OPENING SOON | Highly Anticipated “Au Comptoir” Eatery Nears Completion In Kits

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by Andrew Morrison | Maxime Bettili and Julien Aubin’s highly anticipated Au Comptoir is getting close – really close – to opening day. They’ve got a few more hoops to jump through as well as a couple of friends and family runs, but if there are no major hiccups their French eatery at 2287 West4th in Kitsilano will open for its first service next Friday (October 24th).

As you may recall from when Scout broke the news of Au Comptoir’s coming back in July, Bettili and Aubin are old friends. They met at hospitality school in France 17 years ago and have worked at restaurants such as Les Faux Bourgeois, Bistro Pastis, and The Acorn in the five years since they moved to Vancouver. This is their first fling with ownership, and the theme – a morning to evening Paris-style cafe – is close to their hearts. Back in the summer, I wrote of the affinity thusly:

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.

I did a walk-through of the space yesterday and I gotta say, I’m really excited for this one. That could be because I miss Paris a lot, but for the most part it’s on account of the look, which is pretty damn convincing, and the menu from chef Daniel McGee (ex-Pidgin), which reads like it belongs in my belly. Think omelette aux fines herbes for breakfast, hardy croque monsieur with frites for lunch, and beef bavette with pommes dauphines for supper.

Like I said, they’re on track for this Friday. Fingers crossed, it will be so. Have a look…

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

WELCOME | West 4th Avenue’s gravitypope Has Joined The Growing Scout Community

October 14, 2014 

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We’ve invited Kitsilano retail icon gravitypope to join our GOODS program as a recommended place to slip into something more comfortable. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be sharing their news and employment needs on our front page in addition to hosting a page for them in our archive of local and independent goodness. We thank them for their support and for making Vancouver a more stylish place to be.

EXPLORE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

GOODS | Maenam Chef Angus An Heads To Okanagan For Special Collaborative Dinner

West 4th’s crticially acclaimed Maenam is located at 1938 West 4th Ave in Kits | 604-730-5579 | www.maenam.ca

The GOODS from Maenam

Vancouver, BC | The Okanagan’s Miradoro restaurant (Best Winery Restaurant, 2014 Vancouver Magazine Awards) welcomes Maenam’s Chef Angus An (Best Thai, 2014 Vancouver Magazine Awards) on Friday, October 10th for City Lights Meet Country Nights, an exceptional five-course dinner. Chef An’s spice-laced sensibility meets Chef Jeff Van Geest’s refined Italian fare in this unprecedented collaborative menu paired with wines from Tinhorn Creek’s premier Oldfield Series. Guests enjoy this spectacular meal surrounded by vineyards at the award-winning restaurant in the Okanagan valley, as part of Tinhorn Creek’s 20 Events for 20 Years anniversary celebration. Menu and details after the jump… Read more

DINER | Seven Awesome Eateries That Don’t Do Brunch, Even Though They Really Should

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Come the weekend, we’ve got it pretty good. And it wasn’t too long ago that Vancouver was a bit of a brunch wasteland overseen by an irregular army of greasy spoon same-sames. Then along came Abigail’s Party in Kits, and later, Cafe Medina, which changed the game completely. The persistent line-up out front showed restaurateurs of a certain calibre that brunch was a saleable “thing”; that it didn’t necessarily mean a monotony of eggs benedict, buckets of hollandaise, and hungover campers drinking bottomless cups of shitty coffee.

Today, all the cool kids are doing it: Wildebeest, Mamie Taylor’s, Tableau, Chambar, Homer Street Cafe, The Oakwood, Ask For Luigi, Bestie, Burdock & Co., Farmer’s Apprentice — they’re all on board, and then some. The question today is, who isn’t on board? More to the point, who should be? We’ve given it some thought and drafted a short wishlist of seven that you can pick from. Though all are worthy of consideration, you can only pick one…

Which ONE of the following restaurants should serve brunch?

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VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #241 | Its Parks Had Concessions Of Consequence

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(via) We’re digging the look and functionality of Liverpool’s outdoor Constellations Bar, which is much more than just a bar. It also sports a food truck, art space, cinema, and community garden. It got us thinking how cool it would be if Vancouver’s residential neighbourhoods each had a get-together hub that operated similarly.

Can you imagine a multi-purpose installation like this on the periphery of Vanier Park, David Lam Park, or Strathcona Park? Wouldn’t it be a thing of civic beauty if the Parks Board took this approach to its concessions and partnered with local craft breweries, farmers markets, community organisations, and food trucks?

