• Cocktails
  • Jul23

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    Chambar Restaurant Preview-2

    Last Friday, media were invited to check out the nearly-completed and expanded Chambar Restaurant, located next to the current Beatty Street location in Crosstown Vancouver.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-5

    A city favourite for years, Chambar is three-star-Michelin-trained chef Nico and wife Karri Schuermans’ vision of Belgian and North African cuisine melded into a diverse menu of appetizers, moules frites, plus lamb, duck, venison, and sustainably-caught seafood dishes.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-3

    Karri will oversee the new space’s design, with blood red booths, Italian-designed chairs, and a rotating art collection on the walls. The 1912 heritage elements have been preserved and complement the brick and wood walls. Resin-covered table tops with walnut inlays, plus a custom-designed communal table that can seat up to 10 diners will move to the new space.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-12

    The restaurant’s bar will feature prominently towards the front of the establishment. Although covered at present, we’ve been told that it’s inlaid with walnut and tined resin, perfect for enjoying some of Chambar’s award-winning cocktails, wide range of wines, and beers, one brewed just for the restaurant. We found it immensely refreshing on the warm, late afternoon day of our visit.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-10

    A side patio will seat 50 diners away from the street. There’ll be enough space to accommodate 270 diners between the restaurant’s two levels. I personally can’t wait to see what the lighting will look like together with all the thoughtful touches when opening day arrives.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-4
    [A much larger kitchen downstairs]

    Chambar is also proud of their extensive wine collection, including eight wines by the glass, 50 international whites, 75 international reds, 25 BC wines, and 15 sparkling wines.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-6
    [Summer sippers between the construction]

    The restaurant’s name is derived from a loosely translated French saying, “When the teacher leaves the room, all the kids go crazy”. In other words, enjoy a fun night on the town here with friends, good food, and drink. In addition to dinner, Chambar will also start offering breakfast, lunch, brunch, and a late-night tapas menu.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-8

    As we walked through the main floor, downstairs kitchen, and side rooms, we kept imagining the finished product through the dust and machinery. An outside rooftop deck with gorgeous city views in the adjacent building is also available for booking special dinners and events.

    Chambar Restaurant Preview-7 Chambar Restaurant Preview-9

    Chambar as we know it will close in two weeks, with the larger space opening shortly thereafter at 568 Beatty Street in Vancouver.

  • Jul7


    Giovane Cafe

    Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Giovane Café now features Stumptown Coffee’s Cold Brew on tap. The Portland-headquartered coffee company’s become a favourite bean roaster and destination café chain for North Americans, using direct-trade sourcing and selling a sustainable coffee product line.

    Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee

    The nitro-infused cold brew is a crafted coffee recipe of steeped, fresh roasted beans creating a complex, smooth and sweet, full-bodied brew with a chocolate finish.

    I had the chance to sample a glass recently at Giovane together with a gourmet salad and Genovese panini with roasted turkey, pear, fontina, proscuitto, arugula, and pesto (a divine combination with the large pearl couscous, tomato, cucumber, and mint salad). It’s lovely, even before adding milk. Each serving is topped with a layer of natural, creamy foam.

    Giovane Cafe-3

    The café’s scratch kitchen produces fresh bread selections daily both for sale and for use in their dishes. Together with pizzas, the Italian-inspired menu also offers soups, salads, breads, mini focaccias and Giovane’s to-die-for desserts, including decadent sticky buns and scones.

    Giovane Cafe's Genovese Panini, Pearl couscous + chick pea salad
    [Giovane Cafe's Genovese panini, Pearl couscous + chick pea salad]

    Giovane Cafe's Panzanella Salad
    [Panzanella salad with apple-balsamic vinaigrette]

    Coffee drinkers get 10% off Stumptown ‘to-go’ joe by bringing in their own travel mug. As well, Giovane offers a signature travel mug for sale; buy one and get your first Stumptown bevvy on the house.

    You’ll also find a wide selection of sustainably-sourced Stumptown coffee products in the café’s small retail space, including signature Hair Bender, House Blend, French Roast, and Decaf.

    Giovane Cafe's Sicilian Freddo
    [Sicilian Caffe Freddo]

    After lunch, I sipped on a Sicilian Caffe Freddo, a soothing combination of Averna Amaro, Baileys, and Stumptown cold brew coffee created by award-winning bartender Grant Sceney.

    Grant’s recently been crowned 2014’s World Class Bartender of the Year, having recently competed at Diageo World Class Canada Competition. Later this month, he’ll travel to London and Scotland, representing the hotel at the Global Finals, alongside 42 other countries.

    My only regret was not having ordered a brownie to go with that Freddo.

    Find Giovane Café at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, 1038 Canada Place in Vancouver.

  • Jun20

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    Earl's Summer Kick-off-2

    Last night saw the launch of Earl’s Restaurants’ summer kick-off, to celebrate longer days, patio weather, and a summer menu.

