When people think of Campagnolo they probably think of their amazing menu of traditional rustic Italian dishes, as they should. But what some may not know is they recently opened the space above the main restaurant as Upstairs at Campagnolo and are making the best burger around. Head there for The Dirty Burger paired with a Brassneck Brewery Klutz Kolsch.The Dirty Burger comes with a 40 day dry-aged prime grade beef neck patty, American cheese, cascade tomatoes, pickles, iceberg lettuce and secret sauce on a house made Scotch Bap bun. This burger’s design stems from those classic burgers we all had in hockey arenas, baseball field snack counters or at the local amusement park as kids. It’s basically just like that, but with everything elevated (times like a million). The star of this burger is the beef, and that’s no accident considering the beef is as good as it gets. Now beef neck is not your average cut for a burger but when your dry aging it for 40 days, average has been thrown out the window long ago.From the first bite the beef’s flavour explodes and marries itself quickly with the sweetness from the cascade tomatoes and “secret sauce”. The iceberg lettuce is there to reinforce that ”classic burger”, and to bring a nice fresh crunchy texture. The last thing that should not be overlooked on The Dirty Burger is the bun. The Scotch Bap is perfect with its soft interior there to soak up the burgers juices and crusty exterior keeping everything together.Now, a very special thing that you should know about Upstairs is that they are the only place to offer the amazing Brassneck Brewery outside of the brewery itself. So you will always find a great selection of offerings current with what is being poured at the brewery just up the road. I decided to go with the Klutz Kolsch because I was looking for something on the lighter side that wouldn’t compete too much with the burger. The choice was perfect in my opinion, the Klutz Kolsch is bright and refreshing and as Brassneck themselves states it “meant for quenching thirsts, not blowing minds”. So if you’re looking for the best burger in Vancouver paired with a masterfully brewed German style kolsch, then head Upstairs at Campagnolo for This Sandwich (Burger) and That Beer.
Listen for my monthly feature this Saturday on Just Here For The Beer radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver at 1pm . Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
The Cannibal Cafe is all about burgers and they do them up right. The menu includes a selection of signature special burgers as well as a build your own option. Head there and build-your-own killer burger to pair up with a pint of Parallel 49 Brewing’s Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale.The Cannibal Cafe uses organic, grass-fed beef that is ground in house so you can choose between one 6oz patty cooked the way you like it or get two 3oz patties to make it a double. I opted to keep things simple and went for double patty option topped with applewood smoked bacon, Canadian cheddar and my favourite thing, an over easy fried egg. This burger was awesome, a basic burger done to perfection. The bun is soft, the beef is tasty and juicy and the veggies are fresh. The applewood smoked bacon added a nice salty and smoky flavour, the cheddar was deliciously melty between the two patties and the fried egg did its thing by oozing all over the burger.If you follow my lead and go for this burger then pair it up with a Parallel 49 Brewing Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale and your day will be made. This malt forward ruby ale went great with the burgers flavours, and its hoppy dry finish refreshed the mouth between bites. So if you’re looking a great burger from a place that is known for just that, paired with what’s quickly becoming a staple craft beer in this city, then head to The Cannibal Cafe for This Sandwich (Burger) and That Beer.Head to www.cannibalcafe.ca and www.parallel49brewing.com for more info. Follow them both on Twitter @TheCannibalCafe and @Parallel49Beer and follow me @TSTB_blog. Head to Legacy Liquor Store to find this beer and others to take home.
