Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vancouver: Japadog, The Greedy Pig & The Alibi Room

Since we stayed near Gastown in Vancouver, we spent a good amount of time around that area since it was within walking distance, and there's a lot of great bars and restaurants.  One thing about Gastown is that if you like the hipster culture, then this is THE spot.  It's almost as if all the hipsters in Vancouver gathered in this little area.  For our last night, we decided to hit up a few spots around the area since hipster spots meant good food and drinks!

One of the must eats when visiting Vancouver is stopping by a Japadog location.  They are the originator of this Japanese fusion hot dog, and there's even a location in NYC now!  Before Alice, Calvin, and I headed off to Gastown to hit up our spots, we stopped by the brick & mortar location of Japadog on Robson for some appetizers :P

530 Robson St
Vancouver, BC V6B 2B7  

japadog robson street
Been to a cart location, now to their brick & mortar location!

our order
We decided to get four to share, with some unique to these Robson location.

Yakiniku Dog.  One of the hot dogs that's unique to this location.  Essentially, an Arabiki sausage sits on a bed of rice, then topped with yakiniku between bun.  It's like a MOS Burger gone cray cray!  Sauce was pretty damn good.

Tonkatsu.  Another unique to this location.  There's no hot dog in this, but a piece of pork katsu, drizzled with sweet mayo and katsu sauce and topped with cabbage between bun.  

Oroshi.  Still my favorite hot dog from Japadog.  Grated dikon on top of a juicy pork bratwurst with some green onions on top.  So simple, but so good.

The one that started it all, Terimayo.  Since Calvin & Alice never had Japadog, had to order the original.  Teriyaki sauce, sweet mayo and seaweed = winning combo.


After Japadog, we made our way towards Gastown, and stopped by the first stop of the night, Greedy Pig.  It's a lounge/gastropub that focuses on whiskey cocktails.  Pigs seem to be a really popular thing nowadays haha.

Greedy Pig
307 W Cordova Street 
Downtown, Gastown
Vancouver, BC V6B 1E5

Greedy Pig's logo on the menu.

Ward Eight with a Kentucky bourbon
Calvin's Ward Eight.  Classic cocktail, except their version is with Kentucky bourbon instead of rye.

Roughrider with CA rye whiskey
Alice's Roughrider.  Made with Canadian rye whiskey.  Not a huge fan of it cause it was super sweet.

Old Ripper though.  Made with Tennessee sour mash, pureed white peach, creme de peaches, fresh lemon juice, bitters, and egg white
Old Ripper.  Made with Tennessee sour mash, pureed white peach, creme de peaches, fresh lemon juice, bitters, and egg white.  Very hipster drink with the egg white, but it was the best one out of the three we tried!

Part of their menu.  We decided to get the Marrow & Toast to share.

Marrow & Toast.  Roasted marrow bones, garlic confit, sea salt, truffle oil, arugula, and bacon.

marrow & bacon
The marrow and the bacon.

Marinated garlic!


creation 2
My own little bite.  The truffle oil was very light.  Sea salt was a nice touch since it helped cut through all the fat.


We actually stopped by another gatropub but it was way too packed so we decided to go to our last stop, Alibi Room, a very hipster Canadian pub.  Why is it hipster?  Well, it's a pub that serves a ton of craft beers, including local brews, tons of interesting characters (saw a guy wearing a sailor's outfit there), and it's actually located a bit far away from Gastown, in an area that's a little shady.  

Alibi Room
157 Alexander Street 
Vancouver, BC V6A 1B8

Front of Alibi Room.  A bit hard to find if you don't know the area.

Logo.  Lots of beers on tap.

maple beer
I wanted something a bit unique and local so I went with the Red Truck "Prev-Ale" Maple Ale.  Definitely get that maple haha.

Calvin's "Le Nez Rouge" Tripel.  A local brew as well.  9% Belgian tripel.

Alice likes porter so she got the Phillips "Longboat" Double Chocolate Porter.  

Must have something to nibble on so we got the fries.

vinegar and ketchup
Came with two condiments: housemade ketchup and chili garlic vinegar.  I am a sucker for ketchup made in-house so I went for that most of the time.

pork belly sandwich
Later on, we couldn't resist the piggy, so got the Pork Belly Sandwich, which was topped with beer braised onions, served with jalapeno coleslaw, and more fries.  Pork belly was not as good as Calvin and I liked, but the slaw was very interesting!  Gave us regular ketchup this time instead of the homemade.   

We called it a night after Alibi Room, but I was definitely surprised with the Canadian craft beer scene!  It just seems like all of Pacific Northwest is loaded with these breweries brewing these unique beers.  Should've saved some room for more beer instead of food haha.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Whistler: Zog's, El Furniture Warehouse & Elements Tapas Bar

I've never been boarding out of California, only to Mammoth, Tahoe (Nevada side doesn't count), and crappy spots in SoCal, so my excitement level once we got to Whistler was at the highest!  It seriously was a winter wonderland there!  It snowed a lot so that meant plenty of fresh powder and even got to board down the Blackcomb Glacier!  That was pretty damn cool.

Whistler is more like a small village, with the village serving as the base for all the hotels, restaurants, and shops.  Of course, such a popular vacationing spot would have several good eats, and let's just say all the places we tried in Whistler, they all beat Big Bear's bread bowl soup :P

First day of boarding!  Constant snowfall!  We took the super early bus to Whistler so after we checked in, we got ready and went out for a day of boarding.  Ending up only doing two runs because the place is just huge!  And of course, after a day of boarding, we had to stop by one of the most popular spot, Zog's, for some poutine!

