jay Lee had his own unique journey. It all began while he was a stockbroker in South Korea. He found himself daydreaming of owning a business while the numbers poured down the screens. When he moved with his family to Canada, Jay set off to master another market, something that interested him: coffee.

“Coffee roasting is harder than stock broking, but less stressful,” Jay says. “I was throwing away 90% of the beans I roasted at first.”
“Coffee roasting is harder than stock broking, but less stressful,” Jay says. “I was throwing away 90% of the beans I roasted at first.”

Jay was mentored by a master roaster in South Korea. He then worked in a cafe to learn the hands-on craft of drink making. Finally, he heard famous coffee roasters spill the beans on their techniques while working at a coffee company and learning how to run a roastery.

“There are endless ways you can make the beans taste better. This machine has an air damper that I can adjust by hand. It lets me play with the flavour.”
“There are endless ways you can make the beans taste better. This machine has an air damper that I can adjust by hand. It lets me play with the flavour.”

Yet, teachers don’t share all their secrets and Jay has worked ever since to master his own process. He has focused on perfecting a select few roasts since Creekside Coffee Factory opened six years ago. “It’s hard for me to be satisfied because I learned from the best,” he says.

Jay roasts beans from around the world, including organic varieties.
Jay roasts beans from around the world, including organic varieties.

This cozy cafe has become a local legend, and not just for its impressive latte art on Facebook. Their signature giant teddy stuffed bear, who often is found gazing out the windows, was abducted last summer. The video of the bear heist went viral, and was even featured on national news.

Thankfully, the bear is back to relaxing in the cafe. It was returned thanks to the story’s social media reach.
Thankfully, the bear is back to relaxing in the cafe. It was returned thanks to the story’s social media reach.

The cafe’s decor pairs coffee with comfort. Burlap coffee bags hang on the walls, exposed brick walls surround guests, and scooped chairs await for reading, writing, and caffeinated conversation.

Creekside Coffee Roastery’s ambiance nestles you into the complete coffee making experience, from bean bag to latte.
Creekside Coffee Roastery’s ambiance nestles you into the complete coffee making experience, from bean bag to latte.

“Jay’s always around, it’s nice,” said Sam, a customer. “Sometimes he plays guitar while you sit and drink coffee.”

“We have really nice staff,” Jay says. “Right now around half of the people here are regulars. In a full day, it’s about 80%.”
“We have really nice staff,” Jay says. “Right now around half of the people here are regulars. In a full day, it’s about 80%.”

Jay’s excited, and it’s not just the caffeine. Creekside Coffee Factory will open a second location in Langley next month.

For coffee connoisseurs, the cafe is open and roasting seven days a week. Stop by to taste the art of coffee roasting, brought from masters in Asia to Coquitlam.

creekside-coffee-factory_vancouver-roaster_enjoyjpg

Creekside Coffee Factory
2773 Barnet Hwy # 19
Coquitlam, British Columbia
604.554.0100

By Anna Black

If you’re looking for a unique dessert experience in the Coquitlam area, you may want to give saffron desserts a try. The city offers up a variety of choices for this decadent after dinner treat, enjoyed for its orange-hued, earthy pungent flavor.

About Saffron

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the Crocus sativus or saffron crocus. Once considered a luxury item due to its price, it is commonly used today in South Asian, European, and North African cuisine. Common examples of saffron desserts include Persian ice cream, shirini-e keshmeshi (raisin and saffron cookies), harireh (pudding), sohān-e-asali (honey toffee), and gaz (Persian nougat).

The saffron crocus | image via Pixabay
The saffron crocus | image via Pixabay

“Since saffron is a unique and popular spice, our guests love to try any product that contains saffron, and the most enjoyable thing about it is its one of a kind aroma and flavor.”

– Bita Askari, General Manager, Urban Gate

“Saffron is appealing because of its expensive price, its rich aroma, and its appearance. When you put saffron on a plate, it gives that plate a look of elegance that you don’t often see.”

Amir Hosh, Owner, Ayoub’s Dried Fruit & Nuts

Health Benefits of Saffron

Cultivated and harvested by hand in mass quantities in Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Israel, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey, saffron is high in manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamin B6. Consuming the spice helps with blood sugar regulation, calcium absorption, immune system protection, blood purification, carbohydrate metabolism, as well as the healthy formation of tissues, bones, and reproductive hormones.

“My customers often ask about the health benefits of saffron. My mom used to say that it makes you happy and that it will make you smile.”

– Amir Hosh, Owner, Ayoub’s Dried Fruit & Nuts

Where to Enjoy Saffron Desserts in Coquitlam

Urban Gate
#102 – 1158 The High Street, Coquitlam

Urban Gate is a family owned and operated Persian inspired boutique market offering butcher services, on-site bakery, and freshly sourced local produce as well as a full-service bar and grill. A “hidden gem” in the community, Urban Gate is recognized for its excellent selection of Persian and Western food, generous portions, attentive servers and relaxing environment. Eat-in and take-out options are available or buy the ingredients for your very own feast at home! Catering is also available.

Urban Gate is open Monday/Tuesday 11 AM – 11 PM, Wednesday – Saturday 11 AM – 12 AM, and Sunday from 11 AM – 11 PM. Parking is available on the street or in the adjacent lot.

Recommended desserts: Saffron ice cream and saffron faloodeh (Persian dessert made with very thin rice sticks, sugar & saffron).

Saffron ice cream from Paak Foods at Urban Gate
Saffron ice cream from Paak Foods at Urban Gate

Paak Foods
1115 – 573 Sherling Place, Port Coquitlam

A trusted manufacturer of high quality frozen, dried, and refrigerated Iranian and Persian foods, Paak Foods products are available across Canada at retail outlets, restaurants, and wholesale supermarkets and grocery stores, including Urban Gate.

Recommended desserts: Sholed zard (Saffron Rice Pudding), bastani sonnati (Persian Style Saffron Ice Cream), saffron faloodeh (Persian Rice Noodle Dessert).

Ayoub’s Dried Fruit & Nuts
#150 – 2950 Glen Dr., Coquitlam
(Additional locations in Vancouver, the North Shore, and Burnaby)

Using the highest quality raw ingredients from the most trusted suppliers around the world, all of Ayoub’s ingredients are hand roasted in-store daily at storefronts in North Vancouver, Downtown, Kitsilano, Coquitlam, and Burnaby. They are currently also working on a line of white chocolate pistachio with saffron products. One gram and four gram packages of high-quality saffron can also be purchased in-store for $5/gram or $18 for 4 grams.

Recommended desserts: Almonds – lime and saffron (also available in cashews), lime & saffron kernel mix, premium pistachios (shelled) – lime & saffron, saffron swizzle sticks (only available in-store), round pistachios – lime & saffron, saffron vanilla nougat, chubby pumpkin seeds, and date filled cookies.

By Nikki Hillman

You’ll know Rocco’s is passionate about supporting local as soon as you enter the store. The seating area is dominated by two, long wooden tables, built by a company directly across the street, who salvaged fallen trees from within the area. These tables foster traditional Italian family dining and, if you’ve visited Italy, you will be familiar with this concept – and Rocco’s is definitely about family.

The store is managed by Andy and Jana Mollica (a retired Air Canada employee) and their trusted employee, general manager and chef, Pat Toynbee. Stop by on a weekday afternoon and you could be entertained by their adorable children as they munch on pepperoni sticks from behind the deli glass.

