Top Patios in Van Series

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: Glowbal by Jenn Chan

Glowbal

 

This was the best meal of my young life! We at Jenn Chan Photography are extremely proud of our relationship with the Glowbal Group. It's hard to go wrong regardless of which restaurant in the Glowbal chain you try: Italian Kitchen, Coast, Black & Blue, Glowbal Grill, etc... Exceptional service is preached on the first day they train new staff, Jenn is a former Coast server so we have some insider knowledge, and reiterated throughout an employee's tenure. And it shows! 

 

Being that we were cordially invited to dine at the Glowbal Grill on this evening we weren't surprised to be whisked past the lineup upon sight, greeted warmly by the general manager, a delightfully gracious gentleman name Kyle Johnstone, and showed to one of their loveliest patio tables. What might surprise some, however, is that this is the default Glowbal setting. The GM made the rounds the entire night, chatted with customers, put out fires and just generally controlled the flow of the patio like an orchestra conductor.

 

 

Glowbal
Glowbal
Glowbal

 

Seemingly seconds after we were seated we were presented with an amazing amuse bouche courtesy of the chef. You don't need to have 20,000+ followers on Instagram or blog posts that are seen by more than 70,000 eyes, you only need to go to Glowbal Grill. Everyone is treated like a celebrity and let me tell you that the mushroom arancini with truffle oil we were gifted did nothing to dispel that celebrity feeling! I'm not a big mushroom fan, but I could have eaten 50 of these, but then we wouldn't have had room for the rest of our meal which, in case you've forgotten the first sentence of this article, was the best of my life!

 

If you're fans of our blog, and we're eternally grateful if you are and humbled by the number of you, you know we always, always test a restaurant's Caesar. Glowbal's aptly named Pacific Caesar is as high end as Caesars get and scored a near perfect 9/10 on the JCP Caesar Meter! JC ordered the red sangria and called it delicious and drank it like a race horse at the water trough after the Kentucky Derby so, even though I can't attest to it because I didn't get a chance to try any, I am going to go out on a limb and say it was exceptional!

 

 

 Mushroom Arancini with Truffle Oil

Mushroom Arancini with Truffle Oil

Mushroom Arancini

 

Now here is where things got very interesting, very quickly. While scanning the menu we happened upon some Siberian Caviar and when we asked our server what she thought of it her knees got weak and she almost keeled over! Oh Nathalia! Some people are just plain good at everything they attempt and I have a sneaking suspicion our server on that night is one of those. An extraordinary waitress; kind, warm, helpful and genuine! The tin of delicious Sturgeon roe arrived accompanied by red onions, chives, egg white, egg yolks and bakery fresh Latkas. We paired it, at Kyle's recommendation, with the 2014 Domaine la Gemière Sancerre. Now I consider myself an eloquent writer, I have the best words to steal a line from Donald Trump, but it's tough to articulate the flavour of caviar melting in your mouth after a swallow of this delicious Sancerre. I lament my inadequacy, but at least it will give you further reason to visit the Glowbal Grill.

 

 

 Siberian Caviar - with Red Onions, chives, Latka, Egg White, Egg Yolk, Sour Cream

Siberian Caviar - with Red Onions, chives, Latka, Egg White, Egg Yolk, Sour Cream

Siberian Caviar

 

Still reeling from the foodgasm that is caviar paired with a nice white wine our second courses arrived: a sashimi trio consisting of halibut, ahi tuna and wild salmon and an order of ahi tuna poké with mango/ coconut chips. I eat a lot of sashimi, like a lot. I'm currently on a bit of a health kick and protein is king. You can get a $10 sashimi dish at a quaint, smaller Japanese restaurant and be perfectly content, but when you get sashimi from a restaurant who prides themselves, defines themselves by quality it is a whole different animal! Literally. Wild salmon, ocean fresh halibut and the kind of ahi tuna someone had to get up very early to buy at the docks.

