Food

New Fall Drinks at Starbucks starting September 6, 2018 by Jenn Chan

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If you're like 80% of people in Vancouver, you're probably happy to see the Pumpkin Spice Latte back on the menu at Starbucks. #PSLseason It's what most people look forward to come Fall, and despite me wishing summer would stay forever, I have come to terms that fall is upon us. With the return of PSL, Starbucks has come up with another handcrafted drink to add to the Starbucks Fall line up. NEW Cardamom Latte is a new Canadian exclusive beverage with a robust, aromatic taste.  Designated as a ‘food trend to watch for’ this year, cardamom spice is blended harmoniously with Starbucks® signature espresso to create a unique and delicious latte experience that will be available only in Canadian cafes starting Thursday, September 6th.

 

Inspired by the craft of the Starbucks ReserveTM Roastery in Seattle, the Cardamom Latte was adapted specifically for Canadians, as customers gravitate towards elevated taste experiences that reflect our global appetite, in a way that only Starbucks and our skilled baristas can offer. The latte delivers a rich, complex spice through earthy, floral, citrus and vanilla notes to perfectly complement Starbucks signature Espresso Roast.

 

Along with the new Cardamom Latte, they’ve also rolled out some new snacks: Maple Peacan Muffin, Pumpkin Scone, Fox Iced Sugar Cookie and my new personal favourite, the Classic Coffee Cake.

 

Starbucks Cardamom Latte
Starbucks NEW Maple Pecan Muffin
Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha
Starbucks Fox Iced Sugar Cookie
Starbucks NEW Cold Foam Dark Cocoa Nitro
 
 

FOOD | New Menu items at Tractor Foods by Jenn Chan

Tractor Foods

 

When I was a kid the typical salad on the dinner table was iceberg lettuce with Kraft Ranch Dressing, or maybe Kraft Russian Dressing.  For variety it might be Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing on the lettuce with some added croutons.  As you might have guessed my childhood did not engender a fondness for salads in me.  As an adult I am pleased to say that I have found some excellent salads that have managed to turn my salad opinion around.  I will even go so far as to say that these salads qualify, in my opinion, as comfort foods.  This much needed correction to my salad bias is due largely to Tractor, the Everyday Healthy Food restaurants.  A fifth Vancouver location recently opened at 601 West Broadway and that is where we tried some new additions to the menu.

 

The layout of each Tractor location varies but the premise is the same: fresh, nutritious, delicious, locally sourced healthy foods served in a cafeteria style setting.  The Broadway location has patio seating on the large plaza at the corner of Broadway and Ash.  Once inside the line for food starts to the left.  Seeing all the freshly made food and looking at the menu may make you want to order one of everything, and maybe some wine or a craft beer too.  The soups are hearty and the stews satisfyingly filling.  Sandwiches don’t skimp on the fillings and can be ordered half size or whole.

 

Tractor Foods
Tractor Foods
Tractor Foods Menu
Tractor Foods Menu

 

The Everyday Rice Bowl has a base of rice and power greens.  With one market side and grilled avocado and you’ve got a meal for $9.95.  I loved the grilled avocado!  Should you, for some reason, want something other than avocado you can get the Everyday Rice Bowl with tofu or a hard boiled egg instead of avocado.  For a market side I had a kimchi topping.  If you are concerned about the kimchi being spicy you can rest easy, it is a mild type of kimchi that was enjoyable and not tongue searingly spicy.  There is a good choice of market sides so you could have a different Everyday Rice Bowl each day of the week and still have more options for next week.

 

A new mocktail, the Tractor Natural, is light and refreshing to drink.  It has sparkling water, grapefruit juice and rosemary.  It looks and tastes summery and I think quite a few of them will be seen on the patio this summer.

