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 Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden began it’s Enchanted Evenings summer concert series last Friday with an al fresco performance by Chinese-Western musical fusion ensemble Silk Road Music. Scout contributor Luis Valdizon attended and took the shots above and below. They’ve really shaken things up this year with reservable seats, gourmet picnic dinners (order in advance for $10-$29), plus wine and beer. There are four more Enchanted Evenings concerts this summer and each will have a unique feel and tempo. It’s Tomoe Arts on July 17th, Jim Byrnes on July 24th, the Vancouver Piano Ensemble on Jul 31st, and Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars on August 7th. The shows cost $25 each. Doors open at 7pm for each concert at 578 Carrall St. Read more
You, Scout reader, have good taste. We’ve always known this, but we don’t often take advantage of it. This new feature changes that. From here on in, we want your help in refining our HOODS MAP so that we can keep steering locals and visitors alike to the best of our place in the world. There are five different geo-specific questions that we need answers to this month. We’ve done the initial curatorial leg-work of narrowing down the options to a shortlist, but we need you to finish the job.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our OKANAGAN page.
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our ISLANDS page.
The organisers of the Golden Dumpling Cook Off need your help! They’re looking for volunteers on Sunday, August 10th to give them a hand in making the outdoor festival a delicious reality. Volunteers should be energetic, fun and team-oriented folks with big hearts who are looking to support our fundraising goals and increase awareness for the Chinatown Elders Community Kitchen, a local food security initiative. Duties will range from stamping Golden Dumpling Passports to guest relations. Every interested food and community-lover is invited to apply here now.
Honour Bound details the many cool things that we feel honour bound to check out because they either represent our city extremely well or are inherently awesome in one way or another.
The GOODS from The Parker
Vancouver, BC | The Parker’s summer menu from executive chef Curtis Luk is sure to be the hot ticket this summer. Highlights include ratatouille with heirloom tomatoes, sea asparagus and labneh as well the daily house-made alkaline noodles with fresh summer vegetables and spicy Sichuan tomato sauce. The gorgeous house-made cheese (plated with torched local honey, poached rhubarb and our caraway lavash crackers with edible flowers) was built to pair with Steve Da Cruz‘s wine program and is best served on our petite patio. Drawing rave reviews for dessert is the new cucumber sorbet served with summer fruit and olive oil cake (have it with a splash of chilled Pimm’s Nø.1 for the definitive summer dénouement). At the bar, manager Nich Box has personally selected a list of his favourite aperitifs to start your evening and continues to impress with new cocktails. Try the Saemundur made with Longtable Aquavit, fresh mint, cherry syrup and lemon bitters with soda – it’s the tall, cold drink for long, hot summer nights. Read more
Some plump, extra-delicious news from the inbox:
“Passports go on sale today for the 2nd annual Golden Dumpling Cook Off and Derby. Last year’s Cook Off was a sellout, so advance purchase is encouraged at www.goldendumpling.ca. On August 10th from 12pm–5pm, in conjunction with the Chinatown Festival and the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association, 20 restaurants will compete for the top prize. Competitors include Ask For Luigi, Bestie, Harvest Community Foods, Homer St Cafe and Bar, Maenam, Wildebeest, Vij’s, Winner Winner and returning champion, Pidgin.
All those who purchase a Golden Dumpling Passport can fill their bellies by travelling to each of 20 restaurant stations, where they’ll receive a passport stamp and a freshly prepared dumpling. One restaurant will be crowned the winner and will receive the one-of-a-kind Golden Dumpling Trophy, designed by local artist Diane Espiritu. The contest will be judged by Scout Magazine’s Andrew Morrison, Bao Bei’s Joël Watanabe, food stylist and food and travel journalist Nathan Fong, and Global BC’s Sophie Lui.
In addition to the Cook Off, don’t miss the excitement of the Dumpling Derby, where speed eaters will bring big appetites to the table for the ultimate showdown. Men’s and women’s heats will see one winner in each category taking home coveted prizes and undisputed bragging rights. Heightening the tension is last year’s winner, John Jugovic, who will be returning to defend the men’s title and confirm his legendary status in Dumpling Derby history. Contestants are limited to eight men and eight women, so those with cavernous bellies and a competitive nature are encouraged to sign up immediately via the website.
