29 September 2005

Restaurants:Chinese, anyone?

Kosher Vancouver finally made it to Sabra's new Chinese restaurant, and we must say, Brava!

We started with the vegetarian egg roll ($3.95). 4 small egg rolls arrived, with a very yummy filling. The wrap was a bit odd, however. It was very thick and doughy, not like a fried rice wrapper at all. The taste was okay, but the combination of the typical egg roll filling and the pastry-like dough wrapper made for a strange combination.

For the main course, we ordered the Kung Pau chicken ($12.95) and the Honey Beef ($15.95). The Kung Pau was mixed with green peppers, celery and peanuts, and for another odd bit, it also had potatoes. Weird, but it somehow worked.

The Honey Beef was delicious. Sliced ultra-thin, it was crispy, sweet and immensely satisfying. Kosher Vancouver diverged in our opinions here - half the team felt the beef was sliced perfectly, the other half felt the beef could have been thicker.

Both dishes came with a side of rice, but be warned: it's covered in an onion ginger sauce which was quite tasty, but was a strange mix with the Honey Beef. If you want your rice plain, you have to ask for no sauce.

The interior renovations are great (although we miss the booths a little bit). The menus are the same menus from before the renovation, with a photocopied sheet stuck inside that contains the Chinese menu. Rumour has it that new menus are on the way. We certainly hope so, because the old, worn-out menus really detracted from our pleasure at the new decor.

We were the only customers when we arrived, but within 15 minutes, the place filled up. When we asked our server how the new menu was being received, she told us the only things people are ordering are from the Chinese menu. Hmmm... what is it with Jews and Chinese food?

We give the new, improved Sabra's 3.5 stars out of 5, for the weird dough on the eggrolls, not informing us we have to ask for plain rice, and the old menus. Kosher Vancouver is definitely looking forward to going back.

21 September 2005

Food:It's a Mac-Off!

We recently discovered a brand of boxed mac&cheese that is COR kosher, so we had to try it. (See our review below) That got us to thinking about kosher mac&cheese options out there, so we did a little investigating. Reap the benefits of our curious obsession:

Amy's Kitchen Macaroni & Cheese
Amy's Kitchen Macaroni & Soy Cheeze
So many kosher cheese products, so little time!
Amy's Kitchen's kosher certification is from Rabbi Dov Hazdan of Ner Tamid K in Staten Island, NY. According to their website, their products are available at Loblaw's and natural food stores. We've seen Amy's products at Superstore, but since we didn't know they were kosher at the time, we didn't pay much attention. Kosher Vancouver will remedy that at our next earliest opportunity.

Foulds Macaroni & Cheese
Available at Kosher Food Warehouse. If you must.

The Old City Cafe Macaroni & Cheese
The only Cholov Yisroel Mac & Cheese** on the market, so they claim. We've never heard of it, seen it nor tried it. Anyone? Available at Kosher Food Warehouse.

Wacky Mac Macaroni & Cheese
Did you know Wacky Mac is actually the pasta they make and NOT the name of the Mac & Cheese? We didn't.
The standard. The king of kosher mac&cheese. Some families have a Friday afternoon tradition of Wacky Mac to tide the kids over for a late Shabbat dinner. Some adults who run a kosher website have a tradition of having it when we're they are just too tired to cook something healthy and adult-like.

And now, the new brand:
Macariz pastariso mac & Cheese
All caps are as per the packaging. And we're not sure why there is a cartoon elephant on the front, and a real elephant pictured on the back, but the information about the risk elephants face due to the loss of their habitat is interesting and sobering.
Pastariso is rice pasta. So all you gluten-free folks out there who are feeling deprived because you can't join in the mac&cheese frenzy, this product is for you! Kosher Vancouver is not in agreement about the taste of this product. Half the team really liked the rice pasta and white cheddar cheese, the other half felt the rice pasta was tasteless and watery. Try it and judge for yourself. Pastariso is available at Dan-D Market. Be warned: you will suffer wallet shock when buying Pastariso at Dan-D. Unlike the other brands of mac&cheese, which are only available at kosher stores, or in the separate kosher section of a supermarket, Pastariso is on the shelf right next to Kraft Dinner and other non-kosher brands, which range in price from $0.49 to $1.25. Kosher mac&cheese's are typically around $2.00.

You know where the Torah says that bit about not cooking a kid in it's mother's milk? G-d should have added, "and you will charge the same for kosher products as for non."

** update **
Tavor Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
Cholov Yisroel. They've got the Hebrew to prove it.
Discovered recently at Pini's, this product is super kosher - OU and COR - and very, very yummy.

If you've tried any of these products, and want to give us your input, let us know. Leave a comment, or email us.

14 September 2005

Miscellaneous:New Boss in town

BC Kosher has a new Kashrut Field Supervisor. This summer, Rabbi Eli Lando arrived from Israel with his wife, Shterni, and their infant son, to take over the post vacated by Rabbi Teitelbaum, who moved on to supervise Ottawa’s kosher community.

A trained mashgiach and shochet, Rabbi Lando is looking forward to increasing the visibility and accessibility of BC Kosher, not just within the business community, but also in the consumer community. Easy access to answers about kosher products and kashrut has been an issue in Vancouver for awhile, so we at Kosher Vancouver are watching eagerly.

We have been told to keep an eye out for classes, seminars, and events focusing on kashrut-related issues, as well as a new and improved, user friendly website. To contact Rabbi Lando with your kashrut questions, or for kashrut assistance:

Telephone: 604.267.7002
email Rabbi Lando

Kosher Vancouver thanks Camille Joseph, who is truly in Pursuit of Kashrut, for this brief