Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Eating Out in RC: Boteca Brasil

Boteca-Brasil

The bright and festive atmosphere of Boteca Brasil will transport you to someplace warm and cozy. Photos by Paul Reid

2545 Nanaimo Street, Vancouver

Call 778-379-7995 for reservations

Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner

BY PAUL REID

Even on a dark and rainy Vancouver day, the bright and festive atmosphere of Boteca Brasil will transport you to someplace warm and cozy. And if you are thinking of where to take your sweetie this upcoming Valentine ’s Day, Boteco Brasil will fit that romantic bill.

In Brazil, a “boteco” is place where you go for delicious food, lots of drinks, good music and hang out with friends. Boteco Brasil is where you can do just that – just what the RC area needs! On some nights your dinner at Boteco will be accompanied with live music . You will enjoy some classics of the “música popular Brasileira” (well known as MPB), bossa nova, pop, pagode, samba and many classics of Brazilian music.

Yes, it was a rainy Sunday afternoon when my accomplice and I made this visit to Boteco. No live music at this time, but there was music and as mentioned, our spirits were uplifted, not only by the atmosphere, but by the friendly staff. I’ll add here too, during the sunnier months, one can sit outside on Boteco’s large patio – sweet as well. Probably Renfrew-Collingwood’s best patio.

Back inside, we ordered some drinks. There are lots of fine ones to choose from: a variety of bottled beer, draft beer, wines and some cool-sounding cocktails. There is Cachaçam a Brazilian distilled spirit made from sugar cane. Also Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime. So what did we two wild and crazy kids order? It was an orange juice for her and a Brazilian roasted coffee for me.

Boteca-Brasil-Bobo-de-Camarao

The Bobo de Camarao is made of seasoned shrimps on a creamy stew made with red palm oil, cassava, coconut milk, celery and bell peppers.

For the food, the accomplice ordered the Bobo de Camarao ($17): seasoned shrimps on a creamy stew made with red palm oil, cassava, coconut milk, celery and bell peppers. I was drawn to the Feijoada ($16): authentic Brazilian style black beans and pork stew served with basmati rice, sautéed kale, farofa, vinaigrette salsa and a slice of orange. We also ordered an appetizer of Coxinhas ($9) which are crispy potato-based dough pockets stuffed with shredded chicken and spices.

The Coxinhas arrived, along with a garlic infused sauce, and mmm, no wonder these are described as Brazil’s favourite snack – really nice and tasty. The Bobo de Camarao, which my accomplice was sweet enough to allow me to try, was equally impressive. The coconut taste of the sauce reminded me of some Thai dishes I have eaten.

My Feijoada was also good. As with everything else, you could tell that it had been prepared with love and all fresh ingredients. I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about arranging it all. Our very pleasant host explained that the farofa, which I would later learn is a toasted cassava flour mixture used on barbacued meat and hearty stews, can be sprinkled on top.

So basically, you can mix it all together, and boy, and girl, was it good – very nice and filling. I barely had room to finish off the accomplice’s Bobo de Camarao.

Now, it would be time for dessert, but as you now know – we were too full for dessert, BUT, there were some nice-sounding ones: Bolo Prestigio ($6) a rich Brazilian chocolate and coconut cake with “beijino filling and brigadeiro” topping. Also, Pudim De Leite Moca ($6) A rich and creamy flan topped with caramel sauce.

So there we have it – Boteco Brasil would be a good choice to take your sweetie, on Valentine’s, or any time, lunch or dinner. Until next time food fans – bon appetite.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Eating Out in RC: Pho 99 Broadway Tech Centre

2915 Hebb Avenue (at Renfrew)
604-255-3135

BY PAUL REID

Pho 99's Combo Roll plate. Photos by Paul Reid

Pho 99’s Combo Roll plate. Photos by Paul Reid

Greetings food fans. Let me tell you about one of the newer eateries in town, just opened on Easter of 2017. This is definitely the most modern pho restaurant that I have ever encountered. When later talking with manager and franchise owner, Mr. Khanh Tran, he explained to me, “There has been a change in philosophy with our generation, compared to the baby boomers before us.

“They would just cook the food and not pay much attention to the dining area. Now, the new generation wants to create an ambience and the atmosphere, to give the customer a full dining experience, one that is comfortable and relaxed.”

Seafood Noodle in Hot and Sour Soup

Seafood Noodle in Hot and Sour Soup

And that it was. My accomplice and I shared a Combo Roll plate ($7): one salad roll, a fried roll and a grilled minced pork roll. It comes with two delicious sauces. Mmm. I also ordered a large Seafood Noodle in Hot and Sour Soup ($10): with vegetables, squid, prawns and crabmeat. My accomplice had a small pho with chicken meat ($9).

