Archives for category: restaurant

A little while ago I posted about Eat Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards. The awards are separated to three categories; Vancouver, Victoria Island and the Okanagan. There were many awards given out, such as best place for lunch, best bartender, best restaurant, best food truck etc. There was even a category for best local food blogger and tweeter and guess what….. won for best in the Okanagan! I can’t believe it! My little food blog actually won a top award! Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog! I love sharing my passion for food and writing and it’s such an honour to be recognized for that, it’s craziness really! A massive thank you to everyone that took the time to vote!

Here’s the link to see other awards winners throughout BC.

I’ll share a few of the Okanagan winner’s list here for you:

Restaurant of the Year: Local Lounge & Grill, Summerland

Best Place for Lunch:The Bench Market, Penticton

Best Restaurant Cooking Local: RauDz Regional Table, Kelowna

Best Meal Under $10 – Mad Mango Cafe, Kelowna

Best Burger – Burger 55, Penticton

Best Healthy Meal – Poppadums, Kelowna

Best Food Truck – Jefferz’s Fryz, Penticton

Top Chef – *tie* Robert Cordonier(Hillside Bistro- Naramata Bench) and Paul Cecconi (Local Lounge-Summerland)

Best Barista – Good Omens, Summerland

Best  Wine – Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Summerland

Best Fruit Wine – Elephant Island, Naramata Bench

Best Beverage – Poplar Grove Cab Franc, Penticton

Best Cooking Classes – Mission Hill Culinary Workshops, West Kelowna

Best New Addition to the Scene – Okanagan Food Truck, based out of Kelowna

Congratulations to all the winners and the runners up and don’t forget to check out the list of all the winners.

I think I’ll celebrate tonight with a little glass of Okanagan wine. Cheers!


Hello everyone, I hope that your sweethearts spoiled you this Valentine’s Day! Did you stay home and make dinner or go out somewhere romantic? I stayed in and shared homemade pizzas and Okanagan wine with my Valentine. We stopped at retro themed doughnut shop Krispy Kreme in Delta a couple of days before V-Day and I was so excited (it’s the small things) to be there when they were actually making the doughnuts. Plus I also liked all their cute Valentine’s Day themed decorations. Did you know that you can get a 50% off a box of a dozen doughnuts after 9pm? Now that is a deal! Doughnut party anyone? Haha! Check out my pics below.

Check out that icing waterfall!

The little doughnut factory .

I also wanted to share with you my latest article that has been published in the Asia Pacific Post as well as the Filipino Pacific Post newspapers. It’s an article about Vietnamese noodle soup a.k.a. pho. Check it out here at and let me know if you have any other delicious ethnic food ideas or restaurants for me to try!

Who doesn’t love to celebrate love? It’s a wonderful thing! With Valentine’s Day a week away I’m sure many of you have already begun at least thinking about your plans for V-Day. Are you planning on going out for dinner, or staying home for a romantic home cooked dinner? Many local restaurants are extending their Dine-Out menu‘s until the 14th so lover’s can enjoy a 3 course dinner for less. As always Boston Pizza across Canada offer a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day with $1 of every pizza going towards charity. For those planning to stay home I have a little recipe for a pasta dish to share with you that’s quite simple and so flavourful. Maybe you can even slurp together your pasta a’la Lady & the Tramp.

This is a recipe that I was first introduced to by my boyfriends Grandmother. We beg her to make it for us every time we go to her house. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make it my own. I promise you this pasta dinner recipe will knock your Valentine’s socks off!

Grandma Z’s Pasta

1 1/2 cups of sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet onion chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

2 handfuls of spinach

1 cup milk

1 small tub of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 package fettuccine noodles or egg noodles


In large wok fry onions, mushroom,garlic and spinach with a touch of olive oil or butter. When browned slowly add cream cheese, working it in as it melts. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Slowly add in milk to make the sauce less thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes. Add to pasta and mix together. Et Voila!

I have tried every single time I’ve made this dish to take a good photo of what the sauce looks like and I can never do it justice. Just trust me when I say that this is the best pasta EVER!

Hope your Valentine’s Day is full of love and good food!

Want to try some of the best restaurants in Vancouver, the Okanagan or the Island for free? Of course you do! Eat magazine is offering their readers a wide variety of gift certificates with a contest that they are having online for their reader’s choice awards. There are prizes available for great restaurants such as The Tea House, Theo’s, RauDZ as well as a couple hotel packages up for grabs and much more! All you have to do is go on their website and click on the area that you reside in (Okanagan, Vancouver or the Island) and fill out the survey. Eat Magazine wants to know what your favourite restaurant is? Who your favourite foodie blogger? Where you can find the best drink in town, etc. You actually don’t even have to fill it all out if you can’t come up with an answer. So have fun and best of luck to all who enter! You can vote for me (VineVie) in the OKANAGAN or Vancouver section since I blog about both, it’s eays just put VineVie in questions #42 and #43. Thanks!

