Thursday, 21 July 2011

Drinks of Japan - Part 2

We had a reallllly good time in Japan.  Which is why I need 2 blog posts to talk about their drinks.

Of course, we had our share of Sapporo's...but the MVP of the trip (or perhaps the ruiner, depending on how you look at it) was Kirin Strong.  A lovely tall can of a Grapefruit flavored cocktail.  Maybe even more lovely by the fact that you can't taste any alcohol despite it be 8%.  This drink was the starting point of many nights...I'm pretty sure I would make a small fortune if I started importing them into Canada.

And what better way to cure the hangover than going outside your hotel to a vending machine where you can buy a HOT can of Obama Coffee?  Ohhh Japan.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Drinks of Japan - Part 1

The Japanese like to have a good time.

Luckily (for me), none of the photos of me doing drunk karaokee are going to make this blog, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a good time as well.  I'm not exactly sure what it says on the mug, but they had some delicious beer over there.

However, without a doubt, the drink of our trip was Plum Sake.  As you can see from the picture, it was a little too sweet for me, so I would drink at a slower rate.  But the rest of the guys would throw down glasses like they were shots.  Speaking of Sake, the band we were on tour with (FACT) had their own signature bottles of Sake.  That rules!  When are we going to have our own signature 6-packs of Lucky Lager?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

English Pub - Paris, FR

The title should seem a little weird.

After our of our UK tours, the guys headed to Paris )while I headed to Slovenia) for mini vacations.  So they had already experienced the fun of dropping some serious coin on delicious french food.  So when we finally got there for a show, I was the only person there for the first time.

Needless to say, I wanted to find the best restaurants the city could offer, but the guys were...over it.  And so often in our band, majority rules.  So we ended up at an ENGLISH PUB.  In PARIS.  After we had just spent 2 weeks in ENGLAND.  Argh.  So instead of eating, I sat there and pouted...and drank...but then in the end caved and had myself a little creme brule so I could at least tell people I had been to Paris.  Otherwise, I would have denied it, because I still feel I have not experienced the city. 

....But fuck was the creme brule tasty....haha

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Salad King - Toronto, ON

As you can imagine, I would not too thrilled when my favorite Thai place in Toronto, Salad King, burnt to the ground.  However, they have picked up the pieces and re-opened since the last time I was in Toronto, so I am greatly looking forward to my return this fall.

And a large reason for that is the dish above, the Sea Queen.  And yes, the name is just a coincidence, they don't have some weird quirk where every name associated with the restaurant has something to do with monarchy!  Lightly breaded squid that has an amazing dipping sauce with thyme, chili, honey, and lime juice.  It's sweet with a LOT of kick.  Calamari wishes it tasted like this.

Salad King on Urbanspoon

Friday, 8 July 2011

Roadside Cafeteria - Nagoya, Japan

We do a lot of driving...which means a lot of stopping off the highway for the usual parade of fast-food restaurants.  Luckily for us, in Japan, it wasn't quite the same

On route to our show in Nagoya, we stopped at this rest-stop that included a cafeteria where you would insert your money into a machine, pick your meal, and then a small ticket would come out.  You bring the ticket up to the "serving line" and are presented with your choice.  Perfect for a couple skids from Canada who aren't exactly fluent in Japanese.

And the food wasn't exactly Burger King quality.  You could tell people still took a lot of pride in the food they were serving you, even if you weren't sitting down in a nice restaurant.  Mmmm noodle soup

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tim Horton's - Leeds, England

Speaking of Tim Horton's...

We were doing the long drive up to Newcastle on one of our UK tours, and when we pulled over for lunch we were shocked to see a familiar banner.  I am not a big coffee guy, but even I will admit that there are few coffees I have tasted that match delicious Timmy Ho's (yes, you can even TYPE in Canadian).

It is a Canadian institution that has started to spread across the world.  We have started to see a lot of it when we tour in the North East US.  Anyways, word to the wise to anyone outside of Canada who makes the trip in...You better go, and wear your lumberjack clothes while you are at it

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Coffee Shop - Pecs, Hungary

Nothing beats exotic treats.

The first place my friend Christina took me to when I came to Hungary was this coffee shop that she described as the 'Hungarian Tim Hortons'....which is a pretty easy sell for any Canadian.  It was only 10am, but I was ready for something a little heartier than a muffin.  Then I spotted this giant pig-in-a-blanket type treat.  A german sausage baked in a cheese pastry.  mmmmHmm

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Icebar - Stockholm, Sweden

You just spent the entire night partying in Stockholm, and you need something to take the edge off the killer hangover.  Here is a great idea, go have another drink in a freezing cold bar...that will slap you into shape pretty quick.

As a Canadian, you may think I would have plenty of experience drinking in a bar made of ice...Not the case!  I rolled in during the afternoon on the last day of my Stockholm trip and I was pretty beat up.  But even with them supplying a hulking winter jacket and mittens to everyone who comes in, you wake up pretty quickly when your lips hit the cup (that of course, is also made of ice). 

