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Sam Shem Does ‘The Dishes’

Pastry chef, artist and avid traveller, Sam Shem, takes the reins for this edition of 'The Dishes'.
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Sam Shem Does ‘The Dishes’

The Dishes asks Vancouverites to walk us through a map of their ideal day and night on the town. We’re talking breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night cocktails. Tax and tip included.

For this edition of The Dishes, we hand the reins to pastry chef (@thedessertclubca), artist and avid traveller, Sam Shem, for a day of eating and drinking around Vancouver…

Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?

Something quick, light and easy would be the breakfast pastries at Viva Bakery Cafe. I’ve tried their pain au chocolat, fruit danishes, and savoury ham and cheese danishes – all executed with quality ingredients and expert precision. Pastry Chef Daniel Munoz and his team are passionate about their craft and are making some of the best Viennoiserie pastries and desserts in the city.

If you have time and want to treat yourself to a relaxing brunch, go to Chef’s Choice for their superb and refined dim sum. Stand out dishes include the delicious soup dumpling (don’t share…everyone please just order one each and save yourself the hassle of ordering more!), the shrimp and cilantro dumpling was superb, and the shrimp toast gives off nostalgic retro Hong Kong-Cantonese dim sum vibes.

Viva Cafe & Bakery
1555 Yew St.
Chef's Choice Chinese Cuisine
955 West Broadway

Where should we meet for coffee/tea?

Livia sweets is my go to spot for a coffee or tea, to meet a friend, grab a dessert (there are many to choose from, from their beautiful window display of breads and home style cakes), or sit and relax and enjoy their simple yet refined aperitivo menu. Favourites on the aperitivo menu include their fermented pickles and the luscious whipped ricotta with olive oil and lemon zest served with a warm housemade baguette.

1399 Commercial Dr.

Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?

For lunch I would take you to Ubuntu. They have a wonderful menu focused on seasonal and local organic produce. They make lovely sandwiches, salads, pastas and proteins. Currently I’ve been enjoying their tomato and peach salad with fermented chilli vinaigrette with roasted Marcona almonds, so fresh and seasonal. My favourite item they make however is their focaccia bread. Pastry chef Myra Maston and her team are creating some of the best breads and breakfast pastries Vancouver has to offer.

Ubuntu Canteen
4194 Fraser St. (Closed)

Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?

For Happy Hour, I was happy to stumble upon Capo and the Spritz located in Yaletown at the Opus Hotel. They are offering a simple and lovely menu that is pocketbook-friendly and casual. Italian inspired snacks, desserts and a wide range of wines and cocktails. The Margherita pizza was delicious, expertly made and was a steal for $10. Gnocco Sweeto (crisp dough pillows tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with creme anglaise for $5), and these cocktails: Negroni, Aperol Spritz and Procesco for $6! What are you all waiting for?

Capo & The Spritz
350 Davie St.

What’s for dinner?

If you haven’t been to Potluck Hawker Eatery, do yourself a favour and go. Chef Justin Cheung is creating and reinterpreting many South-East Asian Street food classics. His dishes are conceptually and aesthetically sharp and the tastes and flavours will transport you back to Asia. Some of my favourite dishes at Potluck include: the roti canai, chicken wings with fish sauce caramel (these are ridiculously good), char kway teow noodles and laksa fried rice. The atmosphere, food and flavours at Potluck are just right, bright, bold and absolutely delicious!

Potluck Hawker Eatery
3424 Cambie St.

What’s for dessert?

The sour cherry varenyky (pierogies) at Kozak Ukraїnian Eatery are currently one of my favourite desserts. They are sweet, tart, creamy (served with sour cream) and oh so comforting! They are incredibly versatile and can be eaten at all times of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Some of the other desserts that I enjoy there include: the rum baba, dark chocolate babka, poppy seed roll and rugelach. They also make a beautiful and comforting array of savoury food which includes: borsch, holubtsi (cabbage rolls), varenyky (pierogies), nalysnyk (rolled crepe) and their dense but delish rye bread.

Kozak Ukraїnian Eatery
5077 Victoria Dr.

Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?

The cocktails at the Odd Society are particularly good at the moment. Bar manager Mia Glanz is passionate about creating drinks and it shows in both her cocktail list and her execution. My favourite drink currently at Odd Society is the Sour Owl, it contains: gin, creme de cassis, orange flower water, lemon and foam, and is the perfect balance of sweet, sour and refreshing.

The newly reopened Magnet is also fantastic. Bartender extraordinaire Rob Scope has curated a great beer and wine list (the Dilettante and the Opulence sour beers are both fantastic!) and his cocktails are always well crafted. Particularly worth trying are the light and refreshing Juan de Fuca Spritz and the much more potent Frozen Vesper. Rob is an absolute professional, with a deep love of his craft. I have had many of Rob’s cocktails this past year and he is able to find just the right balance in every drink he mixes.

Odd Society Spirits
1725 Powell St.
Magnet, The
309 West Pender St.

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