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KK Law

East Meets West at Blossom Dim Sum & Grill

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At Blossom, every dim sum dish is made fresh daily, with zero MSG (Photo by KK Law)

An airy upstairs destination at Bute and Robson, Blossom Dim Sum & Grill takes fusion to the next level. Truly a merging of culinary cultures, the menu blends Asian inspiration with the freshest of West Coast ingredients. Tantalizing tastes include albacore tuna tataki with local black garlic and ponzu dressing; sweet ’n’ sour Sakura pork; bison rib eye; and seared sablefish with rice cake, baby bok choy and mushroom ponzu. A must for visitors, dim sum yields pork belly buns, tofu prawn tarts, mushroom dumplings with black truffle aioli, and more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Granville Island Bites: Popina Canteen

By TIM PAWSEY

Sep. 2019

Chow down on the East Coast lobster roll (top) or dig into fish ‘n’ chips (bottom) at Popina (Photo by KK Law)

Four top chefs are behind view-kissed Popina Canteen, an outdoor eatery on the wharf beside the Granville Island Public Market. Stalwarts Angus An, Hamid Salimian, Joël Watanabe and Robert Belcham blend their distinctive styles in a collaboration that features everything from East Coast lobster rolls and grass-fed-beef cheeseburgers to steamed Dungeness crab and a cornucopian seafood tray. Go early to try their popular puffcreams: soft-serve ice cream in a freshly baked creampuff. (We recommend Turkish Delight.) Or drop by for an “adult” pink lemonade or a Bourbon Smash. Most scenic way to get there? Hop aboard False Creek Ferries from the Aquatic Centre, Science World or the east foot of Davie Street.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

A Tour for Every Taste

Hesitant to explore Vancouver solo? Let a guide lead the way on 10 of our favourite city tours. Make sure to wear your comfiest walking shoes—and stretchy pants for the foodie outings.

By SHERI RADFORD

Sep. 2019

Gastown is full of historic landmarks, such as the flatiron-style Hotel Europe in Maple Tree Square (Photo by KK Law)

Walk This Way (or Run)

Forbidden Vancouver peeks below Vancouver’s glittering surface to expose the seedy (and captivating) underbelly. Learn about crime, revenge, fire and disease on the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour. Discover hidden cemeteries, notorious crime scenes and the ghost stories of Deadman’s Island on the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour. Or hear about murder, scandal, financial strife and bootlegging—while sampling sinfully good treats—on the Art Deco and Chocolate Tasting Tour. The guides are so entertaining, it’s almost criminal.

(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.

 

5 Scenic Sites for Souvenir Snaps

Must-see public art, natural wonders and cultural icons

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jun. 2018

Photo ©JamesVancouver/istock.com

Siwash Rock
Stanley Park Seawall

The ribbon of seawall that winds its way around Stanley Park has plenty of sublime sights, but chief among them is iconic Siwash Rock. Located between Lions Gate Bridge and Third Beach, the outcropping has stood sentinel at this spot for an estimated 32 million years—long (like really, really long) before Captain George Vancouver sailed these waters. According to Squamish First Nations legend, the stone is a man who was transformed by supernatural beings, forever immortalized as a reward for being unselfish. A noble legend, and one that may explain why Siwash remains completely unruffled by all the attention. (more…)

Dining Destinations South of Main Street

By TIM PAWSEY
Jun. 2018

Verduras causa with chili-dusted yam chips, at Chicha (Photo by KK Law)

The Mount Pleasant neighbourhood sometimes called South of Main (SOMA) is home to myriad flavours. At Peruvian-inspired Chicha, chef Shelome Bouvette delights with chulpe de mariscos (a riff on bouillabaisse), empanadas stuffed with butternut squash or smoked chicken with chilli, and lomo saltado (beef steak). Pisco sours and other cocktails are de rigueur. Nearby, The Cascade Room proffers cut-above pub fare—think Southern-style ribs, roasted Arctic char, pot pies and burgers, with local Main Street pints. Looking for sustainable fare and lots of vegetarian options? Head to organically driven Burdock & Co., where past favourites include charred savoy cabbage, braised leeks with aged pecorino, or lamb ribs. Sea-foodies favour The Fish Counter for superior Ocean Wise fish ’n’ chips and po’boys, while locals seek out the changing plates at Dock Lunch, a diminutive 22-seater tucked away in a charming Victorian-era home.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

8 Eateries With Exceptional Views

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
May 2018

Glass walls at Cactus Club’s Coal Harbour location look out over Stanley Park (Photo by KK Law)

In Vancouver, stunning scenery is just part of the package. The city’s supermodel good looks run the gamut: sparkling skyline, Coast Mountains, urban forests. (We could go on.)

To satisfy both hunger and a thirst for views, take it to the top—of Grouse Mountain, that is. Perched 1,127 m (3,700 ft) up the mountainside, The Observatory offers vertiginous views of Vancouver from the cantilevered dining room.

Water views and sustainable seafood are the specialty at The Boathouse, with beach-side locations on both Kits Beach and English Bay. Seawall-situated Ancora features a menu of Japanese-Peruvian fusion, accompanied by stellar views of Granville Island and beyond. Similarly situated along the water, pub-fare specialist Tap & Barrel serves favourites like the PB&J Burger with a side of spectacular scenery.

At Lift, serene Stanley Park and the marina are the backdrop for sublime Pacific Northwest fare like crispy fried Humboldt squid and sashimi. The 405-hectare (1,000-acre) park—plus ocean and mountain views—can also be enjoyed from Cactus Club’s Coal Harbour location, where sliding glass walls let the outside in.

The city steals the show at Joe Fortes’ rooftop patio, where bustling Robson Street below is a people-watcher’s delight. Fronted by Yaletown’s glittering glass-walled towers, Dockside with its yacht-side terrace is perfect for savouring local specialties like grilled halibut or roasted salmon.

Consider your eyes, and appetite, satiated.