• Craft Beer
  • Sep17

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    Pig-out event poster

    The poster says it all: Gastown’s Catch 122 Cafe Bistro is hosting a whole hog dinner on September 19 from 6 to 9 pm. There’ll be pig head carving, live music by David Morin, and Parallel 49 craft beer on tap. Reserve by phoning 604.731.3474.

  • Sep12

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    GIB One-Two Punch IPA

    Granville Island Brewing has released a limited-edition One-Two Punch Belgian IPA. Produced in small batches, this 7.8% strong beer has a distinct smoky flavour on the palate with a refreshing, hoppy, and light aftertaste. The colour is golden and murky, comparable to a complex Belgian IPA-style beer.
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  • Aug30

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    Luke's Executive Chef Jesse Joban
    [Luke's Executive Chef Jesse Joban]

    With a new chef on board, it was time to revisit Luke’s Corner Bar and Kitchen on Granville Street.

    Executive Chef Jesse Joban has an impressive resume. He worked for Melissa Craig at Bearfoot Bistro for five years, was the first sous chef at Victoria’s Noodle Box, and helped open Parkside, La Buca, Pied à Terre, and Hawksworth. After stints at Little Nest and Pentola, Luke’s followed. Chef Joban’s been brought on to take the menu up a notch, after Megan Anahaw’s departure.
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  • Aug26

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    View the Vibe Vancouver Launch-3

    Last week, I was invited to the media launch of View the Vibe’s Vancouver kick-off at Dockside Brewery’s welcoming patio. Delectable kusshi oysters were shucked by Chef de Partie Victor Jacinto, while Dockside’s own craft beers and a selection of BC wines made the rounds.
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  • Aug19

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    Catch 122 Bistro-7

    Catch 122 Cafe Bistro has only been in Gastown for a year plus change, however the popular French bistro draws crowds for its nightly shared plates and entrées as well as its breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. We visited last week for our first time, sitting right at the window offering the perfect Woodwards “W” tower sign view (aka “Vancouver’s Eiffel Tower”).

    Catch 122 Bistro-2 Catch 122 Bistro-4 Catch 122 Bistro-3

    The interior is brick with dark wood tables and chairs, giving Catch 122 a rustic feel. Antique clocks (with and without time pieces) adorn the large walls above the tables, and old photos are highlighted to show the building in its heyday. The long space includes a bar and open kitchen towards the back of the room. Funk and soul music played on the speakers the night of our visit.
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  • Jul19

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    Grain Tasting Bar Business Lunch-3

    Grain Tasting Bar has been open for just under a year in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Their locally-sourced menu features shared plates, smoked wood-fire pizza, a raw bar, and build-your-own cheese and charcuterie board.
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  • Jul8

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    EPIC Vancouver 2013-18

    Last weekend saw the sixth annual EPIC Sustainable Living Festival pass through Vancouver. EPIC is a consumer-friendly event that brings environmentally-sound products and trends to the forefront.
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  • Jun28

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    Homer Street Cafe and Bar-4

    Earlier this week, I attended the soon-to-open Homer Street Café and Bar in Yaletown. This space has a century-long history, with past occupants including the former Homer Café, the Stratos Café, and Rose’s Coffee Shop. The original Homer Café opened in 1952 and was originally called the Smithe Coffee Bar.
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  • May1

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    Edible Canada at the Market-2

    Edible Canada at The Market commands a prime spot on Granville Island close to the Public Market where over 12 million visitors peruse the food hall on a yearly basis. They started with a small shop in that very food hall (Edible British Columbia), selling many items now found in their current onsite shop. The busy restaurant has a comfortable, casual vibe, with families, businessmen, and groups coming and going.

    Edible Canada at the Market-1 Edible Canada at the Market-3

    The restaurant was packed during my recent lunch visit. Sitting by the window offers a glimpse into the daily life of Granville Island. The open kitchen is the first thing you see upon entry, opposite a series of square windows letting in a good amount of natural daylight.

    Edible Canada at the Market-10

    Edible Canada enjoys relationships with many local suppliers, including South Surrey’s Hazelmere Farms, providing the Granville Island restaurant with beautiful sunchokes for their soup. Sea to Sky bacon-salted butter is offered with crusty bread or rolls. Victoria’s Silk Road Teas and Granville Island Tea selections are on the beverage menu, as well as local beer, wine, and spirits.

