• Aug29

    Food Talks logo

    Vancouver Foodster’s Food Talks series is back with Volume 11: Innovation in our Food Community.

    Meet and mingle with fellow foodies on Tuesday, September 16, when five speakers will be featured for an engaging talk about their passion for our food community. There will be a Q&A following the talk, allowing guests the chance to engage with the speakers.

    The evening will kick off with a cup of coffee or tea in the café, followed by the speakers at 7 pm. At 8:15, there will be a Q&A, with mingling and networking to follow. Food, wine, and other beverages will be available for purchase during the event.

    Here’s the lineup for Volume 11:

    Bomber Brewing

    Ken Beattie, Beer Educator, Eureka Beer Guide
    Ken’s passion for the beer industry started in BC in 1987 when hired as a summer student with Molson Breweries. Ken spent 10 years with Molson, beginning his sales career in Northern BC and finishing his tenure in Downtown Vancouver. As of July 2013, Ken is the Executive Director of the BC Craft Brewers Guild, representing half of the 70 owned and operated craft breweries and brewpubs in BC, with the aim of producing and promoting premium hand-crafted beers that are truly BC, showcasing the brewers’ talents on a global level.
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  • Aug28

    Kinesis Dance; photo by Chris Randle
    [Kinesis Dance; photo by Chris Randle]

    From contemporary and flamenco to belly dance and swing, the 13th Annual Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House offers the chance to sample a host of dance styles in a full day of free open classes, studio showings, and events.

    Participating companies and artists will include Shay Kuebler/Radical System Arts, Kinesis Dance somatheatro, Karen Flamenco, TomoeArts, as well as a diverse selection of local dance artists and companies working across many different dance traditions.
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  • Aug27

    Cell4 Eva Tavares Cell 5 Bronwyn Malloy
    [L to R: Cell 4 modeled by UBC Opera student Eva Tavares; Cell 5 modeled by Bronwyn Malloy]

    alumni UBC invites Lower Mainland fashion, art, and music lovers to Fashioning Cancer on Tuesday, September 23, a fundraiser in support of the Canadian Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Centre at UBC.
     
    Part of Western Living Design Week, Fashioning Cancer will feature the auction of 10 exquisite evening gowns designed as works of art to inspire conversations about cancer.

    Jacqueline Firkins, Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Theatre and Film, found colourful microscopic images of cancer cells and cellular systems inspiration for the gowns she designed for the auction.

    Cell 6 Rebecca Burks UBC
    [Cell 6 modeled by Rebecca Burks, UBC BFA Theatre Production & Design student]
     
    About the Fashioning Cancer Research Project
    The ten show-stopping ball gowns are part of a larger project entitled Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation Between Destruction and Beauty, an interdepartmental research project at UBC made possible through a Research Mentorship Grant from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Jacqueline Firkins discovered that many women who had battled cancer expressed a disconnect with the usual fashion imagery commonly associated with the disease, such as the pink ribbon, a signature fashion statement for breast cancer awareness. The aim of this project was to bring science and art together to encourage a more open dialogue about cancer, beauty, and body image as well as to generate artistic imagery closely connected to the disease itself.

    “My hope is that somehow through fashion, I more closely tap into what a woman might be feeling about her body as she undergoes the disease, but simultaneously reflect a strength, beauty and resilience, which are three words I would immediately ascribe to the women I know who have been through this harrowing journey”. – Jacqueline Firkins

    This important evening will feature:
    - Auction and ticket proceeds benefit Canadian Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Centre at UBC
    - Singer/songwriter and fellow cancer survivor, Bif Naked, will perform a live set
    - Cocktail party food and drink provided by Hawksworth Restaurant

    Fashioning Cancer gowns

    Fashioning Cancer Fundraiser
    Date: September 23, 6:30 to 9:30 pm
    Venue: Porsche Centre Vancouver, 688 Terminal Avenue
    Tickets: $100; available online

    Photos by Tim Matheson.