Interior of Rocco’s, with family tables made of salvaged local wood.
Interior of Rocco’s, with family tables made of salvaged local wood.

Rocco’s opened in August of 2015 and has quickly become the go-to place for coffee, meats, cheeses and treats. Most of the pastries are made in store; try a café misto and a house-made apple fritter for a lovely afternoon snack. The coffee is out of this world, hand crafted on a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine, producing the perfect crema.

Try a perfect café misto from a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine.
Try a perfect café misto from a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine.

Andy himself has enjoyed a long history within the BC food industry as a caterer, and most notably as the owner of Anducci’s in Coquitlam. But Andy admits that he has been searching for his niche in the food market and has finally found his passion with Rocco’s. There are so many delicious options in the small store; in-house prepared pasta dishes, pastries, muffins and soups along with dry goods imported from Italy. Their pizza dough is prepared with flour sourced from the Prairies and they are careful to support local bakeries for their breads, rolls and baguettes.

 In-house made pastries.
In-house made pastries.

Of course, given the owner’s background, Rocco’s offers catering and if you are looking for a charcuterie option you will not be disappointed with the choice of products, or the quality of the meats and cheeses. The plate he offered us featured the classics such as prosciutto and salami but also included some unique and spicy flavors, complimented with flavorful and colorful olives. (I highly recommend the Port Wine Derby cheese!)

If you are looking for a healthier replacement of the standard deli meats for yours, or your children’s lunches, Rocco’s prepares sliced, roasted, organic chicken and turkey along with an in-house cured roast beef. When these meats are paired with the fresh breads and buns, Rocco’s offers some amazing panini’s available for lunch or take out.

But the most interesting aspect of this deli is the refillable olive oil program. This grew in part from a fond memory for Andy. As a child, he remembers visiting a local store with his uncle, who would take along small, glass containers which they would re-fill with grappa. With a growing trend toward “bring your own container” shopping, Rocco’s is on point with this initiative. Shoppers simply purchase the bottles available in the store (there are two sizes) and the staff will fill it with a neutral, filtered, extra virgin olive oil well suited for dressings and sauces. I took home a small bottle of the oil, paired it with a balsamic vinegar reduction, a ciabatta bun and an olive baguette. My family and I were impressed by the fresh taste and smell of this oil, it was unlike any store bought oil I’ve tried before.

Refills are available of fresh, extra virgin olive oil.
Refills are available of fresh, extra virgin olive oil.

Rocco’s will soon undergo a small reno during which Andy will realize his long term goal of balancing his coolers with 50% Rocco’s in-house cured meats and 50% imported Italian meats. They also plan to begin an “Italian happy hour” offering beer, wine and mixed cocktails between 4-8pm; charcuterie included in the price. This is a great place to stop on your way home from work, celebrating a traditional Italian activity proving their motto “We eat what we sell, we sell what we eat.”

Before you visit, make sure to download Rocco’s Deli app, and begin earning a point for every dollar you spend in their store, redeemable for merchandise.

Rocco’s Deli Eatalian Street Food and Deli
228 Schoolhouse Road
Coquitlam, BC
roccosdeli.ca

Open: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm, Sun 10-5pm, and conveniently located near Zone Bowling Coquitlam and across the street from Cineplex SilverCity, a 20 screen movie theatre.

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam

Whether you’re interested in people watching or simply soaking up some sun, dining al fresco has never been easier or more enjoyable with Coquitlam’s outdoor restaurant patios. All you have to do is settle in, order a cool drink and figure out what to order.

Where to go? Here’s a list of some of the city’s best patios for dining and relaxing outdoors:

Browns Socialhouse Town Centre

Nestled behind Coquitlam Centre, this Brown’s restaurant sits along Glen Drive and presents a perfect opportunity to people watch while enjoying the bustling ambiance and friendly service.

#120 – 2950 Glen Drive
604.474.3255

Image courtesy of Browns Social House
Image courtesy of Browns Social House

Cactus Club Coquitlam

Featuring a generous patio, Cactus Club Coquitlam makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors while still being close to the city’s entertainment district (the Hard Rock Casino and SilverCity Coquitlam are just a few minutes away).

#110 – 101 Schoolhouse Street
604.777.0440

Eaglequest Coquitlam

Ideal for families, the EQ Grill is a great place to unwind with friends or little ones after a friendly round of mini-golf or FootGolf (a creative twist on soccer and golf).

1001 United Boulevard
604.523.6400

Fairways Grill & Patio

Grab a bite in between swings for some much-needed refreshments, casual eats and great views from the patio at this relaxed pub at the Westwood Plateau Golf Academy and Driving Range.

1630 Parkway Boulevard
604.941.4219

JOEY Coquitlam

Settle in and make the most of summer at this JOEY in Coquitlam with its lounge-y patio in the city that happens to feel more like an out-of-the-way secluded patio.

550 Lougheed Highway
604.939.3077

John B. Neighbourhood Pub

This popular neighbourhood joint in Coquitlam’s eclectic Austin Heights neighbourhood features a friendly atmosphere, a cozy patio for those lazy summer days and nights, and an irresistible menu with more than 40 types of craft beer.

1000 Austin Avenue
604.931.5115

Milestones Coquitlam

Ideally located in the heart of Coquitlam’s City Centre, Milestones offers a welcome break with its sunny patio, remarkable cuisine and refreshing cocktails.

2745 Barnet Highway
604-552-7983

Pasta Polo

Brothers Fred and Farrokh Soofi have owned and operated this family-friendly casual Italian joint since 2001, which boasts a large covered patio, freshly-made pasta, brick oven pizza and more.

2754 Barnet Highway
604.464.7656

Rogues Bar & Grill

Tee it up or simply stop by to enjoy the creative menu and scenic views from this incredible patio that boasts some of the city’s best vistas (not to mention the good food and drinks) at Coquitlam’s Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club.

3251 Plateau Boulevard
604.945.4007 ext. 126

Roo’s Public House

This progressive neighbourhood pub has been serving up exceptional food and drinks since 1977, where you can indulge in some fresh signature dishes and grab a cold drink on the patio.

2962 Christmas Way
604.464.3030

Sammy J’s Grill & Bar

While this spacious eatery offers an outdoor patio for dining al fresco, you might just be tempted to stay inside with its lounge-y feel and five 70” LED TVs (as well as a quiet seating area for a more relaxed experience).

1075 Lougheed Highway
604.524.1422

Image courtesy of Urban Gate
Image courtesy of Urban Gate

Urban Gate

Another neighbourhood favourite in Coquitlam’s City Centre area, this contemporary Persian eatery (plus a deli/market) includes a leafy patio and shade-friendly umbrellas for outdoor dining and people watching.

#102 – 1158 The High Street
604.472.8888

By Nikki Hillman

In Coquitlam’s city centre, Glen Drive is evolving into a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. There are several Pho, sushi, and waffle stores – and there is a wealth of hidden Persian and Iranian gems.

