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Sheri Radford

A Whale of a Time

By SHERI RADFORD
Aug. 2018

Photo ©Elsvander Gun/istockphoto.com

Looking for an orca encounter? Local whale watching companies are happy to oblige. They know where to find the local pods, and they can identify individual members based on their markings. The wild whales often make a splash for curious onlookers, breaching, spyhopping (pictured) and lobtailing as entertainingly as their captive brethren. To symbolically adopt one of these magnificent cetaceans, ask at the Vancouver Aquarium.

For whale watching tours, contact Prince of Whales, Vancouver Whale Watch, or Wild Whales Vancouver.

Summer Days in Squamish

Indulge an appetite for adventure—or fresh local fare—in the town of Squamish

By SHERI RADFORD
Jul. 2018

Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail starts at the Sea to Sky Gondola and rises into the backcountry, offering breathtaking views of the mountains, Howe Sound and the town of Squamish (Photo by Paul Bride)

See & Do

Just an hour’s drive from Whistler, Squamish has a well-earned reputation as the outdoor recreation capital of Canada. Visit the Squamish Adventure Centre to get oriented, then leave the city behind and venture into the great outdoors. (more…)

Scents of Thailand: Handmade Spa Products by Lemongrass House

By SHERI RADFORD
Jul. 2018

Lemongrass House in Vancouver (Photo by Alison Boulier)

Folks around the world have long enjoyed the essential oils, body lotions and soaps from Lemongrass House. Until recently, North Americans were left out of the fragrant fun. Now, finally, the popular Thai brand has opened its first store on this continent, in Gastown. It’s filled with all-natural spa products for grown-ups, babies and even the family dog. Stop by the welcoming store to pick up a new lip balm or room spray—or just take a deep breath and enjoy all the enticing aromas.

One of a Kind: Handmade Leather Souvenirs by Trace of Grey Designs

This local artisan crafts souvenirs you won’t find in any shopping mall

By SHERI RADFORD
Jul. 2018

Photos by KK Law

Monique Ouellette never does things the easy way. Visit her studio, and you won’t see a single sewing machine. All of the gorgeous leather totes, satchels, journal covers and bracelets hanging from the walls were cut and stitched—painstakingly—by her own hand. She embraces the distinctive marks and textures that make each piece of leather different, not viewing them as flaws but rather as evidence of character, and she leaves the leather raw and uncut as often as possible. Before making a single stitch, she carefully measures out where each stitch will go, then punches a hole in the leather for each one. A journal cover might take two hours in total to construct, while a complex bag with zippers and pockets requires nine or 10 hours. Each creation is undeniably unique—just like Ouellette.

Stop by Trace of Grey Designs, Ouellette’s studio/store in Railtown, to customize your new favourite bag by choosing the leather, pockets, hardware and more.

Toto’s 40 Trips Around the Sun Tour Kicks Off in Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

It’s gonna take a lot to drag us away from you, Toto

Jul. 30, 2018 It was way back in 1978 that Toto burst onto the scene with the hit single “Hold the Line.” Their fourth album, the aptly named Toto IV, was released a few years later and featured the two biggest songs of their career: “Africa” and “Rosanna.” Now, the pop superstars are celebrating four decades in the music biz with their 40 Trips Around The Sun tour. Don’t miss the North American leg of the tour, kicking off at The Centre in Vancouver. Rock on.

Brewery & The Beast Back for Another Meaty Feast

By SHERI RADFORD

We’re definitely not going to have room for dessert (Photo by Ed Ng Photography)

Jul. 29, 2018 Calling all carnivores: only one event each summer combines perfectly prepared proteins with liberal lashings of local libations. When Brewery & The Beast returns to Vancouver this month, it brings with it dozens of acclaimed chefs and restaurants, including Hawksworth, Fable Diner, Maenam, Juniper, Edible Canada and Torafuku. Each one cooks, cures, roasts or barbecues various cuts of meat to mouth-watering perfection. And if you want to feel virtuous about such a day of debauchery, rest assured that partial proceeds go to charity. Ready, set, feast.

Les Misérables Comes to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

By SHERI RADFORD

Les Misérables plays at the QE Theatre from Jul. 10 to 15, 2018 (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Jul. 10 to 15, 2018 “Do you hear the people sing?” Chances are good you’ve heard Jean Valjean and Cosette, because Les Misérables is the world’s second-longest-running musical. The story of how a corrupt society turns people into beggars and criminals is as relevant now as when Victor Hugo wrote the novel that the show is based on, back in 1862. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

One Direction’s Harry Styles Plays Solo Show in Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD

Harry Styles performs at Rogers Arena on July 6 (Photo by Helene Pambrun)

Jul. 6, 2018 In 2016, teens and tweens around the world plunged into a period of mourning when One Direction went on hiatus. Happy times are here again, at least for fans of 1D’s Harry Styles. The singer-songwriter released his first solo album last year, and this month his tour rolls into Rogers Arena. Expect to hear his mega-hit “Sign of the Times,” along with 1D chart-toppers such as “What Makes You Beautiful.” Music fans, rejoice!

Comedian David Cross at the Vogue Theatre

By SHERI RADFORD

Expect hilarious rants when David Cross takes the stage at the Vogue Theatre

Jul. 4, 2018 The man who brought the hilariously oblivious Dr. Tobias Fünke to life on Arrested Development is also known for his side-splitting stand-up. David Cross fills his act with rants about the current political system, observations on the vagaries of modern life, old favourites such as “squagels” (square bagels) and a whole lot more. This month at the Vogue Theatre, you can find out for yourself why Comedy Central named him one of the 100 greatest comedians of all time. Squagel, anyone?

Explore Science World’s Pixar Exhibit

By SHERI RADFORD

Find out how Pixar’s popular animations come to life, at Science World

To Jan. 6, 2018 If you’ve ever wondered how characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Elastigirl were brought to life, then this is the exhibit for you. The Science Behind Pixar explores the science, technology and math that go into making Pixar’s computer-animated films. Learn about concept art, lighting, modelling, rendering and more, at Science World. “To infinity and beyond!”

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.