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Vancouver and Whistler 2013 Where to Dine Winners

By Tim Pawsey

Where’s annual salute to the brightest and best serves as a fitting culinary snapshot of Vancouver, a worthy reminder from well-travelled voting visitors as to just how blessed this city is by such diversity. Our vibrant multicultural culinary scene is fuelled increasingly by local year-round ingredients and flourishing artisan producers. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists! (more…)

Hot Dining: Best New Restaurant Vancouver in 2012

Don’t-miss dish: “canned” tuna. Photo by KK Law

It was barely a couple of days before Top Chef Canada finalist Trevor Bird’s revival of a shuttered Kitsilano spot into vibrant farm-focused Fable Kitchen became a Vancouver hotspot. What makes it tick? Short answer: just about everything, from Bird’s concise but varied menu of responsibly sourced ingredients to the well-drilled team in the open kitchen and beyond. Our faves range from “canned” tuna to potato-crusted chicken to a show-stopping cooked-rare tender duck breast to flat-iron steak with black pepper jam—plus sidekick Curtis Luk’s superb desserts. Best place to take in the action? The end seat at the open kitchen bar—right where the chef assembles and checks each plate before it goes to the table, calls for service and generally runs the show. And even finds time to chat.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Green Cuisine at Sustainable New Restaurant Forage

Chef Chris Whittaker with Fraser Valley beets (front), Pacific Provider salmon (middle) and apple pie (back), at Forage. Photo by KK Law

Newly unveiled Forage on Robson Street is the city’s most sustainable room, both on and off the menu. Chef Chris Whittaker’s creations highlight local ingredients, not only seasonal but also gathered and preserved year round. The feel is more contemporary gastropub than hotel dining room, with well-picked pints plus BC wines on tap. Tastes wander from crunchy pork-rind popcorn to seared albacore tuna with blackberry-and-fir jelly, not to mention a silky smooth spot prawn chowder that swept the field at the Vancouver Aquarium’s hotly contested Chowder Chowdown. Looking for more ways to balance calories with carbon credits? Check out casual and hip Commune Cafe or regional trailblazer Raincity Grill.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Healthy Eating at Gorilla Food

The "Go Veggie" burger, at Gorilla Food. Photo copyright www.kylabrownphotography.com

If you think healthy eating equals boring eating, think again. The creative folks at Gorilla Food serve up a colourful palette of palate-pleasing raw, organic, vegan foods, with an emphasis on ones grown locally and sustainably.—Sheri Radford

Hot Dining: Cactus Club Cafe’s New, Sustainable Location

Cactus Club Cafe's English Bay location

The newest Cactus Club location is more than just a pretty face. Sure, the restaurant is situated right on the beach, offering a stunning view of English Bay, but it’s also eco-friendly, with its living roof, organic herb garden and plentiful bike racks. The green building has been constructed to meet LEED Gold Certification. So, as you take in the spectacular scenery while nibbling on divine dishes created by Iron Chef Rob Feenie, raise a glass to Vancouver-style sustainability.—Sheri Radford

Vancouver and Whistler 2011 Where to Dine Award Winners Revealed

By Tim Pawsey

Blessed with a happy marriage of abundant year-round fresh ingredients, a diaspora of ethnic influences and limitless culinary talent, Vancouver is hailed as a foodie’s paradise by critics and casual diners alike. A broad offering, from corner cafes to craft brew–fuelled pubs to edgy, contemporary regional rooms, means this city is never short of choice. The only challenge might be deciding where to go and what to order. Where’s well-travelled readers weigh in with their taste-filled finds in the 16th annual Where to Dine awards. (more…)

Hot Entertainment: VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Green Design

VanDusen Botanical Garden's visitor centre. Photo by KK Law

From the top of its green roof to the depths of its geothermal energy system, the new visitor centre at VanDusen Botanical Garden is blazing a path in sustainable design. The building, with its eye-catching undulating roofline that resembles an orchid, uses green strategies such as rammed-earth walls, reclaimed lumber, on-site water capture and treatment, a photovoltaic system to generate electricity, and a giant skylight/solar chimney (pictured) that functions as a natural air conditioner. Designed to exceed LEED Platinum certification, the centre is also on track to be the fourth building in the world (and first in Canada) to meet the stringent Living Building Challenge (www.ilbi.org), which analyzes seven key components: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Even for those who don’t know anything about eco-friendly design, there’s no denying the building’s beauty. See it for yourself this month, and be sure to stop by on Plant Sale Day (Apr. 29), when admission to the garden is free. —Sheri Radford

Hot Dining: Eco-Friendly Green Table Restaurants

Pork rack chop with Parmesan gnocchi and bacon jus, at Hamilton Street Grill. Photo by KK Law

4 Eco-Friendly Eats


Looking for a meal that’s as good for the environment as it is for you? These Green Table–certified restaurants are sustainable from top to bottom.

1 Hamilton Street Grill Warm and friendly, this converted Yaletown warehouse is known for certified Angus steaks and great seafood.

