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KK Law

Blacktail Florist’s Elevated Plates

By TIM PAWSEY

Salad of spring vegetables and mushrooms. (Photo: KK Law)

Salad of spring vegetables and mushrooms. (Photo: KK Law)

Up a few stairs off Gastown’s Water Street, Blacktail Florist, a casual but polished haunt, brims with local taste and creativity. Myriad choices may roam from Humboldt squid with rhubarb and celery slaw, to wild mushroom poutine, to roasted duck breast with sunchoke, onions and watercress. A well-chosen wine list of BC’s top drops makes for perfect—and still very regional—pairings.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Christine Lingerie’s Sizzling Silk

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Christine Lingerie’s luxurious designs evoke that on-holiday feeling—without the travel time

Christine Morton wears one of her own creations while at work in her design studio. (Photo: KK Law)

Christine Morton wears one of her own creations while at work in her design studio. (Photo: KK Law)

From the silky pyjamas that graced the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine to the luxe gown worn by Sofia Vergara on Modern Family, pretty little numbers by Christine Lingerie have been spotted all over Hollywood. And it’s easy to see why. “I like to think that women feel like celebrities in my things,” says Christine Morton, founder and designer of the popular line.

The stunning pieces may have their Tinseltown following, but the company remains firmly rooted in Vancouver. “I can rest here and work it into who I am, what the collection is. Vancouver to me is a very peaceful place. It’s a beautiful city.” Located in East Van, Morton’s boutique/studio has a charming storefront, but the space beyond is where the hard work happens. All the designs and manufacturing are done in Canada, which contributes to the impeccable quality. “I know the name of the person who made that chemise,” she says. “It’s a whole different thing than having a factory somewhere else.”

Original prints and imported fabrics such as French lace adorn the pieces, and it’s these elements that often inspire the garments. “It kind of tells you what it wants to be,” she explains. The designs blend classic and vintage-inspired cuts and styles with a vibrant colour palette, which lends a contemporary feel. More recently, street-worthy loungewear and kimonos have vied for room in the collection. “You put that on with your jeans and t-shirt, and it looks fabulous. It’s a whole look.”

(Photo: KK Law)

(Photo: KK Law)

Other signature pieces include the elegant-yet-flirty Button Back chemise and the Glamour Gown: “It looks like something out of the ’40s. It’s very dramatic.” From classic pyjamas to racy teddies, every piece has one thing in common Morton says: once it’s on, the wearer won’t want to take it off. “It’s so beautiful to feel, the silk against your body.”

Christine Lingerie has been around for 40 years, but Morton says that “we think our place here is like a little secret, and we love it when people come in and find us.” But with celebrities and starlets routinely sporting her luxury loungewear, it’s safe to say the secret’s out.

Find Christine Lingerie at La Jolie Madame, Dianes Lingerie, Holt Renfrew and Romantique. Or visit Christine Lingerie’s Boutique and Design Studio, or order online at www.christinelingerie.com

Pyrrha’s Top Talismans

By SHERI RADFORD

Imperfect by design? A Vancouver couple makes unique jewellery, their way

Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin manage to juggle a happy home life (complete with a two-year-old daughter) and a thriving business. (Photo: KK Law)

Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin manage to juggle a happy home life (complete with a two-year-old daughter) and a thriving business. (Photo: KK Law)

Most designers craft their jewellery to look absolutely perfect. Not Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore, the unorthodox duo behind Pyrrha. They have been breaking the rules pretty much from the moment they met, became a couple and started their business, about 20 years ago.

For one thing, neither had a background in jewellery. “We’re totally self-taught,” Papin says. That didn’t stop them from quitting their day jobs and plunging in. “It made it a must to succeed, not having any other means of support. I sold off a lot of my record collection to fund Pyrrha in the early days,” he says. “The rest of it we funded on credit cards. I wouldn’t suggest that to anyone.” In those early years, he explains, “we were doing soldering in our bedroom—very unhealthy stuff.” Now Papin and Wilmore have a separate design studio here in Vancouver, as well as a flagship store in Los Angeles.

