by Grady Mitchell | If you frequent coffee shops around East Van, you’ve probably seen artist Sean Karemaker intently hunched over drawing in a notebook or sketch pad. He got started as a kid, growing up “off the grid” on Vancouver Island. “I turned my closet into a little comic studio,” he says. The comics led to painting – “I wasn’t very good at sports, so I started doing watercolour courses with a bunch of old ladies” – and from there, things kept rolling. “I guess I haven’t really stopped.”
Many of Sean’s ideas start as scribbled passages in those sketchbooks, each paired with an aimless painting. Those poetic snippets usually detail a remembered experience or worldly observation. From these early concepts Sean will later create his larger, more involved pieces.
Even if the words don’t appear in the final piece, it wouldn’t exist without them. For a picture to speak to Sean, it has to tell a story. “Sometimes people aren’t looking for that, they just want an image,” he says. “But without that exploration it just feels flat to me, it doesn’t feel like I’m making anything meaningful.”
The final form of those stories take many different shapes. Of course, he’s painted on traditional canvases and created comics, but he’s experimented with other forms as well. For one project, The Life of People, he detailed the span from birth to death over an uninterrupted 27-foot scroll. Most recently he’s begun using epoxy and rubber mouldings to build detailed, 3D dioramas where his characters emerge from their wild backgrounds.
While investing personal stories into his work was daunting at first, it soon became the core of his art. Pouring himself into the work allowed others to relate and connect, which for him is exactly the point of making art in the first place. That’s why, if you see him working in a coffee shop somewhere, you should never hesitate to say hello. He tries to leave the studio at least once a day to sync back in with the real world. He loves when curious onlookers ask him about his work. “You get a lot of energy off of people,” he says. To see more of Sean’s work, visit his website.
Odd Society Spirits is located at 1725 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-559-6745 | oddsocietyspirits.com
Vancouver, BC | Odd Society Spirits is set to launch a limited release of Wallflower Oaken Gin on Friday, October 17th. Aged in American white oak rye casks for 5 months, this specialty spirit is sure to wet any gin aficionado’s appetite. With just over 300 bottles available, Odd Society Spirits’ Oaken Gin is guaranteed to sell out quickly.
The oak softens the floral notes of its Wallflower comrade while awakening bright citrus flavours with hints of caramel and offering a subtle woody undertone. An extremely versatile gin, it is recommended to be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, with tonic or incorporated into a classic cocktail like the Negroni. Oaken Gin is available in 375ml bottles and priced at $28 at the distillery (prices will vary at private liquor stores throughout Vancouver).
In honour of the Wallflower Oaken Gin’s debut, Odd Society Spirits will be celebrating at the distillery’s cocktail lounge from 1pm – 9pm on Friday, October 17 with featured Oaken Gin cocktails, plus the Tacofino Food Truck will be joining the festivities at 5:30pm. [ Keep reading ]
The Vancouver Lexicon – our A-Z dictionary of local slang, myths, legends, and such – might appear to be complete, but we mean to keep adding to it every week. Today we aim to highlight five more localisms that everyone in British Columbia should know about, that is if they don’t already. They are East Van Calamari, Strathcona Village, Kinfolked, Fogtober, and Snortside.
Gastown’s Bambudda is located at 99 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-428-0301 | www.bambudda.ca
Vancouver, BC | Bambudda’s Ray Loy is pleased to announce the appointment of Chef Curtis Luk (formerly of Top Chef Canada Season 2, Fable Restaurant, and, most recently, The Parker) as head chef at the Nouveau Chinese restaurant.
“It’s a perfect match,” says Luk of his new position. “Ray and I were both born in Hong Kong. We both grew up in Canada—in my case Ontario and in Ray’s right here in Vancouver. Because of that, we share a similar Cantonese culinary foundation, as well as an appreciation of Western techniques.”
“Cantonese restaurants were the first type of Chinese cuisine to come to Vancouver,” says Loy. “With Curtis at the helm, Bambudda will continue to reinvent classic Cantonese cuisine with a fresh spin. No one is able to embody that spirit quite like Curtis.”
Chef Luk’s constantly evolving menu, served family-style, places an emphasis on melding traditional flavour combinations with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Pork Belly with Taro is served with a sauce of Red Fermented Tofu and Lime. The Salt and Pepper Humboldt Squid is pan-seared and served with a house-made sauce of Szechuan White Peppercorns and Shallots. The Pork Dumplings (gaau) are paired with a Watercress Sauce and Pickled Ginger Salad.
Vegetarian diners will continue to be tempted by Bambudda’s vegetarian and vegan offerings such as Crisp Tofu with Sichuan Pepper, Wood Ear Mushrooms and Kale; Double Cooked Eggplant with Seasonal Vegetables and Crispy Rice Noodles and Roasted Kobocha Squash served with locally harvested Sea Lettuce.
Head bartender Tarquin Melnyk’s inventive cocktail list features in-house infusions of rose hip, citrus, clove, cardamom, green tea and rhubarb that pair perfectly with Chef Luk’s creations.
