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April 22, 2015
News for April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day 2015! Check the new calendar listings below for ideas on how to celebrate it.
All entries in the news sections and calendar below have been selected by the Editor and are not paid listings


Sneak peek! Hmm some interesting tweets and photos from Vancouver sommelier and restaurant manager Andrea Vescovi who is currently working on wine lists for the new BEACH BAY CAFE + PATIO. We already love the wall mural featuring turn-of-the-last-century vintage shots of the old pier at English Bay Beach.

"Italian cheeses have more look-alikes than Elvis Presley". So say Italians who are antsy about "Italian" food products on the Canadian market that are actually manufactured in Mississauga. To defend the fort they've launched to provide consumer info about what 'authentic' should look like. Supplementing that is a venti budget for advertising, pr, social media (#madeinItaly) and even visits from Michelin-starred, real Italian chefs. Chef Pino Posteraro is the spokesman for the campaign in Vancouver.

Last weekend Tacofino’s TACO BAR in Gastown introduced a new sit-down lunch service (11:30 - 3 p.m.) and also unveiled its new 16-seat patio facing Blood Alley. The outdoor area features reclaimed BC cedar tables made by Happy Valley Woodworking studio, Mexican-style chairs and cement breeze blocks designed by Vancouver’s Shiloh Sukkau. Sounds like a good place to drain a jug of Sangria or sip on one of Justin Danes' cocktail creations, such as the Oaxacan Handshake (Mezcal, fresh lemon, Fernet-Branca, egg whites, and bitters).

For the first time in 20 years, Vancouver's iconic OVALTINE CAFE will be open at night. The Hastings street diner remains popular with daytime regulars however managers Theo Lloyd-Kohls and Corben Winfield (Six Acres) hope evening hours will attract new customers looking for good food at affordable prices. New owners Grace and Rachel Chen (Save On Meat Diner) don't want to change the vintage atmosphere (the cafe's neon sign dates to 1942), or chase away old faithfuls, just open up some new options. Dinner service launches April 23.

GM Robert Stelmachuk and Executive Chef Faizal Kassam will act as tour guides as CIBO TRATTORIA brings back its popular regional Italian Dinner Series. The series, which kicks off May 6 with the 5-course “In Vino Veneto” (see listing below), continues on June 2 (Sicily), July 8 (Tuscany), then culminates on August 2 with the 2nd Annual “Bottle Royal” - a dinner and comparative tasting that will pit some of B.C.’s best wines against varietals from around the globe.

Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists at yesterday's VANCOUVER MAGAZINE RESTAURANT AWARDS! (See the list here.) You are all deserving of praise and truly winners in our books - including as one wag put it on Twitter, "the unsung dishwashers". However the most meaningful award can only be given by the customers, when they support local restaurants and keep them alive with their after tax dollars. So if you are a restaurant who did not get a medal yet you are making your neighbourhood or community happy, day after day, well you know who you are and the value of what you contribute. Keep up the good work!


The chefs may all be from Calgary, but at the WOMEN OF THE WILD WEST dinner taking place tonight at New York's James Beard House, the wines will be from BC. NK'Mip, Tinhorn Creek, Mission Hill, Quails Gate, Laughing Stock and Vista D'Oro will be sending bottles to support the culinary stylings of the all-female chef team of Connie DeSousa, Nicole Gomes, Wanda Ly, Liana Robberecht, Karine Moulin, Alison Bieber and Connie Desousa. You go, girls! Catch all the action on the Beard House live video cam here.  


What drink goes with popcorn? Why, Champagne of course! Coming soon to DVD, David Kennard's A YEAR IN CHAMPAGNE is a documentary offering a rare glimpse behind the scenes into the real Champagne through six houses, from small independent makers such as Champagne Saint-Chamant, where each and every bottle is still turned by hand in the cellars, to the illustrious houses of Gosset and Bollinger which have been instrumental in shaping the image of Champagne around the world. Trailer here.

We've always been of the mind that cucumber was a flavour best matched to gin, but STEAMWORKS BREW PUB AND BREWERY obviously thinks otherwise. The popular Gastown watering hole has been busy this week bottling and kegging their housemade "Killer Cucumber" Ale. The refreshing cold brew will be ready in time for Summer patio season.

Working the increasingly urban hip factor of cider (yes, it's even bottled in mason jars these days), BRICK WORK CIDER's newest product, Queen Street 501, was inspired by the old 501 Street Car route in Toronto. For the launch party, the cidery loaded guests plus a band onto one of the street cars for a joy ride around the city before stopping at a local restaurant for a tasting. Sorry - this one is only available in Ontario, however we have many exciting craft ciders of our own. Read Carolyn Ali's article in the Georgia Straight.



Concepts we're buying into now:

Rumour has it that BROWN PAPER PACKAGES has created an Olive Oil ice cream from SugoSauce's stash of Madonna dell Olivo oil, as well as a pale pink/violet-hued Black Rice version that tastes like sweet rice pudding. Both are sold by the scoop or in pints and available at Coco Pazzo in Chinatown.

So what's an oya? Earth Day is appropriate time to inquire. Produced by GROWOYA, a Vancouver company, oyas are water-saving, urn-shaped, clay vessels that you bury in your garden to slowly leak water to the roots of your thirsty plants. The simple but clever item must be a boon to the gardener who also likes to travel, or to anyone living in water rationed areas. Owner/Entrepreneurs Josh McWilliams and Brent Cheetham plan to introduce the product at the Green Festival in New York, then the world. See the video.

We normally avoid commercial salad dressings for the additive cocktails they usually tend to be, however Canadian condiment manufacturer, MAISON ORPHEE, a company we like, is raising the bar. The Bélanger sisters have introduced 6 ready-to-serve vinaigrettes - all without fructose, gluten, GMO ingredients or artificial additives. Instead, the vegan friendly products contain such good things as virgin cold-press coconut oil, EVOO, organic apple cider, lemon juice and real spices.  $4-5. Buy online. And be sure to check out their new smart phone app.


(To see the full calendar click here.)

April 22, 2015
Festivals & Galas - Earth Day Canada
It's Earth Day today. How will you and your family honour it?

April 23, 2015
Festivals & Galas - 4th Annual Taste For Life
Taste for Life at the Vancouver Terminal City Club is a gala fundraising event to help conquer oral cancer.

May 02, 2015
Home & Garden Events - Got Craft? Spring Edition
May 2- 3, 2015. Vancouver's largest indie craft fair, is celebrating its 17th show.

May 06, 2015
Food Events - Cibo's Italian Tour - Veneto
Cibo Trattoria launches a series of five-course dinners that focus on some of Italy’s most famous food and wine-producing regions, beginning with the Veneto.

May 28, 2015
Wine Events - Unlocked Australia
Wine Australia and House wine give you an opportunity to preview wine from the private cellars of Australia's First Families of Wine, before they are released at BC Liquor Stores in June

May 28, 2015
Wine Events - VQA Spring Wine Release - Trade
This tasting of VQA spring release wines for media and trade takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre

June 05, 2015
Festivals & Galas - Tofino Food & Wine Festival
June 5 - 7, 2015. The Tofino Food and Wine Festival celebrates local food and wine, with the main event, Grazing in the Gardens, showcasing culinary talent and BC wines, in Tofino Botanical Gardens.

June 18, 2015
Festivals & Galas - Night at the Aquarium
Night at the Aquarium is a spectacular evening to benefit the conservation of our oceans.

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