Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jules - Casual French Bistro


So I accidentally deleted this restaurant review in a frantic panic that would take too long to explain. So I’m going to try to do it justice and re-write it the way I remember it. I wish there was a ctrl + z button for everything in life. Augh…

After attending another fabulous performance of Shadow Machine (sorry it’s over, you snooze you lose) directed by Alvin Erasga Tolentino, I had been fortunate enough to catch him after the Q&A and ask him whether he’d like to go for  drink with my friends. As my friend, I know that he usually can never eat before a performance so he was starving and wanted to go somewhere with food. The closest place we could have gone to (just around the corner in Gastown) was the Revel Room but being Friday night at 9:30pm, it was packed. There was another place that Alvin had gone to, just down the street basically and I knew we were in the right place just as we stepped in. Alvin always has such great taste.

Oh Jules, how I am so glad to have met your acquaintance. I had never heard of this restaurant before that night! (I know, I should have known, but common leave me alone, I only recently moved back to Vancouver!) We were promptly greeted by a soft spoken host that IMG_7216 invited us in, in a casual manner saying, “Hey guys, table for four? Just to let you know, the kitchen’s closing soon and you will need to order in the next 10 minutes” I guess we got here just on time! He then went to check where to seat us, then ushered us in with a gentle wave of the hand to say, “come on in”.

As soon as we crossed the doorway into the dining room, I marvelled at how beautiful the chandeliers were, hanging like water droplets from the ceiling in such a beautiful delicate way. The little square tiles on the floor really played down the grandeur of the decor and the modest, beautiful dark wood bar added a rustic feel to the room. The best part of the design of the restaurant was the attention to detail. As soon as we were seated, a server brought us a glass bottle of water, poured it into beautiful glass cups and left it at the table. I love it when they do that! You never have to wait for more! They also took our drink orders right away, and brought us a basket of the best French Baguettes I’ve ever had. Well…maybe they weren’t the BEST, but I was IMG_7222 IMG_7224pretty hungry so they were marvellous. As baguettes should be, they were crunchy on the outside and soft and supple on the inside. They even served it with pads of butter! See what I mean? Definitely careful attention to detail.

The drinks were done up beautifully and quickly, and a friend of mine didn’t quite know what she wanted, so she ordered something gingery and lemony from the bar, and she got a delicious concoction with a cherry in it!

The food! The food was great. I got escargot (snails, yes) with garlic and parsley butter and it was delicious! I’ve had escargot before when it would be a little chewy and tough, but no. These were melt in your mouth tender with great flavour and texture. Yum! I mopped that up with some more bread. I also thought the French Onion soup was among the best I’ve ever had because it had a great caramelized onion flavour, good quality beef stock but didn’t have the overly salted, peppery flavour like I’ve had before. I’ve made it (took a while to caramelize the damn delicious onions), and I’ve also had it before on many occasions whether it be in France, in restaurants in Canada that only pretend to be French and some where they find it necessary to add bacon pieces to it to enhance the flavour. This one is modest, really pays respect to the bold sweet flavour of the onion and the ooey gooey melted cheese on top with the bread that’s soaked up all the delicious juices doesn’t hurt either. They have a great selection on their menu, including steak with mushroom or peppercorn sauce, duck confit, salmon, roasted chicken breast with cous cous, so many more authentic French fare. Yum!

I’ve only been to French restaurants that really hurt the budget or only dreamed of going to (like Crocodile) that are WAY beyond my budget. I was very please to have had an after dinner snack and dessert. 


I only know now, after I did a little research on Urbanspoon and Yelp, but I’m glad I didn’t know before I went for fear that it would have tainted my first experience of Jules, but apparently there have been instances where diners have had very bad customer service. There’s one claim where apparently a customer got yelled at for sitting themselves at a table that was unset, and another lectured after they sat down in a group only for dessert at 8:30 and didn’t tell the host until after they got seated. I can’t imagine having had an experience like that, and I probably would have put up a bad review myself, if I had been treated the same way, but I guess I would do what I always do and give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he had a bad day?

The fries were delicious, and they came with their own little bowls of ketchup and mayo.


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Okay, so best for last. This was the Fondant au Chocolat Chaud, Sauce Caramel et Glace Vanille. A molten chocolate cake that came hot with caramel sauce pooled on the side and vanilla ice cream. OH MAN it was good.

I hope you take my advice and go there. I guess I should say good luck and I hope you get the host on a good day like I did. The prices were reasonable the atmosphere fantastic and it’s always better with great company.

Jules – Casual French Bistro
216 abbott street vancouver bc V6B 2K8
tel: 604-669-0033

Hours of Operation - Open Monday to Saturday - Closed Sunday
Lunch: 11:30  -  2:30
Afternoons at Jules: 2:30  -  5:30
Dinner: 5:30  -  10:00

Jules Casual French Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kash Cool

It was Korean Thanksgiving last Wednesday to mark the beginning of harvest season, and strangely enough, my sister, my dad and I dined out to a Persian restaurant! I was missing Pomegranate, one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto and I have wanted to try this place for a long time as I heard it’s one of the best Iranian restaurant in town. After I have experimented with making Fesenjoon and Zereshk Polow with golden Tah Dig at home, and I really wanted to try out what other dishes Persian dishes I should try making!
Fesenjoon- Chicken Pomegranate Walnut Stew
Zereshk Polow- Basmati Rice with barberries and saffron
Tah Dig- Crispy Golden rice as a result of making rice on the stove.
The location of this restaurant is actually very strange as it’s basically on an empty road with auto body repair shops, a whole sale jewellery supply store, a signage making store and it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I know that there’s a huge Iranian population in North Vancouver, and with that alone, it’s a good location for an Iranian restaurant, but really… it’s a little out of the way. It’s not even a major street!
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When we got there around 6:30pm, we were only one of 3 tables having dinner in the whole restaurant and I figured it’s because it’s Wednesday night. The service was prompt, the decor inside was ornate and the food was delicious! My dad usually is pretty picky when it comes to ethnically diverse food, but surprisingly he loved it! He kept on saying how the barbequed meat was cooked to perfection, he mentioned that the way they make rice is like an art, and marvelled at how the grilled tomato tasted so good! I was relieved because I don’t see him often and we all left happy and enjoyed our meal together on “Choo-Suk” Day.
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The ornate interior features columns imitating marble and the capital of double headed bulls pays homage to Iranian architecture at the ruins of Persepolis, and there is beautifully embossed scripture on the walls in Arabic. There is a lot of gold, rich, vibrant colours, and the gold fish pond’s trickling of water is actually very soothing. My dad was pretty impressed with the interior decoration and attention to detail.
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This was the first time I ever tried Doogh and I really liked it! It’s a yogurt drink made with dried mint. I had expected it to be sweet so I was a little hesitant to try it, but nope, it was cold, tangy and subtly minty which was nice.
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We had Gormeh Sabzi on Tah Dig which is a parsley cilantro stew with kidney beans, saffron and dried lime. It came with Lavash Bread, onions and fresh parsley and the dish was great! I didn’t have any with the Lavash but it was awesome nonetheless. The crispy rice was delicious with the rich stew and the fresh parsley along with all the infused herbs in the dish made it kind of refreshing!
I had a chicken joojeh kabob with (finally!) an authentic Zereshk Polow. I guess the dish doesn’t really look that big in the picture but the plate was a good 35-40 centimetres long! The chicken was tender and succulent, tasted of saffron and tasted oh so good with the barberry rice which was also heavy handed with the saffron. Did i mention that I love saffron? Oh man, I could only finish half the dish as I felt soooo full. I also wanted to take some home for lunch the next day.
My dad the meat lover got a tender beef fillet (barg) kabob and a ground beef (koodibeh) kabab flavoured with saffron, onion, and garlic served with white rice and a broiled tomato. I admit I had a bite of his and the meat was juicy, tender, and mouth watering. He could barely finish the thing and he usually eats a lot!
My sister got the Lamb Shank with Baghaley polo (rice with dill and fava beans). The lamb just fell off the bone as it was cooked for hours and had such great flavour. You could taste the cinnamon, coriander and a little nutmeg mixed in with a little garlic.
For dessert we had in-house made vanilla rosewater ice cream with pistachios that was mildly sweetened and fresh. It was a great end to our flavourful meal as the rosey ice cream cleansed our palates and satisfied our sweet tooth.

I highly recommend having dinner at Kash Cool. It’s not a cheap restaurant, as mains are around $15-20 dollars each, but you will definitely have a great meal with middle eastern flare and you will probably leave with the belt loosened a bit. I full heartedly agree with all the hype about this restaurant in saying that it’s one of the best Persian restaurants I have ever been to. I guess I won’t miss Pomegranate that much after all!

Kash Cool
222 Pemberton Avenue, North Vancouver

Kash Cool Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kash Cool Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


After doing the Aids walk in Vancouver with my friends, we all worked up an appetite! A quick drive away from Sunset Beach, is one of our favourite restaurants that has a great atmosphere, delicious food from all around the world, and reasonable prices! Their soups are amazing every time I go there, and the portions are BIG! It’s usually bustling place on Main street although it’s obscurely located on a corner, next to a public parking lot and across the street from Insurance and Travel agencies. What does the place justice is the old post office “The Heritage Hall” at 15th and Main that stands magnificently on the Southern side of the bistro. It’s “heritage” charm (built in early 1900’s) with a three story clock tower, lends a great vibe to the approach of the place, as you stroll past a wedding ceremony, or a little craft show.
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The design of Burgoo has a rustic flair as the low wooden fence, that is seemingly made of former shipping palettes, surrounds the patio and the rough and worn wooden siding paired with faux stone facade makes it feel like a cottage or country building which is a nice escape in the city. The only clue that you have that screams modern, is the neon light that’s high up on a post, that spells out burgoo for all of main to see. On the inside are these amazing beams on the ceiling, nice accents with blue tile, lovely heavy hardwood lacquered tables and it all works very well together. Leather seating, trendy bar stools, ancient cash register (just for decoration) and hot staff all make this a trendy modern place that all of us love. Old meets new is a great collaboration in design.
Now, on to the food! The last time I had a meal there, I had beef bourguignon which was rich, meaty, but still had the fresh zing of wine. Served heaping in a large bowl on top of mashed potatoes, the vegetables in the dish were cooked perfectly (tender but with a little bite) and the beef with its thyme, garlic and tomato gravy was heaven! That was comfort food that warmed you to the core.
The carrot soup that I regrettably never ordered, (I stole some from my dining companions who were clever enough to order it), has the richness of coconut milk but with the mint and cardamom, adds freshness and honey brings out the sweetness of the carrot. it’s smooth as it glides down your throat and inevitably, the bowl empties out quickly as you can’t have enough!

