• Jul30

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    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Brassneck Brewery
    [B is for beer! Inside Brassneck Brewery]

    Two-year old Vancouver-based Vancouver Brewery Tours promises three breweries, three hours and plenty of beer. Who was I to refuse? Earlier this week, I set out to meet Ryan Mackey, who was busy rounding up our group of fellow beer lovers at Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar inside Waterfront Station, the starting point for our four-hour Beer and Food Tour (Tuesday evenings, the tour includes an entrée at the second brewery stop).

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Behind the scenes at Brassneck Brewery
    [Behind the scenes with Ryan at Brassneck Brewery]

    Vancouver Brewery Tours works with 14 different breweries in town, offering tours from a minimum of three to 14 guests (custom tours can accommodate groups of 28 and you get to pick the stops!). The company aims to work with a mix of old and new craft breweries: Storm Brewing, one of the city’s earliest craft breweries still in operation, was one of their first tour partners.

    Our three for the evening? Brassneck Brewery, Big Rock Urban Brewery, and Strange Fellows Brewing.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour

    While most beer tours offer up samples and then you’re moving to the next stop, the beauty of this tour is getting taken behind the scenes for each, plus full flights at the three breweries. Ryan made himself at home at each of the stops, explaining beer brewing methods, ingredients used, and the latest trends in craft beer. Oh yeah, and then there’s the van, making for an ultra convenient way to get from one place to the next without getting behind the wheel.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Brassneck Brewery

    The four-hour tour is relatively new in the Vancouver Brewery Tours lineup, offered on Tuesday evenings, when breweries aren’t to capacity. We had the option to purchase snacks at Brassneck while sampling a flight of their beers.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Brassneck Brewery
    [Geezer, Wingman Pale Ale, Hibiscus Wheat Ale, Mr. Personality Amber Ale]

    On this summery evening, our flights included Mr. Personality Amber Ale, Hibiscus Wheat Ale, Wingman Pale Ale (dry-hopped with Amarillo and Citra hops, a personal fave) and Geezer, an English-style Porter.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Big Rock Urban Brewery

    Alberta-based Big Rock Urban has opened a concept brewery at the of corner West 4th and Alberta Streets (!) with a great 150-seat restaurant (BRU Eatery) and small stage up front for live music. A quick walk from the Canada Line Olympic Village Station, it’s a modern brewpub, offering a solid menu with former Famoso Pizzeria Culinary Manager Alex Newton at the helm.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Big Rock Urban Brewery

    This isn’t just your normal pub fare though. Wasabi peas and chickeronnes (crispy fried chicken skin, togarashi and hop salt) are some of the snacks while signature tacos, BRU Stout mac and cheese, and pulled pork pizza feature on the mains.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Big Rock Urban Brewery
    [Big Rock’s Red Ale, Citra IPA, guest tap Russell Brewing Summer IPA, Unity Pale Ale]

    Ready for dessert? We’re definitely coming back for the Fiasco s’mores with smoky pretzel crumb, Fiasco Big Rock chocolate stout gelato, Rauchbier ganache and bourbon vanilla marshmallow.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Big Rock Urban Brewery

    Our tour dinner options included a few of the dishes off the regular menu, and the best part of a visit here was the chance for each of us to pick our own beer flight. Here I discovered Citradelic IPA, a single-hopped brew that I can only hope is on their growler menu. The onsite store sells bottles of their locally-brewed beer plus cool gift items such as jars of Hop Salt, great for gifting.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Big Rock Urban Brewery

    While touring the beautiful facility, we sipped a glass of Mosaic Lager.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Strange Fellows Brewery

    The third stop of the evening was at Strange Fellows, started by the head brewmaster at Yaletown Brewing Company. Strange Fellows is poised to become Vancouver’s “sour beer” house over the course of the next year, so if sour beer is your thing, this just might be your next local to frequent.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Strange Fellows Brewery Vancouver Brewery Tour/Strange Fellows Brewery

    We sampled a Box of Strange (picked by Ryan): Wit, Framboise Noir, Saison, Talisman Pale Ale. The brewery offers growler fills and is currently into canning their beer, with bottling in the works.

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/Strange Fellows Brewery

    The Clark Drive space has lots of room for expansion. Barrel aging is also integral to this relatively new craft brewery and co-founder Aaron Jonckheere enjoys dipping into his Belgian roots by way of traditional yet creative beer making methods.

    Vancouver Brewery Tours Group Photo

    Vancouver Brewery Tours offers tours year-round from Tuesdays to Sundays. The regular tour is $75 while the Tuesday evening food and beer tour costs $85. There’s definitely enough beer and a good-sized meal to enjoy over lively conversation (on my tour: a couple from Phoenix and a man from London, UK).