Image courtesy of Urban Gate Bar & Grill
Image courtesy of Urban Gate Bar & Grill

I found myself drawn to The High Street and stopped in at the Urban Gate Bar and Grill for some dinner, and was surprised to find a traditional Iranian/Persian Market attached to the restaurant. The scents of the sweets were enticing as I sat down to order. I asked my server to recommend a traditional Iranian meal and she instantly pointed out her favorite on the menu; Jujeh. This is a classic kebab of chicken, marinated in lemon, yogurt and saffron. The meal also comes with a small salad, barbecue Roma tomato, lemon, onion and saffron rice. The combination of the flavors was delicious but I was won over by the in-house dressing on the small side salad. It’s garlicky, creamy and so popular that you can purchase a container to take home. The market is a treat to wander through with a butcher, bakery and fresh produce, along with assorted imported Persian spices and breads.

Image courtesy of Urban Gate Bar & Grill
Image courtesy of Urban Gate Bar & Grill

After dinner I headed back to Glen Drive and stopped in at Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts. I was met by Amir Hosseini, who led me on a tour of the store. Locals may be familiar with this family run business; Amir’s father Ayoub started with his first store in 2009 in North Vancouver. With over 30 years of roasting experience, Ayoub is considered a “master roaster.” Now, the family has several locations throughout the Lower Mainland, all run by trained roasters and their families.

Ayoub Hosseini | image courtesy of Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts
Ayoub Hosseini | image courtesy of Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts

The Coquitlam location opened in 2013 and is managed by master roaster, Ray Rostami, and his family. It’s a simple but impressive space. Large, silver urns are filled with nuts, dried berries, figs, dates, veggie and beet chips. It’s clean and open but feels as if you’re in a posh, open air market. While Amir and I chatted, he offered me several samples of dried fruits and nuts. The cashews, almonds and pistachios are imported from California raw and then roasted in-house. There are several different spice mixtures used in the roasting, sourced from the best areas native to the spice, so the quality is very high-end. Every morning the master roaster tosses the nuts with a spice mixture, roasts them and then tosses them again with a little bit of lemon/lime juice and the spice. The result is the freshest product, available everyday.

Ayoub’s Cashews | image courtesy of Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts
Ayoub’s Cashews | image courtesy of Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts

I sampled several different kinds of nuts and spice combinations but my surprise favorite was the traditional lime and saffron mix on cashews. Delicious! If fruit is your thing, try the dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries sourced and dried at local farms in the lower mainland. All of their fruits and nuts are sold by weight and you are encouraged to bring in your own containers. Ayoub’s also carries BC honey from Armstrong, organic peanut butter and they offer gift boxes of nuts and Turkish delight. The Turkish delight is the best available, flown in from Turkey within 24 hours of ordering. Like Amir says, the best Turkish delight comes from Turkey, don’t mess with perfection!

Leaving Ayoub’s with a bag of lime and saffron cashews (still warm!) I decided I’d like to take home a sampling of sweets. A friend recommended I try Minoo Bakery and Pastry for traditional Iranian cookies.

Goodies from Minoo Bakery | image by Nikki Hillman
Goodies from Minoo Bakery | image by Nikki Hillman

Heading west along Glen Drive, I found one of the original strip malls of Coquitlam’s city centre, at 2918 Glen Drive. Here there is another, small Persian grocery where you can also purchase imported items such as rose water, but beside the grocery is the Minoo Bakery and Pastry. Two long display cases are stuffed full of treats and the bakery is deliciously scented with sweet coconut, walnuts and pistachios. I chose a small sampling of traditional Iranian deserts; shirini e papioni (bow tie pastry), chickpea cookies, naan berenji (rose water flavored), potica (nut roll), shirini e zaban puff pastry and coconut macaroons. What a wonderful way to end my evening, exploring the older parts of Coquitlam’s city centre and the shiny new High Street, in search of a different cultural, culinary experience.

Urban Gate Bar and Grill
102 – 1158 The High St, Coquitlam

Ayoub’s Dried Fruits and Nuts
150 – 2950 Glen Dr., Coquitlam
ayoubs.ca

Minoo Bakery and Pastry
117 – 2918 Glen, Coquitlam.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Scott Harper watched the movie Chef one night, and the next morning looked in the mirror and said “I don’t want to spend another minute of my life doing anything I don’t love to do.”  And added, “one day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”   

According to his wife Debbie, she laughs and says,  “Scott’s a dreamer, he built me a beautiful food truck… I’m the real Chef.”

Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill
Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill

The couple are a second­generation family born and raised in Coquitlam, with a strong pull to give back to the local community that supports them. Cheese Street Grill food truck is their baby, and they travel the food truck festival circuit, plus other events and markets throughout the Lower Mainland.

What do they serve? Handcrafted grilled cheese sandwiches, seasonal soups, all made with locally sourced, highest quality ingredients. And love. Their “mac ‘n cheesy” is a fan favourite, with 8 different gooey, melty cheeses with Granny Smith apple slices. The “spicy mama” (with Italian sausage and chipotle) and “big daddy” (with double-smoked bacon) sound intriguing too.

Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill
Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill

Scott tells us the most satisfying about running their family business is, “people saying what a great job we are doing – and really meaning it! Most people only hear that when the boss is trying to keep them from quitting.”

Come hungry – this food truck doesn’t kid around.

Find out where the truck is now: cheesestreetgrill.com

By Catherine Dunwoody

Vegans and vegetarians will want to add Sunday visits to the Coquitlam Farmers Market to their calendars, from now until end of October.

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

Jessica Kralj, owner of Tasty Plants, has a love for plant-based foods, and a knack for preparing a variety of delicious dishes, that she sells at the market. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Kralj offers fresh and frozen prepared meals plus brownies, cookies, bars, and snacks.

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

Customers line up for her three bean and quinoa chili, enchiladas, curried chickpeas and cauliflower soup. Sweet tooth? Try the energy bites (2 flavors: dark cocoa-coconut and key-lime coconut), and vegan brownies.

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

Tasty Plants does not use any animal products/by-products, supports BC farmers and suppliers, and is an environmentally friendly business. “There are so many health issues associated with the consumption of meats and dairy, as well as so many people with allergies to these products and not many options out there for them,” says Kralj, “for this reason, we decided to make it easier by offering healthy prepared meals and products that they can pre-order on a weekly basis and consume at their own convenience.”

Image courtesy of Tasty Plants
Image courtesy of Tasty Plants

The Coquitlam farmers market is on Sundays in the summer at the Dogwood Pavilion Parking Lot (624 Poirier Street). Find Tasty Plants year-round at www.tastyplants.ca

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam

The temperate climate of BC’s Lower Mainland makes it especially easy to enjoy impromptu (and planned) barbecues and picnics – particularly in the warmer months of spring, summer and early fall. So, why not take it easy on yourself and enjoy the weather… and let someone else (preferably an expert!) do all the prep work?

Enter Coquitlam’s array of specialty and multicultural delis, where you’ll find everything from authentic Italian salami and street food to Eastern European delights and even some flavourful Persian treats and meat.

