DINER | Inside Chinatown’s Mamie Taylor’s – Opening This Weekend On East Georgia

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by Andrew Morrison | Local bartenders turned restaurateurs Simon Kaulback (long at Boneta) and Ron Oliver (long at The Diamond) are almost ready to reveal their much anticipated Chinatown eatery and watering hole, Mamie Taylor’s. Today (Tuesday) is D-day for them, as they hope to get their occupancy and liquor permits before the sun sets. Once those ducks are lined up, they’ll be fully into launch mode.

I took a look yesterday while chef Tobias Grignon was readying his open kitchen and the front of house was being hung with all manner of well worn taxidermy. Among the many animals adorning the walls of the 100 seater at 251 East Georgia (across from Phnom Penh) are several bucks, a bobcat (I think), two bears, a wild boar, a raven, and a ring-necked pheasant. I particularly liked the smirking mink that crowns the beer taps. The dead animal motif might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I grew up with the stuff so makes me kind of homesick (my pop was an avid hunter who decorated his farm with such things). The wild kingdom theme continues in the washrooms with painstakingly-applied single target sheets employed as wallpaper, and on the dishes themselves. Sourced from thrift stores and garage sales, each one is different. Picking up a beaten up charger depicting a colourful turkey in a rural scene, Simon jokes, “Yup, we’ve spent the majority of our meagre resources on decorative plates.” Well, it’s probably cheaper than Puddifoot.

As you can see from the shots above and below, they still have a little bit of work to do, but it’s pretty much all cosmetic from here on in. They hope to have a couple of friends and family nights later this week and there’s a very good chance that they’ll open for real this weekend. When they do, we can expect top drawer cocktails (a given with these guys) and American gastropub fare. I’ve seen their dance card, and drooled over the prospect of a veal tongue Monte Cristo; meatballs with dates and bacon; fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and watermelon; whole roasted trout with charred broccoli and Louisiana buerre blanc; and so on. I don’t want to give the whole thing away, but it’s a genuine original with prices ranging from $4 to $20 per dish. I can’t wait to give it a whirl.

I’m also looking forward to seeing my old friend Eryn Collins back in action (she’s actually rather young). She recently returned to Vancouver from lengthy travels in Asia and was hired on the spot. Most will recognize her from her years as Chambar’s patient, charming gatekeeper. We used to work together at the Beach House way back in the day, and I’ve long though she was one of the best in the business. Joining her in the front is James Towler, most recently of La Pentola (previously Cibo and Chambar), among a solid cast of others. Simon and Ron will of course be omnipresent behind the bar, which anchors the room.

Vancouver has been well endowed with a great and long overdue range of interesting vegan and vegetarian eateries of late, and though I love Heirloom, The Parker, The Acorn, The Black Lodge et al to bits, I’m very glad that Mamie Taylor’s is not one of them. Sometimes an omnivore just needs to feel a chicken fried sweetbread dissolve on his fangs over curried gravy and an Old Fashioned chaser.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

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Andrew Morrison is the editor-in-chief of Scout and BC’s Senior Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and TV shows on local food, culture and travel. He live and works in the vibrant Strathcona neighbourhood, where he also collects inexpensive things and enjoys birds, skateboards, whisky, shoes, many songs, and the smell of wood fires.

The Scout List: A Curated Agenda For Discerning Vancouverites

October 13, 2011 

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. From our calendar to yours… Read more

BEYOND CHEDDAR: On The Rouzaire’s Brie-Like “Fougerus” From Ile-de-France

September 12, 2011 

by Joe Chaput | One of the more easily recognized products in our store is the Fougerus; a soft brie-like cheese that is considered part of the Coloummiers family. Robert Rouzaire (of the Fromagerie Rouzaire) originally produced it in the 1960’s for personal use, but its popularity increased over the years to the point that it has become a huge commercial success. While Rouzaire is not a small company by any means, it is nevertheless family-run and independent, and the cheese is the end result of three generations of cheese0making and affinage.

The name Fougerus comes from the word “Fougere” which is French for “fern”. Because the fern frond is added just prior to packaging, it doesn’t impact the flavour, but it does looks pretty on top. While I’m sure it’s edible, I don’t recommend eating it.

Milk is collected daily from 25 farms in Seine & Marne, part of Ile-de-France, which is east and south of Paris. The herd is composed of around 900 Prim Holstein cattle. Natural grazing in summer and winter feeding of farm-produced hay is encouraged. All farmers are members of the Good Production Practices Charter. It takes 6 litres of milk to make one 750 gram wheel of Fougerus. Everything is done by hand, including cutting the curd, ladling the curd into the moulds, turning, flipping, and salting. After production, the cheeses are then ripened in their old underground cellars in Tournan en Brie.

