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Comfort fooding around Vancouver

An unbelievable breakfast offering at Dock Lunch.
An unbelievable breakfast offering at Dock Lunch.

Vancouver’s food scene is an ever-evolving work of art. Never a dull moment as new restaurants seem to pop up every week. 

While fooding around Vancouver recently I visited two restaurants. Both offer comfort food, and both bring something new to the table.

Mount Pleasant’s hidden gem, Dock Lunch has had a cult following since it opened in 2014 for good reason. This place seriously feels like you are in owner/chef Elizabeth Bryan’s living room, that vibe comes from her authentic southern hospitality and from the fact that these digs actually used to be her home for 15 years. This place is all her – she is the one who answers the phone, greets you with a welcome shout from the kitchen when you arrive and thanks you when you leave.

Dock Lunch
Dock Lunch's lovely chef and owner Elizabeth Bryan.

Although originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth is not new to the B.C. food scene. She is actually the original creator of what became EAT Magazine (formerly known as Pacific Island Gourmet). Like any great home kitchen, the small menu changes daily offering from two to five specials. Soul food offerings range from fried chicken and biscuits and peach cobbler to chicken posole with green olive cornbread.

Brunch, lunch and Friday night dinners are on offer. We had a gorgeous brunch that featured eggs, bacon on a biscuit with beans and roasted potatoes and veg. Oh my gosh, it was amazing. I cannot wait to go back for a dinner night. Tuesday to Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Monday. Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. - call 604-879-DOCK to reserve ahead. 152 E 11th Ave.

The star team of new Say Mercy!
The star team of new Say Mercy!
Image Credit: FB/ SayMercy

Say Mercy! Is one of Vancouver’s hottest new restaurant destinations. Referring to itself as “An Unexpected Love Story- Italian through the lens of American Barbeque, the cuisine here is totally unique…and totally delicious. You may know the chef, Sean Reeve from his other kitchen home at The Mackenzie Room – an underrated gem tucked in on Powell Street. If you go there, the Chicken of the Sea dish (a surprising sea urchin pâté with hazelnut, pear with squid ink brioche) is a MUST.

The smoked veal & tuna dish at Say Mercy! is something to write home about.
The smoked veal & tuna dish at Say Mercy! is something to write home about.

How did this odd fusion come to be? Reeve was trained in Italy and is passionate about authentic barbecue, so what the heck, he went for it. The signature dish here, that also is the manifestation of the marriage of cuisines, is the Barbecue Bolognese. House-made spaghetti topped with salty pancetta, rich and tender smoked pork butt and topped with Grana Padano. 

The smoked veal & tuna is a take on the classic Vittelo Tonnato, and features tuna & anchovy dressing, salsa verde, caper berries, pecorino fresco, celery. It is crazy delicious.

The room is casual and cool with a sense of whimsy. Meghan McDowell has curated the wine list – super interesting and fun with two categories: Wines for Drinking and Wines for Thinking. 

I also loved the set menu option for $55 called Jesus Take the Wheel. 4298 Fraser Street.

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