The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | Chambar Restaurant is looking to hire an experienced Pastry Chef and a full-time line cook with a minimum of 3 years of experience in a high volume, fast-paced kitchen. The candidates must have a strong work ethic and be detail-oriented with fine dining plating skills. Wage competitive. Please email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | If I had not only a guarantee that dinosaurs were genuinely tame but also solid assurances that their breeding was being strictly controlled by heavily-armed paleo-geneticists, I’d be totally OK about having them back to roam in very small numbers.
I feel the same way about steakhouses. The adoration I had for them as a wide-eyed child of limited tastes has insured a residue of affection still powerful enough to bring me back to them at least once a year. And the more traditional they are, the better. I’ll have none of this Pinky’s “Steakhouse for Girls” or Black & Blue discotheque nonsense, thank you very much. I want a 75 year old server named Frank calmly maintaining my table with an economy of words and actions. I also want to bask in the moody darkness. Not the dumb Donnelly style of darkness seemingly designed to shield our senses from seething ugliness, but rather the type on that rare ethereal plane wherein the act of dining amplifies the scant light provided by candles and the occasional wall sconce. Its faint flame is nearly doused by the dark wood panelling but it still dances off the white jackets of the staff, flickers on the linen, and makes the odd bit of brass piping shine like gold. Such a light also lingers on the serrated blades of over-sized steak knives, bathes in the bowls of big Bordeaux wine glasses that need to be washed by hand on account of their vast brittleness, and takes the creepiness out of the ancient oil portraits staring back at you from the walls. Light is a key facet of the old school steakhouse atmosphere, anchoring the experience even more than the sound-deadening carpet or the refreshing absence of hats.
There are only two exemplars of such light in Vancouver, Hy’s Encore and Gotham Steakhouse. I’ve just eaten at both on back to back evenings. I regret that I didn’t take a camera or a notebook to Gotham, preferring instead to dine like a regular human being (just this once). The steaks were first rate – blackened Chicago filets and strips with crab legs and prawns – and the service was superb, but for the purposes of this story I’m only going to relate how things went at Hy’s Encore.
Hy’s, as you know, has been on Hornby St. since the early Cretaceous. Believe it or not, the decor has actually been “updated” from the Arthur Fishman-designed original (1960′s), but it’s as I’ve always remembered it: dark, deathly quiet, and frequented by corporate Ron Swanson types and old codgers wealthy enough to afford especially sharp dental work. The room’s baronial pretension doesn’t feel the least bit Vancouver-y, and I like that. It’s an absolute escape, like something out of Jules Verne. There’s no stylish bartender holding court with plaid pomp and twirled moustache, no ubiquitous soundtrack or desperately obsequious two minute “quality check” that makes you want to throw a punch (“How are the flavours tonight?” Pow!). It’s just ordered effortlessness, the sort of pampering that has mostly gone out of this world, or at least this city.
The food, as you can well imagine, hasn’t changed that much since I was a child. The Caesar salads and Bananas Foster are still made flawlessly a la minute and tableside [6, 3]. All of the ancient standards are there, everything from $17.95 Are You Kidding Me non-spot prawn cocktails  and slightly rubbery, garlic-wombed escargot  to French Onion soup and boozy Mussels Normandy. They even offer 1,000 Island salad dressing! The steaks are still perfect, only now they are even more exorbitantly expensive. My favourite remains the “house special” Gorgonzola Filet, an 8 ouncer done medium rare (I’m a lightweight, I know) topped with a melted knob of hot, fabulously stinky cheese. I always choose the double-stuffed potato as my starch. The distance between it and say, mashed potatoes is similar to the distance between a piece of red liquorice and a whole Black Forest cake. To wit, the kitchen scoops out the innards of a baked potato and then blends the hot stuff with butter and cream before piping it back into the jacket and topping it with sour cream, bacon, and chives. The combo sets you back $44.95, but did I mention the bread! My god, the bread…
I don’t think the kitchen gives a shallot about molecular gastronomy, craft beer, or charcuterie, let alone “local” and “sustainable” sourcing. Sourcing here is a matter of the back end of trucks and clipboards, not relationships with farmers or artisan suppliers. There is no team of whistling foragers combing the woods for mushrooms, and instead of a rooftop herb garden there is a castle parapet from which, one presumes, the staff are tasked with defending the building if ever there comes a rabid horde of abusive vegans.
