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Jesstours.com is a travel website that details my adventures from around the world. It’s a mixed bag of travel experiences, stories and insights. It’s also a blog that doesn’t take itself too seriously but will provide my family and friends with an outlet to keep track of my travels as well as hopefully serve as an interesting and entertaining read, with some helpful travel maps and tips for those who simply stumble across this page. Happy reading and happy travelling!

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Jules French Bistro – Vancouver

Apr 2015

Continuing my search for the best brunch spots in Vancouver, a few Sundays ago Nick and I headed over to Jules Casual French Bistro, located in the city’s historic neighbourhood of Gastown, for a deliciously authentic and lingering French-inspired late morning breakfast.

Tucked in between a row of bars on Abbott Street and sporting a rather modest facade, Jules Bistro is fairly easy to pass without a second glance. Yet, while the restaurant’s exterior may not necessarily stand out, the interior most certainly does. Through jet-black painted double doors an enchanting, warmly lit space awaits. A space, I might add, with a distinctly vintage French look and feel.

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Indeed, the entire restaurant oozes with French elegance and old world charm, think exposed brick walls, black and white tiled flooring, weathered wooden furniture, a striking hanging crystal chandelier, gold framed mirrors, a piano, and an array of signage hand written in French.

With such a wonderful and well-crafted display of French style and taste, it’s easy to forget that Jules Bistro is situated in downtown Vancouver and not on some cobbled stoned side street in Paris.

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Although the restaurant’s beautiful décor and delightful ambience are reasons alone to visit, it is the traditional French cooking and delicious food offerings that draws patrons back time and time again.

Naturally, Jules Bistro’s brunch menu follows the restaurant’s French theme, blending traditional French dishes with West Coast flavours and features a range of tantalising plates, which include: two eggs sunny side up with potato rosti and dill marinated salmon carpaccio; country style scrambled eggs with bacon wrapped asparagus, sautéed fingerling potatoes and tomato provencal; a basket of fresh baked mini croissants and breads with butter and preserves, and a breakfast cassoulet made up of coco beans, bacon, chorizo, duck confit, and a perfectly runny poached egg.

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The breakfast cassoulet, which is hearty yet surprisingly light, comes highly recommended (by me). The combination of flavours achieved are truly outstanding, so much so this dish will have you savouring each and every spoonful.

Aside from egg dishes and pastries, Jules Bistro’s mid-morning menu also incorporates a variety of lunch time offerings, offerings which include a quiche of the day, salade nicoise, French onion soup, moules frites steamed in white wine, garlic and parsley, and a ribeye steak served with salad or fries and a herb butter sauce.

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While the main dishes at Jules Bistro are enough to leave you feeling full and satisfied, room MUST be left for dessert, which is comprised of an impressive list of sweet treats, all of which are priced at $8.50. The crème caramel, vanilla crème brûleé and oranges with orange blossom sorbet and mint caramel are recommended.

With superb French cuisine, friendly service and a warm and inviting atmosphere Jules Bistro is a positively lovely spot to enjoy a relaxed brunch where a quintessential French dining experience is most certainly guaranteed.

Bon appetite!

Posted by Jess Fleming

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Meat & Bread – Vancouver

Oct 2014

Having had a succession of great meals in Sydney, as soon as Nick and I returned to Vancouver I was eager to continue my search for the city’s most delicious food. So one drizzly Saturday whilst out exploring and cafe hopping (working up quite the appetite), Nick and I joined a rather lengthy queue at Meat & Bread.

Located on Cambie Street in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood, Meat & Bread serves up a selection of delectable sandwiches. With a total of four sandwiches on its menu, Meat & Bread offers three fixed sandwiches (Porchetta, Meatball, Grilled Cheese) and a daily rotating special, made using a range of meats, cuts and cooking styles. The menu also consists of a small variety of side dishes such as soups and salads.

While each sandwich offers something a little different it is the Porchetta — a crusty ciabatta roll stuffed with thinly sliced slow-roasted free range pork, crisp pork crackling and a house-made salsa verde topping — that steals the show. With mouthwatering ingredients like that, is there really any wonder?

