• Archives
  • Aug20

    Tea House in Stanley Park-3

    A former garrison and officer’s mess during World War II, Vancouver’s Teahouse in Stanley Park is steeped in our city’s history. Post-war, the house served as a military residence, later opening as the Ferguson Point Tea Room during the summer.

    The restaurant was owned by Hungarian couple Steve and Eva Floris who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary after surviving the Holocaust. They emigrated to Vancouver in 1949, and obtained a lease from the Vancouver Park Board to operate then-named Art Gallery Tea Room in Stanley Park. Steve and Eva sold the restaurant in 1964 and went into real estate. Long retired and more comfortable with his word processing skills, Steve later documented their war-time and displaced persons (DP)-refugee experiences in a memoir, Escape From Pannonia.

    The house fell into a state of disrepair in the 70’s, later renovated and reopened in 1978 as the Teahouse Restaurant.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-7

    The Teahouse is part of the Sequoia company of restaurants, located in the choicest parts of Vancouver: Seasons in the Park in Queen E Park, Cardero’s in Coal Harbour, and The Sandbar on Granville Island.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-20 Tea House in Stanley Park-6

    Over 35 years later, the Stanley Park destination dining spot is still going strong with diners booking into the tea room, drawing room, conservatory, and on fine days, the patio. We were lucky to enjoy dinner with one of Vancouver’s best settings at sundown.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-4 Tea House in Stanley Park-2

    A quick walk just outside the Teahouse, and you’re right at English Bay, where tourists and locals alike gather for the evening show with a stunning mountain backdrop. The restaurant is set amongst lush manicured gardens including colourful flowers and palm trees that take on golden hues with the setting sun.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-9 Tea House in Stanley Park-10

    Clientele here is mixed between families, couples, groups, and out-of-towners. We started the evening off with an array of appetizers, including heirloom tomatoes served with both house-made hummus and marinated bocconcini, smoked salmon on cucumber slices, and gluten-free crostini with wild mushroom, parmesan and mascarpone cheeses, baby shrimp, and balsamic reduction.

    Tea House in Stanley Park starters

    Alongside a list of summer cocktails (Cucumber Smash, Spiked Palmer, sangria, etc.), we ordered the Summer Haze, the current featured cocktail. Oksana tequila is mixed with grapefruit and pineapple juices, cherries, and champagne on top. Very colourful and refreshing alongside our first bites. The cherry flavour comes right to the top of the palate and nicely complements the rest of the juices and champagne making for a great sipper.

    Tea House's Summer Haze

    Assistant Bar Managers Mennie, Jordan, and Rob work together with Floor and Bar Manager Sandy. They like being challenged to invent new concoctions, and often attend a Sunday bartending school to hone their skills.

    BC and international reds, whites, bottled and draft beer, bourbon, whiskey, rye, scotch, liqueurs, dessert wine, and port complete the restaurant’s drink offerings.

    Sockeye salmon, crab cakes, lemon-caper purée

    My entrée featured wild, line-caught Sockeye salmon with crab cakes, and lemon/caper purée dots gracing the artfully-presented dish. The salmon’s crisp crust was excellent and complimented the flavour of the fish and its accompanying seasonal veggies (broccolini, asparagus, and beans, all neatly tucked into a packet wrapped with a strip of greens), plus a roasted heirloom Roma tomato. Crab cakes were moist and contained some filling but not enough to mask the crab. Most of the seafood dishes here are Oceanwise-sanctioned.

    Beef tenderloin, grilled jumbo tiger prawns, seasonal veggies

    My husband was served the AAA beef tenderloin, with a skewer of four grilled jumbo tiger prawns, seasoned veggies and a roasted Roma, alongside herbed potatoes. The beef was juicy and tender, with a nice red wine demi-glace. The shrimps weren’t as tender as they could have been, perhaps grilling for a minute less would have solved the issue.

    The herbed potatoes contained a lovely, soft olive oil taste. We also tried some of Teahouse’s famous (read addictive) double-baked, thin pomme frites. Once our friendly server John mentioned them, we had our order in. Speaking of service, two words: top notch.

    The beef tenderloin went nicely with a glass of Burrowing Owl’s Cabernet Franc 2012, a medium-bodied red that added some spice to the beef.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-13

    Desserts came courtesy of in-house pastry chef Noel, who overseas a small but well-varied dessert menu. The chocolate Milano cake is a triple-chocolate mousse delight served atop an almond wafer crust, while the white chocolate cheesecake has a lovely cherry coulis and graham cracker crust.

