by Andrew Morrison | Though it won’t be open until the early Autumn, “Au Comptoir” should be on every Vancouver food-lover’s radar. The 50 seat restaurant currently under construction at 2278 West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano is being launched by Maxime Bettili and Julien Aubin, two old friends who met at hospitality school in France 17 years ago. The front of house veterans toiled at cafes and brasseries in France before moving to Vancouver nearly five years ago. Aubin has been a fixture at Les Faux Bourgeois in the Fraserhood ever since, while Bettili has worked at Bistro Pastis, Les Faux Bourgeois, Jules Bistro, and The Acorn.
What’s in a name? Au Comptoir translates as “at the counter/bar” — an honorific of the universal restaurant industry practise of always dining at the bar. Oh, and Au Comptoir will sport a gorgeous tin bar, built especially for them in France. The only other one of its kind in Canada is the absolute thing of beauty at Toronto’s Le Select.
What they have planned for the space is not like most French-themed cafe/bistros one readily comes across here across the pond. They’re going to strive for the same kind of cafe-style service that predominates in Paris, which is to say it’ll be open all day, from morning until night, with no reservations. Such establishments are liberating for customers used to New World protocols. One doesn’t feel rushed or guilty for taking up a table for an hour and a half with a good book and a beer. To French servers, refreshment has no check average, and the pace of a guest’s experience is none of their business. Whether you’re in for a bottle of wine with a steak frites or a cafe au lait with a pain au chocolate at 9am or 9pm, service is service.
Of course, only time will tell if Aubin and Bettili will be able to pull off this uniquely ambivalent shoulder-shrugginess. The chasms between Canadian and French tipping traditions and our understandings of what constitutes a “living wage” are tres deep.
The look is going to be a little different, too. Aside from the stunning bar alluded to above, expect custom-built tables made out of antique sewing machines, a pair of skylights soaking the room with natural light, and accordion-style folding front windows bringing the outside in. They’ve only just begun construction, so the images below will only give you a hint of the aesthetic to come, but I’m imagining a very social environment. It’s a good location.
As far as food is concerned, I’m not privy to the extent of the menu, but in our conversations to date I’ve heard mention of foie gras burgers, “bavette” steaks, magret de canard à l’orange, club and croque-style sandwiches, and pastries galore (the latter made in-house by Franck Buiron, formerly of Blue Water Cafe). It all sounds good. They’ll also have a simple list of cocktails, beers and 5/5 wines by the glass, plus a reserve list for those whose tastes have deeper pockets.
These guys sound like they know exactly what they want out of their first business, and that’s a thick slice of the country they left behind. This is perfectly understandable. They’re a long way from home, and that’s lucky for us, as the zeal with which they’re keen to shorten the distance will likely translate deliciously on our plate and in our glasses.
While West 4th already has it’s fair share of French-themed eateries, I don’t think “market over-saturation” arguments apply in the case of Au Comptoir. It has all the makings of an original, one that should draw in the curious from beyond Kits. As long as the execution is there – and we should have no reason to doubt it considering the owners’ pedigrees – I have my hopes up for good things.
photos by Luis Valdizon | The sweltering Khatsahlano Street Party went down over the weekend along West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano with dozens of food trucks, 50 bands, 100+ participating merchants and vendors, and over 100,000 attendees. Shots after the jump… 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 GOODS from Bistro Pastis
Vancouver, BC | For more than 200 years the French have been celebrating the storming of the Bastille as a national holiday – a time of sharing good food and wine with friends and neighbours. Vancouver’s very own corner of France, Bistro Pastis in Kitsilano, is celebration central with its annual Fête de la Bastille on July 14th. This year Pastis will be hosting live the amazing French singer; Pepper Bayard, performing jazzy and french classics! To add to the celebration, you might be one of two lucky patrons to win the luxury of having John Blakeley visit your home to personally cook a 5-Course tasty menu for six people. One draw from each dinner seating will produce the fortunate winners who will have John delight them and their company with his culinary flair. To accompany the live music and celebration; Pastis has created an exciting menu of delectable food and wine. Take a look after the jump… Read more
by Robyn Yager | The Vancouver Maritime Museum’s new 2014 summer exhibition, Babes & Bathers: History of the Swimsuit, opened to the public today (June 28th) and should be well worth checking out. Aside from providing one of the most frustrating and sometimes humiliating shopping experiences, swimsuits are seriously overlooked at the interesting intersection of fashion and social history. Over the years, swimsuits have helped to communicate and facilitate eras of social change, and as such they are integral to our understanding of the role fashion plays in society.
