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.
The GOODS from Market by Jean-Georges
Vancouver, BC | MARKET by Jean-Georges is embracing the recent changes to B.C.’s liquor legislation with the introduction of ‘Rush Hour’ featuring a tantalizing menu of daily appetizer and cocktail specials. ‘Rush Hour’ will be kicking off on August 7 and will be available throughout the year between 4:00 and 6:00 pm in the MARKET bar and outdoor terrace. The first round of specials will offer the following:
Monday – Vodka and Gin Martini $7, ?Chicken Wings, Black Pepper Glaze $10
Tuesday – Ginger Margarita $7, Crispy Short Rib Taco with Chipotle Mayo and Lime $8
Wednesday – ? Rosé $7, Popcorn Shrimp with Ranch and Herbs $10
Thursday – Grapefruit Gimlet $7, Chef’s Pizza Creation $10
Friday – Hugo $7, MARKET Root Chips & Dip served with housemade Ranch and Sriracha Dip $5
A favourite hangout for locals and visitors alike, the alluring MARKET bar features high-polished recycled aluminum high-top chairs, Asian-inspired banquettes, white-marble cocktail tables and olive leather and dark wood chairs. The spacious outdoor terrace is an oasis overlooking the bustling city below, and the perfect place to end a busy day. Read more
by Grady Mitchell | On his long walks through the city and frequent trips around the coast, photographer Andy Grellmann is gradually piecing together a visual survey of Vancouver and the region around it. His work is divided into albums dedicated to the various neighbourhoods within the city and the islands beyond it, each one like a photographic map.
Although always a visual kid, he didn’t discover photography until university, when he bought his first digital camera. Soon he experimented with film and found that medium format cameras better fit his developing style of mindful, quiet image making – the act of looking down into a viewfinder and slowly composing a picture suited his meditative approach.
It’s tough, he says, to name exactly what it is about a given scene that compels him to stop and make a picture. “It can have light, form, shape, composition, whatever.” He says. “If everything else is there but the content isn’t there, then I won’t take the picture.” Those other elements should not be the focus of the image, he says, but should instead serve that central idea. The essential “content” can take almost any form. “If what I’m feeling inside is projected back at me, then I’ll take a picture of it,” he says. Although he’s always shot this way, he’s only recently begun to contemplate the way he works.
Much of Andy’s work is still life or landscape, people seldom appear in his images. When they do, they rarely face the camera: most seem unaware that they’re being photographed at all, and those that do know are usually turned away, their eyes diverted from the viewer. Recently, however, he’s ventured into portraiture, inspired especially by August Sander, a photographer known for his highly-orchestrated portraits of pre-WWII Germans.
Back when Sander was shooting, having your portrait made was a rare event. These days, you can do it yourself in a smudged bathroom mirror in ten seconds flat. So what’s the value of a single image in a world so over-saturated with them? It’s an even more challenging question for someone like Andy, whose work doesn’t rely on flashy spectacle, but instead documents quiet, everyday moments. In a world so packed with imagery, it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect viewers to slow down and study each one. But for those that are willing to do so, the work of photographers like Andy offers rewards.
One of Andy’s most beautiful series is entitled Detache. It’s an assortment of small, enticing details: a pile of books, the luminescent glow of cracked eggshells, a drape wound around a bedpost. “Detachment” speaks to Andy’s role as someone removed from the action, a keen observer rather than direct participant. But in a greater sense it also describes the style of all his photographs in any of his series. In music, a detache is a quick, light stroke on the violin. In essence, a light touch. These little moments are, to Andy, the harvest of the small but profound act he pursues every day of “noticing poetry in your surroundings.”
The GOODS from Mamie Taylor’s
Vancouver, BC | It’s been a year since Mamie Taylor’s opened its doors in Chinatown. As a thank you to the friends and neighbours who have helped to put the regional American restaurant on the city’s dining map, owners Ron Oliver and Simon Kaulback will be hosting a Southern-themed BBQ Birthday Bash on Sunday, August 10 from 5 pm until late.
Guests are invited to the Mamie Taylor’s lounge to tuck into Chef Tobias Grignon’s complimentary, buffet-style Southern pig roast with all the not-so-traditional fixins’, while it lasts. In addition, Mamie’s will be pouring drink specials all evening with $3 draft, wine and well specials and $5 Mamie Taylor cocktails.
