by Sean Orr | Coleman Country: BC Gov’t Poised to Move Against Portland Hotel Society. Behold the old standby of divide and conquer, and it’s really quite genius: federal and provincial government neglect creates a vacuum; organization steps in to do the work of government; organization is flawed (duh) but entrenched and stands in the way of government’s plans; government rides back in on high horse and “exposes” organization for profiting off poverty. The irony? If it was run like a bloated government bureaucracy it would get nothing done and have to pay three times as much to their employees.
And speaking of divide and conquer, Irwin Oostindle blames PHS for failure of W2 space: “If PHS had left even 1% on the table that could have seen the community amenity succeed, instead they strong-armed the process for their own benefit.”
I’m developing an appetite. Lunch, anyone? Vancouver condo king invites $25,000-per-person donations to Vision Vancouver. Not sure how The Province can feign outrage when this is pretty par for the course.
Cone but not forgotten: City of Vancouver taken to court over view corridors. Best comment: “Sure housing prices are out of control because demand vastly exceeds supply, but MY views!!! MY VIEWS!!”
Illuminating: Stunning Rodney Graham chandelier to be installed under the Granville Bridge. I’m not sure if Graham is using the chandelier as a symbol of the aristocratization of housing in Vancouver, but if he is maybe Westbank [the property development company] could also dress the homeless people who sleep under the bridge in tuxedos. After all, they believe “the entire environment should be designed in the public interest.”
Or maybe they could just dangle this free rancher from the bridge instead to keep costs down (because tuxedos are expensive)…
Schadenfreude of the day: Last call: Shark Club closing its iconic downtown Vancouver location on April 30. Iconic? No. Alas, it’s not a permanent closure either. It’s just a transition to new owners. Sorry.
Rat poison left in East Vancouver dog park, neighbourhood warned. Name change to Dog Illing Park?
Dave Grohl shocks local drummer, reveals he’s a big fan. Congrats on all the exposure, guys! This one’s for you: We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.
Game of Homes: If B.C. Were Westeros From ‘Game Of Thrones’ It Would Look Like This. Winter complaints are coming.
Ladies and gentleman, this is your new Canucks goalie.
Staff Meal is a new column by Ken Tsui. The photo essays will detail the stories behind the family-style meals that some of Vancouver’s busiest restaurant crews get either before or after service.
by Ken Tsui | After a busy service on a Saturday night at Chinatown’s award-winning Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, executive chef Joel Watanabe cranks out one final meal. Tonight, it’s his take on tostadas, and it’s for his staff. Think crispy tortillas topped with a healthy dose of cumin seasoned black beans, tomato sauce, melted cheese, guacamole, and shredded lettuce all dressed with lime and a pico de gallo salsa. Tostadas were one of the family classics in the Watanabe household when Joel was a kid. He and his brother were hooked, both invariably asking for the treat to be a part of every birthday meal. In the spirit of sibling rivalry, they even devoured the fully loaded tostadas competitively, with Joel holding the household record of fourteen eaten in one sitting.
The GOODS from L’Abattoir
Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s L’Abattoir restaurant is looking for a competent busser/expediter to work 3 to 5 shifts a week on a flexible schedule. The restaurant will prove to be a great training ground for those looking to move up in the trade. Minimum restaurant experience unnecessary, but desired. The lucky candidate will really only need to be intelligent with a great attitude, a driven sensibility, and a yen for learning from some of the best in town. Apply to paul [at] labattoir.ca. Learn more after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | The long awaited second location of the Fraserhood’s excellent Matchstick Coffee Roasters is on the verge of opening at 213 East Georgia St. in Chinatown (the same block as Phnom Penh and Mamie Taylor’s). If all goes according to plan, they could open as soon as this Wednesday.
So what can we expect? First and foremost, it should be noted that this Matchstick will be licensed. They’ll be serving five beers and one cider (all on tap) in addition to their own coffee line up. On opening day, we’ll see Four Winds’ pale ale and porter, Hoyne’s pale ale and pilsener, Moon Under Water’s IPA, and Merridale Cider.
