August 24th, 2010
Potting plants in your pied-à-terre is near impossible, but new shop Olla Urban Flower Project makes it easy to get green.
Pots are ready to take home like agave in black concrete, air plants in glass terrariums and mixed cacti in colourful ceramics, or custom order one that suits your space, aesthetic and spending allowance. Specializing in Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), they also offer bouquets that are anything but ordinary.
Buying local and ethically traded plants, and supporting non-profits by forwarding on flowers after conference events, they have community conscience too.
It's a green thumb dream come true.
Olla Urban Flower Project, 235 Cambie St. (mezzanine), Vancouver, 604-609-6552, www.ollaflowers.com
July 26th, 2010
Forget Bette Davis eyes, we want Garbo’s sketched by Cecil Beaton.
And we get them at Örling & Wu. The new Gastown décor store stocks the award-winning fabric and wallpaper collection made from Cecil sketches which includes “Garbo’s Eye.” The shop, run by a design savvy pair who met at London's Central Saint Martins, features those peepers on a pendant light, but you could have yours as custom-order curtains.
There were other gorgeous goods that caught our eye, like a salvaged wood picnic-style table from Arxe ($4,800), a linen-coloured Carl Malmsten samsas sofa ($6,800) and a red and white vase made the old way by Dutch masters Royal Tichelaar Makkum ($619).
We see redecorating in our future.
Örling & Wu, 28 Water St., Vancouver, 604-568-6718, www.orlingandwu.com
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 16th, 2010
From Generation X to Generation A, Douglas Coupland’s latest project is a collection of Canadian souvenirs for a new generation.
In collaboration with Roots, the Vancouver artist-author has designed a limited edition line of clothing and accessories that digitize the down-home, from a test pattern t-shirt dress for ladies ($68) to motherboard print leggings for babies ($14.95). There’s also laptop sleeves, passport wallets and backpacks emblazoned with Coupland’s idea of a Canadian crest, complete with moose, igloo and satellite dish.
And that a pop culture man like Coupland should get his own Gastown pop-up shop to house his colour-popping collection is only fitting.
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 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 7th, 2010
In the back, the editorial team pens upcoming issues and in the front Stockroom they sell sartorial wares right off their pages. Priding themselves on offering unique and hard-to-find labels from Europe, Japan and the US, they stock the likes of Margaret Howell, Nigel Cabourn and The Real McCoy’s, along with their own designer collaborations.
Buy their best-selling, special edition Duluth Utility Pack ($185) for the fella, then tell him to return and stock up on all the good garb it can hold.
Inventory Stockroom, 45 Powell St., Vancouver, 604-568-5889, stockroom.inventorymagazine.com
May 28th, 2010
Vitamin Daily Vancouver reader Elizabeth wrote, “Hi there, I'm looking for a nice wine and champagne cooler or ice bucket for my boyfriend. Ideally, I'd be able to have it monogrammed. Do you have any suggestions as to where I should go? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks very much.”
Herewith, our picks for cool coolers at three different price points:
For the gadget guy who favours function over flash, the Vacu Vin champagne cooler comes with a removable, reusable insert that chills champagne in five minutes flat sans ice. $64.99 at Homewerx, 1053 Davie St., Vancouver, 604-682-2204, www.homewerx.ca
Liberty’s silver champagne bucket is perfect for the regal gent. The front features an elegant engraved crest with a spot in the centre for adding your own monogram. $149 at Liberty, 1635 W. Broadway, Vancouver, 604-682-7499, www.libertyinside.com
A mod man will love the slick and shiny stainless steel cooler by Alessi with room for more than one bottle and a bigger, bolder engraving. $336 at Inform Interiors, 50 Water St., Vancouver, 604-682-3868, www.informinteriors.com
May 25th, 2010
We’ve been known to gush like geysers over gorgeous shops and Old Faithful is no exception.
The new Gastown store is a hot spring of practical and whimsical miscellany for the home. There’s Roost dishware, washboards and notebooks from Korea with French and Swedish covers ($6-$22). Not to mention bell jars, blankets and birdhouses built from driftwood ($32-$48).
Here’s a hostess gift tip: snap up some porcelain berry baskets ($16-$28) and fill with fresh cherries for the cutest summer take-away.
Old Faithful Shop, 320 W. Cordova, Vancouver, 778-327-9376, www.oldfaithfulshop.com
May 14th, 2010
The devil on one shoulder is coaxing us to stay out late again while the angel on the other begs us to stay in and play Scrabble.
At new Gastown joint Guilt & Company, we can satisfy our angels and demons. Situated in the brick underbelly of Chill Winston, the bar and live venue serves up boozy drinks and classic board games into the wee hours.
Check out their free comedy nights on Wednesdays (while you play chess) and order yourself a “Lying Eyes” cocktail ($12), which comes with a Polaroid picture of you and your crew.
And if Trouble is what you’re looking for, they’ve got that game too.
Guilt & Company, 1 Alexander St. (downstairs), Vancouver, 604-288-1704, www.guiltandcompany.com