Proceeds from the Golden Dumpling Cook Off will be donated to the Chinese Elders Community Kitchen, a program of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. The Program creates a safe space where Chinese elders gather each week to cook and share a meal, and have the opportunity to connect with each other in a social setting. The Chinese Elders Community Kitchen allows participants to engage in educational activities such as learning about food safety and healthy eating. Over 80 Chinese elders participate in the Program year-round and the demand continues to grow.
To purchase Golden Dumpling Passports for the Cook Off and Derby, or to throw your hat in the ring as a Derby contestant, please visit www.goldendumpling.ca. Purchase online in advance for $30 plus Eventbrite fee, or plan to arrive early on the big day; 100 passports will be available at the door for $35 each.”
Some shots from last year…
It’s been about four and a half years since Bao Bei opened on Keefer Street. Despite its many awards, accolades, and nightly queues, sometimes it takes the jolt of an outsider’s perspective to be reminded of its unique awesomeness. This Munchies video from Vice certainly does the trick…
Tannis Ling is an ex-bartender and chef Joël Watanabe is a French Japanese ex-Montrealer. Together, they run Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown district. They let us follow them around for a night to their favorite Vancouver haunts—Keefer Bar, Damso Modern Korean Cuisine, and Cascade. But to finish off the night right, the crew headed back to Bao Bei, where Joel cooked up copious amounts of fried chicken and pork belly.
Beyond the food porn (mmm, truffled dumplings!), dig the natural symbiosis between Bao Bei and The Keefer Bar down the block.
Owners: Ron Oliver and Simon Kaulback
Chef: Tobias Grignon
ABOUT MAMIE TAYLOR’S
Named after its signature cocktail—a Golden Age concoction of scotch, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and Angustora bitters— Mamie Taylor’s is an 85-seat regional American restaurant specializing in Southern comfort food with a contemporary twist.
At the vanguard of Chinatown’s new culinary scene, the relaxed and casual ambiance of exposed brick walls and kitschy Canadiana play into the neighbourhood’s up-and-coming charm.
We also have taxidermy. Lots of taxidermy.
The GOODS from The Chinatown Experiment
Vancouver, BC | The Chinatown Experiment is set for July with five new pop-up shops. There’s a full line up of one-of-a-kind shops in Chinatown this month. The space begins as part architectural installation and part café, and then transforms into a street art gallery, a women’s clothing store, a hand-crafted Japanese knife shop, and finally into a home for the new collections of five Montréal-based designers. As always, expect a dynamic storefront showcasing the unexpected. To stay on top of it all, like The Chinatown Experiment on Facebook for updates.
July 2 – 16 | FARADAY CAFÉ | Social artist Julien Thomas and Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA) are opening the first coffee shop that repels wireless signals. In a space devoid of cell phone or digital connections, the team hopes to create personal ones instead. To achieve their desired effect, the team has completely enclosed the café in mesh that shields electromagnetic signals while producing a distinct visual form. They’ll be serving a rotation of artisanal coffees by donation (Heart, Bows & Arrows, Ritual, & more) and will be home to events. Expect pop-up dinner parties Wednesdays at 7p.m., afternoon DJ sets on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting at 3p.m., and even a storytelling night on July 15. Open daily 10am – 6pm, closed Sundays. Follow them on Instagram for daily updates. #faradaycafe
June 17 | STREET SCRIPT: DEBUT GALLERY | Street Script is the intersection of Art & Hip-Hop. Local street artist & designer MEGA is presenting her debut gallery ‘The Vapours’ for one-night only exhibition. Her hand-painted, classic hip-hop lyrics can be spotted in the streets of Gastown and Chinatown. Through lyric design and illustration, MEGA is creative a movement that transcends cultures and generations. The gallery will feature all brand new original pieces by MEGA. DJ Icy Touch will be spinning fresh cuts for the evening with collaborative works by The Dark, Doug Weir, and JB. Bonus: Watch this short film about MEGA & StreetScript. The show goes from 7pm to midnight. Arrive early; it’ll be a packed house. #streetscript
July 18 – 20| LUCKY BABE POP-UP SHOP | The local online women’s clothing brand is launching soon and has put together a pop-up shop to celebrate. For their first release, expect leggings and clutches in store. It’s the first foray into fashion for founder Mafidon (Lucky) Osaigbovo. Although, fashion has always been in the family and largely influenced by the women in the West African born Mafidon’s family, starting with this mother and sister. A percentage of proceeds from the pop-up are supporting the Salvation Army. Open Friday, 4pm – 9pm and Saturday/Sunday 11am – 7pm. #luckybabeshop
