When I’m perma-sweaty, perma-smiling, and craving salad, I know we’re officially into the good weather. At the beginning of this final stretch of 365, the sunshine is breaking records, and you’d better believe it’s influencing my eating choices in Richmond in very specific ways. Yesterday, for example, I wanted a big salad, sparkling water with lime, and something sweet and lemony. Truly. I managed to squeeze all of these in, and a good long bike ride.
I met up with my cousin Linda for lunch, and very appropriately for the weather, she drove us down to lunch in a convertible! We decided to try out Original Joe’s, at Steveston Highway and No. 5 Road.
The restaurant is large, casual pub chic, and has a long bar running the length of the main seating area. We were there a little after lunch so it was quiet, and we got a whole section to ourselves by the front window.
Much to my delight, they’ve already released their new summer menu, and it has salads, the kind of dips you’d want at a good BBQ, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
We decided on the Nom Namaste flatbread to start ($11.50), which had roasted chicken breast, curried tomato cream sauce, red onion, goat cheese, chopped cilantro, banana peppers, and a drizzle of spicy yogurt.
It was very good, and I had to hold myself back from eating all of it (this weather makes me ride my bike furiously fast, and my appetite is out of control). The flatbread dough was fresh – I could taste the yeast in it – and the toppings were equally spicy and cooling. Summer food!
For mains, I had the California Cobb Salad ($13.50) and Linda had the Dragon Boat Wraps ($11.50). The salad wasn’t mind-blowing, and came with balsamic vinaigrette instead of the blue cheese dressing promised on the menu, but it still did the trick.
It was a hearty mix of greens topped with hard-boiled egg, shredded cheddar, tomato, bacon, avocado, cucumber, and roasted turkey. I was full once I’d eaten it (especially after polishing off the garlic toast), but I didn’t feel heavy.
Linda’s Dragon Boat Wraps came with romaine instead of iceberg, and were a savoury/sweet/sesame-y mix of roast chicken, vegetables, chow mein noodles, cashews, cilantro, and lime in a hoisin peanut sauce.
Original Joe’s serves upscale pub food for reasonable prices, and I was pretty happy with our meal. It’s not necessarily a destination restaurant, but a good option if you’re in the area and want a diverse menu.
And how did I get my lemon fix? Well, my friend Heather has an early May birthday, so I made her a citrus poppyseed cake to celebrate. She, Dana, and I carried it to the park last evening and setup a blanket on the grass, inhaling the sweet purple scent of lilacs along the way.
We snacked on cake, sipped on homemade raspberry cordial, and laughed until the sky was dark. You can do the same, and should, with this recipe:
Rebar’s Citrus Poppyseed Cake
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ cup milk, room temperature
½ tsp each, zest of lime, lemon, and orange
1/3 cup poppyseeds
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
12oz./360 grams cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease three 8″ cake pans and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, beating each one in well before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter/sugar mix in three batches, alternating with the milk. Fold in the citrus zest and poppyseeds. Evenly divide the batter among the pans and bake for 45 minutes or until done. Cool completely.
3. Mix together the sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze and brush over the cooled cakes.
4. To make the icing, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the butter, then the sugar. Whip briefly. Spread filling between each layer of cake. Finish the cake by spreading the icing over the top and sides. Chill to set the icing. If you like, decorate with poppyseeds and long strands of citrus zest curled over the top.
*The above recipe is halved, which made one small cake that easily feeds six people. Click here for the full recipe. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HB!
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Vegetarian and gluten-free options available