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Where to Eat Vancouver

Brunch Bliss at Café Medina

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Decadent Liège waffles are a signature item at Café Medina

Decadent Liège waffles are a signature item at Café Medina

Just a hop, skip and jump from its original location, Café Medina’s new digs channel Parisian charm with a side of heavenly Liège waffles. The cafe is one of the most adored brunch spots in the city, so despite the newly expanded space, line-ups are still de rigueur—but well worth the wait. Treat taste buds to the luscious lavender latte, a perennial favourite, before tucking into tagine, fricassée or saumon fumé. On the run? Grab a waffle to go, topped with irresistible peach-bourbon butterscotch or blueberry-juniper preserve. It’s a guaranteed morning-maker.

Football Fever: Grey Cup 2014

The Grey Cup makes its way to Vancouver, bringing fast-paced football and four days of celebrations that go way beyond the usual end-zone dance

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

    The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

From the stands at BC Place Stadium to the streets of Vancouver, the 102nd Grey Cup promises to have fans on their feet for a weekend of football and festivities. The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship game will see the sports arena packed to capacity with 52,000 cheering fans on game day. But the celebrations don’t start—or end—there. Street festivals, a parade and concerts featuring Trooper, Tim Hicks, Hey Ocean! and 54-40 mean there’s just as much excitement outside the stadium as inside. (more…)

Football Fever: Grey Cup 2014

The Grey Cup makes its way to Vancouver, bringing fast-paced football and four days of celebrations that go way beyond the usual end-zone dance

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

    The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

The 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game will take place in Vancouver, November 30

From the stands at BC Place Stadium to the streets of Vancouver, the 102nd Grey Cup promises to have fans on their feet for a weekend of football and festivities. The Canadian Football League (CFL) championship game will see the sports arena packed to capacity with 52,000 cheering fans on game day. But the celebrations don’t start—or end—there. Street festivals, a parade and concerts featuring Trooper, Tim Hicks, Hey Ocean! and 54-40 mean there’s just as much excitement outside the stadium as inside. (more…)

Serious Steak

By TIM PAWSEY

Gotham serves mouth-watering steaks and cool cocktails. (Photo: KK Law)

Gotham serves mouth-watering steaks and cool cocktails. (Photo: KK Law)

A downtown destination that celebrates with unabashed flair and opulence, Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar lives up to its reputation for superb, 28-day dry-aged, prime Alberta beef, paired with vintages from one of the city’s most extensive cellars, displayed on an interactive iPad list. Start out at the art deco–inspired cocktail bar, perhaps with a classic Manhattan, before settling into the plush, wood-panelled main room. Highlights range from an impeccable porterhouse to bone-in New York strip to two sizes of filet mignon, plus seafood selections and steak-and-marine combos. The well-executed lunches lean towards lighter fare, such as lobster bisque, tuna Niçoise, a hand-peeled shrimp sandwich and Dungeness crab cakes with lemon-dill mayonnaise.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Get Cooking!

By SHERI RADFORD

Learn tips and tricks from the experts at The Dirty Apron, either with classes or a cookbook

Learn tips and tricks from the experts at The Dirty Apron, either with a class or a cookbook

If you can’t tell your mandoline from your mortar and pestle, The Dirty Apron Cooking School can help, with offerings ranging from Ocean Potion: The Seafood Class (Oct. 4, Nov. 13) to Meat Eaters Unite: The Meat Class (Nov. 20). Even if you’re already a budding Nigella or Emeril in the kitchen, the school’s chef instructors can help you improve your technique. For those who prefer to learn at home, The Dirty Apron Cookbook by David Robertson ($34.95) features more than 80 of the school’s tried-and-true dishes along with insider tips and tricks. Find it at local bookstores. Bon appétit!

West End’s Left Bank

By TIM PAWSEY

John Blakeley at Left Bank. (Photo: KK Law)

John Blakeley at Left Bank. (Photo: KK Law)

John Blakeley (of Bistro Pastis) recently opened edgy, modern Left Bank in the space that over four decades saw various incarnations of Café de Paris. The result is a clean-lined room with an airy feel that complements Spencer Watts’s French-inspired menu, highlighted by tempura green beans, spicy albacore tuna cone, crispy ling cod, steak frites with Szechuan peppercorn sauce and dark chocolate tart with green tea anglaise. Also new is the West End’s first laneway patio, seasonal but heated, already a popular hangout.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Italian Haunts

By TIM PAWSEY

Bruschetta (front), braised meatballs (R) and potato doughnut (L), at Nicli’s Next Door. (Photo: KK Law)

Bruschetta (front), braised meatballs (R) and potato doughnut (L), at Nicli’s Next Door. (Photo: KK Law)

These neighbourhood “go-to” haunts offer a slice of la dolce vita, and more.

