Monday, April 7, 2014

Portland (Food) Adventure

On a one fine weekend, my friend and I decided to take a trip to Portland. There’s probably nothing better than escaping the chaotic work life and reconnecting with your long-time friend on a six hour road trip. Throw in a food and wine hunt in one of the most foodie friendly cities in North America and we got ourselves a trip to remember.

Our weekend was short and sweet but we still managed to hit up a few great spots that I’d recommend for anyone going to Portland.

1. Food Carts – Portland is most famous for its sheer number and variety of food carts so this was naturally our first stop.

Tabor – Czech Food Cart

The Original Schnitzelwich (breaded chicken breast in a Ciabatta roll with lettuce, paprika spread, sautéed onion and horseradish)
There were always people waiting around this food cart so make sure you order first before you wander around the area. The chicken breast was extremely crispy and well-seasoned. If you’re a fan of crispy fried chicken, this one is for you.  The sandwich itself was huge I was almost full after half.

Tábor on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tasty Persian feast at Zeitoon

Seeking a new food adventure this week, we set off to Zeitoon, a Persian restaurant recommended by a friend's co-worker.  Since we don't go to Middle-Eastern restaurants often, all of us wanted to try many dishes on the menu without killing ourselves.  Thankfully, the kitchen was able to accommodate us and preparing the dishes family-style that was easy to share.  Their dips and kabobs are definitely must-try.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One of the best Neopolitan pizzeria in Vancouver, Via Tevere

When I arrived at Via Tevere, I was greeted by a sea of people swarming aimlessly outside the property and we knew our wait would be long.  This did not break our resolve to try the pizzas here that night and we proceeded to join the queue and put our names down with the premise that our wait time would be around an hour.  It was around 7 pm and we were not about to sit around and torture ourselves.  So, off we went, adventuring what other establishments on Commercial Drive had to offer until our main course.

Two hours later, we already had a snack at Memphis Blues and a couple beers from Biercraft.  It was close to 9 pm when we headed back to Via Tevere, and although the line ups had gone down, our table was still not ready! It was not until almost half an hour later that we were actually seated.  Had we stayed around, we would've sat there and waited over 2 hours for dinner.  I would've starved and my temper would've flared.  It wouldn't be a pleasant scene for anybody.

We already had our drinks and appies, so once we sat down, we just went straight to business.  Authentic Neopolitan pizza was what we came for, so we ordered 5 kinds; prociutto e funghi, capricciosa, prociutto e rucola, vesuvio, and quatro formaggi.  The prices were more than reasonable, ranging from $16-19 per pizza with quality ingredients.  That's around the same price as many less-than-mediocre places serving frozen pizzas (but caling them "gourmet"), the kind I would never set foot back in again.   I haven't had a pizza this good since Chef Daniel Costa, now infamous for his Corso32 restaurant, at a humble Italian cafe, Cafe de Copa back in Edmonton in 2007.

I had a chance to try them all, and aside from the quatro formagi, the components on all the pizzas were all similar.  All tasty, nonetheless.  The features that make Via Tevere's pizzas more amazing than most Neopolitan pizza joints out there are:
1. the dough, which they import the double zero flour directly from Italy.  It's got a great texture with the right amount of air in the dough.  It also only takes 60 to 90 s on average to fire in the oven, which was also imported from Italy.
2. the tomato sauce.  It's freshly made and not processed out of a can from Costco.
3. Their fior di latte mozzarella that melt beautifully and creates this nice, chewy, gooey texture when you take that first bite.
4. the fact that they fill up their toppings.   I've had many great pizzas which had a sparse wasteland of toppings at the centre, and that's a real deal breaker for me.  Via Tevere is generous with their portions.  They don't cheap out and that, my friend, is integrity.

It's near impossible to choose a favourite pizza here, but the fresh arugula really gives the pizza a refreshing kick.  The quatro formaggi was also really something special that you wouldn't find at any other pizzeria.  It had all the famous Italian cheeses, all with different flavours; fior di latte, ricotta, smoked provolone, and parmigiano.  Cheese lovers won't be disappointed.  


Whether you have trouble deciding, or you want to try all their desserts, the nice folks have figured that out for you.  Tris di dolci is their dessert trio sampler that let you try all 3 desserts; flour-less almond and walnut chocolate cake, fritter topped with Nuttella, and tiramisu.  I'm a huge fan of tiramisu and this one was really light, creamy and not too sweet.  The fritter was melt-in-your-mouth amazing and it reminded me of churros when they're done right.  The torta caprese would be perfect if you're on gluten-free diet. 

It's been over a week since I dined at Via Tevere and I still dream about their pizzas everyday.  One of the best pizzeria in Vancouver, by far.  I will not wait another 2 hours, though.  Going when they first open, or around 9:30 pm after drinking and snacking would be best for quick seating.  
Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon