patio

Top Patios in Vancouver: Joey Burrard by Jenn Chan

Joey Burrard

 

Have you ever had a Bellini? It's on most menus around Vancouver, nay the world, but your average guy will poo poo the notion of such a girly drink, à la Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. Should we though? The short answer is hell to the no. The recipes can vary, but generally it tastes like those peach slice $0.5 candies, Slurpee style, with a dollop of champagne. Do yourself a personal favour and get one the next time you go out!

 

We posted up on the Joey Burrard patio and ordered a Bellini, hence the opening rant, and a Blueberry Mojito. Joey Burrard holds a special place for the JCP family. It is where Jenn and I first met! On a lark we decided we'd try and replicate the meal we had after we struck up a conversation at the bar while waiting for our friends. After 10-15 minutes of very engaging conversation we both texted our friends and told them we wouldn't be able to make, a little white lie seeing as how we were already there, and proceeded to grab a table and our impromptu first date commenced :)

 

Bellini & Blueberry Mojito

Bellini & Blueberry Mojito

 

I acted aloof on our first date like getting a bunch of appies and splitting them buffet style was a regular thing, but it wasn't. It is now :) We ordered a Rainbow Roll, Gyoza, Chili Chicken Bites, Sushi Cones and, after some debate since I don't believe it was on the first date curriculum, Hot Wings with blue cheese. As a rule I try not to get sushi at a pub. It's generally a good rule. Throw it out the window at any Joey's! The rainbow roll is in my top 10 for sushi rolls in Vancouver. Ahi tuna, salmon, crab and avacado accentuated by a Srirachi Aioli. I know that sounds good. You can pick this blog post back up after you get back from Joey's. Go ahead, I'll wait.

 

I have had on occasion bad Gyoza. Sadly it's a fact of life. I'm sure a place or 2 has served me pre-packaged, frozen Gyoza with its rubbery texture and chemical rich preservatives. Those are bad experiences, this was an excellent experience. Hand made pastry cradling deliciously prepared pork and served with a spicy mustard. It's amazing! Their Chili Chicken Bites were just the right amount of tangy and the chicken was plump and juicy.  This is not McDonald's "chicken" this is the real deal.  Come to think of it they are similarly priced.  Why on Earth does anyone go to McD's!? The sushi cone is in the same boat as the Rainbow Roll.  Usually avoid, but at Joey's dive in!  Prawn tempura with avocado, spicy mayo and tobiko.  Even the 12 year-old at McDonald's could make a tasty meal out of those ingredients!  It's so nice!  The chicken wings, of which I purport to be an expert, were really good as well; 8/10.  Tasty, not too steroidy chicken, with a good medium hot sauce.

 

 

Table Full of Food
Rainbow Roll

Rainbow Roll

Japanese Gyoza

Japanese Gyoza

Chili Chicken Bites

Chili Chicken Bites

Sushi Cone

Sushi Cone

Hot Wings with Blue Cheese

Hot Wings with Blue Cheese

 

Did I mention that we got to Joey's thirsty?  In between our buffet style appie extravaganza a couple tequila sunrises snuck their way in, a few sangrias with Bellini slush, yes as good as it sounds.  Then our entrees came out.  Don't judge us we were very hungry :)  A divine lobster ravioli and a succulent 12 oz New York Strip steak.  The lobster ravioli, a regular order of mine, was as good as many of the high end Italian restaurants in Vancouver that specialize in them.  A near perfect 9/10!  The steak came out the perfect medium rare, first box ticked as I like to say, and the meat was high quality AAA beef.  I would go back for a steak anytime!

 

Tequila Sour

Tequila Sour

Sangria with Bellini Slush

Sangria with Bellini Slush

12oz New York Strip with peppercorn & mushroom jus

12oz New York Strip with peppercorn & mushroom jus

Lobster & Prawn Ravioli

Lobster & Prawn Ravioli

Spun Daily Strawberry Icecream

Spun Daily Strawberry Icecream

 

The incredible patio setting, extremely attentive and congenial staff and the myriad of drink and food options makes Joey Burrard, or any Joey's for that matter, a must dine!  Head over and tell them Jenn Chan Photography recommended them and you just might be able to skip a line or, at very least, get a crisp high five.  Both are good!