They’re also upping their food game with – get this – a toast bar. They’ll be using their in-house, naturally leavened organic bread and spreading slices with plain butter, walnut butter, seasonal preserves, tapenades, and chutney. Oh, and cinnamon toast, because when you have a toast bar, there has to be cinnamon toast (it’s in the rules). They’ll also be baking their own croissants and making their own granola, plus they’re working on perfecting a hash as we speak. The lunch menu will see all of the above (if there’s any of it left), plus sandwiches of both vegetarian and meaty persuasion, the latter employing cured meats from Drew Driesson of D’Original Sausage Co. on Main Street.
And dinner! They’ll be doing dinner, too, with Mac & Cheese (with or without bacon), meat and cheese boards, and a variety of savoury flatbreads. The food program is being run by the Ballymaloe-trained Annabelle Choi, who is back home after toiling at Tartine and Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco. According to Choi, the food at Matchstick is meant to “underscore and reinforce the connection between coffee and community.”
Their communal philosophy clearly comes across in the design on the cavernous space, which can seat upwards of 80 people in cozy window nooks and on little red stools that front a series of shared wooden tables. The massive beech plank table in front of the giant map of South America is particular awesome, but my favourite detail is the black wood cladding of the bakery and one of the walls at the front by the door. It looks painted black from afar, but if you get up close (or spy the shots above), you can see that they were toasted.
They’ll be playing their hours by ear to start, but I’m told the ballpark is around 7am to 9pm. Cross your fingers for Wednesday and take a closer look at the interior below.
The GOODS from Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Vancouver, BC | Everyone knows that the Italians are a passionate people – legendary lovers, great artists, superb wine-makers and amazing cooks who insist on only the finest ingredients. They don’t do anything by half measures and throw their heart and soul into the fine art of living well.
Starting Monday, March 3rd, Nicli will give you the opportunity to wine and dine like a true passionale Italian. Nicli is combining its amore of fine vino and Neapolitan pizza in a special three-course prix fixe Pizza Appassionato Menu for Two priced at $45. Each menu includes a shared antipasti, two pizzas and dessert. The Pizza Appassionato Menu is available only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for either lunch or dinner and it will change weekly to reflect the seasonal availability of ingredients.
If that isn’t enough to set your heart a-flutter, each time a Pizza Appassionato Menu for Two is purchased, one name will be entered into a monthly draw to win a very special bottle of wine. Each month will showcase a different wine and the odds of winning depend solely on how many menus are sold during that month. March’s wine is a very special bottle – Flaccianello delle Pieve 2009 (100 per cent Sangiovese) which retails for $250. The only stipulation is that the wine must be enjoyed with your next meal at Nicli.
Monthly draws will take place at 4pm on the last Friday of the month and winners will be notified within 24 hours. Winners will also be posted to our Facebook page. Details after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | After a lengthy renovation/downsizing break that included a temporary pop-up in the original Boneta space at 1 West Cordova, Save On Meats is set to reopen tomorrow morning (Friday, February 14th) at 43 West Hastings, right where it has been since long before the Peloponnesian War. Expect the diner to launch with a brand new menu at 7am with the butcher shop – which has been radically/suitably reduced in size to more manageable proportions – opening a little later at 10am. Work on the incubator kitchen (for small business and VCC) is already well underway (snapshots of both below).
We checked in on the progress during the day and followed up later, just as a group of artists were christening the new space with their works and the first bites of a friends and family feast were being enjoyed. It doesn’t look all that different from the previous Save On Meats, save for the 45 new, Save On-related artworks on the walls (including a sweet pair of custom-designed Converse kicks), and a flip-counter that adds up the number of sandwiches that have been served to those in need thanks to Save On Meats’ sandwich token program. There’s also the favourite tie of the well remembered Jess Nichol, a local barman who passed away in the summer of 2011, folded inside a framed portrait of him hanging in a place of prominence above the bar. Oh, and plenty of Persephone beer. Even at breakfast. See you in the morning?