    Earl's Summer Kick-off-1 Earl's Summer Kick-off-8

    A fun new campaign with a ‘It’s on a school night’ theme includes a menu with salads, cedar-planked salmon, crispy Thai prawns, and a Sunday through Thursday special with $5 tacos, nachos, tequilas, margaritas, and Coronas. These deals will last through September 9.

    Earl's Los Cabos chicken tacos
    [Earl's Los Cabos chicken tacos]

    In addition, each day has its own food and drink specials (an excellent Tuesday deal: 12 oz. Driftwood IPA sleeves for $3!).

    Alongside tried-and-true favourites BBQ back ribs, burgers, and a wealth of salads, soups, and sharing plates, comes a very tasty, light prawn and quinoa salad, made festive with avocado, feta cheese, strawberries, candied pecans, in a citrus honey vinaigrette (perfectly paired with a crisp glass of white wine or a sangria).

    Earl's Prawn + Quinoa salad
    [Earl's Prawn + quinoa salad]

    The salad was a great combination of tastes, with the quinoa and crumbled feta so well paired in the citrus honey vinaigrette that I’m hoping to replicate it at home. Los Cabos chicken tacos (served three to an order) are served on soft corn tortillas with Valentina hot sauce.

    Earl's BBQ pork buns
    [Earl's BBQ pork buns]

    Another discovery was the BBQ pork buns, created to look like mini tacos, dressed in a flavourful, not-too-spicy hoisin sauce, garnished with cilantro and roasted peanuts. So tasty!
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  • May28

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    EatDrinkPlay banner 

    On Thursday, June 19, the Firehall Arts Centre will present its annual fundraiser EAT.DRINK.PLAY., an unforgettable evening celebrating locally-produced food, drink, and performance. Proceeds will help the Firehall continue to bring cutting-edge theatre and dance to Vancouver.

    The event will highlight a selection of food from Gastown and Railtown’s burgeoning food scene graciously provided by 11 local restaurants – Lily Mae’s, Peckinpah, Cadeaux Bakery, The Irish Heather, Salt Tasting Room, Bitter, Hogan’s Alley Cafe, Deacon’s Corner, Mahoney & Sons, Elephant and Castle, and Scent of a Sandwich. Tastings of microbrewery Parallel 49’s seasonal offerings will be available, plus vodka and crème de cassis from Odd Society Spirits, a newly opened small-batch craft distillery in the heart of East Vancouver.
    This celebration of all things local will also feature a ‘taster flight’ of live theatre, dance, and music performed around the Firehall space, including an acoustic performance by rising theatre star and three-time Jessie Award nominee Kayvon Kelly (Chelsea Hotel) and a performance by Proud star Emmelia Gordon.
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  • Apr2


    MARKET Sashimi with chipoltle aioli, crispy Japanese rice, honey soya glaze

    Rare Finds is an annual fundraising cocktail party to benefit the Rare Disease Foundation. This year’s fifth annual event will again be held at VanDusen Botanical Garden, hosting many of Vancouver’s top chefs, mixologists, and pastry artists in a naturally beautiful setting.

    The popular event includes both a silent and live auction (featuring many rare items), delicious bites, and live entertainment by DJ Girls on Wax. I attended in 2012—it was a fabulous night on the town. Here’s a photo set from that memorable evening as well.

    little girl

    The Rare Disease Foundation is committed to growing and developing a community that provides a new approach for rare disease research and care. The organization provides funding to inspired clinicians and scientists for their patient-focused projects. All proceeds are distributed within three weeks of the event for immediate impact.
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  • Mar19


    Secrets Silversands Resort-34

    Looking at numerous websites, Trip Advisor reviews, and tips from friends, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a travel destination and resort. My husband and I wanted to visit the Riviera Maya this month, in a location away from the thumping of Cancun or Playa del Carmen. What we found was Puerto Morelos, a smaller town smack in between the two, yet close enough to get to the Mayan ruins while enjoying the warm, tropical breezes of the Caribbean.

    Secrets Silversands Resort-29

    After much research, we booked a week at Secrets Silversands Resort, one of the newest in the Secrets resort chain. Owned by AMResorts, Secrets (together with Breathless) is the adults all-inclusive collection of luxury destinations, with Sunscape, Now, Dreams, and Zoëtry all falling under its umbrella organization.

    Secrets Silversands Resort-22

    We were ready to unwind at the beach, and this stunning resort was just what we needed. Upon arrival at Silversands, we were immediately checked into their Preferred Club, giving us extra perks such as use of the lounge (where appetizers and desserts were served throughout the day), upgraded mini-bar and bath amenities, concierge services, and larger oceanfront rooms.

    Secrets Silversands Resort-18

    The AAA Four Diamond resort aims to keep things green by asking you to reuse towels and to place a sign on the bed only if sheets need to be changed during your stay. We would have also liked a recycle bin in our room for newspaper and empty bottles, but we can only assume that both were tossed properly by housekeeping.
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  • Feb6

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    Fairmont Hotel Vancouver75 Launch-1

    How does an iconic hotel such as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver celebrate a milestone birthday? With a $12 million restoration and the opening of a pop-up roof lounge and restaurant!

    Fairmont Hotel Vancouver75 Launch-4 Fairmont Hotel Vancouver75 Launch-2

    The grand old dame’s 15th-floor lounge made its debut in 1939, soon becoming the city’s go-to place for fancy dining and dancing high above the city. Dal Richards and his 11-piece band made their name here back in 1940, when management booked a six-week gig for them that lasted 25 years. CBC later used the rooftop venue as a broadcasting space to host a weekly show.
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  • Dec12

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    Chewies Blackened Steelhead
    [Chewies Blackened Steelhead]

    How do you take your bivalves? Steamed, stewed, or nude? That’s the question Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar poses when you enter their world of fabulous oysters and Southern-inspired cuisine.

    Chewies Coal Harbour-9

    Newly-minted Chewies Coal Harbour has been open for nearly a month now, and last night was a chance for both media and local food-lovers to get their hands (and stomachs) on some of their menu items.
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  • Dec6

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    Yaletown Distilling Launch-7

    “We celebrate Repeal Day because December 5th marks a return to the rich traditions of craft fermentation and distillation, the legitimacy of the bartender as a contributor to the culinary arts, and the responsible enjoyment of alcohol as a sacred social custom.”

    Yaletown Distilling Launch-1

    And what better way to celebrate than with a distillery opening right in the heart of Yaletown? Last night, Yaletown Distilling Company opened its doors for a media preview ahead of a public tasting of their farm-to-bottle gin and vodka, in a well-lit, beautifully designed space adjacent to Yaletown Brewing Company.

    Tasting glasses

    This is the Mark James Group’s latest venture, bringing craft spirit production to Vancouver while utilizing 100% BC ingredients. Using BC grain offers a huge tax incentive, explained head brewmaster and distiller Iain Hill.
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  • Dec2

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    The Roof at Black + Blue Brunch-7

    Glowbal Group’s The Roof at Black + Blue has put together an amazing selection of mouth-watering brunch dishes on offer at their heated, colourful downtown Vancouver roof space.

    The Roof at Black + Blue Brunch-1 The Roof at Black + Blue Brunch-11 The Roof at Black + Blue Brunch-12

    Restaurateur of the the Year/Glowbal Group owner Emad Yacoub will soon be headed to Toronto, where he’ll receive the coveted annual award.
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  • Nov20

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    Monster Party at Cornucopia-1
    [Cornucopia Revolutions Party presented by Monster Energy at Bearfoot Bistro]

    Whistler Cornucopia was extended to an 11-day festival this year. Alongside food and wine dinners came morning meditation and yoga sessions as well as diet, lifestyle, and wellness-related seminars.

    I selected three events for variety: Nourish: Healing Foods, All About Grapes in Cocktails, and Matching Wine with Pizza.
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  • Nov6

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    Craft Beer Market Opening-20

    CRAFT Beer Market – with its high ceilings, beautiful lighting fixtures, and 140 tap lines – opened its doors earlier this week for invited guests and media.

    Craft Beer Market Opening-5

    It all started with a vision from owner PJ L’Heureux. At the young age of 18, much to his parent’s dismay, he started to brew beer at home, quickly discovering that making beer was not his forte, but serving it was. A trip to Portland combined with a passion for fresh local food brought the CRAFT concept to Vancouver.
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  • Oct30

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    PiDGiN's Rice crackers, sweet soy anchovies
    [PiDGiN's Rice crackers, sweet soy anchovies]

    Earlier this week, I was invited to sample PiDGiN’s award-winning Chef Makoto Ono’s East Meets West-inspired cuisine. Not only was this a fine opportunity to enjoy food and drink with industry friends old and new, but also to celebrate Ono’s respectable fifth place spot in enRoute’s 2013 Best New Canadian Restaurants issue.
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  • Oct1

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    Torta di zuccha
    [Torta di zuccha with zucchini and ricotta]

    I’ve always found Vancouver’s Opus Hotel to be on the trending edge of restaurant concept and design. From 100 Days to 100 Nights to Cento Notti, it appears that La Pentola Della Quercia has found a permanent base in the Yaletown dining district, next to one of the loveliest hotels in the city.

    Barrel-Aged Vieux Carré: Courvoisier VS, rye whisky, Benedictine, mellowed in charred oak
    [Barrel-Aged Vieux Carré: Courvoisier VS, rye whisky, Benedictine, mellowed in charred oak]

    To get a real flavour of La Pentola, we recently sat down to enjoy their Famiglia Supper Series, offered the last Sunday of each month by Chef Lucais Syme. Each month, the theme changes. From 6 pm onwards, each table becomes filled with courses for friends, family, and groups to share, depending on who you’re dining with. 10 courses will make their way to your table, so arrive hungry!
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  • Oct1

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    Homer Street Cafe and Bar Brunch-7

    It had been awhile since my last visit to Homer Street Cafe and Bar. Far too long, in my humble opinion, as between the time of their opening and this media-attended Sunday brunch final dress rehearsal, the restaurant has taken Georgia’s Straight’s number one position in this year’s Best New Restaurant Award category.
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