 

 Photos: Jenn Chan

 
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Top Patios in Vancouver Series: Cactus Club Cafe [English Bay + Coal Harbour] by Jenn Chan

Cactus Club Cafe English Bay


Cactus Club. In BC if you utter these words you know precisely what you're going to get in any of their 25 locations: good food, tons of delicious drink choices, beautiful servers and a picturesque setting. When you say Cactus Club English Bay (CCEB) or Cactus Club Coal Harbour (CCCH) you get all these things except you sub out 'picturesque setting' with 'breathtaking, world class setting'. We were lucky enough to check out both the beachside English Bay location for lunch and the flagship Coal Harbour location for dinner one sunny June day.

 

Cactus Club Cafe English Bay Concession


 

Our taxi pulled up in front of CCEB and the sun was shining, tourists were milling about the beach and locals were either drenched in sweat having just finished running Vancouver's famous sea wall or gently glistening having just started. We were greeted at the door by Divya, the PR manager for Cactus Club, and Kellie, an outside PR pro from Talk Shop Media. With the red carpet having been rolled out we headed to the dining room with our new friends to chat and to try some appetizers and their special summer cocktail menu; amazing!

 

Cactus Club Cafe English Bay

 

Owing to journalistic integrity we took it upon ourselves to try each summer cocktail currently on offer, it's a tough life. The Brazilian, fresh lime and kiwi with white rum and soda, is the perfect drink for a summer afternoon. It's a well proportioned cocktail and led perfectly into the Passionfruit Bellini; champagne, vodka and Passionfruit. Blended with ice it is a wonderful adaptation on the Cactus Club's staple Bellini and is so delicious I could have had 10. Would I have been able to walk after? Would I have developed diabetes? We will never know as I switched over to the equally delicious Signature Sangria. I have experimented with no less than 20 different types of sangria from dozens of different establishments in a half dozen countries and Cactus Club does it as well, and in most cases better, than anyone. The Zinfandel used is not your $3 bottle of wine as some places will try to pass off. The strawberries and raspberries added were firm and fresh and they spike it further with some lovely Apricot Brandy to liven things up. As if that weren't enough a splash of their renowned Bellini rounds out the recipe; a near perfect 9/10!

 

The Brazilian

The Brazilian

Passionfruit Bellini + Sangria

Passionfruit Bellini + Sangria

 

The tuna stack is their best selling appetizer and it is not difficult to see why. Albacore tuna with citrus tamari vinaigrette, nori, sesame, avocado, micro cilantro and served with wonton chips. The fish was incredibly fresh and flavourful and it seemed to pair seamlessly with each cocktail we indulged in. Worth the trip all on its own!


 

Tuna Stack

Tuna Stack


 

After our appies we switched tables and moved to the patio. It is no exaggeration to say their patio is the closest to the beach in Vancouver. Lift and Cardero's in Coal Harbour overhang the ocean, as do several on Granville Island, but not at sea level adjacent to a white sand beach where swimmers scurry in and out of the majestic Pacific Ocean. We wracked our brains, all 4 of us local Vancouverites, and could not come up with a better beach restaurant location. So why were they so lucky to set up right on the beach? Well the answer is they weren't lucky, they were tenacious. The City of Vancouver, who still owns the land, put out a request for proposals to build a restaurant on the site. Cactus won and the result is jaw dropping. One of the caveats to the winner was that they had to keep a concession stand-type food counter available to beach goers. The resulting kiosk opened the day we arrived and already had a dozen or so satisfied patrons on its lovely patio.
 

Where do adults meet most of their friends? The simple answer is at work. We spend a third of our day there and we grow to confide in our co-workers, depend on them and truly cherish them. As lifestyle bloggers our workplaces can vary widely. On this sunny Vancouver afternoon it was CCEB and we did make some great, new friends in Divya and Kellie. Our conversation, as conversations do after sharing cocktails in the sun for 3 hours, covered the gambit from politics to real estate to travel to celebrities to everything in between. When hiring someone to handle your public relations it's probably a good idea that they be extremely congenial and outgoing. Both Cactus and Talk Shop did well with these hires!


 

Rocket Salad


 

As our main courses arrived we were eagerly anticipating our Ravioli & Prawn Trio and Peppercorn Sirloin. The presentation was perfect! The ravioli was clearly freshly made in-house and the prawns fresh and firm. The steak came out a perfect blue rare, a good start, and the peppercorn wasn't overpowering and blended well with a nice cut of meat. Now I have had steak as thick as my arm and steak aged a million years from cows who were massaged daily and fed nothing but Gucci grains and Louis Vuitton water so I have developed an admittedly bad case of steak snobbery. While I have yet to give a steak a perfect 10/10, even when faced with $200 cuts from 5-diamond restaurants, Cactus Club's 9-ounce Angus Beef Sirloin is very flavourful, tender and well spiced; a solid 8/10!