Here are just a few Coquitlam delis (in alphabetical order) where you can pop in and grab what you need for a quick and delicious meal:

Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering

1-555 North Road

Tucked away in Coquitlam’s North Road, this eclectic deli features most anything one could imagine from Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. Think smoked fish, sturgeon caviar, and hard-to-find salamis and sausages (including Pick salami, reputed to be the world’s oldest salami recipe) and cheese (such as Greek sheep cheese and creamy Macedonian goat cheese). You’ll also find some delicious house-made items – including salads, borscht, goulash, cabbage rolls, poppy-seed strudels, etc. While here, enjoy a cup of tea and the specialty item of the day (fresh crepes anyone?). Or snack on a frozen treat reminiscent of a mini cheesecake dipped in chocolate. Pick up a unique drink made from bread (yes, bread). This colourful store also carries an impressive variety of pickled vegetables, spices, teas, coffee, ginger breads and dry breads from Latvia, Russia and Ukraine, along with authentic Russian candy, chocolate and much more.

Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering
Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering

Giancarlo Deli

1115 A/B Austin Avenue

Giancarlo’s might just be one of the most perfectly casual spots to get your Italian caffeine fix in Coquitlam. While here, check out the colourful shelves of pasta, sauces, imported biscuits, crackers, juices and more. Dine in with one of the freshly made sandwiches or take home items for later such as homemade lasagne, sauces and an array of cheese and savoury cold cuts from the deli case (salami, prosciutto, rosemary ham and more).

Rocco’s Deli Eatalian Street Food & Market

228 Schoolhouse Street

A visit here yields a true taste of Italy with fresh panini, salads and deli items that include Italian charcuterie and a fully-stocked market of authentic pasta sauces and other Italian staples. Olive oil connoisseurs will especially love Rocco’s olive oil tap, where you can browse and refill your own bottles. Be sure to also visit Rocco’s website to get some healthy, homemade and tasty recipes… then make your way here to pick up the ingredients. (Yes, it’s that simple.)

Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering
Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering

Sumbul Supermarket

A – 1037 Ridgeway Avenue

With friendly staff always at the ready, Sumbul has a full offering of fresh and frozen halal meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, turkey as well as a variety of specialty Middle Eastern groceries. Along with ample selections of Basmati rice and halwa, you’ll also find fresh fruit, vegetables and bulk items of nuts, raisins, dried berries, toasted pine nuts and other essentials.

Tina European Deli

931 Brunette Avenue

This European deli features an array of culinary delights that are sure to please most any appetite and palate. From canned goods to sweet treats and more, this deli is home to some flavourful ingredients and foods that are uniquely European.

Urban Gate

102 – 1158 The High Street

Part restaurant/part deli, Urban Gate has it all. Along with a full-service restaurant, Urban Gate features a Middle Eastern/Persian supermarket that presents everything from local and imported spices to an entire corner dedicated to some impressive (and tantalizing) pastries. In another section, you’ll find some remarkably fresh cuts of meat (including a one-of-a-kind lamb selection) with expert, knowledgeable butchers who are ready to slice and dice. All you have to do is fire up that oven or barbeque.

Urban Gate pastries
Urban Gate pastries

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam

When Maurio Ramos and his family emigrated from Brazil to Canada in 2001, it was with the hope of achieving a better quality of life. While the family immersed and settled themselves entirely in their new chosen home of Metro Vancouver, there was one thing they couldn’t and wouldn’t leave behind: the food and flavours of their native country.

With extensive restaurant experience in their hometown of Aracaju, which sits in the north-eastern part of Brazil, the decision to venture into the food service industry here was an easy one.

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“About one year after we arrived in Canada, we were approached by an investor to open a Brazilian Steakhouse, which became Samba,” explains Felipe Ramos, Maurio’s son and a trained chef. “Maurio and I were the only two people involved in the restaurant, and I was one of the first chefs at Samba. Maurio became the general manager.”

More than a decade later, the building that housed Samba was sold and the restaurant was closed soon after. But the Ramos family ventured on with a new endeavour: Rio Brazilian Steak House. The first location opened in 2012 in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood. The chosen site for the second location is the diverse city of Coquitlam.

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These Brazilian restaurants are the only two of its kind throughout Metro Vancouver – both featuring the traditional flavours, as well as cooking and serving techniques of authentic Brazilian-style barbecue. Here, just as in steak houses in Brazil (which are known as rodízios), you’ll find passadores (meat carvers) visiting your table with knives and a skewer with various kinds of meat, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sausage… among others.

“We chose Coquitlam for our second location because we wanted a neighbourhood that felt homey, where people live and work and are involved in their community,” Felipe explains. “We were also looking at growth and growth potential, including what kind of big name restaurants were coming here. Then we began scouting locations in Coquitlam and found the right space, the right size and it all came together.”

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After six months of major renovations, the new Coquitlam Rio Brazilian Steak House officially opened its doors on Nov. 25, 2015.

Despite its growth and success, Rio Brazilian Steak House continues to be rooted in family. While Maurio manages the office and oversees both locations, his wife Ana takes care of the accounting. Their daughter Mariana manages the Vancouver location, and Felipe oversees the new Coquitlam restaurant.

“This is a real novelty kind of dining experience, but with great quality and value,” Felipe adds. “Rio’s lunch specials are designed to get you in and out in less than an hour, in case you need to get back to work. For dinner, the idea is to relax and enjoy your meal, with 12 different types of meat, a salad bar, hot buffet and even our traditional gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread.”

While “steak house” is surely written in the restaurant’s name, this is not your typical steak restaurant. Walk into Coquitlam’s Rio Brazilian restaurant and you’re almost instantly transported to another part of the world with the up-tempo music, the colourful mural of Rio’s iconic Sugarloaf Mountain and knowledgeable Brazilian staff. Other than the ambiance, what makes a Brazilian Steak House truly unique is the all-you-can eat aspect where every customer is given a card with green on one side and red on the other. Servers – or passadores – come around the restaurant with platters or skewers of various types of meat, ready for your plate when you are.

When you’ve had enough, simply flip the card to red. This, along with Rio’s authentic flavours and vibe – not to mention the live SambaFusion dance shows on Friday and Saturday evenings – make this a local dining experience like no other.

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Rio Brazilian Steak House
2729 Barnet Highway
Coquitlam, BC
riobraziliansteakhouse.ca

By Sheliza Mitha

Six tempting restaurants. Countless culinary experiences. One dynamic venue. Welcome to the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam.

A quick tour of the Hard Rock reveals a world of excitement and opportunity – including casino games, fun memorabilia, live entertainment and some remarkable cuisine. Along with slots, about a dozen table games and live shows (think comedy and concerts), you’ll also find innovative and eclectic restaurants with names that include: Asylum, Chip’s Sandwich Shop, Fú Express, Fuel Café, Roadies’ Burger Bar and (because this is a casino after all) The Buffet at Unlisted.

With a reputation for world-class dining and experiences, it should come as no surprise that Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino – the only one in Canada, by the way – delivers at every turn. Here, each of the seven restaurants is focused on sourcing fresh and local as much as possible. The idea is to satisfy your appetite regardless of your craving or preference – all in one place.

Since this is a casino, after all, it would be remiss not to highlight The Buffet. However, this is not your standard unidentifiable, heat-lamped lumps of food couching idly all day long in dull silver-hued bins. Rather, imagine vibrant dishes made from local, seasonal produce and perfectly-prepared cuts of meat and fish.

The Buffet at Unlisted
The Buffet at Unlisted

Visit on a Tuesday, and you’ll be whisked away to another part of the world with The Buffet’s internationally-themed menus. From Greek and Italian to Mexican and Chinese, there’s a world of flavour on offer. On Thursdays, specialty dinners are on the menu (think steak and lobster, and crab boil among other delights… yes at a buffet!) for just $24.99.

