Fable Kitchen: Eggplant Parmesan with Driftwood Farmhand Saison

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Fable Kitchen, the creation of chef Trevor Bird is all about the “From Farm To Table” concept. a concept and name that were created during the “Restaurant Wars” episode of Top Chef Canada Season 2, where he was one of the runner-ups in the finale.  Their craft created menu, made up of all locally sourced products, has a variety of tasty dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner. I headed down after hearing some real good things about the menu’s sandwich selection.

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Fable sits at the former location of Refuel on West 4th in Kitsilano, and uses the same layout that they had before, with the kitchen right at the front. I recommend taking a seat at the bar that sits alongside the kitchen to watch the hard working cooks do their thing. After looking over the sandwich options on the menu I decided to go with the Eggplant Parmesan sandwich. A breaded thin slice of eggplant, fried to a crispy, golden brown, with walnut pesto, pea shoots, pickled onions, and raita sauce on a soft Portuguese bun. The eggplant is crunchy, with a soft and juicy middle. It has a great earthy eggplant flavor, but also has that distinct fried taste from the breading. The pickled onions bring a bit more crunch, and a nice acidic, vinegary punch. The walnut pesto, is salty and nutty and the raita sauce is creamy and rich. The pea shoots are a great accent as the greens, distinct flavor and texture. They really take an eggplant parmesan sandwich in a different direction, and the results are a delicious success! The sandwich also came with tasty scratch made soup and in house potato chips. I also got to try their grilled cheese, and I’ll just say that you should get there and try it too.

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Fable doesn’t have the largest craft beer selection, but the ones they do have are some of my personal favourites. I chose Driftwood’s Farmhand Saison to pair up with the Eggplant Parmesan sandwich. Driftwood is great brewery from Victoria, that in my opinion set the bar real high for BC brewers when they came on the scene a few years back. They describe Farmhand Saison as: “Our interpretation of this Southern-Belgian farmhouse ale uses a partial sour-mash and the addition of freshly ground black pepper. We use a very unique strain of yeast from Belgium to add further layers of spice and complexity to this rare style of beer”. I think the key to this one is the Belgian yeast, it really brings out that “traditional” taste you expect from this style. It pours a golden orange with a white frothy head, and it pairs up nicely with the sandwich. It’s a refreshing beer, with a slight sourness that’s followed by a subtle hoppiness. These flavours from the beer work well with the sandwich. The sourness is great up against the earthy eggplant and walnut pesto and it’s refreshing mouth feel really cleanses the palate between bites.

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So if you’re looking for an Eggplant Parmesan sandwich that takes on a different identity then you’d expect paired with one of the finest interpretations of a Saison from a BC craft brewery, then head to Fable Kitchen for This Sandwich and That Beer.

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Check out www.fablekitchen.ca and www.driftwoodbeer.com for more info, follow them both on Twitter: @fablekitchen and @driftwoodbeer, and follow me @TSTB_blog. Head to Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village to pick a bottle of Driftwood Farmhand Saison on its own.

Also, catch my monthly radio feature on “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on its new home Team Radio 1410AM, airing the final Saturday in April at 12:00pm PST.

Photo Credits: Jordan Rokosz

The Union: Fried Tofu Banh Mi with Phillips Ginger Beer

DSC_2348The Union sits on the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown, where they’re doing a tasty combination of South-Asian cuisine. You’ll find their take on vermicelli bowls, pad thai, butter chicken and the famous Vietnamese sub known as the Banh Mi.
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Of course, I was in for one of the Banh Mi sandwiches, specifically the Fried Tofu Banh Mi, other options include Sweet & Sour Fried Fish, Crisp Pork Belly or Lemongrass Chicken. This sub style sandwich comes on a fresh French baquette with spicy sriracha aioli, fresh jalepenos, daikon & carrot pickle, cucumber and cilantro. As soon as the sandwich was placed in front of me the smells permeated into my nostrils. The scent of peanuts was the first thing I could detect, which I think came from the sauce that the crispy and moist fried tofu was lathered in. Nice heat came from the fresh jalepeno, but not so much that I was reaching for a glass of water (or my beer) after each bite. The pickled daikon & carrot brought a great acidity and a touch of sweetness, which was rounded out perfectly by the cool cucumber and cilantro. The fried tofu totally worked in place of a meat protein on this, and if you’re looking for a little something extra they’ll gladly throw a softly fried egg on there for you, which is what I did. Another small but cool thing about this sandwich is that it came in a bowl, which I thought was unique and presented the sandwich in a very picturesque way.
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The Union, like many newer places offers a great selection of craft beer on tap as well as in bottles. The beer that piqued my interest the most was the Phillips Ginger Beer, which is one of the tap options. I find Phillips consistently offers up a great product no matter what the style. Now, I’d admittedly been apprehensive about this beer as I tend to steer clear of “flavoured” beer. But I quickly realized, this wasn’t a “flavoured” beer at all, it’s a true ginger beer. It had an instant ginger aroma and then an even stronger ginger taste, that even packed a bit of heat. This worked well with the heat from the jalepeno, and also mingled with the other ingredients in the sandwich. But even with all that ginger flavour, this is still a well-balanced, full-bodied and tasty lager.
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So if you’re looking for an elevated Banh Mi sandwich paired with a really interesting take on a true ginger beer, then head to The Union for This Sandwich and That Beer.
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Check out http://www.theunionvancouver.ca and http://www.phillipsbeer.com for more info, follow them both on Twitter: @TheUnionVan and @phillipsbeer, and follow me @TSTB_blog. Check Legacy Liquor Store if you’re looking to pick up a bottle of Phillips Ginger Beer on its own.
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Also, catch my monthly radio feature on “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on its new home Team Radio 1410AM, March 16th at 12:00pm PST.