Thunderbird/Calendar drinks & food

After a long day of talking about calendaring at CalConnect, some of the Mozilla calendar & mail folks (hopefully at least Daniel, Christian, Dan, Clint and David) will be going out for drinks & more food on Tuesday Feb 5 Wednesday, Feb 6, starting around 8pm or so at the Oasis beer garden. Please sign up for the event if you’re thinking of going, and we’ll try to save you a seat.


People usually refer to Vancouver as a really good place for high-end Chinese food. I wouldn’t know, as our taste are more pedestrian. For future reference, last night’s order at Hon’s was the best we’ve achieved so far:

  • 6 pork pan-fried gyoza
  • springrolls (mistake, no one ate them)
  • tender duck leg soup with orange peel and udon noodles (yummy duck!)
  • spicy braised eggplant with pork (my favorite chinese food)
  • Beef with ginger and green onions (tender beef, if not plentiful enough)
  • Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce (gotta have some greens)

All that was quite nice after our first skiing day.

Cheap Eats

One of the things I love about downtown vancouver is the abundance of good, cheap eateries. I’ve grown quite averse to large chains (too much subversive reading, I guess), so I’m pleased to see thriving neighborhood places that offer good food at good prices.

Now that it’s been in the paper, Caffe Artigiano on West Hastings is hardly a “find”, but it’s still a source of very high quality food. The only thing that I don’t like there is their hot chocolate. Everything else is good or very good.

Nuba is a lebanese hole-in-the-wall on West Hastings with a funky atmosphere, great basic middle-eastern food (the lamb plate is my favorite), and the best baklava I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely stunning, imported from Detroit and Montreal. I enjoy the turkish coffee as well, although it pays to be moderate with it.

A block from Nuba, still on Hastings, is Tacos Mexico Delicioso, the best “working-class” mexican restaurant in the city. Basic mexican food, done right. My favorite: the Sopes con Chorizo.

A block away, on Pender, is my latest find: Finch’s coffeehouse, which specializes in baguette sandwiches and salads. The owner, English and of “restaurant background”, couldn’t resist opening up the place when he saw the space was available. The menu varies with the availability of ingredients. I’ve been there 6 times or so, and I’m quite pleased. My egg salad sandwich was particularly good, thanks to first-grade ingredients. The somewhat weird thing about the place is that apart from the owner (who hasn’t been visible the last few times), I tend to be the only male in the place.

Across the street from Finch’s is Cassis, definitely higher-end fancy-lunch place, including crepes, pizzas with truffle oil, fancy deserts etc. I wasn’t thrilled by the pizza I had (the crust was way too “healthy” and un-Neapolitan for my taste), but I’ll try it again. It seems quite popular, and I must hope it’s not just because it looks hip.

(forgot to post this months ago)



Originally uploaded by David Ascher.

Continuing on a food theme, today’s breakfast is yet another instance of my quest for the perfect “french crepe with american flour” recipe.

Today’s recipe, taken out of last week’s NYT magazine, is pretty good, with a thin batter, pretty coloring, good resiliency. It’s missing a flavor component I can’t identify, however.

Have to keep trying…

New treat: maamoul date cakes

A treat I’ve recently uncovered at the corner store (Nadi’s, who, IIRC, hails from Lebanon) are maamoul, little cakes filled with dates. The store has stocked different brands, all from Saudi Arabia, with the latest definitely being the best: it has a surprisingly fresh pastry (especially if one acknowledges that it’s shipped from Jeddah). Unlike the related, also excellent treats I get at Nabu (a great lebanese hole-in-the-wall downtown), the store variety are individually packaged in air-tight bags, so it’s reasonable to buy the the box of a dozen and slowly eat them over weeks.

The kids are at this moment arguing whether they prefer those or nutella+banana sandwiches, which are themselves a creation of a globalized economy (hazelnuts and bananas don’t usually colocate). As much as one can and should criticize globalization’s impact on local cultures, I’m very grateful that we can have tastier snacks than what any local ecosystem could otherwise provide. Salmon jerky is ok, but it would get boring after a while.

Wouldn’t it’d be nice if global snack sharing could build cultural bridges? Unfortunately, while I get the impression that my fondness for exotic sweets helped convince Nadi to smile at me, Google suggests that at least a half-dozen middle-eastern cultures probably bicker over who “owns” maamoul, and I wouldn’t be surprised if numerous fistfights have erupted over arguments on whether a particular brew was greek or turkish coffee.