The Buffet at Unlisted
The Buffet at Unlisted

The Buffet is priced for lunch at $11.99 and dinner at $16.99 (quite a deal, especially if you are coming from the USA and factor in the exchange rate).   Considering the strong US dollar, there’s almost no better time to dine, play and experience Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino. Win or lose, at least you can feast like you’ve just hit the jackpot.

chef

The Hard Rock Casino is easily accessible off Highway 1, located at 2080 United Boulevard in Coquitlam (southeast of downtown Vancouver).

By Kulinarya in Coquitlam

Ingredients:

Chicken (800 grams)

Garlic (6-8 cloves)

Oil (1/4 cup)

Peppercorn (1/2 tbsp)

White vinegar (1 cup)

Soy sauce (1/4 cup)

Bay leaves (2)

Rice

water

Preparation:

Slice chicken in pieces

Crush and peel garlic

Crack the black peppercorns

Directions:

In a pot, combine the crushed garlic and cracked peppercorn with vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorn and bay leaves. This creates the adobo mixture. Add chicken pieces and enough water to cover the meat.

Simmer until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken from adobo mixture and set aside mixture for later. In another heated pan, add oil, garlic. Add chicken and fry until brown.

Just when ready to serve, gently pour the adobo mixture.  Serve with rice.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Say oui! Western Canada’s largest francophone festival for 27 years is back for another fun weekend of all things French Canadian – right in Coquitlam, BC.

From March 4 to 6, 2016, the Festival du Bois showcases our fabulous and proudly French traditions and culture in Canada by way of the real deal when it comes to food, traditional music, entertainment and fun activities.

fdb-boy

Taking place in Coquitlam’s Mackin Park the fest is definitely family-friendly and very affordable. Kick off the festival at Dîner en Plaid, with its traditional French Canadian cuisine, and rollicking music from a New Brunswick band. Plaid dress code in effect? Absolument! Be sure and sip a pint of the signature craft beer, French Lumberjack Ale, from Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing – especially while you cheer on participants in the arm wrestling competition and saw contests. Salut!

yellow-dog

Festival du Bois is known for its world-class entertainment as well. Between the Big Tent, the Children’s Tent and the Workshop Tent, there are more than enough options to keep you dancing, singing along, or learning something.

What would this festival be without traditional Québécois fare? Tuck into a dish of gooey, cheesy poutine, some stick-to-your-ribs tourtière, or a slice of maple sugar pie. An absolute must stop is the André Beauregard Sugar Shack for maple taffy twisted and pulled before a captive audience. The Sunday morning pancake breakfast feeds even the hungriest French lumberjack, make sure you don’t miss this one.

pops

The Big Tent is a shoppers paradise, with booths loaded up with pottery, fragrant soaps, and linens from Provence, olive wood treasures, French preserves and of course Olivier’s Breads.

Stop at other booths that represent everyone from the Fraser Valley Metis Association to the Canadian Parents for French Society.

On Saturday & Sunday, the Youth Zone comes alive with entertainment like the Franco-Columbian Improvisation League. New this year is the Junior A Hockey Club’s street hockey area, open to all ages and skill levels, plus the Vancouver Aquarium’s new Aquavan, for an up close look and what lives in the deep blue sea. Turn back time, and walk into the 1913 built Magasin Proulx – the general store and post office that once was the centre of village life in Maillardville.

dancing

However you decide to spend the fest – enjoy! It’s such a proud part of our Canadian heritage!

Festival du Bois, March 4 – 6 2016
Mackin Park, 1046 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam

www.festivaldubois.ca

 Header image of poutine is by Quinn Dombrowski | Flickr

By Sheliza Mitha

Across a few short, bustling and walkable blocks of Coquitlam is where you’ll find Austin Heights – an unassuming culinary gem that’s home to some of the most delicious and densely concentrated restaurants anywhere in the Lower Mainland. Overflowing with restaurants representing nearly every corner of the globe, the area is relatively small in size (making it easy to explore by foot) but big on taste serving up the height(s) of culinary adventure with almost every step.

Here, you’ll find a veritable foodie destination that requires some serious and dedicated exploration – which is just what I set out to do one bright, sunshine-filled day. The goal was to spend a good part of my day in a self-guided food tour of the area. This meant nearly five-hours of restaurant hopping to experience just a few of the area’s tastiest and most unique experiences – only because it would be impossible to explore and appreciate all of the area’s offerings in a full day, or two or three. (But, it’s certainly worth a try.)

My first stop was an early lunch at Austin Fish & Chips, a simple, unpretentious and authentically old school kind of place that serves up some of the best fish and chips this side of the Pacific – and I’m not the only one to think so.

Though it was still quite early when I walked through their doors, the place was already quietly humming with a slew of regulars. This is little surprise considering the place has been here for some 35 years and takes immense pride in their homemade items (tartar sauce, coleslaw, French fries) and uses only the freshest seafood available.

As for me, I ordered straight from the menu: halibut and chips. The fish was light and flaky on the inside, complemented by an equally light and crunchy batter. Generous handfuls of fries gently swam beneath the halibut, which was also accompanied by a soft roll and refreshing coleslaw that made an ideal partner to the fried foods spilling over my plate.

Austin Fish & Chips
Austin Fish & Chips

From here, it was a short walk across Austin to Soup Plus, a charming soup-and-sandwich café where they make almost everything from scratch – including the soups and the sandwich bread. So tucked away is it that it can easily be missed unless you’re seeking it with intention. And I was.

Through word-of-mouth and various reviews, I had heard about the mysterious owners who run the place – a true mom and pop kind of situation where the pop is a world-renowned chef. And, while Seinfeld has its notorious “Soup Nazi,” many Coquitlam regulars consider Soup Plus owner their very own version. Indeed, on my quick visit there, one customer was jokingly rebuffed with a “No soup for you!”

With a slightly overwhelming soup selection, I ventured for the lentil bacon and the mushroom with a tuna salad sandwich on the side. The lentil-bacon was savoury, peppery and hearty enough to enjoy on its own, while the mushroom soup was unexpectedly light yet creamy with a full, robust flavour that made me regret ordering a small. One bite into the sandwich and it was clear that it had been made by a pro. The bread was soft, with the right kind of bite and thick enough to carry the weight of the tuna filling, which was meaty and creamy without being greasy. The addition of crispy lettuce, cucumber and tomato made for an ideal balance of flavour and texture.

Though I was already full at this point, I vowed to hit three more places before the day was through. The next stop was Pho Holiday. This relatively new addition to Austin Heights belongs to two young Vietnamese sisters, who – after working in other restaurants for years – decided to open their own.

Pho Holiday features a full menu ranging from appetizers and Vietnamese subs to traditional beef pho, noodle soups, grilled meat, various vermicelli and rice dishes as well as kids’ meals; there is no dearth of options here if you’re looking for truly authentic Vietnamese fare.

Already quite full from my previous stops, I ordered an appetizer with fried shrimp rolls, spring rolls and a shrimp salad roll. Most surprising was the generous portions. Each fried shrimp roll included a large giant prawn, tender and juicy wrapped in a crispy, flaky shell. The spring rolls were equally delicious, as were the salad rolls. The afternoon I was there, a few regulars had strolled in for the pho, which I was told was hearty, comforting and full of flavour – the main reason for which they had come back for more.

