November 29th, 2013
Rain or Shine is bringing megawatt smiles to faces with its artisanal ice cream, made in-house (literally in the back kitchen) from locally sourced and fair trade ingredients (including JJ Bean espresso beans and honey from Campbell's Gold Honey Farm in the Fraser Valley).
Flavours here are a delight, from 'keepers' like Salted Caramel and Blueberry Balsamic to 'seasonal flings' like Spiced Apple Sorbet and the beer-based Powell St. Porter (from $4.50). There's a creativity to the combinations here — you can order a flight ($9 for four flavours), or you can drop by on Taco Tuesday, when the ice cream comes on a waffle taco with a topping and whip cream ($6).
Everything about this place has local and community at heart, right down to the refurbished old tractor seat stools and the counters, made out of reclaimed wood from the Olympic Village.
If it was our way, we'd have ice cream three times a day.—May Globus
102-1926 W. 4th Ave., Vancouver, 604-428-7246, www.rainorshineicecream.com
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
June 26th, 2013
The newly opened Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods serves-up seasonal, simple fare with a focus on veggie heavy salads, sandwiches, soups and stews.
We loved the chopped albacore tuna with avocado, cucumber, pickled red onions, cilantro, and ginger soy dressing ($6.50) but if June-uary” has you craving heartier fare, try the Moroccan chicken with chickpeas spicy stew ($8).
The informal, cafeteria-style service is elevated with light and bright modern design (Eames-style chairs, reclaimed wood tables and concrete floors).
And right next door to YYoga? Perfect for a healthy sweat date with the girls. —Laura Cropper
1903 W. Fourth Ave., Vancouver, www.tractorfoods.com
April 19th, 2013
When it comes to buying natural and local, our protein is right at the top of the list.
So when The Honest Butcher (aka the dynamic David Ritzer) opened his doors we stepped right in line. On a recent visit we scored flank steak for the BBQ, stewing beef for a moroccan tagine, coarse-ground beef for burgers, and minced pork for Asian meatballs served on rice noodles: a week's worth of dinners for under $40. Throw in some paté and a container of the Vietnamese pho broth and there's lunch, too. The concept is whole-animal butchery so nothing goes to waste (not least of which your hard-earned money). Now this is meat we'd like to eat. —Sarah Bancroft
The Honest Butcher, 3209 W. Broadway, Vancouver, www.thehonestbutcher.com
March 13th, 2013
Your office is paperless, your coffee is fair-trade, and your bras are bamboo.
Next step on your path to earthly enlightenment: organic facials.
The beautifully conceived Bioethique Holistic Day Spa and Boutique is a certified organic spa using all-natural ingredients in products made in their green energy lab in Haute Provence, France, and dispensed from their lovely Kitsilano spa-front.
The white-washed interior, stunning antique light fixtures and bouquet of quince blossoms had us at bonjour.
The BioEthique Signature Facial ($235,) which was 2 hours of sheer bliss, included an organic mud masque, custom blended for our skin type from a row of apothecary jars, and LED light therapy, that made our skin plump to the touch. BioEthique’s own Tamanu Oil Serum, derived from a Polynesian nut, was soothing and healing, while the shoulder massage had us melting into the spa bed.
Ethical never felt so easy. —Sarah Bancroft
Bioethique Holistic Day Spa and Boutique, 3578 W. Fourth Ave., Vancouver, 604-558-2008, www.bioethiquespa.com
January 14th, 2013
When it comes to working out on the regular, my attention span is non-existent. To stop the boredom and stay motivated, I've found that I need to switch up my exercise regimen.
Luckily, one Vancouver studio offers a range of innovative workouts under one roof. At Kondi Callanetics, founder Lacey Kondi has revived and refreshed the '80s Callanetics movement. Callanetics is less about losing weight and more about re-sculpting your core, behind and thighs using small, non-impact movements to target those deep muscle groups. For me, the key to the Kondi approach is variation. Try a Callanetics, Combo or H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) class and you might find yourself suspended from the ceiling for TRX training in one breath and sweating at the treadmill or barre the next.