 

Tuna Stack, Ravioli + Prawn Trio
Ravioli + Prawn Trio

Ravioli + Prawn Trio

Peppercorn Sirloin

Peppercorn Sirloin

 

It is safe to say that Cactus Club English Bay is a must see! Tell them the folks at Jenn Chan Photography sent you and you just might get your table a little quicker!
 


 

After a quick nap we headed to Cactus Club Coal Harbour and were delighted to be met by Divya who was gracious enough to take time out of her evening to facilitate our introduction with the General Manager, Mr. Ben Cooney. Ben is a warm, genuine person and was quick to get us some beverages and give us a quick tour of the space. It is not hard to see where they spent the tens of millions of dollars to design and built the space; modern, elegant and bright!
 

Cactus Club Cafe Coal Harbour
Cactus Club Cafe Coal Harbour
Cactus Club Cafe Coal Harbour
Cactus Club Cafe Coal Harbour


 

We were fortunate enough to get a lovely table on the patio overlooking the 2010 Olympic torches and the rest of the beautiful Jack Poole Plaza. Our host suggested a couple of appetizers and we obliged his recommendations. A Kobe Style Meatball Trio with a Signature Caesar and Thai Chicken Wings with an Epic IPA. Paired perfectly; pub food done right!


 

Appetizers
Kobe Style Meatball Trio with Caesar

Kobe Style Meatball Trio with Caesar

Thai Chicken Wings

Thai Chicken Wings


 

Our entrées arrived with lovely presentations. The Sablefish on a bed of Shiitake Mushrooms, potatoes and asparagus and the Double Braised Pineapple Hoisin Short Ribs lined up beautifully besides some fresh, crisp snap peas, heavenly mashed potatoes and an artful dollop of Korean chilli sauce. The Sablefish had a delightful texture, buttery and soft, and came smothered in a Peking Duck broth, simply outstanding! The short ribs, in their own right, have a very unique pineapple ginger glaze and were tender, oh so tender! They could have been cut with a spoon, a dull spoon. The meat just simply fell away from the bone. A near perfect 9/10!


 

Sablefish

Sablefish

Double-braised Pineapple Hoisin Short Rib

Double-braised Pineapple Hoisin Short Rib


 

Our day at Cactus Club was incredible and we left their flagship Coal Harbour location revelling in our good fortune to not only be able to visit these great restaurants, sample their offerings and tell the world about it, but also making new friends along the way. Ben was kind enough to give us his business card and ask that we give him a heads up anytime we were coming down and he would have a table waiting for us. It's not about what you get out of life, it's what you give and the more you get the more you'll give. Pay someone a compliment today and you'll be three back in due course! Head up your local Cactus Club and do yourself a favour!

 

Cactus Club Cafe Coal Harbour Patio

Cactus Club Cafe Coal Harbour Patio

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Top Patios in Vancouver Series: WildTale Coastal Grill by Jenn Chan

 

I once worked a summer in a car dealership. The location was brilliant, right beside two main arterial roads with 10,000's of cars per day whizzing by, and it wasn't long before I so envied my very kind and generous new boss and his business acumen. 

 

As a lot attendant, Mr. Do-Whatever-I-Was-Asked, I sometimes caught myself daydreaming about one day, not only owning my own dealership, but THIS dealership. The owners of Wildtale Coastal Grill can scratch that daydream off their own to-do list! Former Glowbal Grill Chefs were quick to pounce on the revered Glowbal Grill's space, when it relocated up the street in Yaletown, and Wildtale was born!

 

WildTale Coastal Grill
WildTale Coastal Grill

 

Created as a celebration of coastal living, and the bounty we are blessed with living on the Pacific Ocean, Wildtale's main fare is seafood. Our host brought us a complimentary taster, a lovely seared scallop in a beautiful, lemony risotto. It was a very enticing symphony of flavours between the scallop and risotto. We ordered some Baked Dungeness Crab Cakes served with a jalapeño aioli and roasted red bell pepper coulis, an exquisite tuna tartare and a dozen oysters the selection of which we left up to our gracious waiter. We could have excuses ourselves after our appetizers and I would still recommend you visit the Wildtale! 

 

Scallop & Risotto Taster
Various Oysters

 

The crab cakes had a crunch and freshness I look for, nay insist upon, whenever I partake and the oysters, I'm told as I don't like, eat nor even touch them, were extremely fresh and the variety amazing. The tuna tartare is, for me, a litmus test for a seafood restaurant; done well and I know the rest of my meal will be amazing, done poorly, too much onion, lemon or what-have-you, and I'll order a chicken dish. Be forewarned! I will order a gosh darn chicken dish at your seafood establishment if you fail with your tartare! I happily rank Wildtale's tuna tartare among my top five of all time and I've ordered it in 5 diamond restaurants. Fresh, well balanced and tangy; it was excellent!

