Dirty Apron: a Vancouver Foodie Bucket List Must!

Dirty Apron Cooking School

Dirty Apron Cooking School: 540 Beatty Street, Crosstown, Vancouver BC

I joined a mini-class at Vancouver’s Dirty Apron Cooking School for an upcoming SHAW TV holiday segment, and I certainly felt like a culinary pro! Their cooking school is designed to make everyone feel that way – be a kitchen pro for a day.

First we received a lesson from the Chef on how to make a fun holiday-entertaining appetizer – then we made the same recipe ourselves using their kitchen stations.

My experience was incredibly fun and I dub this a Vancouver Foodie Bucket List must!

The classroom set up reminded me of being in highschool home-ec class, with the demonstration mirrors above the Chef station, and the personal instruction provided to us as we made the recipe on our own.

Learning new things in the kitchen is a top pass-time of mine, and here I learned some new basic knife skills and techniques for preparing the recipe ingredients – I loved every minute of the class. The surroundings were professional and it felt like we were on a food tv set: I was giddy over the gourmet kitchen experience!

Kitchen classroom work stations

Kitchen classroom work stations

Once the Chef’s interactive cooking demonstration was complete, we manned our stations to find everything portioned out for the recipe – just like on tv! Each station is equipped with all necessary tools, pans, and fun kitchen accessories.

My heart raced with excitement as we began by cutting our onions for caramelization. I’ve chopped an onion dozens of times before, at home, but here it became an adrenalin rush for me – I am an foodie-anomaly though!  I was excited to be in the kitchen setting, fitted with my apron and hand towel tucked into my side – we cooked up a storm! And then we feasted!

My first puffed pastry tart, after the first bite:

Savoury goats cheese pesto puff pastry tart

Savoury goats cheese pesto puff pastry tart - garnished with rocket, tomatoes, cheese, walnuts, and drizzle of olive oil.

A tasty tart - perfect for holiday entertaining.

A tasty tart - perfect for holiday entertaining with rich colours of green and red...

At the Dirty Apron Cooking School you’ll WATCH, LEARN, COOK, EAT, and really HAVE FUN! I recommend their classes are for everyone, and they make great gifts too because anyone can participate : from amateurs to culinary-enthusiasts!

Stay tuned at Shaw Express for their holiday entertaining segment from the Dirty Apron Cooking School.


#21 – Vancouver Slop

Slop can be defined in a few ways, according to my computer’s dictionary, including “to speak or write in a sentimentally effusive manner or gush”. And I think this particular food blog selected their name very appropriately!

Hosted by three guys who each bring a great sense of humour to the blog: meet Gyromite (founder), O-toro, and Joe here. You can follow them on twitter as well: @VancouverSlop.  They are a comical team of bloggers that share a raw view of food in Vancouver through their site, VancouverSlop. With a catchy name, entertaining content including videos,  fun photos, and an organized catalog of restaurant reviews from around town, VancouverSlop is a blog to bookmark!

VancouverSlop.com

VancouverSlop.com

#12 – A Samantha Jones Food Blogging Experience

Yes. Really, a Samantha Jones food blogging experience, which for me parallels to the scene in Sex & The City 2, when Samantha meets Miley on the red carpet and they are caught wearing the same dress! Gasp! Granted the angle the movie took was more about Samantha dressing age-appropriate, but on another level it was still a fashion faux-pas experience. What do you when you are expected to have your own look, and you look the same?

Same dress, same shoes, same blog look – whatever your fashion medium may be, it is your look but when someone else has the same look, what does one do?  In the blogging world, there are a finite number of looks to dress your blog in for those at the mercy of  wordpress or blogspot designs (until one day you can branch out and hire a creative team to rebrand your site).

In my recent food blog scene research, I have now come across more than one  blog with the same look as Beyond The Dough – and all are also Vancouver based bloggers. Perhaps purely a case of great minds thinking a like, but at first I did not know how to react. Should I share them or try to change my look?  Personally, I feel the look of one’s blog is an important image – like hosting guests in your home – you  want to be inviting and encourage people to return.

Today, I choose to embrace my fellow food bloggers and their fabulous content – just as Miley and Samantha chose to do, gracefully. One dress can be worn in many different ways, just as a blog can.