On the design, which is remarkable in and of itself…

The structure is supported by a set of ten ‘quadrapods’ – doubled A-Frame supports -made from green oak. These have a duel function, as each one incorporated bench seating or a table. These quadrapods carry the load of the canopy via glue-lam beams, which project form the roof to form a wing-shaped rainspout. The courtyard garden is populated with green oak furniture, conceived as a set of tessellating components, and planted one-tone builders bags. These are easily movable, allowing the space to be reconfigured to accommodate the rolling program of arts events, performance, cinema screenings and a market.

MORE CIVIC IMPROVEMENT IDEAS

gravitypope

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DETAILS

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gravitypope Vancouver | 2205 West 4th Ave. | Vancouver, BC | V6K 1N9
Telephone: 604-731-7673 | Email: vancouver [at] gravitypope.com

gravitypope Tailored Goods | 2203 West 4th Ave. | Vancouver, BC | V6K 1N9
Telephone: 604-731-7647 | Email: tailoredgoodsvancouver [at] gravitypope.com

Web: www.gravitypope.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

GALLERY

The People Who Make It Happen

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Louise Dirks – Owner, CEO
Ramona Litwinowich – gravitypope Vancouver Manager
Natalie Tersigni – gravitypope Tailored Goods Manager

About The Company

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Owner, CEO and principle buyer, Louise Dirks, opened the first gravitypope in spring 1990 in Edmonton, Alberta. Soon after, the store became recognized for stocking unique product with focus on quality and design. With the success of the Edmonton location, gravitypope opened a second footwear store in Calgary in 2000, and continued to grow moving west with a Vancouver location in 2004. After several years spent focusing on expanding the brand offerings, developing an in-house footwear collection and opening gravitypope Tailored Goods stores in both Edmonton and Vancouver; gravitypope moved east to Toronto in the fall of 2012 to open a micro-department store housing both the clothing and footwear collections.

Over the last 24 years gravitypope has built up an extensive footwear brand listings that ranges from popular sport, comfort and lifestyle brands to hard to find fashion and handmade artisan footwear from, Japan, and North America. Stocking over 175 footwear collections, gravitypope Vancouver offers quality footwear from around the globe: Adieu, Audley, Birkenstock, Camper, Chie Mihara, Chippewa, Church’s Clarks, Common Projects,  Converse, Cydwoq, Dr. Martens, Fiorentini and Baker, Fluevog, Fly London, Frye, Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole,  John Varvatos, Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Moma, N.D.C., Native, New Balance, Officine Creative, Paul Smith, Rachel Comey, Red Wing, Repetto, See by Chloe, T & F Slack, Tracey Neuls, Trippen, Vans, Vic Matie, Wolverine and more.

In line with the footwear stores, gravitypope Tailored Goods has grown to offer a carefully curated selection men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from around the world, including: Acne, Alexander Wang, Antipast, Band of Outsiders, Beth Richards, Carven, Christian Wijnants, Clu, Comme des Garcons, Creatures of Comfort, Engineered Garments, Filippa K, Forte_Forte, Fortnight, Fred Perry, Isable Marant, Jil Sander Navy, Liberty London, Maison Kitsune, Margaret Howell, Marni, Naked and Famous, Nudie Jeans, Paul Smith, Peter Jensen, Pomandere, Rag & Bone, Reigning Champ, Robert Geller, SNS Herning, Stephan Schneider, Sofie D’Hoore, Veronique Branquinho, Yoshi Kondo and Wings + Horns.

With six stores opened across Canada and a (newly designed) web-store, gravitypope is looking forward to celebrating its quarter century mark by continuing to offer exceptional service, quality product and a selection worth the trip.

ZULU REPORT | All Of The Awesome Sounds That You Should Be Listening To Right Now

September 22, 2014 

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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 – our selection of videos; The Gig – the “must-see show”; and The Glance – which details the best gigs on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy… Read more

DIG IT | On Vancouver’s Maritime Museum, A Stunning Icon Of Mid-Century Modernism

September 18, 2014 

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by Stevie Wilson | Opened in 1959, the Vancouver Maritime Museum is one of the most gorgeous pieces of mid-century modernist design in the city, not to mention one of the most comprehensive displays of this Pacific Northwest’s storied maritime history.

The site was built to coincide with provincial centennial celebrations the year before, commemorating the establishment of the colony of British Columbia in 1858. The main building was designed by C.B.K. Van Norman & Associates, including Australian architect Raymond O. Harrison, who’s personal interest in the development of this site subsequently led him to pursue a long career as a museum administrator and director across Canada.

The stunning A-frame design features bright wood-shingled siding and large floor-to-ceiling triangular fenestration providing those who pass by a glimpse of what’s inside. The shape of the building is no coincidence, for inside sits the main exhibit: the 80-ton St. Roch, a 1928 RCMP arctic patrol ship.

