The second episode of their Aprons For Gloves’ Restaurant Rumble preview series has dropped. It sets up the anticipated showdown between Sarah Faske and Andrea Chromik. The fights take place in Gastown on July 23rd. Click here for details and to score tickets to the Livestream parties.
The GOODS from The Vancouver Club
Vancouver, BC| The Vancouver Club is searching for an experienced Banquet Supervisor looking for a new challenge. Applicants must possess strong leadership skills and most importantly be passionate about providing high-end service. The Club is also looking for a skilled Server with a passion for food and wine and a desire to learn more about hospitality. Must work in the evenings; weekend availability a must. Position offers potential to a part of a world-class team that provides competitive pay and benefits. Read more
We’ve invited the soon-to-open Pallet Coffee Roasters on Semlin Drive (at East Hastings) to join the Coffee section of our GOODS program as a recommended place to source a cup of the dark stuff. Scout previewed the space just last month, so click here for some background. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be sharing their news and employment needs on our front page in addition to hosting a page for them in our archive of local and independent goodness. We thank them for their support and for making Hastings-Sunrise a more caffeinated place to be.
The GOODS from Wildebeest
Vancouver, BC | Vancouver’s Wildebeest restaurant has launched its summer menu. Executive Chef Wesley Young brings the heat this season with a fresh, well-balanced line up of dishes that draw heavily from the Pacific Northwest’s rich and varied agricultural largess.
Available for the next few months, the menu features well-rounded midsummer fare with a focus on lighter proteins and the reciprocity of crisp flavours and varied textures. Diners can expect to taste dishes such as pan-roasted halibut with oyster mushrooms, an egg yolk glaze, seaweed, and dashi; oyster ‘Blumenthal’ with poached razor clam, rhubarb ‘snow’, and croutons; Fraser Valley rabbit with butter-poached white asparagus, fava beans, and peas; and rainbow carrots with a stinging nettle ‘cassoulet’, summer squash, and mustard flowers.
Dessert tempers the season’s torrid temperatures with offerings of yoghurt sorbet with walnut praline, macerated strawberries, and edible flowers, and toasted hazelnut ice cream with sorrel mousse and fresh strawberries.
From the bar hails the latest incarnation of the restaurant’s rotating frozen cocktail feature: a bright and heady tequila-watermelon slushie, just in time for the inauguration of Wildebeest’s recently launched Happy Hour. From 5-7pm daily, cool off with boozy slushies and Parallel 49 ‘Tricycle’ Radler for just $5 a pop. To view the full menu, visit www.wildebeest.ca. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Dormant 441 Gore Street in Chinatown is about to get its first tenant in many years. The space, which used to house a Chinese grocery way back in the day, will become “Snack City” at the end of the month, a 1,000 sqft victualling station offering everything from smokes, candy, organic produce, coffee, and Cartem’s Donuts to locally made jewelry, ceramics, art books, and vintage porn zines. It’s coming to the neighbourhood courtesy of Celia Hamilton, who has a background in film industry catering, and Aisha Davidson, lately of Community Thrift & Vintage. Though the interior still has a ways to go before it’s ready, it’s clearly a neat little box of potential. Take a look at some photos after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Black Rock
Ucluelet, BC | Black Rock Resort in Ucleulet is seeking experienced, energetic and passionate individuals to join our culinary brigade. Breakfast Cooks, Cooks 1 & 2, and Dishwashers are needed immediately. All interested individuals are invited to send their detailed resumes to careers [at] blackrockresort.com. Learn more about the island resort after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Big Lou’s
Vancouver, BC | Diner en Blanc will return to Vancouver on August 21st and this year guests can add delicious French-inspired flair to their evening with a range of delicious Big Lou’s Butcher Shop boucherie-style picnics loaded with locally-sourced and house-made specialties. Along with house made pates and roasted local meats, the picnics include artisan-baked treats like tarts, macaroons, meringues and baguettes; indulgent local cheeses, and fresh salads. The Classic French Picnic and Dinner in the Park are sized for two people can easily be modified for bigger groups. Big Lou’s is also be able to prepare a wide range of made to order meals and baskets for any-sized group. Big Lou’s house specialties include classic smoker BBQ platters, Charcuterie and local cheeses, smoked local seafood plates and much more. Details after the jump… Read more
by Shaun Layton | Islay is a dream trip for whisky fans. It’s a small island – the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides (population 3,000+) off the coast of Scotland – about a 30 minute puddle jump from Glasgow. Its main industries are malt whisky, agriculture and tourism. Some people visit for the bird-watching, while others want to tour the Islay Woolen Mill, which dates back to 1833 and still uses huge old machines to make tartans. They remain the Royal Family’s go-to producer and help the wardrobe departments on films (eg. Braveheart).
But when you really come down to it, Islay is about whisky. Full stop. It’s world famous for its deliciously peated brown stuff.
On a recent visit with wingman/friend Keenan Hood (bar manager The Keefer Bar), we were taxied into town by a rather jolly cab driver, an Islay native to the bone. He was my kind of people. Upon discovering we were there to tour the distilleries he graciously pulled out a sample of 35 year old Ardbeg and insisted we all take sips. The generous act was a bit of foreshadowing. Every Scot we met on our trip was equally hospitable.
We stayed at the Bait & Tackle, a cozy little B&B in the small port town of Port Ellen, which is within stumbling distance of such legendary distilleries as Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Laphroig. The B&B’s hostess, Mary, makes the best Scottish breakfast in all the land (black pudding, sausage, stew tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, bacon, eggs, baked beans, hash browns – the full deal). Port Ellen itself is a charming place with an intoxicating smell, a blend of ocean seaspray and burning peat. Unforgettable.
Across the road from the harbour is a simple, unassuming-looking pub – The Ardview Inn – and on this particular Sunday it was loaded with locals singing Scottish drinking songs. The songs stopped as soon as we walked in, however. The chaps in the bar took one look at us and said, “You two are way too posh to be in here. Where you from?” They insisted we join them and they buy the first round when they learned we were Canadian. It was such a cliche moment that I thought it could have been a set up, but alas it was just more of the same genuine hospitality. (If you ever make it to the Ardview and meet a mystical character that goes by the name of “Murphy”, by the man a drink or two and get him to sing.)
On to the whisky. Our tour was focused on Ardbeg, though we were also able to visit Laphroig, Lagavulin, and Bowmore (if you wanted to, you could see all eight distilleries in two or three days). On your way to Ardbeg, cattle and sheep literally rule the roads and hills, so be careful as they cross wherever they please. The distillery sits right on the rocky shoreline. The location might be pretty (and boy, is it ever!), but it’s also crucial for the aging process as the sea air blows into the warehouse where the whisky sleeps.
Upon arrival, we toured the grounds with a keen young guide who loved chatting scotch. Ardbeg was founded in 1815 by John McDougall, but illegal distilling had been going on at the site well before then. By the late 1800’s, the distillery was producing over a million litres of whisky per year. In those days the trade was a lot more labour intensive. For example, over 60 workers were needed in production back then. Now, it’s about 16 people. A lot of this has to do with modern day technology, and the fact that the malting process is now done at Port Ellen by a company that takes care of the malting process for a number of distilleries on the island.
By 1911, Ardbeg was registered as a trademark, and the distillery was again owned by the McDougall family (it had changed hands a few times since opening). It stayed family-owned until 1977 when Canadian company Hiram Walker stepped in. This was not a good direction for the brand as production went way down. Dark days loomed. The distillery was shut until 1987 when Allied Lyons stepped in and purchased the brand. But once again, in 1991, the doors closed and the stills were turned off. There was light at the end of the tunnel, however, as in 1997 the Glenmorangie Co. purchased the brand. This was the Renaissance moment for the prided malt. Within a couple of years the old malting floors were turned into visitor centres and a restaurant (that arguably cooks the best lunch on the island) was opened. The whiskies were winning awards, production was climbing, and malts like the flagship, peat-forward Ardbeg 10 yr and the beauty Uigeadail (named after the lake where the water is sourced) were established.
By 2005, LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) added The Glenmorangie Co. to its portfolio. The distillery was now back to its glory days hitting highs of over a million litres of whisky, the only difference being that the old malting floors were now the visitor centre. In the last decade, Ardbeg has gained a massive following and their unique releases sell out all over the world every year. If you are lucky enough to go to Islay, be sure to pick up their festival bottle, a yearly release that coincides with the island’s annual whiskey celebration. Every distillery does a special release that is only available for purchase on the island.
Our tour included a walk of the whole distillery. The majority of the malt comes in at a whopping 55 ppm (Phenol parts per million), which is the highest peat content on the island. At the moment, Ardbeg receives over 72 tonnes of malt per week. When it arrives, it’s put through the very rare and traditional Boby mill that lives at the distillery. This turns the malt into grist. The grist will be loaded into a huge mash tun, where water will be added three separate times at different temperatures to maximize sugar extraction. All waste from this process is turned into local cattle feed for some very lucky cows. The wort, as it now is called, will sit in huge wash backs made from Oregon pine, which is the best wood for the fermentation process. After yeast is added the magic process of fermentation begins. It takes over fifty hours. This is longer than most because of the higher than usual ppm. The “beer” is now at about 8% ABV (alcohol by volume). Two distillations follow. The first – through the wash still – condenses the liquid into vapour and then back to liquid state. This goes to the spirit safe where the distiller can monitor the proof and quality of the young spirit, which is now at about 24% ABV. The distillate now travels to the spirit still where the heads and tails (the parts of the distillate that are of low quality and possibly toxic) are cut out and the heart of the second distillation comes off at about 76%. This is reduced in the Intermediate Spirit Receiver to casking strength, which is 62.5%.
