06 Nov2011

REFUEL, Vancouver

by Marketman

On the day of the marketmanila “eyeball” in Vancouver, we got up early, passed by the train station to check on our passage to Seattle, and headed straight to the rather interesting district called Kitsilano. Apparently, nothing stirs there until about noon, so we walked around and window shopped, waiting for one of two well-regarded restaurants o open… Mae Nam, a thai place, or Refuel, just next door. Refuel opened half an hour earlier, and we were starving, so we decided to eat there. Prior to lunch, we hit a lulu lemon shop (had just learned it was a local brand gone global) and picked up a couple of their incredibly comfortable shorts, more for lounging than working out, as the latter is done less and less these days… :)

We were the first guests into Refuel as they opened for the day, and we opted to sit at the bar, which had a good view into part of the kitchen, where we could watch our lunch being cooked. Apparently a reincarnation of an earlier restaurant, FUEL, it had an interesting menu posted outdoors and we decided to try several of their dishes. First up, the Manila clams with fennel sausage and chili. Prepared before our eyes, the incredibly sweet and fresh local clams were doused in a heady broth flavored with sausage (pork and shellfish are a wonderful match) and just a hint of chili. I could have used a bit more chili, but I suspect the average diner would have found this just right… Served with a slice of bread brushed with olive oil and flavored with a scrape of garlic, this was just want I was looking for.

An open kitchen, a small to medium sized dining room that sat perhaps 40 or so, and nondescript interiors…

Mrs. MM ordered non-alcoholic ginger beer that was extremely refreshing.

The amiable chef that day was quite chatty, and we got to watch him prepare all of our dishes, without any assistance from the rest of the crew, who were just arriving… It’s fun to watch a chef in action, and how they engineer practical uses for all kinds of equipment… pans to cover stock pots, fingers instead of tongs, etc. The amount of stuff or components of a dish that were already made in advance and simply waiting to be used in plating was a revelation… the pickles for one dish, the chopped garnishes, etc. The food all came out hot and fresh looking, yet it had several components that required a lot more time than we were there. It looked quite effortless, with delicious results.

Mrs. Marketman ordered this crispy pork cheek terrine that was rich and delicious. A nice twist was the quick fry to crisp up the sides of the slice of terrine. It came with a selection of lightly pickled vegetables.

A second look at my manila clams, with a lot of the shells cleared out. I had that, the broth and the remaining bread, completely cleaning out the bowl… :)

I ordered a salad for my main course, with hanger steak, arugula and radicchio, blue cheese and garnished with deep fried capers, a really nice piquant touch I have never come across before. Perfectly dressed, tossed lightly by hand, this was a light but substantial dish, and would tide me over until the likely massive dinner with readers a few hours later!

Mrs. Marketman ordered a special salmon burger, made with roughly chopped fresh salmon and sandwiched between bread with tomatoes onions and mayonnaise. Some fries accompanied the dish. We were too full to order dessert, but overall a nice meal at Refuel.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Awesome!!! Now, where can i get some of that here in Cebu for lunch!!! Refuel’s website menu is inviting too!

    Nov 6, 2011 | 8:09 am

     
  2. Joseph (Vancouver) says:

    Refuel actually have this annual whole hog dinner where diners feast on a whole pig from nose to tail and everything in between including the offal.

    Nov 6, 2011 | 9:06 am

     
  3. moni says:

    The special salmon burger looks so yummy and a healthy option to beef burgers. On another note, MM, zubuchon (the restaurants) is featured in the November issue of PAL’s mabuhay miles magazine.

    Nov 6, 2011 | 4:07 pm

     
  4. shalimar says:

    will do salmon burger this week and our usual clam day I change the recipe every week.

    Nov 6, 2011 | 5:42 pm

     
  5. proteinshake says:

    To look good in your Lululemons, you have to try to avoid the Refuel fried chicken (yummy). I also love MaeNam and West (maybe a dinner option). PS — most Vancouverites I know own a pair of Lulu’s or some kind of Mountain Equipement Coop gear. I hope you can all come back for a longer visit next time. I really regret missing the Eyeball !

    Nov 7, 2011 | 1:29 am

     
  6. cwid says:

    We seldom go out and prefer to entertain at home, unless there is an Eatcetera invite for a chance to explore new cuisine. Your review is just so tempting. Refuel is in our neck of the woods and my husband and I might pay them a visit. Thanks for the tip.

    Nov 7, 2011 | 1:31 am

     
  7. ayla says:

    Refuel’s site is pretty. And I like their tagline too!

    Also looked up lululemon, and yes they look comfortable enough to wear to the gym (because yes I still pretend to go to the gym.)

    Nov 7, 2011 | 1:50 am

     
  8. Greg In Tacoma says:

    Just found your page the other day…Love reading your site! Especially the Lechon Chronicles….Your writing is excellent! I can practically taste what I am reading…fine photos as well. I travel to the Philippines every year to visit my wife’s family and hope to cook my own lechon using your research/experiments to guide me this January…nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Thanks for sharing your passion.

    Nov 7, 2011 | 6:52 am

     
  9. Irene says:

    Lululemon makes some of the most comfortable clothes to exercise or lounge around in. Stores have a good vibe too.

    Your Vancouver posts are good inspiration for a trip am planning next year :)

    Nov 7, 2011 | 10:53 am

     
  10. nina says:

    Sorry, off topic…..fyi, MM your site cannot be accessed through a public computer (library) or company computer as it is classified as a pornography site! Tried to access your site last week when we had power outages in the East Coast to no avail because of the classification (pop out reads “access denied, pornography site”). I believe the reason behind this is the fact that the library and the company computer are loaded with virus software protection and not as much as our personal computer.

    Nov 7, 2011 | 11:40 am

     
  11. rosedmd says:

    wow!! i love this area… same area of las margaritas.

    Paging Ms. Bettyq !!!! Help. i can’t find your post of FFTG.. can you send me recipe. even your comment what to do.. i can’t remember which posts we did….rosedmd@yahoo.com

    Nov 7, 2011 | 12:20 pm

     
  12. eric says:

    @nina – yes it’s a food porn site! :)

    Nov 7, 2011 | 2:24 pm

     
  13. la emperor says:

    This would be next in our list or perhaps the one next door, Mae Nam.

    Two weekends ago, my wifey and I tried out Meat and Bread down at Hastings and Cambie. Needless to say we had a terrific early dinner porchetta sandwich ( although I had the last one served as we came in almost at closing time, 4:30 pm ) and wifey opted for a turkey sandwich instead. An excellent place which warrant future visits.

    And this last Friday, the Eatcetera group along with Cwid and Cris ( betty_q had to bow out on the last minute for a personal reason ) tried out Campagnolo on Main street. It’s the sister restaurant of Refuel and has been gathering great reviews. We enjoyed their in house made pasta with delicious tomato sauce??, large salumi platter and their oven brick thin crusted to die for pizza. Again, our tummies were full to the max while only spending reasonable $$. It was indeed a day to remember….:-)

    Nov 16, 2011 | 1:21 am

     
  14. dhayL says:

    I love Lululemon stuff, a bit pricey but yes it’s very comfortable indeed! :)

    Nov 17, 2011 | 1:03 am

     
 

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