    Vancouver Brewery Tour/gift bag

    The end of the evening promises a goodie bag including just the perfect Vancouver souvenir to show off to your beer-loving friends back home, though there’s often locals that take this tour as well. Visit the website for detailed info and to book a tour. I was a guest on the Beer and Food Tour for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, are my own.

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  • Jul29

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    LEAGUE's Michael Serbinis, Olympian Simon Whitfield
    [LEAGUE’s Todd Humphrey, Olympian Simon Whitfield]

    Yesterday, I posted a feature introducing you all to LEAGUE, an online health and wellness platform that allows users to look after their own health by way of connecting with health professionals through a rapidly-growing LEAGUE community.

    Last night, CCO/Co-Founder Todd Humphrey (formerly of Kobo) was joined by Olympian Simon Whitfield to help LEAGUE gain momentum in Vancouver as the team plan a mid-September launch here. A four-time Canadian Olympian, gold and silver medallist and triathlete, Simon discussed his Olympic career, vision for health and how LEAGUE can help him and many other professional athletes stay in shape both mentally and physically.

    LEAGUE Vancouver-1

    The cocktail reception was held at Point Grey’s Royal Vancouver Yacht Club offering a stunning backdrop of the sea and North Shore mountains.

    Both health care professionals and tech industry guests were invited to get acquainted with the innovative platform’s key features:
    – Personalized, educational content in a trusted environment
    – Recommended health activities
    – New connections/referrals
    – Appointment reminders
    – Personalized recommendations
    – Convenient and cashless transactions
    – Social (comment, like, share)

    I briefly interviewed Todd before the presentation and asked him how Vancouver was chosen as a LEAGUE city. To him and the LEAGUE team, Vancouver was an obvious market due to our wellness and active lifestyles.

    League healthcare app screen shots

    The Toronto-based company is very happy to see the level of engagement over the course of the past few months since introducing the platform to their city via user comments, sharing, answering questions and offering advice. The team looked at a variety of industries; when they learned that the US healthcare market alone totals 4 trillion dollars, they knew where to set their focus.

    LEAGUE also realized that while wearables collect important health data, that data is not always made available in a convenient format for viewing against other metrics. And, it doesn’t reach healthcare pros.

    Todd also talked about bringing Kobo (his former company) from four to 600 employees, raising 80 million dollars in venture capital before selling the company to Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company. Kobo was launched in 2009, just two years after Amazon’s Kindle and before Apple’s iPad. With Kobo, they’d “somewhat disrupted” the publishing world.

    League healthcare app screen shots

    The goal here is to connect doctors, nutritionists, massage therapists, naturopaths and wellness experts with consumers.

    Initial feedback over LEAGUE (as well as its iPhone and Android-compatible apps) has been favourable. Think of LEAGUE as an all-in-one healthcare option: from transparent service and pricing, automatic receipts and insurance claims to localized service where you live and work, LEAGUE is well on its way to becoming a leader in the tech and wellness industry.

    The free user platform also plans on offering an option to compile and store your medical information. Visit LEAGUE online for more info.

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  • Jul28

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    Pride doughnut, Lucky's Doughnuts
    [Photo courtesy of Lucky’s Doughnuts]

    In celebration of Pride, Lucky’s Doughnuts has teamed up with HIV/AIDS charity A Loving Spoonful to create the $5 Sprinkled with Pride charity doughnut.

    Created by Lucky’s Doughnuts’ Colter Jones, the Sprinkled with Pride doughnut is a vanilla cream-filled “Long John” with a chocolate glaze that’s covered in a rainbow of sprinkles to represent the rainbow flag of the LGBTQ community.  
     
    The limited-run Sprinkled with Pride doughnut will be available at Sunday’s Pride Parade at the Denman Street BMO Branch (958 Denman Street) from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.
     
    The Sprinkled with Pride doughnut is also available at both Lucky’s Doughnuts locations (2198 West 4th in Kitsilano, 7 am to 7 pm and 2902 Main Street in Mount Pleasant, 7 am to 10 pm) throughout Sunday, August 2.
     
    All proceeds from the sale of the $5 Sprinkled with Pride doughnut will benefit A Loving Spoonful’s meal programs for people living with HIV/AIDS.
     
    This is Lucky’s Doughnuts second partnership with a Loving Spoonful. Lucky’s joined forces with the charity in March in order to create the hugely successful Dining Out For Life doughnut raising much-needed funds for the organization’s healthy meal delivery programs.

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  • Jul28

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    LEAGUE app screen shot

    LEAGUE, an online personal health platform, recently launched in Toronto, Canada. Attracting top preventative healthcare professionals, LEAGUE gives health-conscious consumers the ability to transform their personal health and wellness journey.

    This dedicated platform allows access to top health professionals in your neighborhood while benefiting from the convenience of mobile scheduling, payments and invoices.

    Professionals and members stay connected with secure, private messaging and share their expertise and experiences in the LEAGUE community.

