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We Need More Napkins

I eat, drink, cook and pour gnarly things, then share with the world.

By Justin Ludwig.

Maenam’s Royal Thai dinner - Vancouver BC

I have spilled ink before on this blog about the virtues of Maenam, Kitsilano’s hip, upscale Thai restaurant, and vowed to one day take in their Royal Thai tasting menu. It didn’t take long for dreams to come true, and just a couple months after my first visit I returned with my dad and my wife for some serious event eating.

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The menu offers that the tasting menu comprises of 9 dishes served family style, but our meal boasted more like 11 or 12, with a mix of menu items and daily creations. The first of three waves consisted of appetizers, which we paired with some Maenam’s delicious Thai-infused cocktails, including a margarita-style Tequila-based drink and a take on a Boston sour, both brightened by ingredients like lime, galangal, and basil.

The initial offering consisted of chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce, fried fern leaf, pork crackling, crispy soft-shell crab and some fried oysters with nahm jim sauce. Where to begin? Everything was really bold and delicious, but the highlights were without a doubt the crab and the oysters. The nahm jim is a spicy mix of fish sauce, chilies, lime and sugar, which made the perfectly-cooked oysters just explode in the mouth. And as for the crab, I think I would have paid a hundred bucks to just eat those by the bucket-full until I could no longer stand.

This first course was also accompanied by some tom sap gai, a “north-east style hot and sour soup with roast chicken,” which was a very savoury and comforting addition.

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The second course was really surprising. A bowl of mussels is always a welcome touch, particularly with more nahm jim for dipping and a really savoury broth, but it was the sausage salad that blew our minds. I don’t mind indulging in sin when dining out, but I doubt there’s any way even I would have read “sausage salad” on the menu and thought to order it. It turned out to be the stand-out of the night. The mix of textures, between the sausage, fresh ingredients and the crispy fried bits of onion was incredible, as was the perfectly Thai dressing, combining the sweet, savoury, sour and spicy in absolute harmony.

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The final course consisted of four main dishes: a phanaeng curry with braised beef, a fresh salad of tuna and papaya, the restaurant’s signature 8-spice lingcod, and some fried pork jowl with baby corn and basil. It was nice having the four dishes served together because they really complimented each other: the curry was rich, the salad bright and sour, the fish sticky and sweet, and the pork spiced with whole peppercorns. Of the four, it would be hard to pick a favourite, but the pork was the most surprisingly complex. By this point in the meal though, you’ve been hit with so many fireworks that it all becomes a mess of colour and bliss.

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And here I am after all the carnage. We could do nothing but scoff at the dessert menu. As it was, walking to the car was a challenge and I had my belt undone well before we got home. This was one for the record books.

Shultzy’s - Seattle WA

If you’re in Seattle’s University District and you’re hungover, German, or maybe just looking to get your Fat American on, Shultzy’s is the joint. The sausage house is down the street from the UW campus, and really fits my idealized cliche of what a real American college bar in 2013, with Huskies banners and giant beers and a pair of dudes sitting next to us talking about being disappointed in/sympathetic to Obama.

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GET IT?!?

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There’s no use fluffing around with the burgers or chicken wings - Shultzy’s is a sausage house, and so it’s sausage one must order, dammit. The Bratwurst plate is served on a bed of sauerkraut with a warm potato salad and big ass pretzel. As someone from the prairies and sporting the Bohemian moniker of Ludwig, these were not unfamiliar flavours but they were done just right, and a satisfying plate of food this is indeed.

Note: We shared it. Look at it, it’s freakin huge.

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The menu also boasts about having the “best fries in the universe” or something so we got an order, American-izing them with a cheese fondue. I don’t know if these hold a universe-spanning title, but these were really fucking good in a heart-stopping, let’s-have-salad-for-dinner kind of way.

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Sitting on the table is an impressive mustard selection. I could have done with a little more diversity, but these sufficed. A sausage, after all, is only as good as the mustard that brings it to life. Danke schoen.

Shultzy's Sausage on Urbanspoon

Matt’s in the Market - Seattle WA

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I think I first came to Matt’s because Bobby Flay said on one of his shows that it had the best salmon chowder in the Pacific NW, which is a pretty bold statement. The first time I tried to visit we just missed lunch and it was closed, so we stormed around the market fuming until we found some overpriced seafood joint amidst the hordes and ate there, defeated. On one of my last visits to Seattle no such mistake was to be made - we cleared the border quickly and made it to the Pike’s Place eatery just in time for lunch.