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  • Aug27

    Provence Marinaside Executive Chef Jean-Francis Quaglia
    [Provence Marinaside Executive Chef Jean-Francis Quaglia]

    Welcome end of summer and its wonderful bounty of colourful heirloom tomatoes! Abundant, locally-grown, and vitamin-packed, Provence Marinaside’s put together a chef’s tasting menu ($48; additional wine pairing, $20) showcasing tomatoes, grilled prawns, halibut, Dungeness crab, and seared Sockeye salmon.

    Feast your eyes on Chef Jean-Francis and Alessandra Quaglia’s tomato menu, and grab a chair at the patio with a lovely view of the Yaletown marina. Provence’s Mediterranean Grill in Point Grey also offers a tomato-showcasing prix-fixe menu.

    Provence Marinaside Tomato season-2
    [Sampling Tomato & Nectarine Salad, Chilled Yellow Campari Tomato Soup]

    Chefs’ Tomato Menu 2014

    Chilled Yellow Campari Tomato Soup
    tomato and black garlic vinaigrette
    (Unsworth 2013 Rosé)
    -or-
    Fresh Tomato Tarte
    black tapenade, tomato, garlic chips, marjoram, puff pastry
    (Joiefarm 2013 Noble Blend)
    -or-
    Tomato & Nectarine Salad
    grilled prawns, basil oil
    (Covert Farms 2013 Amicitia White)

     
    Halibut Puttanesca
    zucchini ribbons, polenta anchovy, black olive, tomato, caper sauce
    (Muga 2013 Rosé Rioja)
    -or-
    Dungeness Crab and Heirloom Tomato Stew
    mussels, clams, scallops, fennel, roasted tomatoes, white wine and garlic broth
    (Clos du Soleil 2013 Sauvignon Blanc)
    -or-
    Seared Sockeye Salmon
    yellow tomato and warm vegetable salad, oven roasted plum tomato vinaigrette
    (Covert Farms 2012 Rosé)

    Dessert
    choice from our menu
    (Unsworth Ovation)

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  • Aug26

    Harvest Haus

    With a continuing passion for bringing accessible, premium cultural experiences to Vancouver, The Social Concierge has partnered with Wet Ape Productions to present the inaugural Harvest Haus from October 2 to 5.

    For four days, Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza will be transformed into a multi-media mini Münich, encompassing everything from medieval minstrelsy to Bavarian brass oompah bands to live DJs. Harvest Haus is a celebration of German-European culture and West Coast bounty, presented in an immersive Oktoberfest-themed setting. 

    Beginning with a theatrical keg tapping by the Harvest Haus Burgomeister, each four-hour seating at the long tables under the canopy of the great Halle marquee will highlight the evolution of Northern Europe’s harvest festivals from medieval times to the present and will feature interactive theatrical and live musical performances.

    Oktoberfest at Market by Jean-Georges-4

    Guests will be able to tuck into authentic German delicacies including spätzle, bezen, bratwürst, schnitzel, and sauerkraut prepared with locally-harvested ingredients. There will also be a traditional Swiss-style chocolatier tempting the crowds with his delights.

    As befitting such a fest, European bier will be front and centre — served exclusively in the 500ml Harvest Haus Bierkrug (ceramic stein) that can be rented for $1 or purchased for $8 (yours to keep). Guests can also bring their own 500ml ceramic stein to the event.

    Harvest Burgomeister VIP tickets will bring you right to the head table with reserved seating, access to expanded culinary offerings from Cocktails & Canapes in conjunction with Sole Foods, a complementary Harvest Haus stein, and access to a VIP bar, table service and more.

    Harvest Haus 

    Harvest Haus

    Dates: October 2 to October 5
    Thursday, 6 and 10 pm seatings; Friday, Saturday, 12:30 pm to 4:30 and 6 to 10 pm seatings

    Sunday brunch seating, 11 am to 6 pm

    Venue: In the Halle at Queen Elizabeth Plaza, Georgia Street at Hamilton
    Tickets: Available online beginning September 5, 10 am; pre-registration now open

    - General Admission Afternoon Seating and Sunday Brunch, $25 
    - Harvest Burgomeister VIP Afternoon Seating and Sunday Brunch, $40
    - General Admission Evening Seating, $35
    - Harvest Burgomeister VIP Evening Seating, $50  
     

    Get social!