Bambudda offers a quintessentially Vancouver dining experience where East meets West in new and delightfully unexpected ways. [ Keep reading ]
by Andrew Morrison | Readers who follow Scout’s Instagram account might recognise this monster of a breakfast sandwich from Tofino’s recently opened Wolf In The Fog. The toasted bun came layered with egg, cabbage, and a pork sausage disc – all soaked in a salty country-style gravy.
It was scarfed down just a few days ago alongside some over-sized, perfectly seasoned and super crispy tater tots. The plate might seem a little pedestrian for a chef of Nick Nutting’s high caliber (he’s the biggest food nerd of his generation on the Island), but pedigrees are moot on rainy mornings in Tofino. It’s big, hot, delicious, and worth every cent of $12.
Check the place out the next time you make it over to Tofino. It’s got a casual but capable vibe that makes for a fairly accurate embodiment of the town’s hardy and house proud spirit. If I were to try to pin down a comparison in ambience, I’d liken it to the excellent Pointe Restaurant at the nearby Wickaninnish Inn (where several of the owners were once employed), only a few weeks after it had been taken over and remodelled by a renegade group of leather-loving surfers who preferred long hair and the hallucinogenic twang of The Allah-Las to staff uniforms and the piped-in sounds of the ocean (yes, they actually do that at The Pointe, and it’s pretty awesome).
I haven’t given the complete dinner menu a good going over yet (I walked in on their first service of a new menu), but everything I tasted was totally on point, including bartender Hailey Pasemko’s evocative Cedar Sour cocktail, which tasted like a really good west coast memory of a campfire gone by. Take a look at some of shots I took of the space below (taken before service).
Les Amis du Fromage | 843 East Hastings, 604-253-4218 & 1752 West 2nd Ave, 604-732-4218 | buycheese.com
Vancouver, BC | Les Petits Bonheurs started as a bakery concept between two good friends who share a love of sweets and desserts. They specialise in classic French desserts, specifically choux à la crème (cream puffs). Les Petits Bonheurs sources all of their staples locally and try to source the best ingredients for the flavour components (matcha, pistachio, fresh lemons etc) and do not use preservatives. They make everything by hand to coax out the best texture and flavour. Their treats are made on a smaller scale, that way you can always have more than one! Drop by our East Vancouver les amis du FROMAGE on Saturday, October 25 between 11am and 4pm, and indulge yourself in this “little piece of happiness”. [ Keep reading ]
Tacofino has just opened their new location in Victoria. It’s been pretty awesome to see them grow from just a food truck in Tofino to operations in Vancouver, the Okanagan, and now the capital. We snuck in on opening day and met up with owners Jason Sussman and Kaeli Robinson (and their awesome handful of a daughter, Lenny). They were still waiting on their liquor license, but the kitchen was fully operational. The fish tacos were as good as ever (such a dreamy dual combo of textures and tastes) and the restorative tortilla soup was darker and more complex than the first time we drooled over it years ago in Tofino. Check it out from 11am to 11pm at 787 Fort St. and remember that there’s another location – a big one in Gastown – coming our way soon.
Vancouver Urban Winery | 55 Dunlevy Avenue | Vancouver, BC | 604-566-9463 | www.vancouverurbanwinery.com
Vancouver, BC | After a sobering summer break, The Settlement Building’s Vancouver Urban Winery is back for its fourth series of wine-soaked Sunday School seminars. The Fall/Winter semester of drinking in school commences on October 26th with BC vs. the World: Round 4. Additional classes run on November 16th – Sommelier Smackdown IV: the Grudge Match – and December 14th – The Price Is Wrong!
Once again hosted by professional Sommeliers, David Stansfield and Lisa Cook, Sunday School is introducing a couple of exciting formatting changes for the new semester. Seminars now take place in the afternoon, which means spilling out of class and into Belgard Kitchen for post-session snacks and Postmark Brewing beers. They’ve also moved into the back, production half of The Settlement Building, nestled comfortably among wine barrels and beer tanks.
What hasn’t changed about Sunday School is the mission statement: wine is booze. Booze is fun. Learning about it should be too. “Too often, talking about wine scares people. It seems daunting,” states Stansfield. “At Sunday School, we drink that fear under the table.” So, whether returning or a newcomer, novice or enthusiast, all are welcome, and guaranteed a good time.
“Basically, these classes are just great excuses for us to get together with a room full of people who like drinking, and talking about drinking, as much as we do,” adds Cook. “And if we can pass on some useful knowledge at the same time, even better.”
Each seminar features multiple flights of wine loosely structured around a set theme and served blind. Unlike public schools, class sizes are limited – and guaranteed to sell-out. Tickets are available through the Vancouver Urban Winery directly for $40 by phoning 604.566.9463, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly from the Belgard Kitchen, which is open daily from 11am to 11pm. Tickets are also available online through Eventbrite. [ Keep reading ]
by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | Gardening is all about getting your hands dirty, growing delicious and organic food and connecting to what we eat. This all sounds great, but what if you don’t know how? Victory Gardens has created the educational YouTube series: How To Grow An Organic Vegetable Garden, to help solve this problem.
In this episode, we cover some winter gardening basics so you can grow food all year round. This video covers the region we live in, winter vs. overwinter gardening, timing, planning and crop rotation, the appropriate varieties to grow, and how to keep your veggies warm over winter using mulch, floating row cover and hoop houses. Press play and enjoy!