And please let that be fine for once or twice a year, because steakhouses are woefully endangered. Granted, not all of them need to survive. Just a few, if you please. No one gave a damn when the graveyard-like West Cordova location of Morton’s closed in 2009. Likewise the stillborn Pinky’s chainlet, which just plain sucked hard until it went away. But if Hy’s were ever to fall, there would be no small amount of weeping, for that would be the end of the dinosaurs, and there would be no resurrections.
Hy’s Encore | 637 Hornby Street | Vancouver, BC | 604683-7671 | www.hyssteakhouse.com
The GOODS from Hawksworth
Vancouver, BC | A decade spent in England – working at top restaurants such as Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and visiting pubs in his downtime – might have influenced Chef David Hawksworth’s culinary career but it was his childhood memories of a family roast dinner that have driven the newest addition to Hawksworth Restaurant’s Sunday menu, launching this weekend.
Roast dinners are a quintessentially British weekend pastime and Chef Hawksworth’s fond recollection of Sundays spent relaxing with his parents, originally from Yorkshire in the north of England, resulted in the nostalgic addition of a roast dinner to the menu.
Hawksworth Restaurant will be launching a weekly roast feature to the brunch menu, starting this Sunday (December 8th) with a juicy Kurobata rack of pork accompanied by pancetta spiced brussel sprouts, roast potato, cranberry, pork jus for $34.
With a similar climate to the UK, winters in Vancouver are the perfect time to indulge in a comforting roast – finishing off a perfect Sunday of a walk around Stanley Park or stroll along the sea wall. Read more
The GOODS from The Modern Bartender
After a successful pop up operation in both Edmonton and Calgary at the end of the summer, Victoria has called on “The Modern Bartender” to be on the move yet again. Shawn Soole from “Little Jumbo” has asked us to set up shop Monday December 9 starting at 4pm and we’re in!
We’ll be taking all manner of barwares and essentials such as a bevy of classic mixing vessels, japanese import bar spoons, piles of jiggers, muddlers, strainers and of course other must haves from our huge selection of books, ice trays and sphere makers, Tiki mugs, assorted syrups and more bitters than you can possibly imagine. Come visit The Modern Bartender at the Little Jumbo in Victoria at 506 Fort Street on Monday December 9 starting at 4pm. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | When Scout first broke the news about The Fish Counter coming to 3825 Main St. this past June, we were pretty excited. I mean, wow…a fishmongers from Rob Clark and Mike McDermid, the two founders of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program!? What could possibly be better than a sustainability-savvy and doubt-free fish store where the staff knew the fishermen? How about a fish store that not only does all of that but also dresses up the catch and cooks it for you, too.
Yup, there’s a tidy food-service component to The Fish Counter, too. You can choose your battered fish and local Kennebec chips from a list that includes salmon, halibut, ling cod, and oysters. These can be ordered to eat in or take away. Chances are you’ll want to stick around and watch for the first little while, because the guy doing the cooking at the start is none other than Ian Johansen, who is not only the brother of Cpt. Steve Johansen of the good ship Organic Ocean (co-founder of the Spot Prawn Festival), but also a capable cook at Go Fish! on False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf, which is incidentally home to Vancouver’s best fish and chips (for now).
They’ll also be serving three soups – a New England clam chowder without wheat or dairy, a vegan option, and a seafood special soup du jour. We can also expect to see Baha-style fish tacos made with ling cod and “Salmonitos” – a cylindrical, burrito-ish wrap of salmon, slaw and chipotle mayo (nice rice or beans).
On the retail side of things, they’re offering branded/prepared meals like nicoise salad (minus the tuna – you build your own at home with the tuna you buy at the shop), fish cakes. crab cakes, mac and cheese, et cetera, plus prepared seafoods like octopus salad, poached salmon, smoked salmon, candied salmon, and so on. There’s a two-level glass display case for fresh fish, plus boxes for live crabs and lobster that will go online in a few weeks.
