Vancouver - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
October 9th, 2013
While we can all appreciate a night out crammed into a sweaty bar, these days we find ourselves choosing our venues based on whether there will be room for us to sit down.
The Emerald, a new Chinatown supper club, is making sure that everyone has a seat, and is encouraging us to park and get comfortable. With large tables best suited to groups, a spacious layout so you can’t hear your neighbour’s conversation, and a killer list of classic and modern cocktails (from $7), this is one spot you won’t want to leave. Featuring a menu full of Old Vegas inspired favourites (think Spaghetti and meatballs, Chicken Parmesan, and a homemade Peking Duck), they don’t take any bookings past 8 p.m. – because they expect you to stay.
And stay you will, because the booths are comfy, the lights are dimmed, the cocktails are delicious, and by 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, there’s no way you are giving up that seat. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
The Emerald, 555 Gore St., Vancouver, 604-559-8477, www.the-emerald.ca
P.S.: The Emerald also offer Vegas Style Breakfast Buffets which includes a Make Your Own Ceasar cart. We’re sold.
October 4th, 2013
You spent Friday night catching up on your PVR and Saturday night at a dry dinner party; don't worry, there's still hope for the weekend.
On the last Sunday of every month, West Oak has introduced a Social Brunch (read: champers). The menu of weekend staples like sausage, bacon and eggs are served family style, along with Moët & Chandon Champagne. With exposed brick walls, industrial lightening and an in-house Sunday afternoon DJ, this is one daytime party that can easily carry into the night.
So, what are we celebrating next? —Maria Tallarico
$25/4 courses and a glass of champagne (per person), 1035 Mainland St., Vancouver, www.westoakrestaurant.com
September 27th, 2013
So powerful is the popularity of mustard that even Malcolm Gladwell has explored the Grey Poupon phenomena in a New Yorker essay.
Salad dressing, dips, sauces, dolloped on top of poultry or fish - this condiment doesn't have to hide in the back of the fridge like ketchup. But who knew that 90% of mustard seeds are grown in Canada? Ontario company Kozlik's, that's who. With 60 years in the mustard biz, Kozlik's knows its stuff, and has branched out with Amazing Maple (using two Canuck greats, maple syrup and mustard seed), Triple Crunch (with a splash of Canadian Club) and Sweet & Smokey, perfect for the grill (including hot dogs, of course).
That's one luxe mustard. —Maria Tallarico
September 20th, 2013
No, Johnny Depp doesn’t come with it, but Xoxolat (pronounced sho-sho-la) provides plenty to be thankful for.
Its new spacious Yaletown location is a chocolate lover’s dream, carrying delightful selection of Single Origin and Estate chocolates from around the world. Stop and taste Xoxolat’s inventive in-house truffles ($1.50 each), with flavours ranging from Aztec Chipotle to BC Blueberry. Of course your eyes will make their way to Chocolate Shoes ($48-65)—yes, you read it right—adorable little edible sculptures that would make just about the loveliest gift for the chocolate devotee in your life.
Xoxo. — Anya Georgijevic
1271 Homer St., Vancouver, 604-733-2462, www.xoxolat.com
September 13th, 2013
Have we got a scoop for you...
We've long been seeking out Earnest Ice Cream's pints at farmers' markets and select shops around the city, but with their decidedly modern old-fashion ice cream parlour (think wood, stainless steel and succulents), we're enjoying the last licks of summer with a proper cone.
A double scoop of Chai and Tahitian Vanilla on a waffle ($7) is our go-to on a warm, late summer night. But for the afternoon, an affogato (espresso poured over any flavour, like Whiskey Hazelnut) is the perfect mix of creamy coffee goodness. The pints - packaged in quaint glass jars with a smartly cool label - sell out quickly; classics like Mint Chip and Serious Chocolate are favourites, but it's the seasonal offerings like Blue Cheese and Fig and Strawberry Basil that really fly off the shelves.
Yes, yes, we all scream….
Open Thursday-Sunday, 3992 Fraser St., Vancouver, http://earnesticecream.com
September 6th, 2013
Egotistical characters, backstabbing, cat fighting - no, this isn't an episode of Real Housewives, it's the underbelly of the restaurant world. Herewith, the food-centric Twitter accounts that serve up the dishiest food news.
