I was a huge fan of Aurora Bistro and so was not a little disappointed when it closed. While it’s been great watching former owner/chef Jeff Van Geest doing great things at Miradoro up in the Okanagan ever since, there’s no denying that this city’s food scene took a hit when he skipped Main Street. That was back in the Fall of 2008, at the height of the financial meltdown, so there wasn’t that much going as far as fine food is concerned in those parts until recently, when Burdock & Co. opened (fun fact: both Van Geest and Burdock chef Andre Carlson worked in the kitchen at Bishop’s).
Anyway, Van Geest just sent me an email saying that he was coming to town to resurrect Aurora Bistro for one night only on February 8th, 2014. Read all about it below:
Join Chef Jeff Van Geest for an evening of classic Aurora Bistro dishes paired with delicious B.C. wines from Tinhorn Creek Vineyards on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 7pm, at Longtail Kitchen.
Jeff, along with Longtail Kitchen’s chef and owner Angus An, Aurora Bistro alumni Dan Tigchelaar, Hugh Carbery, Kurtis Kolt and Katharine Manson will host a nostalgic and fun evening to be shared with friends. Guests will gather around long communal tables and indulge in a 4-course prix fixe menu comprised of fan favourites made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Tickets are priced at $95 (inclusive of wine pairings and gratuity) with partial proceeds being donated to the BC Hospitality Foundation. Limited seating is available. Menu/details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from River Market
New Westminster, BC | Since opening its doors late in 2010, River Market at Westminster Quay has welcomed the curious. The 72,000-square-foot market is divvied into the Hungry Floor on the first level — with tempting tastemakers like Wild Rice, Re-Up BBQ and the new Longtail Kitchen — and the Curious Floor upstairs, where visitors can try a circus class, record a CD, take in a temporary art exhibit or rent desk space by the hour.
Now, River Market gets “curiouser and curiouser” (apologies to Lewis Caroll), with the introduction of Curious Flea, a shopping and social event taking place June 1 and 2, where customers are invited to hang out, engage and explore. “Our goal is to create a new kind of flea market that’s social and fun,” says Curious Flea organizer Erin Jeffery. “Many flea markets today feel gloomy and transactional; customers get in and get out as quickly as possible. We hope to entertain and amaze our visitors, entice them to spend some time with us, and help them discover some exceptional finds to take home.”
On the first weekend in June, River Market will welcome the carefully curated, mid-century modern, antique, and collectible wares of more than 20 vendors. Although some will be bringing upcycled items — crafted from vintage and recycled parts — the flea will not feature anything new. Curious Flea is not a craft fair; it’s focused on treasures from the past. Vendors include Brick & Mortar Living, Vintage Pop, Robyn’s Vintage Nest, My English Country Garden, Your Ottoman Empire, PAVA Creations and more.
River Market is the perfect location for this modern kind of flea market. It’s already home to quality vintage goods, thanks to merchant Mid Century Modern Home. Owner Jenny Cashin — who is helping curate the finds at the flea — has developed a following for the shop’s beautifully restored Danish Modern and Mid-Century Modern furniture, art, lighting and decorative pieces. And, just steps away, is New Westminster’s historic Antique Alley: Front Street’s colourful clutch of antique stores. They’ll be represented with their own table at Curious Flea, and visitors are encouraged to complete their day by strolling over to the shops on Front Street.
Highlights of Curious Flea include live music, a Vancouver Circus School performance, and the Battle of the Curious: a match-up of unusual items that everyone is invited to take part in. Have something jaw-droppingly weird tucked away in the back of a closet? Bring it to the flea on Saturday, June 1. The most curious object will be immortalized forever in the Curious Hall of Fame, and the winner will receive $100 to spend at the flea market. Finally, of course, there’s the food. At no other flea market can shoppers take a break from browsing to enjoy award-winning restaurants alongside a spectacular riverside view. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | Chef/restaurateur Angus An of Kitsilano’s multiple award-winning Maenam restaurant is opening a new counter-service eatery called Longtail Kitchen in New Westminster’s popular River Market. An, you might recall, trained at New York’s French Culinary Institute and worked in such famed kitchens as Jo-Jo, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Nahm before opening Maenam in 2009. He’s one of Vancouver’s top culinary stars. His new joint is named after Thailand’s ubiquitous, iconic, and often turbo-charged “longtail” water taxis) — a cool name that fits that address’ Fraser River waterfront location and Thai theme.