    Facebook: Harvest Haus
    
Twitter: @HarvestHaus
    Instagram: @harvesthaus

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  • Aug25

    Vancouver Craft Beer Cruise-4

    On a boat…with beer! What could be finer on a summery weekend day around Vancouver than sampling craft beer aboard a ship?

    Vancouver Craft Beer Cruise-3 Vancouver Craft Beer Cruise-1

    Due to early buzz, Vancouver Craft Beer Cruise tickets for the 3:30 and 8 pm sailings were snatched up weeks ahead of the event; a third 11 am sailing was added.
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  • Aug25

    Jacques Lalonde

    Perhaps you’ve never experienced a stroke and have kinda wondered what it’s like and what you have to look forward to if you do. If so, you’ll want to make a point of following along with master storyteller Jacques Lalonde as the well-loved Vancouver actor recounts his journey from near basket case to almost full recovery in Stroke of Luck.

    On July 1, 2013, Jacques suffered a stroke that paralyzed half his face and robbed him of the use of his right arm. Not a funny tale, however Jacques shares the incident with heart and humour comparable to the best episodes of 70’s TV’s MASH.
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  • Aug22

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-4

    The secret location for the third annual Dîner en Blanc Vancouver was kept under wraps until a few tweets started to show suspicious white activity in Yaletown. A white baby grand piano was spotted in David Lam Park, and soon enough, the rumour was confirmed: the glamorous pop-up picnic in white was to take place with a gorgeous backdrop of our “city of glass”.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-2

    Started a quarter century ago in Paris, France, Dîner en Blanc has grown to include numerous events in cities around the globe. The first event was held two years ago in Jack Poole Plaza, when the home of our Olympic cauldron hosted 1,200 folks dressed head to toe in white.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-15 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-19 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-9

    Tyson Villeneuve and Jordan Kallman of The Social Concierge organized the event alongside the help of sponsors RBC, Evian, Telus, Alliance Française de Vancouver, Indochino, and Charton Hobbs.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-8

    Once all 3,500+ guests were seated, a wave in the air from as many white linen napkins signaled the start of dinner.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-17 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-10 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-14

    This year, over 3,500 (with several thousand more on the waiting list) arrived and began to set up their picnic baskets, candelabras, floral arrangements, and gourmet eats at tables neatly arranged in rows. Kudos to the highly-efficient organizers who brought this event to our city for another year of merriment!

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-3 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-16

    The Vancouver Opera provided entertainment, while stilt walkers, ballerinas, and other artists posed with guests and twisted their makeup-clad bodies around the park.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-22 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-11 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-5 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-20

    For those too lazy to prepare a picnic, Executive Chef David Hawksworth offered a ready-to-serve picnic package. The guests created a stunning sea of white, sparklers and lanterns were lit and released into the city, and dancing around the central stage ensured a fine evening of fun and fashion for all those who attended.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-24 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-25 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-26 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-27 2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-28

    I didn’t make after party “Le Disco”, however I’m hoping that those on the waiting list got their turn to enjoy that portion of the evening.

    2014 Diner en Blanc Vancouver-23

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  • Aug22

    Truly Madly Deeply

    Each month, Melanie Friesen invites a distinguished guest to Vancity Theatre’s Cinema Salon, in order to present his/her favourite film. After the screening, both audience and speaker have the opportunity to engage over drinks and snacks in the Vancity lounge. This month’s film is Anthony Minghella’s Truly Madly Deeply.
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  • Aug21

    Autumn Shift Festival banner

    Join thousands of Vancouverites along Main, East Broadway, and Kingsway for the free Fifth Annual Autumn Shift Festival and Smoking Sausage BBQ Competition Cook-Off, Vancouver’s final street festival of the summer, on Sunday, September 14.

    This vibrant community will come together to celebrate the change in seasons as well as the diversity and spirit earning Mount Pleasant “Vancouver’s Coolest Neighbourhood” title. The festival celebrates urban gardening, sustainability, and eating and shopping locally.

    The MPBIA, in conjunction with Livable Laneways, The Beaumont Studios, and BLIM markets aim to create a unique festival with three stages showcasing local musicians, DJs, and performers. There will be multiple market areas selling food, clothing, accessories, body care products, home wares, and demonstrations by dance groups and athletic organizations.
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  • Aug20

    Tea House in Stanley Park-3

    A former garrison and officer’s mess during World War II, Vancouver’s Teahouse in Stanley Park is steeped in our city’s history. Post-war, the house served as a military residence, later opening as the Ferguson Point Tea Room during the summer.

    The restaurant was owned by Hungarian couple Steve and Eva Floris who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary after surviving the Holocaust. They emigrated to Vancouver in 1949, and obtained a lease from the Vancouver Park Board to operate then-named Art Gallery Tea Room in Stanley Park. Steve and Eva sold the restaurant in 1964 and went into real estate. Long retired and more comfortable with his word processing skills, Steve later documented their war-time and displaced persons (DP)-refugee experiences in a memoir, Escape From Pannonia.

    The house fell into a state of disrepair in the 70’s, later renovated and reopened in 1978 as the Teahouse Restaurant.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-7

    The Teahouse is part of the Sequoia company of restaurants, located in the choicest parts of Vancouver: Seasons in the Park in Queen E Park, Cardero’s in Coal Harbour, and The Sandbar on Granville Island.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-20 Tea House in Stanley Park-6

    Over 35 years later, the Stanley Park destination dining spot is still going strong with diners booking into the tea room, drawing room, conservatory, and on fine days, the patio. We were lucky to enjoy dinner with one of Vancouver’s best settings at sundown.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-4 Tea House in Stanley Park-2

    A quick walk just outside the Teahouse, and you’re right at English Bay, where tourists and locals alike gather for the evening show with a stunning mountain backdrop. The restaurant is set amongst lush manicured gardens including colourful flowers and palm trees that take on golden hues with the setting sun.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-9 Tea House in Stanley Park-10

    Clientele here is mixed between families, couples, groups, and out-of-towners. We started the evening off with an array of appetizers, including heirloom tomatoes served with both house-made hummus and marinated bocconcini, smoked salmon on cucumber slices, and gluten-free crostini with wild mushroom, parmesan and mascarpone cheeses, baby shrimp, and balsamic reduction.

    Tea House in Stanley Park starters

    Alongside a list of summer cocktails (Cucumber Smash, Spiked Palmer, sangria, etc.), we ordered the Summer Haze, the current featured cocktail. Oksana tequila is mixed with grapefruit and pineapple juices, cherries, and champagne on top. Very colourful and refreshing alongside our first bites. The cherry flavour comes right to the top of the palate and nicely complements the rest of the juices and champagne making for a great sipper.

    Tea House's Summer Haze

    Assistant Bar Managers Mennie, Jordan, and Rob work together with Floor and Bar Manager Sandy. They like being challenged to invent new concoctions, and often attend a Sunday bartending school to hone their skills.

    BC and international reds, whites, bottled and draft beer, bourbon, whiskey, rye, scotch, liqueurs, dessert wine, and port complete the restaurant’s drink offerings.

    Sockeye salmon, crab cakes, lemon-caper purée

    My entrée featured wild, line-caught Sockeye salmon with crab cakes, and lemon/caper purée dots gracing the artfully-presented dish. The salmon’s crisp crust was excellent and complimented the flavour of the fish and its accompanying seasonal veggies (broccolini, asparagus, and beans, all neatly tucked into a packet wrapped with a strip of greens), plus a roasted heirloom Roma tomato. Crab cakes were moist and contained some filling but not enough to mask the crab. Most of the seafood dishes here are Oceanwise-sanctioned.

