Vancouver Foodster Sandwich Challenge 2019

Ready, Set, Sandwich!
Vancouver Foodster is sending us on another tasty adventure this September as the Sandwich Challenge gets underway.

The Vancouver Foodster Sandwich Challenge runs September 6th to 29th, giving us lots of time to try what lies between the slices. Perfectly timed to inspired school lunches, local restaurant chefs have been challenged to highlight a sandwich from their current menu or develop a totally new creation specifically for the challenge. Sandwiches entries are open to all possibilities; two pieces of bread or buns, toasted or grilled, or not, the chefs are free to use their imagination to fill and present them.

The public is invited to head out and try any and all of the entries, then vote for your favourite (once per day during the competition) to win the online People’s Choice.  In addition, a group of judges, David of @BCFoodieBlogger, journalist Tara Lee  @VanGlutton and myself will be trying every sandwich and selecting the Judges’ Choice Sandwich.  The winners will be announced after the competition wraps September 29th.

The announced entries, so far, will come from;


Do Chay Vegetarian, 1392 Kingsway
Instagram : @eatdochay

MixxBao, 1426 W 8th Ave
Instagram @mixxbao

Sprezzatura, 265 Kingsway
Instagram @sprezzatura_van


Food by Fanta, 20542 Fraser Hwy #107
Instagram @foodbyfanta

Follow the restaurants, the judges and @VanFoodster to see the Sandwich Challenge entries and get out and try them all. Remember to vote for your favourite!

Step up to The Livet in Victoria

On a recent visit to Victoria, the search for lunch lead friends and I to The Livet.  Stepping up the flight of stairs beside Discovery Coffee on Broughton Street, the Rooftop Patio is a welcoming surprise. While not open on this cold winter day, it was easy to see that this would be a downtown destination on a bright sunny afternoon or evening.

Opened in August 2016, by the crew behind the Van Mag Restaurant Award winning Stage Wine Bar, The Livet is a Charcoal Grill and Raw Bar.  Executive Chef Benjamin Berwick combines his experience in Japanese, Southern and Latin American cuisine to a menu serving fresh salads, soups and wraps alongside, juicy BBQ sandwiches and Latin tapas-style bites.

Sopaipillas with pebre verde

For our lunch, we started with the Sopaipilla; beautifully golden Argentinian fried bread made with squash and flour served with pebre verde. The Sopaipilla were a perfect starter, all three of us enjoyed the soft yet crispy discs, we could have easily made a meal out of them. For mains we each chose a BBQ sandwich, Pork Belly or Charcoal Chicken; tender, slow grilled meat on hearty breads or bun. My Pork Belly sandwich was topped with soft roasted yam which added a sweetness to the sandwich, contrasting with the bright cilantro.

On the side, the Papas Fritas with aioli were so tasty, the varying sizes of the cut potatoes made for small crispy pieces or roasted and seasoned wedges.  The side greens was a crispy bowl of lettuce and veggies in a nice vinaigrette. Daily soup on our visit was Seafood Chowder, a rich amber broth.

South Facing Rooftop Patio

All of us were impressed with our hearty meals and even though we’d been warned that grilling the sandwiches to might make them take a bit longer, we were still in and out in an hour. I look forward to visiting again to see what’s on the dinner menu and checking out the rooftop patio in the summer for an afternoon cocktail.

The Livet is located on the second floor above Discovery Coffee at 804 Broughton Street, across from Royal Theatre. Open for Lunch and Dinner weekdays and evenings only on weekends, call 778.265.3033 or visit for more information.


Smokehouse Sandwich Co – Richmond

Smokehouse_photo-2016-11-18-13-36-57After hearing good things from my colleagues about Smokehouse Sandwich Co, I finally had to try it for myself. The unassuming little shop is tucked away in a small commercial building on Westminster Hwy (at Tiffany Blvd), there’s also an outlet downtown in Cathedral Place.  A rustic, cozy interior matches the housemade, uniquely stacked sandwich menu.
Smokehouse_photo-2016-11-18-13-54-49With just 5 signature sandwiches on the menu, Smokehouse Sandwich Co makes sure they’re done right.  There’s no ham and cheese or cold turkey club on this menu, instead we’re intrigued by coffee-crusted strawberry glazed beef brisket, salt-cured pork belly, pulled tamarind chicken, cumin spiced pulled pork or a vegetarian option of Portobello mushroom. Aioli, salsa, slaw, red peppers, sesame oil dress up the meat stacked on the white or high-fibre bun, double up or mix and match the meat to customize your own sandwich.  I tried the pulled pork “Billie” and enjoyed it but look forward to trying some of the other names on the menu.
Add on a side of housemade crisps, Asian Slaw or regular coleslaw, Brussel Sprout salad, green salad, veggies and dip or fresh fruit to round out your lunch tray or take out brown bag.  Eat in, order take out or even order ahead by phone or email for pick up if you’re in a hurry.

Smokehouse Sandwich Co. is located at 5188 Westminster Hwy in Richmond or in Cathedral Place at 925 West Georgia St. in downtown Vancouver.

Friday Find: Doughgirls Comfort Kitchen

Doughgirls_IMG_0669Another one of the great discoveries on my recent rounds, judging the Vancouver Foodster Stacked Sandwich Challenge, is Doughgirls Comfort Kitchen and Bakeshop.  Located in Westbrook Village UBC, the Doughgirls, Thuy Kelp and Rose Concepcion have built a welcoming eatery serving students and residents alike.

