vancouver

PRESS RELEASE | Top 10 things to see at IDS Vancouver 2018 by Jenn Chan

The Interior Design Show will return to Vancouver for its 14th year. The week-long design show will kick off on Tuesday, September 18 with a series of offsite events running until Sunday, September 23. IDS is the Pacific platform for all things design and is the premier showcase of new products and furniture, superstar designers and avantgarde concepts from North America and beyond

Here are top 10 things not to be missed this year:
 

IDS Vancouver 2018
IDS Vancouver 2018
IDS Vancouver 2018
IDS Vancouver 2018

 

IDS Vancouver will take place at Vancouver Convention Centre West from September 20-23, 2018

For tickets and information: http://vancouver.interiordesignshow.com/

 

 

FOOD | Lunch at Fayuca, Yaletown by Jenn Chan

Fayuca, Yaletown

 

Yaletown is home to many popular and good quality restaurants.  If you live in Vancouver you’ve probably patronized more than one eatery in the redeveloped industrial area.  Today we are going to Fayuca for lunch.  It is located on Hamilton Street near Nelson.  Open for less than a year Fayuca is garnering good reviews and a solid reputation for top notch food.  North Pacific Mexican is how they brand their style, with the Baja region of Mexico providing inspiration for Fayuca’s menu.

 

Past the planters with small palm trees and through the front door we go.  The room is warm and inviting.  Wood and wicker predominate, ceramic tiles bring back memories of hot days in Mexican resorts, and a large swordfish leaps from one wall.  The music isn’t the clichéd tourist music you might hear in faux Mexican restaurants.  The tunes are new to my ear: pleasant, cheerful and not blaringly loud.  The bar seating invitingly beckons one to settle in and stay a while however we instead sit at a comfortable table by the window.

 

Fayuca, Yaletown
Fayuca, Yaletown
Fayuca, Yaletown

 

The lunch drinks list has several intriguing choices and soon three of them are sitting on our table.  El Diablito is Jenn’s early favourite.  Made of ginger beer (non alcoholic) and pomegranate, topped with lime, the pink drink is a refreshing delight.  The pomegranate is noticed first with the ginger an enjoyable second note.  I claim the Tepache Colada as I am eager to try the beverage made from the peel and rind of pineapples.  In pre-Columbian times Tepache was made from corn.  The modern pineapple version is just fine with me.  Not sickly sweet like pineapple juice, just well balanced flavour and very enjoyable.  The third drink is the Jamaica Canela, a cinnamon infused Hibiscus drink.  Dark red, almost black at first glance.  Sipping it brings back a faint recollection of time spent on a veranda not far from a sub tropical beach.

 

Fayuca Lunch Menu

Fayuca Lunch Menu

Coctails: Tepache Colada & El Diablito

Coctails: Tepache Colada & El Diablito

Cocktails: El Diablito, Tepache Colada, Jamaica Canela

Cocktails: El Diablito, Tepache Colada, Jamaica Canela

Jamaica Canela

Jamaica Canela

 

We’ve barely had time to sample our drinks when a Kale and Avocado Salad is presented.  The base layer is a split pea hummus with the always delicious avocado and fresh kale topping it.  Jenn really, really liked it and I have to agree (despite my normal aversion to leafy greens) that it was quite good.  Pumpkin seeds added some crunch and variety.
 

South of Mexico, past Central America and into South America, we can find a cooking pot from Chile called a Cazuela.  The food prepared in this pot, a thick stock of vegetables and meat, is also called Cazuela.  Fayuca has a Cazuela of Winter Vegetables on the lunch menu and we dove into this hearty comfort food eagerly.  Butternut squash, fennel, sweet potato, red beets, crème fraiche and topped with feta.  The tomato/pepper/olive sauce brought everything together wonderfully.  A bit of crunch is provided by sliced almonds.  This Cazuela is a good choice for a cold winter day, a rainy day, or any old day.  I was also impressed with the grilled bread that accompanied the dish.  It had a touch of charcoal flavour that was so good!