The dining room will remain open for regular evening service from 5pm to 12am. Take a gander at the Southern BBQ Birthday Bash Buffet Menu after the jump… Read more
You, Scout reader, have good taste. We’ve always known this, and we mean to take advantage of it. 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. We’ve done the initial curatorial leg-work of narrowing down the options to a shortlist, but we need you to finish the job.
What’s your favourite escape on the North Shore? Is it Dundarave Beach, Lighthouse Park, Grouse Mountain, Whytecliff Park, Capilano River Regional Park, or the Maplewood Conservation Area?
VOTE for your pick (and see results) on our North Shore page.
Which restaurant serves up the best burger in all of Vancouver? Is it Hawksworth, Mamie Taylor’s, Cannibal Cafe, Pourhouse, Oakwood, or Campagnolo Upstairs?
Which Yaletown eatery offers the best patio experience? Is it Blue Water Cafe, Minami, Cioppino’s, Brix, GoodWolfe, or the Homer St. Cafe?
VOTE for your pick (and view results) on our Yaletown page.
What’s your favourite place for a beer on the DTES? Is it The Astoria, The Patricia, Alibi Room, No. 5 Orange, Bitter Tasting Room, or Dunlevy Snackbar?
VOTE for your pick (and see results) on our DTES page.
Your favourite dish in Hastings-Sunrise? Is it the Fundido Tater Tots at Tacofino, the Reuben sandwich at Red Wagon, the Spaghetti Carbonara at Campagnolo Roma, the Mujadarrah at Tamam, the Laksa at Laksa King, or the Patty Melt at The Slocan?
VOTE for your pick (and see results) on our Hastings-Sunrise page.
The GOODS from Fort Berens Winery
| Saturday marked a momentous day for Lillooet’s Fort Berens Estate Winery. The dry, hot sun shone brightly in Lillooet as Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon presented Fort Berens the prestigious 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines for their 2012 Estate Riesling.
In addition to the Lieutenant Governor, there were close to 40 members of the Vancouver Consul Corps, local dignitaries including Mark Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, Jacquie Rasmussen, Electoral Area B Alternate Director, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, Lillooet Mayor and Councillors Dennis Bontron, Marg Lampman and Wendy Parker, media, staff and local residents in attendance at the awards presentation.
The Fort Berens team and a crowd of steadfast supporters all choked back feelings of pride and gratitude as Her Honour presented the award. Rolf de Bruin and Heleen Pannekoek, founders of Fort Berens, accepted the award on behalf of the entire team. Rolf first expressed his heartfelt appreciation for this recognition. “One hundred and fifty years ago, early pioneers came to Lillooet to realize their dreams, and with this award, today we realize one of our own dreams. As we look into the future, we see a landscape with the potential to help achieve many more dreams.”
Heleen continued, “Today we are celebrating a Riesling made exclusively with grapes grown in Lillooet. A Riesling deemed to be among the best wines in British Columbia. The viability of grapes in Lillooet was a key milestone, and this marks a new milestone that proves grapes from Lillooet can be of exceptional quality. We are thrilled to be a part of this growing wine region and we are excited to explore all that this region will produce in the coming years.”
The awards ceremony took place outside on the deck of the gorgeous, new winery that opened up earlier this month. Talk about a special way to commemorate the opening! “We have come a long way, and today’s milestone is another important marker on our journey that still has many exciting times to come,” Heleen explained. At the end of the day, Rolf, Heleen and the team raised a glass to celebrate this milestone. It was a very special day where special memories were created for the Fort Berens team. Read more
by Shaun Layton | This is the third in a series of posts on building a home bar, five bottles and one drink at a time. The brands I choose aren’t necessarily the best in their respective categories. I’m just trying to use unique, readily available and cost efficient bottles for readers to help you get started. I’ve listed bottles 11-15 below (see also 1-5 and 6-10). As your own home bar comes together, please share thoughts or photos, or ask any questions you like via @shaunlayton.
