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The deli counter at The Dirty Apron Delicatessen in Vancouver, BC.

Laura Leyshon for the Globe and Mail/laura leyshon The Globe and Mail

Dirty Apron Delicatessen

Vancouver's foodie power couple, Nico and Karri Schuermans, has done it again. The owners of Chambar and Café Medina recently opened the Dirty Apron Delicatessen a few doors down from the restaurants in the same building as their Dirty Apron cooking academy.

In addition to its hot carvery and sandwich bar, the Dirty Apron is a mini-gourmet grocery store, where you can buy everything from organic produce and toilet paper to truffle oil and hand-cranked pasta makers.

I could have spent hours combing through the frozen goods selection, which includes packages of chestnut puree and tubs of house-made vanilla bean bourbon ice cream (grab a squeeze bottle of lavender-chocolate waffle topping and you've got divine dessert in a minute).

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And I'll definitely go back after tasting the beef short-rib potpie ($7.50), which I heated up for lunch the next day. The meat was beautifully braised - tender but still al dente - with fresh vegetables, loads of red wine and aromatically spiced with the house juniper-clove blend (also available for purchase).

The packaged tomato-saffron soup ($4.99) wasn't my favourite (the garbanzo beans were undercooked and difficult to digest). But the hot chorizo-chestnut soup (also $4.99) that I ordered with my dinner was bold and meaty and sublime.

As at La Ghianda, the daily meals-to-go (available from 5 p.m.) range from $12 to $16 and could include anything from prime rib to venison stew.

I lucked out with veal osso buco ($16) cooked in a decadently rich braise with marrow-packed bones. I was offered one large piece or two small. I took the latter. It was served with orzo and sautéed rapini. When I added the soup and a small yam and goat cheese salad ($3.42), it was more than enough for two. Now that's what I call a great deal.

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About the Author
Vancouver restaurant critic

Alexandra Gill has been The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver restaurant critic since 2005. She joined the paper as a summer intern in 1997 and was hired full-time as an entertainment columnist the following year. In 2001, she moved to Vancouver as the Western Arts Correspondent, a position she held until 2007. More

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