Definitely worth stopping in for a drink or two

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Schwartz's - Montreal, Canada

Meat feast.

I cringe at the thought of eating a Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich anywhere except at Schwartz's in Montreal.  To say they have set the bar too high is an understatement.  When you are an original, and you have that many decades of history, you are the gold standard and everyone else is just a wanna-be.

While they are various things you can order there, but realllllly, there are really only 3: a sandwich, a small plate, and a large plate.  Obviously I go for the large plate with a cherry coke...and out comes an insanely huge plate of perfectly spiced and smoked beef  brisket, along with an entire loaf of Rye bread and a nice big bottle of mustard.  It is truely one of the most unique meat experiences you can have in this world.  Come hungry, and prepare yourself for a meat sweat like you have never experienced before.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Restaurant Menu - Yokohama, Japan

Food Rule #5: You should always know what you are eating

You never know when you might accidentally order a cute Japanese baby for dinner.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Block House - Hamburg, Germany

During a day off in Hamburg, we hit the town to celebrate Craig's birthday.

When you think of Germany, seafood is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind, but we took a chance on Block House and were not disapointed.  Except Spracklin, who decided to get deep fried a seafood restaurant...*shaking head*...But, when you think of Germany, you DO think of giant scooners of beer and we were alllll on that train.

Daniel saw a mustard soup on the menu, so he took a chance on it (which you can see poking out of the right side of the picture).  I am a huge fan of soups, especially when it is a flavor combination I have never had before in a soup.  I had my doubts about the mustard soup...but it was delicious.  Creamy with a strong grainy mustard taste that was not overpowering. 

And for dessert?...We went back to the hotel and stayed up until 7am watching the Edmonton Oiler's first game of the season.  4-0 Victory over the Flames.  Good night...sadly, the Oilers season didn't go so hot after that...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Corner Liquor Store - Glasgow, Scotland

Food Rule #4:  Sometimes you get a deal, sometimes you get ripped off...But most of the time you get what you paid for

After a show in Scotland we spent the night partying with a couple new friends.  In Glasgow, they have these magical little corner stores that sell booze, cigarettes, and PIZZA.  It basically combines all your 2am needs into one trip.

Our merch guy Spracklin was a little low on cash so he decided to buy this bottle of Scotch for under $10.  I may not be a whisky aficionado, but I am a big whisky enthusiast, and I can tell you a good bottle of Scotch should be a lot more than $10.  Well, as it turns out this was not Scotch, it was some sort of bathtub liquor called 'SCOTCHed' (see the picture).  As you can see, we could only get through half of it before we threw in the towel...and we have been known to drink some terrible, terrible stuff.

Lesson learnt Spracklin.  If you are going to cheap out, do not cheap out on something that should be expensive. 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Venice, Italy

One of my bigger mistakes was not having a camera in Venice.  I bought a disposable, which somewhat did the trick, but all my best food pics did not turn out because of the low light.  Which is a shame, because I had a couple amazing meals when I got out of the tourist district.

Instead, I included a beautiful picture of the canal with a couple shots of me doing a couple stereotypical things you just need to do.  The first being eating some delicious Tiramisu.  It ranks up there with coconut cream pie & peanut butter pie as king of desserts.  I had it twice while I was there, and the authetic thing was better than the North American bastard version...but let's be honest, the bastard is still pretty awesome.

When I went to sit down for some espresso, I thought the two prices were for small & large, but it turns out you had to pay extra if you were sitting down rather than just taking it in a to-go cup.  The 'economist' (that's code for cheapness) in me said save the money and go...But I was in VENICE.  It wasn't about saving money or rushing around to see everyone.  Spend the extra money, enjoy your drink, and just watch people flood by for an hour.  It's worth your time.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Lobster Feast - Edmonton, AB

There will not be many posts of me cooking at home...But this certainly deserves one

I acquired a 30lb box of fresh maritime lobster.  It was caught Friday just off the coast in Halifax, boiled on the dock, and then flown directly to Edmonton to go into my belly.  The first night, we did exactly what you are supposed to do: don't mess with a good thing.  Ocean fresh lobster, dipped in hot butter.  So good.

Round two was the next morning/afternoon.  My sister Courtney and I put in the hard work getting all the meat out of the claws after dinner (while everyone else was just eating lobster tail after lobster tail) and used it for amazing lobster rolls for lunch.  You can't beat that.

And for the final act, lobster alfredo.  Great timing consider last blog's rant about getting pasta at a restaurant.  I bought enough whole wheat pasta for 4 people (that was literally made an hour earlier) at Bucas in Edmonton, whipped up an alfredo sauce, and added in the chopped lobster with lobster roe (lobster eggs, aka, cavier) to give it a little more taste and color.  Excluding the lobster it cost me $10...for 4 people...And with the money I saved, even if I had to buy the lobster myself, the savings would be amazing.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Coffein - Pecs, Hungary

Food Rule #3: Ordering pasta at a restaurant is for chumps

It's not news to anyone that pasta is basically flour and egg.  Paying $15-$20 for flour and egg at a restaurant?  That is just not right.  Especially since most restaurants probably aren't making fresh pasta from scratch a couple hours before their dinner service.  I love pasta, it is delicious.  But for someone who isn't the best cook, I can make an amazing dinner by going down to the farmer's market to pickup some FRESH pasta, some delicious organic meats or seafood, and whip up a sauce...for really really cheap.

What a perfect lead-in to a story about me breaking my own rule, haha.  While in Hungary, I went to Coffein with friends and they had a lunch special of homemade gnocchi (a potato pasta, so it still counts).  It was definitely fresh and well made, but the thing I remember was the unbelievable sauce it was in.  It wasn't just a tomato cream had heat, and spice, and was full of flavor.  And it was cheap, so I am letting myself get away with this one!  The whole lunch was very colorful...from my split pea soup to my pink lemonade.  Made for some tasty looking pics :)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Conveyor Belt Sushi, PART 2 - Tokyo, Japan

One night Sandy felt adventurous with his sushi choices and took a 'MYSTERY SUSHI' off the belt.  Once you take it off the belt, it's yours to eat.

On top of the rice was what appeared to be a cluster of bean sprouts...narrow little white/transparent tubes of goodness?  Yeah that sounds about right...Except these bean sprouts had a couple black dots on the end.  These bean sprouts were actually minnows.  Sandy manned up and ate them, but it went down as the worst thing eaten in Japan (and you will soon see we ate some pretty 'out there' stuff).  Even our Japanese friends were grossed out by it and refused to try it.  That's legit!

It sounds pretty simple, but my all-star of Japanese sushi was Salmon Mayonnaise.  A clean piece of salmon with a miso mayonnaise drizzled over it.  Pour a little soy-sauce over that bad boy and you will truly understand the amazingness of sushi.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Conveyor Belt Sushi, PART 1 - Tokyo, Japan

Let's talk sushi.  Specifically the conveyor belt sushi restaurants that Tokyo is covered in.

Let me explain.  You walk in and there is an Itamae making various sushi and putting it on a conveyor belt that surrounds him.  Then someone like me walks in and takes whatever they want to eat and pays when they are finished based on how many plates they have taken off the belt. 

Let's cover why this is amazing:
~   The price per plate is the same, and that price is CHEAP.  Instead of paying double for the upper echelon sushi, you get whatever you want for the same price.  No more BBQ eel taking away my baby's college fund!
~   There is almost always a green tea tap built into the counter where you sit to eat.  Go ahead and pour yourself some, it's free ya turkey!
~   You can eat as much or little as you want, and you don't have to wait a minute for it.  I can't tell you how many times I capped a night by eating two plates of sushi before walking back to the hotel.  In & out in 5 minutes.
~   One more thing...It's sushi.  In Japan.  It's amazing.  So forget what you know about sushi because the worst sushi places in Japan are better than anything you have eaten.  And their best places?  Oh dear god, hold on tight.

Coming up in PART 2, a story about Sandy and his adventure with sushi

Monday, 30 May 2011

Nick's Sushi - Vancouver, BC

Japan ruined sushi for me.  It was too amazing for my own good.  But if there is one place that gives me hope, it is Vancouver.

Everyone has THEIR sushi place in Vancouver.  The fact is, there are so many great places, but I have picked two places that I consider my favs.  The first is Hiyoro (which I sadly didn't snap any pictures at) because they have the best special rolls I tasted in Vancouver, and they are huge, and for a very fair price.  But steps away from our house in Kits was this place, Nick's Sushi.

This cute (yes, I said cute) little joint seats about 15 people and delivers amazing sushi.  Probably not as good as the overhyped (and overpriced?) places like Tojo's or Miko...but what makes it my fav is the quality considering the price.  Behold, the Crispy Roll!  $4.25 for 8 pieces of tuna, asparagus, tobiko, and crispy flower.  And of course, you are in the Pacific Northwest, so if you aren't getting some Wild Salmon Nigiri Sushi, you are a complete failure at life.  Sorry, but not even Japan can match our wild salmon.  But you will soon read why they dominate us at everything else...

Nick Sushi on Urbanspoon

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Reef - Vancouver, BC

Every city in Canada is severely lacking Jamaican/Caribbean restaurant options.  Except Toronto, which has an INSANE amount of good ones, which mean the competition allows you to find some awesome places for really cheap (that will no doubt be a future blog).

The Reef is constantly voted Vancouver's best, so I went to check it out their Goat Roti.  Yeah, most people get the Jerk Chicken Roti, but live a little!  There is a lot of confussion what  you are talking about when you say 'ROTI', but in this case I am talking about a delicious treat that is mostly compromised of potato, chickpea, and your chosen meat...all wrapped in roti bread.  As you can tell by the picture, not the most delicious LOOKING thing once you cut it open.  But trust me, layer that baby with hot sauce and then enjoy some good eating. 

It was pretty good, and worth the money.  But I am counting the days until we are back in Toronto because me and Craig will be marching off the plane and getting ourselves a giant delicious roti for around $6.

The Reef (Commercial) on Urbanspoon