by Ken Tsui | In the dog days of summer, chef/co-owner Brian Skinner and the kitchen team at Main Street vegetarian mainstay The Acorn are sweating it out as they prepare for another busy night. But before it all goes down, the staff are banding together and keeping to the spirit of making great vegetarian food by tapping into Indian traditions, the O.G. of vegetarian cuisines.
This afternoon’s meal is an elaborate one. It’s a long list scrawled on paper and simply labelled “Indian Staff Meal”. It’s an involved feast with plenty of components that tasks each staffer with making some of the classics, among them raita, papadums, khadi, palak paneer, grilled apricot chutney, mango lassis, pickled eggplant salad and pakoras of zucchini and cauliflower.
Brian leads the charge, guiding the crew based on lessons learned during his time in London. Today, the palak paneer (pureed spinach with crisped Indian cheese) is his responsibility. As the team puts the finishing touches on their respective contributions, the mixture of heat and movement looks and feels like controlled chaos, making it hard to keep track of all the fragrant and colourful plates coming out of the kitchen.
Meanwhile, co-owner Shira Blustein is holding court in the dining area. As the food comes out, the team gathers around her table to feast. Before long, Brian himself gets to lean into the spread. “I have a feeling I’m going to overeat…”
by Andrew Morrison | Full disclosure: Elizabeth Bryan and I go back a few years. We both used to write for Vancouver Island’s EAT Magazine, long before Scout was born. I was reminded of this while flipping through back issues while waiting for my meal at Dock Lunch, her little Mount Pleasant hideaway. She had piles of them on the sideboard, along with original copies of Pacific Island Gourmet, the long defunct magazine that she used to own.
Elizabeth’s passion for food is incredibly genuine, and in no small way a consequence of her South Carolinian roots. Her ”soul food” style of cooking really satisfies with plates – usually three or four different ones a day (menu posted on her Instagram feed) – deliciously evoking/expressing where she comes from. Think fried chicken, ham and biscuits, shrimp and grits, berry shortcakes, the whole kaboodle. She does just about everything in the 16 seat charmer by herself. And by that I mean she welcomes, cooks, serves, and cleans up as if she’s hosting people in her own home.
The truth of it is that the space actually was her apartment for 15 years, which is exactly why it looks and feels like you’re dining in her living room. She moved out to make the tiny eatery legal, but it’s still not uncommon to see guests bussing their own tables, bringing all their spent plates and glassware back to the kitchen once they’ve finished using them. Good on them.
It would be great if all customers could treat their Dock Lunch experiences similarly, because to treat it like any other restaurant would be a mistake. I don’t mean to say that Dock Lunch transcends or escapes the usual order, eat, pay, and retreat protocols that are the norm. Nor do I mean to suggest that it’s especially precious. It’s just cut from a different cloth, and well worth a visit. Take a look…
Dock Lunch | 152 East 11th Ave (off Main) | Open Mon-Sat, Noon(ish) to Six(ish)
The GOODS from The Biltmore Cabaret
Vancouver, BC | The Biltmore Cabaret presents a special summer double bill on Thursday, August 14th. In the sweetest deal of the summer, you are invited to enjoy Bry Webb (of the Constantines) for a special ‘Pay What You Can’ early show, with guests Olenka & the Autumn Lovers (Webb is on tour in support of his highly lauded new album, ‘Free Will’). Doors 7pm. RSVP on Facebook here. And then at 9:30pm, get set for the Tribute to the Ramones Pizza Part in celebration of the life and times of Tommy Ramone (RIP) and the entire Ramones crew. The Ramores, Slow Learners and Desolation Sound will play, and it just wouldn’t be a Ramones’ party without pizza. Come early to chow down on some choice slices. RSVP on Facebook here. Playbill/details after the jump. Read more
The GOODS from The Acorn
Vancouver, BC | Chef Brian Skinner has created a new menu to take full advantage of late summer ingredients. Starting next Thursday (August 14th), we’ll be offering Carrot Gnocchi with a goat cheese mousse, Chanterelle Pappardelle with garlic, corn and basil, and a Vegan Thai Basil Panna Cotta. New signature cocktails such as the “Stoned + Bitter” (rhubarb infused rum, amaro Nonino, Apricot and Bitter Almond Jam with crushed ice) will also be making refreshing appearances. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
by Ken Tsui | Before chefs Shelome Bouvette and Allison Flook kick-off another fully booked dinner service at Mount Pleasant’s Peruvian-inspired Chicha eatery, they step aside to make way for general manager Kumiko Umeno, who will be putting together the night’s staff meal with her mom, Sayuri, as back-up. Together, they’re making mizutake and freshly folded gyozas for the team.