The lease was just signed this week, but it’s been in the works for many months. And it’s no wonder. Between shuttling to and from New York City where An consults at the famed Kittichai restaurant, overseeing the perennially busy Maenam, and raising a young family, An is a busy guy. You’d think opening another establishment would seem a daunting, overly complicated prospect, but he shrugs the notion off. “I wouldn’t have done this if it didn’t feel right for me,” he says. “It’s a fine balance, but I can do it comfortably.”
The 25 seat, 880 sqft Longtail will focus on sea-centric Thai street food. “Quick and easy Thai fisherman comfort food”, is how An likens it, adding that there “will be noodle dishes, fish stews and fish curries, with price points ranging from $8 to $12.” Sadly, there will be no liquor license to start off with, but the application is under way. They’ll also be trying for a sectioned-off patio (which would work beautifully with garage door frontage), but if you’ve ever been to the River Market, you already know how easy it is to take your meal outside and sit just about anywhere (the gull population mercifully appears to be about 1/50th that of Granville Island market).
Longtail is being designed as a multi-functional space. By day it will concentrate on regular service with a retail component (selling An’s signature curry sauces, spices, cookbooks, etc.) and then at night it will host cooking classes, private functions and special chef-collaborative suppers. “I’m a longtime fan of Angus’ cooking,” says Mark Shieh, the River Market’s Director. “He and I have talked a lot about the future of restaurants. One of our goals at the Market is to reconnect with food in a meaningful and playful way. Angus’ imagining of a restaurant as a multifunctional seaside kitchen is a great fit with our Food 360 approach.”
Longtail Kitchen is another big “get” for River Market (already home to Wild Rice, Re-Up, Wally’s Burger, La Grotto del Formaggio, among other food fetishist faves). Opening day is scheduled for early May, 2013.
We’ve invited the River Market at Westminster Quay to join our GOODS section as a cool place to spend an afternoon. They are now proud members of Scout (joining tasty River Market tenants Re-Up BBQ and Wild Rice), and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our awesome, curated list of independent goodnesses. We’d like to take this chance to thank them for their support, and for making BC a better, tastier place to explore.
Mark Shieh: Director
Mia Ciric: General Manager
Deana Lancaster: Marketing Manager
Kiran Rai Office: Administrator
Jennifer Lee: Graphic Designer
Leslie Shieh: Project Planner
ABOUT RIVER MARKET
When faced with the task of revitalizing the Westminster Quay Public Market back in 2008, the River Market team wondered: How to reinvent a public market without becoming a mall?
The concept — food-led revitalization centred on local, independent businesses — has proven to be successful since the market opened in November 2010. All of the tenant-partners are founded in the Lower Mainland, if not right in the Market itself. The innovative approach unites people around the activities of food, its emphasis on cultural and communal activities helps distinguish the Market from other retail outlets, and a customer loyalty program reinvests 1% of money spent at River Market into grassroots projects in New Westminster.
The Market’s food precinct, based on a unique “Food 360″ vision, celebrates the full circle of food. At River Market, you can grow herbs in edible garden plots, shop for organic produce in Donald’s flagship store or at the Royal City Farmers’ Market, participate in cooking classes, share meals in restaurants and cafes, and enjoy food festivals. The 360 degrees is completed with a Market-wide composting program.
In addition to food for your body on the first floor, River Market feeds your curiosity on the second floor with an Artisan Market, Music Box Music School, The Network Hub and the Vancouver Circus School. The Market plays host to events such as workshops and speakers’ series, to engage and educate the public on a variety of subjects.
The goal is to help strengthen the links between residents and local businesses, and with the local food system.
