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Tim Pawsey

Superb Sips: A Taste of BC’s Thriving Wine Scene

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

Photo ©Klarka0608/shutterstock.com

Fancy a glass of BC pinot gris, pinot noir or bacchus? No problem! But it wasn’t always that way.

The local wine scene is blossoming, in part thanks to a changing climate, but also due to significant advances in viticulture. As well, winemaking expertise from regions around the world has contributed much to BC’s relatively new wine scene. Just 45 minutes from downtown, the Fraser Valley is home to some 15 grape wineries (as well as fruit wineries, cideries and meaderies). They include Chaberton Estate (the valley’s first winery, established in 1991), Township 7, Backyard Vineyards and Vista d’Oro, all in Langley, as well as Abbottsford’s Singletree Winery. Chaberton is also home to a delightful French bistro and ideal lunch stop, adjacent to the vineyard and rolling hills. (more…)

Gastown Con Gusto: Italian Fare at Di Beppe

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

Margherita pizza with mozzarella di bufala, and spaghetti amatriciana with guanciale, tomato and pecorino, at Di Beppe (Photo by KK Law)

Just a block from Gassy Jack’s statue, Di Beppe celebrates all things Italian. The lively corner cafe, with its bentwood chairs and intricately tiled floor, is busy all day. Locals drop by for good coffee and a bite of delicious sfogliatelle, or perhaps a bowl of gelato. Come evenings, the buzz spreads to the slightly-more-formal adjacent dining room, with its wide selection of classics: bruschetta with artichoke tapenade and pecorino, plates of steaming carbonara or amatriciana, and tempting pizzas. Flavours are rustic and robust, cocktails authentic (including an easy-sipping Aperol Spritz) and the service genuinely friendly. Inside scoop? Ask about their occasional family-style polenta nights.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Hoppy Hangouts: Vancouver’s Craft Beer Scene

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

Granville Island Brewing photo by KK Law

Thanks to the craft-beer revolution, a bevy of casual tasting rooms has emerged as neighbourhood anchors. Brewery Creek, near Main and Broadway, was the site of the city’s early industry. Close by, a cluster of modern-day haunts offers plenty of options. (more…)

The French Connection: Interview with Chef Michel Jacob

By TIM PAWSEY
May 2019

At Le Crocodile, Michel Jacob serves specialties such as filet de boeuf tartare (Photos by KK Law)

In an industry not short of egos, there are few “name” chefs more under-the-radar than Michel Jacob. The unassuming owner of Le Crocodile, arguably the éminence grise of the culinary scene, stays very much in the background—as in, the kitchen. For it’s from here he can ensure that every plate meets or exceeds expectations. (more…)

2019 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

At Provence Marinaside, the whole Dungeness crab provençale with seasonal vegetables and seven-grain rice is as attractive as it is delicious (Photo by KK Law)

We salute the restaurants and people who make Vancouver such a foodie paradise

By TIM PAWSEY, SHERI RADFORD & CHLOË LAI
MAY 2019

Critics’ Choice

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Provence Marinaside

No one makes more reservations in a year than a hotel concierge. And few have their fingers on the city’s dining pulse as firmly as Vancouver’s Les Clefs d’Or. Always in the loop, they can recommend the ultimate experience—and often secure that hard-to-find last-minute table. This year, their nod goes to Provence Marinaside, a waterside delight on False Creek’s Yaletown shore. Marine-inclined fare marries South of France classics with West Coast flair, such as bouillabaisse, Dungeness crab provençale and olive-dusted seared tuna, using the freshest of local ingredients. Savour smaller bites at the adjacent TWB — The Wine Bar.—TP (more…)

Verre: Coal Harbour’s Newest Brasserie

By TIM PAWSEY
Apr. 2019

Chef Liam Breen dishes up beetroot salad with black-truffle vinagrette (L) and grilled pork saddle with juniper jus (R)

Prodigal chef Liam Breen recently returned to Vancouver from Dubai to launch aptly named Verre. This glass-wrapped space on Coal Harbour’s seawall blends French and Mediterranean influences. Octopus is char-grilled and tender, with anchovy-saffron butter, olives and roasted garlic. Flavourful pork saddle with juniper jus, pear and celeriac is topped with crispy kale, while branzino, roasted whole and filleted, comes with cherry tomatoes and salsa verde. Wines are well chosen and locals have already discovered the pleasures of happy hour (4 to 6 p.m. and after 10 p.m.) at the cozy black-marble-clad bar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Ancora Brings Nikkei Cuisine to West Van