Mizutake is a Japanese chicken noodle soup – a comforting classic and exactly what the team needs before a busy night. As the chicken gently simmers in a traditional dashi stock, Kumiko and Sayuri fold gyozas with Shelome, who jumps in to help. Everyone has a good laugh when the chef’s first few dumplings look more like pierogis than gyozas, but with a bit of coaching from Sayuri, Bouvette quickly gets the hang of it.
When the chicken is almost ready, Kumiko drops enoki, tofu, cabbage and daikon into the bubbling broth and gives it all a stir. As the soup comes back up to a simmer, Kumiko adds udon while Sayuri pan fries the fresh gyoza. As the udon and first batch of gyoza finish cooking, Kumiko mounds shaved daikon into each bowl, flavouring it with soy, yuzu and spicy togarashi before ladling the restorative soup over it all.
Kumiko brings it all out to the hungry crew, who patiently wait in the dining room. The gyozas are scooped up quickly but Sayuri has the motherly foresight to pack some away, “the crew is going to need a late night snack after service,” she says while closing the lid of the box with a smile.
The GOODS from Campagnolo
Vancouver, BC | The few weeks of harvest between late July and early August are what dreams are made of for most Vancouver chefs. There is an incredible variety of fresh local produce available inspiring an endless amount of breathtakingly beautiful and delicious dishes.
On Wednesday, August 6, Campagnolo Restaurant is partnering with Masi wine to present a Midsummer Night: a family-style feast spotlighting peak-of-the-season produce. This annual dinner celebrates the season’s freshest ingredients sourced that day from the Main Street Station Farmers Market as well as a variety of small farms and producers unique to Campagnolo. Guests will be lavished with summer produce newly picked from small artisanal farms and refreshing wines from Masi.
Guests will be seated at communal tables and will share over a dozen dishes including antipasti, pasta, primi, contorni and dolci. Guests can anticipate a plethora of summer vegetables plus fresh fish, poultry and meat dishes paired with Masi’s Mondello Delle Venezie, Rosa dei Masi and Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso. Details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from The Biltmore Cabaret
Vancouver, BC | The Gathering is the brand new hip hop social taking over East Van every summr Sunday night at the Biltmore Cabaret (no juggalos, we promise). Vancouver has been in dire need of a local hip hop night for years, one that favours MCs over EDM and focuses on fostering local talent. The night showcases both up-and-coming and established MC and musical artists weekly, with a host of surprises (to be revealed). This week’s edition features Jellyfish Recordings artist Potatohead People (Nick Wisdom, AstroLogical) and Rob The Viking (of Swollen Members), with special guests Mosaic, Garrett Grhymes, Alex Cruz, Ham-E Tha Northern Mic, RLGN!, & DJ’s Emotionz, Def 3 & Coner. Doors open at 9pm. Come early for a laid back vibe with old school hip-hop spinning before the acts take to the stage. Visit biltmorecabaret.com and RSVP on Facebook for continued updates as the night evolves. Read more
The GOODS from 33 Acres Brewing Co.
Vancouver, BC | 33 Acres Brewing Company is in need of front of house servers for its Tasting Room at 15 W 8th Avenue in Mount Pleasant. Serving experience is a huge bonus, but not necessary. Friendly upbeat with no ego. Willingness to learn about beer and other local products. Sense of urgency is key. Food Safe and Serving it right are required. Please email us in confidence at beer [at] 33acresbrewing.com or drop your resume off. Details after the jump… Read more
by Sean Orr | This is not an AC/DC reference: By the numbers: B.C. budget back in black. More money for welfare and teachers right? Wrong. More money for payouts. Smyth: B.C. finance minister should be more than just ‘disappointed’ about payments to public execs. The article doesn’t even mention Michael Graydon: B.C. Lottery Corp. wants $55,000 back from ex-CEO.
Debt Free BC. “The real policy problem in this province is not that we are failing to move to a debt free B.C. The policy problem is that we are incurring debt for things we don’t need”.
Related tweet of the day:
— Massive Headwound (@massivhedwound) July 16, 2014
Why can’t EI be U and I? EI is not actually helping low-income Canadians. “The lowest-income group only receives around 16 per cent of the benefits depending on the year. The poor pay into EI while working, but they are less likely to collect benefits if they’re laid off.”
