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Cafes Vancouver

Buzzing Bakery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Tempt your taste buds with treats for every occasion. (Photo by Betty Hung)

Tempt your taste buds with treats for every occasion. (Photo by Betty Hung)

Love honey? Then make a beeline to Beaucoup Bakery for honey pastries that arrived just in time for spring. The bakery is all abuzz with excitement for three new creations that celebrate local, small-batch nectar from Hives for Humanity. Satisfy that sweet tooth with the buttery Honey Banana Double Baked Croissant, topped with honey caramel and crushed banana chips. For a delicately sweet treat, try the unbaked Grapefruit Honey Tarragon Cheesecake. Or indulge in the savoury Miso Honey Roasted Eggplant Flatbread, with fresh zucchini shiso salad. Trust us: it’s the bee’s knees.

A Sweet Story

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Biting into a perfectly crisp, flaky pastry can certainly feel like a life-changing experience, but in the case of Jackie Kai Ellis, that indulgence actually helped the Beaucoup Bakery owner whip up a new life. When Ellis flew to Paris to study pastry making at École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, she left behind her life as a graphic designer with her own firm. The catalyst? A cookie. (more…)

10 Spots to Dine on Commercial Drive

By TIM PAWSEY

Arriva Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

Arriva Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

True to its origins, Commercial Drive is home to myriad Italian and other flavours. Discover sweet treats at Fratelli Bakery, super sandwiches and cheeses at La Grotta del Formaggio or the ultimate espresso at Prado Cafe. Dining roams from authentic plates at long-running Arriva (pictured) to oven-fired pizzas at Marcello, Lombardo’s and Via Tevere Pizzeria, which is worth the detour to nearby Victoria Drive. Tunisian and French tastes rule at romantic Carthage Cafe. Sniff out Fets for the town’s biggest single-malt offering, or check into St. Augustine’s for its impressive range of craft brews. The Drive has it all.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Green Grocer: Be Fresh Local Market

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Produce at Be Fresh Local Market

Produce at Be Fresh Local Market

Picking up provisions can feel like a chore, especially when on the quest for healthy, convenient cuisine. That’s why Be Fresh Local Market’s diminutive cafes and grocery store really pack a punch. Local products—think Nice Vice ice cream and Erin Ireland’s To Die For banana bread—a juice bar, bakery and to-go meals line the carefully curated shelves, for a fresh take on refuelling. Plus, the Kitsilano location boasts a grocery shop on-site, with plenty of farm-fresh produce and artisan fare. Added bonus: the focus on sustainability. Over-ripe produce gets slated for the juicer, and grocery delivery by bike through partner SPUD is on offer. Easy as (organic) pie.

Where the Wild Things Are

Orcas and parrots and bears, oh my! Take a walk on the wild side to spot awe-inspiring—and downright adorable—animals at locations around Vancouver

By SHERI RADFORD and JILL VON SPRECKEN

Grinder shows off his balancing skills in the grizzly bear enclosure at Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Grinder shows off his balancing skills in the grizzly bear enclosure at Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Grouse Mountain
For close encounters of the furry and feathered kind, set your sights on Grouse Mountain. At the mountaintop, find grizzlies Grinder and Coola roaming and splashing around their 2-hectare (5-acre) wildlife refuge. The two bears aren’t related, but they do share a similar backstory: both were found orphaned as cubs, then rescued in 2001. For a meal that’s more than memorable, watch the bears’ morning feeding, then tuck into your own bear-themed breakfast (to Oct. 9, 2016). Those inclined to flights of fancy head to the Birds in Motion demonstration to meet the resident raptors, including hawks, owls and a golden eagle. On the way back down the Skyride—or from the parking lot—try to spot timber wolf Alpha, a retired movie star, who cuts an imposing figure as he roams his habitat.—JVS

Vancouver Aquarium
All that’s wet and wild—on the West Coast and beyond—can be found at the Vancouver Aquarium, where more than 50,000 animals from around the world make a splash with visitors and locals alike. Be mesmerized by jellyfish, roll up your sleeves and pet a stingray, watch acrobatic Pacific white-sided dolphins, and come face-to-fin with many other aquatic residents. But the menagerie of marine life goes way past penguins and beyond belugas: see salamanders and frogs, slow-moving sloths and even Amazonian insects. The aquarium’s intent is to inspire and educate ocean admirers of all ages, but it just so happens to be a ton of fun, too.—JVS

Whale Watching
When it comes to awe-inspiring sights, glimpsing whales in their natural habitat ranks as high as the watery giants dive deep. In the Strait of Georgia, orcas can be spotted breaching and spy-hopping for onlookers, an impressive sight when considering their massive size—5,400 kg or 6 tons—and striking black-and-white dress. And these playful members of the dolphin family aren’t the only species that call the local waters home: grey whales, minke whales, humpbacks and dolphins can also be found in the area, as they feed, frolic and ultimately charm visitors. To see whales in the wild, book a tour with one of the many local whale watching companies.—JVS

Catfe. (Photo: KK Law)

One of Catfé’s furry residents. (Photo: KK Law)