 

 New Bowls at Tractor Foods

New Bowls at Tractor Foods

 New Mocktail: Tractor Natural

New Mocktail: Tractor Natural

 Everyday Bowl: Rice + Power Greens + 1 market side + grilled avo

Everyday Bowl: Rice + Power Greens + 1 market side + grilled avo

 

The Short Rib Bowl has certified Angus Beef Short Rib and adds a second market side to the rice and power greens for a price of $14.50.  We tried it with Mediterranean Couscous (couscous, grilled asparagus, basil, Kalamata olives, radicchio, shredded kale, orange thyme dressing) and Artichokes (artichokes, white beans, napa cabbage, watermelon radish, cannellini beans, parsley, orange balsamic vinaigrette) as the two sides.  However the bitterness of radicchio doesn’t appeal to me so I picked it out of the bowl.  To my taste this made the Mediterranean Couscous much better and I would not hesitate to order it again.  The Artichokes market side was quite good, no quibbles from me.  The beef was tender, moist, mouth wateringly delicious.  A great combo bowl, with that one small caveat.

 

 

 Short Rib Bowl

Short Rib Bowl

 

The third new bowl item on the menu we tried was the Wild Coho Salmon Bowl which cost $15.50.  The salmon is Ocean Wise, which means it is an ocean friendly sustainable seafood choice.  The chermoula sauce on the fish was amazing!  Chermoula (aka charmoula, aka charmola) is a marinade that originates in North Africa with variations from Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Morocco.  The market side with the salmon was equally amazing.  Grilled pears, arugula, candied walnuts, blue cheese dressing.  This is the kind of salad that makes friends easily.  The blue cheese dressing alone could make any salad better.  Maybe even a salad with radicchio.  The thin slices of grilled pear compliment the salmon well.  This dish is a winner all round.

 

 Wild Coho Salmon Bowl

Wild Coho Salmon Bowl

 

Tractor has several grab and go items that could be eaten as desert after your meal, while binge watching Netflix, or as a mid day snack at the office.  The Dark Chocolate Bark could be described as a decadent granola bar but without the granola.  It has goji berries, apricot, pumpkin seeds and a slab of marvelous dark chocolate.  The Zucchini Loaf is densely packed with healthy goodness.  I initially compared the density to Christmas cake (which I dislike).  The zucchini loaf won me over and later in the day I found myself wishing I had bought a slice or two to take home.  Since it is a hefty hunk of healthiness you may want to enjoy it with a beverage and my choice is the ginger flavoured Kombucha.  It is a mildly sparkling and tasty cold tea drink, also available in a berry flavour.  Of course the chocolate cookies from Tractor are incredible, and gluten free too.  Jenn’s drink choice was a Matcha Latte, which she loves.

 

 Dark Chocolate Bark, Zucchini Bread, Ginger Kombucha

Dark Chocolate Bark, Zucchini Bread, Ginger Kombucha

Dark Chocolate Bark

 

This location at Broadway and Ash has only been open for a short while.  It is already very popular and every seat was filled at lunch time.  Service is fast, which you would expect from a cafeteria style eatery, and the food was excellent.  Hours are 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week.  The other Vancouver locations have different hours, and may have some menu variations.  I’ve never been disappointed when eating at Tractor.  The food tastes great, it’s healthy,  the prices affordable, and take out is available.  There are a wide variety of vegetarian choices.  What more need I say to convince you to go there?  Maybe two words: grilled avocado.

 

Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods

601 West Broadway (Broadway & Ash)

 

 
 

FOOD | Blue Plate Bonanza at Joe Fortes by Jenn Chan

Joe Fortes

 

A century ago you might walk into a diner or cafe for lunch and order a Blue Plate Special.  You would get a reasonably priced meal of meat and some vegetables (no substitutions!) that might have been served on a plate with a blue willow pattern.  The Blue Plate Special became a popular generic term for any inexpensive full meal, usually different each day.

 

Also about a century ago Joe Fortes was Vancouver’s first official lifeguard.  Originally from Trinidad and Tobago the well loved English Bay lifeguard was named Citizen of the Century in 1986.  There is a Joe Fortes Memorial Drinking Fountain in Alexandra Park, a Joe Fortes Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, and a restaurant that bears his name: Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House.

 

My brief research doesn’t indicate whether Joe Fortes ever ate a blue plate special but you, dear reader, have the opportunity to partake of the Blue Plate Bonanza at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House.  For a limited time five plates are offered every weekday for the very reasonable price of $11.95 per plate.  It’s a beautiful restaurant, plenty of daylight from the skylight and large windows, immense art pieces on the walls that might make you think you are in Impressionist era France, and a popular large rooftop patio that is scheduled to open again April 9th for the warm weather months.

 

Joe Fortes
Joe Fortes
Joe Fortes Blue Plate Bonanza Menu
Blue Plate Bonanza Lunch

 

The Seafood Pot Pie is like a seafood chowder topped with a large puff pastry.  Hearty but not heavy, its individual seafood and vegetable elements retain their flavour and texture nicely.  The golden pastry is tender and flaky enough to be cut easily, not so tender that it crumbles.  This might be a good time to mention that the seafood at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House is Ocean Wise.  This means that the seafood has been harvested responsibly and is recommended by the Vancouver Aquarium as an ocean friendly seafood choice.

 

 Seafood Pot Pie

Seafood Pot Pie

Seafood Pot Pie

 

When trying foods with Thai in the name there’s a slight wariness about the possibility of excessive heat from spices.  I was very happy that the Thai BBQ Chicken was delightfully flavoured without spicy hotness.  The chicken was tender, moist.  The bbq sauce slightly sweet with a faint hint of charcoal from the grilling.  I also liked the rice quite a bit, it too had a slight sweetness.

 

 Thai BBQ Chicken

Thai BBQ Chicken

 

The Panko Crusted Haddock takes the original description of a blue plate special (meat with potato and vegetables) and elevates it to a much higher form of special.  Fresh green beans and carrot, potato and some amazingly good haddock.  The crisp panko crust, fresh flaky haddock, and a chunky tomato topping... this dish is worth a return trip.

 

 Panko Crusted Haddock

Panko Crusted Haddock

Panko Crusted Haddock

 

Crispy Fried Chicken.  Three words that I love to see on a menu.  When this dish arrived I was surprised at the generous size of the chicken.  I detected a bit of heat in the chicken coating, perhaps black pepper, that Jenn did not notice.  The chicken itself was tender and yummy.  Also on the plate were coleslaw and beans.  I thought the beans had a sweet molasses flavour that was very good.

 

  Crispy Fried Chicken

 Crispy Fried Chicken

 

The West Coast Fish Cakes are made with salmon, cod, trout, haddock, and potato.  The accompanying tartar sauce with a lovely dill component was an excellent companion.  A marvelous combination.  Green beans and carrot round out the dish.  The fish cakes were great and had an excellent meaty fish to potato balance.

 

 Westcoast Fish Cakes

Westcoast Fish Cakes

 

The basic Blue Plate menu item is $11.95.  There is an option to add an appetizer or a dessert item.  If you get two courses add $7, if you add both appetizer and dessert add $10.  Speaking of dessert we tried both offerings, Vanilla Crème Brulee and Vanilla Gelato.  The custard of the crème brulee was lightly flavoured, the caramel layer on top had a nice contrasting slightly burnt flavour.  The gelato was bursting with vanilla, not the bland vanilla of supermarket ice cream but the wonderful delicious vanilla of childhood dreams.  This was two scoops of heaven.

 

 Vanille Gelato

Vanille Gelato

 Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

 

For the duration of the Blue Plate Bonanza each of the five lunch items is available any day of the week but not weekends.  Once the Bonanza is over the items are still available on the lunch menu but only one dish per day, Monday through Friday.  Don’t fret if you can’t make it to the restaurant between March 12th to 23rd, but you are going to have a difficult time deciding which day of the week you want to visit as each of the offerings is excellent.  Executive chef Wayne Sych deserves praise for the quality menu.  If pressed to pick a favourite I might choose the Panko Crusted Haddock.  Or the West Coast Fish Cakes.  Or....

 

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House has some new cocktails on the drink menu.  These are available any time, not just during the Blue Plate Bonanza.  From the Fresh & Cool selections Jenn picked the Umeshu Cooler and I the Pompelmocello Collins.  Umeshu is an appealing Japanese liqueur made from ume fruit.  The cooler also has Punt e Mes, fresh lemon and ginger.  Jenn liked this quite a bit.  Served in a rock glass with an enormous ice cube it will likely be a very popular drink when patio season arrives.  My choice,  the Pompelmocello Collins, was like summer in a tall glass.  Sparkly and grapefruity, easy to drink and easy to love.  Also from the Fresh & Cool selections was a drink called Medicinal Purposes.  Made with Grey Goose Poire, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime and Fentiman’s tonic this concoction is just what the doctor ordered.  It doesn’t taste like medicine but this light refreshing drink will have you feeling better should you be ailing in any way.  Or just thirsty.  Another category of drinks is Herbs & Spice.  True North is a fruity tasting drink that has Okanagan Spirits Aquavitus in it.  I’ve had shots of Aquavit before at Christmas dinners and it has a strong distinct flavour.  The combination of honey syrup, fresh lemon, lime and orange juice in the True North does much to soften and enhance the Aquavit.  One more drink selection from Herbs & Spice is Delightful Warning.  Aptly named as it has 2.25 oz. of alcohol, this rum based drink has a slight after taste of black licorice for some reason.  I enjoyed it, perhaps a bit too much.  The beer menu has also been refreshed and there are several solid tempting choices from local craft breweries.

 

 New Cocktail Menu

New Cocktail Menu

 Umeshu Cooler & Pompelmocello Collins

Umeshu Cooler & Pompelmocello Collins

 Umeshu Cooler

Umeshu Cooler

 New Cocktails | Medicinal Purposes, True North, Delightful Warning

New Cocktails | Medicinal Purposes, True North, Delightful Warning

 

Each of the staff members we talked to were warm, friendly, and more than competent.  Thank you to our server Heather, bartender Mark, and Assistant General Manager Jason for a great dining experience.

 

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House is located at 777 Thurlow, Vancouver.  Reservations are recommended.  The Blue Plate Bonanza ends March 23, each dish will still be available after that but only on a specific day of the week.

 

 
 

FOOD | La Pentola Sunday Supper Series - Pasta & Vino by Jenn Chan

La Pentola

 

There is a day each month set aside for a special culinary experience.  The Sunday Supper Series at Italian restaurant La Pentola takes place the last Sunday of the month, a familia style meal with a new menu each time.  Our visit was in February when the menu featured Pasta and Vino.  The six course meal was available with or without wine pairings.  The evening was like a virtual tour of Italy as each course was from a different region of the country.  I was a tourist in Italy a few months ago and had many excellent meals there.  I am determined to return some day but until that happens meals in Italian restaurants will have to satisfy my yearnings.

 

We arrived promptly at 6pm.  A large curved bar is the focal point of the warmly lit main room.  We were shown to a side room with seating for twenty two people at three tables.  Two windows facing Davie Street let in the dwindling daylight.  A large window to another side room in the restaurant was curtained off, creating a comfortable feeling of privacy and separation from the larger restaurant.  As we settled in we were brought fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to tide us over until the first course.  You might say that traditionally Italians don’t eat bread before a meal but as North Americans we are able to enjoy this without any qualms and it is so, so good.

 

Pasta & Vino Supper Series Menu

 

The first course, from the Piedmont region, was Pea and Ricotta Agnolotti with Side Stripe Shrimp, Lemon Butter Sauce and Bottarga.  Piedmont is a mountainous area in the north of Italy with Turin the largest city of interest.  The fresh shrimp was excellent, the agnolotti equally good.  The lemon butter sauce light, harmonious.  A Marchesi di Gresy Sauvignon Blanc was the wine paired to this dish, a fine match.  The Piedmont region scores high marks all around for this course.

 

 Piedmont | Pea and Ricotta Agnolotti, Side Stripe Shrimp, Lemon Butter Sauce, Bottarga Wine Pairing: Marchesi di Gresy Sauvignon Blanc

Piedmont | Pea and Ricotta Agnolotti, Side Stripe Shrimp, Lemon Butter Sauce, Bottarga
Wine Pairing: Marchesi di Gresy Sauvignon Blanc

 

On the central Adriatic coast of Italy is the Marche region which provided inspiration for the next course on the menu: Lobster Tortellini in Lobster Brodo.  The lobster tortellini’s subtle flavour was nicely enhanced by the slightly spicy lobster brodo.  The summery white wine with this course was the Andrea Felici Verdicchio.  The Verdicchio grape is one of the best for white wines in Italy.  I found this wine easy to drink and a welcome respite from the slight spicy heat of the brodo.  (I have a low threshold for spicy foods so you might have found the brodo very mild.)

 

 Marche | Lobster Tortellini in Lobster Brodo Wine Pairing: Andrea Felici Verdicchio

Marche | Lobster Tortellini in Lobster Brodo
Wine Pairing: Andrea Felici Verdicchio

Marche | Lobster Tortellini in Lobster Brodo

 

From the Adriatic coast to Sicily in the Mediterranean for the third dish of the evening: Spaghetti, Sardines, Currents, Pine Nuts, and Saffron.  This dish had layers of texture and tastes.  I liked the currents quite a bit.  As sardines are slightly oily a full bodied wine was called for.  The lovely Mazzei Zisola Nero d’Avola fit the bill fabulously.  This rich dark red wine was my favourite of the evening.  As good as the spaghetti dish was this wine pairing made it better.

 

 Sicily | Spaghetti, Sardines, Currents, Pine Nuts, Saffron Wine Pairing: Massei Zisola Nero d'Avola

Sicily | Spaghetti, Sardines, Currents, Pine Nuts, Saffron
Wine Pairing: Massei Zisola Nero d'Avola

Sicily | Spaghetti, Sardines, Currents, Pine Nuts, Saffron

 

The fourth dish to be brought to the table, inspired by the city of Florence, was Pappardelle, Wild Boar Prosciutto and Rabbit Ragu.  A translation of the word pappardelle is “to gobble up” and that is exactly what I did with this delicious offering.  The boar prosciutto and rabbit ragu were amazing.  Jenn said “I don’t know where the rabbit ends and the boar begins.  So delicious together!”  The wide pappardelle noodle was a perfect choice with this ragu, bringing so much flavour to the mouth with each bite.  If I had the talent to make this dish at home it would appear regularly on my dining table.  La Pentola makes their pasta in house so you can count on it to be fresh and excellent.  A dish this good needs an equally good wine.  The Tenuta Guado al Tasso il Bruciato, a blended red wine, did not disappoint.  It is a rich, full flavoured vibrant wine that paired very nicely with the dish from Florence.

 

 Florence | Pappardelle, Wild Boar Prosciutto and Rabbit Ragu Wine Pairing: Tenuta Guado al Tasso il Bruciato

Florence | Pappardelle, Wild Boar Prosciutto and Rabbit Ragu
Wine Pairing: Tenuta Guado al Tasso il Bruciato

 

The Veneto region is towards the north of Italy, on the Adriatic sea.  Venice and Verona are two of the tourist friendly cities of Veneto.  This region is represented on the menu by Potato Gnocchi, Braised Oxtail Ragu, Pecorino.  The oxtail ragu was the star of this dish.  Lots of flavour, accented nicely by the Pecorino.  The wine pairing was Werner Walch Saint Magdalener Schiava, a nice red similar to a Pinot Noir with hints of cherry.  I’d not tasted Pecorino before this evening and I am happy to say I very much like this cheese made from ewe’s milk.

