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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. Read 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. Read 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

A Sweet Story

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Biting into a perfectly crisp, flaky pastry can certainly feel like a life-changing experience, but in the case of Jackie Kai Ellis, that indulgence actually helped the Beaucoup Bakery owner whip up a new life. When Ellis flew to Paris to study pastry making at École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, she left behind her life as a graphic designer with her own firm. The catalyst? A cookie. Read more…

Great Gifts for Valentine’s Day

By SHERI RADFORD

A love pendant from Tiffany & Co. (Photo: Tiffany & Co.)

A love pendant from Tiffany & Co. (Photo: Tiffany & Co.)

Surprise your loved ones with the perfect presents on Feb. 14. Pamper her with a necklace from Tiffany & Co. or cozy pyjamas from La Vie En Rose. Spoil him with a timepiece from the Rolex Boutique, and treat a tiny tot to Chunky Pack: Valentine, which includes three heart-warming board books by Roger Priddy (at local bookstores).

Downtown Delight

By TIM PAWSEY

Roasted semi-boneless half chicken. (Photo: KK Law)

Roasted semi-boneless half chicken. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away in the Moda Hotel, Cibo Trattoria is a gem of a bistro in a sensitively restored heritage setting. The classic Italian dishes have a bit of a modern twist and use organic ingredients. House favourites include chitarra con vongole of saffron pasta with Salt Spring Island clams, an excellent charcuterie and salumi platter, short ribs braised with tomatoes and red wine, and pan-seared Mediterranean sea bass. The cellar yields a wealth of serious Italian drops, as well as regional and global offerings.

For more by Tim Pawsey visit 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. Read 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.