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British Columbia

Serious Steak

By TIM PAWSEY

Gotham serves mouth-watering steaks and cool cocktails. (Photo: KK Law)

Gotham serves mouth-watering steaks and cool cocktails. (Photo: KK Law)

A downtown destination that celebrates with unabashed flair and opulence, Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar lives up to its reputation for superb, 28-day dry-aged, prime Alberta beef, paired with vintages from one of the city’s most extensive cellars, displayed on an interactive iPad list. Start out at the art deco–inspired cocktail bar, perhaps with a classic Manhattan, before settling into the plush, wood-panelled main room. Highlights range from an impeccable porterhouse to bone-in New York strip to two sizes of filet mignon, plus seafood selections and steak-and-marine combos. The well-executed lunches lean towards lighter fare, such as lobster bisque, tuna Niçoise, a hand-peeled shrimp sandwich and Dungeness crab cakes with lemon-dill mayonnaise.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Eastside Culture Crawl

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Visit artists in their studios and see art, crafts and more at the Eastside Culture Crawl

Visit artists in their studios and see art, crafts and more at the Eastside Culture Crawl

Looking to scout out studios? Marvel over masterpieces? Contemplate crafts? Then get ready to rub shoulders with local talent at the 18th annual Eastside Culture Crawl (Nov. 20 to 23). The popular annual event welcomes more than 20,000 art admirers into artists’ studio spaces in edgy East Van. Wondering where to begin? Download a map from the Crawl’s website, chart your course, and step out for this fun, free festival.

A Shoo-In: Orla Kiely x Clarks Collection

By SHERI RADFORD

Dotty in oxblood by Orla Kiely x Clarks capsule shoe collection

Dotty in oxblood from the Orla Kiely x Clarks capsule shoe collection

Kate Middleton and Zooey Deschanel are already fans of designer Orla Kiely. Now, for the second time, the “Queen of Prints” has partnered with the respected footwear brand Clarks. End result? The Orla Kiely x Clarks Autumn/Winter 2014 capsule shoe collection, which includes bold silhouettes and unexpected textures in six eclectic styles: the Dotty (pictured), Dora, Dorothy, Daphne, Dilly and Dixie. Find them all at Gravitypope, and get ready to put your best foot forward.

Get Cooking!

By SHERI RADFORD

Learn tips and tricks from the experts at The Dirty Apron, either with classes or a cookbook

Learn tips and tricks from the experts at The Dirty Apron, either with a class or a cookbook

If you can’t tell your mandoline from your mortar and pestle, The Dirty Apron Cooking School can help, with offerings ranging from Ocean Potion: The Seafood Class (Oct. 4, Nov. 13) to Meat Eaters Unite: The Meat Class (Nov. 20). Even if you’re already a budding Nigella or Emeril in the kitchen, the school’s chef instructors can help you improve your technique. For those who prefer to learn at home, The Dirty Apron Cookbook by David Robertson ($34.95) features more than 80 of the school’s tried-and-true dishes along with insider tips and tricks. Find it at local bookstores. Bon appétit!

Rumours?

By SHERI RADFORD

All five Fleetwood Mac members are on the road for their On With the Show tour

All five Fleetwood Mac members are on the road for their On With the Show tour

Those aren’t just rumours—for the first time in 16 years, all five Fleetwood Mac members are on the road together. Christine McVie has joined her bandmates Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks for the On With the Show tour, criss-crossing North America all autumn long. It rolls into Rogers Arena on Nov. 18 for an evening of timeless hits, everything from “Go Your Own Way” to “Dreams” to the guaranteed crowd-pleaser “Don’t Stop.”

We Heart Britto

By SHERI RADFORD

These bright suitcases from Britto eliminate any mix-ups at the luggage carousel

These bright suitcases from Heys help eliminate any mix-ups at the luggage carousel

At any airport overflowing with almost-identical black suitcases, the Britto Collection by Heys really stands out. Sporting the works of Brazil-born, Florida-based artist Romero Britto, the cheerful bags display elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti. More than just a pretty face, each bag boasts an expansion system—which means there’s always room to tuck in one more souvenir—as well as a fully lined interior, a built-in TSA lock and 360-degree spinner wheels. Pick up one at The Bay, and you’ll never again have trouble spotting your suitcase on the baggage carousel.