1. Nicli’s Next Door Adjoining pizza specialist Nicli Antica Pizzeria, this cozy space yields inspired cicchetti (think Italian tapas) plus a worthy wine selection.

2. Bufala This Kerrisdale pizzeria yields a superb array (including an irresistible margherita) but don’t miss the smoked olives or the full-on roasted mortadella.

3. Nook Go early to these laid-back spots—in the West End (just a few steps from Georgia at Denman) and across from Kits Beach—known for fresh pasta and well-chosen vino.

4. BiBo This lively Kits spot offers the classics, from hand-made fresh-daily pasta to traditionally certified Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.

5. Ask for Luigi This friendly, tucked-away neighbourhood find in Railtown (just east of Gastown) offers family-style plates of handmade pasta and good wines to match.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Thai Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Yum nua (beef salad). (Photo: KK Law)

Yum nua (beef salad). (Photo: KK Law)

After a seven-year absence, Montri Rattanaraj has returned to Vancouver to open Thai Cuisine by Montri, in Kitsilano. The celebrated chef shops daily for fresh, local ingredients and flies in Thai specialties as needed. Dishes are deeply heated rather than overtly spiced, prepared according to taste, and very detail driven. Montri’s pad thai remains a standard bearer, as do the chicken satay, stuffed chicken wings and delicious pak boong (wok-cooked crunchy greens). Sommelier Jonathan Lai offers a smartly picked selection of Thai-worthy wines, including Germanic and BC aromatics and plenty more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Notable Newbie: Boulevard Kitchen

By TIM PAWSEY

Boulevard’s seafood tower is sure to satisfy. (Photo: KK Law)

Boulevard’s seafood tower is sure to satisfy. (Photo: KK Law)

With reams of Italian marble, white oak floors and sparkling chandeliers, the newly unwrapped Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar at the Sutton Place Hotel is as stylish and polished as anticipated. On the seafood-inclined menu: marine specialties with contemporary flair, such as a cornucopian seafood tower, caramelized jumbo scallops and roasted sablefish, as well as grilled rib-eye, a premium burger and more. Expect meticulous but friendly service from one of the city’s most well-honed crews.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

50 Things We Love About Yaletown

By KRISTEN MORAN

Nestled between False Creek and the bustling downtown core, in what used to be the warehouse district, trendy Yaletown is filled with upscale restaurants, high-end stores, fashionistas—and tiny purse dogs

The streets of Yaletown buzz with activity all year long. (Photo: ©istockphoto.com)

The streets of Yaletown buzz with activity all year long. (Photo: ©istockphoto.com)

1. Strolling the seawall and checking out the gorgeous boats in the marina.

2. Getting pampered from head to toe at Blo, Noir Lash Lounge, Pure Nail Bar and Bombay Brow Bar.

3. Shooting pool at Soho Cafe & Billiards.

4. Divine Italian cuisine at Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca, La Terrazza and La Pentola della Quercia.

5. Taking a ride to or from Yaletown on the Aquabus or False Creek Ferries.

6. Finding the perfect headgear from Goorin Bros., which carries everything from baseball caps to fedoras to fascinators.

7. Locally brewed beer at Yaletown Brewing Co. and Prohibition Tasting Room.

8. Checking out the newest exhibits at Contemporary Art Gallery.

9. Public art pieces along the water: Coopers Mews, Lookout, Brush with Illumination, Street Light and A False Creek.

Georgie from Barking Babies. (Photo: KK Law)

Georgie from Barking Babies. (Photo: KK Law)

10. Buying our four-legged friends a new toy or spa treatment at Barking Babies.

11. Unleashing our inner artist and enjoying a meal under the same roof at Raw Canvas.

12. Getting in the holiday spirit at CandyTown, a free outdoor Christmas festival on Nov. 22.

13. Vintage treasures at Joyce Williams Antique Prints & Maps.

14. Finding accent pieces for our homes at Chintz & Company.

15. Popping in to The Flying Pig for some delicious eats during appy hour.

16. Gorgeous First Nations artwork at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery.

17. Elegant desserts and pastries at Footo Croissant and Ganache Patisserie.

18. Brunch served with a side of sass at The Elbow Room Cafe.

19. Browsing through everything from clothing to knick-knacks at Fine Finds.

20. Fine French cuisine at Provence Marinaside.

21. Stretching out tired muscles at YYoga or Westcoast Hot Yoga.

22. Indulging in Italian foods and a whole range of fancy cocktails crafted from locally made spirits at The Distillery Bar  + Kitchen.