    Triple chocolate mousse cake with almond wafter crust Vanilla bean creme brulee White chocolate cheesecake with cherry coulis

    We also enjoyed a vanilla bean crème brûlée, happy that we’d saved room for dessert! The crème contains vanilla bean flecks, its crackly top golden. All three choices we tried were satisfying, though we were torn between the Milano cake and the crème brûlée. Not to discount the cheesecake—it too had a lovely, soft taste with a juicy amount of cherries on top.

    White chocolate cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake, creme brulee

    The Teahouse in Stanley Park is located at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park and is open for lunch Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 4 pm, dinner seven nights a week from 4 pm to late, weekend and holiday brunch, 10 am to 3 pm, and small plates on Saturday and Sunday, 3 to 4 pm.

    Check out their Sunday night prime rib dinner, where for $27.50, you can order AAA slow-roasted prime rib with seasonal veggies, or choose the three-course option for $35, including Caesar salad, prime rib, and a piece of that amazing chocolate mousse cake.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-5

    There’s metered parking outside and down the road, but this romantic spot is also easily reached via bike. The Teahouse is ideal for hosting visitors, or for simply getting through a busy afternoon and winding down in our city’s own gorgeous backyard.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-22 Tea House in Stanley Park-21

    We were guests of the Teahouse in Stanley Park for the purpose of experiencing the restaurant and its ambiance.

  • Feb11

    Vancouver Aquarium Up Close-8

    Vancouver Aquarium’s Up Close exhibit features new interactive shows, special behind-the-scenes experiences, and up-close programming and displays designed to give visitors a new and exciting insight into what’s involved in caring for the diverse and unique creatures at the Aquarium.

    Vancouver Aquarium Up Close-2

    Last weekend, I joined a group of fellow bloggers at the Aquarium for a special tour of several spaces open to the public for the first time in its history.
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  • Nov21

    Team Sodexo
    [Team Sodexo at Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown]

    Vancouver’s Sixth Annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is by far one of my favourite events to attend. Not only do some of Vancouver’s top chefs go into friendly battle preparing some of the finest seafood chowder around, but lively conversation around the aquarium along with paired craft beers in hand draws a packed crowd – at least for the past four years I’ve been there.
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  • Aug22

    Terry Fox Run photo by Susan Gittins
    [Photo credit: Susan Gittins on Flickr]

    Whether you’re a runner or cyclist, kid or parent, supporter or survivor, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver proudly invites both friends and fans to join them in the fight against cancer. Run, walk, or dine this season to show support for the Terry Fox Foundation and the collective goal of putting an end to cancer.
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  • Aug2

    Celebrate Stanley Park logo

    In 1886, The City of Vancouver petitioned the federal government to lease 400 hectares of a heavily logged peninsula for park and recreation purposes. It has since grown into a premiere destination park and urban forest, famous throughout the world for its beauty and tranquility.
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  • Jul29

    Grease poster

    Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) is thrilled to present a Sing-a-Long-a Grease at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl on Saturday evening, August 24.

    The brand new ‘sing-a-long-a’ version of Grease, the classic film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, now joins Sing-a-Long-a Sound of Music and Abba as part of the worldwide phenomenon that has entertained audiences since 1999.
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  • Jul25

    Legally Blonde cast

    Legally Blonde The Musical tells the story of pretty-in-pink Californian Elle Woods, a sorority girl president who follows her love to Harvard Law School, where she discovers more to life than parties and fashion magazines. This colourful, summer Theatre Under the Stars production is made even more fun by being held outdoors at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl.

    The musical is based on both Amanda Brown’s novel and the 2001 Golden Globe-nominated film of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon.
    Read the rest of the post »

  • May27

    After Hours banner

    If you’re in the mood to be captivated by thousands of jellies sans the little ones, join the Vancouver Aquarium for After Hours on June 6. Experience the mesmerizing sights of Jelly Invasion in an adults-only environment while sipping a bevvy and experiencing the tranquility of the Aquarium without the pitter patter of tiny feet.

    Jelly Invasion features over 15 species of jellyfishes from around the world. These beautiful marine animals are more complex than you might think. Through new exhibits and interactive displays, visitors can learn how jellyfish hunt, eat, protect themselves and reproduce without having hearts, brains, bones and eyes.

    Did you know that jellyfishes include some of the most dangerous animals in the world? Test your knowledge at Jelly Factor.

    Visit Jelly Deli to learn how these delicacies are prepared in various parts of the globe. Foodies will be able to sample these Ocean Wise™ delicacies, specially prepared by Aquarium chefs for the event.