By TIM PAWSEY
Mar. 2019

Ancora photo by KK Law

Hop a cab across the Lions Gate Bridge to Ancora at Ambleside, in the heart of West Van, with sweeping views of Stanley Park and Burrard Inlet. Nikkei cuisine is a flavourful hybrid of Peruvian and Japanese cultures. Specialties roam from artfully assembled Dungeness crab causa with Huancaína sauce and olive “soil” to classic arroz con pato (rice and duck) with pickled shallots. Sablefish glazed with ají panca (mild Peruvian red pepper) and served with smoked potato and dashi-braised daikon is even more delicious when paired with junmai sake. Wines are well chosen and cocktails include a tasty—and sinus-clearing—wasabi margarita.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

High Steaks Heritage at Elisa

By TIM PAWSEY
Mar. 2019

A 32-oz portherhouse, at Elisa (Photo by KK Law)

Premium beef is the focus of recently unveiled Elisa, housed in a former warehouse space in the heart of Yaletown. Open and welcoming, this top-drawer destination features cuts cooked to perfection on the wood-fired Grillworks Infierno. Try the grass-fed strip loin and rib-eye from Cache Creek; the Angus Reserve tenderloin, strip loin and rib-eye from Alberta; and the trio of exceptional Wagyu offerings from Alberta, Kagoshima and Idaho. There’s also no problem finding a hearty Napa, Bordeaux or premium BC blend to go along, from a cellar of over 5,000 bottles.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

A Sampling of Vancouver’s Tapas Scene

By TIM PAWSEY
Feb. 2019

Spanish-style dishes at Bodega include (L-R) marinated and grilled lamb chops, spicy chorizo sausage and saffron-infused paella (Photo by KK Law)

A coterie of Spanish rooms yields a wealth of small plates. Drop by Bodega on Main for mainstays like grilled octopus, spicy chorizo, patatas bravas (zesty potatoes) and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), all served in heritage surroundings. On Commercial Drive, Cabrito melds classics with gluten- and dairy-free options, plus smartly picked wines and sherries. In Gastown, The Sardine Can is a compact spot that lives up to its name, and it tempts with smoked-ham-wrapped prunes, meatballs in tomato-and-red-wine sauce, and lots of tostas (toasts)—including, of course, sardines on toast.

Fresh Greek Flavours in Yaletown

By TIM PAWSEY
Jan. 2019

At The Greek by Anatoli, delicious dishes include grilled halloumi cheese, moussaka, rabbit popsicles and more

In the heart of Yaletown, The Greek by Anatoli celebrates all things Hellenic with a wide array of traditional tastes. This lively room with a long local pedigree lures with myriad mezzes (appetizers), from taramosalata (caviar spread) and saganaki (fried cheese) to hummus (chickpea dip) and kolokithakia (crispy zucchini chips). Locally sourced seafood and various souvlaki (meat skewers) are plentiful, served with rice, potatoes and vegetables, while roasted half chicken with lemon, oregano and mustard marinade is a firm favourite. Fun cocktails—all doubles—with daily drink deals and Happy Hour (with $4 ouzo shots and share plates) add to the always lively vibe.

French Fare Fit for a King

By TIM PAWSEY
Jan. 2019

Chef Herve Martin at The French Table

Chef Herve Martin, once personal chef to the late King of Belgium, holds court at The French Table, a charming Main Street salute to all things Burgundian. Martin is passionate about French cuisine, offering authentic stalwarts such as coq au vin, duck confit cassoulet, bouillabaisse, and escargots, as well as hard-to-find sweetbreads à la Grenobloise, and cheese or beef fondues. The intimate bistro setting, with its cozy bar and dark-wood trim, is welcoming and relaxed, with detail-driven but personable service. Not to be missed: crêpes suzette with orange and Grand Marnier sauce—and the best selection of Burgundy in the city, including bottles from the chef’s family estate.

Casual Chic: Lot185 Café + Wine Bar

By TIM PAWSEY
Dec. 2018

Lot185 Café + Wine Bar (Photo by KK Law)

Across from the Olympic Cauldron, inside the Vancouver Convention Centre’s west building, Lot185 is a West Coast riff on a modern Euro-cafe. Drop by in the morning for excellent coffee and perfect pastries. Or go later for lunch or early dinner. Detail-driven dishes range from tuna poke and smart salads to a plethora of pizzas (we love the funghi bianchi) and decadent desserts. The laid-back setting tempts with cosseting booths or seats at the bar, plus local brews and wines by the glass. And the name? It refers to the land title, purchased in 1862 by three Englishman who were derided for paying too much—for what is now the West End.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com.