Following a series of successful “soft” opening nights, the Peruvian-themed Chicha restaurant opened up to the public this week at 136 East Broadway Street. They’re plating a substantial and rather diverse menu, so there were plenty of tasty things to take in. Specific wins included the so-simple-but-so-good frites with Peruvian tartar sauce (1), the quinoa salad tower (2), the brightly flavoured – and coloured! – cold mashed potato “Causa Cangre Jo Trio” (3), the skewered “Anticucho Caprese” salad (4), the chicken stew-stuffed empanadas (5), and the chorizo and octopus salad (6). Also of note were the Pisco Sour cocktails and lúcuma fruit cheesecake (they aren’t pictured here because they were gone too fast). The 45 seater – with its emphasis on sharing – comes to us courtesy of Kumiko Umeno and chefs Shelome Bouvette (interview) and Allison Flook. It’s open every day except Monday from 5pm until 1am, and until 2am on weekends. You can read our anticipatory coverage of Chicha here.
by Andrew Morrison | A few weeks ago I was surprised to learn that my friend Owen Lightly – best known as a chef, blogger, one of this year’s Top 40 Foodies Under 40, the founder of Butter On The Endive catering company, a long-time Scout contributor, and one of the most honest, sincere, and down-to-earth individuals that many of his peers have ever had the good fortune to come across - had been diagonsed with stage 4 colon cancer.
It was hard to believe at first. We were supposed to destroy Calabria and Sicily together this summer! He’s only 30 years old, for crissakes! I could write about how the disease had absolutely dropped the ball in this case, that Owen was totally the wrong guy, but there’s no denying that it’s the real deal. Owen is sick. He starts treatment – an aggressive course of chemotherapy – this morning.
My family paid him a visit at his home over the weekend. He was in high, determined spirits; his eyes as bright and attitude as philosophical as ever. He expressed amazement at the overwhelming outpouring of support that had come his way in recent days, and was glad to have so many well wishers paying him visits. “I’m valuing relationships a lot more that I think I used to,” he told us. “They’re what’s most important to me now.”
Save for the amplified love of friends and family, there are no guarantees with cancer. Those who choose to fight it can beat it, and Owen is a fighter. His outlook is very positive, but to face cancer is to turn away from everything else. The truth of it is that he and his partner Naomi could use a lot of help during this battle. Though Butter On The Endive is still going strong, it will need to slow down as Owen gets the best of this thing, and financial assistance is a must. And so, on Owen and Naomi’s behalf, the local food and beverage industry has come together to throw a big benefit party at Vancouver Urban Winery on the night of May 19th.
It’s called Food Fight, and attending is what everyone can do to show Owen their love and best wishes as he undergoes treatment. If you want cheer him on and have his back, purchase your tickets here before they’re all gone. A lot of great chefs and bartenders have jumped up and offered their skills for the night, as have a seriously impressive collection of suppliers and artisan producers, not to mention the one and only Rich Hope, who will be on hand with his guitar. It’s really awesome to see the industry coming together like this in support of one of their own. And believe you me, Owen is humbled by all the love.
Tickets for Food Fight are only $60. The bar is by donation, so be sure to bring cash. 100% of the ticket sales and proceeds of this fundraiser will go directly to Owen. If you can’t make it, you can donate by clicking next to the ticket sales box.
UPDATE: The BC Hospitality Foundation is generously supporting Food Fight and will match funds raised at the event up to $5000. “We know we have a tight industry and we know that they are generous in times of trouble. But we are still in awe of the way our friends and colleagues have rallied to support Owen,” says Alan Sacks, BC Hospitality Foundation Executive Director. “The Foundation is an important part of the community and is more than glad to be able to support these fundraising activities with a $5000 matching donation. The situation that Owen finds himself in is exactly why the Foundation exists. Our mantra of ‘working together to help our own’ is being lived out in front of us by all those who have stepped up to the plate on Owen’s behalf. We are proud to be part of “Food Fight” and proud of the way our community has responded.”
Friends and well-wishers are also invited to attend the special fundraising supper that award-winning chef David Hawksworth is cooking up for Owen at his eponymous restaurant in the Hotel Georgia on May 5th (Owen came up in the trade under David Hawksworth at South Granville’s storied West restaurant, and remains a key mentor to this day). There are only 50 tickets available at $200 each, with all of the proceeds going to Owen. Details and menu here.