    Beef tenderloin, grilled jumbo tiger prawns, seasonal veggies

    My husband was served the AAA beef tenderloin, with a skewer of four grilled jumbo tiger prawns, seasoned veggies and a roasted Roma, alongside herbed potatoes. The beef was juicy and tender, with a nice red wine demi-glace. The shrimps weren’t as tender as they could have been, perhaps grilling for a minute less would have solved the issue.

    The herbed potatoes contained a lovely, soft olive oil taste. We also tried some of Teahouse’s famous (read addictive) double-baked, thin pomme frites. Once our friendly server John mentioned them, we had our order in. Speaking of service, two words: top notch.

    The beef tenderloin went nicely with a glass of Burrowing Owl’s Cabernet Franc 2012, a medium-bodied red that added some spice to the beef.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-13

    Desserts came courtesy of in-house pastry chef Noel, who overseas a small but well-varied dessert menu. The chocolate Milano cake is a triple-chocolate mousse delight served atop an almond wafer crust, while the white chocolate cheesecake has a lovely cherry coulis and graham cracker crust.

    Triple chocolate mousse cake with almond wafter crust Vanilla bean creme brulee White chocolate cheesecake with cherry coulis

    We also enjoyed a vanilla bean crème brûlée, happy that we’d saved room for dessert! The crème contains vanilla bean flecks, its crackly top golden. All three choices we tried were satisfying, though we were torn between the Milano cake and the crème brûlée. Not to discount the cheesecake—it too had a lovely, soft taste with a juicy amount of cherries on top.

    White chocolate cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake, creme brulee

    The Teahouse in Stanley Park is located at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park and is open for lunch Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 4 pm, dinner seven nights a week from 4 pm to late, weekend and holiday brunch, 10 am to 3 pm, and small plates on Saturday and Sunday, 3 to 4 pm.

    Check out their Sunday night prime rib dinner, where for $27.50, you can order AAA slow-roasted prime rib with seasonal veggies, or choose the three-course option for $35, including Caesar salad, prime rib, and a piece of that amazing chocolate mousse cake.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-5

    There’s metered parking outside and down the road, but this romantic spot is also easily reached via bike. The Teahouse is ideal for hosting visitors, or for simply getting through a busy afternoon and winding down in our city’s own gorgeous backyard.

    Tea House in Stanley Park-22 Tea House in Stanley Park-21

    We were guests of the Teahouse in Stanley Park for the purpose of experiencing the restaurant and its ambiance.

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  • Aug19

    Desert Hills wines at Sea to Sky Gondola
    [Image by Paul Bride]

    If you’ve not yet had the chance to experience the Sea to Sky Gondola with its tremendous views, now’s your chance! On Saturday, August 30, an inaugural winemakers dinner will take place at the top of the gondola, in the Summit Lodge’s Diamond Head Room. This promises to be a special night with views over the Howe Sound at 887 meters high!

    Landsea Tours Media Trip-22 Landsea Tours Media Trip-18

    The Sea to Sky Gondola is located between the Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls. Come early and take in the incredible scenery. There’s also a 100-meter suspension bridge to enjoy, just off to the side of the lodge.

    Desert Hills Estate Gewurztraminer Desert Hills Estate Mirage

    The five-course dinner will feature BC’s Desert Hills Estate wines, a family-owned boutique winery located on Black Sage Bench (outside Oliver), some of the most sought-after Okanagan terroir.

    Desert Hills vineyards

    Sitting on 24 acres of some of the finest vineyards on the Bench, the Okanagan winery is located between Black Hills and Burrowing Owl wineries – an ideal source for the grapes. Winemaker George Phiniotis has gradually taken over winemaking from his father, Elias Phiniotis, PhD, for the Toor family. With over three decades of wine-making learned from his Dad (in addition to having worked at Domaine de Chaberton), George produces award-winning wines.

    “The best grapes in BC are the ones right outside this window,” adds Phiniotis, pointing to the vineyard beside the wine shop. “The incredible grape growing conditions at DH’s Black Sage Bench vineyard play an integral role in the wines’ quality but great attention to the craft, like precision blending and patient cellaring is equally important. Details like these are what have garnered the winery two Lieutenant General Governor of Canada Awards”.