Handcrafted using reclaimed sterling silver or bronze, Pyrrha’s talisman rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings are based on 18th- and 19th-century wax seals. Each piece reflects the antique seals’ cracks and imperfections, and each carries a specific meaning. The Fidelity talisman, for example, shows a turtle dove on the tree of life, symbolizing interconnectedness and unity, while the Power and Protection talisman features a crown with a dragon head coming out of it.

(Photo: KK Law)

(Photo: KK Law)

Hollywood has taken note of these eye-catching creations. Pyrrha boasts an enviable roster of celebrity fans, including Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Brad Pitt and Halle Berry. How do the stars stumble upon the brand? Papin explains with a laugh that their company is well situated, “between all the filming that goes on in Vancouver, and the fact that every third person who comes into our LA store is someone famous.” Pyrhha also recently launched a line of talismans in partnership with HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Papin and Wilmore are determined to resist the siren call of the US—or anywhere else, for that matter—and keep producing their jewellery here. “We love Vancouver, and we want to support it. We love to be part of an arts community that’s growing,” Papin says. “It’s always been our mandate, from the very beginning, to keep it local. There aren’t a lot of people doing that anymore.” Once again, breaking the rules. And once again, with great results.

Find Pyrrha jewellery at Barefoot Contessa and BeautyMark, or shop online at www.pyrrha.com

Idyllic Dining Escape

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Michael Genest of Hart House. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Michael Genest of Hart House. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away in Burnaby’s scenic Deer Lake Park, about 15 minutes from downtown, Hart House Restaurant is housed in a gracious, mock-Tudor manor, with lawns stretching down to the water’s edge. After cooking around the world, chef Michael Genest landed here to craft Pacific Northwest–inspired specialities such as Dungeness crab spaghettini, halibut duo, seared lamb loin and Brome Lake duck breast. Or go for the three-course, $36 prix fixe and take time to savour selections from the extensive, award-winning wine cellar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Gourmet Parisian Pastries

By TIM PAWSEY

An array of desserts found at Faubourg. (Photo: KK Law)

An array of desserts found at Faubourg. (Photo: KK Law)

Faubourg, a trio of smartly appointed, chandelier-bedecked, gourmet bakeries, transports you to Paris, with the look and feel of a fashionable cafe on the Champs-Élysées or Boulevard Saint-Germain. Owner Franck Point, who hails from Lyon, oversees meticulously made croissants (including pistachio or almond-paste-filled, and pain au chocolat, of course), baked fresh throughout the day. Other temptations range from flaky mille-feuille topped with Chantilly cream to impeccably made macarons, not to mention the dessert of the month, plus an array of delicious breads (baguette, brioche, etc.), excellent coffee and polished, prompt service.

Beaune on Main

By TIM PAWSEY

Floating Island (fluffy egg white floating on creme anglaise, toasted almond and caramel sugar nest). (Photo: KK Law)

Floating Island (fluffy egg white floating on creme anglaise, toasted almond and caramel sugar nest). (Photo: KK Law)

Nestled among Main Street’s funky antiques stores and edgy boutiques, The French Table is a welcoming, unswervingly Gallic salute in a laid-back bistro setting. Hervé Martin (once chef to the King of Belgium) revels in classics ranging from Burgundy fondue and pan-fried sweetbreads to duck confit and coq au vin, delivered with impeccable but friendly service. Unearth more good Main Street tastes at Burgoo, for comfort food, and The Acorn, for cutting-edge vegetarian.

West End Italian

By TIM PAWSEY

(Front) Antipasto salami and cheese platter. (Back) Tonnarelli cacio a pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper). (Photo: KK Law)

(Front) Antipasto salami and cheese platter. (Back) Tonnarelli cacio a pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper). (Photo: KK Law)

Locals know Tavola, a friendly haunt just west of Robson at Denman, for its flavour-packed fare and smartly picked Italian and Pacific Northwest wines. Perch at the bar for walnut pesto or chicken-liver crostini with a glass of grappa. Or settle in for house-made pastas, made fresh daily, such as seafood linguine with anchovies, garlic, chillies and lemon, or brown-sage gnocchi with pine nuts. Mains run from seasonal seafood to brick-roasted chicken and more.

