explorASIAN Festival: Celebrate Asian Heritage Month

May 4th, 2011 @ 2:20pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 15th annual explorASIAN Festival is happening around Vancouver in celebration of May being Asian Heritage Month. There are dozens of activities and event happening around Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, and various communities around the province over the next few weeks.

Walk-a-thon for Japan Relief
When: Saturday, May 7, 2011 starting at 10:00am
Where: Burnaby Lake Sports Complex East Clubhouse (3760 Sperling Ave)
Fee: $10 individual, $20 family
Event website

Grief in the Digital Age

May 4th, 2011 @ 1:18pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Though I decided to publish fewer personal (family-related) posts on this site a few years ago, every now and then there’s just something that impacts me, my writing, and the online community as a whole that is worth sharing and worth discussing. That being said, it’s been a rough 2011 so far, that’s for sure. I have attended a wake, a living wake, and delivered a eulogy at a funeral all within the last two months. These things not only affect our daily lives and our work process, but they deeply impact our state of being.

Bollwitts and Millers
Bollwitts & Millers. Photo: Derek K Miller

This morning I read the news that our friend, local blogger and podcaster, Derek Miller had lost his battle with cancer (that he had been fighting since 2007) and everyone been sharing his story on Facebook and Twitter – as he wanted it to be shared throughout his entire struggle.

I was debating whether or not I should write a tribute to my grandmother (my Oma) as this was a recent family tragedy that is still sinking in for me. I continue to struggle with it. I keep thinking that she can’t read it so why should I share? However looking at Derek’s writing over the years, including his own farewell post, sometimes things need to be said – not for public display and presentation, but for the healing process to begin. Getting the words out there, letting thoughts flow, and preserving memories are worth the effort – even if the words flowing from your fingers to the keyboard only reach a mass of people you have never met.

Oma & one of her great-grandchildren

I don’t want to share what I said in my eulogy for my Oma but I will say that I saw her several times a month, throughout my entire 31-year existence. We were very close. I was with her in the hospital on and off for the last three months, and near here bedside when she came home for palliative care. There is a void in my heart that will never again be filled by the love of my Oma, however I know that she gave me enough in the years I knew her to last me a lifetime.

There are people you meet in life that inspire you. Whether that inspiration is to step into your flip flops and enjoy the sun on a warm spring afternoon, to reach out donate your time to help educate others in any capacity, or to be a better person and commit to doing what you love each and every day. I’m thankful that I know who those people are to me.

There is no lost value or sentiment when an email, Facebook message or Tweet offers consolation. Even if I sit at the computer and allow tears to stream down my cheeks as I type, it helps. It helps to read a sympathy card you receive in the mail as much as it helps to write a farewell message or thank-you note, regardless of the medium.

If you are looking for some worthy causes to support this year, please consider the following (in memory of Oma, David M Kane, Derek K Miller, or someone in your life):

  • BC Heart and Stroke Foundation
  • BC Cancer Foundation
  • Update Derek recorded an interview with Stephen Quinn from CBC’s On the Coast back in November. They just aired the audio and it is archived here. Very worthy of a listen.

    Hapa Umi

    May 4th, 2011 @ 11:57am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Hapa Umi is now open at 909 West Cordova in Vancouver, looking out over Coal Harbour and Canada Place. It’s the “big sister” restaurant to the beloved Hapa Izakayas around town (on Robson, in Yaletown, and in Kitsilano) that serves up full dinner items that are big enough for one and plenty enough sharing family-style.

    Hapa Umi

    The lounge area has television screens (and last night they had a $3 Sapporo special during the Canucks game) while the main part of the restaurant has comfortable booths or bar seating in front of the open kitchen area. I missed the group media tasting on Monday so they invited me down for a dinner that included samples of some of their best menu items (as such this is not a review post, it’s a recap).

    Hapa Umi offers some of the same signature cocktails found at other Hapa locations. With fruit, citrus, and crisp, refreshing ingredients.
    Hapa Umi

    Halibut Ceviche
    lemon-lime soy marinade, shiso-infused olive oil
    Hapa Umi

    Edamame Ravioli
    edamame and ricotta-stuffed housemade pasta with yuzu brown butter, truffle oil
    Hapa Umi

    Sablefish Yuanzuke
    yuzu-miso marinade, koshi-hikari rice, marinated baby bok choy
    Hapa Umi

    Peach Country Lamb
    braised lamb shank, pommes puree, yuzu-shio gremolata, umeboshi emulsion
    Hapa Umi

    Soy-Glazed Chicken Breast
    Maple Hills organic chicken, soy sake butter, fondant potatoes, sautéed wild mushrooms
    Hapa Umi

    Green tea opera cake, Yuzu tart, Blackberry sorbet

    Hapa Umi Hapa Umi

    I have heard online that it’s a popular place for the business lunch crowd and based on our experience last night, it’s worth checking out after work hours as well. The prices are as-expected for a restaurant that’s a notch above your everyday Izakaya but once again allow for sharing with others. Our favourite dishes of the night were the edamame ravioli (we could have each enjoyed a bowl of our own), the chicken, and the lamb.

