Vancouver Foodsters Mac and Cheese Challenge on Now!

For those of you who loved Mac and Cheese as a child, but are now grown up and need an adult version of Mac and Cheese, try out Vancouver Foodster’s latest challenge.  As I viewed some of the presentations below, I think a glass of wine would be the right pairing.  A Sangiovese, Chenin Blanc, or maybe a Riesling could work in many cases.  Press release is below.

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Vancouver, BC –After a successful poutine challenge comes more comfort food and the focus on the noodle, here is our 1st Mac & Cheese Challenge featuring 10 restaurants in Vancouver that runs from March 20 – April 10, 2014.

Participating restaurants are showcasing Mac & Cheese dishes that were specially created just for this challenge and all will be offered in all of these restaurants from March 20 – April 10. Some of the restaurants have offered their own twists using different types of noodles, while others have added different types of ingredients and flavours, one of which used a local craft beer.

Starting with this challenge, we will now have 2 sets of winners. The People’s Choice winners will be selected by the public who are invited to visit any of the participating restaurants and order the Mac & Cheese dishes and then decide on which ones they think are worthy of winning the challenge by casting their votes.

For this challenge we have 4 media judges and they are:

Cassandra Anderton
Writer and Broadcaster for many publications including her own http://goodlifevancouver.com
twitter: @goodlifevan
Sean Neild
Food Blogger and Photographer. Food Writer for the Eat St. blog on Food Network.ca  and his own flavortownadventures.com
twitter: @YVRBCbro
Thor Diakow
Breakfast Television’s entertainment guru on City in Vancouver.
twitter:@thordiakow
Sherman Chan
Food Blogger for his own shermansfoodadventures.com
twitter: @Sherman38

These are just some of the unique Mac and Cheese dishes in this challenge

Burgundy Restaurant

Stewie's Cheesey Adventure

Stewie’s Cheesey Adventure

Stewie’s Cheesey Adventure

Price: $14

Created by: Chef Stewart Ehrecke

Description: Fresh Macaroni, goat gouda, parmesan, garlic cream reduction, panko crust, tomato chutney

 

Milestones Grill & Bar

Howe Sound my Orecchiette?

Howe Sound my Orecchiette?

Howe Sound my Orecchiette?

Price: $8

Created by: Chef Jason Rosso

Description: Chorizo and double smoked bacon in a creamy cheddar cheese and beer sauce. Featuring Vancouver’s own Howe Sound IPA.

Gramercy Grill

Hoisin Duck Confit Mac & Cheese

Hoisin Duck Confit Mac & Cheese

Hoisin Duck Confit Mac & Cheese

Price: $14

Created by: Chef Dennis Huang

White cheddar Macaroni & Cheese with a topping of five spice, star anise, hoisin duck confit with green onion

Lift Bar & Grill

Ocean Wise Crab Mac & cheese

Ocean Wise Crab Mac & Cheese

Ocean Wise Crab Mac & Cheese

Price: $12.00

Created by: Chef George Koay

Fresh West Coast Ocean Wise Dungeness Crab Meat with Macaroni and Fresh Mascarpone and Podano Cheeses. Topped with Panko bread crumbs.

The full list of participating restaurants can be found here
http://vancouverfoodster.com/2014/03/20/vancouver-mac-cheese-challenge/

Voting: The public is invited to order these Mac and Cheese dishes at the participating restaurants keeping in mind this criteria – originality, creativity, uniqueness, traditional, non-traditional, price, value and most importantly taste. People can vote the same day after trying the Mac & Cheese creation and they can vote once a day throughout the promotion. People will be encouraged to Vote for their favourites from March 20 – April 10, 2014
http://vancouverfoodster.com/mac-and-cheese-challenge/

With a smartphone, customers will be able to vote from their table in the restaurant right after they have eaten the Mac and Cheese creation. 

We will announce the winning restaurants and their mac and cheese dishes on April 11, 2014.

Spicy lemongrass vermicelli noodles at Five Elements

Noodle Mania 2 – My Picks For You

Vancouver Foodster’s Second Annual Noodle Mania has come and gone.  It had an interesting lineup of restaurants and dishes.  We had both sweet and savoury noodle dishes to sample, for vegans and omnivores.  The restaurants and their dishes are below, together with a few of my comments/recommendations and pictures.  Enjoy.

Atithi

  • Veggie noodle samosa with tamarind chutney
  • Chicken chow mein samosa with tamarind chutney

This was actually my last stop during Noodle Mania, but was one of my favourite.  The chef was telling us how on a trip to India last year, that he came across a new “craze” which was to put noodles inside samoas.  He must have liked the taste enough, that he brought the idea back with him to Vancouver.  I enjoy veggie samoas, so I picked the veggie option.  The samosa was full of flavour, with thin rice noodles and vegetables mixed with light curry spices.  I would go back here to have a few more as well as enjoying their other Indian dishes.

