Smiley’s Public House: Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich with Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

I got curious about Smiley’s Public House during Vancouver Craft Beer Week, when they hosted the “Brothers In Hops” event. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it that night, but it did get me thinking that I needed to check the place out. Now, Smiley’s is a pub, it looks like a pub and it feels like a pub. But, it’s a pub that’s offering up a Fried Chicken & Waffle sandwich! Once I saw that, I knew I had to get down there.

 

This sandwich is something special, made up of two house made waffles as the bread, filled with butter lettuce, fresh tomatoes, chipotle mayo and two juicy fried chicken thighs. The height alone was impressive, I got concerned for a second that it wasn’t even going to fit in my mouth, but I made it happen.

 

I’ll start with the waffles, they were good and crisp on the outside and pillowey soft on the inside, had a subtle sweetness that went great with saltiness of the chicken. Now, the fried chicken was also nice and crispy, it had crunch from the house made Phillips Phoenix Lager beer batter, and wasn’t greasy at all. The use of butter lettuce is the perfect choice, because it actually adds something to the sandwich and isn’t “just there”. The thing that marries all this great stuff together is the chipotle mayo, the total right choice, and it adds just a little kick. They really do a great job with this sandwich.

 

I felt this sandwich needed a somewhat lighter beer to go with it, not a light beer, but one that wouldn’t be too filling, yet have characteristics that would match some of the flavours in the sandwich. I chose Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and it was an excellent choice. Deschutes is a great brewery out of Oregon, and the Mirror Pond Pale Ale is what they call “base camp”. It has a hop-forward flavor and a crisp finish, but the hops are subtle and don’t compete. It also has a sweetness to it that paired up well with sweet, salty and spicy combination in the sandwich. This is a great beer for anyone unfamiliar with craft beer, nothing too crazy, just a well made, great tasting beer. Smiley’s is also a great place if your unfamiliar with craft beer, cause they have almost 30 taps with a great selection.

So, if you’re looking for a serious sandwich experience and a great beer to go with it, then head to Smiley’s Public House for This Sandwich and That Beer.

Check out www.donnellygroup.ca/locations/pubs/smileys/ and www.deschutesbrewery.com for more info, follow them both on Twitter: @Smileys_Pub and @DeschutesBeer and follow me @betweenbreadme

Also, catch my monthly radio feature on, “Just Here For The Beer Radio on AM 650.

Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q: Clam Banh Mi with Elysian Brewing Dragonstooth Stout

A little off the beaten path on Powell St at Princess Ave in the DTES you’ll find Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q. The menu, full of dishes that I guarantee you’ve never seen before, is delivering bold American southern barbeque complimented by delicate Asian flavours. Thick Cut Szechaun Peppercorn Cured Pork Belly and Smoked Pig’s Snout Fried Rice? Yes please! But I was there for one reason, actually two reasons…a sandwich and a beer.

Every day, Fat Dragon does up three Banh Mi sandwiches, one meat, one fish, and one veggie, with a different main ingredient each day. One of the sandwiches they were featuring the day I wandered in, was a Clam Banh Mi. Breaded, deep fried clams from Sawmill Bay delivered fresh each day, on a fresh baked French baguette made to order with pickled vegetables, jalapenos and smoked “QPD” mayonnaise. “QP” stands for kewpie mayonnaise (the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise). The “D” stands for dragon because the Fat Dragon mayo is smoked.

This sandwich was incredible. I can honestly say I’ve never had anything like it. The clams were super flavourful as you would expect and super crunchy, adding great texture to the sandwich. The pickled vegetables added that great tangy flavour that expect from a Banh Mi, the fresh jalapenos gave it some kick and the smoked mayo made it totally unique. This Banh Mi sandwich pays great tribute to the traditional, while adding a completely original take. For $10 you get the sandwich plus a papaya salad of cabbage, green papaya, mint, chili, lime and crispy shallots.

