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KK Law

Main Street Eats

By TIM PAWSEY
Nov. 2018

Dishes change seasonally at Campagnolo, but the agnolotti with caramelized zucchini and ricotta filling is a favourite (Photo by KK Law)

Just across from Science World, discover a trio of worthy stalwarts. Campagnolo celebrates the best of Northern Italy. Book in downstairs for arancini, strozzapreti bolognese, or risotto with prosciutto that’s been butchered and cured in-house. But don’t miss the tucked-away bar upstairs. A few steps north, settle in at Bodega on Main, a true Spanish outpost, for tapas such as garlic prawns, grilled chorizo, fried calamari and much more, with a glass of Tempranillo. A few more steps lead to Torafuku, which translates to “lucky tiger” in Japanese. This buzz-worthy haunt epitomizes the city’s vibrant Asian fusion with tongue-in-cheek plates such as The Donald, a char-grilled duck breast with shaved foie gras, and Finding Dory, a sake kasu–marinated halibut. And don’t miss the tasting menu.

Double Take: Film & TV Landmarks in Downtown

Hollywood North’s leading architectural landmarks are ready for their close-up

By CHLOË LAI
Sep. 2018

Photo by KK Law

Hotel Europe

Built 1909

As seen in Legends of the Fall, The NeverEnding Story, Twice’s “Likey” music video

The iconic flatiron-style building that dominates Gastown’s Maple Tree Square isn’t just the oldest reinforced-concrete structure in Vancouver: it’s the oldest in all of Canada. (Naturally, it’s also rumoured to be haunted.) If it feels like a little slice of New York City, that’s because the design echoes Manhattan’s famous Flatiron Building, constructed in 1902. Elegant original features—including Italian tile floors and granite columns—make it an ideal location for historical films. Originally a hotel for business travellers, the heritage building is now home to residential units and quirky shops. The best spot to snap a selfie with this landmark is from across the street, facing the Gassy Jack statue. (more…)

Tapas Time

By TIM PAWSEY
Aug. 2018

At España, specialties include (L-R) crispy pork belly and morcilla, roasted beets with goat’s cheese and apples, and marinated anchovies on toast (Photo by KK Law)

Small plates come in all shapes and sizes. However, purists in search of classic styles head to España in the West End, where the focus is very much Spanish. Menu offerings wander from crispy anchovy-stuffed olives, chicken-liver pâté on toast and patatas bravas to grilled chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage), a daily paella and top-tier jamón ibérico de bellota. An excellent sherry selection straddles the entire range of styles, while savvy flights complement the array of specialty charcuterie and Spanish cheeses. For other authentic pintxos purveyors, head to Gastown’s The Sardine Can, Main Street’s Bodega or Cabrito, a bustling haunt on Commercial Drive.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Oceanside Eats

By TIM PAWSEY
Aug. 2018

Mussels, Dungeness crab, Atlantic lobster and more, at Beach Bay Café (Photo by KK Law)

Water views bring an added dimension to truly diverse marine cuisine. English Bay—summer central—is home to Beach Bay Café and Patio, where seasonal plates celebrate regional, Ocean Wise ingredients. The catch includes West Coast chowder, seafood linguine, mussels and clams in white wine and shallot broth, and Nova Scotia lobster. Drop by for happy hour, book a sunset dinner or just grab some fish ’n’ chips to go. A few minutes away, just over the Burrard Bridge, The Boathouse presides over Kits Beach, with its wrap-around deck and roll-away glass walls that bring the view inside. Further west, at Jericho Beach, The Galley Patio & Grill is a local favourite for burgers and beers served overlooking the water, with views of Howe Sound and downtown. It’s a very popular spot, so lunch is your best bet.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Panoramic Pints in North Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY
Aug. 2018

Views are on the menu at Tap & Barrel, alongside tuna tataki (front), the Tap Burger (centre) and pesto chicken linguine (back). (Photo by KK Law)