As far as locations go Matt’s is pretty choice, right at the corner of the entrance to the Public Market and across from the iconic sign. The third-floor restaurant has big windows overlooking the stalls and throngs of tourists below, while up top it’s all casual elegance.

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We started with some devilled eggs, and who could have known they’d be such a fancy little treat? These were topped with - to the best of my recollection, which quickly became fogged with devilled egg ecstasy - Dungeness crab, Romesco sauce, pickled turnip, salsa verde, pickled chile pepper and anchovie. Hallelujah.

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Somewhere beneath all this leafy Italian parsley is a bowl of mussels. I don’t normally fuck with mussels in restaurants since it’s such an easy fix at home, but my normally-landlocked dad was keen to get some seafood in his belly and I’ll be damned if he didn’t like these so much that when he was done with the mollusks he started drinking the broth. You’ve got to be really hungry or really enthusiastic about your meal to drink from a tepid pool of white wine and butter and mussel liquor, so I think it was high praise.

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I ordered the tuna sandwich with gazpacho. It was incredible. The sandwich, topped with “Mama Lil’s” hot mustard pickle relish and lemon aioli, was probably as flavourful as it’s humanly possible to make a sandwich of delicately seared tuna, without ever overpowering the gentle, luxurious fish. Just enough heat, acid and fat to make this handful supremely devourable.

And then the gazpacho, let me tell you, Lisa Simpson was on to something. On a hot summer day I can’t think of a more beautiful accompaniment, particularly to a sandwich full of bold, divergent flavours. Silky, savoury, cold; it’s like running through the spinkler in your grandma’s yard and then falling into her vegetable patch.

So I never got the chowder. No sweat, I’ll be back again. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy this sweet video for the Mollusk and be grateful the west coast exists.

Matt's in the Market on Urbanspoon

Olympic Provisions - Portland OR

There are few things in life that make me happier than a great charcuterie board. Olympic  Provisions in Portland is at the forefront of the city’s carnivorous cuisine, curing all of their own salami, sausage and ham which supply both of their own bricks-and-mortar restaurants as well as other markets in the city. Owner Elias Cairo calls it “American Charcuterie” and the focus is of course on local ingredients.

Pictured above is the Spanish Board, boasting two Spanish style salami, jamon de York, prosciutto, fresh chorizo and queso Idiazabal. Toasted nuts and pickled peppers accompany. Beautiful.

There is a great wine list as well as a full dinner, lunch and brunch menus, and the restaurant also boasts a deli counter for take-away customers.

Olympic Provisions on Urbanspoon

Peaceful Restaurant - Vancouver BC

Normally when King Douchebag Guy Fieri showcases a restaurant on his renewed-until-the-end-of-time Food Network staple series, he leaves behind a certain stink that the place just can’t shake. Tourists and lazy food nerds flock there, prices go up, and worst of all, obnoxious photos of him shoving food into his fat face hang everywhere.

It was for this reason I avoided Peaceful Restaurant for the first few months I lived in Vancouver, and with so much great Chinese in the city, it was pretty easy to do. Eventually I caved and I’m eternally grateful I did - this truly is some of Vancouver’s best, and while I can’t compare Peaceful to its pre-DDD life, it doesn’t appear to be a restaurant that is slipping off its game.

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Okay, so I’ll get one of the dishes that Ass-Head profiled out of the way first. These are the beef rolls, with hoison-braised meat rolled in a crispy house-made flatbread. It’s delicious, okay? If you’d like to know more about it, there’s an easily-searchable Youtube clip.

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Now, let’s talk dumplings. I love dumplings. They bring a smile to my face in the way that those old Frosted Mini-Wheats commercial used to advertise: the adult in me likes the complex and balanced flavours, while the kid in me loves the salty meat and soft noodle and going CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP.

Pictured above are the Spicy Tangy Dumplings, which come in a soup broth so potent it borders on being a ponzu sauce, and the Sichuan Chilli Won-Tons, tossed in chilli oil, garlic, vinegar & spinach. Now the thing about Peaceful, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment, is that they hand-make all of their dough, dumplings and dim sum, so the noodle is perfectly chewy and fresh and the filling is full of flavour, without the TNT-freezer taste that lots of dim sum in town has. Despite how intense it is, the Spicy Tangy are a real favourite, floating in a savoury vinegar-soy broth that makes my eyes pop. I scald my tongue every time.