 

Fayuca Lunch Flatlay
Kale and Avocado Salad | green beans and pumpkin seeds on Split Pea Hummus

Kale and Avocado Salad | green beans and pumpkin seeds on Split Pea Hummus

Cazuela of Winter Vegetables | Butternut Squash, Fennel, Sweet Potato, Red Beets in a Charred Tomato-Pepper-Olive Sauce with Crème Fraiche and Feta

Cazuela of Winter Vegetables | Butternut Squash, Fennel, Sweet Potato, Red Beets in a Charred Tomato-Pepper-Olive Sauce with Crème Fraiche and Feta

 

Machaca is often a dried shredded beef but Fayuca’s Machaca con Huevo is made with smoked fish.  The scrambled egg with smoked fish, charred avocado and black bean sauce combination on a hearty ancient grain bread made my mouth water for more!  This is a dish I could eat often and with gusto.  Or maybe I should say “me gusta!”

 

In many places around the world chicken and rice is a common meal.  Common is not how I would describe the Arroz con Pollo that Fayuca serves.  The chicken was marvelous, so tender.  Beneath the chicken was red rice and sofrito, a tomato based sauce (also used in Italian and Spanish cooking) that infused the rice with layers of flavour.  Dribbled over it all was aioli, a garlic sauce somewhat similar to mayonnaise.  This was a hearty, satisfying dish.

 

Machaca con Huevo | Smoked Fish Machaca with Egg Scramble, Charred Avocado, Ancient Grain Bread, Black Bean Sauce

Machaca con Huevo | Smoked Fish Machaca with Egg Scramble, Charred Avocado, Ancient Grain Bread, Black Bean Sauce

Arroz con Pollo | Roasted Chicken with Red Rice, Tomato, Sofrito, Aioli, Greens

Arroz con Pollo | Roasted Chicken with Red Rice, Tomato, Sofrito, Aioli, Greens

 

We sampled four dishes from the lunch menu and all were winners, in my opinion.  Out of curiosity I looked up the translation of the word fayuca and contraband and black market were the results.  I’m not sure how the name was chosen for this restaurant but if the only way to get these dishes was on the black market then I would still want to be a patron.  The lunch menu is reasonably priced and the food and drinks are delicious.  There are some vegetarian options should that be a concern for anyone in your party.

 

Fayuca
1009 Hamilton Street
Vancouver

 

 
 

Italian Kitchen by Glowbal Group Fall Menu by Jenn Chan

Italian Kitchen by Glowbal Group

 

There's no little old Italian lady in the back of this restaurant!

It's not that grandma's recipes aren't delicious and comforting, but they have a time and place and a trendy dinner on Alberni Street is neither of those things.  The stylish setting starts right from when you walk in the double glass doors and the hostess offers to take your coat.

The dim lighting is modern and a creates a romantic balance amongst the greys and metallics found in the remaining decor.  It's the perfect setting for an intimate date or birthday dinner with a group of friends.

Travel upstairs and you're transported to a slightly brighter setting with red walls and a central bar.  Great for business meetings or dinner with the folks.

Our meal started early on a Wednesday night to accommodate my newly adopted older lifestyle.  We sat near the floor to ceiling windows on the second floor where we could view neighbouring restaurants and the now famous Alberni Street and it's must see clientele.

First things first, you don't go for Italian food and get out of there without having a bomb ass red wine, which is exactly where we started.  We shared more than a few glasses of the Campofiorin (the 50 year celebration bottle) as recommended by our lovely waitress.   I've been a red wino for a while now and it's always nice to find a good bottle, with a fresh palette, and a fair price tag to boot!

Our first course was a delicious arancini with a spicy sauce.  The amuse bouche was amousing.  If you aren't interested in puns I'll do my best to keep them to a minimum but can't make any promises.

 

Amuse Bouche - Deep Fried Risotto Ball

Amuse Bouche - Deep Fried Risotto Ball

Masi Campofiorin

Masi Campofiorin

Masi Campofiorin

 

Round 2 of 4 was carpaccio.   The complexity of flavours created a depth you don't anticipate from/thinly shaved beef.  In my view the unique aspect of this dish was escalated with the crispy polenta,  pickled onions, and Dijon sauce that accompanied some more standard elements of a good carpaccio.  The true star of this dish was its ingenuity, too often carpaccio is served with day old crostini's which leaves a desire for creativity at the beginning of your evening.  Polenta with carpaccio!  It doesn't matter how fleet your resident Italian grandmother is, the only way she's serving your carpaccio with crispy fried Polenta is if the polenta's taking up space in her fridge.

