by Grady Mitchell | The new Serpens Gallery (replacing the Positive Negative Gallery at 436 Columbia St.) opened its first – and very Halloween-appropriate – show this past Friday night. It’s called Sahelanthropus; the name being a reference to the ancient humanoid skull that marks the point when chimps and humans began to diverge some 7 million years ago. It’s curated by artist Colin Moore, who say he’s ”always wanted to do a skull-bawd art show, and what better time than right before Halloween?”
Along with Colin’s work, the show features painter Jose Rivas, black and white illustrations by Peter Ricq, and two ceramic artists, Michael Holler and David M Robinson, whose works jive with the tactile, three-dimensional nature of the show’s theme. “Every artist learns to draw a skull at some point in their lives,” says Colin. “It’s good for learning anatomy.” Sahelanthropus will allow viewers the chance to see these studies first-hand, as well as some interactive aspects that you’ll need to check out for yourselves over the next two weeks.
(Regarding the gallery’s name change: former curator Adam Lupton has left for New York and grad school and handed the gallery off to his friend Steffen Quong. Steffen has given the gallery a rebrand and opened up much of the back area into a lounge-like zone complete with art and a long, communal table. He’s looking to keep a healthy variety of weekly events up in the space, including things beyond art exhibitions.)
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s PiDGiN is pleased to introduce their 5,7,5 Japanese sake and whisky flights, each accompanied by a haiku-inspired description of three premium quality liquors. Start your journey with sake, and taste the rhythmic flavours and aromas of smooth and superior varietals. Continue your poetic flight through the unique moods of limited-edition Japanese whisky, and lose yourself in the prose and verse of rare, sought-after blends. Get all the details and (enjoy some haiku) after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Les Amis Du Fromage
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”. Read more
The GOODS from Vancouver Urban Winery
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. Read more
(via) A cruel prankster in a quiet, family-oriented San Francisco neighbourhood recently put up a very convincing but entirely fake liquor license application notice on a shuttered business frontage indicating that the space was slated to become a Hooters.
Naturally, such a development would cause no small amount of consternation among the locals, which got us thinking that it might be a cruel but effective way to desensitize Vancouver’s worst NIMBYs to the threat of anything new or different.
Imagine the outrage if notices went up declaring the imminence of a needle exchange in Shaughnessey, a Prada flagship store on the DTES, a Whole Foods on Commercial Drive, or an Earls restaurant overlooking Gassy Jack Square in Gastown.
Granted, none of the above is an appropriate fit, but that’s the idea. Once people were let in on the farce(s), real conversations might replace the usual knee-jerk fury, self-righteousness and Gollum-like possessive psychosis that is the NIMBY norm in Vancouver’s neighbourhoods (for richer or poorer), and the prospect of future change could be examined more rationally with raised eyebrows instead of pitchforks.
The GOODS from THE SETTLEMENT
Vancouver, BC | Belgard Kitchen in The Settlement Building is looking for a rock star to join our growing team in the position of General Manager. The ideal candidate will have over 5 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry and strongly express the following qualities and skills:
-Personable and ability to drive positivity at all times
-Driven to provide amazing guest experiences
-Entrepreneurial minded and team player
-Excellent communication with customers, fellow employees, peers, and supervisors
-Ability to delegate and coach performance
-Decision making and strategic profit planning
-Passionate about the expanding food, wine and craft beer industry in BC
Please send resumes to info [at] belgardkitchen.com. Read more
The GOODS from The Irish Heather
Vancouver, BC | The ever-popular Long Table Series is back with two special dinners for Thanksgiving weekend. The Irish Heather brings together those who share a common love for food and create a comfortable, affordable dine out hosting up to 50 people at their 40-foot long table, for a satisfying and social dining experience.
The kitchen will be dishing up Thanksgiving Pot Pie made with a delicious stew of dark and white meat and vegetables. It’s served with a layer of stuffing and cranberry sauce on top, plus mashed potatoes with gravy on the side and a select beer. At $18, it remains one of the most delectable, fun, and affordable full meals in the city.
The Thanksgiving LTS dinners will take place on Sunday, Oct. 12 and Monday, Oct. 13 at 7pm on the Irish Heather’s long table. To reserve, e-mail reso [at] irishheather.com. Read more
by Maya-Roisin Slater | Definitive Records asks interesting folks to pick the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. Today we hear from Aaron Schubert and Gareth Lukes, the coffee, music, and apothecary connoisseurs behind the soon-to-open Lukes General Store on the DTES.
