by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Louisa May Alcott’s 1880 classic, Little Women.
Why You Should Read It Again: At first read, the book comes off as a typical coming-of-age book for young girls. It follows young Jo March and her sisters Meg, Beth, and Amy in their journey to womanhood. It’s also about challenging expected societal roles, with Jo aspiring to become a writer (an occupation largely reserved for men at the time) and turning down a proposal for marriage. Little Women is an ode to keep going after what you want despite what others may say about your status in the world.
Pair It With: Although the March sisters were likely not the type to drink beverages of the alcoholic variety, we’re going to go ahead and assume that if any of them were to drink (when they came of age) they would probably go for something along the lines of L’Abattoir’s Clover Club Refashioned. The drink is made of raspberries, sweet vermouth, mint, fresh lemon and gin – sweet and refreshing with a little sass, just like Jo.
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | Bambudda’s Chef Scott Korzack has added a few new creations for the winter months, like the braised lamb neck dish served on five grains with fried cauliflower and charred leeks. “I thought congee would be a good idea for winter so Scott has created one with crispy marrow, smoked chili oil and a rotating protein. We’ve used oxtail one day and duck the next,” says owner Ray Loy. Other newbies include ling cod served with lap cherng, shiso and apple in a smoked broth and squid stuffed with pear, ginger and shallots served in squid ink. Reservations can be made at bambudda.ca. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Gastown’s award-winning L’Abattoir restaurant has secured the building directly at its back (the original Shebeen) with plans to employ its 2,400 sqft as a private dining facility for a seated max of 50 people and 100 standing.
Tucked in what is now being referred to as the Water St. Garage between the rear-end of L’Abattoir and the new but ill-fated Boneta and between Water St. and Blood Alley, it is one of the oldest original brick structures in Vancouver (if not the oldest). Its most recent tenants were the short-loved Apres-Midi Teahouse and a retail outlet for Haven. If you poke your head in or look through the windows, you’ll see that the place is already gutted. The interior is going to be completely redone. Owners Lee Cooper and Paul Grunberg will be building a new second floor, which will be the dining room, and reserving the main floor for their offices and a brand new state of the art kitchen complete with a pastry op that will occupy the lovely wainscotted bay window addition seen in the photo above (bottom left).
So why go through the trouble of expanding like this just for private functions? Why not built it into a completely new restaurant? “We figured that instead of spreading and spending ourselves thin that it would be smarter to extrapolate our brand and reputation into the private realm,” Grunberg explained. “It hurts to have to turn away bookings of 20 and groups of 50 to 100, and we do it all the time at the restaurant. We’re just not equipped to do with the demand. The expansion is about keeping our talent in the same place and not dividing it up so that half the team is in one location and the other somewhere else. That’s a classic move. A lot of restaurateurs do it, but Lee and I are operational types. We’re hands on. So this is really more about maintaining control and very high standards while giving many of our customers what we haven’t yet been able to give them.” Grunberg also says that the design of the new space will be in keeping with the aesthetics of the original L’Abattoir, albeit “a little more refined.”
And what of lunch? Cooper informs me that we can expect three starters, three mains and three desserts to choose from, plus a small a la carte section. It’s too soon, he says, to provide specifics, but he assures me of one thing: “There will be a beef dip. I want a good beef dip.” So do I! The only two places that I know of that do passable beef dips are Pat’s Pub and White Spot, so there’s obviously a lot of room for improvement on that score.
We can expect construction to pick up after the holidays and the finished room to start accepting bookings for the Spring. Lunch service will launch shortly thereafter.
