Tag Archive for comfort food

The Keg: Winter Grill & $100 Giveaway

I really feel like I should be writing something here like “oh, winter… it feels like it will go on forever…” And, if you are in an area of Canada east of me, that is likely how you feel right now. Buried in snow and minuses.

However, here in Vancouver, signs of spring abound. There are cherry blossoms, crocuses, and our temps are in the double-digits. Apologies to the rest of Canada.

Wherever you are in the great white north, however, I’m pretty sure a good steak dinner wouldn’t go awry.

the keg winter grill stuffed filet

Michael and I got to get a taste (literally) of a new winter promotion that The Keg has on right now, until March 29. It’s called Winter Grill, and it’s all about comfort food. The night we went (to the Yaletown location) it really was a miserable, rainy, Vancouver winter night. The kind of night where you just want to hibernate and carb-load, with a really nice glass of red wine.

Instead, we hibernated in one of the warm and cozy booths at the Keg, and got our steak (with a side of tasty carbs) on.

the keg calamari

There are four menu options on The Keg Winter Grill menu:

Rib Steak for Two (or more) is a 30 ounce (!!) hearty bone-in rib steak, grilled to perfection and served with sautéed field mushrooms. You’ll want to bring several hungry men with you to make short work of this one. Then, there’s the more dainty Keg Stuffed Fillet. It’s a 7 oz fillet, butterflied, and filled with with slices of capocollo, dates, jalapeños and feta cheese. I know that sounds like a strange combination, but it’s really delicious. It’s a tiny bit sweet, salty, and spicy in every bite, and the entire thing is snuggled in a blanket of applewood smoked bacon. Where can I get an applewood smoked bacon blanket?? Next up, you could choose the Kansas City Strip, a 13 oz,  tender, bone-in (bones mean flavour!) New York striploin grilled to your specification. Finally, there’s the Blackened Manhattan, a kind of cajun-style 7 oz steak, coated with select herbs and spices and finished with herb butter. Each of the steaks comes with your choice of potato, or rice, and mixed vegetables, and you can even add on a sauce, like whiskey peppercorn.

I’m not a huge meat-eater, but I finished the entire filet, and I especially loved the twice-baked potato with bacon, the inside of which had the same texture as a cloud. I have no idea how the Keg gets their mashed potatoes so light and fluffy, but I sure would like to bribe one of the kitchen staff for that secret!

the keg caesar salad

Your meal will get started with a loaf of The Keg’s world-famous bread. It comes with a couple different kinds of butter–one is plain, but the other has cheese and bacon in it. It is so unbelievably delicious. Really the epitome of “bacon makes everything better.”

The Keg Winter Grill menu also includes one starter, Lobster Bisque, but of course you can order whatever you like on the menu, as well, including dessert. In fact, I think I have to insist that you order dessert.

I’m giving away a $100 gift certificate to The Keg to one lucky reader, so you can try out The Winter Grill menu for yourself (or anything else that tickles your fancy on The Keg’s menu).

new york cheesecake

To enter this contest:

Comment below and let me know what your favourite thing at The Keg is to eat (or if you’ve never eaten there, what you want to try). This contest is open to all residents of Canada. I will choose a winner at random on Friday, February 27, and your gift card will be mailed to you.

For an additional entry into the contest, tweet the following:

Good luck! And I wish the rest of Canada warm temperatures and an early spring.

A special shoutout to the staff at The Keg Yaletown. The service was exemplary. 

Spotted Bear Bistro, Tofino

Earlier this week, I put up a recipe for chocolate cake using Tofino Brewing Company’s Kelp Stout. To round out the week, I thought I’d share with you an amazing dinner I had while in Tofino.

Located in the main town part of Tofino, The Spotted Bear is tucked away around a corner. It’s a tiny space: it seats just under 30, but the atmosphere is warm and cozy. On the night we were there, there was just one server, the chef and the sous-chef.


I like places like that, though. I like being able to have a conversation with the chef about the food and his inspirations. The night we were there, the executive chef from the Wickaninish Inn, Warren  Barr, came in for a drink and a snack. It’s always a good sign when chefs come to your restaurant.

The chef here is Cameron Young, and he’s been the head chef here for about a year, and was the sous prior to that. Cam is just one of the young, upstart chefs that are leading the food scene in Tofino. The Spotted Bear is all about upscale comfort food, and seafood, like many restos in the small fishing town, figures heavily into the menu.

Instead of ordering, I put myself in Chef Cam’s hands, and was not disappointed.


The meal started with the Tuna Tartare. Now, trust me when I say, this Tuna Tartare is legendary. I had no less than three chefs while I was in Tofino tell me how much they loved it. It is amazing. Albercore Tuna, topped with pickled shallots and enoki mushrooms, tossed with a soy truffle vinaigrette, served over a schmear of avocado. It comes with absolutely perfectly crisp toasts made from baugette sourced from the bakery just down the street.


Next up: Scallops and Octopus. Perfectly-seared scallops, caramelized just on one side, in a cauliflower puree with a dollop of carrot puree and perfectly-seasoned crispy fried cauliflower. One thing I remarked over and over about Chef Cam’s food was how perfectly seasoned it was. There’s no need for a salt shaker on the table at this restaurant!





The main was a beautiful piece of Ling Cod. Ling Cod is plentiful right now, so you’ll see it lots. It was served on a bed of green lentils, which added such richness to the dish, and were cooked to a perfect al dente consistency. The lemon sauce was out of this world. I could have licked it off the plate–again the balance was perfect–tart but not too puckery.



Finally, dessert. There were two: a beautiful lemon tart, and a flourless chocolate cake with a dark chocolate mousse. The chocolate was my favourite, as the cake was rich (but because it was a small piece, it wasn’t too overwhelming), and the mousse was full of rich, dark chocolate, but was a gorgeous, light consistency, not too bitter, and full of depth.

Sneaky Pete

The Spotted Bear isn’t the biggest or fanciest place to eat in Tofino. But for me, I felt like it struck exactly the right balance: the atmosphere was really laid back and casual, but he food was top-notch. The service was attentive, but friendly, and it’s always a joy to watch a chef at work in an open kitchen. If you don’t get the chance to go for dinner, they are also open for weekend brunch. At the very least, slip in for a Sneaky Pete and to try the Tuna Tartare the next time you’re in Tofino…

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