The 10 most endangered jobs of 2014: Mail carrier, newspaper reporter, lumberjack. Yeah? You forget cross border pot smuggler…
You too could live in an office lunch room of a call centre in Mumbai: $800 Trendy Main St. Furnished Bachelor. Remember, the street is trendy, not the apartment. Or you could live at 955 East Hastings, now rebranded as The Ballantyne, ironically evoking one of the most important labour battles in Vancouver’s history.
Are conservative think tanks aiming their big guns at Vancouver City Hall? Wait, they haven’t already?
Why settle for Vision Vancouver or the NPA?. You’re talking about TEAM right?
Chinese Advertisements creating controversy in West Vancouver. What do you expect from West Van, home of the British Properties, where it is still technically illegal to sell your home to a Chinese person?
(Top image: coyote seen off the Olympic Village seawall last night)
The GOODS from Campagnolo
Vancouver, BC | Peter Van de Reep will be joined by Rob Scope, bar manager of Main Street’s Cascade Room on Sunday, July 13 “Upstairs” at Campagnolo. This dynamic duo will collaborate on a variety of innovative cocktail features. Knowing Rob, there will be bourbon involved.
Rob Scope was born in Bedford, England but spent much of his childhood in sunny Bermuda. When he moved back to England in 2001, Rob found work behind the bar at his local pub and honed his skills in other bars, hotels and restaurants. He found his passion in food-based establishments and developed his skill for pairing food and drink.
He later made his home in Vancouver, British Columbia where he held bartending positions at The Reef, C Restaurant, NU Restaurant, Cassis Bistro, Campagnolo, Refuel, and Calabash. He is currently holding court as bar manager of the renowned Cascade Room. Read more
The GOODS from The Biltmore Cabaret
Vancouver, BC | The Biltmore Cabaret presents RAM ON, a tribute to Paul McCartney’s “Ram” with Sprïng and members of Synthcake, plus special guests. Sprïng is a neo-psychedelic band based out of Vancouver. In March of 2014, they released their debut LP entitled Celebrations and are currently playing shows both locally and abroad in support of the release. On the July 7th – to celebrate Sprïng member Joseph Hirabayashi’s birthday – they will be paying tribute to former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s Ram, an eclectic, eccentric, and manically infused super Beatles record released in 1971 (a cult favourite among McCartney fans). Joining Sprïng will be Lana Pitre and Kristy-Lee Audette of Vancouver locals Synthcake. The band has dubbed the project “Sprïngcake” and is excited to be joined by Spencer Owen and Classic Rick. Learn more after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | As noted in the Scout List, it wasn’t just Cuchillo celebrating a milestone this week. The Acorn, arguably Canada’s best vegetarian restaurant, raised glasses (and munched catered Los Cuervos tacos) to mark their 2nd birthday on Monday night. It’s been a incredibly successful run for the Main Street eatery to date. Not only have they attracted people from the neighbourhood in droves, they’ve also impressed discerning gourmands – meat eaters included – from all across the city and country. But most importantly, The Acorn has elevated the meatless milieu to new heights in Vancouver, showing chefs and restaurateurs both young and well established that it’s entirely possible to thoroughly seduce the dining public without the traditional aids of duck fat and pork belly. For proof of this, pay them a visit. Forget all the recognition and the Gold Medal Plates victory and just concentrate on the food and drink in front of you. Even if you’re a carnivore of the most savage sort there’s no denying the skill, talent, or taste.
The GOODS from The Acorn
Vancouver, BC | The award-winning Acorn Restaurant is looking for a bartender to join our team. The successful applicant will be exceptionally organized, charming and professional with strong knowledge in wine and spirits. A natural desire to engage with guests while making both classic and signature cocktails is a must, as is experience in fast-paced, upscale and fine dining restaurants. Strong respect for vegetables also essential. You will be joining a fun team at a progressive award-winning vegetarian restaurant. We pride ourselves on having a collaborative, team-driven environment, and we provide excellent opportunities for growth and development. E-mail cover letter and resume in confidence to shira [at] theacornrestaurant.ca or apply in person after 5pm (note that only successful applicants will be contacted). Read more
The GOODS from Pizzeria Farina
Vancouver, BC | Pizzeria Farina is looking for a chef de cuisine. The chef de cuisine will be responsible for the day to day operation of the kitchen and will manage a small team together with inventory, food costs, and hiring. The applicant should have experience as a pizzaolo, a minimum of four years restaurant experience and must be passionate about food. Send resumes to jc [at] pizzeriafarina.com and learn more about the company after the jump… Read more