The GOODS from Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Vancouver, BC | No one appreciates a good party more than the Italians and La Festa di San Silvestro, New Year’s Eve to everyone else, is one of their favourite celebrations. As with most Italian ‘Festas’ this one centres on a well-laden table filled with symbolic foods – pork (abundance), lentils/grains (prosperity) and grapes (wisdom) to name a few. This year, consider ringing in the New Year Italian-style at Nicli Antica Pizzeria. Chef Dave Tozer has designed soul an stomach-sating 6 course dinner that pays homage to traditions while updating them for New World palates. Dinner is priced at $75 per person and includes a celebratory Prosecco Cocktail, taxes and gratuity. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Cavalier
Vancouver, BC | Cavalier’s Designer of the Month for December is Fiona Morrison of Wolf Circus Jewelry. Fiona Morrison created Wolf Circus Jewelry in 2011 while attending University. She began the company after purchasing a wolf head ring and noticing the discussion and compliments a simple piece of jewelry could bring. Wolf Circus Jewelry is intended for the bold, beautiful, brainy and badass. These pieces aim to inspire confidence and spark imagination every time you slip them on. Read more
The GOODS from SFU Woodwards
Vancouver, BC | There’s a diverse range of interesting cultural programming happening at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (SFU Woodwards) over this month. Expect a theatrical take on A Christmas Carol that sees Scrooge as a pawn shop owner on Hastings Street, screenings of the film Far From Vietnam, and The Tempest Replica dance production. Get all the details and more after the jump… Read more
by Robyn Yager | This week marks the opening of the long awaited Archive, the new retail adjunct to Revolver Coffee in Gastown. The Giannakos family hosted a party over the weekend, complete with copious amounts of meat, cheese, and Brassneck beer.
Archive will provide additional space for Revolver customers to sit and enjoy their coffees and give them the opportunity to learn and talk about coffee and coffee merchandise. With graphic identity by Post Projects and design by Craig Stanghetta and artist Ricky Alvarez, the expansion doubles the cafe’s capacity. Unlike Revolver, there are no four person booths in Archive. A long communal table runs the centre of the space instead, with a standing bar on the south side and individual seating in the window. Coffee merchandise and accessories are displayed on the cabinets opposite the standing bar, where one can browse various coffee brew methods, equipment, accessories, and resource books.
With the room painted almost entirely in black with the exception of the light wood cabinets, table, and bar, Archive is a completely different environment from Revolver; albeit still comfortable in its own right. The art installation that hangs above the standing bar sees the Dewey Decimal system broken up into ten framed art pieces; a testament to organization, systems, and an overall charming way to display the library classification system used in libraries around the world. Interestingly, it seems to run parallel to the way in which Revolver and its counterpart functions – in efficiency, organization, and elegance. A second art piece hangs on the north wall stating “Every one of us has all we need” in white acrylic letters with brown paper scored to give the piece texture.
Archive is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm.
The GOODS from Pidgin
Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s Pidgin gets into the holiday spirit with 5 inventive, classically rooted winter drinks that will make the top of any cocktail connoisseur’s wish list. Pidgin’s head barman, Robyn Gray, has assembled a collection of quality cocktails to warm up the holidays.
This winter, try the All Scrooged Up, a chocolate orange cocktail made with vodka, winter syrup, and muddled Japanese orange topped with chocolate foam. Add some spice to the season with the Flip D’Hiver, a cocktail prepared with Asian 5 spice rum, Amaro Averna, pear nectar, maple syrup and a whole egg that gives it a snowy foam top (dusted with a dash of nutmeg). Other cocktails include French 75 (Pre-Prohibition) made with cognac, lemon, and cane syrup served in an elegant champagne flute, and the Irish Sour shaken and fine-strained with whiskey, lemon juice, Guinness syrup, Irish bitters and egg white.
And special to the list is the Mostaccioli, a winning cocktail fashioned by the late Derek Vanderhiede for The BC Hospitality Foundation’s Dish‘n’Dazzle competition. The tasty concoction features bourbon with Tuaca liqueur, vermouth, whiskey barrel bitters and is garnished with express orange oil and outfitted with a moustache cherry pick and coaster. Read more
“Revolutionary” is a strong but fitting term to describe Nicli Antica, the sexy pizzeria that got Vancouverites salivating when Scout first broke the news of its coming back in April, 2010. Up until this point, Vancouver had never enjoyed a pizzeria certified “authentic” by the watchdog Vera Pizza Napoletana association, so it holds a dear spot in our hearts as the one that ramped up this city’s pizza game by a factor of awesome.
There are plenty of pizzas to choose from (including a sweet Bianca with rosemary potatoes and gorgonzola), but our fave is the Capocollo with fior di latte, red onions, capocollo, chili oil and plenty of arugula on top. And don’t miss their classic pasta e fagioli to start – think gigandes white beans, pasta, kale, and grana padano parmesan in a hot tomato and pork broth! Bonus: perfect tiramisu.
