Five minutes for attempted world domination
Despite all attempts at douchery by Guy Fieri, his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives remains completely watchable (and re-watchable on a lazy weekend afternoon). It was during one of these episodes that he visited Falconetti's, a sausage and beer place on Commercial Drive. It intrigued me enough take a gander at the place to check out their food.
I wasn't around long enough for the live music, so I can't comment on the quality of the acts that they book. At the very least the music pumped through the speakers was neither offensive (i.e. Top 40) nor was so loud that I couldn't hear myself think. Many places with a pub-like atmosphere seem to think cranking loud music is a good idea. Perhaps they need to distract the patrons from how crappy their food is. No such need with this place. Falconetti's makes their sausage on site at the butcher's next door, and they do it well.
I shared a couple of sampler plates with some friends so that we could try pretty much their entire sausage menu. You know how sometimes the littlest things make the restaurant experience awesome? The staff did those things here. When our sampler plates came out, there were little signs on toothpicks marking what kind each sausage was. Extremely helpful the next time I go back so I don't have to say "uh, I ordered some sausage last time, and it was good, but I don't know what it was called. Can I get that?" Also awesome: we didn't know if we should order a Phillips Blue Buck beer since we hadn't had it before and the waitress gave us a shot glass of it to try it first. The little things, they count.
Types of sausages ordered:
- Yucatan Chicken: Spicy, with an interesting texture
- Sweet Italian: Could really pick up the fennel, nicely balanced
- Polish: Beef makes a weird textured sausage, but the flavour was good
- Hot Italian: It was a warm heat, not too spicy, but it didn't stand out
- Honey Bratwurst: Really sweet, almost overpowering the savoury aspect
- Chaurice: A type of chorizo with a nice lingering heat that wasn't overwhelming
Of all of the ones ordered, I think the Chaurice was probably the top one of the bunch. The Polish was almost like eating a meatball with its texture, so my brain couldn't really get over that. Ordering each sausage individually provides you with different garnishes than the sampler, which gives you 3 dipping sauces instead (ranch, barbeque, hot). I don't know if the other types of garnishes help balance out the particularly strong flavours of some of the sausages since I didn't do an individual order, but I imagine they should.
I'd definitely go back to this place. Good atmosphere, good food, good service. What's not to like?
Yikes, I didn't realize how long it had been since I had posted something here. And here I thought rebooting my blog would encourage me to write more. Whoops. I'll toss the usual excuses of work, vacation and catching up on work from vacation, but those are boring details. I've even got a review of a vegetarian restaurant I went to in Hong Kong, but it requires a little more organization of a few random thoughts.
The Night Market always brought out the most interesting of eats that you might never see otherwise. Growing up, my mother didn't trust a lot that didn't come from her own kitchen, so despite heading to the Night Market in my younger days, I never got to try the food. Fortunately there were booths upon booths of useless trinkets to keep the attention of a kid. Nowadays the merchants are divided into two groups: cell phone cases and everything else.
Having somewhat grown up and attaining an attention span of greater than 5 seconds, I have turned to the food section of the Night Market to provide my amusement for the evening. True, health codes have gotten a tad more strict over the years so the food booths are less sketchy than they were all those years ago (although tell that to the school bus that deep fries candy bars because I'm pretty sure they haven't heard of health codes).
Last weekend I wandered down to the Summer Night Market down by Bridgeport. In short, the food is way better than the food at the Richmond Night Market by the old Ikea. I think a bunch of booths left the one by Ikea and came to this one by Bridgeport. I couldn't sample everything, no matter how hard I tried, but it's a good incentive to go back. Here's a sampling of what I consumed that night.
Basically a noodle dish with some seafood on it and Japanese mayo. The buckwheat noodles were cooked well and the fish in it was tender. The preserved octopus (the big red thing there) was a little chewy, but less than I thought it would be. The corn provided a nice sweet contrast to the dish, although the texture didn't quite work with it overall. Still, a good starter since it was basically at the entrance.
Pork shoulder meat marinated in assorted spices with some cilantro stuffed in a toasted bun. The meat was braised long enough to be tender and kept its juices pretty well. My only complaint would be that there wasn't enough of it. Probably could have used some siracha to give it a bit of a kick.
Kung Fusion booth
Once I saw this place, I knew I had to try something from here. I admit, the campy nature spoke to me and almost made me order the "Hai Miso Tasty" on the spot. Eventually after perusing all of the selections and their associated ingredients, I selected:
The Dear Leader
A pork and beef burger topped with kimchi. It was a pretty rad combination. The cabbage in the kimchi was still a little crunchy, providing a nice contrast in textures with the soft meatball-like consistency of the burger. I think they toned down the kimchi a bit as it wasn't as spicy as I'd expect it to be, but that's expected when they're trying to get some exposure. I'd love to go back and try some of their other stuff.
Chinese Popcorn Chicken
Unlike your traditional leftover bits of chicken battered out of existence, these were actual chicken breast chunks. However, just like your traditional popcorn chicken, it was either left in the fryer too long or the oil temperature was screwed up as these were pretty greasy. I'd avoid them.
Banana chunks dipped in some sort of batter and deep fried. Not greasy, but unfortunately mostly flavourless. There was a light dusting of powdered sugar on top, but not near enough to overcome the very bland batter it was fried in. It probably would have been better served if the banana were rolled in something before battered or if there was some kind of glaze on top. Turon this ain't.
All in all, a pretty good night. If you're on a diet, I wouldn't suggest going, but for a cheat day or for those curious, the Night Market does provide some interesting confections to try out. Hit me up if you're interested in going, I'm heading back some time before the summer's out anyway.