Friday, January 11, 2013


Oh how this space was neglected in 2012. Just 28 posts. 28. Here's hoping for a more solid number in 2013.

We had one of the strangest fall and Christmas seasons ever. I started my 'winter job' at the end of September; always a bit of an adjustment. Then, in November, a friend and long time staff member at Folk Fest passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer; needless to say this was and is a difficult hit. Finally, about a week into December, our landlords let us know that they wanted to put the Oliver unit we moved into last year, up for sale. Instead of waiting until February, we found something (unfortunately not in Oliver, but, fortunately, downtown), and three weeks later, we moved. We did have a great view of the New Year's Eve fireworks:

We have still been eating... a lot.

A few weeks ago we stopped in at Canteen (10522 124 Street) for dinner after hearing rave reviews from coworkers who had attended the soft opening the night before ('That was probably the best lamb I've ever eaten.'). Opening night kinks aside, the food was wonderful. I had a salad with fried chicken livers, arugula, spiced yogurt and an anchovy vinaigrette followed by the Moroccan lamb chops (how could I order anything but?), which were, indeed, lovely. Charles chose the citrus cured salmon with potato followed by the most tender, rich, comforting dish of beef short ribs. I received a gift certificate for Canteen for Christmas, giving us an excuse to head back soon (brunch sounds particularly lovely).

Earlier in the week, we stopped by Sloppy Hogs Roed Hus (10406 118 Ave.) with a couple friends; it was a visit that had been in reschedule mode for the past two months. Although my initial intent was to go with a sandwich, the server suggested we order the Game Day Platter ($75) for the table, which would allow us to try each of the four meats they offer (ribs, chicken, brisket and pulled pork), each type of BBQ sauce (there was a classic, berry and mustard) and the sides (coleslaw, baked beans, fries and cornbread).

The giant platter

The BBQ itself was great, with the spicy ribs taking centre stage for most of us. The sides were less impressive, particularly the coleslaw, which was lacking in flavour. Although the sauces were all good, we were surprised at the tiny portions that arrived at the table - just a couple tablespoons of each between the four of us; with the meat on the dry side, a little more definitely would have been nice. We also agreed that next time, we could leave the fries in favour of more cornbread, with its sweetness balancing the meat well.
I also haven't mentioned any of our stopovers at Underground Tap and Grill (10004 Jasper Ave.). We ventured over during their 'soft opening' in October with high expectations. They were definitely still working out the kinks with both food and beer - their final food menu was still in the works and many of the beers listed simply weren't available yet. In November, we tried again. With their full menu in swing, Charles went with a bowl of curry chicken, while I chose the classic burger. Charles found his curry okay, but commented on under seasoning, in terms of both salt and spices. I found my burger a little dry and overcooked, and the crumbly bacon served atop the patty didn't help much.

While we haven't returned for food, we've been back a few times since for beer and are happy to see things have solidly improved on that front. Awhile ago they dedicated 12 more tap lines to the rotational section, bringing the total to 24; there was a definite change in the selection between our last two stops. There are lots of beer tasting boards to choose from (in terms of numbers and the types of beer included) and it's nice to see more events coming down the line - their first cask night with Alley Kat, featuring the newest of the Dragon series - Plaid Dragon - will be taking place on Tuesday, January 29th at 6pm.

I'm not sure we will ever find the atmosphere at Underground as cozy as Sugarbowl or Next Act, but with the most interesting beer selection in town (of both local and imported brews), we will continue to head over.
Beyond that we've been enjoying a very slow couple weeks. Unpacking, coffee dates, trips to the antique mall, multiple batches of these brownies. Last night I broke out the Dutch oven (because it always starts with that) and made these stout braised short ribs with a bottle of Rogue's Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout.

My mum has been wanting to check out Under the High Wheel for awhile, so earlier in the week we went over for lunch. I ordered the portobello burger while my mum went for the vegetable panini. As before, the portions are generous and their salad served alongside was excellent.

We hope the first couple weeks of 2013 are treating you well too!


Rachel said...

I call being your brunch date...I'll take you to the Bothy in return. Sorry, Charles (sort of).

How are the brownies? I wouldn't have thought to look twice at the recipe, but multiple batches, you say!

Also, stout braised short are setting the bar very high for Tuesday lunches. So far, I have devilled eggs. Which is a good start.

Marianne said...

Haha. I'll let him know.

They are pretty good. The appeal is that you can make them in 10 minutes and there's no where around here to find dessert; they don't compare to your brownie recipe, Rach.

Mmm. Devilled eggs are certainly a good start. Let's just have those :-)

Isabelle said...

Wow, lots of changes! From your NYE photo it looks like your new place is really close to where we used to live. Hope you are enjoying the change. I really must check out Under the high Wheel soon, those photos are tantallizing!

Marianne said...

We definitely are, Isabelle... I'm sure it's the exact same building.

I'm positive you would love Under the High Wheel! I think we've talked about their buckwheat crepes...?