Fat Dragon offer up a great selection of local, regional and international beers and totally original cocktails. I chose to pair this sandwich with a beer from a great brewery based in Seattle, Elysian Brewing’s Dragonstooth Stout. By name alone this was a good decision, but the stout and clams combo is also a classic. The Elysian Dragonstooth Stout is a rich, complex, full-bodied imperial oatmeal stout. Very drinkable – satisfying, but not heavy. It’s velvety smooth, and it’s roasted malt flavour and notes of coffee and chocolate pair awesome with the unique combination of flavours in the sandwich. I think the smoked mayonnaise may have been designed to go with this beers taste profile. Top marks to Elysian’s Dragonstooth Stout for delivering everything I was hoping for.

So, if you’re looking for unique spin on a pretty classic pairing, then head to Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q for This Sandwich and That Beer.

Check out www.fatdragonbbq.com and www.elysianbrewing.com for more info, follow them both on Twitter: @FatDragonBBQ and @elysianbrewing and follow me @betweenbreadme.

Also, catch my monthly radio feature on, “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on AM 650. 

Photo Credits: Mel Yap

The London Pub: Beef Dip with Russell Brewing Blood Alley Bitter

When you walk into The London Pub on Main Street you really feel that “true pub” feeling right away. Dart boards, pool tables, sports on the TV’s and the lively crowd throwing back pints! But, that’s not all they have to offer at The London Pub, they’re also doing some killer sandwiches and have a great selection of craft beers on tap!

This volume of “This Sandwich, That Beer” features their fantastic Beef Dip with the perfect partner…Russell Brewing’s Blood Alley Bitter.

The first thing that makes this sandwich great is the toasted ciabatta bun. It’s soft and spongy, and perfect for soaking up the juice from the slow roasted sliced strip loin and the super flavourful au jus. Then it’s the melted provolone and garlic mayonnaise that give it that extra punch and really separate it from your standard beef dip.

When looking for a beer to pair with this sandwich, I couldn’t think of a better choice than Russell’s Blood Alley Bitter, found on tap at The London Pub. I mean, slow roasted beef and an ESB? You don’t get a much better food and beer pairing than that. Classic! Now, Blood Alley isn’t your average ESB, it’s slightly higher on the bitterness, which lends itself nicely to the richness of the beef.

Check out www.thelondonpub.ca and www.russellbeer.com for more info, follow them both on twitter: @londonpubvan and @russell_beer and follow me @betweenbreadme.

Also, catch my monthly radio feature on, “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on AM 650.

And next time you’re down in Chinatown, pop in to the London pub for This Sandwich and That Beer.

Burgoo Bistro: Gooey Cheese Grillers with Phillips Blue Buck

Alright, if you asked anyone I know what I love, they would most likely say sandwiches or beer.  So I figured, why don’t I start blogging about Vancouver’s best sandwiches paired with the perfect beers?

The first installment of “This Sandwich, That Beer” pairs the Vancouver’s BEST grilled cheese, which can be found at Burgoo, with a long standing staple of BC craft beers, Phillips Blue Buck.

The aptly named the Gooey Cheese Grillers always deliver. It’s two angle cut, buttery filone sandwiches with melted Mozzarella, Gruyere, Emmenthal and white Cheddar. The true secret that makes this sandwich so good? It’s done open faced in the pan and then finished in the oven to ensure that the very generous amount of cheese is as the name suggests “gooey”. Make sure you also get the house made tomato soup to really nail that classic combo.

Phillips Blue Buck, which has been a one of my go to beers for a long time, can be found at Burgoo, and is great with the Gooey Cheese Grillers cause of it’s delicate hops and crisp finish. It doesn’t take over the palate when paired the sandwich, but it’s flavours do stand up. And it’s not too heavy either.

Check out http://www.burgoo.ca and http://www.phillipsbeer.com . Follow them both on Twitter @burgoobistro and @phillipsbeer and follow me @betweenbreadme.

Also, catch my monthly radio feature on, “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on AM 650.