    Spotted jellyfish
    [Spotted jellyfish. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Aquarium]

    Get a glimpse of some of the animals featured in the educational programs that take place at the Vancouver Aquarium. And for a bit of 4-D fun, BBC Earth’s The Great Salmon Run will be screened. Be prepared for a show full of exciting sensory effects.

    From 7:30 to 8:30, enjoy Culturing Jellies. Explore the world of jellies through a biologist’s perspective.

    Tickets will not be available for sale at the door. Food, wine, and beer will be available for purchase during After Hours.

    After Hours: Jelly Invasion for Adults Only
    Date: June 6, 6 to 10 pm
    Venue: Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
    Tickets: Members, $18; non-members, $25 (including tax); available only in advance online. Membership cards required for member-priced ticket holders.
    Note: This is a 19+ event. Photo ID is required for entry. Alcohol purchase is available ONLY with the purchase of food.

  • Feb18

    Ocellated freshwater stingray
    [Ocellated freshwater stingray]

    It’s always a treat heading over to the Vancouver Aquarium. At any given time of the year, a new exhibit is up, with educational displays, fascinating sea creatures, and the chance to watch them go about their daily business.

    Sharks and Rays at VanAqua-10 Sharks and Rays at VanAqua-9

    This month unleashes a new exhibit: The Secret World of Sharks and Rays.

    Spotted ratfish
    [Spotted ratfish]

    Last Saturday, I was invited to a blogger preview for a guided tour to see the sharks, rays, skates and ratfishes up close and personal.

    Blue-spotted Fantail ray
    [Blue-spotted Fantail ray]

    Although sharks have a menacing reputation, they face endangerment through overexploitation and pollution. As far as the difference between stingrays and skates, stingrays deliver their babies live while skates lay eggs. Oh yeah, and rays have those famous stingers.

    Leopard Whipray
    [Leopard Whipray]

    Daily live shark feedings are part of the exhibit. And although 14 types of sharks live off our local coast alone, it was sad to learn that between 30 and 100 million of them are harvested worldwide annually.

    Blacktip reef shark
    [Blacktip reef shark]

    At the Pacific Canada Pavilion, life-sized models of thresher, basking, and bluntnose sixgill sharks are on view, to give visitors an impression of just how large and detailed these animals are.

    Basking shark model (second largest fish in the world)
    [Basking shark: the second largest fish in the world]

    There’s also a 4D BBC documentary about the life cycle of salmon. From raging rapids to hungry bears, bald eagles, and sea lions, the salmon too have their own challenges to overcome. This beautifully filmed feature delivers BC’s West coast to the world, and the stunning scenery is worth the price of admission alone.

    Illuminated shark egg
    [Illuminated shark egg]

    As always, the Vancouver Aquarium aims to educate the public about the threats posed to sea life: salmon need to survive in order to allow other animals to do the same. Children can learn how salmon drains are used to protect the salmon’s home.

    The 12-minute film is filled with splashy, colourful high definition 3D effects, making for an entertaining and educational story for all to enjoy.

    In addition to the regular exhibit hours, there’s a special upcoming Shark Night on March 5, from 6 to 8 pm (currently sold out, but check with the Aquarium as there may be a cancellation list). The evening will bring together four speakers to discuss the mysteries of Greenland and sixgill sharks, two native Canadian species.

    Zebra shark
    [Zebra shark. Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium]

    While you’re at the Aquarium, don’t miss out on the other exhibits. This was my first time venturing into the Amazon Rainforest, where tropical birds, gorgeous colourful butterflies, a couple of sloths in trees, and other creatures abound.

    Amazon Gallery butterfly

    Sharks and Rays, a featured exhibit, runs through April 30. Visit the website for schedules, tickets, and daily 4D film showtimes.

  • Jan29

    Vancouver Aquarium Luminescence-10

    The Vancouver Aquarium’s next adults-only After Hours event is coming up on February 20. Enjoy the new Secret World of Sharks and Rays exhibit and discover the amazing lifestyles of the not-so-famous sharks and their cousins – the skates, rays, and ratfishes.

    It’ll be a wonderful chance to explore the galleries and exhibits in peace and tranquility while savouring a glass of beer or wine. There will be Shark Dives at 7 and 8:30 pm. Visit the website event page for details.
     
    After Hours at The Aquarium
    Date: February 20, 6 to 10 pm
    Venue: Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
    Tickets: $13.25 Members (membership card required); $21 General Admission; only available in advance online
    Note: This is a 19+ event. Photo ID required for entry. Alcohol will be available only with a food purchase.

  • Oct15

    Entertainment by DJ Leanne and musicians
    [Tunes by Buddha Sax, DJ Leanne, and Percussionist Pher]

    Last Friday evening in the heart of Stanley Park, Vancouverites had the chance to dress up and enjoy some of the city’s favourite restaurants while sipping BC wines at Toast to the Coast.

    Luminescence: Baby jellies getting older

    This fun annual gala raises needed cash to help the Aquarium fund several key programs. Over 500 guests attended the sold-out event while music and a silent auction kept everyone entertained.

    Toast to the Coast silent auction table
    [One of several silent auction tables]

    Diving for Pearls of Gratitude

    For a $25 donation, guests got a 50% chance at winning a set of pearl earrings at the Pearls of Gratitude “Diving for Pearls” station.

    All seafood served at the event was Ocean Wise-sanctioned.

    Toast to the Coast/Hillside Bistro's spiced carrot apple soup with golden apple froth Toast to the Coast/Fish House in Stanley Park's Rainbow Dungeness crab California roll
    [Hillside Bistro's spiced carrot apple soup; Fish House's Rainbow Dungeness crab California roll]

    Savoury Coast's pepper crusted seared albacore tuna, tomato gelee, crispy onion ring
    [Savoury Coast's pepper crusted seared albacore tuna, tomato gelee, crispy onion ring]

    Wild Rice's smoked kabocha squash, braised shitake mushrooms on a sesame cracker
    [Wild Rice's smoked kabocha squash, braised shitake mushrooms on a sesame cracker]

    Toast to the Coast/YEW's Albacore tuna burgers, truffle brioche, pear and golden raisin relish, honey aioli, avocado
    [YEW's Albacore tuna burgers, truffle brioche, pear and golden raisin relish, honey aioli, avocado]

    Food, wine, and craft beer (courtesy of Granville Island Brewing) was interspersed around both levels of the aquarium, letting guests mingle amongst the colourful aquatic displays. As always, an oyster bar is one of my go-to spots for any event. Oyster Seafood & Rawbar shucked up some nice bivalves amongst the fish tanks.

    Toast to the Coast-6 Oyster Vancouver at Toast to the Coast Oyster Vancouver at Toast to the Coast
    [Oyster Seafood & Rawbar at Toast to the Coast]

    Hotel stays, fine jewellery, a 16GB Samsung Galaxy S III, and beauty packages were a few of the numerous items up for bid at the silent auction. CTV’s weatherman Michael Kuss kept the evening flowing as emcee.

    Toast to the Coast emcee Michael Kuss from CTV Toast to the Coast-8

    Here are several photos I took during the course of the evening. Congratulations to both the Ocean Wise and Toast to the Coast organizers for putting on another wonderful evening full of gourmet food and BC wine, while bringing together the food and wine-loving community, all in support of a great cause!
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  • Sep11

    Van Aquarium fish

    The Vancouver Aquarium’s next adult-only evening is set for September 20 from 6 to 10 pm. The Great Salmon Run 4-D Experience will premiere at the event, showcasing one of nature’s most amazing events. After Hours at The Aquarium offers a chance to explore the Aquarium’s galleries and exhibits without strollers and impatient little ones.

    World Oceans Day at Four Seasons
    [Mike McDermid (with Yew Restaurant Executive Chef Ned Bell) demonstrates the proper way to touch a sunflower sea star during World Oceans Day]

    Highlights of the evening include:
    – BBC Earth’s The Great Salmon Run 4-D Experience
    – Salmon CSI – An interactive salmon dissection examining the inner workings of a salmon while highlighting the challenges they face to survive
    – Hands-on learning sessions in the Wet lab – An opportunity to touch sea stars and urchins
    Swimming Against the Stream: The Sustainability of Salmon in BC presentation by Mike McDermid from Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program
    – Dolphin show

    After Hours at The Aquarium
    Date: September 20, 6 to 10 pm
    Venue: Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
    Tickets: $21; Vancouver Aquarium members $13.25; reserve online

  • May31

    Yellowback Fairy Basslet
    [Yellowback Fairy Basslet]

    June 8 is World Oceans Day. The Vancouver Aquarium, World Wildlife Fund Canada, and SeaChoice have teamed up to celebrate. A series of engaging, family-friendly activities has been planned to mark the occasion, so get out and enjoy the day while learning about our world’s oceans.

    Shiner Perch
    [Shiner Perch]

    8 to 10 am
    Start the day with a beluga and yoga session led by yogi, ocean lover, and blissologist Eoin Finn. Refresh your body and mind with an invigorating yoga workshop while majestic belugas swim in the background. Afterwards, enjoy a healthy breakfast provided by Choices Markets, as well as global hip-hop and organic beats from DJ Tspoon (Delhi 2 Dublin), Rupinder Sidhu (Banyen Roots), and Ndidi Cascade.

    Pyramid Butterflyfish
    [Pyramid Butterflyfish]

    Tickets to the beluga and yoga session are $50 each and may be purchased online. All proceeds directly support the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program and SeaChoice.

    11 am to 4 pm
    Short presentations and hands-on activities with aquarium and WWF Canada staff will take place every 30 minutes based on the day’s theme, “Five things you can do to protect our oceans.” And because a celebration isn’t complete without cake, join the Aquarium for a special World Oceans Day cake at 2:15!

    After Hours banner
     
    Cool event alert! On June 27, After Hours returns with a chance to experience the Aquarium at night (adults only). Come visit when there are no little ones around – except for little penguins!

    Penguins

    Check out the new Penguin Point exhibit and enjoy unique programming and exclusive access to the galleries. The event will include special information from both aquarium experts and volunteers regarding the new African penguins, presentations on Arctic cod research and its implications to the Arctic ecosystem as well as hands-on learning at the Wet Lab.

    Food, wine, and beer will also be available for purchase.

    After Hours
    Date: Wednesday, June 27, 6 to 10 pm
    Venue: Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way in Stanley Park
    Tickets: $13.25 members; $21.00 non-members; available online

    Note: This is a 19+ event and no tickets will be issued at the door. Beer and wine will be available ONLY with a food purchase.

    Photo credit: Meighan Makarchuk, Vancouver Aquarium.

  • May9

    Night at the Aquarium 2011

    Vancouver Aquarium’s iconic Night at the Aquarium gala fundraiser is back for its sixth annual signature fundraising event. Proceeds raised from this event are a critical source of funding for the Aquarium’s conservation, research, and education programs.

    Night at the Aquarium 2011
     
    There is no other location in Vancouver where you can mingle with more than 50,000 wonderful sea creatures. Guests at the gala will enjoy a selection of wines from around the world paired with delicious Ocean Wise™ dishes prepared by some of Vancouver’s top chefs, including Rob Clarke of C Restaurant, Frank Pabst of Blue Water Café, David Hawksworth of Hawksworth Restaurant (recently named Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year) and Ned Bell of YEW restaurant at Four Seasons Vancouver.

    Night at the Aquarium 2011
     
    In addition, gala attendees will enjoy live music and entertainment, and have a chance to bid on dream vacations in the live and silent auctions. This year’s live auction will feature an exclusive vacation package from Sonora Resort. Journey of the Salmon: From the Stream to the Plate will include a two night stay, round-trip helicopter flight for two, a one hour eco adventure tour on the inflatable Polaris vessel, a “raft and snorkel with the salmon” session, a cooking class, a four hour fishing session plus a signed copy of the Tastes of Sonora Cookbook (valued in total at $6,800).

    Night at the Aquarium 2011
     
    “There’s no other event like it. Night at the Aquarium is a magical gala where our guests enjoy an unforgettable evening featuring some of B.C.’s top chefs and fine wines,” according to Dr. John Nightingale, president and CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium. “The funds raised at this event directly support our conservation, research and education programs that help to conserve aquatic life.”
     
    Last year, Night at the Aquarium raised over $350,000; the proceeds were used to support the Aquarium’s many programs including Ocean Wise, a national sustainable seafood program, and its frog propagation program to help preserve the Oregon spotted frog (an endangered species in BC).

    Night at the Aquarium 2011
     
    Tickets are $250 and include an amazing array of Ocean Wise dishes paired with a selection of exquisite wines. This year’s gala features a special VIP reception highlighting BC spot prawns, caviar, and exclusive wines. ‘Virtual tables’ of eight are available for $2,500.

    The Vancouver Aquarium is a self-sustaining, non-profit organization.

    Night at the Aquarium
    Date: Thursday, June 21, 6:30 to 9:30 pm
    Venue: Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park
    Tickets: $250; available either online or by phoning 604.659.3527 (partial tax receipt given)

    Photos courtesy of John Heil Photography.

  • Jul13

    Parks Canada Centennial Celebrations

    In celebration of BC Parks Day, centennial celebrations will be held across the province. Here in Vancouver, a day of free concerts and family fun has been organized for this Saturday, July 16. The event is designed to give urbanites a taste of Canada’s wilderness and heritage.
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