Hello everyone, I figured it was about time I catch you up on how my raw food smoothie cleanse ended up.   After an unexplained severe allergic skin reaction to something I ate that the doctors so far haven’t been able to pinpoint (possibly from canned peaches soaked in preservatives), I personally decided that it to was time for a change and wanted to try a cleanse. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be but then again at times it was. Eating fresh raw food made me feel great. I did however have to hide all the treats in my cupboard  as an out of sight out of mind thing. Doing a raw food cleanse at leading up to Christmas time was fine, however if I decided to do my cleanse during the Christmas holidays then I’m certain that would have been a completely different story for me. My cleanse days were filled with delicious fresh smoothies full of every possible fruit, veggie and even herb I could cram into the blender. It usually looked a little something like this….

Banana, mint, watermelon, cucumber, cilantro, ginger and pure pomegranate juice.

My meal times were spent chopping and preparing the fruits and vegetables. At times when I was craving something a little different I thought I’d get creative and make a raw chopped salad/salsa hybrid. I used tomatoes, A LOT of purple garlic, avocado, cilantro, parsley and hoped for the best… EEEEEKKK, this was not what I was going for! It turned into a horrible gazpacho instead. I learned with raw food as with any cuisine there’s a lot of experimenting involved and many trial and error experiences.

This is what I was trying to make, I realized that a knife works just as well as any super blender… haha.

During these 7 days I ate as much raw food as I could. For me it wasn’t only smoothies though. I made salads and raw soups as well. I even managed to convince someone to try out a raw food restaurant with me. My friend and fellow foodie Jenna Perreault, owner of Delish Gluten Free Baking. We often go on little food adventures in the city and she’s always willing to try new things. If you have the chance to try her baking visit Rubens Chocolates or Gallaghers Coffee Shop, both located in Port Moody. Her cookies are amazing FYI!

Foodie adventures at Gorilla Food

Foodie adventures at Gorilla Food

Cheers at La Taqueria

We ventured downtown on a typically rainy Vancouver day to this literally underground restaurant on Richards Street, aptly named Gorilla Food.

The entire menu is raw, organic and vegan. Even their bread for their sandwiches is made with pressed squash! I had their Main Street Monkey sandwich, which is made with mashed avocados, zucchini humus, olive tapenade, sprouts, tomato slices and cucumber on a curried raw veggie bread. Accompanied with their fresh dreamy creamy carrot, avocado and basil gazpacho. It was so different yet so fresh and filled me up, I had to take half a sandwich to go.

My Gorilla lunch

Overall I saw major results in my skin and felt so much better while eating only raw. I’ve decided to now incorporate as much raw food into my eating habits as possible and throughly recommend trying it out at least for one day to anyone who’s interested. I will most likely be going on another raw food cleanse again and hopefully the next time I’ll learn how to make a proper gazpacho!

If you are looking for more information for raw food eating in your area check out these links.

The Raw Food Okanagan Pot Luck

The Raw Food Society of BC

Indigo Raw Food Cafe & Cooking Classes in Vancouver

The Raw Family

Living-Foods Community

Tucked away in a plaza that is a melting pot for ethnic shops is a little gem of a restaurant called Sandar’s Thai Garden in Surrey, BC. The glowing pink neon sign hanging in the window doesn’t look like much from outside but once you enter you will be taken on a delicious culinary journey. Thai food is one of my all time favourite cuisines, the combination of spicy, sweet and savoury is like no other. I’ve tried many Thai restaurants but there is something about the way they make it at Sandar’s that keep me coming back. For starters everything is house made which enhances the fresh flavours, unlike some other Thai restaurants in the lower mainland (I’m looking at you Thai Chili House). The spring rolls are fresh and their sweet chili sauce is heavens nectar. I’m not exaggerating here, it is that good! Their lunch combo can’t be beat either. Starting at 11:30 to 2:30pm for $8.99 they offer a spring roll with your choice of Thai soup or salad and any entrée, from the classic pad Thai to pad gra paow (a basil leaf dish). Sandar’s doesn’t skimp out of the lunch menu either, it comes as a full size serving, so come hungry. The curries are perfection, and their smiley shower cap wearing cook in the back makes them custom to your taste. One of the best dishes at Sandar’s Thai Garden is their yellow curry with chicken, it comes in a massive bowl with a side order of rice and is great for sharing. As is custom with Thai food, each dish is to be shared. The soups also come in large bowls and are presented in this nifty little clay pot set up with a candle underneath that keeps the soup warm for you. How cool is that?! I’ve brought a lot of out-of-town visitors to Sandar’s Thai Garden for some grub and now everyone asks next time they come, ‘Can we go to the Thai Garden again?’. The food is certain to warm you up during the cold winter months, which also is a great place to go if you feel a cold coming as the spices can clear you out. I admit that’s not the most appetizing way to describe a restaurant but a benefit none the less. So, if you are looking for an excellent meal and trying something a little ethnic Sandar’s Thai Garden will have you coming back for more. Also, if you are in the Okanagan and don’t feel like making the 4 hour drive for Thai food, there’s a great little place in Keremeos called Benja Thai Restaurant. Keremeos seems like a bit of a strange place to go for Thai but it is authentic food. It’s also a lovely little place to stop at on your drive out to the coast, if you are going that way. The food is extremely fresh and the decor is very Thai inspired with lots of neat little things to look at, including a rose petal buddha shrine inside the restaurant. Both restaurants are casual atmospheres with friendly services and budget friendly prices. You can check them both out online at
Happy Eating!