 

 

 Sashimi Trio & Ahi Tuna Poke

Sashimi Trio & Ahi Tuna Poke

 Sashimi Trio - Halibut with yuzu kosho & ponzu, Ahi Tuna with sesame miso, Wild Salmon with jalapeño gochujang vinaigrette

Sashimi Trio - Halibut with yuzu kosho & ponzu, Ahi Tuna with sesame miso, Wild Salmon with jalapeño gochujang vinaigrette

 Ahi Tuna Poke, with Mango & Coconut with Chips

Ahi Tuna Poke, with Mango & Coconut with Chips

 

Jenn has a horrible habit of ordering miso sablefish whenever and wherever she finds it. Maybe horrible is a stiff assertion, but compulsive behaviour, wherever it rears its head, should be avoided imho. The fish, however, was exquisite, the shiitake mushroom consommé and soba noodle salad extremely lovingly constructed and it quickly disappeared. I was lucky enough to grab a couple bites in between the blur that was Jenn's wizard-like mastery of knife and fork and can attest to the quality. In and of itself worth a visit.

 

 

 Miso Marinated Sablefish - Shiitake Mushroom Consomme, Soba Noodle Salad

Miso Marinated Sablefish - Shiitake Mushroom Consomme, Soba Noodle Salad

Miso Marinated Sablefish

 

Now let's get serious for a second. Not as serious as cancer, but as serious as an avid carnivore meeting what he didn't even know was his favourite thing in the world. Enter my raw cut of Wagyu beef paraded to the table in all of its marbled goodness. I've had Wagyu before, many times, but I have never had such an incredibly tender, deliciously fat marbled cut as this. Hands down the best steak of my life! The best! Served a perfect medium rare, first box ticked, and so tender, so tender, that I could have cut it with a stern look. It sat on a bed of decadent, fluffy mashed potatoes and crisp, fresh broccoli. The steak was a perfect 10/10, the mashed potatoes were a handcrafted miracle of carbohydrates and, I'm told, the broccoli was excellent!

 

 

 Japanese Wagyu

Japanese Wagyu

 8 oz Japanese Wagyu New York Strip

8 oz Japanese Wagyu New York Strip

Japanese Wagyu New York Strip
Japanese Wagyu New York Strip

 

Even hardly able to walk to excuse myself to the restroom I did not have the mental fortitude to deny an offer of freshly baked apple pie. I mean who does? Gandhi maybe, but that's it! Light, flaky puff pastry with caramelized apples served with delicious rum raisin ice cream. Hard to follow the best steak of my life, but an extremely valiant attempt and I would even go so far as to acquiesce to the fact that you could probably make a trip to Glowbal for the pie alone.

 

 

 Apple Pie - puff pastry, caramelized apples, rum & rasin ice cream (baked fresh daily)

Apple Pie - puff pastry, caramelized apples, rum & rasin ice cream (baked fresh daily)

 

Have you been to downtown Vancouver? It's the largest city in North America without freeway access which means there are only a few ways in and out of the downtown core. One of them, that you will undoubtedly take before you die, leads you right past the Glowbal Grill at the bottom of the newly opened 1,000,000 square foot Telus Garden development that boasts the length of an entire city block. The unique birdcage booths on the patio will catch your eye, but not more so than the 220 foot long arched canopy that boasts an LED light show at night. It is truly an engineering marvel and hard to miss. If you do miss it look for me. I'll be there.

 

 

Glowbal
 Glowbal

Glowbal

Glowbal
Glowbal
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Top Patios in Vancouver Series: Altitudes Bistro at Grouse Mountain by Jenn Chan

Altitudes Bistro


 

The Grouse Grind. Is it world famous? Or is it just a regionally known torture device? I hope everyone remembers the late, great Canuck Rick Rypien? Pound for pound, in my opinion and that of many others, the greatest pugilist in NHL history. At 5'10" and 180 LBs you might not have expected Ryp to take on men 6'7" and 260 LBs, but he did. And we beat them up. Google it! Ryp once did the Grouse Grind, with a group of Canucks prospects, in 37 minutes flat. The rest of the up and coming NHL'ers laboured across the finish line a full 13-23 minutes later with most crossing around the 50-60 minute mark. World class athletes put to shame. I did my one and only attempt at the Grind in around 90 minutes. Surely I was with a slower group and waited when maybe I could have gone on, but I was, at that time, so grateful for the water breaks and frequent stops to lament our existences.
 