That was a distilled version of the process. It’s a lot more complicated, but I don’t want to get too nerdy. We were lucky enough to see the aging warehouses, too, which for me is always the best part of a distillery tour. This is where the magic happens – where the whisky sleeps for a minimum of ten years. It’s so quiet, and the smell of the wood and the young and old malts is just so serenely breathtaking. The initial resting period is done in used bourbon casks (prized for the quality American oak) whose charred interiors add great flavour and texture to the whisky. From there, different impressions of the malt are finished off in different casks with sherry butts and French oak being the most popular choices. After aging, the whisky will be cut with water or bottled and barrel-proof, and the next stop will be your glass. Cheers!
Shaun Layton has helped to maintain a top notch bar scene in Vancouver for ten years, and since day one at Gastown’s L’Abattoir, where he is the Bar Manager. He also runs his own consulting company, designing bar programs and training staff locally and as far away as St.John’s, NFLD. Layton has competed and travelled throughout the USA and Europe, touring distilleries, breweries and bars. He was recognized in 2012 as the Bartender of The Year by Vancouver Magazine.
The GOODS from Pourhouse
Vancouver, BC | Pourhouse is searching for an experienced full-time manager. Applicants must possess strong leadership skills and most importantly be passionate about food and cocktails. Evening and weekend availability is a must. Position offers salary and benefits. The restaurant is also looking for an experienced part-time bartender. If you are hard working, committed, great with people and have a passion for cocktails, apply now. Evening and weekend availability is a must. For both positions, please send resumes to info [at] pourhousevancouver.com. Read more
It was four years ago today that Lee Cooper, Paul Grunberg, and Nin Rai opened their critically acclaimed Gastown eatery L’Abattoir at 217 Carrall Street (the original Irish Heather location). Take a look below for behind the scenes images taken during construction, training, and on opening day…
The GOODS from La Taqueria
Vancouver, BC | On Thursday, July 17th from 8:30pm to 11pm, La Taqueria on Cambie Street will be hosting an evening featuring the traditional Mexican game of Loteria to benefit The Canadian Cancer Society. Loteria is just like the American game of Bingo, except it’s played using traditional ‘Loteria’ cards and beans (here’s a short video that shows you how to play). Doors will open precisely as service finishes at 8:30pm. Make sure to get there early to get a spot because this event will reach capacity. Not only is this a great chance to raise funds for The Canadian Cancer Society, but there will also be a live mariachi band, 10% off all tacos during the event, $3 beers, and incredible prizes to be won via 33 Acres Brewing, El Kartel, La Mezcaleria, O5 Tea, The Vancouver Canadians, and more. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Get all the details after the jump… Read more
We’ve invited Kerrisdale’s new (and super delicious) Bufala eatery to join the Restaurants section of our GOODS program as a recommended place to dig into some exceptionally good pizza. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be sharing their news and employment needs on our front page in addition to hosting a page for them in our archive of local and independent goodness. We thank them for their support and for making The West Side a tastier place to be.
The GOODS from Hapa Izakaya
Vancouver, BC | Hapa Izakaya’s first Calgary location, at 816 11th Avenue SW, opened its doors to Calgarians on July 8th, 2014. The newly renovated 106-seat restaurant offers locals a taste of Tokyo’s izakaya pub scene; hot and cold Japanese tapas, fused with the West Coast’s emphasis on local, sustainable Ocean Wise seafood.
Seasoned Chef-Owners, Toshiyuki “Iwa” Iwai and Takashi “Kin” Kanamori bring from Vancouver 18 combined years of Hapa Izakaya experience. Their passion for cooking is only equalled by the excitement they share of finally realizing their dream of opening their own izakaya in Calgary. Joining them from Vancouver is General Manager, Barret Jackson who spent the last three years honing his izakaya experience at Hapa’s Coal Harbour location. Born and bred in Edmonton, Barret is thrilled to be back in his native Alberta. Joining the Calgary team for the opening is Hapa Izakaya founder, Justin Ault, and Hapa Robson manager, Andrea Sing.
“As Calgary’s dining scene continues to blossom, ambitious and creative chefs and restaurateurs will bring to it new international influence. Hapa Izakaya is very proud and excited to be joining this vibrant community and we hope to one day join the ranks of Calgary’s best loved restaurants,” says Chef Iwa.
The menu includes all of the favourites from Vancouver and Toronto. Canada’s original Ebi Mayo (tempura prawns tossed in spicy Japanese mayo sauce) makes it first appearance in Calgary, joined by standouts such as Gindara (baked sablefish, sake-miso marinade), Tuna Avocado Salsa Dip (Chopped Ahi Tuna, avocado, tomato, house-made plantain chips) and three Ishiyaki (hot stone bowl rice dishes) options. Fresh sashimi and creative sushi rolls round out the menu.
From the bar, a selection of premium sake, fun cocktails and craft beer along with Hapa’s famous Takezake (chilled sake in bamboo flasks) help complete the izakaya experience. Read more