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Manolo's Food Blog - Part 12

The Keefer Bar is a Keeper

Keefer Bar by Cathy Browne, on Flickr

Keefer Bar by Cathy Browne, on Flickr

As Vancouver Chinatown bars go, the Keefer Bar is absolutely #1, and not just because it’s the only one: manager Danielle Tatarin is Bartender of the Year in Vancouver Magazine. If you know anything about the Vangroover booze scene, you’ll know that takes serious talent and originality.

How much originality? We’ll let Dani explain it:

Our menu is influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicinal ingredients that we incorporate into classic style cocktails. Some of the most prominent herbs that we use are Yun Zhi mushroom and astragalus root. This year I have been studying more on TCM and getting a deeper understanding of it. I am working with some really interesting combination of ingredients for tinctures that are meant to help detoxify the kidneys and liver.

Last night I just started a tincture that combines sea dragon, sea horse, cordyceps, lemon and bitter orange. It should be ready in a couple months and I am excited to see how it tastes. For me I have really embraced natural remedies, and as a sufferer of seasonal allergies I hope this year to not have to take antihistamines because I have been working with TCM ingredients to boost my immune system over the last year.

You might think that sounds a little…medicinal. And you’d be right, but you’d be wrong if you think that means it isn’t tasty. When I visited with my friend, intrepid photographer Cathy Browne, there were plenty of flips and creamy drinks on the menu, including several which played on an opium theme.

Opium Drink at the Keefer Bar

Opium Drink at the Keefer Bar

You can see the poppyseeds on this beauty, which was called something like The Flaming Opium Pearl of the Black Dragon or something similarly subdued, and which tasted, like most of Dani’s drinks, subtle, complex, and not very sweet.

The decor is medical, by which I mean they have backlit panels of body scans and apothecary jars everywhere, in use. Fitting for a place where you can give your liver a workout and a healing tincture at the same time. It’s only about ten feet wide, and on Thursdays there is a burlesque show on their tiny (TINY) stage up front, but it is a beautiful, esoteric little gem. The unique drinks mean you can’t always be sure you’ll love what you order, so do talk to the bartender about what you’re thinking of ordering; it’s not always easy to tell what’s sweet, light, savory, or rich from the menu.

Can’t talk about the food: I don’t come here for the food. But you can see the current keefer_menu here (PDF!). The service has never been anything less than excellent, and I don’t know what you look like but I’ll just tell you right now, they are all out of our league.

Pictured below, and starting off our slideshow of fabulousness from Cathy Browne, is the Lavender Sidecar, an aromatic, very light Spring version of the old favorite. Lemons in this case, not oranges (which I prefer with brandy by the fire around Christmas time).

Sunday Food Porn: rainbow sushi!

Rainbow sushi

Rainbow sushi

This is what you get when you turn unicorns into sushi.

Bonus Sunday Food Porn: Tanqueray Cake

Tanqueray cake

Tanqueray cake

I want the recipe for that! For too long have the unholy duo of rum and brandy enjoyed a baking hegemony. Equal recipe rights for clear spirits! Solidarity in Booze!

Wait…what? What do you mean it’s not actually made with gin? The cake is a lie???

THIS cake, a gin and tonic cake, is real. And, apparently, delish. I’m no baker but if I attempt this, I shall report back.

Sunday Food Porn: Soup of the Day

Soup of the Day Tears of our enemies

Soup of the Day Tears of our enemies

I’ll have a double helping!

Tea Time Rap

Make Tea Not Love

Make Tea Not Love

T r srs bns.

Just ask Doc Brown, British rapper after our own heart. Rage is fundamental to rap, and this man connects to it in a powerful way, letting it out in a stream of impassioned poetry dedicated to that greatest of beverages: TEA, motherfucker!

Which reminds us of that great classic, the UK Narnia Rap with its great chorus.

By the way, Doc Brown’s rant about the milk in first deserves some explication. “Milk in first” is a coded class signifier, meaning downmarket, low-class, tacky. Where does this come from? Why, I’m glad you asked. It comes from the fact that in the old days, poor people couldn’t afford the freshest milk, and if you put milk-that-is-going-but-not-quite-sour-yet into a cup of hot liquid, what you get is cottage cheese floaties. If you put the same milk in an empty cup and add hot water, stirring the whole time, the milk does not curdle. Handy to know when you have a) some iffy milk and b) no witnesses.

And now, to conclude our lesson on the Greatest of Beverages for this afternoon, I present to you a little ditty that was presented to me on Twitter, in response to a cri de coer from moi upon sipping my first good cup of tea in AGES. Thanks, Blenz, for some really good English Breakfast and thanks to the author, whose name has been lost in the mists of time. If it’s you, @ me or comment, so I can give credit where credit is due.


English Breakfast, you complete me.
@raincoaster
raincoaster

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Sometimes I do, too, but I can’t make it like Jiro can. Living National Treasure Jiro Ono is the world’s greatest sushi chef, and also the subject of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the next movie that I absolutely must view! Just watch this trailer to see for yourself just why. WAIT: get yourself a snack first, or you just may leave gnaw marks on your monitor.