A scenic, round trip ride on the Grouse Mountain Gondola will run you $44, a year long pass for locals $130, but a ride down, after afflicting yourself to Mother Nature's Stairmaster, is only $10. That's why when you are reclining on Altitude's amazing, absolutely amazing, patio you see yoga pants and hiking shoes to your right and left. People who just burned millions of calories are putting them back on with, a lot of the time according to our gracious server, Altitude's fantastic Caesar.

 

 

Grouse Mountain Gondola
Altitudes Bistro Patio
Altitudes Bistro Patio


 

This is where our culinary experience begins; with a couple Caesars basking in the sun. It has become a must at JennChanPhotography to sample a restaurant's Caesar. We give Altitudes offering a solid 8/10 on our patent-pending Caesar Scale. As we're enjoying our second round, as I mentioned they were very good and a JCP tradition so you gotta do it, our first course came out. I got a Roasted Tomato Soup with Avacado Yogurt and Cilantro which pairs seamlessly, memorably, with a Caesar. Sweet yogurt coupled with tart notes from the roasted tomatoes and cilantro. One of my favourite childhood meals was grilled cheese and Campbell's tomato soup. Altitudes tomato soup makes Campbell's, though excellent and still an occasional indulgence, seem like garbage. Rotting garbage on a sweltering August day. That's some good soup! Jenn ordered the Szechuan Prawn Rice Bowl. The prawns were very plump and flavourful, the Jasmine rice was fresh and the dish was devoured happily. 

 

 

Caesar
 Roasted Tomato Soup with Avocado Yogurt & Cilantro

Roasted Tomato Soup with Avocado Yogurt & Cilantro

 Szechuan Prawn Rice Bowl - Stirfy Vegetables, Jasmine Rice, Cashews & Pea Shoots

Szechuan Prawn Rice Bowl - Stirfy Vegetables, Jasmine Rice, Cashews & Pea Shoots

Szechuan Prawn Rice Bowl


 

Our main courses came out accompanied by a lovely Jackson-Triggs Sauvignon Blanc from the Okanagan Valley and a Granville Island IPA. An aptly name Grouse Grind Salad, mountainous, a combination of couscous, mint, tomato, cucumber, chick peas, feta, and avocado and a full order of the Altitudes BBQ Ribs with broccoli coleslaw and yam fries.  The ribs were tender, the BBQ sauce was sweet and tangy and quality of the beef was excellent. I will go back for the ribs, maybe I'll see you there!



 

 The Grouse Grind Salad - Kale, Couscous, Mint, Tomato, Cucumber, Chick Peas & Feta

The Grouse Grind Salad - Kale, Couscous, Mint, Tomato, Cucumber, Chick Peas & Feta

 BBQ Ribs with Broccoli Coleslaw & Yam Fries

BBQ Ribs with Broccoli Coleslaw & Yam Fries


 

It is difficult to discuss Altitudes Bistro without noting it's positioning atop Grouse Mountain overlooking the beautiful City of Vancouver. The views are incredible! Absolutely world class! During the 2010 Olympics, though no events took place on Grouse, all the major news networks set up shop on Grouse because the backdrop is extraordinary. Vancouver is voted, year after year, the most liveable city in the world. It is revered the world over for its combination of mountains, which at Altitudes you find yourself perched atop, the beautiful Pacific Ocean, gleaming, modern architecture and lush green landscape. From Altitudes you can see all of it. From the green peninsula of the unique American enclave of Point Roberts in the distance, the enormous outcropping that is the University of British Columbia, the huge Vancouver airport sitting below sea level in a marshy delta and the rest of the Fraser Valley stretches out before you. If you go with an experienced Lower Mainlander you can learn the topography, history and layout of the lush valley. Altitudes is a must see for locals and tourists alike!



 

Grouse Mountain Sunset
Altitudes Bistro
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Top Patios in Vancouver Series: The Keefer Bar by Jenn Chan

The Keefer Bar


Slowly but surely Chinatown is becoming a hotspot in the Vancouver gastronomic scene. Leading that charge is the Keefer Bar with its self-styled 'apothecary cocktails' and Asian fusion small plates. 