Beastie Boys – Check Your Head | LISTEN | Narrowing down my all time favourites to a top three is a difficult, so I’ve decided to focus on the records that have had the biggest effect on me while also standing the test of time. Check Your Head best exemplifies this criteria. When I first heard it at the age of 16, it energized, inspired and informed me in a way that no other record had before. I love the seamlessness and ease with which it crosses through the realms of Hip Hop, Punk, Funk and Jazz. The fantastic instrumental skills of MCA (Bass) Adrock (Guitar) and Mike D. (Drums) along with honorary member Money Mark (Keyboards) were really showcased for the first time on this record.
Sloan – One Chord to Another | LISTEN | No question in my mind — this is one of the greatest Canadian records of all time. Never gets old, never gets tired. The day I found it on vinyl was a happy, happy day. I still get excited when I see it in my apartment and remember that I have it. I believe it was recorded on a 4 track which is impressive considering how good it sounds. Its got 60s pop elements and some fantastic horns. There isn’t a weak song on the record and its tough to make a call on which of the four member’s songs are the best. Lyrically amazing as well. “I’m writing Young and Gifted in my autobiography. I figured who would know, better than me” [from Autobiography]
Al Green – Gets Next to You | LISTEN | Al Green at his most raw, raunchy and soulful. The Hi Records studio band is on fire on this one. The horns are sharp, precise and perfectly arranged while still dripping soul. The guitar playing is a perfect combination of funk and twang. The rhythm section is mean. It’s just a perfect record to me.
Cannonball Adderley Quintet – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! – Live at ‘The Club’ | LISTEN | This is by far the best live record I’ve ever heard. Between the drunken patrons being overzealous, the insane musicianship and the undeniable soul of this record, I’ll never get bored of listening to it.
John Frusciante – To Record Only Water For Ten Days (2001) | LISTEN | I remember ordering this record from HMV when it first came out and assuming it was going to be like the Red Hot Chili Peppers which my 13-year-old self was quite excited about at the time. Instead, it turned out to be filled with beautifully reverbed guitars, poorly recorded analog drum machines, lyrics that still confuse me and some instrumental tracks that made me feel something I hadn’t felt before. This record was at least 10 years before it’s time.
Neil Young – On the Beach (1974) | LISTEN | This has to be my favourite driving record, which is somewhat odd since there are several slower songs on it. I think it’s just the atmosphere and lyrics which make me feel like I’m in a movie…and that can’t be bad.
East Van Calamari | Detritus/Litter | The left-over elastic rings of spent latex condoms that litter alleyways across East Vancouver. A misnomer, as it is hardly a phenomenon exclusive to one specific area of the city.
Usage: “Um, dude…I think you have some East Van Calamari stuck to the bottom of your shoe…”
Strathcona Village | Bullshit | A fake neighbourhood within a neighbourhood recently invented by real estate marketers challenged to improve prospective home owner perceptions of Strathcona so that a developer could gentrify sections of it for profit. See also SoMa, East Village, Crosstown.
Usage: “If I see one more #StrathconaVillage sellout hashtag I’m going to throw my phone at the wall. It’s Strathcona, for crissakes!”
The GOODS from Cadeaux Bakery
Vancouver, BC | Cadeaux Bakery is a boutique pastry shop specializing in viennoisserie, custom cakes and desserts. We are looking for a pastry cook to join our awesome team. The ideal candidate must be passionate, dedicated and fun. He or she must be flexible and willing to work early mornings. A minimum of 1 year of experience is essential. If you are interested, please email your resume to cadeauxbakery [at] gmail.com or drop your resume off in person to 172 Powell Street. Learn more about us after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Les Amis Du Fromage
Vancouver, BC | The Salty Cookie Company and Livia Sweets join forces for a Pop Up Shop at les amis du FROMAGE in Strathcona on Saturday October 4th.
The Salty Cookie Company is the dream child of pastry chef Meredith Kaufman. Having been a pastry chef since 1999 and a mom since 2004, cookies have always been a part of her life. What started off as a hobby of dropping off cookies to friends and loved ones, turned into a full time venture.
Livia Sweets is a small pastry company steeped in nostalgia. They make high quality baked goods in small batches, by hand, daily. Baked goods include Salted Caramel Hazelnut Brownies, Classic Almond Biscotti, and Rosewater Glazed Pistachio Cakes. They take great care to use the best ingredients they can, with a focus on using local whenever possible (that means local eggs, butter, and hazelnuts).
This pop-up will showcase the talents of these two fresh start-up pastry companies. It will run from noon to 5pm at the East Vancouver location of les amis du FROMAGE at 843 East Hastings Street in Strathcona. Take this opportunity to do some sweet shopping and show some support for these new start-up businesses! Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Rachel Chen, who owns the little Perks cafe at 39 East Pender in Chinatown, has agreed to take over the Ovaltine Cafe at 291 East Hastings from the current owner, an old family friend.
