With more than 300,000 visitors expected to hit the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
, finding a good meal will be its own competitive sport. Here’s a cheat sheet to some local favorites:
Gyoza King: Local chefs come to this hole-in-the-wall izakaya for buttery local mushrooms and monkfish livers with ponzu sauce. Star chef (and F&W Contributing Editor) Jean-Georges Vongerichten likes to stop by when he’s in town checking in on Market, his new restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel. 1508 Robson St.; 604-669-8278.
PAJO's at the Wharf: This decades-old floating seafood shack in Steveston serves deep-fried local cod, salmon and halibut in paper cones, with sides of killer slaw, tartar sauce and fresh-cut fries. If clouds were tender fish, battered and dunked in hot oil, they’d taste like those at Pajo’s. 12351 Third Ave., Steveston; 604-272-1588 or pajos.com.
Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie: The German-born chocolatier worked with Daniel Boulud in New York City and now creates handmade chocolates, spicy hot chocolate and ethereal almond croissants at his two cafés: one in North Vancouver, and a brand new spot in Kitsilano, right beside his old boss’s new restaurants, DB Bistro Moderne and Lumiere. 998 Harbourside Dr., North Vancouver; 604-924-1847; 2539 W. Broadway, Kitsilano; 604-736-1848 or thomashaas.com.
Vera’s Burger Shack: A local institution since its days as a beach concession (circa 1977), today Vera’s has 13 locations serving made-to-order burgers (classic or organic beef, chicken, veggie, lamb or turkey) with its famous secret sauce. Order burgers from the Denman St. location to go for a seawall picnic. 1181 Denman St.; 604-681-5450 or verasburgershack.com.
The pioneering artisanal-foods company D’Artagnan was founded 25 years ago this month, when founder Ariane Daguin brought the first fresh foie gras made in the U.S. to chef David Waltuck at NYC's now-defunct Chanterelle. Today, Daguin's company sources every manner of French and American artisanal products, from terrines to truffles to breakfast sausages. Next week, they’ll celebrate their triumphs with events throughout NYC. The 32-Michelin-star food crawl is sold out, but anyone can come watch next Thursday at noon as they try to set the world record for most berets tossed in the air.
And the reservation lines are still open as some of D’Artagnan’s most loyal customers host some phenomenal Gascon chefs, including Hélène Darroze at Per Se Friday the 19th and molecular gastronomist Thierry Marx at Le Bernardin Saturday the 20th. For more details, click here.
© Jen Murphy
Montjola serves the biggest Wiener schnitzel in St. Anton.
St. Anton am Arlberg is one of those places where traditional, family-run restaurants often rival the brand new spots. My friends and I sampled the local haunts and the recently opened. Here, a run down:
Last summer, local hero and two-time world slalom champion Matt Mario bought the legendary
Krazy Kanguruh bar and gave it a major renovation, including the addition of a large terrace; expect a young crowd, with lots of dancing and potent homemade schnapps.
Located at the top of the Galzigbahn, the resort’s futuristic-looking new gondola, Verwall Stube is Europe’s highest-altitude restaurant (at more than 6,500 feet) and also one of the chicest and priciest in St. Anton; known for its superb fish dishes, including a fantastic bouillabaisse.
What was once The Underground reopened a few seasons ago as Underground on the Piste, next to the Ski Museum (which also has a great restaurant). This tiny chalet has live music, excellent fondue and charcuterie and a superfun staff (one of our servers ran out dancing in a Mexican wrestling mask and the owner even joined in our impromptu dancing in the dining room).
A meal at Seitenblick, which opened in December next to the ferris wheel–like cable car at the base of the mountain, was my favorite of the trip. The restaurant serves updated takes on traditional Austrian fare and the best kaiserschmarrn (a dessert of chopped up pancakes topped with powdered sugar and apples) in town.
The Montjola hotel and restaurant is a steep uphill hike from the main street, but you’ll need the extra exercise if you’re thinking of ordering the Paul Bunyan–size Wiener schnitzel (they claim to serve the town’s largest schnitzel).
One can only eat so much schnitzel and fondue, so I was thrilled to find delicious thin-crust pizza and addictive, cheesy garlic bread at the low-key restaurant Pomodoro, and delicious, inexpensive tapas like bacon-wrapped dates and dangerously good sangria at Bodega Tapas & Vino.
Bobby Flay shows off a burger for SOBE burger bash
Now that NBC's food trucks
have left town—having served everything from fish-and-chips to porchetta from über-chefs Daniel Boulud
, Alain Ducasse
, Michael White
and Paul Liebrandt
on Monday, February 8th—let's look ahead to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival
's Fourth Annual Burger Bash, on Thursday, February 25th. Why? Because, for one thing, I'm one of the burger judges. For another, because I just got a preview of the entries. Bobby Flay
will make a spice-crusted burger with coleslaw, jack cheese, barbecue sauce and a cactus pear margarita (hopefully, alongside the burger, not in it). Morimoto
will top his burger with glazed pork belly, while Boulud will serve the Frenchie (a burger topped with confit pork belly and Morbier cheese) plus bacon potato puffs. Some two dozen other burgers specialists will be grilling for the event. Unfortunately, tickets are now sold out, but I'll keep you all posted on any breaking news. And, of course, on the results.
© Kristin Donnelly
Chocolate Frito Pie
In this era of salty sweets, I’ve always thought Frito Pie was a dessert. I later found out that the delightfully trashy Southern specialty is more of a chili-cheese casserole with Fritos on the bottom. But I couldn’t get away from the idea of making a Frito crust for a sweet filling, and the Super Bowl this weekend was the perfect excuse to test it out. Using F&W’s Melissa Rubel Jacobson’s fantastic Chocolate Cream Pie recipe as a guide, I subbed in Fritos for the cookies in the crust. Sweet/salty nirvana? Almost. My Frito crumbs, crushed by a wine bottle since I don’t own a food processor, were a bit too big and became a little soggy in the fridge. As soon as my kitchen is stocked with a food processor, I'm trying this pie again.