The outside of the cheese has a white bloomy rind, and is distinguished by the sole fern on top. The interior is straw coloured. The pate is firmer when young, and runny when fully ripe. I personally like it when it still has that slight band of chalkiness in the center. Fougerus has earthy, almost vegetal aromas. The flavour is also vegetal, with hints of mushrooms when younger, and leaning towards turnip or cauliflower when riper. You may find it a bit saltier than other brie, with a lingering sharpness on the finish.

Fougerus is $4.50 per 100 grams, and is only sold by the quarter wheel. Enjoy it with a full-bodied chardonnay or pinot noir.

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Joe Chaput is the Cheese Editor of Scout Magazine (because of course we have a Cheese Editor!), the co-proprietor and fromager of East Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon and a Red Seal-certified cook. His by-weekly column – Beyond Cheddar – deals with all things stinky, oozy, sharp, soft, creamy and delicious.

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Another Horrible, Next To Impossible, OMFG Game Of Name That Restaurant (Solved)

Please submit your guesses in the comments. No hints. Why? Because one among you is always geeky enough to know. Good luck!

PS. If you work there, shhh!

On UR Discussing The Loss Of Lumiere, The CCC And The Coming Of Nicli & Stackhouse

I mention in the show that out of 300 or so restaurants that have opened in recent years, only nine have flirted with fine dining and out of that 9, five have either closed or been re-imagined/re-branded. I woke up to some emails asking for names. For the record, these restaurants are Yew (still open), Oru (still open), Market (still open), Voya (closed), Fuel (closed, re-imagined as Refuel), Gastropod (closed, re-imagined as Maenam), Lumiere (soon to close), Rare (closed) and Metro (closed).

Scout List: An Eclectic Agenda For Discerning Vancouverites

February 17, 2011 

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. From our calendar to yours…

If you know of something cool going on in the city and you think we should consider adding it to our list, please send the details to michelle at scoutmagazine dot ca. Read more

On Facebook And The First Look At The New Version Of Scout…

January 16, 2011 

We will be rolling out the new version of Scout this week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday night. If you’d like to see a larger screenshot of the new version, be sure to “LIKE” the site’s brand new Facebook page here. The new look and functionality is the happy consequence of our collaboration with design friends Phoebe and Aren of Glasfurd & Walker (see also the brands for Bao Bei, L’Abattoir, Meat & Bread) and Karen Hamilton of TinyBites. We love the results, and hope you will too (soon). Now back to work!

Field Trip #623: Heading Out To Toronto To Speak At “Terroir IV”

February 28, 2010 

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I’ve just finished watching the closing ceremonies and wiped my upper lip clean of the last of its beer froth. Now it’s time to pack for a red eye flight to Toronto, as I’ve been invited to speak at Terroir IV, the 4th annual hospitality industry symposium, with several other food writers and not a few chefs. My particular contributions, I think, will center on new media and the restaurant trade (ie. blogging, twitter, etc.), but I’m really stoked to be on the panel for the Media In The Kitchen discussion:

We want to be culinary stars. The media establishes what is hot for the consumer and the knock down effect is what makes them patronize our restaurants or indulge in the newest culinary ‘trend’. Do local media have a responsibility to help support our culinary culture? A panel of five top food journalists will help us unravel what stories’ make top press and how we elevate ourselves as a culinary destination.

Moderator: Bonnie Stern

Presenters: Sasha Chapman, Adam Sachs, Mitchell Davis, Corby Kummer, Andrew Morrison, Alan Richman & Gabriella Gershenson.

I’m really excited and honoured to be part of such a line-up. I mean, Alan Richman? Wow. I believe we’re all staying at The Drake, which should be plenty of fun, and it will be awesome to stumble around my old stomping grounds once again. We’ll also be dining out for every meal over the four day trip, so look out for lots of updates on Twitter. If you’re not yet following us, come along and say hi @scoutmagazine.

