Lauren Mote Does The Dishes

The award-winning bartender puts together a veritable treasure map of personal picks for the best food and drink in Vancouver.
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Lauren Mote Does The Dishes

The Dishes is a new Scout column that asks Vancouverites to walk us through a map of their ideal day and night on the town. We’re talking breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night cocktails. Tax and tip included.

For this edition we asked Diageo Reserve & World Class Global Cocktailian and Bittered Sling Bitters co-proprietor Lauren Mote to share her favourite spots to eat and drink around town.

Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?

I eat workouts for breakfast – you can find me eating sweat, pavement or the heavy bag at Lagree, All City Athletics and RIDE Cycle Club. Generally I don’t eat anything outside of several coffees as the morning is always reserved for sweat, so let’s jump right into brunch/lunch. I am not a typical “breakfast” eater, so I’ll take noodles over just about anything – the Spicy Tan Men with a half-portion of noodles at Marutama in the West End is my jam, and I am there most days…

Marutama Ramen 780 Bidwell St. MAP

Where should we meet for coffee/tea?

I am a die-hard lover of The Birds & The Beets – not just for the amazing brew, but we run into everyone there, and the owners are super sweet. You’re getting a glimpse into my severely coordinated daily routine (after all, I am on the road 90% of the time now, so I really appreciate the little things).

The Birds & The Beets 55 Powell St. Vancouver, BC MAP

Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?

Listen, I love Cafe Medina. I can’t NOT go to Cafe Medina. I love Robbie, the crew, and honestly I eat the SAME THING and have done so for years. Bottomless cups of “kitchen” coffee, with a vegetable frittata (no cream in the mix) with house made hot sauce and good company. The ONLY time I ordered something different was when Chef Jonathan Chovancek (my husband) opened the new location and added the flatbread with mascarpone, honey and black pepper to the menu, and the Harissa Burger – OMG insert droooooool emoji with extra water. (P.S. both are still on the menu – get in line NOW.)

Café Medina 780 Richards St. MAP

Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?

L’Abattoir has always had a stellar happy hour program, and let’s be honest, I like to glam and glitz at 5pm anyway. With that said, I am a sucker for hotel bars, too, and love to spend time (anytime) and pretend it’s happy hour. I love to see the crew at Fairmont Pacific Rim – Grant, Sean, Chris, Todd, Mike, Kent and now Zoe, Roland and Jeff upstairs at Botanist. Just take my money – love you guys!

L'Abattoir 2178 Carrall St. MAP
Botanist 1038 Canada Place MAP

What’s for dinner?

Vij’s for all of the spicy, vegetable business and Jay/Andy/Olivia’s cocktails; St. Lawrence for all the handsome French treats – JC Poirier is my brother from another mother after all, and we’ve been super close friends since 2008; Maenam for the most delicious balance of sweet, salty, acidic, and umami – unless you’re eating local, “grandmother” food in Bangkok (legit), no one does it better than Angus; and lastly Bao Bei – because who doesn’t get so happy about one of the great, quintessential restaurants that really captures Vancouver’s cuisine identity? Tofu skins are the things MY dreams are made of.

Vij's Restaurant 3106 Cambie St. MAP
St. Lawrence 269 Powell St. MAP
Maenam 1938 W. 4th Ave. MAP
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 163 Keefer St. MAP

What’s for dessert?

We don’t really have a sweet tooth per se when we’re out, but I’m happy to eat dusty, buttery cookies and crackers in the dark by myself (I’m sure I’ll have to get some professional help for that…..) BUT when there are people around, holy moly just call Jonah and Andrew Benton (Benton Bros. Cheese) so they can tell me what cheeses to put on those dusty crackers and cookies. I have been known to make secret requests to Eleanor Chow (of Cadeaux Bakery) for random cakes though…. feels so good to come clean, and be honest. Lastly, the highly addictive Salted Chocolate Chip cookies at Harvest Foods on Union.

Benton Brothers Fine Cheese 1689 Johnson St. MAP
Cadeaux Bakery 172 Powell St. MAP
Harvest Community Foods 243 Union St. MAP

Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?

I would take our crew out for drinks – we don’t get enough facetime with our buddies OR with Vancouver these days. Depending on the mood of the group, Alibi Room, UVA, Keefer Bar, Royal Dinette – the list is long and life is short, so spend it drinking what you love, with the people who complete you.

Alibi Room 157 Alexander St. MAP
Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar 900 Seymour St. MAP
Keefer Bar 135 Keefer St MAP
Royal Dinette 905 Dunsmuir St. MAP

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