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Now the noodles, Peaceful’s true claim to fame. To understand how these are made, I have to again (sadly) recommend the Youtube clip. It’s pretty incredible. They start from a single ball of dough and the chef hand-pulls them apart and folds them over, making twice as many strands each time. I don’t know how long it takes, but at some point the man is left with an armful of perfectly-sized, round noodles.

The top picture is the Dan Dan Noodles, my favourite dish in the entire restaurant. I included the “as it arrives” picture because it’s part of the surprise of the dish: when it first lands on the table you’re like Oh great, some noodles with some peanuts on top. But underneath that pile of noodles is the richest peanut and pork sauce there is, and as you eat you keep mixing it all together and the bowl gets better and better as you get to the bottom. I INHALE this dish.

The next is the Cumin Lamb Noodles, an interesting twist for a restaurant as seemingly regionally-specific as this. Lamb is all over this menu, which is cool, and perhaps a testament to all the lamb that grows in the area. This dish isn’t shy on cumin at all, but it’s a interesting divergence for the palate that could use some soy-relief.

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And it’s not all meat and noodles. This is a fried eggplant dish that is as savoury as anything else on the menu, sauteed with pork, bamboo, woodear mushroom and chilli paste. It’s beautiful, and a real testament to the restaurant - this is not like your hometown’s Chinese dive, where everything tastes of fried soy sauce and once you’re done you need two hours of down time because it feels like a rice truck landed on your gut. Everything tastes fresh, unique and deliberate, and even the traditional dishes have something rich and special about them here. Now as long as Bourdain doesn’t crash this place too, hopefully it’ll stay this good forever.

Okay fine, here it is…

Peaceful Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ned Ludd - Portland OR

Ned Ludd is the name of a fictional character in the Earth First movement, inspired by the Luddites, the colony of Europeans who sabotaged and vandalized technology at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. For the hip Portland restaurant of the same name, Ludd’s spirit has been transformed into a menu in which all food is only cooked by wood fire, ingredients that are exclusively local and seasonal, and the most impeccably decorated room I’ve ever eaten in.

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"Rustic" is definitely the design-du-jour at most contemporary urban eateries, where the push to celebrate simple ingredients and techniques has transformed modern "fine dining." The next step is going to be restaurants without cutlery, I’m serious. Can’t you just picture left coast yuppies lining up to eat whole (confit) turkey legs and (local fingerling) potatoes out of a (fabulous) trough?

Ned Ludd has taken this aesthetic and created a room so tastefully appointed it feels part-museum and part-upscale kitchen, with antique copper pots hanging from the walls, piles of wood displaying hatchets and jars full of natural oddities everywhere.

If you don’t believe me about the attention to detail that went into this place, JUST LOOK AT THIS FUCKING BATHROOM:

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After reading the praise for the restaurant online, I was actually a little bit discouraged upon reading the menu, given how modest it is. For a city as big and meaty as Portland, Ned Ludd’s menu is very light and green, which is likely a seasonal attribute. It turned out to be a blessing, as the meal we enjoyed over five courses was innovative, but focused on fresh, bright flavours that let the ingredients do all the talking, prepared simply but perfectly every time.

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The cocktail list is small but right on the money for the hot, dry August night my road-tripping party visited. The Queen Bee is a fruity-but-not-too-sweet vodka and peach cocktail, while the El Guapo is a complex tequila-based drink.

Also leading off the meal was a bit of charcuterie in the form of a porchetta that just melted on the tongue as soon as you put it in your mouth. Accompanying were some house-made mustard and pickles, all of which got the taste buds really going and the table really excited for what else was in store for us. Oh and the edible flowers were just GORgeous dahling.

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Next was a bruschetta of corn, grape tomatoes, basil oil and sheep’s cheese, and a salad of summer beans, pickled blueberries, sheep’s cheese and hazelnuts. These simple preparations were so bright and flavourful and surprising in their immediacy. The bruschetta was delicious (but hardly an unfamiliar flavour profile), however the bean salad was a revelation. The best contemporary cooking seems to have an incredible knack for pairing basic ingredients that may seem odd or surprising, but when eaten together are so perfectly complimented that you wonder why the combo isn’t as common as apple pie and ice cream. That salad was the taste of summer, and each of the four primary ingredients was there for a reason.