Rodney's Oyster House. (Photo: KK Law)

Rodney’s Oyster House. (Photo: KK Law)

23. Slurping raw oysters out of the half shell at Rodney’s Oyster House.

24. Treating our skin to some TLC at Spruce Body Lab and Skn Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic.

25. The flavour-rich cuisine at Urban Thai Bistro.

26. Dancing the night away at Bar None.

27. Spotting celebrities while dining in style at West Oak.

28. Shopping for male-specific goods at Contraband, Masc and Revolucion Cigars & Fine Gifts.

29. Pairing Pacific Northwest cuisine with one of 60 wines at Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar.

30. Sampling some of the city’s finest seafood at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar.

31. Viewing Philip Jarmain’s American Beauty (to Oct. 19), and Alex Couwenberg and Matt Devine’s California (Oct. 16 to Nov. 16), at Jennifer Kostuik Gallery.

32. The classic old-world charm of Farzad’s Barbershop.

33. Treating ourselves to a juicy steak at Hamilton Street Grill.

34. Watching pups play in the dog park or sitting by the mosaic-lined stream at Emery Barnes Park.

Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. (Photo: KK Law)

Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. (Photo: KK Law)

35. The steam engine that pulled the first passenger train into Vancouver in 1887, now showcased at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.

36. Sipping first-class cocktails while relaxing in a laid-back setting at George Lounge.

37. Handmade Indian treasures at Kaarigar Handicrafts.

38. Washing down delectable Japanese cuisine with a variety of sake at Bistro Sakana.

39. Trying an assortment of restaurants during Taste of Yaletown, Oct. 16 to 30.

40. Practical yet fashionable womenswear at Nygård.

41. Drinking crafted cocktails at upscale Opus Bar.

Society. (Photo: KK Law)

Society. (Photo: KK Law)

42. Sipping a cotton candy martini or spiked milkshake under the pink chandeliers of Society.

43. Mouth-watering, made-from-scratch gelato at Bella Gelateria.

44. Catching a live show at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.

45. Taking the tots trick-or-treating on Halloween (Oct. 31) at Yaletown businesses.

46. Delicious West Coast fare at Good Wolf.

47. Commuting easily thanks to the Canada Line SkyTrain.

48. Creations from Canadian artisans at Art Works Gallery.

49. Stopping at David Lam Park to people- and puppy-watch.

50. The fascinating mix of old and new architecture.

Sealed & Delivered: Postmark Brewing

By TIM PAWSEY

Fill a growler or stop in for a pint at Postmark Brewing, located in the Settlement Building

Fill a growler or stop in for a pint at Postmark Brewing, located in the Settlement Building

The craft beer boom continues unabated, with the arrival of Postmark Brewing (pictured) in Railtown’s already well-populated Settlement Building, home to Vancouver Urban Winery, The Belgard Kitchen and others. Chief brewmaster at this notable newcomer is award-winning filmmaker Craig Noble, whose recent successes include CRAFT, a documentary about the craft brewing scene across North America. Noble, a certified cicerone (beer sommelier), is often on hand to pour tastes of Postmark Pilsner, Stout, Red IPA and others, perfect before—or with—a bite at The Belgard.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Pampering Panoramas

By TIM PAWSEY

Alder-grilled salmon trio  with shrimp and spinach risotto. (Photo: KK Law)

Alder-grilled salmon trio with shrimp and spinach risotto. (Photo: KK Law)

The Salmon House Grab a cab across the Lions Gate Bridge for alder-grilled salmon at this original seafood specialist, perched high above West Vancouver.

The Teahouse Stanley Park’s one-time officer’s mess is now a taste-filled destination, where the spectacular sunsets seem almost as close as Third Beach below.

Five Sails Savour sweeping views of Coal Harbour and Stanley Park, along with classically grounded, exquisite continental dishes, from the glass-wrapped third-floor atrium of the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Globe@YVR This well-kept secret in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel serves detail-driven Pacific Northwest plates, with a front-row view of all the comings and goings planeside and mountain views beyond.

Pier 7 Hop the SeaBus to this two-tier room for its expansive ocean vista of the harbour and downtown, with local marine-inclined cuisine to go along.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com