The Braiser is attached to the the fantastic food blog of the same name, combines US Weekly-style gossip, cringe-worthy food tv show clips and hot-button topics like tipping. https://twitter.com/TheBraiser
Created as a nom de plume used poke fun at the sometimes-pretentious world of food, Ruth Bourdain has been revealed as New Jersey freelance writer Josh Friedland. The avatar photo (a mashup of Ruth Reicl and Anthony Bourdain) is good for a terrifying chuckle and the commentary is still biting. https://twitter.com/RuthBourdain
And speaking of Bourdain, Twitter is the perfect spot for his no-holds-barred attitude. Bourdain doesn't suffer fools (even famous ones) gladly - and he even posts a food photo once in a while. https://twitter.com/Bourdain
Celebrities love Toronto chef Susuar Lee's restaurants (and he ain't afraid to show it). His restos will be a hot spot during TIFF, but even if you can't make it in for meal, he posts DIY videos for his favourite dishes. https://twitter.com/susurlee
September 4th, 2013
Want to add an eco-friendly element to your midday meal? Here’s a few ways to achieve a litterless lunch.
We are going to reduce our reusable water bottle collection (we all have at least ten, right?) and buy one perfect bottle. The KOR Vida Hydration Vessel is just that. It’s ergonomic handle and smooth spout (they call it the “Perfect Spout™”) doesn’t make use feel like we are drinking from a tin can. And it looks so much better than the branded plastic bottle we got at our last company picnic. $23.99 from Raspberry Kids.
RuMe Reveal Reusable Baggies are an excellent way to reduce our consumption of plastic sandwich bags. They are machine washable, water resistant, and free of PVC, lead and phthalates. Fill them with nuts, fruit, or cookies (we are opting for the latter). $8 at Lavish and Lime. www.lavishandlime.com
Glasslock food storage may be heavier than stainless steel, but they are microwavable and great for freezing food, too. We all want to be those types of people who prepare healthy homemade lunches on the weekend, freeze them, and bring them to work over the next few days. Glasslock works perfectly for this. Or for bringing leftover Chinese food to the office. 6 piece set, $24.99 at Canadian Tire. www.canadiantire.ca
—Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
August 30th, 2013
Green smoothie for breakfast, salad with free-range chicken for lunch and a bag of cookies for a late afternoon snack. One of these things is not like the others.
When 3 p.m. hits, our food judgement goes right out the window, with feed-me-now cravings taking precedent. But with the sugar high comes the sugar low (lethargy and a "I swear I'm not doing that tomorrow" resolve that lasts about 24 hours). Snack Box can save even the most temptable junk food lover; the monthly services delivers boxes stocked with tasty, all-natural and gluten-free options. Organic peach rings, chocolate covered kale and rice chips are just a few of the salty and savoury options that made it our door.
Just be sure to hide it from your co-workers, or that monthly box will last about a minute.
From $24/month (6 month plan), see more at https://getsnackbox.com
August 23rd, 2013
It's Monday night - do you know where your hearty vegetarian dinner is?
At the now-classic Irish Heather Long Table series, that's where. What started off as a way to share a hearty Sunday roast with strangers has turned into one of the hippest meals in the city. Meatless Monday is no exception: with vegan dishes sourced by Sole Food Street Farms (which grows its veggies just a few blocks away from Irish Heather), we chowed down on mixed vegetables, breaded lentils and a grilled portobello mushroom with a balsamic reduction. This dinner party is as as budget-friendly as ever - $16 covers your meal, plus a beer (in this case, a Kronenbrug Blac).
And did we mention the cute Irish accents….
The Irish Heather, 212 Carrall St., Vancouver, www.itsmenu.blogspot.ca; for reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org
August 16th, 2013
Neil Young on vinyl, cozy woodsy room… we’ve found our new sweet spot.
Farmer's Apprentice, the new restaurant by David Gunawan (formerly of Wildebeest), feels much more like a gathering of friends to celebrate the harvest than just a simple evening out for dinner.
The menu changes with the season, but acquaint yourself with the Smoked Castelvaerano Olives ($4). The Pork Terrine ($10), braised with shaoxing wine and served with pickled vegetables, is a sumptuous start. A poached halibut ($19), served with artichoke barigoule and summer vegetables, warms the heart. Save room for the Beeswax Ice Cream ($8), served with apricots, alfalfa honey and granola, the perfect way to celebrate the summer's bounty.
1535 West 6th, Vancouver, 604-620-2070, http://farmersapprentice.ca