 

Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare
Crabcake

 

Keeping with the local theme we ordered our drinks and both were made from ingredients from idyllic British Columbia. Gin from the Longtable Distillery, a short 10 minute walk up the street, formed the basis for the delightfully constructed orange/ elderflower cocktail and Fat Tug from the Driftwood Brewery on Vancouver Island. If you haven't tried either I implore you to hit your Googles right now!

 

 

Our main courses arrived with subdued panache. I spotted them from across the room and watched as they sauntered up seductively without ever breaking eye contact. It was love at first sight, plain and simple! Placed in front of was a lovely AAA cut of sirloin steak with some crisp, flavourful fries. My partner drooled noticeably as her Slow Braised Lamb Shank with whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus in a white mushroom pan jus was placed in front of her. 

 

Slow Braised Lamb Shank

 

The steak was cooked to perfection, blue rare, and was seasoned very well! The crisp, homemade fries were the perfect accompaniment and I devoured everything with gusto. In a generous mood my partner decided to share some of her lamb and, after a gentle nudge with a dull spoon, it collapsed off the bone in a moist, juicy pile. Perfectly cooked and flavoured expertly it was a perfect 10!

 

Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Top Patios in Vancouver Series: The Roof @ Black & Blue by Jenn Chan

The Roof at Black & Blue

 

The Roof at Black + Blue is a beautiful space and the largest rooftop restaurant in Vancouver. To combat the occasional, extremely rare, rainfall in the city The Roof comes equipped with a gigantic awning that covers the entire space and, if you're lucky enough, as we were, to catch it at noon on a 30 degree day in early May, it retracts to showcase a lovely vantage of the Shangri-La tower and the iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. 

 

The Roof at Black & Blue
The Roof at Black & Blue

 

One of the things that sets Black + Blue, and the entire Glowbal Group collection of restaurants, is service. As a lifestyle blogger you can become accustomed to getting more personal service, but as we were greeted by the restaurant manager, a very cordial gentleman named Matt Hawes, with champagne in hand and a lovely stuffed Yorkshire pudding we knew we were in for a lovely experience. Courtesy appetizers, we were informed by a fellow patron, aren't only reserved for food critics, but are routinely offered to guests as a thank you. Class.

 

Appetizer atThe Roof at Black & Blue

 

If you don't know what a Josper Grill is I suggest, nay urge, you hit the Googles right now. Go on. I'll wait. Costing nearly $20,000 and using, exclusively, charcoal as its fuel source this wonderful contraption, the only one of its kind in the entire country, infuses Black & Blue's wares with an incredible, smoky flavour. 

I ordered the Seafood Trio skewer, a melange of jumbo tiger prawns, scallops and lobster tail. While it is difficult to do lobster tail badly, and it was exquisite, what really impressed me were the scallops. I don't really like scallops. On occasion I have been heard to proclaim a distinct disdain for the creatures, but I could have eaten 50 of them! The smoky flavour was evident on the prawns, a triumph in my humble opinion, likewise the incredible lobster, but on the scallops it took centre stage and made them a true culinary triumph. My partner ordered the lamb salad, similarly cooked in the Josper Grill and, similarly, stunning!

 

Seafood Trio

Seafood Trio

Lamb Salad

Lamb Salad

 

Between courses, and basking happily in the sun, we partook in one of our favourite summertime cocktails; the uniquely Canadian drink, the Caesar. I requested mine with some spice and my partner requested mild and we were both very pleased with the quality of the vodka, easily apparent, and the mix. Both perfect 10's.

 

Lamb Salad & Seafood Trio

Lamb Salad & Seafood Trio

 

For dessert we split the dessert platter: lemon italian meringue, peanut butter macaron, butter cake, honeycomb, salted caramel chocolate cake with vanilla anglaise & caramel sauce. We paired it with a lovely rosé champagne and were very intrigued by the thoughtful mélange of flavours, but the consensus favourite was the lemon meringue.

 

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

PB&J Macaron & Salted Caramel Mousse

PB&J Macaron & Salted Caramel Mousse

Key Lim Pie & Butter Cake

Key Lim Pie & Butter Cake

 

As we left the space we both immediately looked at our schedules to see when we could make it back, the ultimate compliment. I would live there if they let me, The Roof is a must do!

 

Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan