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KK Law

Taco Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Soft and crunchy carnitas (front), lemon grass chicken burritos (left) and tater tots (right). (Photo: KK Law).

Soft and crunchy carnitas (front), lemon grass chicken burritos (left) and tater tots (right). (Photo: KK Law)

A recent arrival in Yaletown, pint-sized Tacofino is an offshoot of its ever-popular Gastown mothership. Pack in for surf-centric bites such as lingcod fish tacos, beef-brisket-barbacoa burritos, white-bean tacos and more. Traditional tequila cocktails include a margarita and a paloma. Think Tofino meets Baja–with sustainably sourced ingredients and Ocean Wise seafood.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Convention Centre Cravings

By TIM PAWSEY

Angus prime rib beef dip, at Lions Pub. (Photo: KK Law).

Angus prime rib beef dip, at Lions Pub. (Photo: KK Law)

A wealth of options around the Vancouver Convention Centre include breakfast bites at De Dutch, pub fare at Mahony & Sons, West Coast cuisine at Cactus Club and well-picked pints at Tap & Barrel. Plus myriad flavours await just a few steps away.

Lions Pub This warm and welcoming British-inspired haunt yields good local taps and suitably pubbish fare to go along, from Scotch eggs to rarebit to mini Yorkshire puddings.

Chewies This bustling emporium adds a southern twist to all things bivalve, “steamed, stewed or nude.”

Giovane Just off the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s lobby, this self-serve Euro-cafe enjoys a well-earned rep for excellent coffee, smart paninis, perfect pasta and tempting baked treats.

Hapa Izakaya Find traditional Japanese tastes with a West Coast small-plates bent, along with the freshest of sushi, serious sake and smartly chosen wines, in a sleek ’n’ sexy setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Fabulous Fare at Fable Diner

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Trevor Bird dishes up hearty favourites such as roast duck pancakes (front) and a pulled-pork sandwich (back). (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Trevor Bird dishes up hearty favourites such as roast duck pancakes (front) and a pulled-pork sandwich (back). (Photo: KK Law)

Fable Diner, chef Trevor Bird’s first foray into East Van, is a welcoming diner in the historic Lee building at the corner of Main and Broadway. The Top Chef Canada finalist is carrying on the ever-popular diner tradition with burgers and shakes and creative twists on the down-home theme. Fave plates roam from a trucker’s breakfast to ketchup-less cottage pie to a “West Coast toast” of avocado, smoked steelhead and horseradish, plus fancy sundaes and lemon meringue parfait for dessert.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Gastown Spirit: La Mezcaleria

By TIM PAWSEY

La Mezcaleria serves (clockwise from top left) esquites (toasted corn), pescado frito (fried fish), chicharrón (crispy pork belly) and tostadas. (Photo: KK Law)

La Mezcaleria serves (clockwise from top left) esquites (toasted corn), pescado frito (fried fish), chicharrón (crispy pork belly) and tostadas. (Photo: KK Law)

Mexico’s revered agave gets the royal treatment at La Mezcaleria, which boasts the city’s most extensive array of authentic mezcal and tequila, plus a gamut of traditional dishes. Go for the charred citrus prawns, slow-braised Alberta short rib cazuela, Manhattan strip loin, crunchy chicharrón (whether pork belly or ahi tuna), and other irresistible share plates—not to mention the chill decor, with its cool green tiles and comfy banquettes, plus breakfast cocktails and Friday-night DJs. But, above all, don’t miss the extraordinary mezcal and tequila taster flights.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Totally Thai: Pink Elephant Thai

By TIM PAWSEY

Pink Elephant Thai's modern interior. (Photo: KK Law)

Pink Elephant Thai’s modern interior. (Photo: KK Law)

Close to Robson Street, Pink Elephant Thai is hard to miss. With its broad swaths of vivid fuchsia, this smartly appointed, boldly contemporary spot lures a hip crowd for classic bites such as cashew chicken satay, green curry beef, spicy Pad Kee Mao and more. Drop by midday for good-value lunch combos, during “appy hour” for quick bites or later for a lively cocktail scene with Thai-themed martinis.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Made in Vancouver

Jewellery designer Negar Khatami finds inspiration in her adopted hometown

By SHERI RADFORD

Negar Khatami working on one of her jewellery pieces. (Photo: KK Law)

Negar Khatami working on one of her jewellery pieces. (Photo: KK Law)

Negar Khatami never set out to make jewellery.

In 1997, she immigrated to Vancouver with her parents and brother. The whole family was seeking opportunities in the West that weren’t available in politically unstable Iran. For several years she went to business school, attending classes full-time and working at a bank part-time. Then, an epiphany: “It was in my last year or so I realized that this is not for me,” she says. “I didn’t see myself sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life.” (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

French Fare at Tableau Bar Bistro

By TIM PAWSEY

Niçoise salad (front left) and steak frites at Tableau Bar Bistro. (Photo: KK Law)

Niçoise salad (front left) and steak frites at Tableau Bar Bistro. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away beside the Loden Hotel, Tableau Bar Bistro delivers French cuisine in a relaxed but polished setting. The menu shifts seasonally, but some stalwarts always prevail, such as grilled flat iron steak frites, free-range chicken supreme, moules frites and albacore tuna niçoise, as well as irresistible mushrooms on toast. For dessert: coconut crème brûlée, chocolate mousse and other surprises. Wines are smartly chosen, cocktails are classic, and brews range from local on tap to specialty French and Belgian.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Terrific Thai

By TIM PAWSEY

Chu-chee salmon at U & I Thai. (Photo: KK Law)

Chu-chee salmon at U & I Thai. (Photo: KK Law)

Cleverly monikered U & I Thai stands for Ui Ratsomjit, who calls on her upbringing and experience running a food cart in Bangkok to offer authentic dishes using fresh local ingredients. Friendly servers in traditional costumes bring mainstays ranging from green papaya salad to stuffed chicken wings to pad thai with prawns and satays, plus coconut with crème brûlée for dessert.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

4 Oyster Emporiums

By TIM PAWSEY

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar has something for every bivalve enthusiast. (Photo: KK Law)

The city celebrates the first of the “R” months in style.

1. Fanny Bay Oyster Bar This just-launched tide-to-table room brings in several kinds of fresh oysters and more from pristine local waters. Go for the salmon burger, hangtown fry or battered lingcod, but don’t miss the daily buck-a-shuck: 12 for $12, from 3 to 6 p.m. (more…)

Contemporary Cuisine in Chinatown

By TIM PAWSEY

The charcuterie board at Juniper is brimming with bison peppercorn salami, chicken liver parfait, pickles and more. (Photo: KK Law)

The charcuterie board at Juniper brims with bison peppercorn salami, chicken liver parfait, pickles and more. (Photo: KK Law)

One of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, Chinatown is home to a clutch of edgy restos. Juniper celebrates all things Cascadian, such as Salish Sea mussels, seared black cod with sungolds, Fraser Valley pork chops with cheesy polenta and bean succotash, and a BC cheese board with local honey. Cocktails, too, are inventive, from variations on classics made with BC gins to the lemon-and-ginger-toned Wing Sang whisky sour. Wander by Sai Woo for casual contemporary Asian bites matched with smart sips in a dramatically refurbished 1930s chop suey house. Or, head to bustling Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie for crossover Sichuan and Shanghai small plates, and more good cocktails.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

The Must List: September

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Take in spectacular views of the city on a flightseeing tour. (Photo: KK Law)

Take in spectacular views of the city on a flightseeing tour. (Photo: KK Law)

Give two thumbs up to top-notch performances at the Vancouver Fringe Festival (Sep. 8 to 18, 2016) and the Vancouver International Film Festival (Sep. 29 to Oct. 14, 2016).

Fill your camera with photos of landmarks such as the Gastown Steam Clock, Olympic Cauldron, Inukshuk, Digital Orca, Canada Place and A-maze-ing Laughter.

Eat sushi. (more…)