SEEN IN VANCOUVER #514 | Staff Tasting At Highly Anticipated (Imminent) Gyoza Bar

September 3, 2014 

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by Andrew Morrison | The highly anticipated Gyoza Bar – a new 80 seater at 622 West Pender St. – is set to open for its first service this Saturday. The restaurant, which comes to us via Seigo Nakamura (owner of Miku and Minami), underwent staff training/tasting last night and is headed for a “friends and family” dry run this evening.

I took a look inside last night as the staff were eating their way through the menu. There was a great energy in the space with all the opening hires getting to know one another over a shared, educational supper as GM Nicola Turner and corporate chef Kazuya Matsuoka guiding their chopsticks.

It’s an awesome-looking menu, and the few bites I managed made an impact. When you eventually go for the first time, set aside your gyoza cravings for a moment and aim for the chicken shio ramen. The broth is like an umami sauna, plus they sous vide the meat so it’s wicked tender. Bonus: the noodles,  prepped in house, are insanely good.

Check out the menus in the images below and let the drooling commence. You have until Saturday…

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #513 | A Look Inside The (Almost Finished) “Red Truck Brewery”

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by Chuck Hallett & Andrew Morrison | There’s a reason breweries are located in industrial districts. Brewing beer is, at its heart, a result of light industry. It’s a chemical manufacturing process what converts a standard set of input ingredients (barley, hops, yeast and water) into an end product. It differs from producing wood pulp only slightly, and most of that is because the end product is that magical elixir we call beer.

Smaller breweries often play down the technical aspects of beer production simply because they can. Polished concrete countertops and wood-panelled tasting rooms are sexier than the industrial patchwork of tanks, pipes and coolant they conceal.

Once you bust past a certain size, though, the process of actually making beer takes centre stage, as well it should. This is the case with Mount Pleasant’s newest craft brewery: Red Truck. The company has expanded out of their 3,600 hectolitre micro-brewery on the North Shore and into a 40,000sf, 25,000hl facility directly on the spot where the old Brewery Creek emptied into the now-filled False Creek Flats. The added capacity is already allowing them to crank out a steady stream of packaged lager, IPA and pale ale, along with (soon) the odd limited bomber release of something more interesting.

This is a cavernous warehouse of a brewery, with a forest of gleaming 2 storey tall fermenters dotting the snazzily tiled floor. Piping interconnects and steel cat walks criss cross left and right, and a control station on a 2nd floor outcrop monitors the whole operation like it’s some sort of fermentation DJ booth.

Capping off the whole operation is a fully restored vintage red delivery truck, which is suspended from cables above the heads of the workers below. Waxing and washing it is a task that will presumably fall to the interns.

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Still to come on the sunny south-side of the building is a retail kiosk and growler station, plus the highly anticipated 70 seat old school Red Truck Stop diner, which will serve burgers, hot dogs, wings, liquor and plenty of booze in addition to beer. Bonus: a sun-drenched 40 sat patio — a feature not allowed under the more popular Brewery Lounge license.

The numbers above might seem huge but in reality they really aren’t. The 60hl brewhouse is the next logical step for a growing craft brewery, and a 25,000hl/year production target doesn’t even crack the top five list for BC. For comparison, Deschutes Brewing in Oregon’s annual production is just about 750,000hl, proving it is possible to make delicious beer in large quantities.

As mentioned up top and made evident in the images below, the brewery is already making beer. They’ve had their state of the art bottling and packaging line whirring, plus the machine that goes bing has gone bing. There’s not that much left on site to do save for cladding the building’s exterior, finishing/furnishing some of the offices and conference rooms (installing AV, etc), and giving the whole thing a good once over with a broom and a hose.

It’s more complicated than that, of course, but you get the point. They’re close. Hours aren’t yet set in stone, but 10am to 10pm might be right. We’re crossing our fingers for it to be part of our lives by Christmas or New Years.

* Correction: the draft published yesterday stated that Red Truck was owned by the Mark James Group. This was incorrect and we apologise for the error.

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #513 | Gastown’s “Nelson The Seagull” Lands Sidewalk Patio

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Pay a visit to Nelson The Seagull in Gastown today. They’ve just scored their patio license, as evidenced by the shot above, which we’ve reposted from their Instagram feed. (“Better late than never,” reads the caption. Indeed!) Below you’ll find a couple dozen shots from the days when they were just starting out back in May, 2011.