62 East Cordova | Vancouver, BC | 604-669-6985 | www.nicli-antica-pizzeria.ca
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | Bambudda bar manager Buck Friend has introduced a series of new cocktails that will help keep you warm and fuzzy for the imminent cold season. The original “Tsui Hang” cocktail – a rye based drink infused with salted plums, goji berries and other goodness served in a cold teapot – is the only carry-over from the opening cocktail list, but don’t worry – the popular “Gwie Lo” and the rest of the originals drinks will still be available by request.
The new cocktails include the “Pre – Opium”, which can be described as “a summer classic with a winter twist”. It’s done with white rum, Malibu and pineapple, and it’s finished with a warm white chocolate foam. It sounds like a pina colada, only it’s better. Another crowd pleaser is the “Shucks”, which sees Cognac, clove-infused Lillet, apricot and applewood chip smoke. Come warm yourself up with one of our tasty new infusions, and learn more about Bambudda after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Douglas Adams once wrote: “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news.” Too right. I expect that word of Boneta’s closing next month will reach far and wide and fast before you finish reading this.
It’s official: the award-winning Gastown eatery from Mark Brand and Neil Ingram will shutter for good after a final service scheduled for December 23rd. Though it’s not listed for sale yet, I’ve been told that Brand and Ingram are already in discussions with more than one interested party and that they have no plans to reopen the restaurant after the Christmas holidays.
Management were told of the decision to close before the weekend. The remainder of the staff were told late this afternoon.
Boneta, named after Brand’s mother, launched at its former location, 1 West Cordova St., in July of 2007. It moved a stone’s throw away to its current location in The Garage development four years later in September of 2011.
Its highly idiosyncratic French-West Coast food concept stayed true through four chefs. The first was Jeremie Bastien, a former sous chef from Lumiere. He was followed by Jason Leizert and Ciaran Chung, and finally the talented Jeff MacIntosh (I expect he’ll pop up elsewhere soon). The cuisine successfully hovered in that hard-to-nail nether region between casual and fine dining. So did the service. The atmosphere, however, was invariably casual. As a favourite hang-out for gourmands at rest (it was the unofficial headquarters of restaurant industry veterans on their nights off), it will be sorely missed.
Business, I’m told, has been good, and being a regular customer myself, I didn’t find that hard to believe. The bar remains a magnet for cocktail lovers, the dining room always looks busy, and it’s long been a popular venue for large parties and corporate functions. Few restaurants in the city garner greater respect than Boneta. So why close now?
“We sat down and looked at where the dining scene was going and decided to get out on top,” Brand tells me. He also sees the move as a much needed chance to concentrate on his other projects, among them Portside, Sea Monstr Sushi, The Diamond and, of course, the big renovation of Save On Meats. For Ingram, it’s a little different. “This is my mid-life crisis,” the 47 year old says with a laugh. “Some people buy a sports car. I’m selling a restaurant. I want a change.” Will we see Ingram open another restaurant somewhere down the road? I expect so. The longer he takes a holiday the worse off our restaurant scene will be.
They might be happy and excited for the change, but I don’t share their enthusiasm, at least not yet. I think this sucks, straight up. It’s as hard to imagine Gastown without a Boneta in 2014 as it was difficult to imagine Gastown with a Boneta in 2007.
To say that a lot has changed in the neighbourhood in those seven years would be a spectacular understatement. Boneta’s success and popularity showed that it was possible to do something a little (or a lot) more elevated than your basic tourist trap or pub in the neighbourhood, and I can’t help but wonder if any of the newer restaurants – L’Abattoir, Cork & Fin, Secret Location, House Guest, Pourhouse, et cetera – would have dared open in these parts if Boneta had not first blazed the trail. Perhaps the old Latin logical fallacy of Post hoc ergo propter hoc (After this, therefore, because of this) actually works in this regard.
Like so many other restaurants, Boneta was conceived over after-work drinks between the original trio of Brand, Ingram, and Andre McGillivray. Brand was working at Chambar with McGillivray at the time, and McGillivray knew Ingram when they were together at Feenie’s and Lumiere.
According to Ingram, the restaurant came about – conceptually – as the three of them kvetched about their respective places of employment. Over pints, they would pine and lament, saying things like “I wish my restaurant was a little more like yours“. The trio amounted to something of a dream team. “The only thing that could have made it better,” Ingram half jokes, “is if we’d pulled someone out of Vij’s”.