West End’s Left Bank

By TIM PAWSEY

John Blakeley at Left Bank. (Photo: KK Law)

John Blakeley at Left Bank. (Photo: KK Law)

John Blakeley (of Bistro Pastis) recently opened edgy, modern Left Bank in the space that over four decades saw various incarnations of Café de Paris. The result is a clean-lined room with an airy feel that complements Spencer Watts’s French-inspired menu, highlighted by tempura green beans, spicy albacore tuna cone, crispy ling cod, steak frites with Szechuan peppercorn sauce and dark chocolate tart with green tea anglaise. Also new is the West End’s first laneway patio, seasonal but heated, already a popular hangout.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Flashdance – The Musical

By SHERI RADFORD

The hit movie dances its way to the stage for Flashdance – The Musical

The hit movie dances its way to the stage for Flashdance – The Musical

Back in 1983, the influence of Flashdance was inescapable. The hit movie produced a flood of top-10 songs—“Maniac,” “Gloria,” “Manhunt,” “I Love Rock ’N’ Roll,” plus that oh-so-catchy title track—and countless fashion trends. Now it’s time to brush off those old legwarmers and off-the-shoulder grey sweatshirt and head to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the stage adaptation, Flashdance – The Musical (Nov. 11 to 16). What a feeling!

Journey to the South Pacific

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Shake off those winter blues with a visit to the National Geographic IMAX Theatre for Journey to the South Pacific. Narrated by Cate Blanchett, the breathtaking IMAX® adventure explores the lush tropical islands of remote West Papua, where life flourishes above and below the sea. Jawi, a young island boy, takes viewers on a journey of discovery to this magical place where we encounter whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and other creatures of the sea. Home to more than 2,000 species of sea life, this exotic locale features the most diverse marine ecosystem on earth. An uplifting story of hope and celebration, Journey to the South Pacific highlights the importance of living in balance with the ocean planet we all call home. 

 

Historic Treasure

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Step back in time at Craigdarroch Castle this winter. The holiday season is magical at Victoria’s historic castle, decked out in traditional Victorian finery each

Decorating the Castle for the Christmas season takes many hours and hands, but the end result is nothing short of magical. Be sure to stop by in December music, children’s storytime and a theatrical treat with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted as a one-man play by Jason Stevens, performed in the Dance Hall December 4 to 6, 10. 11, 22 and 23. Christmas Carol tickets are available in advance at thecastle.ca $20 for adults, $15 for members and students.

Other events include the traditional Scottish New Year’s celebration of Hogmany, and of course, Robbie Burns Day in January.

HOT SHOPPING

Hot Shopping-Sweet Dreams-Winter

Sweet Winter Dreams

If there was never a season that begged for cosy new bedding, this is it. Luckily Victorians have an excellent selection to choose from at Sweet Dreams Boutique, with stores on downtown Victoria and downtown Sidney. Their excellent section of made-in-BC bedding products and beautiful, cosy accessories are sure to give your bedroom a stylish, inviting ambience…and a comfy place to rest your head this winter!

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Go Green

Looking for something special to take home for your someone special? Stop by Jade Victoria for an array of spectacular selections crafted from BC jade. From wearable art, like these classic cuff links, to desk accessories and oh-so-special hand-crafted d keepsakes, this charming downtown shop is definitely worth a visit.

 

Craft brewing goodness to take home

Hot Shopping-VI Brewery

Victoria has earned a well-deserved reputation as a craft brew mecca. Come learn more about one of those at the forefront of the movement as Vancouver Island Brewery concludes its  year-long 30th anniversary celebration this winter.

No surprise, the award-winning brewery has marked the occasion with a signature brew, 30th Anniversary Imperial Red Ale. A tribute to the beer that helped make this brewery, Piper’s Pale Ale, this bold, malty, well-hopped beer is the brewery’s way of paying homage to the past and looking forward to the future. Fancy something a little more seasonal? Stop by the Government Street brewery to shop for two winter favourites, the Hermannator Ice Bock and Storm Watcher Winter Lager. Yum!