From here, I headed a block north to Ridgeway Avenue to the Indian Grill & Curry House. This eclectic place is owned and operated by the Chatrath family, who moved here roughly six years ago from Germany where they owned an “international” restaurant serving all manner of cuisine (e.g., German, Greek, Indian, Italian, etc.).

Here, they focus almost exclusively on Indian and Italian, offering up traditional versions of both. So, along with your order of plump, crispy samosas and creamy butter chicken, you can also enjoy some pizza and chicken wings. While visiting, I sampled some of the veggie samosas, which were freshly made, piping hot and stuffed with savoury potatoes that were hard to resist – despite the fact that this was my fourth meal in a matter of hours.

Down the street is where I picked up dessert to bring home. Inno’s Bakery is so much more than its name. While it’s true that Inno features more than 30 types of bread all baked using the best, all-natural ingredients (no preservatives here), but look beyond this and you’ll find a thriving mini grocery store – the kind you might find in Chicago or New York – complete with mini aisles and colourful products packed into tidy shelves.

Inno`s Bakery
Inno`s Bakery

Along with standard staples, the store carries an impressive range of fine foods and imported specialty products, as well as its very own line of goods – such as coconut chips and granola. Since this bakery is especially well known for its Lava Raspberry Chocolate Cake, this is what I took home to my family. This indulgent dessert is combination brownie and Black Forest Cake with a molten raspberry twist – the luscious raspberry filling oozing out with each slice and bite. The result is a sweet, rich yet tart chocolate experience that we found more than a little addictive.

Austin Heights is situated in the southwest part of Coquitlam, stretching along Austin Avenue from Blue Mountain Street in the west to Gatensbury Street to the east, and along Ridgeway Avenue just one block north of Austin.

Austin Fish & Chips
1119 Austin Ave, Coquitlam
604-937-7244

Soup Plus
1102 Austin Ave, Coquitlam
604-936-7827

Pho Holiday
1054 Austin Ave, Coquitlam
604-931-2646

Indian Grill & Curry House
1041-A Ridgeway Ave, Coquitlam
pizzatownbc.ca

Inno’s Bakery
1053 Ridgeway Ave, Coquitlam
innobakery.com

By Sheliza Mitha

For those who love coffee, there is nothing quite as satisfying and soul replenishing as an authentically-Italian cup of joe (whether it’s an Americano, cappuccino, latte, etc.). In Coquitlam’s Austin Heights, a veritable foodie hub, you’ll find the GianCarlo Deli – the perfect place to get your Italian caffeine fix, and then some. A few short blocks away are more tempting Italian old-world traditions and flavours at the acclaimed Golden Boot Caffe and Jimoco Café and Pasta.

I ventured to Austin Heights in search of traditional Italian fare – and that’s just what I got, in many different forms. My self-guided tour of Italy kicked off with a smooth latte at GianCarlo’s, where I perused the neatly stacked shelves of pasta, sauces, imported biscuits, crackers, juices and more.

The morning I was there, the owner was busily making homemade lasagne noodles in the kitchen at the back of this dual café/store. A large pot of meat sauce simmered a few steps away. Once the noodles are made, the next step, he told me, will be to layer the noodles with some cheese and sauce; it will then go in the freezer at the front of the store for customers to take home and bake. In case there’s any question, I do think this would qualify as a “homemade” meal. (I’m just saying.)

For the lunch crowd, GianCarlo’s prepares various types of sandwiches (including their extremely popular meatball subs) with ingredients straight from their own deli case, which is home to an array of cheese and savoury and seasoned cold cuts (think salami, prosciutto, rosemary ham and more).

After perusing the Italian and other European items, I promise myself to come back for takeaway items such as homemade lasagne, cheese and salami before heading to my next stop: The Golden Boot Caffe. Here is where classic Italian cooking meets cool, urban ambiance.

With a penchant for Italian cooking from his three aunts, paired with many summers spent cooking and eating with family in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, owner/chef David Azzi opened his first Italian restaurant – not in his hometown of Coquitlam, but rather in the heart of downtown Vancouver inside the ultra-stylish Leone boutique. After a few years, he travelled east and opened The Golden Boot Caffe.

The Golden Boot Caffe: Pizza Margherita
The Golden Boot Caffe: Pizza Margherita

During my recent visit, I sampled two of their many homemade specialties: Pizza Margherita Napoli and handmade tortellini with prosciutto and parmesan. Aside from the fact that you’re greeted almost immediately with homemade focaccia bread, that the parmesan is the truest kind you can find anywhere in the world – that’s to say, parmesan from Parma, Italy – and that all the meat (for paninis) is roasted in-house, all the sauces are homemade and the pizza genuinely rivals any you might find in Rome or Naples. Aside from all this, the most amazing aspect of my meal was the handmade tortellini, which is hand rolled only after you’ve ordered it. The result? An exceptional and extraordinarily flavourful, melt-in-your-mouth pasta experience you won’t soon forget.

The Golden Boot Caffe: Handmade Tortellini
The Golden Boot Caffe: Handmade Tortellini

But since Austin Heights is rife with remarkable dining, there’s another not-to-be-missed experience mere blocks away – this time, at Jimoco Café and Pasta, a bustling neighbourhood favourite known for delicious cuisine, generous portions and savvy pricing.

This intimate and cozy restaurant is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Jayden and Jane Lee who serve up fresh and delicious pizzas, sandwiches, pasta dishes and more – both traditional and with a twist.

Though of Korean descent, Jayden spent a number of years in Northern Italy learning the craft and honing his skills in traditional Italian cooking at a prestigious culinary school in the City of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region, known for some of the country’s finest cuisine and particularly famous for its prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, architecture and music.

Here in Coquitlam, Jayden has taken his Italian culinary skills to new heights at Jimoco Café and Pasta with standard favourites such as Chicken Cacciatore and Spaghetti alla Bolognese (spaghetti with meat sauce) as well as some fusion fare that includes the Penne alla Bombay (pasta with chicken and tomatoes in a curry cream sauce).

Jimoco Café and Pasta: Linguine
Jimoco Café and Pasta: Linguine

Whether you need a quick Italian coffee fix, some European groceries, homemade take-and-bake lasagne – or prefer to dine out on a memorable Italian meal – simply make your way to Coquitlam’s Austin Heights (no passport or euros needed!). Here, a taste of Italy is easy to find, keep and take home. All you have to do is bring your appetite.

Buon appetito!

By Sheliza Mitha

It is precisely because Coquitlam’s Austin Heights neighbourhood is abundant with deliciously satisfying pizza joints – from locally-owned places to well-known chains – that makes it difficult to choose where to get your next slice.

At one end of Austin Street sits Me-N-Ed’s, a true Coquitlam institution. Over the past four decades, Me-N-Ed’s has garnered its fair share of fans, including home-grown celebrities such as Michael J. Fox. In fact, the five Me-N-Ed’s locations throughout the Lower Mainland regularly host charity golf tournaments to raise funds for both the Parkinson’s Society of BC and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s.

During a recent visit to Coquitlam, I stopped by Me-N-Ed’s to sample some of their best-known specialty pizzas: Greek (vegetarian), Smoked Salmon & Roasted Garlic and Thai Chicken. What Me-N-Ed’s might be best known for, however, is their uniquely thin, crunchy, wafer-like crust.

