In March of 2014, Vancouver institution Solly?s Bagelry celebrated its 20th year of serving its signature Brooklyn-style bagels. In honor of the anniversary, we spoke with the founder and current owner Leah Markovitch about how she kept true to her grandmother's traditional recipes over the course of two decades.
Solly?s Bagelry exudes a homespun charm. Markovitch describes the delis as places where people could feel comfortable kicking off their shoes and relaxing. The antique furniture, mismatched sets of chairs, and soundtracks of old jazz and Jewish songs exemplify Solly?s Bagelry's laid-back and nostalgic spirit.
What's Not To Like?
Markovitch grew up baking and cooking alongside her grandmother, who taught her to create traditional Old-Country meals with simple but flavorful ingredients. When faced with an unfamiliar dish, Markovitch would ask her grandmother, "Will I like this?", and she invariably received the same response: "What's not to like?"
Solly?s Bagelry continues to use many of Markovitch's grandmother's generations-old recipes today, making everything from challah to knishes from scratch. None of the dishes can be considered haute cuisine or upscale street foods, but they emphatically aren't meant to. Instead, Markovitch says that her grandmother's family recipes showcase the sort of flavors that can only come from rustic, traditional home cooking.
"What's not to like?" now serves as a slogan at Solly?s Bagelry.
Taking inspiration from the Jewish delis of Brooklyn, Solly?s Bagelry boils and hand-rolls more than a dozen styles of bagels, which move straight from the deck ovens to the display cases. This style of bagel is famous for its texture, which is noticeably chewier than many deli or caf? bagels. Although they might seem different at first, Markovitch recommends trying one of these signature creations "if you want to taste tradition."
Markovitch recognizes how fortunate she is to have access to butter, chocolate, and other ingredients that would have been considered luxurious delicacies for past generations of Eastern Europeans. She uses these ingredients to add richer and heartier flavors to certain creations, and she even takes a bit of artistic license by creating inventive items, such as samosa knishes and chocolate matzah. However, she is quick to point out that, even when experimenting, Solly?s Bagelry never strays too far from the original recipes, and tradition is still the baseline. Some of the items' flavors may have changed a bit, but Markovitch says, "there's not too much that my grandmother would be surprised at."
Raincity Grill's chefs embrace the essence of British Columbia by forging seasonally rotating menus with the region's organic and locally grown crops. They regard their cuisine as "a tribute to the local farmers, fisherman and producers" from whom they source their ingredients, highlighting the farm-fresh vegetables and proteins in meals that Zagat rates as "very good to excellent." Though the menu changes, dishes may shine a spotlight on wild salmon in carrot sauce, dry-aged bone-in rib eye, or pappardelle pasta with wild and cultivated mushrooms.
The restaurant's signature 100 Mile tasting menu almost exclusively incorporates ingredients from within 100 miles, the exact distance that the prep chefs can rollerblade in one day. Even the wine selection consists almost entirely of carefully vinted bottles from the Pacific West Coast. By partnering with the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise conservation program, the chefs also demonstrate their commitment to sustainable seafood and environmental responsibility.
Cannibal Café's aged, hand-ground Black Angus beef patties pack a flavour that the Vancouver's Best Burger blog described as "[hitting] your mouth like a mosh-pit." And mosh pit is an accurate image—the restaurant exudes a punk-rock vibe with vintage '90s rock 'n' roll posters that paper the walls, honouring bands such as Violent Femmes, Queen, and Devo. Two beef patties serve as the foundation for the classic burger, which patrons can customize with anything from a fried egg and an avocado slice to basil pesto, Canadian cheddar, and old-style bacon. Specialties include the Montreal smoked-brisket burger, with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, russian dressing, gherkins, and garlic on a brioche bun. Vegetarian patties are available for people who love punk rock but hate its endorsement of cow tipping. For drinks, Cannibal Café offers signature milkshakes and Jones Soda Co. pop along with 12 beers and 4 wines on tap.
With a menu that introduces traditional Italian fare to a modern culinary sensibility, Adesso Bistro's chefs have garnered acclaim from a host of publications including the Vancouver Courier and the Globe and Mail. "Adesso" translates to "now" in Italian, symbolizing the culinary artisans' commitment to turning fresh locally sourced and organic ingredients into vibrant plates that carry the flavours of Italy's northwestern coastal region Liguria. Known for its capital city of Genoa, the seafood-loving region is dotted with small towns that produce dynamic takes on Italian staples such as foccaccia, pesto, and calamari. Adesso's owners line its facade with lush vegetation and accent the dining room with dark wood tables and chairs. Servers bring imported and local wines to tables dotting the outdoor patio among neatly trimmed bushes and the sweet sounds of the eatery's three squirrel tenors.
Hub Restaurant soothes taste buds in need of solace with sophisticated comfort fare at its locations in Yaletown, New West, and Denman. After noshing on appetizers and salads, visitors can feast upon expertly seared steak, fresh seafood entrees, heaping portions of pasta, and pazookies. The latter is Hub's signature dessert: a hot cast iron pan topped with vanilla gelato and filled with baked cookie dough flavors such as chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia. The restaurant also serves a weekend brunch with dishes such as eggs benedict and a half-pound "morning after" burger.
Hub Restaurant's locations surround cozy tables and booths with HD TVs broadcasting the latest sporting events and men?s deodorant commercials. Behind the well-stocked bars, bartenders pour craft beer and mix up classic cocktails.
As Quizno's toasted subs emerge slowly from the oven, guests first smell the toasty aroma, followed by a glimpse of artisan bread crisped to a golden brown and cheese bubbling over meats such as all-natural chicken, tender prime rib, and italian meatballs. Next, sandwich-smiths layer on fresh veggies and top culinary creations with pesto, sauces, and premium spreads.
The menu's first-rate ingredients form a fleet of classic and signature subs, including the honey-bacon club. Savoury grilled snack flatbreads and flatbread pizzas extend options beyond the standard sub, and vegetable and meat combinations form fresh salads. Customers can stop in for lunch, dash in and out to enjoy a park-bench dinner, or bring their unicycle to juggle their meal home.