BC wine and beer on tap are at the heart of Tap & Barrel’s Shipyards location, situated at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver. Hop on the SeaBus to discover a different city perspective from the giant patio, with its sweeping harbour and downtown views. On the menu: creative pub fare that roams from burgers and sandwiches to pizza, fish ’n’ chips and more, as well as plenty of kid-friendly options. The popular (and very cooling) water feature right next door is an added bonus. Discover additional locations at the Vancouver Convention Centre and in Olympic Village.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

One Perfect Day: Fun for Foodies, Shopaholics & More

Whether you get fired up about food or are delighted by the outdoors, here’s how to make the most of your time in Vancouver

Vancouver’s northern waterfront at sunset (Photo by Barbershop Films/Tourism Vancouver)

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Aug. 2018

FOR FOODIES

Beat the crowds and kick off the day at Granville Island Public Market, a foodie’s paradise stocked with smoked salmon, gourmet cheese, baked goods and more. Peruse the wares while munching Lee’s Donuts or a croissant, but save space for a sit-down brunch at downtown’s popular Café Medina, known for heavenly Liège waffles and lavender lattes. (more…)

BC Bites at West Restaurant + Bar

By TIM PAWSEY
Jul. 2018

Perfect plates at West include roasted Haida Gwaii halibut with local corn (Photo by KK Law)

One of the original flagship regional rooms, South Granville’s West Restaurant + Bar revels in seasonal, local ingredients, detail-driven presentation and impeccable service. Popular plates roam from soy-and-sake-glazed Haida Gwaii sablefish, to a lamb duo with roasted sunchokes and madeira jus, to ricotta tortellini with braised artichokes, roasted fennel, kalamata olives and tomato fondue. Wines both local and global are expertly paired and served from an impressive “wall of wine,” while original cocktails keep pace with the creativity on the menu.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Beyond Pho: Vietnamese Cuisine at Chi Modern

By TIM PAWSEY
July 2018

Chi Modern serves specialties such as bo luc lac, or shaking beef

Grab a quick cab to Kitsilano to savour Vietnamese cuisine with a difference at Chi Modern. Airy and bright, the room reflects the personality of its owner, former MasterChef Vietnam competitor Chi Le. She celebrates her homeland with kicked-up variations on family recipes that inform a clean, sophisticated style. Go for the char-grilled eggplant, coconut-milk-braised pork belly, tamarind-caramelized prawns, or five-spice curried duck. Better still, book a day ahead for the no-holds-barred prix fixe menu.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Splash into Summer: Making the Most of Vancouver’s Ocean Playground

In this seaside city, there’s more than one way to hit the water

By CHLOË LAI

Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres’ kayaks provide the perfect vantage point for stunning souvenir snaps (Photo by KK Law)

Power Up Your Paddle

Truth is, the best seat in the house isn’t in the house at all: it’s out on the water. Set out on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres and glide through False Creek to soak up prime views of the city. Say hello to herons and seals as you navigate between the daydream-inspiring yachts and sailboats—as well as the occasional pirate ship—that cruise around Granville Island. For more peaceful paddling, join one of Ecomarine’s sunset tours, or head up to Deep Cove Kayak Centre to explore the tree-lined Indian Arm fjord. (more…)

West End Hidden Gems: From Leafy Patios to Retro Bars

By TIM PAWSEY
Jul. 2018

Game hen with shallots, pomme fondant and Brussels sprouts, at Adesso Bistro (Photo by KK Law)

A block off bustling Denman, Adesso Bistro yields inventive European flavours with contemporary flair. Housed in the ground floor of a heritage hotel, the tranquil setting includes one of the city’s leafiest and most secluded patios. On the plate, chef Pekka Tavela’s artfully presented fare includes fresh tuna crudo, deeply flavoured pork-and-fennel rigatoni, squash-and-ricotta agnolotti, and game hen with shallots and Brussels sprouts. Classic cocktails and smart wine picks complete the picture. Looking for more neighbourhood haunts? Check out compact and friendly Amici Miei for authentic cuisine from Italy’s Abruzzo region. For good Greek eats, head to Davie Street’s Takis’ Taverna to savour souvlaki, kleftiko and saganaki. Or, at Davie Street and Denman, climb the stairs to discover retro Bayside Lounge, with its circular bar, classic cocktails and casual bites.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Quintessential Québécois Flavours at St. Lawrence

By TIM PAWSEY
Jun. 2018

Chef J-C Poirier’s Québécois-inspired dishes include steak tartare with chèvre noire and potato chips (Photo by KK Law)

Chef J-C Poirier boasts no shortage of “haute” haunts on his résumé. But at St. Lawrence, his cozy spot on the East Side, he blends French and Québécois classics with more rustic but polished flavours. Impeccably served with well-chosen wines, mains run the gamut: rabbit leg cordon bleu, duck in pastry with sauce à l’orange, hanger steak with bone marrow and escargots, lingcod en papillote. Be sure to leave room for sugar pie or tarte au citron flambéed with Pastis Ricard. Reserve early and hop a cab to this popular room, crowned Restaurant of the Year at Vancouver magazine’s recent dining awards.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Chef Angus An

Angus An reflects on a career spent in the kitchen

By SHERI RADFORD
Jun. 2018

Angus An takes a rare break from running five restaurants, including Maenam (pictured), and planning the opening of a sixth (Photo by KK Law)

“I know I won’t be rich from running a restaurant, but I think it’ll be a pretty fulfilling life.”

It’s a perfect spring day in Vancouver, and Angus An is reflecting on his career path. Between running five restaurants (and preparing to open another), writing a cookbook, and being a husband and father, the busy chef rarely has time to pause. But on this day, he sits at a sunny table in his flagship Maenam, overlooking bustling 4th Avenue, and reminisces. “I’ve always loved food,” he says. “I’ve always cooked in restaurants. I’ve never actually had a job that’s not restaurant-related.”

After a brief detour to study architecture, and stints cooking and learning in New York, Montreal and England (where An met the woman who is now his wife), An felt it was time to return to Vancouver: “I always wanted to come back, because this is home.” Most audaciously, he decided to open his own restaurant. An now calls his 27-year-old self “very very young.”

Gastropod opened in 2006 and quickly garnered awards and rave reviews. For a couple of years, everything ran smoothly, though An admits now he was burning the candle at both ends: “It was work work work. Before I’d go to bed, I’d read cookbooks. It was everything for food and work.”

Things changed when the recession hit, and diners could no longer afford Gastropod’s fine-dining experience. Five months in a row, the restaurant lost huge sums of money. An made a tough decision: he shuttered Gastropod in 2009 and in its place opened Maenam, a casual Thai restaurant. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the diners came back and the accolades rolled in once again. Vancouver Magazine named Maenam Restaurant of the Year 2016.

If An could go back in time, he knows his younger self would ignore any advice offered. “As a proud chef, a young chef, you have to have a certain amount of confidence to open a restaurant in an established city like Vancouver,” he says, adding, “Gastropod was the right restaurant to open first. I needed to learn through those failures.”

Now that An is a bit older, he’s trying to work fewer hours so he can spend more time with his wife and 10-year-old son and pursue hobbies such as photography. The family eats at his restaurants a lot—partly for quality control but mainly for enjoyment—and makes time to dine at favourites around the city, including Cinara, Cioppino’s, Masayoshi, Au Petit Café, Linh Café, Marutama, Fayuca, Monarch Burger, Kissa Tanto and Campagnolo. “I also enjoy cooking at home for the family,” he says.

Next up for An is a new venture on Granville Island: Popina Canteen. He’s partnered with three other celebrated local chefs—Robert Belcham, Hamid Salimian and Joël Watanabe—to launch this gourmet counter-service restaurant housed in repurposed shipping containers.

Because even when Angus An slows down, he still can’t stop opening up innovative new restaurants.

Angus An’s endeavours include Thai restaurants Maenam, Longtail Kitchen and Sen Pad Thai, as well as Fat Mao Noodles, specializing in comfort food from Thailand, Malaysia and China, and Freebird Chicken Shack, which serves all things chicken. Popina Canteen is scheduled to open this summer.