Veggie noodle samosa with tamarind chutney

Veggie noodle samosa with tamarind chutney

Xoxolat

  • Savory noodle with dark chocolate
  • Sweet noodle with milk chocolate
  • Tasting of different flavoured xoxolat chocolate bars

I was not sure what to expect from a chocolate shop for noodle mania.  They made 2 different noodle dishes, one with dark chocolate and the other with milk.   The dishes were interesting, but I think just having a tiny sample was enough for me.  I do not know that a whole plate would have worked for me.  But besides the noodle dishes, there was a sampling table of various chocolate bars made by xoxolat and those were very good.  I purchased two chocolate bars; one chocolate with lavendar, and the other was tortilla chips and lime with chocolate.

Dark chocolate savory noodles in the making

Dark chocolate savory noodles in the making

Graze Vegetarian

  • Brown rice elbow macaroni in smoky coconut milk based “cheese” sauce topped with toasted nut crumble (GF)
  • Beetroot linguine topped with a porcini infused cashew cream sauce

Graze Vegetarian looked vaguely familiar as I stepped through the doors, but was told by the other foodies I was with that this used to be The Fray restaurant.  Quite a change, with creamy white walls and an elegant wall mural on one wall.  As I try to eat gluten free, I was looking forward to trying their GF “mac and cheese”.  The mac and cheese really did taste very cheesy, but it did have a bit of a sour note to the sauce, which I found out was from fermented coconut milk.  Some people at my table enjoyed the sour tang to this dish.  The other dish was the beetroot linguini which had nice earthy flavour to it, which I quite enjoyed.

Vegan macaroni and coconut milk cheese and beetroot linguini

Vegan macaroni and coconut milk cheese and beetroot linguini

Bella Gelateria

  • Faloudeh Sorbetto – originally from Shiraz in Southwest Iran.  Rose water with rice noodles and fresh lime juice

Toward the end of our tastings, we decided to stop at Bella Gelateria for a palate cleansing sorbetto.  This one had very bold flavours with the rose water and lime juice.  I agreed with my Noodle Mania companions that the flavours were quite intense and maybe could be toned down just a bit, but I did enjoy the flavour combination.  Try this out in the summer while you sit by the convention centre watching the boats in the harbour.

Faloudeh Sorbetto (rose water and lime)

Faloudeh Sorbetto (rose water and lime)

Federico’s Supper Club

  • Strozzapreti con ragu bolognese
  • Rigatoni alla Norma

This was the first stop at Noodle Mania and I really enjoyed their pasta.  In particular I thought the Riagoni was excellent.  I really liked the bright tomato flavour and the bits of eggplant in it.  For those of you who like heartier dishes there was the Strozzapreti con ragu bolognese, which of course is a pasta dish cooked with a meaty ragu sauce.  Beside the meatiness of the sauce, I did also like the buttery component, which may have come from the noodles?

Strozzapreti con ragu bolognese and Rigatoni alla Norma

Strozzapreti con ragu bolognese and Rigatoni alla Norma

Five Elements

  • Pho sate peanut sauce
  • Spicy lemongrass vermicelli noodles
  • Pho – rice noodle soup with beef

Pho soup, for those that haven’t tried it is a flavourful, filling bowl of noodles with various cuts of beef (usually), bean sprouts, basil, lime, in a tasty clear broth.  I usually add some chili sauce to my pho for an extra kick.  I had the pho with meatball and beef brisket.  I picked this dish in particular because beef brisket is always tender, melting in your mouth as you enjoy the rest of your soup.  You can get pho with rare steak, but that tends to be chewier than the brisket.  I just love the flavour and texture of the brisket.  Try some pho on one of these cold, rainy days in Vancouver.  You will be glad you did.

Special pho with meatball and beef brisket

Special pho with meatball and beef brisket

Bob Likes Thai Food

  • Kanom Jeen
  • Pad Thai

Kanom Jeen is a traditional Thai dish consisting of green curry chicken over rice noodles, lime, bamboo shoots, basil, eggplant, and more.  I really enjoyed this dish.  It had bright flavours, was medium spicy, and you also had some crunchy vegetables too.  The sliced cucumber was really a nice accompanyment.  The Pad Thai was also cooked perfectly with it’s fried noodles in tamarind and fish sauce, smoked tofu, peanuts, eggs, garlic and bean sprouts.   I have no problems coming here again to enjoy their Thai food.

Kanom Jeen and Pad Thai noodles

Kanom Jeen and Pad Thai noodles

Thanks again to Richard ,Vancouver Foodster, for his ongoing efforts to put together this event plus other foodie events around Vancouver.