    Edible Canada at the Market-11 Edible Canada at the Market-9 Edible Canada at the Market-8 Edible Canada at the Market-13

    You can see where this is going: Edible Canada at the Market is a proudly local restaurant and retail space that’s passionate about things sustainable. They are dedicated to sourcing the highest quality products across Canada.
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  • Apr29

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    Sisters of the Tap-18
    [2012's Sisters of the Tap event]

    Of the many new festivals popping up around Vancouver, the Vancouver Craft Beer Week is one that has grown like wildfire in its three short years. The Fourth Annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week returns this year with the theme “We’re Going All In”. This represents Vancity’s new brewery movement and the big gamble these four new brewers have taken to open their doors this year.

    Brassneck, Bomber, 33 Acres, and Main Street Brewing will all surface on the Vancouver craft beer scene this year. A fun promotional video features the risks each of the four are taking, with a poker game in full force and cigar smoke looming in the air.

    Nine signature events, six feature events, six walk up events, and many special beer-related activities will all capture the hearts of Lower Mainland craft beer lovers.

    Vancouver Craft Beer Week launch
    [Mayor Gregor Robertson taps the 2011 Collaboration cask]
     
    The opening night gala will be sponsored by the soon-to-open Craft Beer Market. Yaletown’s Roundhouse Community Centre will again serve as opening night venue. On that night, those same new brewery owners will tap the first cask of the official VCBW beer, brewed last month at Parallel 49 Brewing Company.

    This year’s Collaboration is an Altbiere; partial proceeds will be donated to Mark Brand’s A Better Life Foundation, which in turn will use the money to fund the Save On Meats Meal Token Program. A great way to enjoy a limited-release beer for a great cause.

    Russell Pale Ale served with pulled pork
    [Russell Pale Ale served with pulled pork at Memphis Blues]
     
    After the opening gala, look for six days of non-stop beer events, parties, and dinner pairings, culminating in the main event, the VCBW Beer Festival presented by Earls Kitchen & Bar and the Donnelly Group. The craft beer action will move south to Richmond’s glamorous River Rock Casino (keeping with the gambling theme), where a huge patio and two giant beer halls will be filled with no less than 50 tables of the craft beer industry’s finest. This translates to over 50 breweries in attendance, from East Vancouver to Belgium.

    Blood Alley Bitter paired with spicy pork ribs
    [Blood Alley Bitter]

    Enjoy a world tour of craft beer tastings right here at home. Just remember to take the Canada Line home; there’s a convenient stop right near the casino.

    Biercraft Belgian Beer Showcase-30
    [BierCraft Belgian Beer Showcase event, 2012]

    Events are already starting to sell out, so if you’re keen on attending a few, now’s the time to consult the website and pick your favourites—or risk disappointment.

    Biercraft Belgian Beer Showcase-19
    [Sharing the craft beer love at BierCraft, 2012]

    The Vancouver Craft Beer Week festival runs from May 31 to June 8. Visit the website for full event details and to order tickets. Follow the four new players in town on their respective Twitter handles: @bomberbrewing, @Brassneckbrew, @33acres, and @mainstreetbeer

  • Apr24

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    Grain Tasting Bar-1

    Last night, I was invited to the opening of Vancouver’s newest lounge space, Grain Tasting Bar. Drawing its name from the reclaimed wood doors and accents located throughout, this new downtown player offers smoked wood-fired pizzas, salads, crafted sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese, and shared plates, all created with local ingredients.

    Grain Tasting Bar-3
    [Pear and ginger margarita]

    Grain is located inside the Hyatt Regency Vancouver’s lobby, its entrance chic and urban. It’s the perfect spot to grab a light meal or drinks before heading upstairs to dine at Chef Thomas Heinrich’s other venue, Mosaic Bar and Grille.

    Grain Tasting Bar-4 Grain Tasting Bar-5 Grain Tasting Bar-14

    The salads on the menu are under the Lettuce section; a couple of salad choices that stand out are the Gelderman Farms pulled roasted pork and crispy kale salad, with Klippers organic butternut squash, apple, pea greens with apple vinaigrette, as well as the seared Vancouver Island Albacore tuna salad with farm tomatoes, arugula, and cucumber vinaigrette.

    Grain Tasting Bar-12

    On the charcuterie side, house-made duck proscuitto, Toscano proscuitto, and Okanagan salted and dried Sezmu beef are delicious choices to pair with Little Qualicum Cheesework’s Brie, Olde Farmer raw cow’s milk cheese, and Salt Spring Island Cheese’s Romelia. Softly-scented truffle honey, candied walnuts, pickles and other lovely accompaniments make the cheese and charcuterie experience complete here.

    Grain Tasting Bar-10

    Local suppliers such as Oyama Sausage, Gelderman Farms Pork, Skuna Bay Salmon, plus several craft brewers, wine makers and distillers keep Grain’s dishes high in both quality and sustainability.