July 22 – 27| KNIFEWEAR: HAND CRAFTED JAPANESE KNIVES | The chef-owned independent Knifewear opened in their doors in 2007 and already have fives stores across Canada from Ottawa to Kelowna. For the first time ever, owner/knife-nerd Kevin Kent is bringing Canada’s first Japanese knife shop to Vancouver with a one-week pop-up. Expect to find hundreds of knives from more than 40 of the best Japanese knife brands including, Masakage, Fujiwara San, and Moritaka Hamono. They’ll also have chef-curated cookbooks, beautiful made in Canada Larchwood brand cutting boards, and exceptional kitchen gadgets. There’s also the classic shave shop with high quality shaving gear; straight razors, safety razors, soaps, aftershaves, badger and horsehair brushes. “Cooking is the new rock and roll,” Kent says. “And the new black leather pants are Japanese knives.” Open daily 11am – 7pm. Follow them on Facebook for updates. #knifewearpopup
July 28 | THE STOWE: SERIES 3 LAUNCH | Montréal-based The Stowe is coming back home for the launch of their Series 3 collection. Founded by designer Molly Spittal, The Stowe began out of a desire to produce beautiful, functional accessories. Using carefully selected materials sourced in North America, the studio reflects the values of traditional craftsmanship and classically designed products to compliment one’s life. The Stowe is joined by Box Agency, representing five exceptional designers from Montréal including Ursa Minor, Little Houses Clothing, Assembly Home Goods, Elaine Ho Jewelry, and Amanda Moss. Open by appointment only. Industry may contact Box Agency at info [at] agenceboite.com
July 29 onwards | OPEN BOOKINGS! | Do you have an idea in need of a storefront? Get in touch with us email@example.com for your pop-up shop, exhibit, or gallery.
The GOODS from The Modern Bartender
Vancouver, BC | The Modern Bartender is excited to announce the arrival of a fantastic new line of small batch bitters – “Apothecary Bitters” – which are made right here in Vancouver. We will be stocking all flavours, and as soon as their new seasonal and barrel-aged bitter are ready we’ll have those too! These small batch craft bitters are loaded with flavour and incredibly deep and complex, so come by and pick up a bottle or three… Read more
Catalog Gallery (top floor of Tinseltown Mall) has an interesting show opening tonight. Exhibit.001, as it is called, showcases Instagram shots by Vancouver photographers using the common hashtag #streedreamsmag. Street Dreams Magazine, a slick little publication that has just started out, is motivated by a desire to build community through photography. The editors were so inspired by the gallery of images that took shape that they decided to round up a bunch of the shooters and have them display printed versions of their digital pics in old school fashion (ie. hanging from the walls).
Friday, June 20 | 7pm | Catalog Gallery, 2061 – 88 West Pender (aka Tinseltown Mall) | Free
by Shaun Layton | “The Brickhouse? Wait, where’s that?” That’s the reply you’d likely get if you mentioned one of my favourite dive bars in the city. Still, on occasion, you might just get an enthusiastic “I fucking love that place!” in response. And for good reason.
The Brickhouse, located on Main St. between East Georgia and Union, has been pouring beer and whiskey to DTES, Chinatown, and Strathcona locals for around 25 years. It’s definitely one of my “go to” spots for an after work solo pint, a game of pool with the lads, or a stop on the list if I’m touring out-of-town industry friends around town.
When you walk in on busy nights you’re greeted by a hostess at the front door. On slow nights, you can enter through the back in the alley by the Jimi Hendrix shrine. Old brick arches carry you through the cavernous space through to the main room, where you’ll be delighted by the character bar. Expect big fish tanks, lava lamps, shitty old red couches, pool tables, dart boards — it’s pure magic. One should never be bored sitting in this spot; the walls are covered with so much nostalgia. I’m not sure what the space used to be, but let’s hope it’ll never be anything else. It has such an interesting layout.
The atmosphere is incredible during either busy or slow, and the service is as adequate and genuine as it needs to be (as sure a sign of a great bar as there is). I recently visited a new self-styled “neighbourhood dive” and experienced quite the opposite. The place was empty (early on a Sunday) and the cool kid staffers couldn’t have cared less about the four guests in the bar. Service was non-existent. But perhaps that’s what they were going for, that whole “you should be honoured to be in such a cool bar” vibe. Alas, this isn’t Bushwick, or whatever part of Brooklyn they were trying so hard to emulate. That shit doesn’t fly in Vancouver.