Together, they were aiming for something that was a little like Feenie’s, a little like Lumiere, and a little like Chambar, but entirely their own. Their choice of location was a risky one, as 1 West Cordova had just finished chewing up three different restaurants in as many years. What’s more, they only had a one year lease. I remember how they built the place. It was with their bare hands.
BONETA OVER THE YEARS
The rest is history. In a story I wrote for Vancouver Magazine several years ago, I quoted a restaurant lifer who, in comparing the $8 million price tag of David Aisenstat’s Shore Club (now closed) to the less than $100,000 spent to launch Boneta, said: “For eight million, I would have preferred 80 Bonetas.” Who wouldn’t?
Boneta has won over a dozen coveted awards since opening, even landing a spot on enRoute Magazine’s 10 Best New Restaurants list in 2008. These accolades and achievements were earned and shared by a great staff. Today’s fine crew – led by Ben de Champlain (who actually got his start in the kitchen) – compliment some first tier alumni. To wit, Chad Clark, now the general manager at Hawksworth, was a member of Boneta’s opening team; Rodney Scharf managed the floor before moving on to run Cork & Fin; Simon Kaulback, now co-owner at Mamie Taylor’s in Chinatown, was a fixture for several years, moving up from barman to general manager; Justin Tisdall, now the GM at Chambar, also toiled behind the bar early on, as did Steve Da Cruz, who went on to open the Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe in 2009 (with McGillivray) before opening The Parker in 2012 with ex-Boneta chef Jason Leizert. And who can forget Charlie Ainsbury? Amazingly, between Scout and Vancouver Magazine, Boneta has counted three Bartenders of the Year behind its wood and well (Brand, Kaulback, de Champlain), while Ingram, let it not be forgotten, was once crowned Sommelier of the Year. But who’s counting?
Like I said up top, it’s hard to imagine Gastown without Boneta. I’m going to miss it terribly; the excellent art by Charles Forsberg and Johnny Taylor, the tossing of spent corks behind the bar (in the thousands), and the oddly-shaped brass pole at the end of the bar that thousands of strippers once used to help them climb up and down the stage (salvaged from The Drake). But most of all I’m going to miss the feeling upon entry that I was home. That’s a pretty rare and special feeling, and I know it was felt by many.
The restaurant’s motto - BONETA LOVES YOU – never felt the least bit false. With a few weeks remaining, there’s still time to reciprocate.
Boneta, I love you, too.
The GOODS from SFU Woodwards
Vancouver, BC | SFU Woodwards Cultural Unit has an opening for a temporary secretary, a role for someone who is interested in getting into producing festivals and performing arts groups. It is a great junior position for someone wanting to gain experience in the performing arts field, and includes partnership coordination and associate producing in a fast-paced environment. Position outline: “Provides administrative support to the Director, Cultural Programs, SFU Woodwards Cultural Unit, in the development and presentation of professional cultural events in the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Provides information about the SFU Woodward’s activities and programs. Provides administrative support by maintaining the Director’s schedule and calendar; creating and updating files on all projects in various stages of development; administering the project partnership contract process; coordinating the processing of incoming invoices and updating operating budget information; and preparing expense claims. Assists in the development of internal communications for use on television loop or internet by taking photographs or video; creating content; and editing content using Photoshop or Final Cut Pro. Provides administrative support for community engagement and marketing initiatives. Performs other duties and responsibilities consistent with the job description and classification on request.” Get all the details here… Read more
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | Bambudda is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Korzack as their new Executive Chef. Diners can expect a fresh new element being added to the menu. Scott left his position as Sous Chef at L’ Abattoir to take on this new role. “We’re all very excited to have Scott join us. With his talent, imagination, creativity and penchant for using unique, local ingredients, no doubt he will inspire his kitchen team to strive for excellence,” says owner Ray Loy. Scott has been working with food since the age of 15. He grew up in Georgetown, Ontario, where he worked at his parents butcher shop. He joined the opening team at Mark McEwan’s “One” restaurant in Toronto, and worked in Grand Cayman before coming out to Vancouver to join the team at L’Abattoir. “Scott has a palate for Asian flavours and I’m very excited to work with him to create dishes that I grew up eating and loving while also adding his own flavours and influences. He loves exploring Chinatown seeking out new ingredients,” says Loy. “With his calm and composed demeanour and focused energy, he will elevate the menu to new heights. Reservations can be made at bambudda.ca. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more