Catfé
Vancouver’s first cat cafe has the purr-fect combination of coffee to sip, treats to nibble and kitties to cuddle. Home to a rotating selection of eight to twelve friendly felines, all available for adoption, Catfé offers a safe space for homeless cats to meet an array of people—even pop superstar Adele, who stopped by in July. Since opening late last year, Catfé has found forever homes for more than 160 cats, including Larry and Darla (who didn’t let Adele’s attention go to their heads), along with Mr. Whiskers, Cornelius, Pitter Pat and Ron Furgandy. The cafe also stocks an assortment of “meowchandise.” It’s definitely the cat’s pyjamas.—SR

Maplewood Farm
More than 200 animals call Maplewood Farm home, everything from horses and cows to birds and rabbits. Kids can experience what it’s like to live on a farm by riding a pony, watching a milking demonstration and feeding the chickens, ducks and bunnies. Call ahead to find out about special behind-the-scenes opportunities to groom the animals, collect eggs, set up feed and more. It might be enough to turn an urban-dwelling child into a budding Old MacDonald.—SR

Bloedel Conservatory
Stepping into the Bloedel Conservatory is like entering another country, a lush paradise filled with 500 exotic plants and flowers and 200 free-flying birds, all under one dome. Say hello to finches, cockatoos, doves, partridges, parakeets, Chinese pheasants, dwarf macaws and African parrots—and don’t be surprised if one says hello right back. The three different climate zones (tropical rainforest, subtropical rainforest and desert) make the whole experience feel like an overseas vacation, all without leaving Vancouver.—SR

5 Finny Faves

By TIM PAWSEY

Fish Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Fish Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Truly a seafood-lover’s paradise, Vancouver boasts an abundance of marine cuisine. But for purists it’s ultimately about the fish ’n’ chips.

1. Fish Café Combine a visit to leafy Kerrisdale with super-fresh halibut and chips, blackened salmon salad or daily blackboard specials.

2. Go Fish On the seawall just west of Granville Island, this all-outdoors eatery serves fish ’n’ chips, tacos and plenty more, right by the dock, against a city backdrop.

3. The Fish Counter Main Street’s Ocean Wise–certified fishmonger, which doubles as a tiny diner, serves wicked fish ’n’ chips, plus oyster po’boys, lingcod and more.

4. Tony’s Fish and Oyster Cafe On Granville Island, drop by this compact spot for your pick of cod, salmon or halibut, served with Kennebec fries and homemade tartar sauce.

5. Pajo’s Wild-caught salmon, halibut and cod are served on a floating dock beside the fishing boats at Steveston Wharf. Also find a kids’ menu, burgers and more. Additional locations in Richmond, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

25 Things We Love About Summertime in Vancouver

As the temperature rises, so does our passion for this sun-kissed city

By SHERI RADFORD

A stroll through downtown’s magnificent Stanley Park. (Photo: KK Law)

A stroll through downtown’s magnificent Stanley Park. (Photo: KK Law)

1. Long evenings that end in glorious sunsets.

2. Kayaking, canoeing, dragon boating, stand-up paddle boarding and any other water-based activity.

3. Spending a leisurely morning at a farmers’ market.

4. The abundance of outdoor festivals.

5. Seeing orcas in the wild on a whale-watching adventure. (more…)

Top-Notch Eateries in Trendy Kitsilano

By TIM PAWSEY

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro has plenty of tempting choices

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro has plenty of tempting choices. (Photo: KK Law)

Just across the Burrard Bridge from downtown, Kitsilano offers a wealth of dining choices that reflect the neighbourhood’s trendy personality and scenic setting. West off Burrard on 4th Avenue, savour wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and other Italian classics at Bibo Pizzeria con Cucina. Cutting-edge MaenamVancouver Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year 2016—delights with contemporary Thai flavours. Next door, Fable takes farm-to-table to new heights, with “canned tuna” and smoked duck. Very polished Bistro Pastis yields classic French fare in an elegant setting, while Au Comptoir sports a more casual style. (more…)

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)

10 Places to Indulge in the West End

By TIM PAWSEY

Burrata with prosciutto,  at Nook. (Photo: KK Law)

Burrata with prosciutto, at Nook. (Photo: KK Law)

Home to a wealth of small restaurants, the West End revels in myriad flavours. Along Davie Street, upstairs Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen offers subtly spiced Tibetan and Nepalese plates, from soups to curries to momos (steamed or pan-fried dumplings packed with chicken, vegetables or yak). Nearby Kadoya rolls out some of the most inventive sushi in the city, while just off Burrard, tiny and perfect wine bar Latab matches small plates with a unique list of natural wines. (more…)

Sweet & Savoury: Thierry

By TIM PAWSEY

Quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon and mushrooms, at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon and mushrooms, at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Polished and sophisticated, Thierry enjoys a well-earned rep for its seductive smorgasbord of sweet treats. Regulars at Thierry Busset’s Parisian-styled cafe and patisserie also indulge in tempting sandwiches, created by chef Quang Dang of West Restaurant. Made with bread baked fresh daily in-house, faves range from tuna Niçoise with sherry dijon dressing to avocado and mozzarella with lemon aioli, plus a selection of quiches—including, of course, quiche Lorraine.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com