UPDATE: FOOD FIGHT IS NOW SOLD OUT. The venue is at capacity and no additional tickets will be sold or released at the door.
by Andrew Morrison | Rachel Zottenberg and David Duprey of The Narrow, Rumpus Room, Ricksaw, and upcoming Fox Cabaret have picked up the ancient second floor Fu Wah dim sum restaurant space at 555 Gore Avenue (on the eastern periphery of Chinatown between Keefer and East Pender). With it, they plan on opening a Rat Pack era, old school Vegas-themed joint called The Emerald.
It’s a massive, unused space, one that had been dormant for at least a decade before the duo picked it up earlier this year. “It was pretty gross in there,” says Zottenberg. “It’s one of those places that people would never know was there.” I can vouch from that. I live and work very close by and never knew that it existed. The address isn’t even visible, and the doors are so thoroughly boarded up that they appear to be walls.
Though the interior has already been gutted and the kitchen (which is bigger than all of Rumpus Room) cleaned up, Zottenberg, Duprey, and the construction crew still have a lot of work to do. When it does open, we can expect a 25 seat lounge, a 65 seat dining room, and a couple of versatile private rooms. They have 4800 sqft to play with, not to mention 180 grandfathered seats. Not all of them, however, will be in play: “We’re going to have fewer seats than we’re actually allowed,” Zottenberg says. The real figure is closer to 100. Why? “Because what’s lacking in Vancouver right now is elbow room. We hear it a lot, and we want people to feel really comfortable here. We want them to hang out.”
The bar program is going to offer upwards of 35 drinks — a mix of classics, plays on classics and originals, while the food will follow the Vegas vibe with Chris Williams, lately of Boneta, Save On Meats, and Rumpus, doing the cooking. He’ll be working the neighbourhood for sourcing, which could mean things like a “catch of the day” from Hung Win Seafoods and duck from Money Foods, both of which are right downstairs from The Emerald. Beyond that, think updated takes on the classic shrimp cocktail, Turducken (for real), Steak Diane, et cetera. Dean Martin loved his spaghetti and meatballs and Sinatra was a sucker for Veal Milanese, so maybe we’ll see those, too. And despite the meat-centric traditions of Las Vegas, Zottenberg assures me that vegetarians and vegans will be looked after as well.
The projected opening date for The Emerald is early Summer
The natural consequence of a dozen really good pizzerias opening in Vancouver within a couple of years of each other? Some of the old (and especially the shitty) ones whither and die. Exhibit C: Hell’s Kitchen pizzeria at 2401 West 4th Ave has “closed its doors permanently”. This happened a few days ago, apparently to the financial dismay of many (image found via Reddit).
UPDATE: A few people have commented below or contacted me directly to say that all is not as it seems with this note, specifically that it was written by the landlord. What’s more, several letters of support from staff/suppliers that were taped over the note have reportedly been taken down. So take it with a grain of salt.
We’ve invited Main Street’s outstanding Acorn restaurant to join our GOODS section as a fine establishment in which one can healthily while away an hour or two. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our awesome list of sweet goodnesses. We’d like to take this chance to thank them for their support, and for making Vancouver a much more delicious place to live.
3995 Main Street | Vancouver, BC
Telephone: 604-566-9001 | Email: email@example.com
Web: www.theacornrestaurant.ca | Twitter | Facebook
Hours: Tue-Thurs 5:30pm-1am | Fri-Sat 5:30pm-2am | Sun 5:30pm-12am
Dinner Menu served nightly until 10pm | Late Night & Bar Snacks Menu available after 10pm
General Manager / Owner – Shira Blustein
Head Chef / Owner – Brian Skinner
Chef de Cuisine – Joel Panlilio
ABOUT THE ACORN
Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free options abound. Bar open until 2am with special bar menu starting at 10pm every night. No Reservations. For parties of 6 or more, a family table is available for an early or later seating. Please call 604-566-9001 for availability.
ACCOLADES: En Route One of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2013 | Gold Medal Plates Victoria “Gold Medal Winner”
Montecristo Magazine | The New York Times | Westender 2012 Best of Vancouver Awards | Westender “On The Plate” | Sharp For Men | Huffington Post | Georgia Straight | Vancouver Sun
120 West Hastings Street | Vancouver, BC
Web: www.wildebeest.ca | Twitter | Facebook
Open for dinner service from 5pm to midnight, Tuesday to Sunday evenings
Josh Pape: Owner/Operator
James Iranzad: Owner/Operator
Wesley Young: Executive Chef
Wildebeest invites you to experience unabashedly adventurous, yet simple cooking at its finest set against the history of the Vancouver neighbourhood of Gastown. Explore whole-animal cookery paired with a diverse selection of Old and New World wines and a carefully crafted cocktail list. Set in a refurbished 19th century building, the multi-level space offers a front house cocktail bar & lounge, open-concept kitchen complete with large kitchen tables, an inviting dining room with banquette seating, and an intimately-set underground wine bar.