Scout Photos: Goodbye January We’re So Bummed To See You Go…

February 2, 2010 

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Michael Eckford photobombs competing barman Geoff Robinson (who would ultimately win) at the Inniskillin icewine cocktail competition held at The Diamond on January 18th

It’s been a good and interesting month. It began with my friend Nathan, notorious dog gobbler and sous chef at Lumiere, inviting my wife and I to dine at the Relais Gourmand restaurant. Not since a lunch with the CCC folks at West a couple of months ago had I done a fine dining, multi-course affair with paired wines and petit fours or felt compelled to don a jacket while in a restaurant, so this was something of a special occasion. For certain, I’d been on a tear reviewing inexpensive restaurants for the newspaper, and felt like I’d paid enough dues in poutine, ramen, and burgers to warrant a little foray back into the world of refined excess. I don’t mean to say that I had deserved or earned it, but rather that I supped and drank heartily and naturally in good conscience. Read more

Scout Photos: Goodbye August, We’re So Bummed To See You Go…

September 3, 2009 

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From Scout’s bad to marginally alright cameras comes a variety of shots taken during the month of August… Read more

The Scout List: “OH MY GOD The Summer Is Almost Gone” Edition

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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 list of super sweet things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. From our calendar to yours… Read more

Scout Photos: ByeBye July, You Were Twice As Awesome As June

August 3, 2009 

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From Scout’s bad to marginally alright cameras comes a variety of shots taken during the month of July… Read more

Commune Cafe

October 5, 2008 

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Details

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1002 Seymour St. Vancouver, BC, V6B 3M6
Telephone: 604-681-2551
Email: info@communecafe.ca
Web: www.communecafe.ca
Twitter | Facebook
7 days | breakfast | lunch | dinner

Gallery

About Commune Cafe

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Commune Cafe is a fully licensed restaurant located on the corner of Seymour and Nelson, in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Commune Cafe with a cosmopolitan attitude is the downtown destination for great food and craft beer enthusiasts.

Commune Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and is proud to offer natural free-range meats, eggs and sustainable locally-sourced product.

Designed by the award-winning design firm Evoke International, Commune Cafe features contemporary décor that includes 26 seats inside (including a large communal table) and another 24 on a beautiful street-side patio. The design utilizes light woods, recycled felt upholstery, cork pendants, custom wood tables and bright red chairs to create a bright, contemporary and inclusive room.

Reviews

The Commune Cafe finds a niche filling neglected gap in Vancouver’s restaurant scene – Mia Stainsby, Vancouver Sun

Nothing fancy, but plenty good – Andrew Morrision, Westender

“Welcome new addition to the lunchtime scene” – Joan Cheng, Metro News

“Hip Commune” – Vitamin Daily

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Ensemble

October 5, 2008 

Details

850 Thurlow St., Vancouver, BC | V6E 1W2
Telephone: 604.569.1770 | Fax: 604.569.1786
Email: info@ensemblerestaurant.com
Web: www.ensemblerestaurant.com | Twitter

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The People

Chef/Owner: Dale Mackay
Sous Chef: Bradley Hendrickson
General Manager: Kevin Van Hullebush
Bar Manager: Christopher Cho

About The Food

ensemble is an entirely new and exciting dining concept for Vancouver, and for award-winning Executive Chef Dale MacKay. Combining the classic French techniques and precision execution that earned Dale his Five Diamond reputation, with the casual, cosmopolitan vibe of Vancouver – ensemble promises an extraordinary culinary experience in a fun and approachable environment.

‘We are combining classic French techniques with modern influences and flavour profiles from around the world – promising a large menu and wide variety of tastes and textures in generous tasting size dishes, affordably priced from $8 to $24.” – Executive Chef Dale MacKay

About The Room

At the recessed corner of Smith and Thurlow, where Vancouver’s hippest shopping street meets its original city neighborhood, ensemble sits wrapped in floor to ceiling windows on culinary adventure.

ensemble’s interior design mirrors Chef MacKay’s fresh, clean and modern culinary vision. An open concept space features an elevated cocktail bar/lounge with 30 comfortable seats and plenty of standing room for busy times like date nights, game nights and live music weekends.

The 80 seat dining room, separate from but flowing seamlessly into the lounge area, is at once intimate and social – what Dale describes as a reflection of Vancouver’s contemporary dining scene. Signature plexi lamps over the sleek black glass-fronted bar, a glacial glass wall sculpture conceived by interior designer Rob Blaney, and ethereal organic art by local artist Mandy Tsung, highlight the space.

Looking up at the bar from the dining floor, the feeling is dark, warm and tufted, punctuated by soft bounces of light from the coolest feature lamps in the city. The bar is long and deep, set with upholstered stool of generous proportions – by design the perfect eat-at, stay-a-while, watch-the-game kind of arrangement.

Looking down, the articulated palette of glass and chalk grey walls garnished with colour is authentic, modern and sexy – foreshadowing Chef MacKay’s culinary style and the dining experience ahead.

Reserve a space now, or drop in next time you are just off Robson. Street parking is plentiful.