With the help of Vancouver fashion historian Ivan Sayers, the Vancouver Maritime Museum is exhibiting swimming costumes worn in Vancouver from the 1890′s to the 1980′s (Sayers is the owner of one of the largest private collections of clothing in the country and has lent his expertise to fashion shows, lectures, and exhibitions throughout North America). What should prove particularly fascinating is the accompanying collection of Woodward’s catalogues that reveal through their many pages how this city has dressed for the beach over time.
VMM | 1905 Ogden Ave. in Vanier Park | Now-Nov. 2 | vancouvermaritimemuseum.com
The GOODS from Oakwood Canadian Bistro
Vancouver, BC | The CBC Canadian act to watch of 2014, Jordan Klassen, will be taking the Oakwood stage this Sunday, June 29th. For the past few months, The Oakwood has been transforming itself from its usual program once a month to provide a space to showcase what they feel are great up and coming artists. In the 70’s, The Oakwood in Kits used to be a spot called “Rohan’s Rockpile”. It was a pub known best for after-hours shows and hosted a broad range of amazing talent. From local singer songwriters to the world-renowned Rolling Stones and the Who, Rohan’s had the music industry connection and had brought in some of the best. Upon discovering this, the Oakwood felt obliged to pay tribute to the great music venue it once was. Tickets are $10 for reserved seating and are available at the restaurant or online at www.theoakwood.ca Come join us for another great night of food, drinks and music. Read more
The GOODS from Oakwood Canadian Bistro
Vancouver, BC | The Oakwood Canadian Bistro in kits is getting set to open 7 days a week and we are looking for a few extra hands! Starting July 7th the Oakwood will be opening on Monday nights and we are looking to add two new cooks to give us a hand. We are looking for individuals who are ready to take the next step in their culinary careers and are prepared to learn and work with a vast array of cooking techniques.
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro’s food philosophy is focused on fresh, house-made dishes crafted from locally sourced products. From the breads and pastas to the butchery and sauces, all products are made in-house with quality and consistency. With leadership by our chef Michael Robbins, this is a great opportunity for those looking to grow and hone their skill sets as part of an amazing team. Send cover letters and current resumes to chef [at] theoakwood.ca. Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | The Araxi Longtable Dinners are British Columbia’s most exciting al fresco dining experiences – and this summer, Whistler’s Araxi Restaurant will add a Vancouver date at the famed Bard on the Beach venue at the picturesque Vanier Park.
Staged at North Arm Farm in Pemberton and Lost Lake in Whistler in past summers, these sold-out events embraced our extraordinary local ingredients picked at the peak of the season. Guests have the opportunity to meet the suppliers who raise the produce, and at North Arm Farm, tour the organic fields where, only hours earlier, the ingredients were harvested just steps away from the outdoor kitchen.
New this year, the inaugural Longtable Dinner in Vancouver will be the largest dinner to date and will provide a dramatic oceanside setting. Araxi’s award-winning executive chef James Walt leads the charge and as a special treat, welcomes his Vancouver-based Toptable Group counterparts Andrew Richardson from CinCin, Frank Pabst from Blue Water Cafe, Quang Dang from West, and Thierry Busset from Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie and Cafe for guest appearances.
2014 Longtable Dinner Dates are as follows:
Vancouver – Monday, August 4th at Bard on the Beach at Vanier Park
Pemberton – Saturday, August 16th at North Arm Farm
Whistler – Saturday, August 30th at Lost Lake Park
Presented in striking outdoor settings, Chef Walt crafts exclusive four-course menus that showcase his internationally recognized farm-to-table creations. With wine pairings by Araxi wine director Samantha Rahn, 2013 Sommelier of the Year, and service orchestrated by renowned restaurant director Neil Henderson, the Longtable Dinners salute both our culinary provenance, and our future.
Tickets are $175.00 per person per event and include a welcome reception, four-course menu, wine pairings, and tax and gratuity. The Longtable Dinners sell out quickly. For reservations or further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-932-4540.
by Ken Tsui | In the kitchen at Kitsilano’s Maenam, chef Angus An and his team are putting together their greatest hits for tonight’s staff meal. Jen Chiang is wok frying duck for lettuce wraps, Jay Huang drops a batch of Korean fried chicken into the fryer while Daly Giles is hard at work on an arugula salad amped up with bison sausage, fresh mozzarella, puffed wild rice, crispy chicharron and nam prik dressing. An is working on his own dish, lobster sticky rice, a specialty reserved for special occasions. In the dining room, Aimee Corno is behind the bar shaking up a refreshing kaffir lime spritzer.
