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KK Law

Indian Flavours Shine at Sitar

By TIM PAWSEY

Lamb korma (front), tandoori platter (L) and butter chicken (R), at Sitar. (Photo: KK Law)

Lamb korma (front), tandoori platter (L) and butter chicken (R), at Sitar. (Photo: KK Law)

In the centre of Gastown, across from Maple Tree Square, long-running Sitar serves traditional Indian fare, from goat masala to butter chicken and more. An extensive menu travels through mainstays such as mulligatawny soup, tandoori chicken, lamb tikka, fish korma, and a wealth of vegetarian dishes. Insiders opt for the set dinners of generously portioned three courses for two, including the Punjabi and Mughlai. Don’t miss the homemade kulfi, served with ice cream, pistachios, saffron and nuts.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Garden Delights

By TIM PAWSEY

Shaughnessy Restaurant is nestled in VanDusen Botanical Garden. (Photo: KK Law)

Shaughnessy Restaurant is nestled in VanDusen Botanical Garden. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome, springtime! Grab a garden-side table at these destinations both leafy and tasty.

1. Shaughnessy Restaurant (pictured) Enjoy locally inspired lunch, brunch, dinner or afternoon snacks, right in the heart of VanDusen Botanical Garden.

2. Horizons Restaurant Marvel at the panorama of Burrard Inlet and glimpses of downtown over albacore tuna tataki or hazelnut-crusted rack of lamb at this window-wrapped room atop Burnaby Mountain.

3. Seasons in the Park Combine Fraser Valley chicken or bone-in rib-eye from the wood-fired grill amidst the tranquil surroundings of Queen Elizabeth Park, with downtown and mountain views.

4. The Teahouse Walk the seawall after a lunch of smoked salmon flatbread or Brome Lake duck confit at this landmark in Stanley Park, overlooking Ferguson Point.

5. Hart House Restaurant Savour West Coast specialties such as pan-seared scallops, sous-vide steelhead or beef tenderloin with smoked-marrow pomme purée at this mock-Tudor mansion in the midst of verdant Deer Lake Park.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Baja North: Tacofino’s Taco Bar

By TIM PAWSEY

Tacofino's new Taco Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Tacofino’s new Taco Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Latino meets Tofino at Tacofino, an immensely popular spot that had its genesis in a food truck on the surfers’ paradise of Vancouver Island. Head to Gastown for their newest endeavour, Taco Bar. The delicious Mexican-inspired treats include kabocha squash and cauliflower tostada, lamb birria with preserved lemon zest, glazed beef rib with chilaquiles, super salsas, marvellous margaritas and more. Enter this capacious, century-old space, which sports plenty of booths and images of old Tofino scenes, off Blood Alley, near Gaoler’s Mews.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Spa Days

Three luxurious local spots offer the max in relax

By SHERI RADFORD + JILL VON SPRECKEN

Relaxation goes beyond the treatment rooms at Willow Stream Spa. (Photo: KK Law)

Relaxation goes beyond the treatment rooms at Willow Stream Spa. (Photo: KK Law)

Willow Stream Spa
Serenity can be found at Willow Stream Spa’s lofty locale, five floors above the hustle and bustle of the city’s downtown core. Decked out in plenty of marble and warm wood—a nod to the coastal rainforest setting—this spa offers a dose of Zen with postcard-worthy water views. The airy and bright space offers three lounges (men, women and couples) for sipping pineapple-infused water, snacking on fruit and nuts, and relaxing fireside in fluffy robes before, between or after treatments. Choosing from the array of massages, facials, body scrubs and wraps is simplified through treatment categories: relieve, restore or results. Simply select the type based on the desired result. A signature “restorative” pick, the Energy Deep Cleanse facial combines K-Lift light therapy technology with the know-how of the therapist to combat aging and to plump up skin. Sightseers with tired gams opt for the Van Active Feet, which targets lower legs and feet with a soak, warm exfoliation and cooling massage. Ingredients such as maple butter and Bio-Maple compound give treatments such as the Coastal Mountain Body Wrap and Pacific Rim Body Buffer a Canadian twist. Afterwards, bask in the post-treatment glow on the terrace, where jacuzzis, an infrared sauna and meditation pods complete the experience. Back inside the change room, don’t pass up the luxurious Hydrotherapy Experience Shower and its 20 showerheads. Trust us: the real world is still out there. But there’s no better way to ignore it for awhile.—JVS (more…)

Entertaining Appetites

By TIM PAWSEY

Fresh Italian mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, teardrop peppers and local beets, at Lupo. (Photo: KK Law)

Fresh Italian mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, teardrop peppers and local beets, at Lupo. (Photo: KK Law)

Pre- and post-theatre or hockey haunts abound—all with an eye on curtain- or puck-dropping time. Lupo caters to more formal tastes with polished Italian fare such as lamb shank ossobucco or rib-eye Fiorentina, served with flair in a charming, late-Victorian-era home. For more casual bites and good craft beers and spirits, head to the Yaletown Brewing Co. For post-game late-night bites, try expansive and upbeat Earls in Yaletown for myriad flavours, from kung pao noodles to Santa Fe Cajun chicken salad, with key lime pie for dessert.

5 Seawall Rewards

By TIM PAWSEY

TWB dishes up seafood salad with mussels, clams, squid, scallops and shrimp (front), along with gnocchi du jour (L) and crispy calamari (R). (Photo: KK Law)

TWB dishes up seafood salad with mussels, clams, squid, scallops and shrimp (front), along with gnocchi du jour (L) and crispy calamari (R). (Photo: KK Law)

These shoreside haunts are perfect for pampering after a brisk walk.

TWB — The Wine Bar (pictured) This compact, well-equipped bistro dispenses well-chosen wines by the glass and small plates with a Gallic twist. At the foot of Davie Street.

Cactus Club Cafe Smart tastes include “Iron Chef” Rob Feenie’s tuna tataki, and the ravioli and prawn trio. At Vancouver Convention Centre West and English Bay.

Go Fish Savour fish ’n’ chips and other fresh seafood at this bare-bones outdoor eatery close to Fishermen’s Wharf.

Ten Ten Tapas Find locally inspired creative small plates matched with local wines, craft beer and cocktails—plus live music Thursday through Saturday. Under the Burrard Street Bridge.

Tap & Barrel These spacious emporia offer solid pub fare with a plentiful selection of FreshTap BC wines by the glass along with an extensive offering of BC pints and cocktails. At Vancouver Convention Centre West and Olympic Village.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

French Flair at Au Comptoir

By TIM PAWSEY

Bustling Au Comptoir, located in trendy Kitsilano. (Photo: KK Law)

Bustling Au Comptoir, located in trendy Kitsilano. (Photo: KK Law)

With eye-catching details such as a floor painted to look like tile, the West Side’s Au Comptoir faithfully recreates an authentic French bistro. Locals pack in for grilled skirt steak with Roquefort sauce, duck confit and oeufs en meurette. No reservations, so it’s best to go early as regardless of the time of day—breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner—this popular petit coin in the heart of Kitsilano is always busy.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Main Event: Charlie’s Little Italian

By TIM PAWSEY

Bolognese pizza at Charlie's Little Italian. (Photo: KK Law)

Bolognese pizza at Charlie’s Little Italian. (Photo: KK Law)

A down-home, no-nonsense neighbourhood favourite, Charlie’s Little Italian draws a loyal Main Street crowd to a friendly room that doubles as an unabashed salute to Michael Caine’s Italian Job movie. Rustic plates and well-matched glasses of wine are smartly priced, along with pizzas, salads, pastas, creative side dishes and classics such as linguine vongole, or spaghetti with Pemberton beef meatballs.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Chloë Angus: A Life in Design

Chloë Angus’s winding path from small-town girl to fashion designer

By SHERI RADFORD

Chloë Angus, hard at  work in her gorgeous  new studio and showroom  on East 6th Avenue. (Photo: KK Law)

Chloë Angus, hard at work in her gorgeous new studio and showroom on East 6th Avenue. (Photo: KK Law)

The best way to fuel creativity is to grow up without a television, a phone or even electricity. At least, that’s how it worked for Chloë Angus. What the local fashion designer did have as a child was a small Singer sewing machine—and encouragement from her mother. “There were five kids in my family,” Angus says. “I think my mom was just happy to keep us busy doing different things.” Angus sewed clothes for herself and her dolls, along with “anything I could talk my brothers into wearing on Halloween.”

The family ran an organic seafood farm on the Sunshine Coast, 13.5 km (8.5 mi) by boat from the nearest small town, Egmont. When Angus was 12, she got a summer job working in Egmont’s one consignment store, but she made more money selling t-shirts she’d designed than from her wage. “I would catch live fish and paint them with some fabric paint, and I would press them into the shirt. And I signed on it that it was from Egmont, BC.”

After graduating high school, the bright lights of the big city drew Angus to Vancouver. “I spent most of my childhood scheming how I was going to get out of the small town and into the city. It’s funny, because now I spend most of my adult life scheming how I’m going to get back,” she says. After travelling around and exploring the world a bit, she—almost on a whim—started up a landscaping company and built it into a successful business. “Landscaping is about colour and balance and fitting into somebody else’s ideas with your own aesthetic. And a lot of hard work.”

As her 30th birthday loomed ever closer on the horizon, Angus did some soul searching and decided it was time to revisit her first love, fashion. She signed up for a one-year program at the prestigious Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. Angus credits her farming background with giving her the work ethic (not to mention the stamina) to juggle a demanding school program, a thriving landscaping business, and a new marriage.