    Grain Tasting Bar interior
    [Photo provided by Grain Tasting Bar]

    The space captures a lot of natural daylight and looks equally imposing at night, offering city street views with lush trees outside the window.

    Grain Tasting Bar at night
    [Photo provided by Grain Tasting Bar]

    In summer, the windows slide open to integrate the outdoors into the lounge, a creative, cutting-edge window design by Sunflex.

    Grain bar
    [Photo provided by Grain Tasting Bar]

    I especially like the bar’s colouring and design. The shimmery ceiling reflects the lighting and bar stools below, almost adding a water-like quality. Everything from inventive cocktails, BC wines, and craft beer begin their journey here, in a beautiful space designed by California firm EDG Architecture.

    Grain Tasting Bar-6

    The cocktail list is equally fun and inventive: Cherry and Basil Margaritas, Bangkok Mules, Ginger Pear Martinis (my favourite–so far), Poet’s Reach, and Ruby Tuesday are just a few on offer. Hand-made, small batch Victoria gin, including concoctions from Long Table Distillery, the city’s first micro distillery, find their home here as well.

    Grain Tasting Bar-8

    Beers are available on tap and in bottles (both domestic and imported). You’ll feel at home with the BC red and wine listings, including Burrowing Owl Merlot, Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir, Mission Hill’s ‘Five Vineyards’ Cabernet/Merlot, Sumac Ridge’s unoaked Chardonnay, Prospect Winery’s Pinot Blanc, Haywire’s Gamay Noir-Rose and others. All wines are available either by the glass or bottle and range from $9 to $16/glass.

    Judging from the last night’s scene, this will become the spot to hang your hat (or laptop bag) for some serious unwinding. Kudos to Chef Heinrich and his team for putting together yet another spot to celebrate simply delicious food and drink.

    Grain Tasting Bar-7 Grain Tasting Bar-9 Grain Tasting Bar-11 Grain Tasting Bar-13

    Grain Tasting Bar is located at 655 Burrard Street and is open daily from 11 am to 1 am.

  • Apr17

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    Yukon Brewing-5

    Imagine the serendipity of being able to tweet about craft beer taps while lunching at a popular Whitehorse restaurant and not an hour later, being approached at Yukon Brewing with a “that was YOUR tweet?”. I arrived just in time for the 2 pm tour, a 45-minute look behind the scenes of Yukon’s most celebrated (and only) brewery. 65% of all beer sold in the Yukon is produced by Yukon Brewing, with Yukon Gold the particular favourite of the bunch. The newest in the collection is Bonanza Brown (currently only available in mixed packs).

    Yukon Brewing-1

    Yukon Brewery opened its doors in 1997, at the time calling itself Chilkoot Brewing Company. The company was conceived on a canoe trip, when owners Alan and Bob brainstormed at the campfire.
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  • Apr12

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    pizzas

    Ever the community-minded restaurant, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Pizza Company is holding a series of Earth Day workshops this month at both their Kitsilano and Main Street locations. Lighten your footprint on Mother Earth while learning about urban farming techniques, creating your own bubble bath and scrubs, and preparing organic ravioli and fettucini.

    Rocky Mountain Flatbread Dine Out-11
    [Chef Wout Schipper demonstrates the fine art of ravioli making]

    I had the pleasure of attending a ravioli-making event at Rocky Mountain Flatbread during Dine Out Vancouver this year. The restaurant is friendly, casual, and provides a good atmosphere for a varied pizza and pasta menu plus local beers on tap, domestic bottled beers, sangria, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

    Pasta Making
    April 15, 6 pm, 1876 West 1st Avenue, Kitsilano
    
Learn from Chef Wout Schipper how to make your very own organic ravioli and fettucini.

    Spa Products
    April 10, 6 pm, 1486 Main Street

    Suz will demonstrate how to make your own bubble bath, scrubs, and creams using all-natural products.

    Companion Plant Container Gardening
    April 17, 6 pm, 1486 Main Street
    
Learn how to grow your own food by creating a companion plant container with Munisha, an urban farmer.

    Kids Gardening

    April 27, 10 am, 1486 Main Street
    Join Sarah and Suz as they read the award-winning book Uno’s Garden and plant pea shoots.

    Register for the above complimentary workshops by phoning 604.730.0321 (Kitsilano) or 604.566.9779 (Main Street).

    pizzas

    Also on offer is an Earth Day Pizza Making and Beer Tasting event on Monday evening, April 22 from 5 pm onwards, featuring both Stanley Park and R&B Brewing craft beer samples.

