Vancouver Olympics – New Foods 5

And, as the tourists are arriving for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC, everyone is looking for good food! Here are choices to experience en place and also some have products for you to take home!

Continuing my series:

31. Kobe Beef Meatballs
They defy Italian Nonna’s conventional wisdom. You can forget the breadcrumbs and Parmesan; these dense, atomic beef bombs sing arias as well as satisfy. The restaurant has a dedicated line for reservations from their long-time customers during the Olympics; now that’s a touch which should be acknowledged. Enjoy their multi-region cuisine. It’s expensive and not a place to bring the kids.They publish the menus online. It can be pretty busy under normal circumstances, but it gets noisy on regular Saturday nights, so if you want a quiet meal, try week-days. Italian Kitchen, 1037 Alberni St., 604-687-2858
Italian Kitchen, Vancouver BC

32. Topanga’s Chocolate Cake
Yes, it’s named after Topanga in Southern California and the restaurant bills itself as California Mexican cuisine. Their chocolate comfort, doled out in thick slabs, is moist and rich cake which certainly kicks everybody else to the curb. Check the online menu so you know the prices, as they are steep. There are items there that are so well done, but it’s still pretty hefty for a cuisine that costs “beans” to prepare, so many people just come for the cake after eating elsewhere. If you stay for dinner, be aware the entree portions are large and there’s bottomless chips and salsa, so save room for the cake — or just get the cake!
Topanga Café, 2904 W. Fourth Ave., 604-733-3713
Topanga Café, Vancouver BC

33. Deep-Fried Frog’s Legs
These are delicately fried Cambodian-style in a slightly sweet coating, and then served with fresh lemon dipping sauce (with fried garlic and green onions on the side). They taste nothing like the proverbial”chicken” — and that’s a good thing. This is a moderately priced restaurant for Vancouver and you can bring the kids. Other things which get high-marks are the fried chicken wings with their lemon-pepper dipping sauce (you must use the sauce!), the Garlic Squid with the same sauce, Sweet and Sour Soup, Butter Beef, pea shoots and papaya salad. Phnom Penh, 244 E. Georgia St., 604-734-8898.

34. Sablefish
Finest at Sea Seafoods single-handedly turned the usual lurid-orange Alaska smoked black cod into the pale yellow, naturally smoked Canadian sablefish which is served at every good restaurant in town. If you get some to take back to your hotel room’s kitchenette, you can gently poach it in milk (like Finnan Haddie – smoked Scotch haddock) OR grill it gently for about 15 minutes.

Finest at Sea Seafoods, Vancouver BC 4675 Arbutus St., 604-266-1904. There are other locations, too. Get some FedEx orders set-up for when you will arrive home, too, while you eat in the simple café. Mon. 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tue-Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Realize that the chefs in the little café don’t make anything other than simple fare with great fish. People like the crab cakes best. If you want great recipes, go to the best restaurants which use FSS’s fish and get exquisite results!

35. Wild White Salmon
You will not be able to sample this delicacy in the winter at the Olympic Games in Vancouver BC, as it is only available for one month, in summer. (But, you may be able to try some smoked versions.) This fish, sometimes called Ivory King, has a sweeter and more delicate flavor than its pink counterpart. Only 1% of King Salmon are white. It’s was also less expensive (but it getting more so). The fish has the highest omega-3 content. Some scientists believe that white salmon eat mostly squid and fish, which have fewer carotenoids. Ask the people at Finest at Sea Seafoods, above, which supplies most of the fish in the finest restaurants in the City and beyond. It’s been popping up on menus all over town, and is especially good at Elixir, in the Opus Hotel, 350 Davie St., 604-642-0557

36. Friulano Salumi
Stefan and Jordan Urbani’s Friulano is an artisanal dry-cured sausage that combines garlic and Sangiovese into a mouthwatering riot. Moccia Italian Meat Market, 2276 E. Hastings St., 604-255-2032 There are 13 different kinds of Italian salamis, and the absolute cheapest Parmesan and Pecorino cheese – try each salami beforehand. Great for those Olympic picnics while you stand in line or beforehand (you cannot take your own food into the Olympic venues.)
Moccia Italian Meat Market, Vancouver 2296 E. Hastings Street, 604-255-2032

37. Abalone
The Huu-ay-aht Community Abalone Project, in Bamfield, farms tiny amounts of this sought-after mollusk and sells it all, under strict controls, to C Restaurant. Salty, crunchy, chewy, it’s about its texture as much as its taste. This is an ecological restoration project to return the Native American’s food source to viability. The long time Chef-owner at C Restaurant has a fabulous feel for fish and other seafood, so he’s the one to go for this delicacy. C Restaurant, 2–1600 Howe St., 604-681-1164
Oceanlink – Native American Abalone Project
Tribal Abalone, Vancouver, BC
C Restaurant, Vancouver

38. Polenta Fries
The Hunt Lounge and the Cascade Room are situated near the corner of Main Street and Broadway, along what was once Brewery Creek, where the original Vancouver Brewery was. It brewed some mighty fine beers, however, nothing compared to their flagship brew “Cascade – The Beer without Peer”, and the Hunt Lounge and the Cascade Room is their nod to that fine drop, the neighborhood and to all those who came before. The amazing polenta fries are served with curried mayo dip, and they’re as close as you’ll get to a perfect bar snack. When they are piping hot, they temper the bartender’s wicked retro cocktails. Cascade, 2616 Main St., 604-709-8650
Habit Lounge Menu
Habit Longe and Cascade Room, Vancouver, BC

39. Vegetarian Poutine
Herbivores can rejoice! This meatless mushroom gravy, generously poured over crispy fries and chunks of white cheddar cheese, doesn’t mirror a traditional poutine, but it’s highly addictive. Served at the tiny Templeton diner, the place has almost cult status in Vancouver. The brunch goes til 3, and there’s often long lines as people tend to linger. They still have “the world’s best $5 milkshake” that was on the menu back in the late nineties. Followers appreciate the good prices and regard it as a fun place to be. It’s effortlessly-shabby retro decor, brilliant menu filled with nourishing, hearty comfort food, and a mini jukebox at every table (which sometimes works). Some say it needs a scrub; others regard that as funky. Maybe 40 people can eat at one time. It’s wheelchair accessible, with moderate prices. The rosemary mashed potatoes are also swoon-inducing. Have a Plan B ready in case it’s busy and you don’t want to wait.
The Templeton, Vancouver, BC
1087 Granville St., 6604-685-4612 Mon-Thurs 9:00 am-11:00 pm Fri-Sat. 9:00 am-1:00 am Sun 9:00 am-11:00 pm

40. Venturi-Schulze Balsamic Vinegar
Marilyn Venturi, Giordano Venturi, and Michelle Schulze make this delicacy on Vancouver Island from the winery’s grape juice, then simmer it to a luscious concentration over an open fire. After that, it’s matured in small barrels of acacia, ash, cherry, oak and chestnut wood – making for a long, intensive process. The result is unbelievably sweet and rich, made for drizzling over fresh summer fruit and vanilla ice cream! It goes for around $65 a bottle! Look for its distinctive black bottle at Les Amis du Fromage, 1752 W. Second Ave., 604-732-4218
Venturi-Schulze Winery, Vancouver Island

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