11. Sietes Misterios “Doba Yej” Mezcal – As mezcals can get very expensive, this is a cheaper ($56.00) copper pot still option. It’s great for cocktails, as one doesn’t necessarily need to use more than an ounce in a drink. Try it in a Last Word cocktail (gin, green chartreuse, maraschino, lime) replacing the gin with mezcal. Incredible!
12. B.G. Reynolds Falernum syrup – A fantastic mix of ginger, clove, almond, and lime that can be used for all sorts of tiki and tropical cocktails. These syrups are high fructose and preservative free, and are made by cocktail enthusiast Blair Reynolds from Portland, Oregon. Available at The Modern Bartender or Legacy Liquor store.
13. Havana Club 3 yr – A Cuban rum ideal for summer time cocktails such as the classic Daiquiri, or the Mojito. One of the best bang for your buck spirits on the market, available everywhere for $25.99. It makes for a great gift for American friends, but it’s contraband so be careful!
14. Aperol – Made by the Campari family, this is an Italian amaro that is more on the light and sweet side than most other amari. Think of it as Campari’s younger, hotter, sister. Flavours like rhubarb and strawberry predominate. This beauty is best in refresher such as the famous Italian aperitivo hour tipple, the Aperol Spritz. Available everywhere.
15. Cocchi Americano – A fortified wine made from Moscato di Asti. The Cadillac of its category, Cocchi is the closest thing to Kina Lillet, a now defunct aperitif used in a lot of classic cocktail recipes such as the Vesper and Corpse Reviver. Also great on its own in short glass filled with ice and a splash of soda and a slice of orange. You can find it at specialty liquor stores or quality cocktail bars.
WEST END SPRITZ
A cocktail of mine (pictured bottom-right) inspired by the classic Aperol Spritz
30 ml Aperol
30 ml Cocchi Americno
10 ml Sietes Misterios mezcal
90 ml sparkling wine
Add ingredients in order to an ice filled wine or collins glass. Briefly stir and add a slice of ruby red grapefruit for garnish.
Shaun Layton has helped to maintain a top notch bar scene in Vancouver for ten years, and since day one at Gastown’s L’Abattoir, where he is the Bar Manager. He also runs his own consulting company, designing bar programs and training staff locally and as far away as St.John’s, NFLD. Layton has competed and travelled throughout the USA and Europe, touring distilleries, breweries and bars. He was recognized in 2012 as the Bartender of The Year by Vancouver Magazine.
The GOODS from Parallel 49 Brewing Company
Vancouver, BC | Parallel 49 Brewing Company is set to get down and dirty this August with the release of its Filthy Dirty IPA. Brewed with a very cheeky “filthy” amount of hops, this West Coast IPA combines fruity and tropical hop characters for a refreshingly distinguishable beer. Featuring an intensely aromatic hop profile that West Coast IPAs have become known for the Filthy Dirty IPA is brewed with Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, and Anthem hops as well as Pale, Crystal, and Carapils malts. Despite its hefty hop flavours, the beer is nothing but clean on the palette thanks to lighter notes of citrus and pine. “West Coast IPAs proudly feature hops and the Filthy Dirty IPA is no different,” said Parallel 49 Brewmaster Graham With, “By utilizing more fruity and tropical hop characters, we’ve created a beer that tastes bold, refreshing, and clean.” Read more
by Sean Orr | I apologise for my lack of posts last week. God forbid you had to read The Province all by yourself! My computer shut down on the same day as the Great Skytrain Crash of 2014. It turns out my little Macbook was also running the entire SkyTrain system. No wonder it was so slow!
I demand answers. I just don’t want to pay for them: TransLink to pay independent expert $1,200 a day to review SkyTrain outages. Apparently $1,200 gets you such Orwellian tidbits as: “We’re going to start to communicate out as you would in any travel what plans you need to make”. What?
Imagine being “put out on the street”? Oppenheimer park protest puts Powell Street Festival out on the street. Actually, if you bothered to ask the festival organizers, they voluntarily pulled out of the park in solidarity with the protesters. Gee, way to be bad at being a newspaper.
“We should get first dibs” – actual quote from an actual adult. Vancouver House tower makes enemies before it’s built by targeting Asian buyers. Wow, people hate when they’re not marketed to? “Vancouver House’s star architect, Bjarke Ingels, suggests the building is symbolic of ‘a giant curtain, at the moment of being pulled back to reveal the world to Vancouver and Vancouver to the world”. And behind that curtain? A xenophobic wizard named Oz who artificially inflates home-prices at will, forcing our little Dorothy of a fishing village to grow up beyond recognition. Click your heels Vancouver, because there’s no place like home.