Zog's Dogs
4340 Sundial Cres RR 4 
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4

Zog's.  Pretty much just a fast food stand serving popular Canadian snacks and hot dogs.  Most people come here for poutine after a day of riding since it is literally the first thing you see walking back towards the village.  People eating outside when it is still snowing.

classic poutine
Classic Poutine, with fries, gravy, and cheese curd.  You get all this for around $7 CAD!  It's pretty funny though since they take the cheese curd out of a single-serving package, and I'm pretty sure the gravy is from a mix, but who cares!  Poutine is seriously so legit after a day of boarding.  It did get a little gross once the wind chill got to it and made it cold haha.

meatsauce poutine
We also went with the Bolognese Poutine, which is fries topped with meat sauce and shredded mozzarella.  Luckily I know where to get something like this at home cause this was bomb too.

Calvin & Alice never tried a beavertail so we got one to share.  This is the cinnamon sugar one, that's perfect with a squeeze of lemon.  We got a chocolate hazelnut one too but forgot to take a pic of it.  Just the same as the regular beavertail except it is smeared with a Nutella-like spread instead of dusted with sugar.

In fact, we liked it so much, we went back to it on the second day!  Weather was much better haha.

outside grill
The outdoor grilling station.  Lots of people getting poutine and hot dogs.

+ onions
We got the classic poutine again, but this time we topped it with some caramelized onions! Zog's is exactly like those beach stands that sells food.  Easy to make items, but so damn tasty.


That night, we decided to go somewhere a bit nice and found this tapas place called Elements Urban Tapas. Made a short trek there and found the place to be completely empty except for one other table.  We were a bit worried since it was a Friday night, but we were hungry!

Elements Urban Tapas
4359 Main St 
Whistler, BC V0N 1B2

A look inside the place, with the open kitchen.

Menu, mostly using fresh ingredients from BC.

burrowing owl pinot gris
Wine list had a few bottles that were quite reasonable so we went with the Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris, which is from this wine regrion, Okanagan Valley, Canada.  Never tried Canadian wine except for ice wine so this was a first!

bison petit 3 way
Bison Petit Threeway.  This was probably what I looked forward to the most since it was bison served in three ways, jerked, as a tartar, and grilled.  In the front, is house-smoked bison jerky and right behind it is the tartar.  Bison is leaner than beef and you can definitely tell from the jerky.  As for the bison tartar, I'm a huge fan of beef tartar, and you can barely tell that it is bison. They probably did a good job seasoning it.

bison medallion
Grilled bison medallion with romesco sauce on the bottom.  Very tender and grilled to a nice medium rare.  The potato chips are actually dusted with almond salt!

wild BC salmon
Lemon & panko crusted wild BC salmon.  We actually didn't eat this dish since we didn't order it and they made the wrong thing.  I was hoping they would just leave it with us, but instead they took it back... should've taken a bite before we told them haha.

salmon & ahi tuna tempura roll
This was what we actually ordered: Wild BC salmon and ahi tuna tempura roll, with tobiko and sweet ginger soy.

BC salmon + ahi
Not bad for Asian fusion!  Not enough though.  Boo.

This was definitely my favorite tapas: Porcini gnocchi.  The dish is just earthy all around: gnocchi is flavorful from the porcini mixed it, tossed with some wild mushrooms and a truffle butter sauce!  There's also shaved white grace peasant cheese, which is pretty similar to a young parmigiano.  This was also probably the best cooked gnocchi I've had.  Perfect texture.

pork belly + bread budding + poached egg
Calvin was super excited for this: slow cooked pork belly, soft poached egg, savory bread pudding, and maple glaze.  Pork belly?  Super soft & tender.  Poached egg?  Perfect runny yolk.  Savory bread pudding?  Somehow it works!  Maple glaze?  C'mon it's Canada!


I did a bit of research before I came to Whistler and found that there was this gastropub that sells all their food items for $4.95 CAD!  That's an awesome price anywhere, let alone a place like Whistler, where it is mostly fancier restaurants, so after dinner at Element Urban Tapas, we decided to stop by for a few drinks and more food!

El Furniture Warehouse
4314 Main Street Suite 24
Whistler, BC V0N

olympic ring
Passed by the Olympic rings on the way there.


Snow and lights everywhere.  For once, it felt like Christmas around the holidays.  

el furniture warehouse
Outside.  $4.95 for evey food item!


local beer with apple jack
Of course, with such an affordable menu, the crowd is much younger, and at night, that means alcohol's flowing!  We decided to get some drinks: some local beer with a shot of applejack.

onion rings
Onion rings.  Nothing too crazy, but for around $5, that's a good amount.

poutine with maple bacon
We wanted some more poutine so we got their version, which comes with fries, gravy, cheese curd, and maple bacon!  Better than Zog's, so much cheaper, and there's bacon!  Maple bacon!  I thought about ordering another after we killed it. 

mini donuts with spiced chocolate sauce
Mini donuts with spiced chocolate sauce.  Awesome mini cake donuts!  Every bar, pub, and gastropub should serve donuts.

We actually wanted to go back for lunch the next day but the place had a line out the door... I would've been down to wait just to eat more poutine and try out other items, but we were in a time crunch since we had to catch a bus ride back to Vancouver!

Whistler, I'll be back.