[Vancouver, BC] All Tap & No Barrel at the Convention Center?

Tap & Barrel
Convention Centre Location
76-1055 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Phone: (604) 235-9827

The Tap and Barrel is a contemporary pub located to one corner of the Vancouver Convention Centre and it’s conveniently placed for hungry visitors to any event, namely Fan Expo Vancouver, to hit. Even after summertime shows like Anime Revolution (taking place Aug 9 to 11), I’m sure this place is bustlin’.

The prices are very reasonable for the standard staples that feed budget minded con-goers. There’s hamburgers, fish and chips and sandwiches. For a quick breakfast, I got all the fuel needed to tackle the said convention without having to venture far. Until the organizers decide to switch buildings, this eatery is a less than a stone’s throw away.

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Clucking In with Masutama Ramen

Marutama Ramen
270 Robson St,
Vancouver, BC V6B 0E7

Phone: (604) 687-0487
Hours: 11:30am–10pm

Like McDonald’s, ramen shops are popping up nearly everywhere, no matter how big the town is. I saw more had sprung up in the downtown core of Vancouver when I was here last. Yes, I admit this blog has become a noodle haven lately, and I go where my stomach tells me to visit. A change will happen soon, I promise!

On the path to Rogers Arena, there were at three places I could hit. Masutama Ramen opened a year and a half ago and is making waves. They offer a chicken-based broth over the usual pork. The taste takes getting used to and when roasted onions are added on top, the blend made sipping the broth a joy. On its own, it’s very rich and really needed toning down.

The noodles were savoury enough and portioned on the low side, which made me realize I should have ordered a double to fill me up. Yes, I have to live up to “Too Hungry” somehow, and on a cold winter evening, it was needed! I’d rather not pay the inflated prices for food or liquid products within the concert venue.

Doubling up on the succulent cha-shu was on the nose. Its smoky flavour was only enhanced by the broth. The egg was well prepared and was perhaps soaked in soy beforehand to give it the brown outer skin. Unlike traditional seaweed, this operation uses sea lettuce, which made for a different ramen eating experience.

Their dumplings are not quite on par with The Gyoza Bar. They were crispy enough to satisfy, and again, I needed two orders than one to sate the craving within me. Patrons usually do not linger in a ramen bar for long. They want a nice hot meal and be out as soon as possible. During lunch-time, I imagine this place has a high turnover. On the later parts of the days, it’s possible to linger around and wait for friends to show up. I was meeting Ira Hunter of Absolute Underground Magazine, and by the time he arrived, I had finished.

My advice: when dining with friends, make sure you all show up at the same time. These bowls are served quick. By the time others show up, you may be done and be craving for more.

3½ Blokes out of 5

[Vancouver, BC] Frying Pan Flies Fries & Chicken Fast and Furious

Frying Pan
505 Burrard St
Vancouver, BC 

Hours: 11:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: (778) 927-1477

I make no clucks about it. This hungry bloke is spreading his wings, and when I’m at Fan Expo Vancouver 2018, I’m not interested in those sponsored/recommended stops. This year’s guide had restaurants advertising discounts for going there. One interested me, but I let my nose be the guide. After a long day at this event just how far I have to go for a meal depends on how worn out I feel. Not all of this show’s recommended stops are located conveniently nearby.

As I recall, The corner of West Pender and Burrard used to host Japadog. These days, it’s Frying Pan, a neutral name for what? Well, it’s chicken of course! The portions are perfect for lunch, and one order is enough to fill me up. There must be an oven and deep fryer inside the truck. I found the taste sweet (because of the sauce; I tasted a hint of citrus, a beautiful touch) and the texture not all that crispy hard. The coleslaw addition just made for a beautiful contrast. The chicken meat was not dry, and I feel they can give the Korean Fried format a run for its money.

A joke can be made: why did the chicken cross the road? to avoid being caught and cooked up at this operation.

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[Vancouver, BC] Don’t Cry for Me Memphis Blues BBQ

memphisblueslogo_400x400Memphis Blues BBQ House
430 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11am to 10pm
Phone: (604) 682-6220
Multiple Locations in Lower Mainland

One criticism people raised down south (from the States) around Louisana often make when they see an establishment that’s not from the region and based out of another country is if the food is authentic, or are they trying to go for a schtick to get folks not from the region in?

Memphis Blues BBQ faces that challenge. Can they convince a West Coast boy like me or cajole friends of mine, who are from the South (but moved here for a cooler climate or other reasons), that they truly did bring the tastes of the region up to the Pacific Northwest so they can be reminded of home? I know two: one born in Texas (she now lives up island) and a Facebook buddy who was from there. I discovered this place while in Vancouver for a concert and did not want to wander far from my hotel to sate certain cravings. I love ‘gator, crawfish and gumbo. This diner has one out of the three. Maybe on another visit, I can try Le Crocodile, a really expensive upscale place to make comparisons between budget and trendy. I’m okay with this franchise operation. I went to their lunch stop on Robson.

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[Vancouver, BC] Having Gelato Express N2 Style!

IMG_20170702_184624479Gelato Express N2
320 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: noon to 10pm
Phone: (604) 428-9926

Frozen treats during a cold day is not a good idea. Just how some businesses stay in operation during the slow winter season is a mystery to me. When Spring and Summertime roll in, I can see many have a full staff keeping order. Strangely, there was nobody around at the front desk when I decided to make a stop in, before a concert. I had a meal elsewhere prior, but a sudden craving had me finding this operation on the way towards Rogers Arena.

To watch your gelato made fresh—flash frozen with nitrogen gas—is certainly more of a novelty than an innovation. The flavours will vary from month to month, and I had a vanilla peanut crumble. The extra depth to the creaminess is very nice, and I had mine in a cone than a cup. While this product is certainly on the pricey side, it’s not going to be for every local to rush on down to.

This operation is located close to BC Place. For visitors to the city who want to avoid the more expensive arena food, at least there are options outside of this stadium. Just be sure to fill up before entering. No outside food is permitted unless it’s already in your stomach.

3 Blokes out of 5

[Vancouver, BC] It’s Not Hard to Put on a Smile on Camera

smile-diner

Smile Diner
424 W Pender St

Vancouver, BC
(604) 681-9911

E: Smile, you’re on candid camera! In this case, that’s the name of this diner that has been used in many a television production. This operation certainly has a vibe to being used in front of a camera. One such show that’s been said to have featured this diner is Delete, a sci-fi drama that featured Janet Kidder, Jaylee Hamidi, Jessica Lee, and Mike Azevedo. Another program was Caprica and I’m sure if you look carefully, its exterior might be noticed from afar in productions like CW’s Arrow.

I may have to start looking back at programs filmed in Vancouver just to see what other shows used this pleasant and cozy place. For me, it was like going back in time to a simpler place for some good ole’ fashioned eats.

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