While individual exercises will be repeated, no two classes are exactly the same – ideal for keeping daydreamers like me on task. —Julie Whelan
December 21st, 2012
We’ve had our eye on a bright and pretty mural painted on corner of Fir and West 6th for months, just waiting for Beaucoup Bakery & Café to open its doors.
We were lucky enough to visit Beaucoup when it was still in its makeover stage. The passionate and incredibly dedicated owner and baker Jackie Ellis plied us with treats (OK, it wasn’t much of a struggle): flakey croissants, salted caramel eclairs, macarons filled with cream and seasonal fruit, and blondies – we went home with an overflowing takeout box that was just crumbs by the end of the night. The style is a perfect mix of traditional and modern: French baking, high-quality ingredients (the more beurre, the better) and childhood favourites like brownies and butter tarts combine for a very special pastry hybrid.
The welcoming, 16-seat space is French country marked with modern accents; look for a small retail space and coffee by 49th Parallel, perfect to sip with your pain au chocolat.
You say Paris, we say Beaucoup. —Maria Tallarico
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 2150 Fir St., Vancouver, www.beaucoupbakery.com
October 22nd, 2012
Think you know tea? Maybe. But we bet you’ve never experienced it like this.
Imagine a wine bar, replace the wine with tea, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at O5 Tea, Vancouver’s new Mecca for tea enthusiasts. While sitting under Molo-designed paper lanterns, we opted for a tasting flight of three rare teas ($17). To open up the palate we began with Balkyocha Noeul, a chocolate-y oolong from South Korea, and then proceeded to the grassy Long Jing green tea from the Zhejiang province of China, and finally finished off with Ghorka Estate, a Nepalese tea with notes of pumpkin, apple and clove, ideal for the holiday season. We snacked on Gang Jung ($7), Korean Imperial sweets made in-house with a healthy dose of fruits and nuts.
Truly an afternoon delight. —Anya Georgijevic
O5 Tea, 2208 W. Fourth Ave., Vancouver, 604-558-0500, http://o5tea.com
September 10th, 2012
That is the question.
Vancouver’s latest fashion boutique, Rebecca Bree, has just opened its doors on Fourth avenue, nestled snugly between Kitsilano and Point Grey. Named after the owner, the store’s collections reflect her style: think feminine, pretty items fit for a lady (although not in the Macbeth sense of the word).
Neither a borrower nor a lender be, we will be shopping for printed Tibi shift dresses ($375), Rocaille bracelets encrusted with vintage jewels circa 1930 ($195), and necessities like Tocca candles, Hanky Panky thongs, and illustrated fashion tomes.
To thine own self be true. Or in this case, be true to the Rebecca Bree self. We shall be beautiful and well-dressed, ready to face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Rebecca Bree, 3680 W. Fourth Ave, Vancouver, 604-714-0085, www.rebeccabree.com
June 18th, 2012
Conceptualized during the Top Chef’s most popular episode, “Restaurant Wars,” Fable’s farm to table concept manifests itself in a well thought-out and sophisticated menu.
Take, for example, owner Trevor Bird’s clever take on the Canned Tuna ($12) appetizer, where the fish is cooked in a mason jar with lemon and potato confit. The Slow Cooked Sockeye Salmon ($24) entrée was finished to perfection and accompanied by succulent greens.
Because one star cook wasn’t enough, joining Fable is another Top Chef contestant, Curtis Luk, whose famous macarons often make the Daily Sweet Bites ($10) desert special (cross your fingers for the rubharb version).
The Top Chef title may have escaped them both, but Fable is a winner in our books. —Anya Georgejevic
Fable, 1944 W. Fourth Ave., Vancouver, 604-732-1322, fablekitchen.ca