Category Archives: USA

Vietnamese Poutine in Los Angeles

The Gorbals

After winning on reality show Top Chef a few years back, Ilan Hall opened up a well-reviewed restaurant in Los Angeles’ edgy downtown. The Gorbals takes its name from the old Jewish neighbourhood in Glasgow where Hall’s father came from. He describes the cuisine as “tasty, oddball food.” The menu includes such items as bacon-wrapped matzoh balls and octopus-tofu sandwiches.

Although I generally wasn’t a fan of the L.A. sprawl, downtown is a different world – it’s worth visiting the city if only for the interesting revitalization of beautiful old buildings taking place in the art deco streets around The Gorbals. The restaurant is curiously located down a long hallway on the ground floor of an apartment building. There’s a speakeasy feel to the location.

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Review: Bluebird Tavern

Bluebird Tavern

A few years ago, a friend told me he’d had the best meal of his life at the Bluebird Tavern in Burlington, Vermont. Needless to say I was skeptical. That’s a pretty big statement. He was setting up unrealistic expectations and I was bound to be disappointed.

Nevertheless, I still checked it out on my next trip to Burlington. As it turns out, he wasn’t too far off the mark. I ate an innovative dish of baked ricotta in pumpkin sauce and a perfect burger. The Bluebird tavern blends the British gastropub tradition with the locavore sensitivities of Vermont. Even though it is housed in a suburban cottagey bungalow that looks like some nausea-inducing multinational chain of country delis, there’s a subtle yet sophisticated big city atmosphere inside that offers a welcome contrast to the general hippie-student-yoga vibe in town.

Bluebird Tavern
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Review: Skinny Pancake

Skinny Pancake, Burlington, VT

Burlington, Vermont is one of the more pleasant small cities in North America. Home to the United States’ only self-proclaimed socialist senator, it is more progressive than many larger American and Canadian cities. It has an interesting mix of aging hippies, young students, visiting Montrealers, and rural Vermonters. At times, this leads to scenes straight out of the Electric Kool-aid Acid Test.

Skinny Pancake, Burlington, VT
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Review: New York’s Mile End

Mile End Deli, New York

New York is a city with a strong deli tradition. It is therefore quite surprising that Zagat’s highest rated New York deli is a Montreal-themed place named Mile End. I suppose there’s no arguing when comparing a chewy Montreal bagel with its bulky and stiff New York counterpart. Throw in a Wilensky special, smoked meat sandwiches and matzo ball soup and you can’t go wrong. But that’s not what drew me to this restaurant. I wanted to see if the high Zagat rating translated to a perfect poutine.

Mile End Deli, New York

Right off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill, Mile End differs from your average Jewish deli. Don’t expect the retro fittings, crammed shelves and noisy service of Schwartz’s or Ben’s (or Katz’s). Instead, you get a cozy-yet-welcoming minimalist Scandinavian atmosphere, white walls and varnished blond wood. A few jars of artfully displayed pickled vegetables in the window provide a nod to more traditional delis.
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Poutine in New York City

Yes, it’s possible to get poutine in New York City. Here’s the scoop on a few places.

New York, NY

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Filed under Classic Poutine Reviews, New York City, USA