Vancouver - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
August 27th, 2010
You’ll have to pry the iced tea from our cold, dead hands, because we aren’t ready to say goodbye to summer yet.
Denial is best steeped in an Eva Solo Iced Tea Maker ($99.95). Shaped like a milk bottle, the glass carafe comes with all the fittings for making homebrew, so you simply place your tea leaves in the filter, fill with hot water, let cool in the fridge then serve.
We suggest turning The Ô Dor citrus-bergamot rooibos blend Trahison Byzantine ($18/100ml) into the tasty tea sangria they serve up at The Urban Tea Merchant by adding white grape juice, a splash of fruit syrup and sliced fruits.
Sip it while shopping for fall sweaters to ease into the season that isn’t summer.
Tea and tea maker at Urban Tea Merchant, 1070 Georgia St., Vancouver, 604-692-0071, www.urbantea.com
See photos of our afternoon tea on today's Editors' Diary.
August 20th, 2010
Precisely this time last year we were sitting by the Seine spoiling ourselves on macarons and cups of café crème. Saving us from sulking about no plane ticket to Paris this year is Paul Croteau Confections.
The dessert doctor behind the likes of Lumiere, Boneta and currently Campagnolo and Refuel, patissier Croteau now makes creations to take home, like six macaron flavours to savour ($1.50 each, $4.50 for 3), plus other sweets like soft salted caramel, biscotti and nougatine.
If not Paris, we’ll always have macarons.
Paul Croteau Confections, Oakridge Centre, 1020 Main St., Vancouver, www.pcconfections.com
August 13th, 2010
What’s red and white and wood all over? The new Commune Cafe at the corner of Seymour and Nelson.
The spot serves up three square meals a day and the space, designed by Evoke, is as cool as they come with cork pendant lights, red lacquered chairs around a long wooden common table and grey felt booths along the windows. Outside another 25 people-watching seats are up for grabs on a heated patio. You could take a wild Oregon shrimp and tarragon mayo brioche hoagie ($9) to go, but we suggest staying in with a glass of Blasted Church’s Hatfield’s Fuse ($7) or Pop Shoppe cream soda ($2.75) if you’ve still got work to do.
Offering free-range, organic and sustainable goods and using eco-friendly cleaning supplies, the place is a part hippie and we’re happy for it.
Commune Cafe, 1002 Seymour St., Vancouver, 604-681-2551, www.communecafe.ca
August 3rd, 2010
You’ve dined in the dark, drank vodka in an ice bar, and munched on deep fried crickets. Been there, ate that.
But have you supped on sustainable seafood in a plastic dining room floating on hundreds of pop bottles?
Jaded diners get ready to be wowed: the new School Of Fish Plastic Dining Room moored at the False Creek Yacht Club has the most exclusive 12 seats of the summer.
Book it out and host the most memorable dinner party of your life (minus the cooking and cleanup). Or make it a date, and meet likeminded folks who enjoy the finer things in life.
There’s plenty to love, like the glittery chandelier and white nautical décor by The Cross, and a set 6-course menu by C Restaurant’s Robert Clark. Our Qualicum Bay scallop was alive 20 minutes before it was served, still attached to its beautiful shell and bathed in a sweet dashi broth.
Young founder Shannon Ronalds, whose School of Fish Foundation is the charity behind the project to educate young chefs, managed (with the help of C/Nu owner Harry Kambolis) to secure all of the 20 permits needed to launch the project (and is hosting every dinner for the next 60 days, when the dining room floats to future locations).
A seat at this table is most certainly the catch of the day.
To reserve ($215 per person including wine), please call Shannon Ronalds at 778-997-6977.
To learn more, visit www.schooloffishfoundation.org
To view more images of the dining room, please visit our Editors' Diary.
July 19th, 2010
Nose-to-tail eating may have trickled over from St. John in London, but L'Abattoir goes whole hog on its name, too.
French for slaughterhouse, the new restaurant and bar sits just off Blood Alley (so-named for the butcher shops of yore) with a décor that features mason-jar lights hung off meat hooks.
But no butcher's whites here: staff wear dapper plaids, vests, ties and brogues with dark jeans, and the kitchen serves up fare from both field and stream.
Our meal in the light-filled atrium was a delight from start (sardine tuiles in the bread basket) to finish (lemon ricotta doughnut holes), with sous-vide Indian-spiced lamb in between.
Now we just need to go back for a Bloody Mary at the gorgeous, open-air bar. Chop, chop!
L'Abattoir, 217 Carrall St., Vancouver, 604-568-1701, www.labattoir.ca
July 13th, 2010
Located in the not-so-hallowed halls of high schools and hospitals, cafeterias don’t have the best associations. But put the concept in the capable hands of Pied-à-Terre’s proprietors and it’s made très cool.