The Ovaltine, as you’re very likely aware, is one of the most iconic diners in the city. It has stood as a beacon of continuity on the Downtown Eastside since 1942. Conversations about the eatery these days seldom dwell on its grilled cheese sandwiches and hot coffee, focusing instead on either the lasting beauty of its facade (with its competing horizontal and vertical neon signs) or the likelihood of it being able to stick around much longer in this new age of greed/opportunity on the DTES.
The neighbourhood is for sale, it seems, and as we’ve seen especially of late, preservation is evidently not Vancouver’s official strong suit. Worry that the Ovaltine might be demolished to make way for cheesy condominiums or be replaced with a new restaurant that was somehow inappropriate for the area (say, a foie gras and leather bar) has been in the back and fore of many local heads. In Scout’s irreverent dictionary, the Vancouver Lexicon, the cafe’s own entry offers the following as its usage in speech: “I’m taking bets on how long the Ovaltine will last…”. The angst continued in a recent Vancouver Courier article:
[Local historian John] Atkin worries about the Ovaltine’s chances for survival with scant customers and low-priced fare. Diminished evening hours mean customers no longer see neon reflected down the long counter, but he doesn’t want the cafe “hipsterized” and serving craft beer.
Invoking the dreaded hipster/craft beer nexus is merely another way of employing the G-Word without actually saying it. Gentrification cometh, but in the case of the Ovaltine, it looks like Atkin needn’t worry too much. Rachel and her mother Grace aren’t going to be doing much to the place except give it a good clean, a lick of paint, and a menu makeover that might make it busy again.
It certainly deserves the love. The place has been through the ringer in recent years. And when it hasn’t been serving its regulars – some of whom can measure their patronage in decades – it’s been starring in countless TV shows and even a blockbuster or two. The building itself – a four-storey Edwardian Italian Renaissance Revival pile housing the Afton Hotel – was put together some 102 years ago. The cafe may have given the property a quaint Rockwellian coffee counter, varnished wood panelling, worn cloisters, and smoky mirrors, but the address kept other restaurants before it, not to mention a tailor’s shop, government offices, apartments, even a postal substation. It’s definitely got as much history as it does personality.
And so does Grace, who is something of a legend on the DTES. She used to own the diner at Save On Meats. She took it over in 1999, long before it was reimagined by restaurateur Mark Brand in 2011. Grace gave Rachel her start in the business when she was 11. The youngster would pull shifts after school and on the weekends, both serving and cooking; enduring Welfare Wednesday rushes with her mom and grandmother by the time she was 15.
Needless to say, Rachel and Grace will be drawing on their Save On Meats experiences and repertoire for the Ovaltine Cafe’s new menu, offering up things like root beer pulled pork, fully loaded 1/2 lb bacon cheeseburgers, and fish and chips using the old recipe from The Only Seafood, which still lies beautifully dormant a couple blocks east (the last owner is a friend of the family, too). I asked Rachel what such a burger with all the fixings might cost, and she quoted me $7 with fries, which is about as much a Big Mac meal goes for these days.
Oh, and did you know that the Ovaltine Cafe was sitting on a full liquor license? True story. And Rachel aims to take advantage of it. Will we see them selling local craft beer? Most probably. Will there be hipsters in attendance? It’s guaranteed. But neither of those apparent detriments should prove obstacles enough to dampen what Atkin was hoping for in the broader scheme of things. From the same Courier piece:
Atkin hopes the Downtown Eastside will morph into a neighbourhood that includes healthy businesses, old and new, alongside affordable housing, service organizations, artists and cultural venues. “If this neighbourhood continues to evolve and returns to what it was in 1978, that’s the perfect balance because you had the hotels serving a certain type of clientele — now you’ve got a ton of social housing here — but you had vibrant and viable retail and you had a slight edge to the neighbourhood,” he said.
I’m glad to see that The Ovaltine will remain, craft beer or no craft beer, and regardless of the maintenance of the neighbourhood’s “slight edge”. That it will continue on much as it had before with new, proven owners (who are very familiar with what area residents view as value for dollar) is a great development.
As far as a timeline is concerned, the Chens take possession of the space early next week. The current cooking regime will be maintained as things get organised, adjusted, and primed (a few days), and then they will briefly shut it down for cleaning, painting, and reopening. The plan is to launch before September is through – same decor, same signage, same name – refreshed and ready, one hopes, for another 72 years. Long live the Ovaltine!
The GOODS from Postmark Brewing
Vancouver, BC | Postmark Brewing’s newest beer – a traditional Belgium Wit conditioned with mango puree – is the perfect summer send off (4.8 ABV). The sweetness of the mango harmonizes the wheat bitterness to create a well balanced session fruit beer for the last warm days of summer. The limited release brew will only be available at the brewery’s Growler Window and in Belgard Kitchen. Learn more about us and our home at The Settlement after the jump… Read more