    Stanley Park Brun

    Learn to make an artisan pizza with five of your favourite ingredients, kicking things off by enjoying a salad and fresh bread.

    salad and bread

    Register by phoning 604.730.0321 (Kitsilano) or 604.566.9779 (Main Street). Tickets are $25 with 10% of all evening sales being donated to Earthbites, an local organization that teaches kids to grow their own food.

    I’ve a pair of tickets to give away to a lucky reader and their guest to attend the Monday pizza making and beer tasting event at either location.

    pizza boards

    Follow both @arianecdesign and @flatbreadCo for a chance to win and enter by tweeting the following:

    RT to win a pizza & beer tasting evening from @flatbreadCo and @arianecdesign on April 22 http://ow.ly/jXaYn

    For an additional entry, leave a comment on this post mentioning your most memorable and delicious pizza-eating experience to date, anywhere in the world. 

    I’ll select a winner at random on Friday, April 19 at noon.

    Congrats to Jessica Adamson, winner of the pair of tickets. Happy Earth Day :-)

  • Mar21

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    Roundel Cafe/The 1964 menu design is still in use!
    [The 1964 menu design is still in use!]

    50′s style diner tables and chairs, a retro menu cover to match, and a busy lunch counter. All part of a visit to Vancouver East Village’s Roundel Café.
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  • Feb20

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    Eight and a Half sign

    This week I visited Eight 1/2 Restaurant and Lounge to partake in the VanEats SalivEIGHT package deal. For $15, diners can choose from an appetizer and thin crust pizza, with a flight of Stanley Park Belgian style beers.

    Stanley Park beer flight

    The flight includes two ambers and two bruns (the same of each) from Stanley Park Brewery:
    Stanley Park Amber: subtle toasted malt, lightly hopped, exceptionally clean finish
    Stanley Park Brun: distinctive dried fruit aromatics, complex chocolate, roasted nut and malt biscuit

    Eight and a Half beer taps

    Flights are available on the regular menu (four 5 oz. samplers, $8.50; the current selection includes brews from Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, Howe Sound and Driftwood breweries)

    Choice of appetizer:
    - Baked brie: filo wrapped brie, local honey, sambal oelek, candied apple
    - Dungeness crab cakes served with lemony yogurt and arugula
    A third option, tortilla soup, served with chicken, black beans, corn, avocado, tortilla crisps, and gluten-free mozza cheese wasn’t offered on the night of my visit for some reason.

    Choice of thin crust pizza:
    - 8th Avenue: hot calabrese, chorizo, banana peppers, and sautéed mushrooms
    - Market Place: roasted vegetables, goat cheese, torn basil, sun-dried tomato base
    - Wild Smoked Salmon: BC smoked salmon, creamy dill, capers, red onion, craisins

    Pizzas on the menu range from $11.50 to $13.50.

    Eight and a Half crab cakes

    The Dungeness crab cakes were thick, delightfully light and non-greasy, and contained a lot of crab with very little filler. The avocado-topped crab cakes sat on a flavourful lemon yogurt sauce and were accompanied by a small portion of dressed greens. Normally 12.50, hopefully they’ll make a return to the regular menu.

    The pizzas are prepared thin-crust style, and all the ingredient portions are generous. I ordered the Market Place with cherry tomatoes instead of roasted veggies, as my system doesn’t tolerate bell peppers well.

    Eight and a Half Marketplace pizza

    The restaurant was accommodating in this respect and my modified pizza was simply put, delicious, and combined well with the second of the lightly-hopped amber samplers. I found the brun beer too flat taste-wise, but then again I’m all about hoppy IPA beers, thus finding the amber more food-friendly for my palate.

    The service is fast and friendly. The interior is tasteful with modern lighting, a brick wall at the front, and a central bar with flat screen TV. Wall designs play off the eight and a 1/2 name while black and white photos on the wall depict the neighbourhood streets.

    Eight and a Half interior Eight and a Half interior

    This casual lounge is conveniently situated close to the Main and Broadway corridor. I suspect that with several new businesses including HootSuite’s new digs nearby that this area will get a lot more visits in the coming months. Eight 1/2’s chef Thomas Chauca uses Ocean Wise-sanctioned seafood in his dishes and takes pride in working with local vendors.

    Eight and a Half wine taps

    I also discovered a comprehensive drink menu with daily specials plus an international selection of wines, bubbly, and port.

    Eight and a Half interior

    The package is available until May 4 through VanEats.ca; only one pass can be purchased per two persons, and the package doesn’t include tax or tip. When you piece together the price of the two courses plus beer, it’s a really great value. Reservations (highly recommended) can be made online.

    Eight 1/2 Restaurant and Lounge is located at 151 East 8th Avenue in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant district and is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

    My meal and beer sampler were compliments of Van Eats and Eight 1/2 for the purpose of writing this review.