Each of these Vancouver foodies have been blogging longer than myself and each has a different story to tell, with a different angle to the food scene than myself, and with great content of photos and stories. We each share two things in common 1) a clean contemporary blog look and 2) we are each based in Vancouver and love sharing about the food here!

For my blog or bust challenge post #12, check out each of these Vancouver Food blogging divas, in no particular order:

#12A – The Well Tempered Chocolatier – I met this food blogger in August at a food tasting event. She writes on ‘the science of sweet things’, and has been blogging since 2006!

#12B – Vancouver Good – I also met this food blogger at the same August event, her blog happens to cover ‘all things good about Vancouver for visitors and locals’ and naturally includes alot of food! Angie’s blog is organized conveniently so you can find what you want – like a local food / travel directory.

#12C – Ethnic Eats – On covering Tiny Bites yesterday, I learned this blogger is one of their contributors as well. Degan Beley not only hosts her own blog, Ethnic Eats, but contributes to a few other food blogs around town as well. Her Ethnic Eats site includes good eats, cheap eats, photos and and array of menu diversity – as Vancouver’s food scene offers. Her style is very captivating too.

#10 & #11 Finding Tiny Bites & Casual Baking in Vancouver

To wrap up the long weekend, and double up on my blogs (in lieu of missing yesterday, due to giving thanks) here are a couple more quality sites to add to the Vancouver food blog repertoire in my blog or bust challenge include TINY BITES and the CASUAL BAKER.

#10 – Tiny Bites is a blog lead by one, Karen Hamilton, with two additional contributors. Karen is  a women after my own heart, as her blog encourages local tourism and helping Vancouverites decide what to ‘bite’ on. The blog is another award-winning site in the food blogging community – check it out!

Screen shot of Tiny Bites food blog

Tiny Bites food blog

#11 – Casual Baker, is sweet blog written by Sheena, a Vancouver women with a self proclaimed penchant for sweets – bake on my fellow foodie! Her blog is simply baking, since 2006, and covers an array of recipes, handy to have in your shortcuts toolbar as a cookbook in your virtual library (She even has a recipe index – convenient!). Her stories paired with the recipes are great, sometimes including music video YouTube links and other fun-interesting parallels.

Her photography is rustic reflecting the baking and recipes; looking oh so tastefully homemade. I would definitely support this casual baker if passed in a farmer’s market.

Casual Baker food blog

Casual Baker food blog

#5 – Life Bites & Where is Julie Powell now?

This blog or bust post is brought to you from a West End sushi shop called Daija, on Denman between Robson and Haro. The staff have been refilling my green tea for the last hour and kindly allowed me to, ‘stay as long as I like’ following a late lunch.

My favourite time of year is here now, sunny looking crisp air on the verge of winter once again.  Looking through the restaurant window, it is simply sunny and warm outside, then the door opens and I feel the cold air hit me as it rolls along the floor.  It’s quiet in here right now, busy outside, and I feel like I am tucked away while I share my next blog or bust post.

During a meeting earlier today with a fellow foodie, I learned about another Vancouver based food blog that is very new, just over two months old! This Blog or Bust share is Life Bites – an infant food blog headed in the right direction with her local food adventures! On first glance, the blog reminds me of the Julie & Julia blog in a way, with a courier font look over a crisp mint green back drop. Complete with simple photos and fun articles of food adventures in Vancouver.

If you’re curious about where Julie Powell is now, after the popular book to movie – Julie & Julia – she has a new site called Julie Powell Books.  I loved the movie and the book and the blog, and well, I can’t deny, Julie Powell may have been a contributing inspiration to Beyond The Dough…

Julie & Julia movie

Julie & Julia movie

Baker’s Market: A Sweet Find in South Vancouver (with #4)

Connie at Bakers Market

Connie, founder of the Baker's Market, staff's her own booth on opening market day.

This past Saturday the Vancouver Baker’s Market reopened for it’s second fall season, after opening last year. It will now be open every Saturday from now to December, 11am – 3pm; and although it’s a bit of a trek to get to in South Vancouver, it is worth the trip!

Connie started the Baker’s market last year, and is excited about kicking off another season of local bakers. “Every week we get different vendors, so you gotta come every week to check it all out,” she said amongst the buzz of the market.