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | Bambudda is serving its special a la carte duck themed Chinese New Year dishes until Sunday, February 9th. Eggplant lettuce wraps, bbq duck buns, duck gizzards and duck breast with tea smoked jus along with 3 delicious New Years cocktails are being plated. Here’s wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous Year of the Horse! Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was ticketed by the RCMP last night for jaywalking in Burquitlam. According to reports, he’s ”shocked” and “embarrassed” by the $109 ticket, which he instinctively (but incorrectly) called “a waste of taxpayer’s money”. Lucky for him our own No. 5 Orange strip club is offering jaywalking ticket validation this week (as evidenced by the sign pictured above), though he probably gets enough jaywalking ticket validation to eat at home…
The GOODS from The Chinatown Experiment
Vancouver, BC | January was a fantastic month! Blumin Warehouse, Sincerely Slow, and our pop-up workshops were huge successes thanks to your support, Vancouver. February provides opportunities to hide from the winter doldrums and experience some of Vancouver’s finest emerging artists. From a Ben Barber solo exhibition and an art + design show to a Spanish inspired tapas gallery cafe, there’s plenty popping up on Columbia St. this month. Take a look after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s Pidgin is pleased to announce the addition of Justin Darnes to their front of house team. Former barman of Savoy American Bar at London’s Savoy hotel and head bartender at House Guest Supper Club and George Ultra Lounge, Darnes brings over fourteen years experience and an abundance of creativity to the bar.
Hailing from England, Darnes joins Pidgin with a resume boasting experience behind the wood of some of the world’s most reputable bars. His background includes stints as bar manager at London Design Week and the Cannes Film Festival, as well as being a top graduate of the Absolut Pro Academy and Bacardi ‘Pourfection’ Pro Bartending program. A longtime consultant and the creator of the world’s first 100% biodynamic cocktail, Darnes brings a wealth of innovation and experience to Pidgin’s bar program. Read more
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | We’re very excited to provide the neighbouring businesses in Gastown and the downtown core a new lunch option. Service will be on Thursdays and Fridays only from noon – 2pm with plans to extend the hours when summer arrives. We have a few different items that are planned for the lunch menu only. The eggplant lettuce wraps, squid salad and bbq pork buns will also be available. Reservations can made at bambudda.ca. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
by Stevie Wilson | Every once in a while Vancouverites are treated to excellent historical restorations. During the process, it is through the old bones of architecture – even though only temporarily exposed – that we’re given glimpses of our city’s past. One great example is the Byrnes Block, which sits on the southwest corner of Maple Tree Square where Water Street meets Carrall Street in Gastown. The main building (and the later addition next door) was originally known as The Alhambra Hotel (in the photo series above, you can see how the rows of chimneys recall the days when each suite in the hotel offered private fireplaces). It was built in 1886 out of the ashes of the Great Fire as one of the city’s first fire-proof buildings. The original architect was Elmer Fisher, who was commissioned by George Byrnes, a wealthy Australian industrialist.
The site is perhaps the famous for housing the location of “Gassy Jack” Deighton’s first saloon, but the Victorian Italianate address was also home to The New Frisco Hotel, clothing store Jelly Beans for Jeans (1970), and Bootlegger Jeans (yes, that Bootlegger). There are even rumours of a Baskin-Robbins’ residency, though the truth of that I could not discern with any authority.
The location had already fallen into desperate disrepair by the 1950′s, so the latter half of the 20th century did not see its best years, which explains the Bootlegger Jeans tenancy. It wasn’t until 2009 that a massive renovation (overseen by the Heatherbrae Group) saw the structure, façade, and fenestrations restored to their former (and current) glory.
As Scout editor Andrew Morrison pointed out when Peckinpah was moving into the corner space in 2010 (see gallery above), plenty of historic gems could still be found inside the walls, including wallpapered Georgia Straight pages and antique bottles. Owners Ryan Murfitt and Tyson Reimer decided to keep most of it, so the next time find yourself in the restaurant munching on BBQ and sipping on bourbon, take a peek downstairs and dig one of Gastown’s most delicious historical time capsules.
Stevie Wilson is a historian masquerading as a writer. After serving as an editor for the UBC History Journal, she branched out with a cryptic agenda: to encourage the people of Vancouver to take notice of their local history and heritage with Scout columns that aim to reveal to readers the many fascinating things that they might walk past every day without noticing.
The GOODS from Bao Bei
Vancouver, BC | Feeling lucky? If not, Bao Bei is here to stuff your face with tasty morsels that bring long life, strength, prosperity, happiness and, of course, good luck between Jan. 22nd and Feb. 1st. Maybe you don’t believe in that kinda thing but it certainly doesn’t hurt to treat your mouth to the delicious foods of good fortune and get your Chinese New Year started off on the right hoof (ha!).
The night is first come first serve, although the family table is available for 2 seatings each night for groups of 8 – 12. The Special Chinese New Year Menu costs $35 per person. The regular menu will also be available. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more