How is this year’s Dine Out fest treating everyone so far?? If you’re having trouble deciding on a final one, or even ONE, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company (RMFC) would be a great choice. Extremely family-friendly (there’s a play area for the kiddies….and step stools in the washrooms too!!), it’s a break from the many other hoity-toity establishments around!
As with previous years, they are offering a great menu at $18 that includes an appy choice of either one of their salads or a soup of the day, an entree of either a pizza or flatbread creation from their regular menu, and a choice of dessert. They were kind enough to extend an invite for Hitman and I to “dine out” at one of their locations and we took up this offer to visit their Main Street digs.
It just so happens that on the night of our visit, RMFC joined up with Stanley Park Brewery for a night of pizza making and beer tasting. At first I didn’t pay much attention to the partnership, but as the night went along and after talking to both parties, we got an idea of how these two companies were such a great match…one word – Sustainability.
First and foremost, I really appreciated the fact that both companies are locally owned and operated. As for the environmental side, in every step of the brewing process Stanley Park Brewery minimizes strain on the environment either by reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, or improving efficiency (more information here). To up their cool factor, they have a specialty-built wind turbine for power to lessen their environmental impact!! And this, my friends, is how they can boast themselves as Canada’s first sustainable brewery.
As for their beer itself, it’s free of preservatives and additives, which is why it takes them 21-28 days for a brew compared to the typical 7 days. The result is a fresher, cleaner tasting beer.
Not to be outdone by the brewery, RMFC has maintained a green initiative since day one. Their efforts include accomplishing a zero-waste integrated menu (use or reuse all components of what makes up their menu one way or another, including composting any waste generated, recycling etc.), using energy efficient lights, reclaimed wood, non-toxic paints, biodegradable take-out ware, efficient taps and toilets in the restaurants, utilizing green electricity, purchasing carbon offsets, and buying locally-sourced produce. What a list huh?!
That’s all very impressive…but how does the food taste???
On this night of beer tasting, Stanley Park Brewery paired their 3 different brews with the 3 different courses. First up was their lightest brew the Pilsner to go with the appetizers.
I found it very light and smooth. I’m not usually a beer drinker but this was well appreciated. It has a light hop taste so it wasn’t overly bitter.
Hitman chose the Fig & Goat’s Cheese Salad. Cucumber, tomatoes and slivers of red onions sit on a bed of assorted organic greens, all topped with seasonal sprouts and served with a side of garlic oil and salt seasoned flatbread.
The dressing was on the sweeter side, but just slightly. The greens were all fresh and crunchy and delightful. This was big for an appetizer size.
I’m a sucker for mushrooms. The soup of the day happened to be BC mushrooms and apple. Weird, but intriguing. I found no notes of apple at all, but that’s not a complaint. The soup was creamy and was more like a mushroom bisque. It was topped with sour cream and chives but I tasted parsley also. A very comforting choice on a cold night.
The flatbread I found a bit on the yeasty side though.
Main course was accompanied by the Stanley Park 1897 Amber. This was my favorite of the 3. No sign of bitterness, this was again very crisp and smooth. There was no aftertaste, just a nice, malty aroma. Food pairing suggestion includes savoury grilled or herb-rubbed meats, shellfish and spicy dishes.
Oh look! My Hot Calabrese was just that! This pizza I found pretty satiating, probably due to the richness of the salami. It did seem one dimensional though, with the combination of the tartness of the banana peppers and spiciness of the salami. It’s two different tastes, I know, but together it just seemed simple. That’s not to say it’s a bad combo of flavors though. I still enjoyed this.
I found Hitman’s choice to taste fresher and with more depth of flavors. The slices of tomatoes and slivers of onions probably deserved the credit as they certainly added that freshness to the seasoned ground beef. Also there were no banana peppers masking the other flavours, which I think probably was the case with my choice.
I liked that with their pizzas, even though it’s extremely thin crust, the middle is never soggy and always crispy.
In the middle of our meal Suzanne Fielden, our gracious host for the night and co-founder of RMFC, came around for a chat. Even though we’re already digging into our pizzas, she invited us to the pizza-making table to create our own custom ones! Sounds fun!
Turns out they have weekly Make-your-own-pizza nights. Don’t worry about other people’s cooties getting all over your toppings. They made sure we washed our hands prior, and the toppings are handed to you so that they don’t have people digging their hands into the containers.
Then it was dessert time. The last beer pairing was the Stanley Park Brun, a dark ale, suggested for the brownie dessert. This beer was more bitter, so it was balanced out by the sweetness of the chocolate.
The brownie was very moist and had a crisp bottom. Rich, indulgent and delightful, but I found it could still be more chocolatey to live up to its name…but then again I am a fan of dark chocolate. Honestly though, can there really be such thing as a bad brownie?? No. Would I have had seconds?? Definitely.
To make their house-made blackberry cheesecake gluten-free, they’ve utilized shredded dried coconut instead of the usual graham cookie as a crust. You would love this if you’re a coconut fan. It was quite creative and makes this more tropical. Hitman unfortunately wasn’t a big fan of coconut. The cheesecake part was well done- creamy and cheesy. The blackberry flavor could be more prominent though.
Did I mention Suzanne was such a gracious host? As if we hadn’t had enough pizza, to top off our wonderful visit we were sent off with a couple of their frozen pizzas. This was a product that is currently available in select grocery stores. Their website has a list of flavors and availability.
In all it was a great evening; thanks to the staff of RMFC, Suzanne, and Graham Nordin of Stanley Park Brewery. It was another great visit to RMFC and I was delighted to have tasted Stanley Park beer.
We have a couple souvenirs from Stanley Park Brewery to give away to one creative reader! All you have to do, is list the toppings of Hitman’s pizza creation…the Man-goat Chickam (totally his brainstorm) AND to come up with an equally creative name for my creation. The toppings are listed in the pizza picture (artichoke, mushroom, sundried tomato, italian sausage, corn). The correct answer along with the most creative name will be picked by us as the winner!!!
The deadline to enter is FEBRUARY 15, 2013. Canadian residents only please!! Now get thinking!!!