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This is a whole roasted trout with a simple cucumber salad and charred scallions. You know how when your family just murders a white fish at gatherings by stuffing it with lemon and dill and then baking the shit out of it? It’s a flavour profile I’ve come to be very wary of, and yet here was a fish prepared exactly in that manner (save for the over-cooking, of course) and it was so delicious. Of course the wood fire is a major asset: from the crispy skin to the smoke in the meat to the char on the garnish, it really transforms the protein in a way that home ovens don’t. Most importantly though, it was seasoned and cooked perfectly, so while the instinct may be slather a white fish in some goopy sauce when you get boring plate of it at home, here the fish itself was celebrated and allowed to shine as it should. The lemon and dill were the noble support they should be. We ate everything but the face.

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Our final savoury course was the big meaty finisher we were all waiting for. When this plate of lamb over eggplant puree with olives hit the table, I was a little suspect despite how amazing the rest of the meal had been: the meat was brown and looked cooked-through, as opposed to the gloriously pink and juicy centre I was expecting. Looks can be deceiving though, and this was the bite of the night. The lamb was incredibly moist and tender, slow cooked near glowing embers, and so full of that distinctly luxurious flavour that makes it the greatest of all dead animals. The crispy outer crust on the meat in particular made my eyes roll back into my head, and the combination of the olives and the eggplant provided just the right tart and sour notes to balance the rich meat.

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And finally, dessert, which isn’t a course I usually crave but in this case seemed appropriate to cap off such a beautiful meal. What a genius stroke it was: the poached peach with creamy cheese and mint was delicious, but the summer berry panna cotta was among the more phenomenal desserts I’ve ever had. I’m a HUGE sucker for custards, and this one - like everything else about the meal - was all about simple execution with huge bold flavours that absolutely knocked us out.

I don’t think any Luddite ever ate this well. The dream of the 1890’s is truly alive in Portland.

Ned Ludd on Urbanspoon

The Acorn - Vancouver BC

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Vancouver wouldn’t be the beating heart of Canada’s left coast if it didn’t offer a plethora of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, right? There’s a lot to pick from if you’re meat-free (which yes, I can be from time to time), but the hippest and most innovative spot in town is The Acorn.

As you can see, a line forms on Main Street as early as a half hour before the doors finally open at 5:30 on the weekend. It’s a tiny, well-manicured room that screams earthly and fresh as loudly as the menu, all very tasteful and sharp and considered. The servers are all sirens, aging much better than their customers for the most part.

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My friend and bartender extraordinaire Dylan recently took over the small cocktail list, so it’s equal parts old school and contemporary. Elite. Indie, even. 

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The food is amazing, and not in a "I didn’t even miss the meat!" type of way - if you’re seriously going to walk into a vegetarian restaurant like a fat American at an all-inclusive in Cancun and act like you’re going WAY out of your comfort zone by eating really fresh garden veggies, herbs, nuts and cheese, then you don’t really have any business eating there.

Anyway, the dish pictured above is the “Peas and Carrots,” a chilled pea soup with pickled carrots and mascarpone. The soup base itself would have been delicious, but the one-two hit of creamy luxury from the cheese and crunchy acidity from the carrots takes this bowl to the moon, and is a perfect way to start a meal on a hot summer night despite its hearty portion.

Note: Portion sizes in general are pretty decent here, which could be an effort to justify prices ($16-19 for mains) to “regular” diners who expect a slab of beef on their plate for twenty bucks. Maybe? I mean they’re not huge and silly either. Either way I was stuffed when I left the place, like need-a-couple-hours-before-going-out-again stuffed.

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This is the beer-battered Halloumi over smashed peas, a zucchini cake and herbed yogurt. A very hearty, delicious dish that manages to feel clean and bright while indulging in a certain degree of crisp-fried decadence.

I love fresh Halloumi cheese, grilled or fried. I bet you could eat it fresh and make a really cool Middle East-style caprese salad with it. Ashley used to bring Nabulsi cheese back from Quebec in the summer, which is similar except saltier and dotted with black sesame seeds throughout. That cheese, fried in a pan so that it’s crispy on the outside and oozing through the centre, may be the single most exciting flavour my mouth has ever experienced. The Acorn’s Halloumi is great, though my encounter with it was decidedly less climactic than those first few bites of Nabulsi in the Rose kitchen, my knees weak and my eyes rolled all the way back into my head…

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The words “raw,” “vegan,” “cold” and “gluten-free” are typically antithetical to lasagna, but that’s exactly what this is, with zucchini, pesto, cashew cream and candied olives. Another beautiful dish for a hot day, this “lasagna” really makes the most of its flavours and textures. The pesto is really bright and - dare I say - traditional, which serves as one of the plate’s sole nods to the dish’s Italian heritage. Bellissimo.