Savour the last bit of summer and check out one of their other all-ages exhibits Babes & Bathers: History of the Swimsuit, on until November 2nd. Take note, too, of the beautiful totem pole just adjacent to the museum, carved by famed BC artist Mungo Martin.

MORE VANCOUVER HISTORY

AWESOME THING WE ATE #921 | An Earthy, Indecently Tasty Omelette At ‘The Oakwood’

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We ate the living daylights out of this dreamily-textured asparagus-stuffed omelette last Saturday at The Oakwood in Kitsilano. It came mounted with a healthy dollop of truffled creme fraiche and next to a pile of crispy fried brussels sprouts (halved). Everything lay in a shallow pool of impactful tomato sauce, the acidic zip of which had been tempered by a smoky char. The whole thing was flawless – as good an edible start to the day as can be had in Vancouver. Be sure to pair it with one of their gently spiced Micheladas. If you’re going to hit them up for brunch this weekend, be wise and book ahead because their queues – between 10am and 2:45pm on Saturday and Sunday - are starting to get rather Medina-esque.

Asparagus Omelette | $14 | The Oakwood | 2741 W. 4th Ave. | 604-558-1965

MORE AWESOME THINGS WE ATE

GOODS | Ryan Murphy Lands Executive Chef Job At West 4th’s Oakwood Canadian Bistro

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro is located at 2741 West 4th in Vancouver, BC | 604.558.1965 www.theoakwood.ca

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro is located at 2741 West 4th in Vancouver, BC | 604.558.1965 www.theoakwood.ca

The GOODS from Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Vancouver, BC | The Oakwood Canadian Bistro is proud to welcome Ryan Murphy as the new executive chef. The Halifax native has spent years traversing the globe in pursuit of his culinary passions. Murphy gained extensive experience working in international kitchens including Vue de Monde in Melbourne, Australia; Restaurant Fifty Three in Singapore; and Restaurant Frantzen in Stockholm, Sweden; and numerous well-renowned eateries around Vancouver.

With this changing of the guard, previous Oakwood executive chef Mike Robbins will leave behind this vibrant dining destination. “The Oakwood team wishes Mike Robbins all the best as he moves on to new culinary ventures,” says Oakwood’s Mike Shea. “Mike was instrumental in building the brand, outstanding reputation, varied menu and the loyal customer base. We look forward to supporting his next projects. We are thrilled to have Ryan Murphy step in and are excited about what’s to come.”

The up-and-coming culinary talent has had a deep respect for Vancouver’s dining scene and the rigours of kitchen life since he moved here in 2006. “It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the pace here and the endless avenues of working with food and flavours,” he says. “I look forward to leading the kitchen team at the Oakwood and building on the restaurant’s success.” Read more

ZULU REPORT | All Of The Awesome Sounds That You Should Be Listening To This Month

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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 – our selection of videos; The Gig – the “must-see show”; and The Glance – which details the best gigs on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy… Read more

DIG IT | Sipping History In “Delamont Park”, Kitsilano’s Forgotten Micro-Neighbourhood

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by Stevie Wilson | With its abundance of beautiful heritage homes and structures, the Kitsilano neighbourhood comes loaded with history. Case in point: the area’s oldest intact hood within a hood, Delamont Park (so named for the founder of the Kitsilano Boy Band, Arthur Delamont). It’s comprised of a few tree-lined blocks and a handful of homes, but today its best known for the quaint experience that is Arbutus Coffee (formerly Arbutus Grocery), which is located on the corner of Arbutus and 6th Avenue.

Built in 1907 at 2096 W. 6th (the address has since changed in the books) by Thomas F. Frazer, the building was originally known as Eureka Grocery. Frazer also built the bungalow next door – one of the first homes in the area – where he had lived since 1901. The commercial space, which features a high boomtown front (see also: The Western Front), also boasts original fenestration and a unique corner entryway typical of mom-and-pop convenience stores of halcyon days.

In 2013 the building was recognized as part of the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Places That Matter Contest, an all-too-important distinction given that the neighbourhood has a long history of being threatened by civic development. Thus far the area has survived propositions for a thoroughfare to the Burrard Street Bridge in the 1930s, a six-lane connector in the 1970s, and apartment developments from the 1980s onward. Fortunately, this unique enclave is still standing (for now) with most of the homes remaining in their original century-old glory. So the next time you’re nearby, stop here for a sit and a sip, and give thanks for its survival.

MORE VANCOUVER HISTORY

OPENING SOON | New Brasserie-Cafe “Au Comptoir” To Bring A Taste Of Paris To Kits

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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.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #505 | Scenes From The ‘Khatsahlano Street Party’ On West 4th

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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

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