As he waits for his chicken to fry, Jay pulls out a tupperware of kimchi, eliciting smiles in the kitchen. “Jay’s mom made the kimchi,” Angus says, “she won’t give him the recipe because she’s worried he’ll stop coming home to visit her.” The kitchen crew chuckles. Jay isn’t the only one hitting up their families for the goods, Angus’ lobster was supplied by a seafood shop in Chinatown owned by Jen’s parents.
As the Maenam team gathers around the table, Angus brings the lobster rice to the table. He lifts the lid of the steamer, which releases a burst of aromatic steam around the table. He takes a moment to enjoy the savoury fragrance and nods with satisfaction before everyone digs in…
by Nic Bragg | From Kitsilano’s Zulu Records, we once again present our monthly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, you’ll find The Track – the song on heavy rotation in the shop this week; The Playlist – which is self-explanatory; The Gig – or the ‘must see’ show of the week; and The Glance – which details the best live acts that are on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy…
MAC DEMARCO Passing Out Pieces
Where does Montreal/Vancouver’s Mac Demarco go from here? His music career is climbing to new heights as gigs in support of his latest groover Salad Days have been bumped up into bigger and bigger venues and are constantly selling out. Curious journalists are lined up to pen in-depth documentaries exploring his wildman history, his love of smokes, and his devil-may-care approach to keeping things light. Video crews give him a microphone and set him free lapping up his wise-cracking ways. Mac is the man of the moment for sure and for that he is awesome. Salad Days is easily one of the finest records of the year and it’s nice to see an Emily Carr guy doing so well. So again, where will he go next? Check this video – Mac’s acting skills are really ripening on the vine…
HAMILTON LEITHAUSER I Retired
The Walkmen are on an indefinite hiatus. Lead singer Hamilton has already produced a solo album that sees him fleshing out his brooding post-punk aesthetic with songs that weave together folksy styles with doo-wop silhouettes. His signature vocal tone remains intact as he muses on life after the big band fireworks!
WHITE LUNG Face Down
Bombing around LA and Santa Monica in a light blue Volvo 240, our heroes White Lung prove that the VHS camera is nowhere near being played out. This year is a huge one for White Lung – they are releasing Deep Fantasy on a major indie (Domino Records) and touring for months straight, all while constantly updating their fascinating Instagram feed.
MORRISSEY World Peace Is None Of Your Business
Morrissey has always had a message, an opinion, and a style of his own. Art is anything you can get away with, and the Moz has always gotten away with it. Here’s a cool spoken word promo for his new album. The message is pretty clear. Bonus points: Nancy Sinatra holding a briefcase of flowers.
Everyone’s favourite Japanese noise rockers Boris are prepping a new release of heavy heavy tunes. They are rumoured to be coming to Vancouver too, which will be good. I can see all the fog machines at L&M getting rented that weekend. If you’re into power trios that make use of blazing leads then this is your flavour…Vanilla!
MIREL WAGNER Oak Tree
Dream dream dream sweet dreams! Londoner Mirel Wagner is known for her haunting and hushed folk ballads. Here’s the first cut from her forthcoming Sub Pop release – and as one would think it’s a stripped down acoustic ode that carries a ton of tension. The classic black and white, single light source photography is perfect here!
FUCKED UP Sun Glass
Fucked Up have a heavy new album. This video feels like a tribute to Suicidal Tendencies. Damon is in prime form. The slow motion smoke shots are particularly intense. Heavy and grouchy, Fucked Up are back and at Fortune August 15th .
THE SHILOHS | Album Release Party Thursday June 19th at Fortune Sound Club
Things are happening fast for Vancouver’s charming classic pop quartet The Shilohs. In a short time they’ve been out on the road touring with American indie-rock stalwarts Real Estate, performed a couple showcases in Austin for SXSW, hooked up for more US shows with fellow jingle-janglers The Fresh And Onlys, and most importantly – released their sophomore LP for local Light Organ Records. Man, they’ve even been name-checked in Rolling Stone and Spin! They have momentum, and are currently ‘on top of their game’ with a swaggery carefree attitude that finds them chewing through their catalogue of intellectual rock songs with fervour and a rare sort of instinctual nerve. This is their record release show…a lot of bigwigs will be there, their families will be there, and their friends drinking their beer will be there. The pressure will be on. Time to nail it!
A deeper look at Vancouver’s gigscape for JUNE is after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | On Monday June 2nd, Maenam welcomes brewmasters and principals from Brassneck Brewery, Four Winds Brewing and Upright Brewing. For one night only, guests celebrate Craft Beer Week with a menu paired with six craft brews. A representative from each brewery pairs beers with a course by Chef Angus An, and offers insights into the process poured into each glass and growler.