The Acorn on Urbanspoon

Wildebeest - Vancouver BC

In my brief time spent living in Vancouver, Wildebeest has quickly become one of my favourite restaurants (here or anywhere.) It’s style is in keeping with what’s all the rage out here: small, family-style share plates focused on the freshest local ingredients and nose-to-tail cuisine. What separates Wildebeest from the pack is a really gonzo adventurous edge and a knack for making sweet music out of animals parts that North Americans don’t often consume.

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Like this, for instance, a Pig Face and Octopus terrine, topped with crispy ear and a puree of arugula and mint. The octopus was clearly braised before being charred, as it’s texture was buttery and moist, pairing elegantly with the varying fatty flavours of the pork. This is what I’m talking about. If the words Pig Face and Octopus sound like a horrifying prospect for you, this is not your place. Me, I’m like, bring on the face, yo.

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It’s not all gnarly meat preparations. This is a delicious salad of fresh heirloom radishes, carrot sorbet and mascarpone cheese. This was like the freshest thing a person could possibly eat. It was like getting slapped in the face with a wet towel. The balance that this dish achieved between straight-out-of-the-garden veggies and refined savoury and sweet flavours was incredible.

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…but back to the gnarly meats. This is an Elk Tartare with a confit egg yolk, wild herbs, pickles blackberry vinegar and game spice mayo. Holy shit, this egg yolk was unreal - warm but still completely soft and more flavourful than any yolk should be. The elk was soft and buttery but still held its gamey edge, and the seasoning was of course perfect. And all the little flakes? Elk “bonito”, mimicking Japanese fish flakes. WHAT’LL THEY COME UP WITH NEXT, RIGHT?

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It’s not all Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. This is the Short Rib, which they do sous vide as opposed to the more common braising technique, which leaves the meat really tender but ultimately tasting just like a perfectly cooked piece of Mom’s roast beef. So I mean, it’s really good, especially with the smoky hay jus, but it’s not the same adventure that so many of the other dishes are (we were going to try the Squid and Beans or the Bone Marrow, but our server really sold this dish.)

Note: Sous vide is finding its way back on to a lot of menus and I’m not all that into it. It’s the least natural way of cooking something that exists: shrink-wrapping food in plastic and then submerging it in a temperature-controlled tank of water for an extended period of time? Goofy. Also, despite the ability to produce really tender meat there’s some blowback, as in the fat that was left clinging to the short rib, that would have rendered down had it been braised (which is generally why short rib is braised.) In terms of trends, I hope this one has a short life.

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And finally, I wish to present you with the Roasted Sweetbreads, which is about the tastiest bite of food on the planet. For the uninitiated, sweetbreads are the lymph glands of veal. HUNGRY YET?!? They’re really rich and fatty with a creamy texture and distinct flavour, one that pairs PERFECTLY with earthly morels, as the fine folks at Wildebeest have done here. The sauces that accompany are a caramelized buttermilk (whatever that means) and a tarragon jus. Seriously, every time I take a bite my eyes roll back into my head. It’s the dish that made us fall in love with the restaurant, and though it changes with the season, there usually seems to be some variety of it on the menu. All hail.

Wildebeest on Urbanspoon

Schwartz’s - Montreal QC

Food is like art; sometimes we have to suffer for it. The lineup that forms in front of Schwartz’s on a sunny Saturday afternoon is almost absurd, despite being surprisingly polite and focused on one singular goal: the true Montreal smoked meat experience. Schwartz’s is an institution, and admittedly it’s a tourist move to hit it up when apparently The Main, located right across the street, has even better meat. Regardless, I’m a sucker for the classics, and so through the heat I waited…

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Sometimes a place gets famous just by being there the longest and sticking to its guns. Schwartz’s is a cramped little deli serving almost exclusively smoked meat sandwiches, and has been for decades. You share tables with other diners, stuffed in as tight as they can get you. Besides the beef there’s chicken and turkey on the menu, but I’ve never seen anyone eat it in the few times I’ve visited over the years (and of course they don’t do pork, not even with a fork.) This is the mecca of Hebrew brisket. Open since 1928, it’s become such a legendary spot that there was even a musical about it that had a run in Montreal a few years ago. I’m sure the play was really deep and in no way gratuitous…

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When the sandwich lands on the table it’s almost comical, this heaping mound sliced meat barely contained by two slices of rye bread, holding on for dear life. The juicy, smoky beef is accented only by a squirt of yellow mustard, which is all it needs. The brisket is a revelation, so deep and rich and unlike anything that passes itself off as “Montreal smoked meat” at Subway or your local grocery store. There is a reason it’s an institution.

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I recommend a dill pickle and slaw to accompany. The fries are really popular and tasty but you need some acid to cut through all that heavy meat.

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And here is a happy wife.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Tres Carnales - Edmonton AB

I’m alone and hungover in downtown Edmonton when I find a noisy taqueria called Tres Carnales. This slow-roasted pork torta comes to me like a spicy Mexican temptress, exotic and curvy and beautifully messy. It’s a vision, and her name is Cochinita Pibil. The two of us meet, and at first I don’t know that I can handle her; I’m timid and bookish and she’s from another world. But she takes me by the hand and we get lost in the city like teenagers, like we’re just tasting freedom for the first time. We dance, drink rum and run through the streets, stealing kisses in alleyways and laughing at our fortune. I’m still sweating when we find our way to the beach despite the cooling air and setting sun. When our bodies come together it’s dangerous and dirty and perfect. Horns explode all around us like a thousand mariachis, and I can still taste her on my lips as she disappears into the night.

I don’t eat this sandwich so much as I make love to it.

Maenam - Vancouver BC

I’m sure I’ve made such a big deal about how much I love Thai food over the years that I might as well get it tattooed at this point. Authentic Thai cuisine is just the best; I really don’t think any other culinary style better balances the salty, sour, bitter and sweet, and does so with such bold and adventurous flavours. While savage floods kept me from visiting in 2011, I swear I’ll make it there some day soon, and when I do I’m gonna find some old ladies to teach me EVERYTHING.

I’ve eaten all sorts of great Thai in restaurants and my own kitchen, but I’ve never had upscale Thai before, and what better city to find it than my beloved Vancouver. We had some visiting company recently and so for our Main Event Dinner we chose Maenam, Chef Angus An’s Kitsilano hot spot.

It may be a little off-putting when you first walk in to find that most of the servers and diners in the restaurant are white - which is never the best sign in a city with as sizeable and food-obsessed as Vancouver’s Asian population - but don’t let it be a deterrent. This isn’t the secret grimy noodle house with the best $2 dumplings in town, this is haute cuisine drawing from Thailand’s amazing flavour palate.

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There couldn’t be a much better way to start a meal than this gin/ginger/grapefruit cocktail and an order of crisp fried oysters with a spicy nahm jim sauce. The cocktail, from Maenam’s small but impressive list, was bright and tart and not-too-sweet, and the fried oysters were a great way to introduce the palate to many of the flavours of the night by way of a familiar and comfortable fry.

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Jungle curry with mixed vegetables and tender beef. A nice rich curry with good heat, but certainly the most ordinary dish of the evening.

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This is the 8-spice fish, a tender piece of lingcod caramelized in a sweet and spicy tamarind sauce. This was amazing, with perfect accents from the crispy basil leaves and garlic. As you can see the portion sizes are not traditional Thai family-style mounds of food, but pack an amazing amount of flavour, focused and tight.

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This was a brilliant squid salad with fresh herbs and mango. Really bright, acidic and delicious, covering every base and having just the right piece of fried tentacle on top.

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The final dish was a huge surprise, and it was the evening’s feature dish of sauteed spinach and pork belly. Really savoury with great balance, and the bits of belly were cooked perfectly, which is important. Pork belly that isn’t crispy and rendered is just a pile of fat, which isn’t even appetizing in a guilty way. This was appetizing in every way.

Maenam has a Royal Thai 9-course tasting menu that they offer as well. I’ll let you know how that goes soon…

Maenam on Urbanspoon

marisamenuism said: Hi there, I'm the Community Manager for Menuism, a vibrant online dining community. The Menuism Blog is going to be posting an article on Atlanta's Best Late Night Eats, and I just wanted to let you know that we’re featuring an excerpt from your review on Vortex. A link to your blog will be included. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Cool!