We’ve been fans of Wild Rice since it opened way back in 2001. Over the years it has proven to be one of the most consistent restaurants in town, staying true to owner Andrew Wong’s original concept of a restaurant that was modern and open in design and outlook (both gastronomic and environmental) but true to his Chinese heritage. And as a founding member of Ocean Wise and Green Table, it has been a leader in sustainability since long before it was sexy. Behind the consistency is the chef, Todd Bright, whose passion for local product and unique preparations are deliciously evident on the plate, 7 nights a week. Wild Rice expanded this time last year by opening a new location in the revamped River Market out in New Westminister. Bright came on as a chef/partner in the new enterprise, which is to say we’re very grateful that he took time he couldn’t spare to answer the following questions…
Where did you go to school? Toowoomba, Australia.
If you had a motto, what would it be? Work hard, play harder.
What’s the thing that you eat that is bad for you that you will never stop eating? I love chicken skin! I know lots of people are opposed to eating poultry skin for health reasons these days, but it’s the best part.
What ingredient grosses you out the most: We would never use this at Wild Rice, but you know what natural raspberry flavouring is made of right? Natural raspberry flavor, or castoreum, comes from the anal extracts of a North American beaver.
Default drink of choice: Beer — anything local and cold.
What are you the most proud of: I’m really proud of the team we have built at Wild Rice, and that we get to be part of the River Market renewal process.
What are you the least proud of: I’m the least proud of not being able to answer this question honestly.
Your favourite smells: Roasted chicken stock is pretty awesome.
Your least favourite smells: The smell of something burning. I hate the smell of something burning!
Your chef role models: Neil Perry, Tetsuya, and Marco Pierre White.
Your favourite sound: I really like the sound of a busy restaurant. The roar of the hood vents, sizzling pans, communication from my crew, laughter and chatter from the dining room. It’s music to my ears!
Your least favourite sound: Dropped cutlery. It pings through the entire restaurant. It’s horrible.
The best way to die: Fat, happy and with no regrets. Read more
by Claudia Chan | There’s a brand new farmers’ market in town happening in South Van and they’re scouting out farmers for the harvest season. During their six-week launch from September 15th to October 27th, 2012, the River District will be holding a market down by the waterfront on Saturdays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. The market will take place next to the riverside, pier, restaurant and 7,000 lovely homes. It’s considered one of Vancouver’s new up in coming communities. The market features 21 vendors, as well as 4Cats Art Studio hosting children’s activities.
If you’re an artisan, a local farmer or know of one, this is an opportune moment to showcase the fruits of your labour and connect with and sell directly to the ever-growing River District community. To become a vendor or for more info, you can contact Wendy Hainstock, market manager at email@example.com.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just hop on a plane next week and take a full-on wine tour of the Naramata Bench? If you can’t swing that, you can definitely swing this: a whole bunch of Naramata Bench wineries are coming to town for a giant Spring Release and food pairing party at the River Market in New West on April 24th. That’ll save us city slickers a lot of travel time, fill our bellies, expose us to a dozens of wines, and keep us free from the stress of spitting for the sake of driving (the Market is only a zippy 25 minute Skytrain ride away). We have a double pass ($170 value) to give away to a lucky reader who jumps through the following hoops…
1) Like us on Facebook if you haven’t already.
3) Name your favourite Naramata wine in the comment section of this post.
Easy peasy. The winner will be chosen at random this weekend.
See which wineries and restaurants are participating after the leap… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | The new Wild Rice (aka Wild Rice Too) is only a few weeks away from opening. I toured the space at New West’s River Market with owner Andrew Wong yesterday and they’re looking very much on track. The skinny: the garage-door fronted, water-view dining area will seat 52 at square, interchangeable tables and sport a living wall of herbs and greens; the lounge will see a 12 seat bar, 3 couches, 2 armchairs and a host of low-slung coffee tables (a la the original Wild Rice on Pender); the open kitchen will include a line-fronting chef’s table of 8; and the patio – oh, the patio! – will seat about 35. Take a look. There’s clearly still a lot of work to do, but wow…
Get a load of architect Marianne Amodio’s gorgeous vision after the jump… Read more
One of our favourite street food carts, Re-Up BBQ, is opening a brick and mortar location at the brand new River Market in New Westminster early in the new year. Co-owner Lindsay Ferguson gives us the exclusive skinny in three parts:
1. Counter-service BBQ restaurant with a much extended menu compared to our food carts. We’ll have our sandwiches, but also ribs, sides, and eventually biscuits and chicken. We’re not going to be a fancy restaurant, but we want to serve the best BBQ in town. The counter will also be home to a soda stand where we will sell homemade fruit sodas and colas at a higher level than we do at the carts.