Brassneck Brewery is the brainchild of the Alibi Room’s Nigel Springthorpe and ex-Steamworks brewer Conrad Gmoser. A fresh addition to Vancouver’s Main Street, Brassneck’s storefront fills to-go growlers for enjoyment at home, and offers in-store tastes and by-the-glass pours of their stouts, ales and malts.
Award-winning Four Winds Brewing focuses on innovative processes, old world techniques and West Coast, German and Belgian-style beers. The Delta-based family business houses an eight-tap tasting room pouring featured brews: IPAs, pale ales, pilsners, saisons, plus their own one-time limited releases.
Visiting from south of the border is Oregon’s Upright Brewing, specializing in French- and Belgian-style farmhouse beers. Driven by creativity and craft, Upright uses open fermentation vessels and regionally specific grains and hops, and prides itself in a no-gimmick approach, preferring to avoid overt branding in favour of allowing the brews to speak for themselves. Due to limited space, guests are encouraged to reserve early online. Menu and details after the jump… Read more
by Ken Tsui | Ask any Torontonian and they’ll tell you that the Jamaican beef patty is a classic found just about everywhere; it’s even more ubiquitous than the famed peameal bacon sandwich. In Vancouver, however, they’re very rare — the unsung hero of our handheld takeaway options. The Patty Shop in Kitsilano has been in the business of making Vancouver’s best Jamaican patties for decades. The shop is an over-the-counter institution specializing in moon-shaped pockets of flaky pastry filled with a variety of goodness. I’ll always suggest my favourite, the time-honoured curry beef, but even if you’re not a vegetarian you should also try the patties filled with curried potatoes, peas, and corn (pictured above, nice and spicy). Just ring the bell for service and a friendly lady wearing an apron (lightly dusted with flour) will poke her head out of the kitchen to help.
The Patty Shop | 4019 Macdonald St. | Vancouver, BC | 604-738-2144 | No Website
The GOODS from Oakwood Canadian Bistro
Vancouver, BC | In the 70’s, The Oakwood in Kits used to be a spot called “Rohan’s Rockpile”. It was a pub known best for after-hours shows and hosted a broad range of amazing talents, from local singer songwriters to the world-renowned Rolling Stones and The Who. Rohan’s had music industry connections and brought in some of the best. Upon discovering this, The Oakwood felt obliged to pay tribute to the great music venue that it once was.
To get it rolling, we brought on a ‘resident band’, a very good resident band. Unfortunately, due to their ‘other’ much bigger gigs, we have been unable to promote them by name. They have a very busy summer playing some of the biggest festivals in North America so this will potentially be their last show with us until after the summer. If you’re into indie folk-rock, you will love them.
They helped us revive the spirit of Rohan’s Rockpile and we will carry on with our Sunday Sessions finding up and coming talent to play at The Oakwood on the last Sunday of every month. Please come down and enjoy watching a band (that we think will make it big) play at our small, intimate bistro – maybe for the last time this summer – on the night of Sunday, May 25. Read more
The GOODS from Hapa Izakaya
Vancouver, BC | Justin and Lea Ault are excited to introduce the launch of “Hapa Beach” – a new take on their 95-seat restaurant steps away from Kitsilano Beach, at 1516 Yew Street (off Cornwall).
Inspired by the West Coast’s beloved Kitsilano shores, the menu introduces a laid back approach to modern Japanese dining, while retaining familiar Hapa classics, such as Vancouver’s original Ebi Mayo, ishiyaki rice bowls, and premium Ocean Wise sushi.
Beach Bites varying from juicy Kobe Beef Sliders to sizzling Teppan Steak-Frites and addictive Pineapple Tempura topped with prosciutto (priced between $6 and $12), can be enjoyed from the 25-seat patio or taken out for a picnic on the beach. Hapa’s chefs are also very excited to add to the menu, bowls of rich chicken ramen, destined to become one of Vancouver’s best!
Hapa Beach will also be pouring refreshing new cocktails, reminiscent of a hot summer’s eve – such as Lime Daiquiris, Sunset Raspberry Lemonades, Japanese Slippers, Shiso Mojitos, and Strawberry Sake Margaritas, as well as a variety of local and imported beers (priced from $3 to $6) and ($7) wines.
Kits locals will be happy to hear Hapa Beach’s summer hours are now in effect, open daily from 4:00pm. Hapa Hour has now shifted forward to 4:00pm to 5:00pm daily. View the new Hapa Beach Menu here. Learn more about Hapa Izakaya after the jump… Read more