2 Raincity Grill Across the street from English Bay beach, regional-seasonal plates are paired with wines from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

3 Commune Cafe Right downtown, this minimalist cafeteria-style spot with a hipster buzz serves all things free-range, organic and sustainable, from dawn to dusk and beyond. (more…)

Hot Shopping: West Side Welcome

Nicole Bridger's West Fourth Avenue store

West Fourth Avenue has a couple of new neighbours: Nicole Bridger (pictured) and Skoah. Bright eco-chic boutique Nicole Bridger carries fashion-forward skirts, dresses, jackets and tunics all made from sustainable fabrics and coloured with low-impact dyes. Skoah’s cozy location comes packed full of the luxe in-house brand of skincare products for the face, body and hair.—Jennifer Patterson

You Are Here: Hamilton Street

Find an eclectic mix of dining, shopping and places for pampering on this stretch in historic Yaletown

By Jill Von Sprecken

Hamilton Street Grill. Photo by KK Law

The bold graphic prints at iconic Finnish company Marimekko pack a punch on bright handbags, home accessories and fashions for the whole family. Or try the Goorin Brothers Hat Shop, a brand established in 1895, on for size. The stylish boutique carries a selection of toppers for men and women, ranging from classic to creative.

In an area brimming with salons, Noir Lash Lounge has the niche market covered. Eyelash extensions, the only service offered, make peepers pop with styles ranging from au naturel to high drama. At Blo, a bombshell blowout is only a hairdryer away. There’s nary a pair of scissors nor a bottle of dye to be found, just salon-worthy locks in a snap. Guilt-free indulgence can be found at Frilly Lilly, where dessert-inspired beauty products, such as the “bathcake,” are (almost) good enough to eat.

A converted brick-and-beam warehouse space is the backdrop for Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, where innovative offerings, such as jellyfish and sea urchin, are always local and sustainable as well as beautifully prepared. Drop anchor at casual Rodney’s Oyster House for raw oysters and chowders that are sure to make a splash.

Society. Photo by KK Law

For a new take on small plates, visit Hapa Izakaya to sample Japanese tapas, sake and cocktails. At Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill, the extensive wine cellar is second only to the fresh ingredients and traditional flavours, which take centre stage. Try Hamilton Street Grill for steaks or the famous burger, served with aged cheddar and truffle mayonnaise. Sip cool cocktails and nosh on pad thai on Charm Modern Thai’s trendy patio. For other South Asian bites, try Simply Thai or Urban Thai Bistro. Hot spot Society serves creative comfort food with a twist, from spiked milkshakes to lobster shepherd’s pie.

For inspired cocktails that will get your creativity flowing, check out Raw Canvas. An extensive menu of beer, wine and mixed drinks is served alongside the “painting pit.” Purchase a canvas and unleash your inner artist. If a caffeine buzz is what you’re after, try Argo Cafe for that perfect cup. Fair trade beans are roasted in-house and complemented with soups, sandwiches and baked goods.

DJs set the scene at George Ultra Lounge, the perfect spot to sip a classic martini. Built on a foundation of food, drink and graffiti art, 100 Nights is a lively venue with plenty of glitz and glamour. Trendy Afterglow Lounge combines sultry decor, beautiful people and libations—certainly a potent cocktail.

Hamilton Street is a 10-minute walk from downtown. Or take the Canada Line SkyTrain to the Yaletown-Roundhouse stop.

Hot Shopping: Local Labels

We love apparel from local label dace

Vancouver bursts at the seams with talented fashion designers.

>> Okanagan-born Dace Moore celebrates the 10th anniversary of her eponymous line this year. Moore’s designs (pictured) are feminine, with a focus on clean lines and attention to detail (www.dace.ca).

>> Nicole Bridger just opened up her first store to house her namesake eco-driven line. She received Canada’s first Eco Designer of the Year award in 2010 (www.nicolebridger.com).

>> Allison Smith started her line, Allison Wonderland, back in 1998. Her charming range of dresses, jackets, shorts and shirts can be found in shops across Canada (www.allisonwonderland.ca).—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Eco Chic Spots

Since green is the new black, Winnipeg retailers are diversifying to meet their customer’s growing appetite for goods that are easy on the environment:

Five Two Boutique is strictly sustainable. Slick fashions from Canadian and international designers for men, women and kids hang from racks cleverly repurposed from junk yard iron sink braces. 52 Adelaide St, 204-415-5657.

At For Space Sake, brightly coloured iPad cases and desk organizers are made of recycled Italian leather. 1824 Grant Ave, 204-488-2633.

Natural bath and body boutique Heartsease also sells soap nuts (pictured), which have shells packed with saponins. This natural detergent can replace laundry soap. 941 Westminster Ave, 204-474‑0470.

At Tiber River Naturals all body lotions, scrubs and even deodorant are made locally from natural ingredients. Try the lemon poppy seed shower shake that smells good enough to eat. 408 Academy Rd, 204-474-4247; 3-1650 Kenaston Blvd, 204-284-4247.