    LEAGUE devices

    The LEAGUE app is also available for both iPhone and Android-powered smart phones, making it the single destination for people to stay healthy — every day.

    Created by former Kobo founder Michael Serbinis, LEAGUE’s goal is “to fundamentally change how people think about health”. Serbinis also added, “We envision a future where health will be highly personalized, ‘always-on,’ and focused on prevention — helping you live well every day. Our mission is to empower people to act every day, by connecting with the health professionals, services, and care that is right for them.”

    LEAGUE app screen shot

    Dr. Elaine Chin, Personalized Medicine Physician and founder of Executive Health Care, also spoke favourably about the rapidly-expanding platform: “We need to rally the silent majority of preventative healthcare professionals onto a platform where consumers can work with them to fundamentally transform how they manage and improve their health and wellbeing. LEAGUE will be this catalyst for change.”

    LEAGUE-approved professionals offer a broad spectrum of preventative health and wellness services including nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy, personal training, physiotherapy, diabetes screening, chiropractic medicine, mental health services, meditation and integrative medicine.

    LEAGUE app screen shot

    Health professionals can join online and services can be discovered and booked in mere seconds while payments and invoicing are seamlessly automated in a mobile experience.

    Far beyond discovery and booking services, LEAGUE’s personal health platform offers users a way to stay connected and engaged with their professionals with secure 1:1 messaging, personal health data sharing, and an engaging community where health-focused information can be shared and discussed.

    LEAGUE screenshots

    LEAGUE users will be able to track their services and create a personal health record incorporating biometrics, wearable and app data as well as share it with healthcare providers who can provide meaningful, actionable insights based on LEAGUE’s data-rich platform. LEAGUE is definitely the game-changer in personal health management.

    Now available across Canada, LEAGUE is actively seeking leading health professionals to join its community and start growing their businesses with like-minded clients focused on their health. In addition to its Canadian presence, LEAGUE will soon expand into the US and later this year, internationally.

    The company is also exploring partnerships with insurers, employers, institutions and will soon launch APIs for third-party developers. Those interested in working with LEAGUE can email partners@joinleague.com. This article features sponsored content and compliments an event recap so that our audience can learn more about LEAGUE.

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  • Jul27

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    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-1

    Now represented in 191 countries and in over 34,000 cities, Airbnb is literally all over the map — land and sea. My husband and I were one of the handful of lucky people invited to experience a very unique Airbnb accommodation, aboard a gorgeous yacht owned by Mark Sager. Mark’s no stranger to hosting guests through Airbnb, the de facto online accomodation listing service for travellers.

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-5 Airbnb Yacht Cruise-3

    Another one of Mark’s properties (in Chesterman Beach, Tofino) wasn’t being used throughout the year so he decided to turn it into an Airbnb accommodation, allowing others to enjoy the beautiful Vancouver Island town, a paradise for surfers and beachcombers alike.

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-8

    He’s made amazing friends via bookings from around the globe and can testify that each and every guest has left his properties spotless upon check out.

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-6

    Aboard the Oriana, our street shoes were left at the dock as slippers (or bare feet) gave us the immediate comfort of making ourselves at home.

    DJ at sea Airbnb group shot aboard The Oriana

    The Oriana sleeps eight and its nightly $10k price tag includes skipper, captain, chef and in our case, DJ and mixologist (Lauren Mote was in her element, mixing up alongside killer views).

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-7 Airbnb Yacht Cruise-4

    It took four years for Airbnb to reach one million bookings. Flash-forward to 2015, and that amount is reached DAILY! The company believes in local and authentic experiences no matter where you book, from an Australian penthouse to an Austrian igloo. Looking at their website, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular — as many accommodations as there are individual tastes and budgets.

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-10

    With Airbnb, you can either choose to list your space or find one to book with their online search service. Want to spend a week in the eclectic and charming Parisian district of Le Marais? A one bed, one bath apartment can be yours for CDN $103 per night.

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-2

    The site also includes 24/7 customer support, verified ID, and secure payment features.

    Airbnb Yacht Cruise-9

    Our evening at sea was made even more special with Vancouver’s idyllic scenery, particularly at sunset. I’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful locale to call home, but I’ll know where to look when we want a change of scenery! Find your perfect home away from home at Airbnb online. Unwatermarked photos by KK Law Photography. This is not a sponsored post. Opinions, as always, are my own.

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  • Jul25

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    2015 Deighton Cup-9

    Yesterday’s Seventh Annual Deighton Cup was packed with guests out for an afternoon of trackside glamour with cocktails in hand.
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  • Jul24

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    Discover Boating-3
    [Heading out of the marina, Granville Island]

    Those of you that know me personally will know that one of my favourite sayings is “Any day on a boat is a good day!” With our current dry, sunny weather, getting onto the water is a fabulous way to de-stress and enjoy our city’s scenic beauty.
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  • Jul23

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    Royal Dinette-1

    Take fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, a unique approach to cocktails, and beautiful, eye-catching interior design, and you’ll arrive at Royal Dinette, a new restaurant with Chef/Owner David Gunawan at the helm.