This was a hard, long slog for Rob and Mike. The construction was a lot more than I think they both expected (they’re five months past their first “hopefully open by” date), but in the end it looks like they’ve done a fantastic job, even with the little details like the garage window frontage and the octopus carved into the bench (hats off to Wendy Taylor for the overall design of the space). They’re opening “for certain” this Saturday. Hours will probably by 10am to 10pm, but that’s not yet set in stone (“The community will let us know when they need us,” Rob says.) Break a leg, fellas! We wish you the very best of luck!
The GOODS from The STABLE HOUSE
Vancouver, BC | The Stable House Bistro in South Granville is opening this Friday evening at 5pm (service until 11pm). A reference to the turn of the century stable houses that used to dominate the neighbourhood, this intimate 40 person room is tucked away just off the main shopping strip at 1520 West 13th Avenue. The bistro offers charcuterie, cheeses, breads, salads and European-style savoury tarts – all of which can be paired with options from a great wine list and a selection of beers, cocktails, and aperitifs. The bistro will also be open for lunch in the near future, so please like our Facebook page to stay up to date.
The GOODS from Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Vancouver, BC | No one appreciates a good party more than the Italians and La Festa di San Silvestro, New Year’s Eve to everyone else, is one of their favourite celebrations. As with most Italian ‘Festas’ this one centres on a well-laden table filled with symbolic foods – pork (abundance), lentils/grains (prosperity) and grapes (wisdom) to name a few. This year, consider ringing in the New Year Italian-style at Nicli Antica Pizzeria. Chef Dave Tozer has designed soul an stomach-sating 6 course dinner that pays homage to traditions while updating them for New World palates. Dinner is priced at $75 per person and includes a celebratory Prosecco Cocktail, taxes and gratuity. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | In its quest to continually raise the culinary bar, Araxi – Whistler’s leader in exemplary food, wine and hospitality – has introduced a dedicated Oyster Bar just in time for the Whistler Film Festival.
As skiers and riders take their final turns of the day on Whistler Blackcomb, an elevated après ski experience awaits at Araxi’s new Oyster Bar. Every afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, guests can enjoy a platter of fresh-shucked oysters for $15.00 while they unwind in Araxi’s warm yet contemporary setting. Experienced oystermen Patrick Cantin-Gayton and James Tims, who shuck up to a thousand oysters every evening, will also explain the subtle differences from a list that counts up to a dozen varieties delivered fresh daily.
Sleek in design and clad in stainless steel with a classic marble countertop, the Oyster Bar is located adjacent to Araxi’s bar and lounge. A convivial place to meet locals and fellow travelers, or to simply enjoy recommended oyster and wine pairings, Araxi’s Oyster Bar is open late and also provides an oyster du jour special from 10:00 pm to midnight. Read more
by Chuck Hallett | We lead a charmed life here in BC, at least as far as good beverages are concerned. Entire swathes of the beer-drinking world are still stuck under the oppressive thumb of Big Beer, knowing naught of the delightful, hand-crafted products that the rest of us take for granted, never even suspecting that beer can be more than something to get drunk on before a football game.
But the isolation knife cuts both ways. Us spoiled BC-types have a tendency to get complacent. We forget that while we do generally have pretty great beer, in the grand scheme of things most of our craft beer is fairly average. Beer releases in BC that are truly world-class come along only on very rare occasions.
This is one of those occasions. Four Winds Brewing of Delta have proudly declared their membership in the upper echelon of BC breweries by throwing down a Brettyanomyces-fermented and corked whopper of a Saison, titled simply “Saison Brett.”
Before winding up in your mouth, this beer spent six months fermenting away inside six used wine barrels from BC’s own Burrowing Owl and Stag’s Hollow wineries. During that time the beer absorbed depths of character from the oak and bubbling Brettanomyces dried it out while adding a funky, straw/barn-like complexity to an already exceptional beer.