Listen for my monthly feature this Saturday on Just Here For The Beer radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver at 1pm . Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
I’ve long been a fan of The Cascade Room so I wanted to include their burger because it’s so damn good and people need to know about it. Head there for their signature Cascade Burger paired with Driftwood Brewing’s Fat Tug India Pale Ale.The Cascade burger comes with blue cheese, naturally smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and fresh chili aioli on a beautiful brioche bun. The blue cheese comes through right away with its distinct taste which sits nicely with the smoky bacon and the fresh chili aioli also adds a uniqueness to the burger that separates it from the usual bacon and cheddar cheeseburger combination. This burger is full of bold flavours that all stand out with none taking a backseat to the other.Now, speaking of bold flavours The Cascade Room is one of the many places (the first one actually) in Vancouver that carry one of the best and boldest IPA’s around, Driftwood Brewing’s Fat Tug IPA. This beer was perfect with the Cascade Burger as its big hop flavour and strong malt backbone stood up really well against this above average burger. This burger and beer pairing is something that The Cascade Room should be very proud of.So if you’re looking for a signature burger that strays from tradition paired with one of the best IPA’s from a top west coast brewery then head to The Cascade Room for This Sandwich (Burger) and That Beer.
Listen for my monthly feature on Just Here For The Beer radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver on the August 30th at 1pm . Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
Now, I don’t usually feature burgers but I figure summer is here and what’s more summer than a nice juicy burger? So throughout the summer I will be posting some of the best burgers that I come across. Thought this was a pretty good place to start.Everyone knows Gotham Steakhouse is one of the top steakhouses in Vancouver, but did you know they do a burger made from the very same beef they use for their steaks? Head there for their Prime Beef Burger paired with R&B Brewing’s Hoppelganger IPA. The Gotham Prime Beef Burger is perfectly simple. The 10 ounce patty is ground in-house from the exact same prime grade (better than AAA) beef they use for their top quality steaks. The burger is topped with a thick cut beefsteak tomato, dill pickle wedges, green leaf lettuce and mayo on a locally sourced potato bun. I opted to go for the aged cheddar and double smoked bacon additions too. Right away it’s the beef that stands out, it’s unreal.To be honest I don’t think I’ve tasted better beef in my life. The beef is also ground with just the right amount of fat to keep it juicy and full of flavour. The aged cheddar is really nice with its sharpness and the bacon is crispy and salty. I loved the use of the classic beefsteak tomato on this burger, bringing great texture as well as a robust tomato flavour. The thick dill pickle wedges along with the tomato bring the acidity and the green leaf lettuce is delightfully fresh. I can safely say this is the best burger I have ever had. Period.Now, part of the reason I wanted to explore some of these more “Upscale” spots was to see which ones were catching on to the craft beer boom in Vancouver, and Gotham has recently done just that. They now carry a great line up of local craft beer including a long standing staple R&B Brewing’s Hoppelganger IPA. This beer paired wonderfully with this spectacular burger. The beer’s hop forward flavour matched up nicely with the beef’s strong flavour, and it’s bitterness on the back end cut the fat splendidly as well. This IPA is quite well balanced with its malt flavour as well so that made for a nice combination with the saltiness from the bacon. This pairing was a perfect example of how high quality meat should be paired with a nice bold IPA, similarly to how one would pair a big, bold red wine with top grade quality steak.So if you’re looking for a burger made with the highest quality beef paired with nicely balanced IPA from one of Vancouver’s original breweries then head to Gotham Steakhouse for This Sandwich (Burger) and That Beer.Listen for my monthly feature on Just Here For The Beef radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver on the June 28th . Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