 

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

 

Round 3.  We shared two mains the Wild Salmon and a Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs.  Did I mention the truffles?  Not just truffle oil, but real, fresh shaved truffles!!!  Topped of course with fresh shaved parmesan.  Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had your waitress ask you to "say when" while referring to fresh Parmesan?  On this occasion we definitely pushed the limit!  Cheese like snow on top of our perfectly cooked pasta.  Typically meatballs aren't my go to but these had such flavour and played perfectly with the marinara that I would definitely order it again.

I don't want to leave the salmon as second place because it deserves better than that.  Served with crispy skin and accompanied by golden beats, grilled onions, and olives with a agrodolce (Italian sweet and sour) sauce. The salmon skin was perfectly executed and not oily, the onions were sweet and tasteful but not overbearing.   You wouldn't think by glancing at the menu that this would be a full entree but it holds true.  The portion of fish was sizeable and at the end of the shared two entrees we were full (even took some to go).

 

Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs | truffle cream, herbed ricotta

Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs | truffle cream, herbed ricotta

Truffle Spaghetti with Meatballs
Wild Salmon | grilled onions, olives, golden beet, agrodolce, salmon caviar

Wild Salmon | grilled onions, olives, golden beet, agrodolce, salmon caviar

Wild Salmon

 

Dessert!  Even on a bad day dessert has an opportunity to steal the show.  Perhaps it's just the kid in us knowing that we shouldn't indulge but that no one can stop us.  I'm happy no one stopped us this night and even happier that we didn't pick the dessert ourselves.  Selected for us by Freddie the restaurant manager was the Zeppole - homemade chocolate ganache filled "mini" doughnuts.  The not so miniature doughnuts were a delight to all of our senses.  They looked and smelt so good the table next to us ordered theirs before we even tasted ours.  The taste and fun of cutting open a powdered doughnut filled with rich chocolate ganache was far better than any cheesecake in town...I'm willing to run the comparison.

 

Zeppole al Cioccolato | italian style doughnuts, chocolate gianduja, vanilla crème anglaise

Zeppole al Cioccolato | italian style doughnuts, chocolate gianduja, vanilla crème anglaise

 

Whether you're looking for a dinner, business lunch, or a fun night our with friends Italian Kitchen has got you covered.  It's upscale dining in a price range that means you can celebrate life's little moments and still afford to pay rent.  I recommend a reservation and if you're going with a big group inquire about the platters.  If you decide to follow my recommendations and order the Zeppole for dessert make sure you get an extra seat because I may just show up to share it!
 

 

 

 
Words: Amanda Scott
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

NEW RESTAURANT 2017 | Kokomo by Jenn Chan

Kokomo

 

"Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya. Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama. Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go? Jamaica, off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo. That's where you want to go to get away from it all."

 

Kokomo
Kokomo Menu

Kokomo Menu

 

If you're in North America's second largest Chinatown, located, proudly, in Vancouver, Kokomo is still a pretty delightful escape. The vegan, gluten-free mecca, "plant-focused cafe", Kokomo can be seen routinely sporting a line around the block. People clammer to dive into a heaping bowl of acai, granola and berries, a Hemp Caesar salad or a Coastal Macro bowl, their best seller, and wash it down with one their oh so healthy smoothies. Jenn indulged in the Coastal Macro bowl, which she devoured greedily, and I nibbled on the Hemp Caesar and washed it down with the Orange Dream smoothie which is simply to die for! Jenn himmed and hawed between the charcoal lemonade and the Lush Greens smoothie, but ultimately opted to see how charcoal's flavours marry lemonade's. She loved it, but we'll both be back for a nice healthy lunch before too long. Hopefully we'll see you there!

