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KK Law

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…)

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

Get the Scoop

Make your summer even sweeter with a creamy, dreamy scoop at one—or all—of these frozen favourites

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Earnest Ice Cream. (Photo: KK Law)

Earnest Ice Cream. (Photo: KK Law)

1. Earnest Ice Cream Small batches and local ingredients give these popular scoops a grown-up feel, but flavours like cinnamon heart, lavender and toasted marshmallow will make you feel like a kid again. (more…)

Hawksworth Redux: Nightingale

By TIM PAWSEY

Heirloom tomato salad with cucumber and eggplant (front) and Pacific octopus (back), at Nightingale

Heirloom tomato salad with cucumber and eggplant (front) and Pacific octopus (back), at Nightingale. (Photo: KK Law)

Nightingale, the much-anticipated room from culinary virtuoso David Hawksworth, has opened in the artfully renovated former premises of the historic University Club. The reincarnated heritage space features a lively lower-level lounge below soaring ceilings, with the expansive dining area upstairs. The mood is casually elegant, and the seasonal menu salutes all things Canadian. Perfect share dishes roam from wild spring salmon ceviche with radish and quinoa to grilled pork belly with nectarine and pistachio. Another highlight is the savoury maitake mushroom, which arrives with pecorino, brown butter and hazelnut, while desserts include a seriously addictive pot de crème. Best foodie seats in the house: a clutch of high-tops right across from the open kitchen—unless you already have an invitation to the chef’s table.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Outdoor Eating

When the weather’s warm, there’s plenty to adore about the great outdoors. Savour the sunshine and dine alfresco with these options

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Mexican-themed fare at Tacofino. (Photo: KK Law)

Mexican-themed fare at Tacofino. (Photo: KK Law)

Creative Carts
Food carts are on a roll, with new four-wheeled eateries taking to the streets all the time. It’s a veritable moveable feast, featuring “à la cart” cuisines that hail from all corners of the globe. At the forefront of the street-food trend is Japadog, known for serving hot dogs trimmed with toppings such as bonito flakes, shredded seaweed or miso mayo to celebrities like Ice Cube, Anthony Bourdain and Mark Zuckerberg. Tacofino’s White Lightning makes waves with Baja-inspired tacos and burritos stuffed with crispy lingcod or pork al pastor, and brightened with salsa fresca, chipotle mayo and avocado. Chef Vikram Vij, famed for his trail-blazing bricks-and-mortar restaurants, makes crave-worthy Indian flavours mobile—try the butter chicken schnitzel, sold through the window of Vij’s Railway Express. (more…)

Fun on the Water

From jet skiing to kayaking to fishing, Vancouver is a water sports paradise

By LUCAS AYKROYD

Jet skiing fun on the calm waters near downtown with Vancouver Water Adventures. (Photo: KK Law)

Jet skiing fun on the calm waters near downtown with Vancouver Water Adventures. (Photo: KK Law)

Long known as the Gateway to the Pacific, Vancouver is the place to play this summer for those eager to hit the water. And the ocean is just the beginning.

Burgeoning with salmon and sturgeon, the Fraser River, British Columbia’s longest river (at 1,375 km/855 mi), flows into the Strait of Georgia south of Vancouver. Other nearby rivers, creeks and lakes offer recreational opportunities for the whole family, from whooping it up at the famous Cultus Lake Waterpark waterslides to gazing awestruck at turquoise, glacier-fed Garibaldi Lake during a hike.

Ready to make a splash? Multiple options are readily available here.

(more…)

West End Find: La Brasserie

By TIM PAWSEY

The Brasserie Burger. (Photo: KK Law)

The Brasserie Burger. (Photo: KK Law)

In the heart of colourful Davie Village, cozy and compact La Brasserie salutes Franco-German tastes with a weekend brunch of chicken Mornay crêpes, suckling pig with poached eggs, and lamb-cheek sliders. Daily fare yields moules-frites, pan-seared halibut and beer-brined rotisserie chicken. Not for the faint of heart, the Brasserie burger (pictured) teeters, with ground hanger steak, cheddar, bacon and crispy onion, plus truffle aioli. Drinks range from French wines to cava to good beers on tap, plus serious Caesars spiced up with horseradish and a pickled bean. Perfect before or after a trip to nearby English Bay.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Terrific Teutonic: Bauhaus

By TIM PAWSEY

Bauhaus. (Photo: KK Law)

The beautiful space at Bauhaus. (Photo: KK Law)

Housed in an impressively restored 1890s Gastown heritage building, Bauhaus is definitely stylin’ and elegant. But it’s chef Stefan Hartmann’s contemporary German cuisine that’s turning heads. The affable chef, former owner of Berlin’s Michelin-one-star Hartmanns, delights with unbridled creativity and impeccably sourced seasonal ingredients. Choices range from classic wiener schnitzel, rib-eye steak or spaëtzle to more modern house-smoked mackerel with apple horseradish. For the full experience, opt for the chef’s tasting menu, smartly paired with wines from a discriminating list, including an excellent selection of German Riesling.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com