Reviews have generally been of the “frothing-at-the-mouth amazeballs” variety and, frankly, I agree 100%. This is an outstanding beer that can either be eagerly drunk this instant and or cellared (marvellously) for up to two or three years. I’m not kidding when I say that this is the best beer to be produced in BC in a very long time. As per usual with beers of this quality, only a very limited quantity was released, so get some sooner rather later or you’ll probably regret it.
Find yours at select private liquor stores (my full list) for $12 to $15.00 per 750ml bottle. Note that only 136 cases were made and even less were distributed, so you best move now.
The GOODS from Big Lou’s
Vancouver, BC | When we were younger, the holiday season was all about presents, but the older we get, the more we discover that its true pleasure is time shared in seasonal feasting and drinking with family, friends and work colleagues. Big Lou’s Butcher Shop is working closely with local farms and suppliers to offer a wide range of delicious, locally-sourced catered and cook-at-home options for every kind of holiday feasting–from work events and parties all the way to the traditional Christmas dinner.
Big Lou’s party platters are a great choice for get-togethers and can be ordered with as little as 24 hours notice. The options include charcuterie, smoked seafood, local cheese and meats from Qualicum Beach and slider platters. Big Lou’s is also able to provide platters of our famous sandwiches for work lunches and parties.
There are many ways to interpret the Christmas dinner and Big Lou’s has them all covered with local, unmedicated turkeys, hams, and geese for classic feasts and a full take-home Turkey Dinner with sides, Big Lou’s offer two sizes of Turducken for Christmas, Southern-style. A wide range of housemade Big Lou’s holiday trimmings like turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing or sausage stuffing will help round out any holiday feast.
Big Lou’s full Holiday Menu is included below and can be found online here. If you have questions regarding your Christmas needs, call (604) 566-9229 or email info [at] biglousbutchershop.com to consult with someone from the Big Lou’s team. Big Lou’s Butcher Shop is located at 269 Powell St. and has delivery options for orders big and small. Read more
The GOODS from Edible Canada
Vancouver, BC | Edible Canada’s 2014 Guest Chef Market Dinner dates have officially been released today, and as always, it is generating one of their busiest booking days of the year. While welcoming back many of our guest favorites, they have also lined up several new local celebrity chefs to create an all-star series for the year. New this year, all of the guest chefs will be showcasing a specific theme – be it maple syrup, BBQ or even “Aphrodisiacs with a Twist”. It is going to be an educational and fun year!
These special evenings take place in the bistros state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen where up to 24 guests will enjoy an exclusive, multicourse dinner prepared by some of the best and most talented chefs in Canada. The dinners are only $80.00 per person and include a selection of wine, beer or spirits paired by their bartender or in-house sommelier.
Hosting the series for a sixth year, Edible Canada Founder, Eric Pateman, has a passion for celebrating Canadian cuisine while telling the stories of local talent. “It’s an honour to share our space with these talented chefs to showcase the food community at large” he states. “There is no ego involved here. We open our kitchen to approximately 40 chefs a year, giving our guests a more personal experience and the opportunity to learn from them first hand. These dinners are incredibly popular due to the value and intimate setting.”
Dinner guests are also offered a 10% discount in the Edible Canada Retail Store and on future tours booked during the event.
Gift certificates are available, as are multipack savings packages, making these Market Dinners the perfect gift for the foodie on your holiday list! Advanced reservations are required and seating is limited, so be sure to book early. Many of the popular dinners will sell out within days… Read more
We’ve invited Tofino’s excellent Spotted Bear Bistro to join our GOODS section. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our curated list of independent goodness. We would like to thank them for their support of Scout, and for making British Columbia a tastier place to be.
The GOODS from Campagnolo
Vancouver, BC | Campagnolo Restaurant turns 5 years old on Thursday, December 5. To honour the birthday, Campagnolo will be giving away free Crispy Ceci to all tables of 2 or more to complement their order. In 5 years, the Main Street restaurant has sold enough Crispy Ceci to stretch over 40km. That is enough to go around the seawall twice, line the Sun Run 4 times and to reach Crescent Beach from 1020 Main Street. Can’t make it in on Thursday? Don’t worry. You can celebrate at home with our recipe for Crispy Ceci, which you will find after the jump. From our kitchen to yours, grazie… Read more