    Follow @HapaUmi on Twitter for updates and daily specials.

    Disclosure: I missed the media tasting luncheon so Hapa Umi hosted us for dinner.

    Vancouver Craft Beer Week: Phillips Brewmaster’s Dinner

    May 4th, 2011 @ 10:23am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Vancouver Craft Beer Week is steadily approaching as the city gets ready to celebrate craft beer from around the world. From Belgian wheats to Brooklyn brews and the very best of BC, you can enjoy events that feature multi-course beer pairings or pub crawls around town. One of these events is taking place next Tuesday, May 10th at BierCraft.

    Wheatking Blue Buck Longboat Amnesiac IPA
    Source: Phillips Brewing on Flickr

    When Tuesday, May 10, 2011 from 8:00pm – 11:00pm
    Where BierCraft Bistro (3305 Cambie, Vancouver)
    What Phillips Brewmaster’s Dinner: Five course beer-pairing dinner featuring delicious beers from Vancouver Island’s award winning Phillips Brewery. Chefs Don Farion and Stephen Chandband present a locally inspired menu designed to pair perfectly with the fantastic hand crafted beers of Matt Phillips who will be in attendance to discuss his beers and answer questions.

    Tickets are $55 and there’s room for about 30 more people (at the time I have written this post). I also have a pair of tickets available for giveaway until Friday, May 6th at 10:00am. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post with the name of a Phillips beer (1 entry)
    Hint: you can look in the beer fridge or at the labels in this post
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • I entered to win @VCBW tickets to the Phillips Brewmaster’s Dinner from @Miss604

    Must be 19 years of age or older to enter and win. Please enjoy responsibly and plan a safe ride home from Vancouver Craft Beer Week events. is a proud sponsor of Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2011.

    Update The winner is Ryan – congratulations!

    Keep Vancouver Spectacular

    May 3rd, 2011 @ 4:59pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The City of Vancouver has taken many steps to become green; from bike lanes and rain barrels to composting and recycling initiatives. Throughout the month of May the “Keep Vancouver Spectacular” campaign will bring neighbours together through community litter pick-up campaigns.

    After the fireworks. Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

    According to the City of Vancouver: Last year, 16,000 volunteers in 150 groups came together to fill more than 6,600 bags with litter. You can sign up to be a block captain and organize a neighbourhood cleanup, or find one where you can participate.

    English Bay
    Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

    Frequently-discarded coffee cups, wrappers, and cigarette butts (among other things) cause for a lot of litter on our streets and in our parks. With the sun shining there are more opportunities to get out and about in local parks, on beaches, and in neighbourhoods so please remember to put your trash and recycling in appropriate bins.

    BC Travel Tuesday: Week 4 Inn at Laurel Point

    May 3rd, 2011 @ 3:58pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The BC Travel Tuesday series is gaining momentum with over 1,200 entries over the last few weeks through comments and Twitter. I hope that this means locals love to travel locally, and if you’re like me – there’s so much more of BC yet to discover and experience. In case you’re just finding out about the campaign, I have partnered with for a series of giveaways for properties and destinations around BC over the next 10 weeks.
    backyardbc is a new travel website designed specifically for residents of British Columbia. Essentially a “be a tourist in your own backyard” program, participating hotels & resorts offer residents of BC exclusive rates and specials, designed to motivate BCers to travel more within the Province. Each offer has its own unique reservation code, and all bookings are done directly with our hotel and resort partners. Visit backyardbc online, on Twitter, or Facebook and see more of BC!

    The winner of “BC Travel Tuesday: Week 3 Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort” is Holly Johnston (and she has been contacted by email). This week’s featured property is back in our province’s capital, on the outermost point of the harbour that leads into the historic city.

    Inn at Laurel Point
    Website, Twitter, Facebook, backyardbc listing
    Location: 680 Montreal Street, Victoria, BC
    About: Decks give way to gardens. Glass walls invite natural light. Museum-quality art graces hallways, and wide open space gives you room to breathe. Book an in-room spa or dine al fresco on their oceanfront patio, or yours.
    Prize: 2 nights in an Erickson Wing Studio Suite.
    Value: $688

    To enter to win, leave a comment on this post and/or post the following on Twitter:

    I entered this week’s @backyardbc @miss604 #bctraveltuesday contest #tt

    Winners will be announced every Tuesday on the latest BC Travel Tuesday contest post until the 10 weeks are up. Gift certificates for hotel and resort stays will be sent directly to each weekly winner so they can arrange their visit personally with the property. Some restrictions apply, based on availability.

    Update The winner is Kristine (@KristineSostar)!

    View all posts in the series by following or subscribing to my BCTravelTuesday tag. Open to residents of BC.