    Royal Dinette-2

    Gunawan’s worked internationally, from Seattle to Chicago, before opening Kitsilano’s Farmer’s Apprentice a couple of years back, and more recently, sister restaurant Grapes & Soda (read our Grapes & Soda feature here).
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  • Jul22

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    Aston Hill Tea-British Properties-3

    “When sleeping women wake, mountains will move.”

    That was the message behind acclaimed communication expert and author of Capture the Spotlight’s Narges Nirumvala, CEO of ExecutiveSpeak, invited to speak at one of Aston Hill’s ultra-luxurious homes in West Vancouver’s British Pacific Properties.

    Aston Hill Tea-British Properties-1

    After we were whisked away from busy Waterfront Station, driven across Lions Gate Bridge and brought high above the city (and treated to decadent treats, tea, bubbly and a light lunch curated by To Die For’s Erin Ireland), Narges spoke passionately in honour of women, driving home the fact that mindset is the most powerful thing we possess.
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  • Jul21

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    5th Annual BC Beer Awards-10

    Save the date! The Sixth Annual BC Beer Awards & Festival, one of the most anticipated beer tasting festivals in the Lower Mainland, is set to return to Vancouver on Saturday, October 24 at the Croatian Cultural Centre.
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  • Jul20

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    ProClip USA iPhone holder-4

    ProClip USA recently sent me a car phone holder for our VW Jetta, suitable for an iPhone 5/5s (with a small to medium case attached). The US-based company sells products designed and produced in Sweden with a good range of device holders to suit just about every mobile device, GPS, PDA and payment terminal in addition to height-customizable pedestal device mounts.
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  • Jul17

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    Nathan Schmidt, Robert Klein, Ian Butcher, Benedict Campbell
    [Nathan Schmidt, Robert Klein, Ian Butcher, Benedict Campbell]

    There was much ado surrounding the world premiere of C.C. Humphrey’s novel-turned-play, Shakespeare’s Rebel. The book, packed with political intrigue, plenty of sword fights, debauchery and of course, love, has received generally positive reviews prior to its adaptation as a play at this year’s Bard on the Beach. However, this grandiose story might be too ambitious to be crammed into 2.5 hours and there was much ado about too much
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  • Jul16

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    Tour guides
    [Michael and Brent of Taste Vancouver Food Tours]

    A while back, Vancouverscape reviewed Taste Vancouver’s Gastown Food Tour. Since then, owner Jewel Taylor has added an excursion that cruises through culturally-diverse and vibrant Commercial Drive. 

    Having close connections to this community helps explain why she’s the only food tour company in town offering culinary treks along this street. Dubbed the Little Italy Food Tour, guests are treated to ample samplings of Italian favourites that include cheese, wine, pasta, pizza and of course, cannoli! 
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  • Jul15

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    Oceanwise 2 book launch-2
    [Hot off the press!]

    A sequel to the best-­selling The Ocean Wise Cookbook, Ocean Wise Cookbook 2 is a ­new collection of recipes for cooking with sustainable seafood. Created in partnership with world-renowned Vancouver Aquarium, this book is an updated guide to how a conscious consumer can make ocean­friendly buying choices and turn them into delicious meals.

    This book contains 170 recipes from some of Canada’s top chefs and restaurants. Canadian chefs care strongly about protecting sea life for the next generation and have supported the project by providing some of their favourite recipes for preparing fish and seafood.
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  • Jul14

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    Montreal Hôtel Le Crystal

    Hôtel Le Crystal is the perfect city oasis both in style and comfort. The hotel and onsite restaurant, La Coupole, have been in business for eight years, offering visitors a high-end lodging and dining experience in Montreal.

    The hotel’s located on Rue Montagne just below St. Catherine Street in the Quartier du Musée, filled with both high-end and chain stores (comparable to Vancouver’s Robson Street), numerous cafés and restaurants as well as relatively easy metro access. One of the two nearby metro stations, Lucien L’Allier is currently undergoing renovation so I’d advise walking to Avenue Stanley and catching the Peel metro instead.
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  • Jul14

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    Bacon Caesar: Bacon-infused vodka, clamato

    We always enjoy a French-inspired meal at Tableau Bar and Bistro, a spot that’s become a Coal Harbour fixture for delicious dining, late night drinks and brunch.

    Tableau Bar and Bistro brunch-3

    Due to high demand, the bistro recently decided to open its doors for brunch on Saturdays as well, and invited us out to enjoy a fancy late-morning feast on their covered street side patio.
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