Sandar's Thai Garden on Urbanspoon

I have a penchant for a little fishing village near Vancouver, BC. I’ve written about it before and I’m sure I will write about it again. It’s the charming seaside village of Steveston. It is one of my favourite places to spend an afternoon. You can walk along the wharf and buy fresh seafood direct from the fishermen, puruse the antique& decor shops & explore their plentiful dining scene. Last weekend my boyfriend and I spent the afternoon at the Steveston Farmers Market. It is a massive market held outside during the summer and inside the old cannery during the colder months. Plenty of fresh vegetables, food products, jewelry, and more. While walking down the quaint streets on Steveston we spotted Gudrun, which is a little tasting room/restaurant that I had heard a lot about so we decided to give it a whirl. It’s similar to Salt Tasting Room in Vancouver as it is mainly a wine and cheese pairing type place. We were there for their brunch service which is the biggest meal Gudrun serves. We both ordered different variations of their eggs benedict. Mine with tomato and avocado and his with italian sausage and mushrooms. It came on a large plate full of unexpected goodies. Their flavourful eggs benedict came toasted on the most perfectly toasted croissant I’ve ever had. It also came with a side of fresh fruit, romaine salad with housemade dressing and potato salad. The cook works in the front of the restaurant behind a bar so you can watch him enthusiastically throw in a dash of this and a dash of that to prepare your plate. You can tell that the people who run Gudrun are passionate about food and care about the quality of the ingedients they use, including free range eggs for our bendicts. There’s also a delighful ‘ecomosa’ which uses organic Spanish cava (sparkling wine) and freshly squeezed OJ. The atmosphere is minimalist comfortable, with the menu written out on a giant chalkboard wall. We were surrounded by families, beatniks, foodies and grandparents, Don’t let the uber trendy look of the place intimidate you as it is very a comfortable atmosphere. They even offered us a bowl of Halloween treats at the door as we left! I will definitely be bringing visiting guests here for another lovely brunch on my next visit to Steveston.

A closer look at our brunch at Gudrun.

Gudrun Tasting Room on Urbanspoon

Usually I write about quality food, amazing restaurants and recipes on this blog  but I had to share this menu item I came across. Last weekend during a family brunch at Smitty’s I could not believe my eyes when I saw what was on the menu. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting vegan tofu salad, or organic raw food smoothies going in there but I definitely didn’t expect to see a burger of this proportion!

Smitty’s ‘Alamo’ Burger has 4 beef patties, FOUR!!! 4 slices of cheddar cheese, FOUR!  and comes with a side of fries, soup or salad. First of all, who needs a side of anything after eating a burger that huge?  And Secondly, why would you do that to yourself?  Here’s a photo of the beast, please excuse my crappy cell phone quality.

Apparently everything really IS bigger in Texas! All this can be yours for $17.99.

Dessert anyone?

The buzz surrounded Nicli Pizza Antica has been growing in Vancouver ever since the Gastown area building was purchased last winter. The restaurant, finally opened a few months ago  is serving up traditional Naples style pizza and has people lining up out the door nearly every night. The passionate owner Bill McCaig has spent much time perfecting this pizza, even taking the time to get Nicli established with a ‘Vera Pizza Napoletana’ certification. This isn’t your typical pepperoni pizza, it’s serious stuff.

The cardinal rules of making a traditional Naples style pizza are that first and foremost the dough must be formed by hand and according to Italian law  ‘the texture must be soft, elastic, easily foldable”. Cooked at no more than 905 degrees F in a wood fired oven for 90 seconds this pizza is a real piece of art. There are also requirements the toppings must meet as well there are certain types of italian tomatoes, meats and cheeses that are deemed appropriate.

This may sound like one pretentious pizza but the experience and flavours that come from one such masterpiece of a pizza is one you will never forget. Nicli Pizza Antica has done an excellent job of meeting these serious pizza standards and offers a variety of pizzas to choose from. The ”Capricciosa’ is topped with artichokes, prosciutto, mushrooms, black olives, fresh basil and italian cheese is so delicious, I swear you’ll never reach for a box of McCain’s Rising Crust ever again.

The drinks at Nicli are just as fresh as the pizza itself. The beer menu is deliciously unique, you can watch the bartenders grate fresh pears and slice strawberries for their killer cocktail list. The only downside to waiting at the bar and watching your drinks exquisitely prepared is the fact that there are no bar stools. So prepare yourself for a long, loooooooong wait to actually sit down and actually be able to to eat the pizza since they do not take reservations and they don’t offer a waiting area. Lunch hour might be a better time to go once the buzz surrounding this place dies down a bit.  Hopefully this place sticks around longer then the ill-fated Corner Suite Bisto Deluxe that died a painful death after the Olympics.

This E. Cordova Pizzeria has taken pizza to a “whole ‘notha level” in Vancouver and is absolutely worth the wait. Viva Italia!

Nicli Antica Pizzeria on Urbanspoon