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI – Official Trailer – Magnolia Pictures from Sundial Pictures on Vimeo.

In the basement of a Tokyo office building, 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono works tirelessly in his world renowned restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. As his son Yoshikazu faces the pressures of stepping into his father’s shoes and taking over the legendary restaurant, Jiro – san relentlessly pursues his lifelong quest to create the perfect piece of sushi.

It’s available from Amazon, too,for those who can never get enough visual stimulation.

Thanks to Brett Blair on Twitter for the tip!


@ it’s a great movie….do go to Tojo’s before, or you will be drooling throughout the film! if not, be sure to go right after!!
@brett_blair
Brett Blair

Faking Foodieism

Lady Gaga just threw something together

Lady Gaga just threw something together

When I saw an article called 20 Ways to Fake Being a Foodie, I poured myself a cup of something strong (I think it was Irish Breakfast) and settled down to enjoy some 100% organic, free-range snark. Imagine my disappointment when the article itself turned out to be a poorly-scrambled hash of How To Fake It and How To Buy More Expensive Stuff; indeed, the article seemed designed to earnestly foster the breeding and nurture of exactly the kind of pretentious know-nothing that has given foodieism a bad name.

Leaving, of course, a gaping hole in the Snark-O-Sphere. This is like waving a red flag made of alfalfa hay and cow hormones in front of a bull, so you know what I did next: THIS!

Douchebag

Douchebag

Twenty Ways to Fake Being a Foodie: by raincoaster

  1. Take pictures of everything that you eat, no exceptions. That means everything from your morning coffee, which you will refer to as “petit café” right through to the last shot of rotgut you take before passing out in front of the tv. Bonus points for doing it with an SLR rather than an iPhone. Double bonus points if you change lenses first while your food gets cold.
  2. Instagram that shit so nobody can tell what it really looks like anyway.
  3. NEVER refer to a food, even English food, by English words. And don’t use Italian words when you can use French or Japanese. It’s not zucchini; it’s courgettes. Bookmark Babelfish for the purpose: SO handy for translating “Cream of Wheat” into Icelandic and tweeting out the result.
  4. Cross-post all these pictures to every social media platform under the sun. Do not add anything new to any of the cross-posts. If someone wants to follow you on Twitter and be friends on Facebook, it must be because they want to see these things repeatedly, amirite? Have a blog; that should go without saying.
  5. Claim to have originated the recipe for things which need no recipes, and put those recipes into blog posts which are then shared to all platforms in number 4. A good example would be a post that starts with, “I’m often asked by my [imaginary] friends for my killer recipe for ‘Sandwich à beurre d’arachide avec la confiture,’ so after much prodding I’ve decided to share the secret…”
  6. When dining with others, physically interpose yourself between them and their food until you’ve composed and photographed it to your satisfaction. They will feel special.
  7. Namedrop chefs who’ve appeared in Vogue, but not those who’ve been nominated for James Beard Awards.
  8. Describe your groceries as “hyperlocal” because you buy them at the Safeway down the street.
  9. Describe your groceries as “organic” because, hello, they’re not made of noble gas compounds, are they?
  10. Describe your dinner party hors d’oeuvres of white toast and Cheez Whiz as “brushetta.”
  11. Spell it like that.
  12. Ostentatiously disdain and abuse one restaurant that you will never be able to afford. In advance. That way you don’t have to come up with excuses when you get invited there with friends.
  13. Buy one bottle of super-premium olive oil. When it runs out, refill it with cheap olive oil bought because it was a similar colour.
  14. Serve cheap wine in expensive glasses. Be sure the napkin around the label doesn’t slip. When someone questions the wine, say it hasn’t breathed enough, but you wanted to share “something really special” with your friends.
  15. Don’t forget that time is precious when preparing for a dinner party. Pick up the stuffed loin at Costco and pretend you slaughtered the beast yourself “on Papa’s ranch.” That Papa’s ranch is the Rancho Vista Senior’s Center need not concern your guests.
  16. Introduce yourself to the staff whenever you go out. Follow them into the kitchen and introduce yourself to everyone there. It’s so endearing, and they will never forget you.
  17. Tip 10%. It keeps people on their toes.
  18. Refer to the time you spent bagging groceries in high school as “my early culinary training.” Better yet, upgrade it to “doing a stage with Famous Chef.” He need never know. He probably wouldn’t remember your name if you had.
  19. If you really, truly, cannot make any palatable food whatsoever, but people are coming over expecting to be bowled over by your cuisine (because you’ve been following tips 1 through 18) buy a metric shit-ton(ne) of fruits and green, leafy vegetables, bung the lot into a blender, and serve in milkshake cups, explaining you’re “over the macrobiotic thing, and really into Living Foods juicing now.”
  20. If you have accidentally invited any actual raw vegans, fold immediately, you have met your match in pretention. How can you tell a raw vegan? Oh they’ll tell you!
Gwyn wins

Gwyn wins

Sunday Food Porn: Bacon Sammich Edition

BLT

BLT

This looks like the BLT to end all BLTs, and it looks bloody good to someone not too recently off a hunger strike.

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