But we will take your workers: BC and China sign MOU to allow foreign workers to expand LNG industry. Best comment: “What the hell did our grandparents and great grandparents fight WW2 for? I thought it was a war against communism?” Fascism, buddy. You mean fascism.
I hate it when they do that: Someone at the Fraser Institute accidentally blurted out a good idea. “Environmental and social benefits? Looking beyond narrow financial perspectives? Perish the thought!”
NHL: Climate change is going to cause serious problems for hockey. You know we’re in trouble when our sports leagues care more about the environment than our governments.
Taking sides: B.C. can be counted as a friend of Israel, says Premier Christy Clark. I’d say this was shocking but, you know, white settler colonialism and whatnot. I mean, it’s not like she cares what British Columbians think. To heck with us, right?
— Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc) July 27, 2014
Nanny State alert: Call for physical barriers on the sea wall.
How does B.C.’s newly updated draft beer price minimum stack up against the rest of Canada? Spoiler alert: not so good.
Honour Bound: Survivors Totem Pole.
by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!
BEACH | We’re half way through summer already, so it’s time to get serious about checking things off the season’s ‘To Do’ list. If you haven’t packed up and spent a full day at the beach yet, now is the time. Try English Bay, Kits, Wreck or Whytecliff. Pull together a picnic lunch or dinner and dig in for the long haul. Second or Third Beach on a Tuesday can keep you entertained well into the evening with its drum circle beach party and fresh air cinema (Mean Girls plays tonight– Tuesday, July 29), so get out there and build some memories to cling to this winter.
PRIDE | Pride hits Vancouver this weekend, and you’ll be able to feel the positive energy spreading beyond the West End. As always, the big ticket event is the parade, which starts at noon this Sunday and travels along Robson street to Denman, down Denman to Beach Ave., ending at Sunset Beach, where a proper pride party takes place. For all the juicy bits (dance parties, beer gardens, outdoor markets and live entrainment) leading up to the main event and the full scoop on parade details – skip over to the Pride site here. This deal attracts an easy 650,000 people, so keep that in mind. Leave the car at home and take lots of good, respectful energy with you.
Sun, Aug. 3 | noon to 6pm | The West End | Free | DETAILS
EAT | Summertime is so great for easy and ample access to local produce, so hit a farmers market this week and support the people who grow good food. It’s a good move in every direction. For a mid-week market, head over to the corner of 8th and Vine on Thursday. Expect fresh local fruits and veggies as well as baked goods, vegan treats, preserves and more.
Thursdays until September 25 | 3-7pm | Corner of West 8th @ Vine
POP UP | A collection of cool Vancouver-based businesses are bringing their products together in a West End pop-up that marries hip tea house with surf shack. Oollo Tea, Lemonni (simple, modern textiles), and Forest & Waves (textiles and prints) are using the space at Production Road (990 Nicola, right next door to Greenhorn Cafe) to showcase some of their collective brilliance. You’ll find fancy fanny packs (really, Forest & Waves managed to make a good version), tea and tea-infused chocolates and candies, fresh and happy tea towels and textiles, pillows, and cards. The opening night party goes down the evening of Saturday, August 2nd.
Aug 1 – Sept 14 | Fri-Sun 11am-10pm, Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm | 990 Nicola | DETAILS
FORAGE | Local blackberries are moving into the good-for-picking zone right now. Find yourself a thicket and get picking. Try the borders of a quiet strip of defunct Canadian Pacific Railway tracks (always a good source). UBC Farm is also a solid place to fill your bucket. Sure, these berries will cost you (a nominal recommended donation of $2 per bucket), but they’re also free of car exhaust and other pollutants. Vancouver blackberries are the best; perfect for smoothies, crumbles, jams, or syrups for summer cocktails.