    The menu
    Upon Arrival
    Rose ‘Helena’ 2012
    Smoked albacore tuna with melon salsa

    First Course
    Unoaked Chardonnay 2012
    Herb goat cheese tart topped with an apple pear salad

    Second Course
    Gewurtztraminer 2012
    Seafood Thai green curry with jasmine rice

    Third Course
    Gamay 2012
    Grilled lamb leg with sauce verte accompanied with roasted summer vegetables

    Dessert
    Mirage 2008
    Dark chocolate torte with a blackberry compote

    Desert Hills Estate Chardonnay

    Desert Hills Estate Winery Winemaker’s Dinner
    Date: Saturday August 30, 7 pm

    Venue: Diamond Head Room in the Summit Lodge, Squamish

    Tickets: $89 + taxes and gratuity (note price does not include gondola access. Special event pricing for gondola tickets available with dinner purchase.

    Landsea Tours Media Trip-10

    For reservations and tickets, phone 604.892.2550 x 2565 or visit Guest Relations at the Sea to Sky gondola base.

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  • Aug18

    Chapters Indigo Holiday Preview-4

    Last week, media were invited to preview Chapters Indigo’s holiday collection. I know what you’re thinking, Christmas in August?

    Chapters Indigo Holiday Preview-1 Chapters Indigo Holiday Preview-13

    As it’s often been said, the holidays are just around the corner. Although I’m thinking Labour Day, it’s never too early to start planning ahead.
    Continue reading »

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  • Aug15

    Sola Fiedler Vancouver tapestry detail

    Canadian fiber artist Sola Fiedler grew up in London during World War II. Utilizing yarn purchased from thrift stores and estate sales, as well as from recycled sweaters, Sola recalls how upcycling played a key role in life after wartime. Her warm, detail-rich, colourful tapestries evoke cityscapes from Las Vegas to Sydney, Australia.

    Sola’s attention to pinpoint detail is staggering, from the number of floors in a building to the colour of the trees and water. She is best known for her tapestry tributes to cities that have hosted Olympic Games, including Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002, and Sydney, Australia in 2000. Her work captures the architectural elements and spirit of each city at that moment in time.

    In celebration of the City of Vancouver and Grunt Gallery’s 30th anniversary, Sola will present her Vancouver tapestry, inspired by the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. She began the tapestry in May 2009; over 5,000 hours later, the 78-year-old artist has completed a colourful ode to our city from the perspective of an eagle.

    I sat down with deadline-driven Sola at her studio this week to learn about her experiences of living in Olympic cities (working some of the time in public spaces or on main stages), and how the original Vancouver tapestry she created 30 years ago compares with the one in the photo above and in the video below (view larger on YouTube).

    The tapestry is for sale, with one heartfelt wish—that the buyer will keep the tapestry in Vancouver, either by donating it to a museum or to a major collection, to preserve our city’s rich heritage and its celebration of the 2010 games for generations to come.

    grunt gallery Presents Sola Fiedler
    Dates: August 29 and 30, noon to 5 pm; Artist’s Talk: Saturday, August 30, 1 pm
    Venue: Mainspace Community Gallery, 116-350 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver

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  • Aug14

    Arcade Fire at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2014
    [That's me on the left of a nervous-smiling Rebecca Blissett]

    Jockeying for a position last weekend in the photo pit at Squamish Valley Music Festival proved a challenge by the time lead act Arcade Fire made it onto the stage for their 90-minute set. Fans were packed behind the barricades for as far as the eye could see—we were also packed in shoulder-to-shoulder for our “first three songs”.

    Win Butler-1

    Launching into their show, the band got the fans going with Joan of Arc and then, in a completely random moment, lead singer Win Butler got in on the fun by taking a photographer’s camera and turning it onto the audience!

    A fine rock ’n’ roll moment, albeit it a frantic one for Rebecca Blissett, who was hoping for nothing more than its safe return into her hands.

    The photo pit gets lots more fun when Win Butler takes a Nikon for a spin at #vmsquamish #lowrezversion

    A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Rock on, Arcade Fire!

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