Ever dreamt of browsing the racks of a grocery store and being able to just pull whatever you like off the shelf to try? I have, and therefore I was supremely stoked to get an invite to Grocery Showcase West 2014. Livin’ the dream!
Grocery Showcase West is an annual trade show held by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers at the Vancouver Convention Center downtown. It is HUGE! It ran April 6th to 7th and even though we visited on both days we still didn’t get a chance to sample everything. GSW is not open to the public so Wendy and I felt very fortunate to get a media invite. That means we can share with you our top 10 picks for the best new grocery products of the year with our…
Top 10 Grocery Items 2014
Some of the following products are already on store shelves and some are coming soon. All are highly recommended.
#1: SEVA Maple Water
SEVA Maple Water could just be “the next big thing”. We all know what a big splash coconut water made in the healthy drink market, right? Well imagine a cleaner, lighter version with 46+ nutrients and 100% Canadian content and you have yourself a winner, folks! Roughly half the sugar and one-third of the carbs and calories of coconut water, too. The taste is very refreshing (it is after all 97% water) with a hint of maple flavour.
Hard to believe, but see that water-like substance above? That’s what 100% pure maple sap looks like. According to SEVA, we’ve all been conditioned by an unrealistic ad campaign that ran back in the ’80s-’90s showing sap dripping from maple trees. In reality it gushes out in a watery geyser. Maple syrup is the treated product; maple sap is the eminently drinkable raw form. Why so long getting SEVA Maple Water to market if it’s been there all along? The answer is that SEVA Maple Water has been in development for 7 years, mainly due to issues with getting it into a carton that has a reasonable shelf life.
#2: Preferisco Tartufo Salami | Truffle Salami
Bosa Foods are selling one of the tastier pieces of charcuterie I’ve had the pleasure of wrapping my tongue around. Their Preferisco Tartufo Salami has a strong earthy flavour—they were definitely generous with the truffles here—but not so strong as to overpower the taste of the meat. Texture is chewy and not too dry. Preferisco Truffle Salami is a deliciously gourmet addition to any charcuterie plate.
#3: Frozen Coconut
VANEATS.ca has once again put together a pretty nifty package deal for an establishment we’ve been meaning to try with their ManCakes Madness deal for ManCakes Bakery on Robson. This time it will cost you $9.95 for 6 mini cupcakes and 2 hot drinks. You can also upgrade and double your cupcakes for an extra $6. These deals basically work out to 2 bucks a drink and a buck a piece for the cupcakes. Not bad considering the high artisanal quality of the cakes.
You probably guessed from the title (or Rocky’s vacant yet quintessentially tough-guy gaze above), but if you still haven’t caught the buzz about ManCakes these ain’t your old lady’s frilly cutesy-wootsy Sallycakes. No, it’s time to man up and put your daddy’s boots on boy, cuz at ManCakes they slop the icing on like so much caulking and then top with meat for added protein and chest hair.
Fancy a spot of tea Sally? Oh, I’m sorry they don’t carry lavender rosehip oolong. How about some TEAPIGS? What’s that, you’ll have a coffee instead then? Sorry Sal, they don’t serve strawberries and cream frappuccino. How’s about a mug of DEATH WISH, said to be the world’s strongest coffee. Seriously, this stuff tastes like it ought to be illegal.
A friend of mine has been pointing out lately the lack of Filipino food on our site, so this one’s for you pandeSally. Fliptop Filipino Fusion food truck (Phew! Try saying that five times fast. Or just once for that matter!) came onto our radar a month or so ago, but since they tend to move around a fair bit we haven’t been in the right place at the right time until yesterday.
“Fliptop” is a bit of a play on words coming from the Filipino’s nickname for themselves as “flips”. This term once held some racist undertones but it seems to have been fully adopted into the culture, to the point where it doesn’t seem to have any negative connotations anymore (yay!). In fact it may just stand for Fine Looking Island Person
Anyway, we were on our way downtown around lunchtime when Wendy spotted this brightly coloured food truck on Terminal near Main Street Skytrain, obviously inspired by the flamboyantly painted jeepneys of the Philippines. Realizing it was Fliptop, I cranked a U-ey and parked at the college across the street. I’ve been including service-side views of food trucks in my Food Truck Friday posts recently, but this one’s art deserves to be shown in all its eye-popping glory.
Fliptop’s food truck was a welcome spot of colour on a grey and miserable day, and the operators’ sunny disposition also helped chase away those Raincity blues. We were greeted in a warm and friendly manner and enjoyed chatting with the guys while they prepared our food. They definitely get an A+ in the customer relations department! That’s the problem with reviewing food trucks, most of these guys and gals are so darn friendly that it’s tough to be critical of the food. But I’ll do my best to give an honest review:
After a couple of great experiences with pulled pork food truck offerings I went with Fliptop’s Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8). It’s served on a pandesal bun, a sweet white bread that many Filipinos go nuts over, but I personally don’t see what the fuss is about. This one was a bit burnt, but not to the point of being inedible. The toppings you see here are crispy deep-fried leeks, roasted garlic aioli, micro greens, and Achara made from pickled cabbage and green papaya.
I was told of Tealips cafe by Awkward Diner a while ago. I was so happy to find that there was a dessert waffle place so close to me. I quickly brought Hitman to try it out with me on a few occasions, for dessert AND for lunch.
Our first visit was for dessert after dinner. We had to get it to go since the place was packed. Always a sucker for mochi I picked the Matcha Red Bean Waffle liege style (for it’s chewy consistency). It’s topped with red bean paste, vanilla ice cream, and dusted with matcha powder.
I was quite disappointed to see that the ‘mochi’ was actually cut up pieces of the usual Asian snack of bean paste-filled green tea mochi. It seems like they cut up one piece enough to give you a “few” pieces. I had originally hoped that Tealips’ mochi would be in the style of Menchie’s or Qoola’s.
The liege style waffle was almost as they described: slightly chewy with balls of sugar. It was denser than the Brussels style. I don’t think they make this style fresh…I believe they heat up pre-made ones for this. The red bean paste was expectedly sweet.
Hitman had the Cinnamon Banana Waffle on Brussels style waffle. This one I believe they made the waffle in-house. This style of waffle was fluffier and lighter.
They had a waffle combo deal where you could get 2 waffles for about $9 if I remember correctly.
On another visit to Tealips with TDog I had the Mixed Berries Waffle on Brussels style.
Where’s the sausage??
Sorry Fannypack, but the real reason why I asked you to go with me to Bestie (a German restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown) was so that I could name my post as such. I used you I know, I’m sorry. Hey at least we got a date and some Bestie/Bestie badges out of it right?
As we were driving on the approach to the location our GPS was suggesting was Bestie, we could NOT find the restaurant. We decided to trust our GPS though, parked, and walked on. We were across the street and STILL we couldn’t find the restaurant, until by fluke, I saw the name “Bestie” on the window. Not on the awning. The window. The one that’s hidden in the shadows and partly behind the metal fence. Why wouldn’t you change your awning?? It was not especially easy to spot on the cloudy rainy day we visited.
I did like the decor and lighting of the restaurant. However I think they might have had the heat on high the day we were there.
The restaurant definitely has more of a hipster vibe than a Chinatown vibe. There were very chillaxed servers in slicked-back hair and high-waisted jeans, male cooks with man-buns and torn white t-shirts, patrons with big black thick-rimmed glasses…you know, the works. I guess that’s what gentrification and “revitalization” does to what’s supposed to be preserved as a historical heritage neighborhood. But in the end progress is inevitable.
Enough of my pseudo-rant though. On to the food!