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Tim Pawsey

Glorious Gluttony at Dine Out Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Some of Vancouver's top food trucks are part of the Dine Out Festival.

Some of the city’s top food trucks are part of Dine Out

Jan 20-Feb 5 In this city’s dining scene, the start of the new year means one thing: Dine Out! Over the last 15 years, the 17-day Dine Out Vancouver Festival has turned into Canada’s biggest celebration of food and drink, and for good reason. With a wealth of special events, tours, tastings and, above all, dinner deals, this all-things-comestible festival adds up to one enormous celebration of Vancouver’s blossoming dining culture. Every year the number of restaurants offering set menus grows, with three-course dinners offered at $20, $30 and $40, as well as some lunches. Many include optional wine pairings, yielding a chance to discover BC VQA wines.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Man on a Mission

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Curtis Luk delivers tasty bites at Mission. (Photo by: KK Law)

Chef Curtis Luk delivers tasty bites at Mission. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Curtis Luk doggedly abides by his sustainable mantra. At Mission, in the heart of Kitsilano, Luk’s forte is four- and six-course tasting menus, offered with a vegetarian option, as well as well-matched wine pairings. The à la carte menu shifts weekly but typical highlights are duck croquettes, roasted cauliflower with pumpkin-seed dressing, Humboldt squid risotto, and braised beef cheek.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Seafood Dynasty

By TIM PAWSEY

The Salmon House is famed for its seafood specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

The Salmon House is famed for its seafood specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

Four decades ago, The Salmon House on the Hill was the first local restaurant to give salmon its rightful due, highlighting the First Nations tradition of cooking on alderwood planks. Today’s wide-ranging menu has evolved into an impressive showcase of regional cuisine matched with the best of BC wine. Perched high above West Vancouver, the glass-wrapped room yields a breathtaking marine and city panorama.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Try a Cocktail Within a Cocktail at Prohibition

By TIM PAWSEY

Bartender Brad Stanton pours the innovative Inception Negroni. (Photo: KK Law)

Bartender Brad Stanton pours the innovative Inception Negroni. (Photo: KK Law)

Ante up for the Inception Negroni at Prohibition, and you’ll be wowed. This truly ingenious drink is actually a classic red Negroni sealed in a cleverly crafted ice sphere, within a white Negroni of Broker’s Gin, Martini Bianco and Suze. The extraordinary two-tone blend evolves as red melts into white. The drink that’s lured cocktail aficionados to fly in from as far away as the UK is complex to prepare, so only a score or so are made each day. Go also for the great bites, from chicken wings to truffle fries, and stay for the live jazz Wednesday through Saturday.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

French Fare at Le Crocodile

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Michel Jacob prepares high-end French specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Michel Jacob prepares high-end French specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

For the ultimate in all things French, reserve a table at Michel Jacob’s cozy, burgundy-trimmed Le Crocodile. Flavours of Alsace and beyond define this detail-driven cuisine, delivered with impeccable but also discreetly understated service. Standouts include foie gras terrine with ice wine gelée, tarte à l’oignon, pan-seared veal sweetbreads, and sautéed true Dover sole with classic beurre blanc. Wines, expertly paired, roam from Bordeaux to Burgundy to the best of the Okanagan.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Yummy Shopping Stops

By TIM PAWSEY

Bel Café

Bel Café

For tasty bites between stores, options abound. Pop by Bel Café at Georgia and Howe for the freshest pastries and sandwiches, plus gluten-free options. Well-named Nosh at Telus Garden proffers a choice of wraps and salads, as well as Glowbal’s celebrated meatballs. Head to the top of Pacific Centre for small plates at Nordstrom’s Bistro Verde. Or just cuddle up in a corner at The St. Regis Bar & Grill for stuffed Yorkshire puddings or poutine—and a pint, of course.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Four Sporting Spots

By TIM PAWSEY

Earls Yaletown dishes up an assortment of casual favourites. (Photo: KK Law)

Earls Yaletown dishes up an assortment of casual favourites. (Photo: KK Law)

Load up on pre-show or post-game sustenance at these lively haunts close to Rogers Arena and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Earls Yaletown A giant bar rules this always lively, red-bricked, multi-screened lounge with excellent eats ranging from Cajun blackened chicken to Lois Lake steelhead, plus nine-ounce wines by the glass.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar Italian flavours such as house-made pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, lamb shank, pizza and more are menu mainstays in this laid-back family-friendly setting.

Chambar This dazzling Belgian-influenced heritage room serves polished fare, including lamb shank tagine, moules frites Congolaise and veal tenderloin—always in time for curtain.

Shark Club Newly renovated, this expansive sports bar with a barrage of big screens is a fave with fans, who pack in for burgers, calamari, tacos and a dozen flavours of chicken wings.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

 

To Vancouver Christmas Market!

By TIM PAWSEY

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market

Through Dec. 31, Jack Poole Plaza is transformed into an authentic German Christmas market, unlike any other outside of Germany. The feel of the Vancouver Christmas Market is more like a quaint country village than downtown Vancouver, as families browse a wealth of handmade European crafts, all perfect for gift giving. Sip glühwein and sample bratwurst and schnitzel as you wander through this magical, cinnamon-scented paradise, aglow with Christmas lights. Get a head start on holiday gift giving or just pamper yourself with more treats, while you listen to carols, watch the kids ride the carousel and soak up the Kris Kringle spirit.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

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