Buttercup Cake Design at Baker's Market

Buttercup Cake Design at Baker's Market

The opening Saturday vendor’s included our friend Amanda Goats, local pastry chef, who I chatted with a few months ago and has since launched her own business: Buttercup Cake Design.  Amanda will be at the market every Saturday this fall, and is just one of many fun vendors on display.

Miss Mandy’s Sweet Treats, selling mini bundt cakes and home made chocolates, is another vendor at the market and sold out quickly.  Damien’s Belgian Waffles, real Belgian waffles, in many flavours and even chocolate covered were heavenly to sample.  Other vendors included fresh baked bread, cupcakes, cookies, mini-pies, and much more.

Damien's Waffles on display at Baker's Market

Damien's Waffles on display at Baker's Market, white chocolate covered in bottom right - rich & yummy!

The vendor list is available on the market website, but be sure to arrive early because the fresh baked goods move quickly!

There were approximately 12 vendors on Saturday and 10 new vendors will join this coming Saturday – making it a tight squeeze with all the more to feast your fall sweet-tooth on!

Connie had a minute to spare while staffing her own booth at the market, so I could ask about the market’s beginning.

How did the Baker’s Market start? Basically I love baking, and my friends got tired of eating my stuff. And I really felt that there are so many talented people out there who want to share their products, so instead of giving it away I thought we could try a central location where people can share their love of baking.

Baker's Market Guest Book table

Baker's Market even has a Guest Book table with fun fridge magnets!

BLOG OR BUST #4: GOURMET FURY!

The Gourmet Fury is another great Vancouver Food Blog, who also happened to cover the spring season of the Baker’s Market earlier this year.  Although I first learned about Melody Fury, the author, earlier in my summer of blogging. Then, she had just covered solid ground during the Winter Games through her posts with videos, photos, and recipes as part of her culinary tourism angle.

Melody is also the founder of Vancouver Food Tour; and has an accolade of coverage and awards already for her quality food blogging. As another great foodie to follow, Melody continues to validate Vancouver as a quality place to eat. She eats and Tweets, and is a fun follow – enjoy Gourmet Fury!

Burcouver strip complete with sexy JOEY Burnaby addition!

Tonight the JOEY Restaurant chain launched a preview of their newest addition: JOEY Burnaby. Located in Brentwood area in the former Shark Club location, the sexy restaurant chain certainly adds some heat to the area. After some chic remodeling their new location is worth checking out, when they open to the public on Monday October 4, 2010.

The Lougheed ‘Burcouver’ strip already includes the likes of Earls, Cactus Club, and Milestones; but now with JOEY Burnaby its shaping up to be Robson-like dining strip in Burnaby.

Here is a tour of my night, including some beautiful people and tasty bites of their passed menu items.

Joey_Burnaby

Joey Burnaby front entrance

Chic_Joey_decor

Chic Joey interior decor

Upper_level_Joey

Joey Rooftop level

Sneak peak patio level

Sneak peak: Joey Burnaby Rooftop

Joey Bby launch menu

Joey Burnaby launch menu

Joey Burnaby Wine Cellar

David Scholefield, local wine-expert and Joey Burnaby associate, was in the house; so you can bet this wine cellar is nothing short of stellar!

Joey Burnaby Kitchen

The Joey Burnaby Kitchen - my favourite part...

Joey Friends

Joey Burnaby Friends - a great place to dine after work

Trendy beef sliders...

Trendy & tasty beef sliders...

And drum roll ladies & gentlemen…. Saving the best for last, I may have eaten more than one, but I am a biased sweet-tooth (shhh don’t tell my dentist!):

BAKED APPLE PIE BITES = HEAVEN!

Baked Applie Pie bites

Baked Apple Pie bites with caramel, nuts, pastry, ice cream, and apple compote - delightful!

It was a smooth night overall, the food kept coming, the servers were spot on with drink refills everywhere I looked.  The food was served in perfect bite size pieces, and while the bathrooms aren’t quite Cactus Club – they still rocked with their 12-second-power-eco-friendly hand dryers.

I’ll return for more dessert, and I might finish with an entre!

When will you dine at Joey Burnaby?