 

The Keefer Bar
The Keefer Bar
The Keefer Bar


Our journey started, as all journeys at the Keefer do, with cocktails. We sampled the Dragonfly and the Keefer 75 first. The Dragonfly consists of dragonfruit gin, sake, lemon, ginger syrup and magnolia bark tincture, whatever the hell that is! The menu indicated it would be tart yet my beautiful Asian companion for the night, owing, I would surmise, to her deep-rooted love of ginger, found it refreshing and well balanced. I found it very tasty, tart as per the menu, but definitely one I'd order again. The Keefer 75 is the Keefer Bar take on the classic French 75. They use their dragonfruit gin, some lemon, a dash of lavender and top it off with some sparkling wine. Very fizzy and delicious, I could have had 20!

 

 Dragonfly

Dragonfly

 Keefer 75

Keefer 75

 

As our Peking Duck tacos, absolutely amazing, came out so too did our Wenxu and Moscow Mule. The Wenxu is made with vodka, grapefruit, lemon, the omnipresent ginger and a red ginseng tincture. Now from my limited knowledge of ginseng I know that it is supposed to relieve stress and aid in erectile distinction in men. It seemed to do both, but it may have been from the alcohol and company. I guess we'll never know! Every bar in the world, perhaps a slight hyperbole, makes a Moscow Mule. I have not, full disclosure, had one in every bar in the world, but I have had many and the Keefer Bar makes my favourite mule. Worth a visit on its own. They use Finlandia vodka, good start, make their lime juice fresh, second box ticked, and use a very high quality ginger. A near perfect 10/10!

 

 

 Wēnxù

Wēnxù

 Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule


The duck tacos were the best that I had ever had and it is not only because they were my first duck tacos of life, you don't find that on many menus, but also because the duck was lean, the tortillas mouth-watering my fresh and the vegetables were very fresh. A tear rolled down my cheek when we finished them, but happiness returned when I realized we could just order more. Moral of that story is throw money at your problems people, just throw money! 

 

 

 Peking Duck Tacos

Peking Duck Tacos


 

Dim sum at a bar is a gamble going in and I think most people would agree with that. I have had some surprisingly good experiences and I have had entire nights ruined. Dim sum means 'touch the heart', but it can sometimes mean 'crippling stomach pain'. The Keefer makes a mean dumpling. Their basket includes pork, shrimp and vegetable dumplings and I rank them as follows: pork, shrimp and vegetable which is really what I prefer my food to eat rather than me. I'm hoping to grow out of it one day, but for now vegetables are good for nourishing the animals which ultimately become my main source of nutrition. I will just apologize to all the onions of the world now because I hear they can be crybabies.

 

 

 Dim Sum - Pork, Shrimp & Vegetable Dumplings

Dim Sum - Pork, Shrimp & Vegetable Dumplings

 

Afterwards we decided to grab a couple more Dragonflys and ordered the Peking Duck Sliders and the famous Keefer Shrimp Spring Rolls. Best sliders of my life. Duck is such an underrated poultry in Canada. We gotta stop people! The spring rolls didn't disappoint. Deep fried to a glorious golden brown and filled with amazingly fresh shrimp. Some of the better spring rolls I've had and I have in the past given some pretty tepid reviews of spring rolls. 

 

 

 Shrimp Spring Rolls

Shrimp Spring Rolls

 Peking Duck Sliders

Peking Duck Sliders


The boys at Keefer are keeping the cocktails innovative, the food a very elevated Asian fusion and the ambience is still dark and sexy! Head on down to the Keefer today. Their happy hour is amongst the best in the city and runs 5-7 everyday, but Saturday. Could be a good way to dip your toe in with 2 for 1 tapas and and awesome cocktail specials!

 

The Keefer Bar
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

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: Reflections - The Garden Terrace by Jenn Chan

Reflections - The Garden Terrace

 

Hotel Georgia, an iconic Vancouver landmark, opened in 1927. It played host to some of the world's biggest celebrities in its heyday: Elvis, Princess Diana, the Beattles, John Wayne and even Queen Elizabeth. Nowadays, because of the immediacy of information and the potential for fans swarming the grounds, the guest list is kept more confidential, but it is not uncommon to see celebrities and billionaires convening at Hawksworth, their world renowned, ground-level restaurant, or Reflections, their New York inspired rooftop garden bar.

