DIG IT | A Last Look At UBC’s 60 Year Old “Empire Pool” Before Its Total Destruction

October 23, 2014 


by Stevie Wilson | Though it doesn’t quite fit into the traditional concept of what a “heritage” structure should look like, UBC’s Empire Pool has been a fixture of the campus landscape for 60 years. The 50-meter long outdoor pool was built for the British Empire & Commonwealth Games in 1954, and has since hosted numerous men’s and women’s swimming and diving events that have drawn large crowds from across the city. Architects Sharp & Thompson, Berwick, Pratt (including Frederic Lasserre and F.W. Urry) not only designed the pool but also the adjacent Warm Memorial Gymnasium, which opened in 1951. The firm had previously been selected as the official University architects by an international competition in 1912. 

Sadly, the 60th anniversary of the Games also marked the end for Empire Pool. Though popular with students, athletes, and the general public, the facility was permanently closed early this year due to a filtration/mechanical failure. All is not lost, however, as the historical record is loaded (particularly with photos), and a brand-new $38.5-million Aquatic Centre is poised to replace both the outdoor lanes and the adjacent 1978 indoor centre by 2016.


GOODS | “Thomas Haas” Preps For A Busy Winter With Big Range Of Christmas Treats

October 16, 2014 

Two locations: Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver & 2539 West Broadway in Kitsilano | www.thomashaas.com

Two locations: Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver & 2539 West Broadway in Kitsilano | www.thomashaas.com

The GOODS from Thomas Haas

Vancouver, BC | With the holiday season just around the corner, Thomas Haas Chocolates & Pâtisserie is set to mark the occasion by unveiling new holiday-themed signature confections, festive gift boxes and sweet stocking stuffers.

This year, Thomas Haas has added several new items to his seasonal lineup including Tannenbaum, a delectable handcrafted chocolate tree filled with caramelized chocolate-coated nuts and decorated with truffles; Holiday Marshmallows, available in Tahitian Vanilla, Cinnamon, Peppermint and Red Berry varieties; and Holiday Bark, a tree-shaped 79% dark chocolate bark decorated with seasonal dried fruits and caramelized nuts.

Thomas Haas is also once again offering his ever-popular Christmas Stollen — a deliciously moist German Christmas cake made from wholesome almonds, rum-soaked golden raisins and freshly zested oranges — and is taking preorders for his Bûche de Noël (Yule Log), available for pickup on December 23 and 24 only. The full range of seasonal Christmas specialties at Thomas Haas can be found after the jump… Read more

VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #241 | We Thought Earls Was Opening In Gastown


(via) A cruel prankster in a quiet, family-oriented San Francisco neighbourhood recently put up a very convincing but entirely fake liquor license application notice on a shuttered business frontage indicating that the space was slated to become a Hooters.

Naturally, such a development would cause no small amount of consternation among the locals, which got us thinking that it might be a cruel but effective way to desensitize Vancouver’s worst NIMBYs to the threat of anything new or different.

Imagine the outrage if notices went up declaring the imminence of a needle exchange in Shaughnessey, a Prada flagship store on the DTES, a Whole Foods on Commercial Drive, or an Earls restaurant overlooking Gassy Jack Square in Gastown.

Granted, none of the above is an appropriate fit, but that’s the idea. Once people were let in on the farce(s), real conversations might replace the usual knee-jerk fury, self-righteousness and Gollum-like possessive psychosis that is the NIMBY norm in Vancouver’s neighbourhoods (for richer or poorer), and the prospect of future change could be examined more rationally with raised eyebrows instead of pitchforks.