Topped with an array of freshly-cut veggies (think tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc.) and creamy feta cheese, the Greek was a delightful way to start to my own personal pizza buffet.

Next up was the Smoked Salmon & Roasted Garlic. Though I love both smoked salmon and pizza, I would never have thought to couple these two. I expected the salmon to overpower the other flavours, but not only was this not the case – it was actually a perfect match that made for a unique and, in many ways, typical West Coast experience. The feta and roasted garlic added an unexpected richness, which was only enhanced by the smoky salmon. (Next time, I’m getting a larger pie.)

The Thai Chicken also delivered an unexpected flavour combination and texture with the pairing of crunchy noodles, creamy peanut sauce and sweetened veggies – all of which offered a one-of-a-kind Thailand-meets-Italy experience.

Thai Chicken Pizza
Thai Chicken Pizza

But, of course, with some half-dozen pizzerias dotting just a few blocks, Austin Heights offers plenty of choices. For another taste of local, stop by Austin Heights Pizza for one of their specialty pasta dishes, fresh salads or pizzas – such as their famously popular garlic sauce pizza.

Or stop by Florence Pizza and sample one of their donair pizzas, another tasty fusion experience. A visit to Pizza Town & Indian Grill yields other culinary delights, where you can pick up some samosas, pakoras or even some authentically-made butter chicken to complement your slice (or two).

Towards the western end of Austin Heights is where you’ll find more well-known chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Little Caesar’s.

Austin Heights is situated in the southwest part of Coquitlam, stretching along Austin Avenue from Blue Mountain Street in the west to Gatensbury Street to the east, and along Ridgeway Avenue just one block north of Austin.

By Sheliza Mitha

for the City of Coquitlam

Craft beers and tasty twists on traditional pub grub seem to be a specialty in Coquitlam, where you’ll find plenty of spots to quench your thirst and satisfy your appetite – from cozy pubs to bustling bars.

What’s the meaning of craft beer anyways? It’s best defined as being produced by independent brewers that are considerably smaller than major corporate breweries and are generally known for their emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing techniques. You’ll find some ardent fans of this brew in some of Coquitlam’s most popular local hangouts.

2-John-B

Boasting more than 50 types of craft beer, the John B. Pub in the city’s south-western section is where you’ll want to kick start your self-styled tour of Coquitlam’s craft beer scene. The drink menu here changes quickly and often, with a fast-rotating list of unique craft beers at any given time. Each brew is sure to be the perfect accompaniment to John B. Pub’s eclectic menu that touches on nearly every corner of the world – from comforting bowls of Vietnamese pho and spicy Mexican chicken wraps to saucy pasta, fresh salads, savoury Pad Thai and more.

Moving southward, you’ll find the popular Town Hall – a well-known local haunt with nearly 40 different types of craft beer, all ready for the tasting. Here, the menu is equally diverse. Pair your robust beer with a “street taco” (only $4 each) or indulge in some comfort food like baked mac and cheese, homemade cream of mushroom soup, beef dip or poutine (or try the brunch version topped with breakfast sausage and a soft-poached egg).

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Just down the street – about a two-minute walk away – is Woody’s, a Coquitlam institution since 1932. Now more than 80 years old, this popular neighbourhood joint serves up a slew of craft beers – and is particularly known for its generous portions and traditional pub food with a twist. Or head northwest for a short drive and you’ll hit the Foggy Dew Irish Pub tucked into the corner of the Executive Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre. Enjoy some Irish spirit, hospitality and delicious fare then watch as the place fills up – most notably on weekends – turning into an urban nightclub with contemporary, dance-worthy music.

From light brews to robust steins, Coquitlam’s pubs have you covered when it comes to sampling specially-crafted beer and satisfying your appetite. All you have to do is figure out where to start.

By Sheliza Mitha

When you consider that Korean-Canadians are one of Coquitlam’s largest visible minorities, it should come as little surprise that a section of this city has unofficially become known as “Koreatown” – specifically the corner of North Road and Lougheed Highway.

Chances are, you’ll know you’ve arrived in the right place when you hit the colourful English- and Korean-language shop and restaurant signs.

Once here, kick off your culinary adventure with a visit to the Hanahreum Mart (known as H-Mart by locals), home to a dazzling array of Korean delicacies (think marinated meats, salty snacks, sweet treats, luscious breads, pastries and more.) The kimchi corner is particularly worth a visit. Korea’s national dish is well represented here with a seemingly-endless variety of this spicy pickled vegetable: cabbage, green bean, radish, daikon, scallion, eggplant, cucumber. If you’re feeling peckish, pick up lunch or a snack from the store’s hot food section. Try some kimbap – a Korean specialty of seaweed and rice wrapped around ham (or some other kind of meat) and pickled radish – or enjoy a tea (or coffee) with a Korean pastry.

Mar12-2010_fishstation_Hmart04

After whetting your appetite, venture through the heart of Koreatown for more exceptional foods and flavours. If you’re interested in upscale dining, try Insadong Korean BBQ – where an array of marinated meats and seafood, along with exotic side dishes and sauces, are brought to your BBQ table (a table with a small grill at the centre), so you can cook your meat to perfection. Other savoury and delicious options in the area include Kimbap Cheonguk, Wonjo BBQ & Noodle Restaurant, Seok Gi Si Dae BBQ, Bukjang Korean Restaurant, Hee Lae Deung and Moa Box – among many others.

With nearly a dozen restaurants spanning this section of North Road and just beyond, choosing an authentic lunch or dinner spot is surprisingly easy… and tasty.

H-Mart Coquitlam
#100 – 329 North Rd, Coquitlam
604-939-0135
www.hmart.ca

Insadong Korean BBQ
403 North Rd, Coquitlam
604-936-3778

Kimbap Cheonguk
341 North Rd, Coquitlam

Wonjo BBQ & Noodle Restaurant
508 Clarke Rd, Coquitlam

Seok Gi Si Dae BBQ
602 Clarke Rd, Coquitlam

Bukjang Korean Restaurant
341 North Road, Coquitlam

Hee Lae Deung
435 North Rd, Coquitlam

Moa Box
2973 Glen Dr, Coquitlam

By Sheliza Mitha

Anchored by Coquitlam Centre (one of BC’s largest shopping centres) and the 100-acre Town Centre Park, Coquitlam’s City Centre is an evolving, ever-changing neighbourhood overflowing with delicious culinary opportunities around every corner.

Take a quick tour, and you’re sure to discover all the ways that the dining scene here so aptly represents the best of the city’s diversity – and could very well act as a sort of multicultural microcosm of Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. Here, you’ll find Chinese, Japanese and Thai restaurants sharing the same city blocks with hip eateries and Middle Eastern specialties.

image001

Lounge over drinks and appetizers at Browns Socialhouse, a perfect urban hangout with an eclectic menu to please nearly ever palate (think tacos, burgers, pizza, pasta and the list goes on). Just a few steps away is Legend House, boasting more handmade savoury, seasoned noodle dishes that you can possibly imagine – hot, cold, mild, spicy and whatever you might be in the mood for. For another taste of the Far East, stop by the award-winning Chada Thai for pan-seared tiger prawns delicately marinated in chilli and garlic lime sauce or stick with trusty favourites such as Pad Thai, Tom-Yum (hot and sour) soup or savoury Thai curries.

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If you’re looking for the ideal comfort food, try a steaming bowl of pho at Delicious Pho (so good, it’s in the name), or catch some fresh sashimi at any number of the nearby Japanese restaurants (Nagano, Osamu and Sushi Town are just a few). Or drop by the impressive Grand Palace for some colourful dim sum in a modern and elegant setting. When it comes to extraordinary and authentic Asian cuisine, there’s no shortage of choices – all you have to do is pick.

And although Metro Vancouver has a long history of offering some exceptional Asian fare – such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese – admittedly Filipino cuisine has been slower to take off. But, that is happily changing with the highly-acclaimed Kulinarya – one of the Lower Mainland’s few restaurants serving traditional Filipino dishes like chicken adobo, fried tilapia and classic Filipino breakfasts (available all day).

Or travel to another part of the world with Urban Gate, home to the best of authentic Persian cuisine (with a nod to time-honoured kebabs cooked over a slow fire), but with a modern fusion twist.

Coquitlam’s diverse City Centre neighbourhood is centrally located near Coquitlam Centre and Town Centre Park, and is easily accessible by car and public transit (and will soon be serviced by the new Evergreen SkyTrain line).

 

By Joanne Sasvari

Head east of Chilliwack and just before you hit the misty Coastal Mountains you’ll run into a little slice of pastoral paradise, where happy cows graze in the meadows and one of North America’s best cheese makers, Debra Amrein-Boyes, is making magic from milk.

The Farm House Natural Cheeses sign on McCallum Road in Agassiz
The Farm House Natural Cheeses sign on McCallum Road in Agassiz. Photo: Joanne Sasvari

Of course, you don’t have to travel all the way to Agassiz to sample her nutty cheddars, savoury blues and creamy bries. That’s because The Farm House Natural Cheeses can be found on just about every fine cheese plate in town. You’ll find it at restaurants that range from Salt Tasting Room to Farmer’s Apprentice to Hawksworth, and in cheese shops including small independents (Benton Brothers, Les Amis du Fromage), farm markets like Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford and Pomme Natural Market in Coquitlam, and big chains (Whole Foods, Save On Foods, Choices).

Debra Amrein-Boyes, cheese maker and co-owner of The Farm House Natural Cheeses, with her award-winning traditional Clothbound Cheddar
Debra Amrein-Boyes, cheese maker and co-owner of The Farm House Natural Cheeses, with her award-winning traditional Clothbound Cheddar. Photo: Joanne Sasvari

Amrein-Boyes herself is a bit of a legend in cheese circles. She is one of only a handful of North American cheese makers to be inducted into the prestigious French Cheese Guild, the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie de Saint-Uguzon. Her 2009 book, 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes, was nominated for a World Gourmand Cookbook Award. And her cheeses have scooped up numerous prizes, too, including, most recently, the 2014 Canadian Cheese Awards for Best Aged Cheddar and Best B.C. Cheese for her Clothbound Cheddar.

Not bad for someone who only started making cheese in 2004. Back then, she and her husband George Boyes were running a small family dairy farm in Agassiz and, like so many others, struggling to compete with giant agribusinesses. The solution, she decided, was to offer something of added value. And that something would be cheese.

But it wouldn’t be just any cheese. It would be the best quality cheese possible, made from grass-fed, high-butterfat milk, much of it from heritage Guernsey and Brown Swiss cows, with no additives, preservatives, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics, and as little intervention as possible.

The rich, luscious, triple-crème-brie-like Lady Jane cheese from The Farm House Natural Cheeses
The rich, luscious, triple-crème-brie-like Lady Jane cheese from The Farm House Natural Cheeses. Photo: Joanne Sasvari

“It’s all old-fashioned, natural methods, which is one of the reasons the flavour is so good,” she says.

Right from the beginning, Amrein-Boyes decided she would produce a big range of cheeses, not just a few like most other artisanal cheese makers. “We wanted to introduce cheeses to the Canadian public that people weren’t familiar with,” she says.

And so she makes cheese from goat’s milk and cow’s milk. She makes fresh cheeses and aged ones, soft cheeses and firm ones, cheeses that are mould ripened, ash ripened and threaded with blue veins. She makes some 20 varieties of cheese, including the luxuriously rich Lady Jane named for her daughter, but also offers butter, yogurt, cheese curds, quark, crème fraîche, milk and buttermilk.

Does she have a favourite? “I love the cheddar,” Amrein-Boyes says, “but sometimes you want a glass of Beaujolais and the camembert.”

Now she’s inspired others farmers, such as Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, to produce artisanal cheese in the Fraser Valley; indeed, one of them is her own daughter, who is planning to take over the business with her husband when Amrein-Boyes eventually retires.

Meanwhile, she has cheese to make, and a hungry clientele to keep deliciously well fed.

The Farm House Natural Cheeses is located at 5634 McCallum Road, Agassiz, 1-604-796-8741

By Nikki Bayley

Vancouver is known as Canada’s cocktail capital, a hotbed of innovative alcoholic creations, shaken and stirred by award-winning bartenders who are making a name for themselves on the international circuit. Tucked away in the city’s West End by Stanley Park on Denman Street, you’ll find Buckstop, owned by Fiona Grieve whose local-first approach to cocktails is making her late night barbecue joint a must-visit for locavore drinkers.

“I’m local,” grins Fiona, “I was raised in the Tri-Cities area and have friends there who still who grow things and are always eager to get them into the restaurant. I love to use produce from Coquitlam to make my cocktail bitters. Bitters help to add layers of complexity to a drink, say you have just a plain tomato, if I add salt and pepper to that it changes it and makes it better. Then say I add balsamic vinegar or basil, that will change it again and it’s the same for a cocktail. It’s about adding those layers in so you don’t get a flat beverage. Every step that you put into it will make it more memorable and enjoyable.”

Photo: Jonathan Le Francoi
Photo: Jonathan Le Francois

My family has a huge amount of lavender at home, so I made lavender bitters which we feature in our cocktails and they specifically say ‘tri-cities lavender” on the bottle. It’s a good local product and we’re stoked about it! We’re excited to offer something that came from nearby. People think that lavender is a little exotic so bringing it from somewhere close is fantastic.

Ever since summer began we’ve been making our BC blueberry bourbon lemonade; you smash the blueberries up and they give you this incredible colour. I use Port Moody blackberries, which grow wild, in one of our most popular drinks, the Mule Skinner. My mom goes out and picks them for me. It has blackberry liquer and fresh muddled blackberries in it with with bourbon and it’s fun to say ‘these berries were growing wild in a park in Coquitlam and now you’re drinking them!’ I always make a point about talking about using local fruits in our drinks and so does my bartender. Of course, people are into it! No one’s ever said ‘Oh, I don’t want that local peach, it’s not from Chile!

A really good place to find cocktail ingredients is the Farmer’s Market; I can walk down to the one in Yaletown on Thursdays and it’s exciting because the produce is always changing, we have this short period to enjoy different wonderful local foods, when they come in season. They’re here for a short time and there is absolutely no comparison to anything else; it tastes different. It’s totally awesome, fantastic and delicious to eat and drink local produce!”

Buckstop can be found at 833 Denman St. in Vancouver