The gastronomically daring menu focuses on whole-animal cookery prepared with the utmost integrity. Each and every component has been thoughtfully nurtured by the restaurant’s executive chef, Wesley Young, from field to finish. Working closely with surrounding farms and farmers to raise animals and grow custom produce, the team at Wildebeest has crafted a menu unlike anything yet explored in Vancouver.
We recently returned from an R&R trip down to Los Angeles. We were down there at the same time as Josh Pape, James Iranzad, and David Gunawan who were in town doing R&D for their upcoming Wildebeest restaurant on Hastings. We tagged along for several of their meals and got up to many other things besides, the delicious gists of which you can see from the 200 or so shots below…
News from Scout supporter Hawksworth:
Vancouver, BC | In honour of its vibrant history deeply intertwined with that of Vancouver itself, Rosewood Hotel Georgia will officially open its doors on Saturday May 7th 2011, exactly 84 years to the day that the hotel first opened its doors in 1927. Read more
Job posting from Scout supporter Hawksworth:
Vancouver, BC | Hawksworth restaurant, opening in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia at 801 West Georgia early in 2011, has issued an open call for first hires in the front and back of house. All interested parties with a minimum of 3 years experience should submit their CVs to Chad Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the restaurant after the leap… Read more
There hasn’t been much in the way of news floating about on the highly anticipated “Hawksworth” restaurant front for a few months now so I thought it might be time for an update. Let me bring you up to speed…
David Hawksworth is one of Canada’s top chefs. If you’re one of our non-food fanatic readers and have never heard the name before, don’t fret. He may have twice upon at time cooked at the James Beard Foundation in New York and been named “Chef of the Year” (2005), but he’s been off the radar for about three years now, ever since he left his long-time position as the executive chef at the superlative West.
That South Granville spot blossomed during David’s seven year tenure in the kitchen, becoming known as one of the finest restaurants in the country. Speaking personally, he has prepared some of the most amazing meals of my life (including one of my stag suppers 9 years ago). It was an honour to be on stage with him when he became the youngest chef ever to be inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame (see video below). Read more
Just to stop the rumour mill from continuing to churn out some real doozies, a veteran FOH’er named Lisa Hewlett (ex-Boathouse, Jimmy’s Taphouse) has struck a deal with Aurora owner Jeff Van Geest to take over his former Main St. location (he handed over the keys this morning). The most interesting gossip saw the space landing in the lap of Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart of Parkside, La Buca, and Pied-a-Terre, but though there was some truth to this (there were talks) it has come to naught. The deal is done.
The new restaurant, dubbed The Wallflower Modern Diner, will focus on accessible, health-conscious diner fare with some of the recipes coming from Hewlett’s own grandmother. Renos sound like they’ll be light to moderate, with very little in the way of structural modifications (if any at all). Opening day is slated for some time in January.
“We’re trying to bring something to the community that will be a good fit” Hewlett told me over the phone this afternoon. Diner food sounds about right these days.
We wish both Lisa and Jeff the best of luck.
With the economy teetering on the total tank, opening a 30′s style, 75-seat lunch counter diner ain’t such a bad idea. Say hello to Deacon’s Corner, an under construction, 7am to 3pm, cheap and cheerful greasy spoon from the folks who gave us Powell St.’s Cobre. Opening day is slated for a little over a week away.
Located at 101 Main at Alexander across the street from the Alibi Room and just two blocks east of a resurgent Gastown’s gritty glitz, the joint will sling the stuff of diner legend: corned beef hash; biscuits and gravy; meatloaf; and I assume a variety of other wholesome bits of chow. It’s food we might be needing to get used if things get bad. Really, if the markets totally implode (and I mean more than they already have and Vancouver is plunged into a recession worse than the early 80′s), this stuff will be like cake. If the markets stabilise and everything is cool, Barack Obama might turn out to be faulty charm robot from the future and we may also be plunged into a war with China after Pakistan and India trade frisky nukes in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Either way, I’m looking forward to the corned beef hash, and no matter what the next six months bring, the nearby cop shop will likely provide them with lots of trade. Always wise to saddle up to a customer base that won’t be seeing massive layoffs any time soon. Good security, too.
Deacon’s Corner was the name of an old gas station near owner Tyson Reimer’s childhood hood outside Winnipeg. “We aren’t doing anything modern,” he told me by phone tonight. “No wraps. No breakfast burritos. We want to stay true to the classic diner.”