Dageraad Brewing is one of the newest breweries to open their doors in the Lower Mainland, crafting small-batch Belgian style beers in true Belgian tradition in Burnaby. Dageraad owner and brewer Ben Coli started the brewery in an “effort to transport a small piece of the beer culture” he found when spending time in the Dageraadplaats neighbourhood of Antwerp while visiting friends over the years. This interest and appreciation of the beers he discovered there quickly became an obsession and from that Dageraad Brewing was born. Dageraad Brewing has come on to the BC craft beer scene with two Belgian beer styles, a Blonde and an Amber Ale. Both being poured at Ben’s brother Nate’s Commercial Drive restaurant Tangent Cafe. I headed there recently to try them out paired with a couple of Tangents panini sandwiches.The Dageraad Blonde is a light bodied ale with an aroma of citrus and fruit, notes of nutty pilsner malt, light noble hops and a faint sweetness. The beer pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow with a fluffy white head that lingers. I found the flavour to be very reminiscent of true Belgian beers I’ve tried, slightly tart, low hop flavour, a tad sweet with a clean dry finish and just a breath of alcohol.This beer paired up nicely with Tangent Cafe’s Caprese Panini which comes with bocconcini, tomato, fresh basil and balsamic with the option to add salami, which I did. I found that the Blonde cut the fat found in the salami and the bocconcini while the acidity of the beer matched up well with the balsamic and the tomato.The sweetness from the balsamic also worked well with sugary notes in the beer. The Dageraad Blonde makes a perfect pairing with this type of sandwich containing some fattier elements.The Dageraad Amber is brewed in the Belgian pale ale style. It has a malty sweetness with a plume of malt and stone fruit backed by an aroma of hops with a nice crisp finish. The beer pours a nice amber colour with a big, foamy slightly off white head. Inspiration for the Dageraad Amber came from the classic Belgian pale ale by De Konnick Brewery.I enjoyed this beer a lot and loved how it paired up with the Roasted Vegetable panini at Tangent.This sandwich comes with roasted eggplant, onion, red peppers with fresh spinach, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. The roast flavour from the vegetables was great with the Amber’s balance of sweetness and bitterness. The Belgian yeast was also quite prominent which I found mingled delightfully with the goat cheese on the sandwich. So if you’re looking for some tasty panini’s paired up with a couple true Belgian beers brewed right here in BC, then head to Tangent Cafe for These Sandwiches and Those Beers.Head to www.tangentcafe.ca and www.dageraadbrewing.com for more info. Follow them both on Twitter @TangentCafe and @DageraadBeer and follow me @TSTB_blog. Head to Legacy Liquor Store to find Dageraad Brewing’s Blonde and Amber ales to take home.
Listen for my monthly feature on Just Here For The Beef radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver on the June 28th . Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
It’s no secret that Wildebeest has quickly become one of Vancouver’s top restaurants, especially after being named 2013’s “New Restaurant Of The Year” by Vancouver Magazine. I had been in once before for dinner, and it was outstanding! I can still taste the lamb tartare if I think hard enough. So with my recent decision to explore what some of Vancouver’s more “Upscale” establishments were doing when it comes to sandwiches and craft beer, I thought heading back to Wildebeest would be a grand idea.
Now, as you would expect Wildebeest’s dinner menu focuses on spectacularly created main courses along with some great starters, salads and sides. This meant that turning my attention to Wildebeest’s brunch menu is where I would find what I was looking for. It was precisely there where I found in all its glory, the breakfast sandwich of all breakfast sandwiches, the Croque Madame.Wildebeest’s Croque Madame comes on thick and crusty country bread, filled with Wildebeest ham, comte cheese and grainy mustard; topped with rich bechamel sauce and a soft fried egg. From the first cut into the thick crust through the outstanding, soft and moist country bread you know a knife and fork will be mandatory. The Wildebeest ham had a good amount of fat keeping it moist, flaky and fall-apart tender with a flavour that is slightly sweet. I loved the comte cheese which is similar to a gruyere cheese, so not melty but a bit nutty and salty. The bechamel sauce is slightly browned while still delightfully creamy and decadently rich, so it fills the role of a gooey cheese. Then sitting atop this magnificent sandwich is the softly fried egg. I recommend slicing the yolk open and letting it run its own course all over the sandwich.I felt the Wildebeest Croque Madame needed to be paired with a beer that would bring a subtle sweetness to match some of the sandwiches flavours, while still having a nice bitterness to cut through its richness. One of the beers offered on their beer list was Bomber Brewing’s ESB which I knew would be perfect, and it was. Right away there was some major magic happening between this Extra Special Bitter and the sandwich. The grainy mustard awakened the fruity notes instantly, while the sweetness from the malt was spot on with sweetness in the ham. Bomber’s ESB has a fairly strong hop profile which cuts the richness of the cheese and bechamel sauce nicely. Almost every ingredient in this sandwich is enhanced by the beer and in turn each flavour in the beer is enhanced as well.So if you’re looking for a rich and decadent Croque Madame paired with a top notch ESB from a local brewery then head to Wildebeest for This Sandwich and That Beer.