GOODS | South Granville’s “West” Serving Special Thanksgiving Supper All Weekend

October 10, 2014 

West is located at 2881 Granville St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-738-8938 | www.westrestaurant.com

West Restaurant is located at 2881 Granville St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-738-8938 | www.westrestaurant.com

The GOODS from West Restaurant

Vancouver, BC | From Friday, October 10th to Monday, October 13th, delight your friends and family with traditional holiday flavours with a contemporary twist as Executive Chef Quang Dang presents an exclusive seven-course Thanksgiving Tasting Menu. With suggested festive wine pairings carefully selected by Wine Director Owen Knowlton, it will truly be an occasion to remember as we celebrate the change of seasons. Details and menu after the jump… Read more

GOODS | New Fall-Themed Treats On Offer At “Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie”

Two locations: Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver & 2539 West Broadway in Kitsilano | www.thomashaas.com

Two locations: Harbourside Drive in North Vancouver & 2539 West Broadway in Kitsilano | www.thomashaas.com

The GOODS from Thomas Haas

Vancouver, BC | As long days fade and the weather begins to cool, stay warm with a burst of fall-themed flavours like pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger available now through November 15 at Thomas Haas Chocolates & Pâtisserie. From pastry creations such as Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon Chantilly cream and caramelized apples, to hot drinks like Pumpkin Hot Chocolate with house-made roasted pumpkin milk and a spiced marshmallow, to delectable Pumpkin Macarons, Truffles and Lollipops, Thomas Haas expertly captures the essence of autumn with an array of sweet, savoury and spiced offerings guaranteed to tempt the palate and warm the heart. Details and the full range of fall offerings from Thomas Haas after the jump… Read more

GOODS | South Granville’s “Siena” To Plate Special Mushroom Prix Fix Oct. 14 – Oct. 26

Siena is located at 1485 West 12th Avenue in Vancouver, BC | 604-558-1485 | www.eatsiena.com

Siena is located at 1485 West 12th Avenue in Vancouver, BC | 604-558-1485 | www.eatsiena.com

The GOODS for Siena

Vancouver, BC | Days are chilly, nights are darker now, but Siena Restaurant is looking on the bright side by celebrating the tasty fungi that appear when the summer ends. From October 14th to 26th, the South Granville favourite will showcase the flavour and versatility of mushrooms with a special three-course menu created by chef Jessica Howery. Take a look after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Maenam Chef Angus An Heads To Okanagan For Special Collaborative Dinner

West 4th’s crticially acclaimed Maenam is located at 1938 West 4th Ave in Kits | 604-730-5579 | www.maenam.ca

The GOODS from Maenam

Vancouver, BC | The Okanagan’s Miradoro restaurant (Best Winery Restaurant, 2014 Vancouver Magazine Awards) welcomes Maenam’s Chef Angus An (Best Thai, 2014 Vancouver Magazine Awards) on Friday, October 10th for City Lights Meet Country Nights, an exceptional five-course dinner. Chef An’s spice-laced sensibility meets Chef Jeff Van Geest’s refined Italian fare in this unprecedented collaborative menu paired with wines from Tinhorn Creek’s premier Oldfield Series. Guests enjoy this spectacular meal surrounded by vineyards at the award-winning restaurant in the Okanagan valley, as part of Tinhorn Creek’s 20 Events for 20 Years anniversary celebration. Menu and details after the jump… Read more

DINER | Seven Awesome Eateries That Don’t Do Brunch, Even Though They Really Should


Come the weekend, we’ve got it pretty good. And it wasn’t too long ago that Vancouver was a bit of a brunch wasteland overseen by an irregular army of greasy spoon same-sames. Then along came Abigail’s Party in Kits, and later, Cafe Medina, which changed the game completely. The persistent line-up out front showed restaurateurs of a certain calibre that brunch was a saleable “thing”; that it didn’t necessarily mean a monotony of eggs benedict, buckets of hollandaise, and hungover campers drinking bottomless cups of shitty coffee.

Today, all the cool kids are doing it: Wildebeest, Mamie Taylor’s, Tableau, Chambar, Homer Street Cafe, The Oakwood, Ask For Luigi, Bestie, Burdock & Co., Farmer’s Apprentice — they’re all on board, and then some. The question today is, who isn’t on board? More to the point, who should be? We’ve given it some thought and drafted a short wishlist of seven that you can pick from. Though all are worthy of consideration, you can only pick one…

Which ONE of the following restaurants should serve brunch?