Doughgirls_IMG_0654On the sunny day that we visited, there was a steady stream of patrons stopping in for a coffee or tea with a pastry or sandwich.  The courtyard and cafe seating in constant turn-around, the menu includes everything from house baked sweet and savoury pastries,  made-to-order sandwiches and comfort food staples like Mac & Cheese, Shepard’s Pie, Tourtiere, Turkey Pot Pie.  Many of the comfort food are also available in frozen, full-size, bake at home versions from the freezer chest.

Doughgirls_IMG_0663The cafe is definitely somewhere we’d visit again, if it was in Yaletown, we’d be picking up dinner very often.

Doughgirls Comfort Kitchen and Bakeshop is located at 3322 Shrum Lane, UBC. Open Monday – Saturday: 8am – 6pm, Sunday 9am – 5pm

Friday Find: Saj & Co, a one-of-a-kind eatery

Photo 2015-09-16, 20 36 27
Chef Malek Anouti

Stacked Sandwich Winner – al Haikal

While judging the recent Vancouver Foodster Stacked Sandwich Challenge I had the fortune to have a dining experience at Saj & Co.  The small, unassuming Davie Street eatery is a bakery, cafe serving authentic, traditional Lebanese cuisine.

Charismatic Chef  – Owner Malek Anouti commands the show hovering over his piping hot saj (a convex griddle, like an upside-down wok).

Chef Malek’s Stacked Sandwich entry, the al haikal was a great example of the creative and flavourful dishes on offer at Saj & Co. See the other large dishes coming out of the small kitchen, hot off the saj, I don’t know how to choose the next time I visit.  Traditional Mediterranean and middle Eastern condiments and sauces highlight the meats, cheeses and vegetarian sandwiches. Fresh hummus or tabbouleh topped salads or sweet baklava and other Lebanese pastries round out a meal and wash everything down with a Lebanese or Turkish coffee or wild flower herbal tea.

Saj & Co is located at 813 Davie Street, near Howe Street.
Open Mon – Fri Lunch and Dinner, Sat Dinner
Order ahead online to have your meal ready to go on arrival.

Modern Cafe, Nanaimo

ModernCafe_IMG_0278Located in the heart of downtown Nanaimo, Modern Cafe is a historic heart of the Harbour City.
Since 1946, the Cafe is seen the downtown’s ebbs and flows, having become a centrepiece of the resurgence of Commercial Street.  The classic 1940’s refurbished neon sign serves as a beacon to the location.  While at first glance the retro features of the restaurant space could be a kitchy, all-flash, no-substance but once you know the history isn’t put-on, and the menu is right on you’ll be back for more.

ModernCafe_2015-07-14, 13 50 02On a work trip to Nanaimo, a colleague and I stopped at Modern Cafe and were pleasantly surprised by the result.  The ample sidewalk patio, and the fairly quiet street, makes sitting outside on a sunny day a relaxing break from your day.  The lunch menu included a lot of comfort foods, that from the looks of the plates coming from the kitchen, making the choice difficult. The ModernCafe_2015-07-14, 13 50 10daily fresh sheet added more choices and we both selected hand-helds from the list.  My chicken club on focaccia was fresh and satisfying, the soft house-made bread nicely surrounding the nicely cooked chicken and fresh greens.  My colleague’s chicken curry wrap was flavourful and filling too.  The crispy fries were the nice side, the salads looked good as well.

If you’re in the Harbour City, take the time to venture downtown and check out Modern Cafe and see why they’ve been feeding the locals for nearly 70 years.

Modern Cafe is located at 221 Commercial Street, Nanaimo BC
visit or phone (250)754-5022 for information

Vancouver Foodster Stacked Sandwich Challenge

vf_stackedsandwich_web-01Get your taste buds ready for the next Vancouver Foodster food challenge.  Just in time to provide inspiration for back to school lunches, the Vancouver Foodster Best Stacked Sandwich Challenge runs September 10 – 30.

The competing chefs are busily creating their version of the stacked sandwich, piled high with fillings and their best bread.

From September 10th to 30th, head out and try any and all of the entries, then vote for your favourite (once per day during the competition) to win the People’s Choice.  A group of judges, Aaron Alexander founder of @BCBuzzTV, journalist Tara Lee  @VanGlutton and myself will be trying every sandwich and selecting the Judges’ Choice Stacked Sandwich.  The winners will be announced after the competition wraps September 30th.

The announced entries, so far, will come from;

Copper Chimney, 567 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Twitter: @CopperChimney_1

Doughgirls Bakeshop, 3322 Shrum Lane (Westbrook Village, UBC), Vancouver
Twitter: @DoughgirlsBake

Saj & Co., 813 Davie Street, Vancouver
Twitter: @Sajnco

Truffle Fine Foods Cafe, 5151 Oak Street, Vancouver
Twitter: @trufflesfoods

Truffle Fine Foods Cafe, 785 Davie Street, Vancouver
Twitter: @trufflesfoods

Truffle Fine Foods Cafe, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster
Twitter: @trufflesfoods

American Grille, 7571 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Twitter: @GrilleYVR

The Meatery, 3108 Edgemont Blvd, North Vancouver
Twitter: @MeateryB2B

Follow the restaurants, the judges and @VanFoodster to see the Stack Sandwich Challenge entries and get out and try them all. Remember to vote for your favourite!