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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hastings Serendipity

Sometimes the best discoveries happen completely by accident.

My driving route to and from one of my regular work stops takes me along Hastings between Main and Nanaimo.  For those who care to look, there are some terrific food and dining options along this strip ... pho joints, cheese shops, delicatessens.  Mostly old-school type places that survive simply because they're good at what they do.

A new awning caught my eye last week at the corner of Hastings and Garden (just West of Nanaimo).  The sign said "The Red Wagon" ... a new restaurant that had taken over the old space beside Pho Le Do.

I parked the car in front of Donalds Market and wandered down to investigate.  I was thrilled to see a very diner-centric menu attached to the front window.   Inside was a mix of tables and chairs that suggested this place was put together on a tight budget.  In my experience this bodes well for the diner as it usually means the focus is on the food.

I grabbed a chair at the counter (perfect for single diners like myself), had a cuppa and enjoyed some Aretha Franklin.  The vibe was certainly "diner", right down to the napkin dispensers, ketchup bottles and chalk board announcing the day's specials (Bacon & Blue Cheese Burger).  I ordered a bowl of he soup-du-jour (Cream of Onion) and a Ruben.

Both dishes were a hit.  The soup was not overly onion-y, and had be prepared to a perfect smooth consistency.  No lumps of onion here.

The sandwich?  I can say without fear of superbole that this was the best Ruben I have ever eaten.  The amazingly tender corned beef is house made, and is served with sauerkraut and Russian dressing.  House made chips (not fries) come with.

I left feeling sated and happy, knowing I'd be returning to try their brunch the next chance I had.

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The Red Wagon Restaurant
2996 West Hastings (@ Garden Dr.)
Vancouver, BC

604 585-4565

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