 

Lunch Spread: Hemp Caesar, Coastal Macro Bowl, Acai Bowl, Orange Dream Smoothie, Charcoal Lemonade

Lunch Spread: Hemp Caesar, Coastal Macro Bowl, Acai Bowl, Orange Dream Smoothie, Charcoal Lemonade

Acai Bowl with Orange Dream Smoothie

Acai Bowl with Orange Dream Smoothie

Coastal Macro Bowl

Coastal Macro Bowl

Coastal Macro Bowl
Hemp Caesar

Hemp Caesar

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Holy Crab! by Jenn Chan

Holy Crab Robson
HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

HolyCrab Code & Selfie Sticks

As you walk into Holy Crab's bright, modern space you're struck by the casual atmosphere not usually associated with their high end fare. Crabs and clams and mussels and lobsters dot the tables as bibs and gloves adorn the smiling guests. Whimsical how-to videos play on a loop on the tv's around the dining room and comical instruction guides 15 feet high dominate the back wall, we're in for some fun!

The Holy Crab
The Holy Crab Drink Menu

The Holy Crab Drink Menu

The Holy Crab Menu

The Holy Crab Menu

 

Our lovely server Crystal was keen to introduce herself and get our culinary adventure started. Evelyn, the manager, was similarly eager to make our acquaintance and, uncharacteristically of us, we let her order our entire meal! Minus the Hurricane IPA I requested, which was delicious, and the Stawberry Pom Mojito Crystal suggested for Jenn; both delicious! Seconds after our drinks arrived the surprises started to come as well. Seafood Chowder, amazing, and Seafood Bisque were first up followed quickly by Deep Fried Frog Legs and Crispy Soft Shell Crab. The chowder has a slightly sweet broth and was packed with seafood and potato; delicious! The bisque has a nice, light broth with a distinct, fresh flavour.

 

Strawberry Pom Mojito

Strawberry Pom Mojito

Ready to get Messy!

Ready to get Messy!

Seafood Bisque & Seafood Chowder

Seafood Bisque & Seafood Chowder

Frog legs are good, they just are! Caked in an incredible Cajun spice these were the best I have ever had! Go now, we'll wait. Good, right? I've yet to ever have a bad soft shell crab. If you haven't tried them you owe it to yourself. There's no messy de-shelling, not that, that isn't super fun anyway, but you simply grab and munch.

 

Deep Fried Frog Legs

Deep Fried Frog Legs

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

 

 

Speaking of the fun of de-shelling crustaceans... Just as I pop a wonderful soft shell crab into my mouth out swaggers Crystal with the main event; a 2.4 LBs Dungeness crab which looked like he probably gave the fishermen trying to reel his crab pot in a fight. Sturdy. The young man was sturdy. As food bloggers we enjoy, and greatly appreciate, certain perks. Our favourite on this night was the opportunity to try all six of Holy Crab's sauces. Generally you'll make a decision and your prehistoric sea creature will be covered in one of their highly doggy-baggable sauces, but we were lucky enough to get a six pack and an explanation of each. I like it hot. Hot, hot, hot. So I tended, when not opting for the tried and true melted butter original, to hover around the super spicy sauce. When Jenn wasn't looking I tried to swap it around for the medium spice, but she eyed the colour difference and my prank, sadly, did not succeed. That failure aside the crab was amongst the best is ever tried. Fresh, well coloured and meaty! I highly recommend Holy Crab if the usual snottiness of high end seafood restaurants draw your ire or if you don't think your kids could behave long enough in one for you to finish. It's a modern, upscale test casual seafood experience and one the whole family can enjoy. Tell Evelyn that Jenn Chan Media sent you and you'll be glad we did!

 

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab, Shrimps, variety of sauces, Nugget Potatoes, Corn, Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab, Deep Fried Frog Legs & Lobster Bisque

Dungeness Crab, Shrimps, variety of sauces, Nugget Potatoes, Corn, Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab, Deep Fried Frog Legs & Lobster Bisque

Prawn-sized Shrimp

Prawn-sized Shrimp

How To Open a Crab

How To Open a Crab

How To Open a Crab
How To Open a Crab
How To Open a Crab
How To Open a Crab
The Holy Crab
 
 

Afternoon Tea Series: The Secret Garden Tea Company by Jenn Chan

The Secret Garden Tea Company

 

 

"Take a bite and then write" were Jenn's words of welcome as I sauntered into the lovely Secret Garden nearly an hour late. A cold bead of sweat trickled down my forehead as I took in the ambience and started to acclimate to the tony surroundings. Elegant white, wood paneling adorn the walls and Persian rugs bigger than I've ever seen half cover light hardwood floors. Half tea shoppe and half tea room the Secret Garden Tea Company puts off a distinct Alice in Wonderland vibe and everyone is grinning ear to ear!