Listen for my monthly feature on Just Here For The Beef radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver on the last Saturday of the month. Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
This Saturday will be my public sandwich making debut at Hawkers Market happening this Saturday at Studio East (1480 Frances St) 6pm – late. That’s right. After eating and drinking my way around this great city I have decided to give one my own creations a shot, paired up with 33 Acres Brewing.Tickets are $10 and available here. Hawkers is a great concept whose intention is to help early stage local food entrepreneurs cultivate their businesses and have a place to conduct commerce.The sandwich is a Beer Braised Pork Belly “BLT” and will be paired up with the 33 Acres of Life California Common. This sandwich features 2 day brined pork belly that is slow braised in 33 Acres of Life, tomato, onions and various herbs and spices. The pork will be topped with a roasted tomato jam and lightly dressed arugula. All this between a fresh baked baguette from Railtown Cafe, with a healthy lather of herb mayo.Yup, it’s awesome. Paired up with a 33 Acres Of Life California Common it’s even better! Here’s a nice description of the beer quoted from www.33acresBrewing.com:
“Rooted in West Coast convictions of resourcefulness and persistence, the California Common was born out of the Gold Rush of 1848. Even back when brewing equipment was scarce beer enthusiasts were unwilling to put their craft on hold. Making do with less, inventive brewing techniques led to the creation of a hybrid lager and ale. Out of necessity the brewmasters became partial to using the Pacific air as a cooling system and sourced hops locally. So it goes, this beer came to be apart of the cultural identity among the working class in the late 19th century. This style was widely known to satisfy an insatiable thirst after a long day of work as they built the foundations for life in the West as it stands today. Distinguished in breweries at the time by using copious amounts of local hops and very high carbonation.
Traversing a little further North here in wooded British Columbia our beer serves the very same purpose. Easy on the alcohol content and weighing in on taste for a complete balance. Utilizing Mount Hood hops lends a spice infused aroma. A fruit like quality is created by fermenting the lager at ale temperatures. Gaining a complex taste through subtle approach; hints at a full-bodied ale yet retains a crisp finish.”
So please come to the Hawkers Market happening this Saturday at Studio East (1480 Frances St) 6pm – late. Tickets are $10 and available here. Pick up a Golden Ticket for $12 which gets you entry to East Side Flea happening earlier in the day. Work up a hunger for sandwiches and beer while rummaging through all the great stuff!
Railtown Cafe is found appropriately nestled in a somewhat “industrial” part of East Vancouver known as “Railtown”. Sitting at the corner of Railway and Dunlevy amidst warehouses, tech company offices and artist studios, Railtown Cafe is another spot that has taken me way too long to get to. I’ve been hearing lots of good things since they opened their doors not that long ago, so the time had come to head in and try some of their highly recommended sandwiches for myself.I figured that because it had taken me so long to check out Railtown Cafe that I may as well take a bit of a culinary tour through a few of their sandwich selections. Based on the recommendations of Director of Operations, Marli Anderson, the decision was made to go with the Chicken “Club”, the Reuben and the Pork. Along with these finely crafted, made from scratch sandwiches I needed to choose a couple great craft beers to pair them up with. Luckily, Railtown Cafe offers a