As a newly minted fashion graduate, Angus caught the attention of a buyer for The Bay, Canada’s most venerated retail institution. She designed several collections for The Bay’s Canadian by Design department. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sketch for a spring design. (Photo: KK Law)

Sketch for a spring design. (Photo: KK Law)

Over the past 11 years, Angus has gone from toiling away on her designs in her basement, to a small office downtown, to a larger studio on Dunbar Street, to her current 280-sq-m (3,000-sq-ft) studio on 6th Avenue. She designs everything from t-shirts to fancy wedding dresses (just two or three each summer, for a few lucky brides), and an extraordinary amount of time and care go into each one: “We spend weeks on fitting a simple t-shirt—a t-shirt that looks as good on an extra-small as it does on a triple-extra-large.” Best known are her Spirit Wraps, the result of a creative collaboration with local First Nations artists such as Clarence Mills (Haida) and Corrine Hunt (Tlingit). Angus is also the fashion sponsor for the Leo Awards (BC’s version of the Academy Awards) here in Vancouver, and she loves dressing the trophy models and some of the actresses: “It gives me the opportunity to be over-the-top creative in any way that I want to be.” When actresses sometimes hesitate at the fancier gowns, “I always tell them it never hurts to be the best dressed lady at the party.” Recently, Angus had her first chance to design all of the costumes for a movie, a shot-in-Vancouver short comedy called I Wanna Date U.

Even as Chloë Angus Design grows and evolves, one thing that will never change is Angus’s commitment to staying in Vancouver. She finds design inspiration in the city’s natural beauty, and she loves the climate here compared to the rest of the country: “It might be raining really hard out today, but it’s not snowing,” she says. “I am a true Vancouverite. I own a nice collection of gumboots. I like umbrellas. I have a really fabulous raincoat coming out for fall 2015. I don’t like parkas. I think the rest of Canada is pretty much uninhabitable most of the year.”

The other place Angus finds inspiration? Beautiful fabrics. “Often I see a piece of fabric and it just talks to me. It says, ‘Make me into this.’ And I know right away what I will do with it.”

With any luck, Angus will continue finding inspiration for many decades to come.

Find Spirit Wraps at The Gallery Store and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. To see an array of Angus’s creations, visit Chloë Angus Design.

4 Cozy Corners

By TIM PAWSEY

Franco Felice, at Cafe Il Nido

Franco Felice, at Cafe Il Nido. (Photo: KK Law)

1. Cafe Il Nido Franco Felice’s long-running Italian resto is tucked into a courtyard within the heritage Manhattan building at Thurlow and Robson. Savour inventive Northern Italian plates such as balsamic-glazed wild sockeye salmon or penne with sautéed wild mushrooms and thyme cream sauce. Most pastas are also offered gluten-free. (more…)

Vancouver’s Marine Cuisine

By TIM PAWSEY

Herring, an unsung hero found at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (Photo: KK Law)

Herring, an unsung hero found at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

No surprise that seafood abounds in this ocean-bound town. Drop by bustling Sun Sui Wah for mid-day dim sum, or go later for the Alaskan king crab, squab, Peking duck or chilled seafood platter. For those wanting to try less familiar tastes, Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe obliges with its annual Unsung Heroes menu, featuring the likes of barnacles, mackerel and herring, in addition to seasonal staples such as arctic char, ling cod and sablefish. Right downtown? Drop by Yew in the Four Seasons for a bowl of chef Ned Bell’s corn “chowda,” overflowing with smoked black cod and Okanagan apples. It was the big winner in the recent Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown.

For more from Tim Pawsey visit hiredbelly.com

4 Asian Adventures

By TIM PAWSEY

Ocean Wise kaisen tomato ramen at Gyoza Bar + Ramen (Photo: KK Law)

Ocean Wise kaisen tomato ramen at Gyoza Bar + Ramen. (Photo: KK Law)

In this cosmopolitan town, myriad Pacific Rim flavours tempt at every turn.

1 Gyoza Bar + Ramen Find an edgy but cozy updated take on traditional ramen and gyoza in a warmly refurbished heritage setting. Go for the teppan gyoza served in a sizzling cast-iron pan, but don’t miss the kaisen tomato ramen brimming with fresh Ocean Wise seafood (pictured).

2 Banana Leaf This friendly, brightly decorated, casual chain celebrates all things Malaysian with wide-ranging cuisine from the heart of the Spice Route, such as rendang beef and Singapore chilli crab.

3 Kingyo Always hopping, this West End izakaya caters to a loyal following with polished small plates ranging from tantan noodles to miso-marinated black cod to pork tenderloin tempura.

4 Pink Elephant Thai Boldly fuchsia-toned, this Alberni Street haunt lures a lively crowd for smart cocktails, fusion dishes, and classic Thai tastes such as chicken satay, hot and sour soup, spring rolls, and spicy lettuce wraps with a choice of meats and tofu.

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