That being said, a good dive bar should never be concerned with doing anything especially well, except keeping glasses full, music flowing, and me (the customer) coming back. The Brickhouse does exactly that, all while being laid-back and completely unpretentious. The two bartenders I’ve encountered are a younger lady who’s been there for over 8 years, and the owner, “Leo”, whose reputation precedes him in industry circles. Both are great bartenders, but only one is a legend.
The younger lady is very friendly, remembers what you drink, and keeps ‘em coming. Leo, one the other hand, is just something else altogether; a three-way cross between Seattle’s favourite bartender, Murray Stenson (pouring for over 30 years), a very regimented and stern blackjack dealer, and the soup nazi. Leo epitomizes efficiency; he doesn’t even look like he’s moving that fast (he isn’t), but every move he makes is calculated and with purpose. He just gets things done. On a Friday night, watching this guy take orders from the weekend warriors is something else!
I prefer the place early week, and so should you. On a quiet Sunday you’ll find locals reading books, out-of-towers (who must have cool friends who told them about it), and industry staff enjoying their “weekend”, such as they are. A B & T crowd kinda spoils the joint on Fridays and Saturdays, but that’s true of most places worth going to city-wide.
Oh, I nearly forgot! The food. A great selection of bags of chips is on offer here; my favourite being a bag of Cheezies to go with my Pacifico. It’s the perfect combo as I wind down after work, listening to the oldies rock ‘n roll soundtrack. If you haven’t been before, bring only your worthy friends, and don’t tell too many people. Places like The Brickhouse need to stick around!
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 Mamie Taylor’s
Vancouver, BC | On the cusp of its first anniversary, Mamie Taylor’s has been granted extended hours by the City of Vancouver, meaning Chinatown’s good-time gal will continue service until 1am on weekends. To mark the occasion, Chef Tobias Grignon has unveiled a celebratory “Night Owl” menu. Perfect for snacking, the late-night sheet features full-meal favourites like Fried Chicken with grilled Summer Corn and Grilled Pork Chop with Cherry gastrique, roasted Sunchokes, Green Beans, and a sprinkling of Chicharrón (crispy pig’s ear), as well as smaller share plates such as the Scotch Egg Turducken served with Tomatillo Salsa Verde and Espellette Pimento Cheese Cannoli with Salad O’Celery. The “Night Owl” menu is available weekends from 11pm until late.
by Andrew Morrison | I toured the construction site of The Abbey late last week. The highly anticipated tavern/gastropub from chef Andrey Durbach, Chris Stewart, and Michel Durocher (see also The Sardine Can, La Buca, Pied-a-Terre), is coming together nicely in the old Wild Rice location at 117 West Pender Street.
Granted, it was a bit odd seeing the iconic space without its defining turquoise, under-lit bar, but I think its replacement – a thick, darkish, acid-treated treated lovely with smooth edges – will gel with the overall vision for the space, which I suspect leans toward the slightly ecclesiastical given The Abbey’s branding, curved staircases, and the inescapable light that pours in from its brace of skylights (I also spied a little stained glass action in the signage – which is now visible to passersby outside).
When it’s finished, we can expect to see the main floor and the front and rear mezzanines set with solid wood chairs and bar stools, plus wood paneling covering up the beige walls. In other words, it’s going to look completely different than how it appears in the images below. I’m imagining a kind of modern, 21st century treatment (as dictated by the existing clean lines of the space) of a late Norman church, of a sort built to house the holy relics of Julia Child instead of the Venerable Bede.
The menu is also under construction, but I’ve gotten wind of a few items that’ll whet the appetite: organic crisp chicken with togarashi pepper and spicy mayo (karaage); Welsh rarebit with melted Lincolnshire Poacher, ale + pickled onion; foie gras torchon with fruit preserves and brioche toast; wild mushrooms on toast; butcher’s cut steak with triple cooked duck fat chips and garlic butter mushrooms; and grilled rare sockeye with warm vegetable + quinoa salad, beet juice, ginger, and walnut oil. I’ve also been told to expect a Fresh Sheet that will bring back some favourites from chef Durbach’s Parkside years.
On the staffing front, we’re glad that Ben de Champlain – formerly of Boneta and the winner of Scout’s Bartender of the Year competition in 2012 – will be holding court at the bar when The Abbey opens later this summer.