very nice selection of various local and regional craft beers to choose from. I went with Driftwood Brewing’s Crooked Coast Altbier and New Belgium Brewing’s Ranger IPA. Now let’s explore which worked best with each of these awesome sandwiches.The Reuben was the first sandwich I decided to bite into, and from that first bite I was immediately in sandwich heaven. The Railtown Cafe’s Reuben sandwich comes with tender slow braised beef brisket, thousand island cole slaw and gruyere on house bake rye bread. The moist brisket is sliced nice and thick and the flavour is deep. The thousand island cole slaw is just right with a great crunch and a zesty flavour. The gruyere is subtle and brings nice salt content to the sandwich. All this sits between the two thick, soft and moist slices of rye bread, which is just spectacular.This sandwich paired up very nicely with the Driftwood Crooked Coast Altbier, which isn’t overally hoppy and was delightfully crisp with the rich beef brisket.Next I dove right in to the Chicken “Club”. Now traditional club sandwiches are one of my all time favourites, so I was extremely excited to give this one a try. Now Railtown Cafe’s version of this classic sandwich is on the menu board in quotations because it’s not your classic version. This “Club” sandwich comes with warm chicken breast, 72 hour bacon, tomato, avocado, arugula and green goddess dressing on toasted focaccia. The chicken breast on this one is prepared sous vide style and then grilled to give it a nice crisp outside layer while still being super juicy. The bacon is unreal, the taste is intense and the texture is perfection. The stand out on this sandwich for me was their house recipe green goddess dressing. Not sure I can even find the words to describe its flavour other than to say it’s out of this world.This sandwich paired up great with the New Belgium Ranger IPA, as this generously hopped IPA mingled really well with the freshness of the “Club” sandwich.Last but certainly not least was the Pork. This sandwich came with tender pulled pork shoulder, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled vegetables and aioli on a french baguette. The flavour profile of this one is that of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. This one brings a lot of heat from the use of fresh jalapeno. The pork comes roughly pulled and is nicely seasoned with many levels of flavour. The cilantro is bright and fresh and the pickled vegetables are crunchy and bring the acidity to the sandwich.This sandwich also paired up well with the Ranger IPA, as the bold hops helped knock down the heat from the jalapeno and also cut through the fat from the pork.
So, if you’re looking for some serious sandwich offerings from a cafe doing everything from scratch paired with great selection of craft beers then head Railtown Cafe for This Sandwich and That Beer.Head to www.railtowncafe.ca, www.driftwoodbeer.com and www.newbelgium.com for more info. Follow them each on Twitter @RailtownCafe, @driftwoodbeer, @newbelgium and follow me @TSTB_blog. Head to Legacy Liquor Store to find both these beers to take home.Listen for my monthly feature on Just Here For The Beef radio on Team 1410AM in Vancouver on the last Saturday of the month. Also look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.
I recently made a decision to venture a little out of my comfort zone to find some sandwich and beer pairings at a few places that would be considered a bit more “Upscale” then my usual spots. This idea stemmed from both my own interest in what these establishments were doing as well as to see which ones were making an effort to offer more craft beer to their customers. One of the places I chose to check out was Yaletown’s La Pentola Della Quercia, located in the Opus Hotel.