The only reminder that you’re eating at a cafeteria is the name (Cafeteria, naturally) and a menu that changes every day. You won't find wet trays or soggy fries here, just a range of filling, flavourful mains like Rex Sole bathed in tomato, basil and olive oil ($18) alongside a good selection of wine by the glass. And the 30-seat space, with its silver table tops and a backsplash of bottles adorning the walls, is sexier than any communal dining hall of yore we dreaded eating in.
Cafeteria, 2702 Main St., Vancouver, 778-317-3783.
July 6th, 2010
Vitamin Daily Vancouver reader Kristy wrote, “Hi! I would love your advice on some venues for my friend's stagette in Vancouver. Dinner and dancing, classy and fun but not over-the-top expensive. Thanks!”
Herewith, our picks for a special stagette sans Chippendales and heavy spending:
Keep the party all in one place at Calabash on the edge of Gastown. Dine upstairs on Caribbean fare then move your crew downstairs to its subterranean lounge for cocktails and cutting a rug. Pose for photos in the old elevator car situated conveniently close to the dance floor and DJ booth.
In Chinatown, three hip haunts are all within stiletto distance. Start with supper at Chinese brasserie Bao Bei, followed-up with a post-dinner drink at the Keefer Bar to really loosen your dance legs for a finish at Fortune Sound Club.
Do it a little differently on Commercial Drive by taking an evening Burlesque, Bollywood or Salsa class with the girls at Drive Dance Centre then head up the street to Havana for Nuevo Latino cuisine and pitchers of fresh strawberry mojito.
June 25th, 2010
We scoured our cities (all in the name of research, of course) for divine wines. Uncork these fantastic summer sippers just in time for patio season.
Sarah Bancroft, Editor-in-chief
If you love aromatic whites like I do, make it your Mission to score the very first Viognier released by Mission Hill Family Estate (only 1,000 cases were produced). With a gorgeous scent of orange blossom and a peachy palate, it's like summer in a bottle. $18.99 at www.missionhillwinery.com
Joy Pecknold, Vancouver editor
On behest of a server at The Corner Suite I tried Domaine Uby’s Colombard-Ugni Blanc, a refreshing, citrusy French white and was wildly surprised by both the taste and the price tag. $11.99 at www.bcliquorstores.com
Malwina Gudowska, Calgary editor
Cannonball’s label reminds us of spending summers at the lake and catapulting off the dock into the cold water. The Cabernet Sauvignon’s big, bold taste is also perfectly paired with anything from the grill. $29 at Bin 905 Wine and Spirits, 2311 Fourth St. SW, Calgary, 403-261-1600, www.bin905.com
Marianne Wisenthal, Montreal editor (English edition)
Produced at Tawse’s organic gravity-flow winery, Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2006 will have us chirping for joy all season long. $47.25 at SAQ Signature, 677 Ste-Catherine W., Montreal, 514-282-9445, www.saq.com
Elsa Vecchi, Montreal editor (French edition)
We can’t miss this white from South Africa: Viognier Rustenberg Brampton Coastal Region 2007. Its delicate peach and orange peel scents are perfect with grilled veggies with ginger, fish brochettes on the grill or with a shrimp sauté. Cheers to summer pleasures. $17.50 at www.saq.com
Julie Whelan, Toronto guest editor
Still hooked on Pinot Gris? Our latest fave is from Bodega J&F Lurton. It’s a lovely, dangerously easy-drinking white that tastes like a fortune but rings in at a bargain. $10.95 at www.lcbo.com
June 14th, 2010
If we can’t have Caribbean weather, then bring us the gastronomy and groove.
Offering both is Calabash, a laid-back Jamaican bistro inside a 1906 building on the border of Chinatown that serves up a full flavourful menu, including Jamaica’s national dish Ackee and Saltfish ($13) and jerk chicken ($12.50). The beat-filled basement lounge offers some of the same, but with a full bar, dj and dance area, not to mention the old, original elevator cab equipped with a vintage hanging microphone.
While they wait for their permanent liquor license, it’s best to head downstairs Thursday, Friday or Saturday when special events permit them to spike their homemade ginger beer.
Calabash Bistro, 428 Carrall St., Vancouver, 604-568-5882, www.calabashbistro.com
June 11th, 2010
As you pedal along the Yaletown seawall on a sunny Saturday, a hunger pang hits. Dismount your saddle and wrestle up a sandwich at Sweeney’s.
The new counter-service spot specializes in fresh fare, so get a Tuna Tataki ($8.50) with slices of Ahi and avocado in Togarashi sauce, or Chicken Waldorf ($8.50) with apples and walnuts and stuffed with greens and take it to go.
At David Lam, park yourself and see how discreet you can be sipping those Sofia mini blanc de blancs you brought along in your saddle bag.
Sweeney’s, 1091 Hamilton St., Vancouver, 605-689-4505, www.sweeneysyaletown.ca