 

The Secret Garden Tea Company
The Secret Garden Tea Company

 

I elected to go with a pot of apricot/ peach tea, to satisfy my sweet tooth, and was very glad I did! Delicious, aromatic and not too sweet. One of the best teas I've ever tried! As I sipped a 3-tiered tower of deliciousness was placed in front of me. Now I have developed a pretty bad habit over the last few years: croissant addiction. A severe, sometimes crippling addiction to France's second best export which only trails the French invention of democracy by a hair. I don't know what it is. I can't explain it, but when I see croissants I eat them. Without shame. The Tarragon Scented Asparagus Sandwiches on Petit Croissants were a revelation and I don't generally like asparagus. Or tarragon for that matter. But put them on a croissant and I could have eaten 20!

Table Setting
High Tea Menu

High Tea Menu

3-tiered High Tea

3-tiered High Tea

 

The Secret Garden Egg Pinwheels were a close runner up, akin to democracy trailing only croissants, and were incredibly fresh. If you've gathered that I have no aversion to carbohydrates and their prime delivery agents, pastries, you couldn't be more right. Enter the

Muffaletta with Genoa Salami, Ham, and Olive Relish on Housemade Cornmeal Biscuits. I have only been to Italy for a few hours, a quick jaunt into Trieste during a road trip of the Balkans, but if I get into Genoa I'm putting them on notice right now that they're going to need to make extra salami! This sandwich is a peppery adventure sweetened just enough by the cornmeal; excellent!

 

 

Secret Garden Egg Pinwheels, Tarragon Scented Asparagus Sandwiches on Petit Croissants, & Muffaletta with Genoa Salami, Ham, and Olive Relish on Housemade Cornmeal Biscuits

Secret Garden Egg Pinwheels, Tarragon Scented Asparagus Sandwiches on Petit Croissants, & Muffaletta with Genoa Salami, Ham, and Olive Relish on Housemade Cornmeal Biscuits

 

Scones are good. You might have guessed already that it'd be likely I'd enjoy them. Add some Raspberry Jam and Devonshire Cream and I enjoyed them more than I should have. A perfect 10/10 pastry! The Tea Cake Slices were a nice blend of sweet and tart, but the Tangy Mini Lemon Curd Tart was all sweet in a very good way. Bittersweet Chocolate Silk Mousse Cake speaks for itself. I remember sneaking my mom's baking chocolate out of the cupboard thinking I've stumbled upon a mother load only to find them half edible, but when you add the sweetness of the mousse to the mix thus dessert is a home run! When tourists come to Canada they almost inevitable leave with maple syrup. Why? We'll fit one its awesome. For two we have the leaf from that particular tree displayed prominently on our flag and, we'll, everywhere else! The Quebec Maple Fudge with Vanilla Chantilly scream Canada, whiskers the Anglican/ Francophone brotherhood and is just plain delicious.

 

Scone with Raspberry Jam and Devonshire Cream & Tea Cake Slices

Scone with Raspberry Jam and Devonshire Cream & Tea Cake Slices

Tangy Mini Lemon Curd Tart, Bittersweet Chocolate Silk Mousse Cake, & Quebec Maple Fudge with Vanilla Chantilly

Tangy Mini Lemon Curd Tart, Bittersweet Chocolate Silk Mousse Cake, & Quebec Maple Fudge with Vanilla Chantilly

 

When you combine the bright, airy surroundings, incredibly congenial service, amazing tea and excellent food it isn't hard to see why the Secret Garden requires a reservation! Call today and tell them the folks at Jenn Chan Media sent you and take our word for it you'll be glad you did!

 

Afternoon Tea with Mom

Afternoon Tea with Mom

Cutest Bow on the Maple Fudge

Cutest Bow on the Maple Fudge

Individual Tea Set

Individual Tea Set

High Tea for 1

High Tea for 1