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Vancouver

Happy Hour Heaven

By LUCAS AYKROYD

Cheers! Raise a glass to happy hour at Ancora. (Photo: Allison Kuhl)

Cheers! Raise a glass to happy hour at Ancora. (Photo: Allison Kuhl)

Ah, afternoons. You could take a nap, catch up on email—or party like the sky’s the limit at Vancouver’s thriving happy hours. Here are five of the best:

Ancora
M-F 3:30-5 pm
Fusing Peruvian and Japanese flavours with West Coast ingredients, airy Ancora also delights with its location, facing Granville Island across False Creek. Get comfy at the bar with an $8 barrel-aged cocktail (the Angel’s Share or the Diavolo in Manette) and fresh oysters, spicy albacore tuna rolls or sablefish croquettes with cilantro pumpkin sauce. (more…)

It’s Glow Time

By SHERI RADFORD

Look lustrous in no time at Project Skin MD.

Look lustrous in no time at Project Skin MD.

When your complexion needs a pick-me-up but the clock is ticking, it’s time to visit the Glow Room at Project Skin MD. A customized Glow experience delivers all the benefits of a facial in just 25 minutes. Consider it the fast track to healthy, radiant skin.

Cavalia: Odysseo Rides Into Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Cavalia: Odysseo

A stunt-rider at Cavalia: Odysseo

Cavalia: Odysseo gallops into the big white top in False Creek, bringing 65 horses and 48 riders, acrobats, aerialists and musicians along for the ride. The show is making a big splash with viewers—and we’re not just talking about the grand finale, when the stage is flooded with 150,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of water. (more…)

Canadian Crunch

By SPENCER VAN VLOTEN

Neale Brothers' Kettle Chips come in a range of all-Canadian flavours.

Neale Brothers’ Kettle Chips come in a range of all-Canadian flavours.

What do you get when you pack Canada into a crispy snack? The answer is Neal Brothers’ Kettle Chips. Sweet and smoky flavours mingle deliciously in cool Canuck options such as Maple Bacon, while each bite of Montreal Steak Spice is loaded with East Coast zing. Other True North Strong and Free selections include Spicy Srirachup, Salt and Vinegar, and Vij’s Delhi-licious. Available at Choices and Urban Fare.

Winterruption

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Warm up with live entertainment at Winterruption. (Photo: Granville Island)

Warm up with live entertainment at Winterruption. (Photo: Granville Island)

If winter has you feeling left out in the cold, don’t miss Winterruption (Feb. 17 to 19, 2017). Back for its 12th year, this festival puts a freeze on the winter blues with a line-up of live music, theatre, dance and more. Grab a hot chocolate and watch artist Ola Volo’s mural come to life, take in performances by the Vancouver TheatreSports League, catch a pop-up dance or enjoy the laid-back jazz of Black Gardenia. Or simply wander Granville Island, pop into the Public Market and start warming up to spring.

Beyond Sushi

By TIM PAWSEY

Indulge at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. (Photo: KK Law)

Indulge at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. (Photo: KK Law)

Long-running Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House preceded the sushi craze by a few decades. Ingredients are freshly prepared, presented tableside and cooked teppanyaki style with tremendous flair. Go for the impossibly tender Wagyu beef, teriyaki chicken, and seafood combo. For more casual fare, head to pub-style Zakkushi on Denman to find an abundance of charcoal-grilled meat, seafood and vegetable skewers. Hunker down at local faves Gyoza King or Guu, both on Robson, for good Japanese home-style dishes in a cheerful and friendly setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey www.hiredbelly.com

Cool for Couples

By SPENCER VAN VLOTEN

Couples get creative with HiDe Art's pottery classes. (Photo: HiDe Ebina)

Couples get creative with HiDe Art’s pottery classes. (Photo: HiDe Ebina)

Looking for something unusual to do with your valentine? Give one of these awesome outings a try:

1. Let Purdys chocolatiers teach you how to make truffles or chocolate bark, then take home your delicious creations and enjoy them together (by appointment only at South Granville location). Craving a full meal? The expert chefs at The Dirty Apron Cooking School help you create scrumptious appetizers, entrées and desserts. (more…)

Skincare with Seoul

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

What do you get when you combine up-to-the-minute Korean skincare with a 150-year-old Scottish apothecary? Beauty brand Belif. The cult-favourite skincare products are infused with traditional herbal formulas from Scotland, but are free from synthetic preservatives, dyes, fragrances and mineral oils. To combat cold-weather concerns, try the skin-quenching True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, which contains hydrating comfrey leaf for up to 26 hours of moisture. Stock up at The Face Shop.

Due South

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Mamie Taylor's ham grenades

Mamie Taylor’s ham grenades

For the best down-home Southern fare this side of the Bayou, head to Mamie Taylor’s. The walls of this hip Chinatown eatery are adorned with a formidable collection of taxidermy, while the menu is decked out with classic American dishes. You can’t go wrong with the finger-licking-good fried chicken with chilli-honey drizzle, or the blissfully addictive ham grenades. The restaurant is named for a classic cocktail—and a turn-of-the-century opera singer—so don’t miss the namesake tipple or the Talladega Nights Julep. It’s southern hospitality at its best.

Edgy Asian

By TIM PAWSEY

Delicious dishes are served up at the Heritage Asian Eatery. (Photo: Amy Ho)

Delicious dishes are served up at Heritage Asian Eatery. (Photo: Amy Ho)

A new generation of chefs is pushing the boundaries of traditional cuisines. At downtown’s Heritage Asian Eatery, regulars revel in Felix Zhou’s breakfast crepes such as shiitake mushroom or pork jowl, as well as a plethora of bao, rice bowls and salads. On Main Street, Clement Chan’s minimalist but cozy Torafuku uses local ingredients in cheekily names plates such as Rye So messy (chicken wings) and Quack Addict (barbecue-duck spring rolls). In Chinatown, Tannis Ling’s Bao Bei rocks modern small plates with Taiwanese, Sichuan and Shanghainese influences, plus savvy wines and cocktails. Meanwhile, Kissa Tanto, Ling’s Japanese-Italian collab with business partner and chef Joel Watanabe, looks to be the most popular table in town.

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

24 Hours of Action at Grouse Mountain

By SPENCER VAN VLOTEN

Speed down the mountain while the stars come out. (Photo: Lijuan Guo/Dreamstime)

Speed down the mountain while the stars come out. (Photo: Lijuan Guo/Dreamstime)

Hit the slopes at sunrise and keep shredding through the night. On Feb. 11, Grouse Mountain is open around the clock for 24 Hours of Winter. Snow junkies can enjoy a full day of all their favourite alpine action, including skiing, snowboarding and mountaintop ice skating, while live music, games and giveaways provide plenty of fun between runs. Whatever your sport, make sure you don’t stop till you get enough!

Elegant Interval

By TIM PAWSEY

Holts Cafe serves dishes such as beetroots with goat cheese cannelloni. (Photo: KK Law)

Holts Café serves dishes such as beetroots with goat cheese cannelloni. (Photo: KK Law)

For the ultimate in-store sustenance, newly landed Holts Café (in Holt Renfrew) obliges with an impressive array of plates, from quick bites to mains and desserts. The smart and elegant room invites lingering over the lobster and Pacific shrimp roll, tuna seared rare on brioche with roasted red pepper relish, or Salt Spring Island mussels, perhaps with a glass of wine. Desserts are equally tempting, as is the extensive selection of teas and organic juices, plus well-chosen wines from BC and around the world.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com