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #512 | First Look (And Taste) Inside The New “Cafe Medina”

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With the highly anticipated opening of the new Cafe Medina set for this Tuesday at 780 Richards Street, the restaurant’s kitchen crew and front of house team took Saturday to get in some practice with friends and family. The special “dry run” service saw delivery of chef Jonathan Chovancek’s new menu and our first look at the new interior by designer Brian Kane. Take a look below…

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #511 | Matching Fred Herzog’s Iconic Photographs To The Present

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by Andrew Morrison | As a summer project, my eldest son James and I have been walking around the city with a copy of Fred Herzog Photographs (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011) and trying to shoot the exact locations where the master framed up his most iconic shots. It’s a book that we both love because a lot of the pictures were taken really close to our house in Strathcona and all around the Downtown Eastside. Because of our familiarity with the territory, most of the locations have been easy to pick out. Others are proving far more difficult because much of what was once there is no more. Truly, working on this has really brought home how dramatic the changes to this city have been over the last 50-60 years. And yet, in some places, it’s uncanny how it has remained largely the same. There’s plenty of summer left and a lot more Herzog haunts to explore, so expect the gallery below – complete with higher resolution side-by-sides and descriptive captions – to expand.

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #510 | Through The Viewfinder Of Photographer Andy Grellman

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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.”

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #509 | Geeking Out On Rare Coffees At Chinatown’s Matchstick

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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.

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #508 | Cunningham Vs Sylla; Previewing The Restaurant Rumble

The third episode of the Aprons For Gloves’ Restaurant Rumble preview series just landed on our desk. It sets up the Middleweight Title showdown between Max Cunnigham (Partner, Joe’s Apartment) and Yacine Sylla (Bartender, Chambar). The fights take place in Gastown on July 23rd. Click here for details and to score tickets to the Livestream parties.

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #507 | Previewing The Restaurant Rumble (Fraske v. Chromik)

The second episode of their Aprons For Gloves’ Restaurant Rumble preview series has dropped. It sets up the anticipated showdown between Sarah Faske and Andrea Chromik. The fights take place in Gastown on July 23rd. Click here for details and to score tickets to the Livestream parties.

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SEEN IN VANCOUVER #506 | “Snack City” Neighbourhood Shop Opening In Chinatown

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by Andrew Morrison | Dormant 441 Gore Street in Chinatown is about to get its first tenant in many years. The space, which used to house a Chinese grocery way back in the day, will become “Snack City” at the end of the month, a 1,000 sqft victualling station offering everything from smokes, candy, organic produce, coffee, and Cartem’s Donuts to locally made jewelry, ceramics, art books, and vintage porn zines. It’s coming to the neighbourhood courtesy of Celia Hamilton, who has a background in film industry catering, and Aisha Davidson, lately of Community Thrift & Vintage. Though the interior still has a ways to go before it’s ready, it’s clearly a neat little box of potential. Take a look at some photos after the jump… Read more

DINER | Behind The Scenes At “L’Abattoir” From Its Construction Dust To Opening Day

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It was four years ago today that Lee Cooper, Paul Grunberg, and Nin Rai opened their critically acclaimed Gastown eatery L’Abattoir at 217 Carrall Street (the original Irish Heather location). Take a look below for behind the scenes images taken during construction, training, and on opening day…

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #505 | Scenes From The ‘Khatsahlano Street Party’ On West 4th

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photos by Luis Valdizon | The sweltering Khatsahlano Street Party went down over the weekend along West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano with dozens of food trucks, 50 bands, 100+ participating merchants and vendors, and over 100,000 attendees. Shots after the jump… Read more

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #504 | A Cool Thing Happened Five Years Ago Today In Gastown

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On July 9th, 2009, the restaurant community in Gastown was significantly smaller than it is now, but the amount of good will and camaraderie within was very high. To wit, during the construction of Pourhouse – five years ago today – young restaurant owners and staff from across the DTES gathered in the mess of the construction site to put the bar in place, together, and anoint it in ceremony as a family. We were lucky enough to catch it on video (above)… Read more

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #503 | “The Acorn” Celebrates Two Impactful Years On Main St.

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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.

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OPENING NIGHT

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