4 Beachside Forays

By TIM PAWSEY

Salmon burger, at the Galley Patio & Grill. (Photo: KK Law)

Salmon burger, at the Galley Patio & Grill. (Photo: KK Law)

Good bites and shoreside views go hand in hand in this vista-kissed city.

1. The Galley Patio & Grill Hop a cab or a #4 bus to discover this absolute gem of a patio, with sweeping downtown and North Shore views and salmon burgers to go along.

2. Cactus Club Cafe This popular West End haunt, right on English Bay Beach, sports creative regional cuisine plus inventive cocktails and well-chosen wines to match.

3. The Boathouse on Kits Beach Floor-to-ceiling windows roll away to open the expansive room. Enjoy informal table and bar service upstairs or quick eats from the kiosk below.

4. Local Public Eatery Go early to grab a spot for yam fries, tuna pokes and good local pints on this popular, sun-drenched patio right across from Kits Beach.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Gone Fishin’

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Sure, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. And luckily for eager anglers, the Pacific Ocean just happens to be Vancouver’s backyard

There'll be no stories about the one that got away: Jason Tonelli of Pacific Angler with a fish on his hook. (Photo: KK Law)

There’ll be no stories about the one that got away: Jason Tonelli of Pacific Angler with a fish on his hook. (Photo: KK Law)

Hook, Line & Sinker

Top-notch spots to catch coho, chinook and sockeye salmon—not to mention delectable Dungeness crabs—are just minutes from the city’s bustling downtown core. Jason Tonelli of Pacific Angler, who’s reeled in catches from as far away as Argentina and Chile, says that Vancouver’s proximity to great fishing sets it apart. “Nowhere else in the world can you fish this close to a metro area,” he says, gesturing to the skyline behind the boat.

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Relax at Dude Chilling Park

By KRISTEN MORAN

New sign has been dubbed a public art piece. (Photo: KK Law)

New sign has been dubbed a public art piece. (Photo: KK Law)

Vancouverites are known for being laid-back and having a good sense of humour, but the loss of a beloved sign was no laughing matter.

When the Dude Chilling Park sign appeared two years ago at Guelph Park, it instantly captured the hearts of locals. As a prank, artist Viktor Briestensky designed and created this replica of a Vancouver Park Board sign, because he thought the park’s original name didn’t reflect its true essence. The new name also captured the vibe of Michael Dennis’s wooden sculpture “Reclining Figure,” which has been relaxing in the green space since 1991. (more…)

Yaletown’s Tuscan Terrace

By TIM PAWSEY

Authentic Italian dining experience at La Terrazza. (Photo: KK Law)

Authentic Italian dining experience at La Terrazza. (Photo: KK Law)

Unabashedly romantic, Yaletown’s La Terrazza offers superb classic and contemporary Italian fare in a sumptuous setting. Regulars return for the strozzapreti beef ragout and scaloppini di vitello (tenderized veal medallions with crispy prosciutto sage butter), as well as pan-seared diver scallops and oven-roasted sablefish, with superlative wines from a prodigious cellar. Best-kept secrets: the tucked-away private wine room and the namesake well-concealed terrace for early evening cocktails and snacks.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Sweet Souvenirs From Starbucks

By SHERI RADFORD

Take home a porcelain version of Vancouver's skyline. (Photo: KK Law)

Take home a porcelain version of Vancouver’s skyline. (Photo: KK Law)

Java junkies who are jonesing for both a cuppa joe and a Vancouver souvenir head straight to Starbucks. Hot and cold caffeinated drinks fill the menu, while the city mugs are sure to invoke recollections of a Vancouver vacation over morning coffee back at home.