The food arrived swiftly and I will just say that everything was oh-so delicious. Loved it!

Tran explained more about the pho-losophy. This is a meal about balance. All of the ingredients that you put in to the pho soup are there to balance one another out. The crunchiness of the bean sprouts balances with the soft noodles; the lime helps to cut through the fat; the basil goes well with the beef aroma; the hoisin sauce (that brown sauce on the table) can be added if you think the soup is too salty; the hot sauce and jalapenos are there for you to control the spiciness.

Pho 99’s broth takes a full 18 hours to get ready, which adds to that irresistible flavour. Yum!

Tran runs Pho 99 Broadway with his wife, his brother-in-law, Quy, and the full support of his entire family.

“This is Pho 99’s 10th location,” says Tran, “11 if you count the U.S. location,” Tran’s first restaurant.

A local hit with the students and staff of Broadway Tech Centre, Tran hopes to bring the best service and food that they can to our community.

“For us, the bottom line is the people. Did they have a great experience. In our culture, it is the honourable thing to give your guests the best that we can, to treat them as best as we can, and that is our philosophy here.”

Helping out the local community is also very important to Tran and his family, who were among the Vietnamese boat people forced to flee Vietnam. “We have begun working with a local nearby church, St. Jude’s, as well as to provide local high school graduates with ‘celebration vouchers’ for a job well done. We look forward to when the new business becomes more sustainable so that we will be better equipped to help our community even more.”

I suggest you visit Pho 99 and experience the new generation of pho restauarants for yourself. Bon appetit!

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Eating Out in RC: The Captain’s Boil

3309 Kingsway, Vancouver
Phone: (604) 565-3999

BY PAUL REID

Eating Out in RC: Captain's Boil

“Everything that we ate at the Captain’s Boil was delicious.” Photo by Paul Reid

Greetings food fans. We journey now to one of Collingwood’s newest restaurants – the Captain’s Boil. The Captain’s Boil is actually a franchise with 16 locations now across Canada.

“The Captain’s Boil was inspired by Cajun seafood boil, where freshly caught seafood is boiled and served right away to retain its freshness and tenderness. The Captain’s Boil took this idea further by adding aromatic Asian spices to enhance the natural taste of our ingredients,” says the CEO and founder, The Captain.

Captain'sBoil in Renfrew-Collingwood on KingswayAs this franchise is aimed at the millennial crowd, we older types may or may not immediately appreciate this style of dining, which The Captain describes as “feast like a pirate! dine like a captain.” You may be surprised to find that the tablecloth is a sheet of paper, that all of the utensils and bowls are plastic and Styrofoam, or that the food arrives in plastic bags. Or, maybe I have just never been to a Cajun seafood boil, which I hadn’t, until now.

But that’s how it is. The Captain explains, “By removing all the unnecessary hassle of table settings and cutlery, we make sure that the food is ready-to-eat — from sea to table.” Also, once we’re done, I guess they can just fold up the paper tablecloth and voila – no dishes.

My sweetie and I arrived one Wednesday evening around 6 pm to find the Captain’s Boil quite busy, but a table was available. You may have to wait awhile on the weekends. We examined the menu and found out about the Captain’s steps.

The first step is to “choose your catch.” My sweetie and I ordered one order (pound) of King Crab Legs and one order of clams. Originally, my sweetie had ordered lobster, which said “market price” next to it. The waitress was kind enough to let us know that one lobster was currently $45. “Can we order half a lobster,” I asked, being kinda poor and all. That was not possible, so the King Crab Legs, at $19.95, was this beggar’s choice.

Step two, you choose your flavour. The options are Cajun, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Sauce or the Captain’s Boil (a “perfectly balanced” combination of the other three sauces). We chose Garlic for the clams and the Captain’s Boil for the crab legs.

Step three, you choose your heat: non-spicy, mild, medium or fire (smokin’ hot). We love the spice but thought we better take it easy, so we went with medium on both. In retrospect, I think we could have handled the fire.

That’s it for the steps, but you still have many add-ons or sides to choose from as well. We decided on an order of the Cajun Seafood Fried Rice ($10.95).

My accomplice immediately put on her bib and plastic gloves; I decided to wait a bit. The rice arrived first. We scooped some rice into our bowls. We agreed – very delicious. Next came our bag of clams. It was time to put on my bib and gloves. You just reach in, pull them out and have at ’em. The garlic flavour was intense. I guess that’s what you would expect from something in a bag swimming with garlic. I must say though, if you love garlic, like I do, it was pretty darn tasty. Soon after our crab legs arrived. Again – delicious.

You do have to work for your dinner with crab though, and I still don’t know how crazy I was about eating with plastic gloves and utensils on Styrofoam. Now that I know the Captain’s philosophy (“We serve our food messy to let you enjoy it in a fun and unique way”), I guess it was pretty fun; a change for sure. One thing that was also for sure — everything that we ate at the Captain’s Boil was delicious. Our hostess was pretty friendly too. Well done, Captain’s Boil.

Bon appetit.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Eating Out in RC: Sushi Taku

BY PAUL READ

Sushi Taku
4902 Joyce Street, Vancouver
Tel: (604) 454-1023

Greetings food fans. Again, I want to tell you about a relatively new little addition to our gem-encrusted crown of culinary wonder that is our community. Let’s have a warm welcome for owner Jason Kim and the staff of Sushi Taku.

Sushi Taku is located just a block north of Joyce Skytrain, on Joyce, at the corner of Wellington. You may remember this location as the former Thai Escape. Jason has done a really nice job on the renovations and putting the Sushi Taku stamp on the place.

With an extensive Japanese menu featuring all of your favourites: tempura, teriyaki (beef, salmon, chicken, seafood), nigiri sushi (available in black rice also); sashimi, donburi (on a bed of rice); udon and yaki soba noodles; maki sushi (a long list); special rolls, a variety of sushi and sashimi combos; four types of bento boxes and three types of party trays.

Taku Tray B

Taku Tray B features 43 delicious rolls.

On this occasion, my accomplice and I ordered Taku Tray B. This was 43 pieces of delicious rolls: California, dynamite, yam, chopped scallop, Alaska and sunny. Mmmm. With our pick-up discount, it came to just around $27. The two of us were left well stuffed with plenty left over.

So, let’s do the math.This meal would rate extremely high on the Gourmet/Gourmand Scale of Goodness. Not only do you get stuffed for McDonald’s like prices, we are talking supremely delicious and healthy as well.

So healthy in fact, that Sushi Taku was approached by Graham Bruce school to be the suppliers to their monthly sushi day. Every month, Jason and his staff feed around 100 kids with their delicious, healthy and affordable sushi. Nice. All I ever got in elementary school was a hot dog.

Taku Bento Box

The Taku bento box.

Another affordable and well-balanced healthy meal on Sushi Taku’s menu is their bento boxes. There are four options, all hovering around the $10 mark. Each comes with five items and miso soup. Some come with rolls, some with sushi, some with beef or chicken teriyaki and rice, or sashimi, and each bento box includes salad, fruit, miso soup and crispy prawn and vegetable tempura. There is also a vegi option. Bento boxes are a great option for dinner or lunch as you get a full meal with lots of variety. “They have been designed to feed a full-grown man well,” says Jason.

Among the special rolls offered at Sushi Taku , one will find the Collingwood Roll. Alright! This combines a dynamite roll with seared tuna and crunchy yam on top. Yes, Collingwood now has an official roll. One will also find some other custom made rolls by Jason and his crew such as the Pokemon Roll, which is double the size, and the Sushi Pizza Roll. Mmm.

So many rolls; so little time.

Sushi Taku opened six months ago on August 25th. This is Jason’s first restaurant of his own. He has been in the restaurant business for 15 years, starting as dishwasher and server. He then acted as chef and manager for his family’s business, Yanaki Sushi in West Vancouver. Jason is now bringing the experience, consistency, affordability and deliciousness of Yanaki’s to us here in Collingwood – via Sushi Taku. Go try Sushi Taku. Tell them Paul sent you.

Bon appetit.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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Eating Out in RC: Romantic eats with your Valentine

BY PAUL REID

Greetings food fans. It’s February again, so you know what that means. You guys better set aside a few pennies for the chocolate and the flowers. Yes! Valentine’s Day is here again. February 14 falls on a Tuesday this year.

Now if you really love each other, you’re going to want to save each other from the unromantic hassles that come with eating in: the shopping, the work, the dishes, the mess. No folks, on Valentine’s Day you want to eat out. And there’s no better community to get your food-on than in Renfrew-Collingwood.

Here are some of my top recommendations.

Mezbaan's Valentine BuffetFirstly, Mezbaan. Why? Because they were smart enough to advertise with the RCC News. Secondly, because my man, Chef TJ, does have a nice, cozy romantic place whether Valentine’s or not. And, Mezbaan has been called by at least one handsome local food critic – The best buffet in town! I agree.

If there’s a line-up outside Mezbaan (and there should be), you might want to scoot down Kingsway to our trusted, tried and truly spicy Chili Pepper House. I am in love with the Chili Chicken and just about everything else on the menu. Not quite as romantic perhaps as Mezbaan, but the food here will also put you in your lover’s good books. Careful with that spice, Eugene.

Now, if your partner or spouse or friend has been especially good lately and you want to splurge a little, one of the slightly more costly but superbly romantic restaurants that I can think of is La Piazza Dario at the Italian Cultural Centre. And who is more romantic than the Italians, eh! Yes, I can still remember my last visit there for lunch. Classic Italian food and some wine in a really beautiful dining room. You Romeos will be set.

La Piazza Dario - Romantic Valentine Eats

Where more. Well it doesn’t have to be fancy. Wally’s Burgers would be a good choice for some. Or Off the Grid Waffles – very sexy. Or how about the Japanese Bistro Kamome, with their Japaninis? Mmmm.

Well, we have so many fabulous places here in Renfrew-Collingwood. It doesn’t really matter where you go, but this Valentine’s Day, give yourselves a romantic little break and go somewhere local and delicious.

Bon appetit.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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February 2017 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News February 2017

This issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Remembering Tony Siliverdis of Zorro’s Pizza
  • Multicultural Potluck at Bruce Elementary
  • Eating Out in RC: Romantic eats with your Valentine
  • Collingwood Corner: Joyce Street in 1914
  • Artist Café at Il Museo, Italian Cultural Centre
  • Foster Avenue sewer upgrade coming to Collingwood this spring/summer
  • A mother thanks Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
  • Join local food security activities this February

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the March 2017 issue is February 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.


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Eating Out in RC: Ananda Bhavan Dosa Villa

Ananda Bhavan
Dosa Villa
2269 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5N 2Z9
604-336-5666
anandabhavanbc.com

BY PAUL REIDdosa

I am pleased to announce another fine edition to our community’s already diverse line-up of stellar culinary establishments. Just west of Nanaimo Street, on the north side of Kingsway, complete with parking both in front and underground, you will find Ananda Bhavan Dosa Villa. Just recently acquired by chef “Vicky” (you can call him Venkatesan Kaliyamoo), Ananda Bhavan now specializes in dosas – that amazing treat from India’s southern region.

Vicky has the restaurant nicely decorated: comfortable, simple, clean. Vicky suggested the Chicken 65 ($7.50) as my appetizer and the Southern Spicy Ravala Masala Dosa ($10.25) also caught my eye. Vicky took some time to make sure he understood just how spicy I could handle. Though I do love it spicy, I know from experience that Indian cuisine does need some respect in this department. You probably don’t want to say “as spicy as you can.”

Chicken 65We settled on medium spicy and that turned out to be perfect for me. The Chicken 65 was amazing. Bite-sized pieces of the most delectable chicken with two delicious accompanying sauces: one more spicy, and one to cool it down. I believe I detected some coconut in there.

My Spicy Ravala Masala Dosa was also excellent and came with more of those sauces that Vicky prepares fresh each morning; also, a nice lentil soup. I was in spicy heaven. Thank goodness for the cool mango milkshakes ($3.95) to help wash it all down. Can you say – “I’ll be back?”

Vicky is from Tamil Nadu. This is the region at the very southern tip of India. Inspired by the cooking of his parents, Vicky attended culinary school in India and has been a chef now for over 16 years. Dosa Villa is his first restaurant as owner.

“I come in a few hours before we open each day and create everything fresh,” he says. “Fresh ingredients and everything prepared each morning.” Having just put in a new stove and grill to cook the giant dosas, Vicky is ready to cook his way into our hearts.

Also on the menu you will find, in addition to Chicken 65, a nice assortment of appetizers: vadai, pakoda, spicy chicken wings, samosas. There is a long list of the house specialty, dosas, that I cannot wait to be back to try. Perhaps the Prawn Masala Dosa or Lamb Vindaloo Dosa.

Idli, another southern India specialty, is a savoury cake made from rice and black lentils that is apparently easy to digest and good for the stomach. There is a long list of vegetarian dishes, as well as tandoori, chicken, seafood and biryani dishes.

In addition to this wide selection of appetizers and entrees, you will find hot teas and coffees; cold beverages such as a kulfi float, lassis, milkshakes and soft drinks; and for dessert, sweets such as gulab jamun and kesari.

Open from 11 am to 11 pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 11 am to 3 am (that’s late!) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can have an excellent lunch or dinner at Dosa Villa any day of the week. Bon appetit!

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News