2. Deli: We have already started selling our house-smoked bacon and seasonal turkeys. These and other “to-go” items will be available at our service counter.
3. Very visible and interactive prep kitchen where people can see every aspect of the BBQ process (even though its slow). We want our customers to see bacon brining, pork coming out of the smoker, us shredding meat and so on. Within a year, we hope to organize BBQ classes and bacon curing classes held in our kitchen. Read more
Last month we broke the news about the coming of a new Wild Rice, set to open this Fall in New West’s revamped River Market.
The original Wild Rice (seen above) will remain as it ever was, still very pretty and pristine at the gates of Chinatown, while the new Wild Rice will enjoy some 3,600sqft of space in a ready-to-go lot of concrete and glass. Wong aims to fill it with 88 seats (12 at the bar, just like the original), plus another 30 or so on a leafy patio. Wild Rice with a freakin’ patio? Yes.
But there are other differences between the old and the new, too. While the River Market location will be similarly styled as the original with a cozy, modern vibe, the kitchen will be considerably larger and open to view from the dining room. Executive chef Todd Bright will be making the daily commute, and is invested as a partner. The increased size of his kitchen will deliver a menu 20% larger than the original’s. That means we can count on all the modern Chinese goodies that we can currently get at Wild Rice (eg. their kickass Kung Pao), plus a good deal of new and likely interesting dishes that at this point I can only guess at.
We still have to wait until the Fall to give it a whirl. Wong and Bright are aiming for an October opening, but you know how restaurants go. It could very well be Christmas or beyond before we can check it out, though I sincerely hope it’s kept on schedule.
Up until 5 minutes ago it was just a handshake deal and a bunch of plans. Owner Andrew Wong just called with the papers in hand and the ink still wet. It is now very much for real. Stoked!
We’re mighty big fans of Mark Shieh, who is not only our neighbour and co-founder of the awesome School of Chalk, but also the mastermind of Take Root and the upcoming River Market at New Westminster Quay. When we heard that he was going to be on stage at the next Pecha Kucha (Thursday!), we knew it was time to chat…
Three things about Strathcona that make you want to live there: It’s authentic, creative, historic and modern. The remix in Strathcona – of values, classes, and lifestyles – reflects the interesting hybrid culture that we have in Vancouver.
Your company is called Take Root – why? At Take Root, we dig good places. We are passionate about using real estate to do good. By deeply understanding the who and the why, we strive to build in a better, lighter, and more joyous way. Our name is also a playful reference to an exchange with my Buddhism teacher Wangchen Rinpoche. He said to me, “in Tibet we have a saying, ‘if you’re digging for water, commit to a spot and dig.’ You can’t reach water by digging a little bit here and a little bit there.” With this in mind, my then-girlfriend-now-wife Shannon and I decided to return to Vancouver and commit.
Three vital ingredients for a vibrant community: Community is people doing things together. Living next to each other makes us neighbors, but doing things together makes us a community. In this way, community is a verb. My three verbs for a vibrant community: diverge, converge, share and repeat.
What would you like to see more of in Vancouver: A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
What impresses you: Everyday compassion.
Favourite Vancouver bridge: The overpass at the North terminus of Main Street to CRAB Park. Even on a rainy Sunday afternoon, you can see a hauntingly beautiful skyline of our city intersecting with the railroad tracks. Stop by Raya & Nigel’s Alibi Room for a pint on your way back.
Best Vancouver park: McLean Park. With grandparents doing tai chi, hipsters playing soccer, and kids screaming through the water sprays.
One thing you’d like to change about Vancouver: Say more yes! And less no. Yes opens the door to a more imaginative and curious Vancouver. Read more