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GOODS | “Dockside” Sharpening Knives For A Special Thanksgiving Feast This Weekend

Dockside Restaurant is located at 1253 Johnston St. in Vancouver BC | 604-685-7070 | docksidebrewing.com

The GOODS from Dockside

Vancouver, BC | Thanksgiving traditionally means gathering together around a turkey feast with friends and family, but it doesn’t have to mean cooking that feast. This year, Dockside’s culinary team is again offering a made-from-scratch Thanksgiving dinner so that guests can enjoy all the celebration without any of the preparation.

The three-course Thanksgiving menu is built around fresh local turkey, and includes seasonal flavours like Squash & Lobster Bisque, Glazed Yams, Apricot Stuffing and a Pumpkin Tart. The dinner can be enjoyed as a table d’hôte with available wine pairings (for an additional charge) or a là carte.

This special menu will be served at dinner daily from Saturday, October 11 until Monday, October 13. Call 604-685-7070 or click here to reserve. Full menu after the jump… Read more

DINER | “Biercraft” Close To Finishing Build Of Its New 200+ Seat Watering Hole At UBC


by Andrew Morrison | The UBC location of Biercraft, brought to us by the same folks behind Bomber Brewing and the two pre-existing locations of Biercraft (Cambie Village, The Drive), is getting closer to opening day. They had originally envisioned having the job done by August, but that was not to be. On my recent poke around the building at 3340 Shrum Lane, it was clear that they were in fastening/fixture mode — a good sign. They’re only a couple of weeks away from welcoming their first guests.

Modernity-meets-medieval motifs run throughout the joint. Think false abbey walls and stained glass suspended above the long bar, banquet hall chandeliers, retractable garage door frontage, elevated flat screen TVs, et cetera. It’s kind of odd, but no more so than their previous locations, which both come across naturally enough. The big difference between the first two and this one is the size. The place is huge. When it’s open, they’ll be serving up to 90 people in the lounge area and another 30 at the bar, plus 42 in the dining room and another 90 on the patio.

Though I wasn’t told this outright (and so I could be wrong), I suspect the menu won’t deviate much from Biercraft’s reliable comfort food norm. The beer bar will sport some 32 taps, plus an 80-something Belgium-focused bottle list.

October 20th is their new D-Day. From that day forward they expect to be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, plus brunch on weekends. Take a look…


GOODS | La Buca, The Abbey, Pied-A-Terre, Sardine Can Prep For Game & Shroom Fest

September 30, 2014 


Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart’s 9th annual Wild Game & Mushroom Festival runs October 15 to November 2

The GOODS from Pied-a-Terre, La Buca, Sardine CanThe Abbey

Vancouver, BC | Now in its ninth year, the Game and Wild Mushroom Festival takes place October 15th to November 2nd with three or four course prix fixe menus at La Buca and Pied a Terre, and daily chalkboard specials at Sardine Can and The Abbey.

Chef Andrey Durbach celebrates fall with special menus at all four restaurants featuring wild, local mushrooms, deliciously rich game meats, and other speciality foods. “This is my favourite season to cook,” Durbach says. “It’s the best time of the year for mushrooms and it’s also traditionally hunting season. It’s a time of year we turn our attention to foods that are deeply satisfying.”

The fest is a chance to taste the rich, earthy flavours of freshly picked in-season mushrooms—including chanterelle, matsutake, porcini, and black trumpet—and rarely featured game such as red deer, wild boar, and elk.

For the first time, the newly opened The Abbey joins La Buca, Pied a Terre, and Sardine Can in the annual foragers’ and food lovers’ extravaganza, with each restaurant offering unique menu items and wines to accompany them.

La Buca will feature a delectable three and four-course menu for $52 and $60 respectively. Highlights include mustard and black pepper crusted carpaccio of elk; taglierini with butter, sage, truffle, and porcini secchi; grilled venison, soft gorgonzola polenta, quince preserves, and marsala wine; and osso buco with wild mushroom risotto.