 

 Veneta | Potato Gnocchi, Braised Oxtail Ragu, Pecorino Wine Pairing: Werner Walch Saint Magdalener Schiava

Veneta | Potato Gnocchi, Braised Oxtail Ragu, Pecorino
Wine Pairing: Werner Walch Saint Magdalener Schiava

 

Dolce is the logical conclusion to a great Italian meal.  Four different sweets appeared before me along with a sweet dessert wine.  I tried the Lemon Curd Stuffed Meringue first and loved it.  The Apricot Biscotti was warm and yummy.  A pleasing Raspberry and Rose Water Macaron was next, and my final taste experience was a Sour Cherry Gorgonzola Cheesecake.  I was initially surprised at the bold gorgonzola taste but quickly grew to like it.  I regret not noting the name of the dessert wine.  I can say it was a very suitable choice, as were all the wine pairings this evening.

 

 Dolce | Lemon Curd Stuffed Meringue, Apricot Biscotti, Raspberry and Rose Water Macaron, Sour Cherry Gorgonzola Cheesecake

Dolce | Lemon Curd Stuffed Meringue, Apricot Biscotti, Raspberry and Rose Water Macaron, Sour Cherry Gorgonzola Cheesecake

 

The six courses of this Sunday Supper Series were served over a comfortable three hours.  Our servers were well informed about the food and wine choices and were happy to share that information.  The theme of the supper series is different each month.  Prepare yourself for a variety of interesting courses that will leave you satisfied and full, with or without wine pairings.  La Pentola sources vegetables and meats locally and imports olive oils and prosciutto from Italy.

 

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel, 350 Davie Street near Hamilton.  The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Don’t drink and drive, plan ahead.  Bus, taxi and skytrain are all nearby.

 

La Pentola & Opus Hotel
 
 

FOOD | Happy Hour at The Sandbar, Granville Island by Jenn Chan

Sandbar, Granville Island

 

Did you know that Sandbar never had Happy Hour before? Me neither!! I was lucky enough to try a preview of the Happy Hour menu last night, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING! Their Happy Hour officially starts this coming Monday, and you need to go! My absolute favourite from the menu is the Avocado Chips - 100% highly recommended! That is just one amongst many other great items on the menu. 

 

Happy Hour starts Februrary 26, 3-6pm Monday to Friday at the Bar / Lounge.  Enjoy $5 Granville Island Beer, $5 wine, $5 highballs, and tasty food items under $10. 

 

 

 Happy Hour from 3-6pm at The Sandbar

Happy Hour from 3-6pm at The Sandbar

Happy Hour
Avocado Chips
 House Blend Spiced Frites

House Blend Spiced Frites

Tacos Frijoles

 

I mean really.... look at this view! I'm in love!

 

 View from The Sandbar Patio

View from The Sandbar Patio

 

FOOD | Lunch at Fayuca, Yaletown by Jenn Chan

Fayuca, Yaletown

 

Yaletown is home to many popular and good quality restaurants.  If you live in Vancouver you’ve probably patronized more than one eatery in the redeveloped industrial area.  Today we are going to Fayuca for lunch.  It is located on Hamilton Street near Nelson.  Open for less than a year Fayuca is garnering good reviews and a solid reputation for top notch food.  North Pacific Mexican is how they brand their style, with the Baja region of Mexico providing inspiration for Fayuca’s menu.

 

Past the planters with small palm trees and through the front door we go.  The room is warm and inviting.  Wood and wicker predominate, ceramic tiles bring back memories of hot days in Mexican resorts, and a large swordfish leaps from one wall.  The music isn’t the clichéd tourist music you might hear in faux Mexican restaurants.  The tunes are new to my ear: pleasant, cheerful and not blaringly loud.  The bar seating invitingly beckons one to settle in and stay a while however we instead sit at a comfortable table by the window.

 

Fayuca, Yaletown
Fayuca, Yaletown
Fayuca, Yaletown

 

The lunch drinks list has several intriguing choices and soon three of them are sitting on our table.  El Diablito is Jenn’s early favourite.  Made of ginger beer (non alcoholic) and pomegranate, topped with lime, the pink drink is a refreshing delight.  The pomegranate is noticed first with the ginger an enjoyable second note.  I claim the Tepache Colada as I am eager to try the beverage made from the peel and rind of pineapples.  In pre-Columbian times Tepache was made from corn.  The modern pineapple version is just fine with me.  Not sickly sweet like pineapple juice, just well balanced flavour and very enjoyable.  The third drink is the Jamaica Canela, a cinnamon infused Hibiscus drink.  Dark red, almost black at first glance.  Sipping it brings back a faint recollection of time spent on a veranda not far from a sub tropical beach.

 

 Fayuca Lunch Menu

Fayuca Lunch Menu

 Coctails: Tepache Colada & El Diablito

Coctails: Tepache Colada & El Diablito

 Cocktails: El Diablito, Tepache Colada, Jamaica Canela

Cocktails: El Diablito, Tepache Colada, Jamaica Canela

 Jamaica Canela

Jamaica Canela

 

We’ve barely had time to sample our drinks when a Kale and Avocado Salad is presented.  The base layer is a split pea hummus with the always delicious avocado and fresh kale topping it.  Jenn really, really liked it and I have to agree (despite my normal aversion to leafy greens) that it was quite good.  Pumpkin seeds added some crunch and variety.
 

South of Mexico, past Central America and into South America, we can find a cooking pot from Chile called a Cazuela.  The food prepared in this pot, a thick stock of vegetables and meat, is also called Cazuela.  Fayuca has a Cazuela of Winter Vegetables on the lunch menu and we dove into this hearty comfort food eagerly.  Butternut squash, fennel, sweet potato, red beets, crème fraiche and topped with feta.  The tomato/pepper/olive sauce brought everything together wonderfully.  A bit of crunch is provided by sliced almonds.  This Cazuela is a good choice for a cold winter day, a rainy day, or any old day.  I was also impressed with the grilled bread that accompanied the dish.  It had a touch of charcoal flavour that was so good!

 

Fayuca Lunch Flatlay
 Kale and Avocado Salad | green beans and pumpkin seeds on Split Pea Hummus

Kale and Avocado Salad | green beans and pumpkin seeds on Split Pea Hummus

 Cazuela of Winter Vegetables | Butternut Squash, Fennel, Sweet Potato, Red Beets in a Charred Tomato-Pepper-Olive Sauce with Crème Fraiche and Feta

Cazuela of Winter Vegetables | Butternut Squash, Fennel, Sweet Potato, Red Beets in a Charred Tomato-Pepper-Olive Sauce with Crème Fraiche and Feta

 

Machaca is often a dried shredded beef but Fayuca’s Machaca con Huevo is made with smoked fish.  The scrambled egg with smoked fish, charred avocado and black bean sauce combination on a hearty ancient grain bread made my mouth water for more!  This is a dish I could eat often and with gusto.  Or maybe I should say “me gusta!”

 

In many places around the world chicken and rice is a common meal.  Common is not how I would describe the Arroz con Pollo that Fayuca serves.  The chicken was marvelous, so tender.  Beneath the chicken was red rice and sofrito, a tomato based sauce (also used in Italian and Spanish cooking) that infused the rice with layers of flavour.  Dribbled over it all was aioli, a garlic sauce somewhat similar to mayonnaise.  This was a hearty, satisfying dish.

 

 Machaca con Huevo | Smoked Fish Machaca with Egg Scramble, Charred Avocado, Ancient Grain Bread, Black Bean Sauce

Machaca con Huevo | Smoked Fish Machaca with Egg Scramble, Charred Avocado, Ancient Grain Bread, Black Bean Sauce

 Arroz con Pollo | Roasted Chicken with Red Rice, Tomato, Sofrito, Aioli, Greens

Arroz con Pollo | Roasted Chicken with Red Rice, Tomato, Sofrito, Aioli, Greens

 

We sampled four dishes from the lunch menu and all were winners, in my opinion.  Out of curiosity I looked up the translation of the word fayuca and contraband and black market were the results.  I’m not sure how the name was chosen for this restaurant but if the only way to get these dishes was on the black market then I would still want to be a patron.  The lunch menu is reasonably priced and the food and drinks are delicious.  There are some vegetarian options should that be a concern for anyone in your party.

 

Fayuca
1009 Hamilton Street
Vancouver