April 12th, 2013
La Taqueria fans are partying like it Cinco de Mayo now that the same crew has opened La Mezcaleria on Commercial Drive.
For this incarnation they’ve upped the ante and added tostadas, enchiladas as well as an impressive collection of cold beers, tequila and of course mezcal (a smokey, agave-based spirit), after which the restaurant is named.
Consulting chef Tina Fineza makes the ethnic cuisine shine and ensures everything from the beef cheek tacos to the guacamole is as authentically Mexican as many of the staff.
The airy space keeps a homey feel with turquoise tiling, a chalkboard menu and an old-school liquor cabinet displaying - what else - bottles of mezcal. The 55-seat space fills up quickly, so go early and grab a stool at the bar with a view into the kitchen. Bonus points for the stocked, self-serve salsa bar. —Cassandra Anderton
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 5 p.m., 1622 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, 604-559-8226, http://lataqueria.ca
November 9th, 2012
Sometimes a neighbourhood spot comes along that's so good, we're hesitant to share the address. But we just can't keep Via Tevere to ourselves.
This quaint east side restaurant is Neapolitan pizza heaven, from the top-notch flour to the proper wood-burning stove, which takes centre stage. (And it should - this blue-tiled wonder heats to 900 degrees and churns out perfectly-cooked pizzas in 90 seconds.) The menu is tight, but that doesn't make choosing a dish any easier. The antipasto misto for two ($16) was overflowing with deliciously salted cured meat, fresh Italian cheese, pickled veggies and olives. Choose from the daily pasta (on our night, a hearty smoked salmon penne, $14) or go for the main event, a pizza. The Capricciosa (tomato, fior di latte, prosciutto cotto, salami, artichokes mushrooms and olives, $18) was crispy around the edges, soft and easy to cut in the middle, and insanely delicious to the last bite.
So now the secret's out. Why should food bloggers have all the fun? —Maria Tallarico
1190 Victoria Dr., Vancouver, 604-336-1803, www.viateverepizzeria.com
May 11th, 2012
It’s not bad from the freezer or the phone book but nothing’s better than pizza made the way it was supposed to be.
Famoso Pizza, which crafts its pies according to the standards set by the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana, has just opened up across the street from Commercial Drive’s other pizza mecca: Marcello’s. We tried the funghi tartufo topped with roasted mushrooms, reggiano parmesan and truffle oil ($14.50) and sipped a classic Italian soda made of sparkling water and peach syrup ($2.50). Come summer, you’ll find us savouring a scoop of artisan-style salted caramel gelato ($3.50) on the sunny patio. Sure beats delivery. —Kelsey Dundon
Famoso Pizza, 1380 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, 604-251-2292, www.famoso.ca
October 25th, 2010
The last time we tried a homemade oatmeal scrub, more ended up in our mouth than on our face.
Leave it to Jiadé. The Port Coquitlam-based beauty brand is first in Canada to be USDA certified organic, comprised of the simplest ingredients like essential oils and botanical extracts. Its lavender facial toner ($21.40) and moisturizer for normal and combination skin ($42.80) were both feather light and refreshingly fragrant like the garden, leaving our skin in seventh heaven.
At Drive Organics, 1045 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, 604-678-9665 and online www.jiadecosmetics.com
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 8th, 2010
Tomes on Basquiat and Bourdin grace the coffee table, but what of your home metropolis?
Our young city’s changes are pictorially documented in Vancouver Then and Now. The 144-page hardcover by Francis Mansbridge, an English professor and former North Vancouver archivist, compares buildings, landmarks and plots of land of the past to their present incarnations with historical snaps and fascinating facts.
Now we can’t walk into Sears downtown without picturing the opulent old Opera House that once stood there, which staged performances by Ethel Barrymore (Drew’s great-aunt) and required evening dress.
$22.95 at The People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, 604-253-6442, www.peoplescoopbookstore.com
October 16th, 2009
We’ve never claimed to be angels (sorry mom), but nothing brings out our irreverent side quite like a day on Commercial Drive.
With that in mind we headed to St. Augustine’s, a revamped pub-style resto named for, wink wink, the patron saint of beer.
Choosing from 20 microbrews on tap (many from the Pacific Northwest), we listened to the devil on our shoulder and opted for a pint of apricot hefeweizen ($7) and a slow-braised pulled pork sandwich drenched in homemade BBQ sauce and served with classic slaw ($13).
Finally, your date will be singing your praises too.
St. Augustine, 2360 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, www.staugustinesvancouver.com
April 24th, 2009
Your tried and true brunch routine holding you hostage? Spice things up with a vege-Mexican twist on the ol’ standbys at Bandidas Taqueria.
The delicious Hicks Benny has two perfectly poached free rangers nestled atop cornbread muffin tops and dressed with fresh tomatillo salsa. Jamie’s Benny adds a kiss of sweet with caramelized pineapple ($11), while Huevas Rancheras is a knockout with handmade corn tortillas ($10.50). And nothing pairs better with a cup of joe than the triple chocolate brownie bite ($1).
Nab the rocking chairs in the front window and ease your way into a Sunday siesta.
Bandidas Taqueria, 2781 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, 604-568-8224, www.bandidastaqueria.com
January 19th, 2009
There’s nothing sexy about watching Seinfeld reruns while Stairmastering, so we made sweating it more sassy and gave Burlesque a go.
The Burlesque Beauties dance class at the Drive Dance Centre—don’t worry, it’s classy and tassel-free—had us strutting, shimmying and shaping up. And unlike in the workplace, here, the more attitude you dish out, the better.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the centre is offering a four-week workshop to learn a cheeky routine for a lark or a lover, set to Madonna’s “Hanky Panky.”
Drop-in class Tuesdays 7-8 p.m. ($13) and Be My Valentine workshop January 21 – February 11, 6:15-7:15 p.m. ($70), Drive Dance Centre, 1839 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, 604-762-4232, www.drivedancecentre.com
January 9th, 2009
Berets and ballet flats are back, so why not embrace the Beat Generation?
Every Monday night Café Deux Soleils hosts the Vancouver Poetry Slam where a mere fifteen bucks gets you a bottle of brew, a big bowl of edamame and a bevy of modern day beat poets who provide plenty of food for thought.
The competing orators, some of whom have won national competitions, vie for a nightly prize. Crowd participation is encouraged by booing judges’ scores and reprimanding poets who exceed the three minute limit. And yes, there’s even finger snapping.
The Vancouver Poetry Slam, 9 p.m., Mondays at Café Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Dr., 604-254-1195.