Diners at Pied a Terre, which offers a three-course menu for $52, can look forward to an assiette of red deer three ways: roast loin, grilled sausage, and braised cheeks; roast quail stuffed with foie gras and brioche; wild mushroom bouillon with quenelles of pheasant and oloroso sherry; and a frisée au lardons with wild boar bacon, poached duck egg, and mushroom crouton, among many other standout dishes. Sardine Can and The Abbey will feature extensive Game and Wild Mushroom fresh sheets. “B.C. is one of the best mushroom regions in the world,” Durbach says. “These foods also pair beautifully with intensely flavourful wines.” Read more

DIG IT | Getting Lost Inside The Elizabethan Hedge Labyrinth Out At VanDusen Gardens

September 30, 2014 


by Stevie Wilson | Lauded as one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions, the VanDusen Gardens is a beautiful spot catering to families and flora fanatics. Opened to the public in 1975, the expansive gardens sit on Shaughnessy land that once belonged to the CPR Railway and previously operated as the Shaughnessy Golf Course. The grounds were named for lumber industrialist Whitford Julian VanDusen , a founding member of the Vancouver Foundation and a major funder of the site. The intricate gardens also include one very special feature: an Elizabethan hedge maze.

The maze is said to be one of only six of its kind in North America, and although some might say it’s best enjoyed by children, I’d have to politely disagree (I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve gotten lost in there before). Justice, Webb & Vincent Landscape Architects, the garden’s design team, featured original members of the first Vancouver firm to specialize in landscape architecture. Their multicursal labyrinth is modelled after the great English designs of the late 16th century and is comprised of 3,000 pyramidal cedars (Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata’) that were planted in 1981. Bonus: an annual Easter egg hunt is held inside the maze each year.


OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | “La Quercia” On The Hunt For Experienced Full-Time Cooks

September 3, 2014 

The intimate La Quercia is located at 3689 West 4th Ave on Vancouver’s West Side | 604-676-1007 | www.laquercia.ca

The intimate La Quercia is located at 3689 West 4th Ave on Vancouver’s West Side | 604-676-1007 | laquercia.ca

The GOODS from La Quercia

Vancouver, BC | La Quercia is looking for experienced full-time cooks to joint the team. All prospective candidates can contact the owner/chef Adam Pegg via adam [at] laquercia.ca or can drop by the restaurant with their resumes between 10am and 12pm, Tuesday through Friday. Learn more about the award-winning West Side eatery after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Ryan Murphy Lands Executive Chef Job At West 4th’s Oakwood Canadian Bistro

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro is located at 2741 West 4th in Vancouver, BC | 604.558.1965 www.theoakwood.ca

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro is located at 2741 West 4th in Vancouver, BC | 604.558.1965 www.theoakwood.ca

The GOODS from Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Vancouver, BC | The Oakwood Canadian Bistro is proud to welcome Ryan Murphy as the new executive chef. The Halifax native has spent years traversing the globe in pursuit of his culinary passions. Murphy gained extensive experience working in international kitchens including Vue de Monde in Melbourne, Australia; Restaurant Fifty Three in Singapore; and Restaurant Frantzen in Stockholm, Sweden; and numerous well-renowned eateries around Vancouver.

With this changing of the guard, previous Oakwood executive chef Mike Robbins will leave behind this vibrant dining destination. “The Oakwood team wishes Mike Robbins all the best as he moves on to new culinary ventures,” says Oakwood’s Mike Shea. “Mike was instrumental in building the brand, outstanding reputation, varied menu and the loyal customer base. We look forward to supporting his next projects. We are thrilled to have Ryan Murphy step in and are excited about what’s to come.”

The up-and-coming culinary talent has had a deep respect for Vancouver’s dining scene and the rigours of kitchen life since he moved here in 2006. “It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the pace here and the endless avenues of working with food and flavours,” he says. “I look forward to leading the kitchen team at the Oakwood and building on the restaurant’s success.” Read more

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