The French Onion soup was amazing with the characteristic deep caramelized flavour of onion with beefy stock and finished with croutons and ooey gooey Gruyere, Emmenthal and Mozzarella. I love the croutons rather than the usual floating toasts which I find are always difficult to manoeuvre. How are you supposed to eat that? You usually have to break it apart with your spoon by putting it up against the sides of the bowl, or sink it to the bottom. That defeats the purpose though doesn’t it, because you lose the cheese that’s all oozing over it, now don’t you? (rant over). Burgoo does a magnificent job with the right decision for croutons and the peppery-ness of the whole soup I looooooove.
The “summer salad” I had came with seasonal mixed greens, red onion, blueberries, cucumber and maple salmon in some kind of red wine(?) vinaigrette (sorry I was so hungry I just wolfed it down) It was a great accompaniment to the heavy soup as the crunchy sweet salad played well with the deep flavours of caramelized onion.
What else can you have here? Burgoo has an array of true comfort food, as they have baked Mac and cheese: a meat version with bacon, peas and breadcrumbs or a veggie version with basil, garlic, tomato or parmesan. They feature comfort food from all around the world with Ratatouille [France], Butter chicken [India], Lamb Tagine [Morocco], Laksah [Malaysia], and Irish Stew [Ireland]. There are so many more dishes that they execute beautifully, authentically and lovingly. Their sandwiches look amazing as the rustic filone bread comes hot and toasty with a classic grilled cheese, or a Vietnamese Banh Mi Xa Xiu with barbecue pork, pickled carrot, cucumber, sunflower sprouts and cilantro. The tasty Chicken which is roasted chicken with apple and Dijon comes with lots of greens and veggies.  Deeeeeeeelicious.
Their brunch menu is amazing, the bloody Mary's were spicy and Mint tea came with its own tea pot and organic tea!
I had a great time, and a delightful meal with great friends, yummy comfort food and I left more than satisfied. This was a great lunch after walking along the seawall for the Aids walk and on a slightly chilly day, Burgoo did its part in warming all of us up!
Burgoo Bistro Main Street
3096 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T3G5‎ - (604) 873-1441
Burgoo Point Grey (near UBC)
4434 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia V6R 2H9‎ - (604) 221-7839
Burgoo Lonsdale (North Vancouver)
3 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver, BC V7M2E4‎ - (604) 904-0933‎

Burgoo (Main Street) on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 10, 2010

the reef

I recently went to the Reef, an award winning Caribbean restaurant with some of my current and former coworkers and had an excellent meal. I was on a detox diet, so I sadly didn't taste the jonny cakes (deep fried bread) but I had a great meal anyway consisting of a starter I shared called the Chana. A warm chickpea curry salad with obvious inspiration from India, served with mixed greens, shaved carrots and roti. It had a great deep cumin curry flavour where the chickpeas were cooked to tenderness and perfection. A yogurt lime dressing was served on the side which added a refreshing zing to the salad as the limey tang cut through the heaviness of the curried chickpeas. YUM!

The plantain chips were simply delicious as they were sliced lengthwise into long strips, fried to a crisp on the outside and had a soft inner layer. These were served with a nicely spiced jerk mayo that gave things a little kick.

As a main I had a Mahi seared with lime and curry with a cho cho and apple slaw on a bed of coconut rice and some peas zucchini and bell pepper. The mahi was perfectly cooked as it maintained its juiciness while cooked throughout, had a curry lime flavour with a hint of char. The chocho and apple slaw was tangy and a perfect accompaniment to the tender fish as it brought out the summery freshness in the dish. The rice had a great coconutty flavour and really balanced out both the curry of the fish as well as the zing of the slaw. What better way to be served than with some lightly cooked veggies that still had crunch. Delicious meal, I was very satisfied.

Lovely company didn’t hurt either, as well as a beautiful server that enthusiastically made suggestions, promptly filled our drinks, and told us a story or two.

Next time I go there, I want to try the pulled pork, Jamaican patties, and the roti looked really good too... I guess I have to try and schedule another trip over there!


MAIN STREET VANCOUVER (original location)

4172 Main Street, Vancouver
T) 604-874-JERK (5375)


1018 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
T) 604-568-JERK(5375)

The Reef (Main) on Urbanspoon