SHOW BOAT | And now for something completely different: the Kits Show Boat. Take a seat on the bleachers and enjoy the view as you listen to a variety of musical acts. This Friday (August 1st) Vancouver Dorfmusik plays, because when was the last time you sat down to enjoy some live Swiss “village” band tunes? They’re followed by Hawaiian Wailele Wai Wai, so it’s a double win! And then on Saturday, the ‘atmospheric indie funk rock’ band Pentons Alley get busy. Expect a crowd, however, as the Celebration of Light takes place on the same night.
Now until Aug 16 | 7 pm | 2300 Cornwall at Kitsilano Beach | DETAILS
FESTIVAL | The Powell Street Festival goes down this weekend. This annual celebration of Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage that usually takes place in and around Oppenheimer Park is relocating due to protests against homelessness in the park. You’ll find the main stage on Alexander St. between Princess and Dunlevy, with festivities taking place in the surrounding four blocks of Japantown. The fantastic community festival features dance, music, martial arts demos, craft vendors, traditional Japanese food and a freakin’ sumo tournament. This is 38th year that the Festival has been going on. In that time, it has grown from a small community event to a full-blown arts and culture festival attracting thousands of visitors. Our photos from last year are here.
Fri, Aug 1 – Sun, Aug 3 | 11:30am – 7pm | Japantown | Free | DETAILS
FIREWORKS | Keep in mind that the Celebration of Light fireworks takes place on Saturday. Japan will light up the skies in the last of the series of pyrotechnic displays for the 2014 event. Plan accordingly, which is to say don’t try to drive through the West End while this is going down!
Sat, August 2 | 10pm | English Bay | Free | DETAILS
HARMONY ARTS | The quaint seaside village of West Vancouver launches its annual 10 day arts and culture festival this weekend. Scoot over the bridge for a cold lemonade and a wander through the craft market showcasing loads of one-of-a-kind pottery, jewellery, textiles, woodwork and glass designs all made by locals. Hang around after the sun goes down for outdoor movies and concerts. The Harmony Arts Festival starts on Thursday and runs until August 10th.
August 1-10 | Ambleside, West Van | Free | DETAILS
LUMBERJACK LOVE | Squamish Days and the awesome Loggers Sports Festival kicks off with the 1st Annual Loggers Sports Beard Pageant on Thursday followed by the Campfire Showdown (teams of two race to build a fire that can successfully boil a can of water). Friday sees bed racing, chair carving and the Cleveland Avenue Street Party. On Saturday there will be axe throwing, tree topping and something called the Loggers Stomp Dance, because hell yeah! On Sunday there will be pancakes and a parade. And on Monday there will be a community picnic. Man, Lumberjacks know how to throw a party! Stoked.
July 31 – August 4| All over Squamish | DETAILS
Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy (but faithful) camera.
The GOODS from Chambar
Vancouver, BC | The award-winning Chambar restaurant is looking to add one more line cook to its team before opening in the new Beatty St. location (next door to the original). All interested parties with experience should contact Sous Chef Alex Ploughman with their resumes in confidence via alex [at] chambar.com. Learn more about the new location here. Read more
by Joey Armstrong | Matchstick Coffee Roasters recently held a free public coffee tasting of Tim Wendelboe coffees at their Chinatown location. Since Wendelboe is from Oslo, it’s a rare thing for the beans to make a Vancouver appearance, so members of the local coffee trade – who usually only get together in competitive settings - were invited to partake.
If you’ve never been to a “cupping” before, it’s similar to a wine tasting. There are stations set up for people to smell the freshly ground beans. Then hot water is poured in and you wait. After that you break the crust of the coffee with a spoon and take in the aroma. Once the coffee is cool enough, you go around slurping spoonfuls. You swallow the coffee or spit it out in a cup, rinse the spoon in a cup of hot water, and repeat until you feel you’ve gotten the full measure of the bean. Esoteric fun. It was nice to see the crowd gather in a relaxed setting and nerd out. Oh, and there was beer flowing, with proceeds going to improve worker housing at the El Diamante farm in Guatemala.
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s Bambudda restaurant is now serving up a special five course family-style menu featuring their signature dishes Sunday through Thursday evenings. At $29 per person, options will include bbq duck buns, chicken skins, nectarine salad, mushroom dumplings, and beef and broccoli. Expect a new summer cocktail list to debut during the 1st week of August. Learn more about Bambudda after the jump… Read more