At La Pentola the focus is on rustic Northern Italian cuisine done family style, where guests are asked to trust Chef Lucais Syme to create a memorable dining experience. In addition to the family style dinner experience, La Pentola is open 7 days a week for brunch and lunch offering a selection of salads, pasta’s and paninis.The item that intrigued me the most on their lunch menu was the Veal Tongue Panini with salsa rosa, buffalo mozzarella and basil on house-baked ciabatta. The thing that had me so interested in this sandwich was that I had no idea how the veal tongue would be prepared. Upon ordering I found out the veal tongue is poached at low temperature and then sliced paper thin almost like prosciutto but is melt in your mouth tender. I first detected some sweetness from the veal as well as a very interesting and somewhat funky flavour. The melted buffalo mozzarella is soft and succulent between the layers of shaved veal tongue. The salsa rosa is bright and works marvelously with the fresh basil leaves to bring a familiarity to the sandwich. All this nestled between to the two pieces of freshly baked ciabatta bread became basically the best “pizza sub” I’ve ever had.La Pentola’s craft beer selection is small at the moment but the tell me they are looking to expand. They are off to a good start however by offering a few beers from Four Winds Brewing based in Delta, BC. These guys are just plain killing it right now. They recently picked up the “Best Of Show” award for their White Rye IPA at the Okanagen Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton, BC, and took home a silver in the American-Style Brett category at the World Beer Cup in Denver for their Juxtapose Brett IPA. Nice work guys! At La Pentola you’ll find their IPA and their Saison both in bottles. I decided to go with the saison as I knew it would pair well with the veal. This saison is really fragrant and also carried a bit of funk as well, that worked well with the veal. The acidity in the beer matched up nicely with salsa rosa, while combining to deliver some subtle floral qualities as well. All in all the beer and the sandwich stand up to each other nicely, both bringing something bold and unique to the pairing.So, if you’re looking for a delicious and different panini in an upscale room paired with a great saison from an award winning brewery from the Lower Mainland then head to La Pentola Della Quercia for This Sandwich and That Beer.Head to www.lapentola.ca and www.fourwindsbrewing.ca for more info. Follow them both on Twitter @La_Pentola and @FourWindsBrewCo, and follow me @TSTB_blog. If you want to pick up some Four Winds Saison on its own head to Legacy Liquor Store in Olympic Village
Also listen for my feature on Just Here For The Beer radio on Team 1410 at noon Apr 26, and look for my article in BC Craft Beer News found at your local craft focused liquor store.
I hadn’t been in to The Blackbird Public House until a couple of months back when I was there for the BC Brewers Guild and BC Distillers fundraising event. Right away I was super impressed with the room and quickly became interested in what their menu had to offer. I chatted at the bar with Donnelly Group’s Excecutive Bartender/Brand Ambassador and super nice dude Jay Jones about coming back again soon for a sandwich and a beer. It wasn’t long after this meeting that I was flicking through photos Instagram and saw Jay post a pic of a new menu item at The Blackbird, The Organic Chicken & Brie sandwich. I messaged him right away to say I was coming in!The Organic Chicken & Brie sandwich at The Blackbird comes with fresh bay leaf brined and pulled chicken warmed in a succulent chicken gravy, onion relish, Quebec brie and fried onions on artisan sourdough. Right from the first bite, all the flavours come through. The chicken is crazy moist from the long brining process, and with the gravy, the depth of flavour is spectacular with just the right amount of salt. The brie is rich and creamy and is a perfect choice as it melts to become almost like a sauce for the sandwich. While I was eating the sandwich there was something sort of sweet and a bit acidic that really stood out but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I finally realized that it was the onion relish, which is done in a gastric of vinegar, sugar and mustard seeds. This almost became the star as it was so prominent in every bite. And in a sandwich with so many soft textures the crispy fried onions brought the necessary crunch. Finally the artisan sourdough is just right, nicely toasted and distinct with it’s subtle but familiar sourness.When it came to the beer pairing I wanted something that could match up nicely with the sweetness that would be coming from the gravy and the brie. They let me know that they had just added their new collaboration Altbier done with Granville Island Brewing to their taplist. I first tried this style while in Germany many years back and really loved it. This Altbier, as is common with the style is malt forward with a fairly low hop flavour. I also picked up some subtle burnt caramel notes on the nose which became more evident with each sip. The first thing I noticed was how the beer and the brie combined, the sweetness in both definitely found each other as I had suspected. The beer’s mouth feel is also quite crisp and finishes clean, cleansing the palate of the richness from the brie and gravy. Overall the pairing worked very well and this Altbier is something I would drink again for sure. So if you’re looking for a decadent and rich chicken and brie sandwich paired with a great German style Altbier, then head to The Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar for This Sandwich and That Beer.Head to www.donnellygroup.ca/locations/pubs/the-blackbird and www.gib.ca for more info. Follow them both on Twitter @TheBlackBird and @itsgoodtobehere, and follow me @TSTB_blog.
Also, look for my column in the BC Craft Beer News at your local craft beer focused private liquor store.