 

 

Reflections - The Garden Terrace
Reflections - The Garden Terrace

 

We were fortunate enough to be met at Reflections by their new Director of Sales and Marketing, Brad Simmons. To say Brad is a nice guy is like saying summer is hot and water is wet. An incredibly amiable, charming, transplanted Londoner recently moved to Vancouver to bring the Rosewood Hotel Georgia to the forefront of Vancouver's hotel scene. And why shouldn't it be? 


In 2011 they re-opened after an extensive renovation that saw them consolidate their 300+ rooms into 156 luxury rooms and suites. The finishes are top notch and vacancy is scarce which means the high-end rooms are well sought after. The market has spoken and with Mr. Simmons on board to nudge it along expect to start hearing more about Hotel Georgia in the coming years. Did you know you can host your conferences there? Your charity fundraisers? A birthday party?
 

Reflections is an oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. It's lush foliage and babbling waterfall lend itself to a very serene experience. In the past year their kitchen and bar area has doubled, tens of thousands have been spent on a variety of beautiful trees and plants and their menu was firmed up into more concise, tapa-inspired selections.

 

Reflections - The Garden Terrace

 

Our experience started, as all sunny, rooftop patio experiences ought, with a couple of cocktails. We tried the Hotel Georgia which can be bought around the world under the name... The Hotel Georgia. Crafted in-house in 1945 it is a delightful mixture of gin, lemon juice, orgeat and egg white. An international award winner for a reason! We also ordered the Green Thumb Margarita which, though it hasn't won any cocktails awards yet, is destined to be on the menu for years to come!



 

 Hotel Georgia with some Veggie Chips

Hotel Georgia with some Veggie Chips

 Hotel Georgia + Green Thumb Margarita

Hotel Georgia + Green Thumb Margarita

 

As a lifestyle blogger sometimes you have to order a dish you wouldn't otherwise because you need a variety to photograph or maybe it's something the establishment would like to feature, but protocol went out the window when all 3 members of our party opted for the Albacore Tuna Poke for our appetizer. The tuna was of a quality that sets it apart from your chain restaurant or mom and pop spots. It was seasoned to perfection and simply melts in your mouth! Go now!


 

 Albacore Tuna Poke

Albacore Tuna Poke

Albacore Tuna Poke

 

We managed to agree on 3 different entrées and went with: Lobster & Prawn Brioche, Rye Kernel Salad with Huli Huli Chicken Breast and a lovely Grilled Flat Iron Steak. The brioche was very fluffy and it was clear the lobster had been de-shelled only minutes earlier, this isn't your canned lobster that can be found on some similar sandwiches! The salad looked very fresh and, though I didn't want to impose upon our host to try it, I was told it was exquisite and the uniquely spiced chicken is worth a visit all on its own; Huli Huli y'all! The steak came out a perfect medium rare, first box ticked, was a healthy AAA grade of beef, so far so good, and was masterfully seasoned. I give it a solid A rating and I have yet to give a perfect A+ score on steak because there are simply too many variables.

 

 

 Lobster & Prawn Brioche

Lobster & Prawn Brioche

 Rye Kernel Salad with Huli Huli Chicken Breast

Rye Kernel Salad with Huli Huli Chicken Breast

 Grilled Flat Iron Steak

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

 

Though I hesitate to mention it the majestic blue roof of Hotel Vancouver constantly drew my gaze. It is a view that I happily also enjoy from my own balcony and one that gives me a deep sense of calm and a feeling that I'm home. The lush garden setting, punctuated by some 20 foot Japanese Maple trees craned into place only months before, the unique architecture of the adjoining tower, the Residences at Hotel Georgia, and the stunning Hotel Vancouver coupled with the soothing sounds of the waterfall make the ambience second to none in the city. A perfect place to relax for lunch with colleagues, stop in for a drink after work or grab an elegant dinner. You will start to hear more and more about Reflections going forward; trust me.



 

Reflections - The Garden Terrace
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan