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Sheri Radford

New in Town: Nespresso Boutique

By SHERI RADFORD
Jun. 2018

Nespresso’s first standalone boutique in BC, at Metropolis at Metrotown

Attention, coffee connoisseurs: Nespresso recently opened its first standalone boutique in BC. In addition to selling coffee capsules and machines, the shop showcases the brand’s sustainability initiatives: tabletops made out of coffee grounds, wood sourced from reforestation programs, and systems that reduce energy and water. Plus Nespresso has launched a pilot project with Recycle BC to collect used pods. Time for a coffee break!

 

 

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.

 

Last-Minute Gifts for Dad

By SHERI RADFORD

There’s just one shopping day left before Father’s Day (Jun. 17). But what do you buy the man who has everything? Whether your papa is a hipster, adrenaline junkie, outdoor adventurer, music nerd or sports fan, he’s sure to appreciate shoes and socks that match his true style.

Local brand Native Shoes makes what are, quite possibly, the comfiest footwear ever invented. They’re also lightweight and beast-free (i.e. vegan). Find them at the Native Shoes flagship store in Gastown or at various fashion-forward shoe stores around town.

If your father has a hobby or passion, chances are Stance has a pair of socks to go with it. From sports teams and music stars to funky stripes and Star Wars, every interest is covered. Pick up a pair at Boys’Co, Hill’s of Kerrisdale or Tilley Endurables.

Seaside Stage: Bard on the Beach

By SHERI RADFORD

Photo by David Cooper

Jun. 6-Sep. 28, 2018 If the last time you experienced Shakespeare was while dozing through a high school English class, then it’s time to give his plays another try. Every summer, the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival breathes new life into classics such as Macbeth and As You Like It (pictured), this year’s two mainstage productions, by incorporating music and costumes from different eras. As You Like It has been transported to 1960s Vancouver, complete with more than 20 classic Beatles tunes. This just might be the summer of love.

Brilliant Burlesque: Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe

By SHERI RADFORD

Catch burlesque legend Dita Von Teese’s new show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 15

Jun 15, 2018 Glamour and seduction combine in Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe, an over-the-top creation by the queen of burlesque. A fully crystallized gown, bespoke fetish boots by Christian Louboutin, and 1,200 pearl balloons floating down from the sky are just a few of the highlights. Dita Von Teese brings her very revealing show to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

C’mon Angie! World Premiere at Firehall Arts Centre

BY SHERI RADFORD

Photo by Bold Rezolution Studio

Jun 1 to 9, 2018 When does sexual fantasy become sexual violation? That’s the hot-button topic at the heart of C’mon, Angie!, a new play making its world premiere this month at the Firehall Arts Centre. In the aftermath of a one-night stand, when questions of consent arise, Angie and Reed disagree on the truth of what actually happened. This thought-provoking play is sure to generate discussion.

Mamma Mia! Hits Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Mamma Mia! fans will be chanting “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” until Aug 12 (Photo by David Cooper)

To Aug 12, 2018 “Mamma mia, here I go again.” Leave your cynicism at home, because every ABBA fan’s favourite musical is back in all its superbly silly and sequinned glory. It’s impossible not to smile and sing along when the first bars of “Dancing Queen” or “Does Your Mother Know” fill the air—but to truly join in, you’ll have to wait until the two sing-along performances on Jul. 28. This fun-in-the-sun musical is getting toes tapping at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Fun fact: the 15-week run of Mamma Mia! is the theatre’s longest-running production ever. “My my, how can I resist you?”

One to Watch: Actor Diana Bang

By SHERI RADFORD
May 2018

Diana Bang’s savvy bargain-hunting skills fuel her fun style (Photo by KK Law)

Diana Bang isn’t a household name—yet. For years the local actor and sketch-comedy artist has been appearing in filmed-in-Vancouver movies and TV shows such as Bates Motel. Her big break came when she landed the role of Sook in The Interview, alongside another funny Vancouver actor, Seth Rogen. Not content to just wait around for her next big role, Bang is also writing her own scripts, hoping one day to produce and direct as well: “You’ve got to create your own material,” she says. “That’s always the most fulfilling.” Her favourite collaborator is her sister, Andrea, who currently stars in the TV show Kim’s Convenience.

When Bang isn’t on a film set or at one of her many part-time jobs, she can be found working on her writing at The Birds & the Beets, a cozy cafe in Gastown, or picking up a steamed pork-and-vegetable bun or coconut bun from New Town Bakery, in Chinatown. She loves trying out new restaurants, which Vancouver has in abundance, or stopping for a drink at R&B Brewing, Pourhouse, Martini’s or Grapes & Soda.

Most of all, Bang loves making people laugh. Look for her in upcoming sketch-comedy performances with The Lady Show. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this rising star.

To find out more about Diana Bang, check out her website

8 Great Gifts for Mother’s Day

On May 13, delight your dear mama with the perfect gift, something she can treasure all year long. (And maybe pick up something for yourself at the same time.)

By SHERI RADFORD
May 2018
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True Love at the BMO Vancouver Marathon

By SHERI RADFORD

Johnson and Makokis on their matrimonial marathon in 2017. (Photo by Christopher Morris)

May 6, 2018 How do you know a couple is in it for the long run? When they share a passion for running—and get married in the middle of a race. At last year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon, Anthony Johnson and James Makokis paused at kilometre 32 to tie the knot against the picture-perfect backdrop of English Bay. On May 6, look for the happy couple as they celebrate their anniversary by doing the marathon again, this time with their moms. It seems the course of true love sometimes does run smooth.

2018 Where to Dine Awards: Whistler

Hunter Gather always delivers comfort food and friendly service. (Photo by Brad Kasselman/Coast Mountain Photography)

Voted on by Where’s globetrotting readers, our annual dining awards fete the best of the best on the Whistler restaurant scene

By SHERI RADFORD (more…)

2018 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

At Five Sails, enjoy pan-seared bass piccata, vegetables and golden fingerling potatoes in a lemon-and-caper butter sauce—and, of course, the incredible view of Coal Harbour

Our annual Where to Dine Awards pay tribute to the hardworking folks who make Vancouver such a food-lover’s paradise

By TIM PAWSEY, SHERI RADFORD & JILL VON SPRECKEN
Photos by KK LAW

Critics’ Choice

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Five Sails Restaurant

Vancouver’s abundant dining options can overwhelm a hungry traveller, but Les Clefs d’Or always know the newest hotspots, the tried-and-true stalwarts and the hidden gems. These dedicated concierges won’t steer you wrong, and this year their top pick is Five Sails. Perched right on the waterfront, this perennial favourite expertly combines stellar West Coast cuisine with warm service and stunning views of the mountains, inner harbour and Stanley Park. Linger over poached lobster, roasted sablefish or smoked duck breast while watching floatplanes land and cruise ships depart. And make sure to peruse the wine list, which showcases selections from BC’s Okanagan region.—SR (more…)