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  • Chewies: Will that be steamed, stewed, or nude?

    Apr 13 • Eats • 6547 Views

    Who would’ve thought that a Kitsilano restaurant could give New Orleans cuisine a run for its money?

    That’s exactly what Chewies is doing.  Local foodies can rejoice as the scavenger hunt for delicious Southern food is over!  This local oyster bar has brought a taste of Mardi Gras to Kits – in terms of both its delicacies and atmosphere.
    Richard Chew founded Chewies in 2011 along with business partner Jamie Haddad and his wife, Melanie Haddad.  The trio believed that with all the delicious oysters and seafood available in Vancouver, it was about time for the city to experience a restaurant that put a Southern twist on its dishes.  Southern Fried Chicken & Waffles, Jambalaya, Gumbo Yaya… these were the kind cravings that were previously left unfulfilled, until Chewies came along.

    And apparently those cravings were hella strong.  Chewies quickly expanded to its second location in Coal Harbour.  This success was due in part to Chewie’s very talented Operation Manager, Andrew Hall, but also to the quality of food that the menu offers.  Not only did Chewies answer our prayers for some New Orleans’ grub, it brought insanely delicious, award-winning dishes to Kitsilano.  Chewies has been awarded “One of the Best Brunch in Canada” from You Gotta Eat Here, which was presented on the Marilynn Dennis Show.

    Speaking of the food, I was super stoked to try out two of Chewies signature dishes: the Fresh Schucked Oysters on a Half Shell, and the Southern Fried Chicken. Truthfully, oysters have never been an item that I’d choose to order off of a menu.  They’ve always seemed a little bit risky to me, some people love them and some people don’t.  Well the people who don’t have clearly not tried them at Chewies.

    chewie_1

    I tried out three types of oysters: the Lighthouse Point ($2.75 each), the Kusshi ($3.25 each), and the Village Base ($3.25 each).  I could definitely taste the quality and freshness.  There was a hint of salinity that made it not even the least bit surprising when I found out that Chewies gets their oysters delivered daily.  There were different sauce options which added a variety to the dish as well: a shallot mignonette, cucumber & jalapeno “hogwash,” and the horseradish cocktail (my personal favourite) which had a solid kick to it.  As if these sauces weren’t enough, the oysters were also served with authentic Louisiana hot sauce, fresh lemon, and fresh grated horseradish.  There is literally no way you can’t like these oysters, there’s something for everyone.  Deal find: head there between 3-6pm when a select variety of their oysters are only a buck a shuck!

    And if oysters really reallly realllly aren’t your thing, please take my word on the Southern Fried Chicken.  Marinated for two days and slathered in a Cajun honey butter drizzle, I felt like the heavens parted when I took my first bite – this dish is absolutely to die for.  The ultimate comfort food, it’s a mix between sweet & savoury, and has a crunchy crispiness to it without being greasy.  Fried chicken sounds like a weird item to have for brunch, but I can definitely see why Chewies has incorporated it into all of their menus.  It’s THAT good.

    chewie_2The food wasn’t the only awesome part of my experience.  With a laid back yet sociable atmosphere, I felt very at ease yet energized.  The servers were upbeat and there was a wide variety of diners in the restaurant, it has a vibe that’s great for everything from a date, to a loud group dinner, to girls’ night out.

    My only uncertainty about Chewies is whether I’ll be trying the Buttermilk Biscuits, St Louis Style Ribs, or Po’ Boy when I return (let’s be honest, it will probably be them all).

    Hopefully I can brush up on my oyster shucking skills in time for their upcoming shucking competition.  If I win, all I’d hope for as a prize would be a plate of the Beignets *fingers crossed*

    Chewies Oyster Bar
    2201 West 1st Ave
    Chewies.ca
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  • Sophie’s Cosmic Café is simply out of this world

    Mar 17 • Eats, Establishments • 5329 Views

    Describing Sophie’s is no easy task. There’s tons of wacky memorabilia on the walls from Star Wars lunch kits to Pee-wee Herman dolls. The menu is an extensively large selection of savory breakfasts like omelets or heavenly burgers in the afternoon. If the bright neon lights don’t get your attention outside the building, I don’t know what will. Sophie’s Cosmic Café is an experience full of fun, nostalgia, and great food.

    20150209_151525Sophie and Chris Dikeakos along with their family owned and operated a Greek restaurant in the 1970’s here in Vancouver for a number of years. After shutting down, Sophie came across a classic neighborhood diner properly named The Arbutus Restaurant up for sale. Sure enough in 1988, Sophie’s Cosmic Café opened its doors after the Dikeakos family took the place over.

    The Cosmic Café comes from the other half of the building. When renovations were being done, a former Hemp shop next door called the Comic Circus was discovered. The cosmic name in Sophie’s was taken right from there and is still being used, now part of what you see on the 4th Ave signage.

    20150209_151336As the years went on, decorations quickly went up on the wall. A lot came from the families own “treasures” in their attic and even a few donations. Sophie calls herself the “Queen of garage sales” and says she found a lot of what you see from hunting around. Chris tracks down unique and interesting pieces of art.

    Emmanuel, Sophie and Chris’ son, keeps the place running along with his brother, Aunt and Uncle, and even nieces. A true dying breed in the way of business, Sophie’s is and always will be family run. The tight knit group works hard to keep up the legacy while bringing in fresh ideas.

    What you will find is breakfast that includes a tasty selection of omelets, combination plates, Belgian waffles and benedicts. There are of course healthy and gluten free options for everyone too and the food is made from scratch. The all day breakfast ends at five and pastas, burgers, meatloaves, and a variety of sandwiches are what await you at night. Then of course there is the desert; Milkshakes, pies, and old fashioned ice cream dishes including Cosmic Sundaes and Banana Splits that are all to die for.

    Sophie and Madame Anne (Palm Reader) Image: Sophies Facebook page

    Sophie and Madame Anne (Palm Reader) Image: Sophies Facebook page

    Then there’s the unforgettable entertainment like a Madame Anne, A Palm Reader who stops in on Thursdays to foresee the future with your palm or even coffee grounds. UBC Astrologist Professor Doctor Jaymie Matthews even comes in on Sunday’s with his own questions for trivia for a rousing and tough game.

    The best description might be music, food, crazy décor, and a dedicated family who’ve served the community for the last twenty six years. Emanuel says he was born in Kitsliano, lives in Kitsliano, and is proud to be part of the community.

     

    Impossible to replicate, and guaranteed to give you a lasting memory, Sophie’s Cosmic Café is simply out of this world.

    Sophies Cosmic Cafe
    2095 West 4th Avenue.

    www.SophiesCosmicCafe.com

    Facebook @ Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe

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  • Calhoun’s Bakery; the best place to get work done

    Mar 6 • Eats • 2484 Views

    If there is a Mecca for hardworking college students who need a quiet place to study or cram for a test, Calhoun’s would be it. The overwhelmingly large coffee shop has lots of tables and chairs, making it the perfect place to read or write. But the delicious place is not just for students, there are people from all walks of life who pop in for a morning coffee or go for an exciting date. The hangout is also open twenty-four hours night and day so for all you night owls out there, Calhoun’s welcomes you anytime.
    CalhounsOpening in 1993, Calhoun’s has been in its Broadway location since the beginning. Hiu Wan took over ownership in 2008 when he noticed the place was up for sale. Hiu says he had fond memories coming there when he was studying at UBC so he wanted to see it stay open. The barn like atmosphere is nothing new, Hiu has kept it pretty much the same since it opened because there is a certain style that is very appealing which he feels shouldn’t be changed.

    The food is perfectly priced and quite the bargain for starving students. Massive cookies are a deal since you would pay the same price at chain coffee shops for something half the size. Then there are the stomach filling quesadillas and yummy warm meals like Sheppard’s pie and lasagna. But the array of sweets can’t be beat, with a choice for everyone that is baked fresh. Sandwiches are also as fresh as they come with house made breads.

    For those holding a party or event in need of catering, Calhoun’s is well known for their services. The extensive full menu has seafood, vegetarian, meat, and even breakfast options. Then there are a variety of platters full of finely crafted finger foods and of course dessert. You can pick up, get it delivered, and hire a full serving staff.

    Calhoun’s has no doubt become landmark in Kitsliano, achieving “the best place to get work done” award from Van City Buzz. Wifi is free for three hours, the staff just asks that you keep on refilling your coffee or purchasing a snack to make the option worthwhile.

    Calhoun’s seems to have an effect on people, bringing in its business from mostly word of mouth. People who experience this warm and joyful place are likely to come back with others to stock up on goodies or meet with a study group. Be part of the buzz and try Calhoun’s today if you haven’t already; get your work done, try the treats, or hire their catering services.

    Calhoun’s
    3035 West Broadway
    www.calhouns.bc.ca

    Facebook /calhounsbakery

    Twitter @CalhounsBakery

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