The sandwiches at Meat & Bread are made-to-order. The meat is carved, chopped up and heaped onto lightly toasted rolls at order time. Therefore, patrons can expect a hot, fresh, soggy-free sandwich.

At $8 Meat & Bread’s sandwiches are great value. They are deliciously hearty and will leave you feeling truly satisfied. They will also leave you with a hankering to return again soon.

For those who eat-in, Meat & Bread’s sandwiches are served on wooden cutting boards with a dollop of house-made and if I may say so, the most delicious yellow mustard.

Chowing down all that meat and salty goodness is thirsty work, fortunately at Meat & Bread there are a selection of thirst-quenching drinks available. I recommend the ginger beer. It’s cold, sweet (but not too sweet) and the ultimate sandwich companion.

Everyday at lunch, without fail a line up of hungry eaters forms at Meat & Bread, but don’t let the line put you off. It moves swiftly thanks to the sandwich shop’s ordering system, which will have you served and seated within 10 mins or so.

In addition to a couple of individual seating options, there is a large wooden communal table. Stools can also be found at the main counter where the sandwiches are prepared. The communal dining really adds to Meat & Bread’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

As does, the specialised sandwich shop’s interior design. With a rather industrial feel (think exposed brick walls, thick wooden counter tops, and steel furnishings and fixtures) the Meat & Bread team have created a decidedly modern eatery with a casual and inviting vibe.

The ingredients used by Meat & Bread may be simple but boy what a sensational combination of texture and flavour they have achieved with their sandwiches.

With its memorable ambience and scrumptious eats I definitely recommend this place to everyone!

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Posted by Jess Fleming

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Peckinpah – Vancouver

Jun 2014

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As you know I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the incredible meals Nick and I ate while we lived in New York, and in turn what has struck me, is just how much I am going to miss our favourite go to restaurants, especially all the fantastic, mouthwatering BBQ joints.

Thankfully, there’s a little ol’ BBQ restaurant here in Vancouver, which dishes up all the southern staples to satisfy any BBQ craving. Phew!

Located in the historic quarter of Gastown, on the corner of Water and Carroll Street, Peckinpah is a Carolina Style BBQ joint that serves up some of the tastiest pulled pork, beef brisket and BBQ pork ribs in town.

Unlike the sweet and sticky meats often found in Texan barbequing, Peckinpah adheres to a Northern Carolina style of cooking, whereby the meat (which, by the way is carefully sourced) is prepared with a dry rub in a massive cookhouse smoker and then served with a thin chilli vinegar sauce.

I must say that the time and effort involved in the preparation most definitely pays off. The smoky flavour achieved is truly delicious! As are the mouthfuls of juicy, tender cuts of meats themselves, and the irresistible selection of sides which include: home fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw (best I’ve had), cornbread, beef chili and more.

Now, there are a few ways to order Peckinpah’s succulent cuts of meat, either on their own or in a combo platter. The platters are great, particularly if you want to taste a bit of everything. They’re also the perfect option if you’d prefer to share or if you’re massively hungry and simply want a huge meal.

I have no shame in admitting I polished off an entire basket of fried chicken wings. Boy, were they crisp, juicy and full of salty goodness!

Also on the menu are a range of sandwiches (though they look and taste more like burgers), which come in a deliciously light brioche bun. Again the meat on these sandwiches is tender and well seasoned.

Whilst there is the option to ‘take away’ at Pechinpah, I would recommend eating in, as the saloon style space has a really cosy and welcoming feel to it. On a busy night the spacing between tables can feel a little tight but I think it adds to the restaurant’s atmosphere. If you’d prefer to be outside, you could always choose to sit out front in the restaurant’s sidewalk seating area.

Peckinpah is a casual eatery in the heart of Gastown, serving authentic and delicious barbequed meats. In my book it is an excellent spot to grab a bite to eat.

Posted by Jess Fleming

  1. Comment posted by Daniela Dobrota at 7:11 pm on June 25, 2014...

    Yum yum get in my tum!!!

    • Comment posted by find a domain (post author) at 7:34 pm on June 25, 2014...

      So delish Dannii! I've been told there's another BBQ joint in town that may even rival this one. So watch this space for yet another BBQ post.

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