Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poly Want a New Sink

Forgive me for using the same bad joke in a post title more than once.  But this one fits ...

Franke plumbing fixtures has always been on the leading edge of sink & faucet design.  Their display at KBIS a number of years back was one of the most innovative in the show.  Their latest sink design just goes to prove this point even further.

Their new Polyedra sink is not just about utility, it's about beauty from above AND below.  A simple, square sink blends seamlessly a stunning geometric sink. Beneath the counter, the sink looks just as impressive, allowing the designer to leave the area beneath the sink open for all to admire.  The Polyedra sink comes in three configurations, each being able to be installed surface-mount or under-mount.

I've not seen this in Canada yet, but will let you know when I do.

Kitchen Time Machine

My family has some summer property in the Coquihala Valley in BC.  It's reasonably remote, about a two-and-a-half hour drive from home which used to be more like five hours before the Coquihala Highway came into existence.  Because of the distance, trips into town (Merrit) for provisions were rare ... so, we'd stock up the cupboards each trip.

Fast forward to today, and some now very full kitchen cupboards.  For you see, as good as we were at stocking the kitchen, we were equally poor at emptying them.  It is after all a summer place that only sees  limitted use during the winter.  Stuff gets forgotten, hidden ... and in some cases preserved for all eternity.  On a recent trip we finally did a little purging, and found a few gems I thought I'd share.

Coffee Mate ... ♫ makes your cup of coffee taste great♫.  Honestly, this one didn't surprise me at all.  After all, even The Brain knew that this stuff was capeable of some serious destruction!  Coffee Mate was introduced to the market in 1961, but the containers today are plastic.  This one is glass, which puts it in the late 80's to early 70's range.  The product inside, as far as I could tell, could rival Twinkies in the longevity department.

Empress Orange Crystals and Hawaiian Punch!  (Empress is a house brand for Safeway)  We must have consumed gallons of this stuff over the years!  I was surprised there was no Tang.  In fairness to mom and dad, we didn't get much in the way of sodas at the cabin.  Just flavoured crystals and lake water☺
Carnation Instant Hot Chocolate ... "Incredibly Delicious!"  What I'd like to know is what did the person on the package ADD to their Hot Chocolate? He looks way to happy.  If I remember correctly, there was also a version that came with little dehydrated marhmellows.  MMMMMMM!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Meat, Cheese and Bread, or Art?

First off, yes, I Could Eat is sporting a new look.  Amazing what can happen when Blogger adds a couple new buttons.

Today, a look at the sandwich.  And not just any sandwiches, but what I feel are two of the truly great sandwiches in all of Metro Vancouver.  The type of sandwich that you need at 2 in the afternoon because you've missed lunch and probably won't be eating dinner that evening because you have to mow the lawn and taxi some friends back to the airport ... or something like that.

First up is La Charcuterie Delicatessen, home of Salam Kahil aka "The Sandwich Nazi."  La Charcuterie is located in Port Kells area of Surrey, and was recently rediscovered by my sons now that the Golden Ears Bridge connects Pitt Meadows with Langley.  I say rediscovered because I used to frequent La Charcuterie when he was in Vancouver on the corner of Kingsway and Boundary.  He closed up shop and I had no idea what happened.  Until now.

The man's sandwiches are monstrous.  At least 2 meals in one. But Salam is really the star attraction at La Charcuterie.  Salam speaks his mind in a non stop stream of obscenities, and doesn't care who he insults.  You have been warned!

In a strange sort of way I think his attitude influences his sandwich making.  Like I said, the sandwiches are huge, and despite the crudely written menu you often don't even get a chance to pick what sort of sandwich you want.  Salam will TELL you.  Prices are insanely reasonable, especially considering the amount of meat and cheese he uses.  If you're there at lunch be prepared to line-up.  If you're there afterwards, be sure to call ahead to be sure there's bread left.

On the opposite end of the sandwich spectrum, the banh mi aka "The Vietnamese Sub" (seriously, learn the correct name people!).

Where La Charcuterie sandwiches over-the-top, the banh mi is a perfect example of restraint and subtlety.  The best are made with freshly baked french rolls thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon (do chua), cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, pâté, mayonnaise and various meat fillings like grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, chicken, head cheese and ham.

They're available all over the city, but my favourite spot is Pho Thy on Victoria.  I've been going for years and have only not had a banh mi once.  They're that good.  Ingrdients are crazy fresh, and if you're there before lunch the bread is still warm from the oven.  Order the House Special (Vietnamese ham and chicken) and a coke and you've got lunch for under $5.  Ask for it "spicey" and you get slivers of jalaopeno.

La Charcuterie
19080-96th Avenue Unit 8
Surrey, BC
(604) 882-0881

Pho Thy Coffee Shop
5497 Victoria Drive
(604) 325-0878

Step Saving Kitchen (1949)

A special treat today, courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Man and His Grill

Regular readers of Useful Spaces will know that I'm a bit of a barbeque enthusiast.  Now that summer has decided to make its presence known in Vancouver I'd like to share some of the more interesting grill/bbq's I've seen over the year.

French company Focus has many fireplace designs in their catalogue, but it was the Diagfocus that really caught my eye.  It's made of a black steel and features wheels so it's moveable.  It can be used as a fireplace (wood burning or ethanol) or as a charcoal burning grill.  The sloping design of the back protects your guests from a direct blast of smoke and protects the fire from the wind.

A little more modest in its design is the Outclass charcoal grill from Eva Solo.  This unit is designed to blend in to your backyard decor ... it looks more like a flower pot than a grill!  Made of stainless steel it's also designed to last.

Designer Raffaele Lazzari came up with the MENU’ grill/fireplace for Italian company Metalco Home.  In fact, Metalco has an amazing collection of outdoor kitchen pieces that are all stylish in a way only the Italians can achieve.  The Menu reminds me of the old fireplaces we'd see in ski chalet's in the 1970's.  In fact it doubles as a grill and a fireplace so all you'd need is a bear skin rug!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Home Renovation in the Swiss Alps

After a weekend at my family's summer cabin, I found this remodel of a home in Switzerland quite refreshing. With the exception of the knotty pine in the basement, it would be a perfect home in the hills.
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