Dine Out Vancouver 2013: Edible Canada Speaker Series with Salt Spring Coffee


Thursday, January 31st, 2013 — 10:24am PDT
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There are just a few days left to enjoy the delicious deals and experiences that Dine Out Vancouver has to offer including special events like the speaker series at Edible Canada at the market on Granville Island. Throughout the course of the festival, Edible Canada has hosted talks about Asian Inspired Cocktails, Canadian Whiskies, Pork, Foie Gras and Caviar, BC Sake VS the World, BC Brews, and Vintage Wines. I was invited to the Coffee That Rocks event yesterday with Salt Spring Coffee to learn more about beans, roasts, and brewing methods.

Dine Out Vancouver: Edible Canada Coffee SeminarOver the years I have attended wine tastings, beer tastings, and tea tastings but surprisingly enough, this was my first coffee tasting. Sure, I drown back cups of the good stuff each morning but I have never had someone walk me through different varieties from bean form to brew, sniffing, sipping, and taking note of subtle flavours and aromas.

Kevin McConnell, Lower Mainland Territory Manager for Salt Spring Coffee, and Stamatis Papadopoulos, Quality Assurance & Quality Control Manager, began the session by going back to the very basics — where coffee originated and where their beans come from today.

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Disclosure: Review
My ticket to the event was compliments of Dine Out Vancouver/Tourism Vancouver

Vintage Vancouver Maps


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 — 1:44pm PDT
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One of my prized possessions is an original 1876 Map of Westminster that depicts the Lower Mainland a decade before Vancouver even became a city. Unfortunately for me it’s on loan from my father but I enjoy inspecting it every now and then to follow the lines of rivers and creeks that have disappeared, boundaries that have been erased, and the shape of our region in its infancy of development. This map inspired me today to seek out others thanks to the City of Vancouver Archives. Enjoy!

Vintage Vancouver Maps

burrard-inlet-map
1891 – Burrard Inlet. Derived from Archives Item# Map 50

lower-mainland-map
1897 – Lower Mainland. Derived from Archives Item# LGN 1042

plan-burrard-peninsula
1910s – Plan of Burrard Peninsula Estimated for 1950. Archives Item# LGN 558

Check out how far back False Creek goes in these old maps and also how Lost Lagoon isn’t created yet in the Coal Harbour map. There is also a proposed bridge over False Creek, east of Cambie, in the Major Street Plan map.

vancouver-city-plan-map
1910 – Plan of the City of Vancouver. Archives Item# MAP 387

Coal Harbour Lost Lagoon
1910s – Coal Harbour Improvements Suggested Treatment of Inner Basin. Archives Item# CVA 789-122

major-street-plan
1926 – Major Street Plan. Archives Item# MAP 773

To get a closer look at these maps and other material, pop into the City of Vancouver Archives (1150 Chestnut St) Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Stanley Park Ecology Society’s 25th Anniversary


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 — 10:58am PDT
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The Stanley Park Ecology Society is celebrating their 25th anniversary with activities this Sunday February 3rd from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the Lost Lagoon Nature House.

Create your own craft creatures or build a cone bird feeder, learn about weaving with natural materials, take a Wetland Wildlife Walk (1 hour), learn about the wildlife that call Lost Lagoon home, find out more about the Stanley Park Ecology Society’s work, and help them cut their birthday cake.

Lost Lagoon Nature House

The Stanley Park Ecology Society provides programs for the public and for schools, operates the Nature House, hosts conservation and educational events, provides research and monitoring in the urban forest, and much more.

Stanley Park Ecology Society (“SPES”) – a registered charity since 1988 – began as the Stanley Park Zoological Society. Following the closure of the Park’s zoo in 1995, the society revised its name but continued with its aims of education, conservation and outreach programs. In June 1997, SPES and the Vancouver Park Board entered into a Joint Operating Agreement that documents the nature of our reciprocal relationship. As the primary provider of land-based education interpretive services in Stanley Park, SPES’s role in the stewardship of Stanley Park is undertaken through a combination of: Education, Research, Conservation action.

SPES also advises the Park Board on conservation issues within the Park with an emphasis on wildlife, habitat and Species at Risk. The Park Board provides facilities including the Stanley Park Nature House on Lost Lagoon, the 2nd floor Dining Pavilion offices, and the Earthen Architecture Cob Popcorn Stand in the Miniature Train Plaza.

They also provide symbolic adoption programs that allow the public to support specialized efforts. You can adopt a heron’s nest, adopt an eagle’s nest, or even an acre of Stanley Park. One of their latest initiatives is to raise $10,000 to allow 250 inner city kids to attend an Urban Camping Nature Immersion Program in Stanley Park.

Stanley Park Photowalk

Follow the Stanley Park Ecology Society on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the 25th anniversary, special events, walks, tours, education, and everything else that pertains to urban wildlife and the nature of Stanley Park.

Romantic Night Away Giveaway with Four Seasons Vancouver


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 — 10:11am PDT
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The Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver is inviting you to indulge the senses with hands-on gourmet cooking lessons, a Shiatsu workshop, romantic meals, luxurious accommodations, and more all in time for Valentine’s Day.

Special Events

Men Only Cooking Inside the Four Seasons Kitchen ($149):
On Thursday, February 7, YEW restaurant chef, Sean Murray will be leading a men’s only cooking class in partnership with Ambrosia Adventures in Cooking. Gents will learn how to prepare Albacore Tuna, “Surf & Turf” Braised Shortribs with all the trimmings, and Fig Anise French Toast. The evening includes a cocktail lesson and wines from Jackson Triggs, Black Sage Vineyard and See Ya Later Ranch paired to match the menu. Once the aprons come off, participants will dine together, enjoying the fruits of their labour at the Chef’s Table! To book contact Maureen Goulet at (604) 922-6694.

Valentine’s Couples Shiatsu Workshop ($185+ fees)
In collaboration with the Hotel’s new RedCedar boutique massage and massage expert, Kendall Dixon, a Valentine’s inspired couples Shiatsu workshop. Ideal for this workshop, Shiatsu massage can be done very effectively with very little knowledge. Learning a few key pressure points to relax your partner is sure to earn major brownie points for participants. It’s a great opportunity to spend a lovely, low-key day together on Sunday, February 17th from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Packages

Romantic Weekend Rendezvous Valentine’s Package ($775+)
Check in to your deluxe preferred view hotel room and relax with a delightful couples massage at the new RedCedar boutique massage suite before you pull up a chair at culinary hotspot YEW restaurant + bar. Enjoy a three-course dinner then take the elevator “home” for a cozy night in. Start the next day with breakfast in bed or back at YEW. The Valentine’s Rendezvous Package starts at $775 (plus applicable taxes) and is available on February 14, 15, and 16 and can be booked online or by calling reservations at (604) 689-9333.

Keep it Simple with the Celebration Package ($290+)
Book a one-night getaway in the city at the Four Season and they will add in a bottle of sparkling wine and strawberries, breakfast in bed or a hot breakfast buffet at YEW, and receive complimentary parking for the night.

New Contest...

Contest

I have partnered with the Four Seasons to offer up a special stay-cation for one lucky reader and their guest. The prize includes a one-night stay in a Deluxe City View Room at the luxurious Four Seasons Vancouver and breakfast in bed for two, delivered to your door straight from the Pacific Northwest-inspired Yew Restaurant downstairs.

To give you as many chances to win as possible, you can enter using any (or all) of the following methods:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Re-Pin this post on Pinterest (1 entry)
  • Post a photo to Instagram representing something you love about Vancouver.
    Include @fsvancouver & @miss604 in your description of the image (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a romantic overnight stay with @FSVancouver from @Miss604 http://bit.ly/FSVan604

I will compile every entry into a list an draw one winner at random on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 12:00pm. Some blackout dates may apply. Based on availability. Voucher can be used to book the room within one calendar year of prize notification date. Must be 19+.

Update The winner is Marcy Oakley!

Dine Out Vancouver 2013: Dine With Amex at L’Abattoir


Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 — 4:36pm PDT
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Last week I hosted a Dine with Amex dinner at a participating Dine Out Vancouver restaurant, inviting five friends to experience the festival with me. As a proud supporter of Canada’s dining industry, Amex loves bringing unique dining experiences to cardmembers and they are the premier sponsor of Dine Out Vancouver this year.

Dine Out Vancouver Dine Out Vancouver

The reservation for dinner at L’Abattoir was a late one although it gave everyone time to get home from the office and work up an appetite. John and I entered to find Marc at the bar and Keira was already at our table upstairs so we promptly ascended to our seats and ordered one of Head Barman Shaun Layton’s cocktail creations and awaited the rest of our party.

The soft lighting in the bustling restaurant was complimented by the shine of the Gastown street lamps outside that glistened through the rain-soaked floor-to-ceiling front windows. John ordered a Don Draper (Buffalo Trace, Pineau De Charentes, Abricot de Rouillson, Peychauds bitters, Absinthe), I had a Brown Derby (Bourbon, fresh grapefruit juice, honey syrup), and Keira went for the Alfonso (sparkling wine, Dubonnet, sugar, Angostura bitters, citrus oils). Marc brought his drink up from the bar while John Biehler and Kelli arrived, completing our group for the evening.

Kelli placed an order for a non-alcoholic beverage however the server turned back and offered her a different option — a Passionfruit Fizz. When it arrived she was blown away by the flavour. To quote what she posted on Twitter: “Oh my YUM!!!! BEST VIRGIN MOCKTAIL EVER!!!” Now that everyone had a drink in-hand, menus were perused while iPhones snapped photos and prepared for each wave of the 3-course ($38) Dine Out Vancouver menu.

First Course
I went with the confit of Albacore tuna (with lettuce, crispy bits) which was a very nice size for an appetizer while still being a very light way to start my meal. Marc had the steak tartare (slow cooked egg yolk, sourdough, horseradish cream cheese) since he said he’ll always order it if it’s on a menu. The rest of the table went with the marinated beetroot salad (with tallegio custard, pickled pears, pumpkin seed condiment) and couldn’t stop raving. Keira would dig in and comment to John who looked at John Biehler who turned to Kelli as they all raved, discovering a new layer of flavour in their bowl with each bite.

Second Course
Keira and Kelli chose the roast fillet of steelhead (with warm potato salad, radish, dill) for dinner and again, they delighted at how flavourful and crisp the dish was as they pinpointed spices and ingredients. Keira is also gluten-free and there was no issue finding the right menu combination for her dietary needs.

Dine Out Vancouver Dine Out Vancouver

I was the only one who selected the homemade cavatelli pasta (with Italian bacon, poached egg, winter squash, brown butter with sage). Again the dish was light but there was plenty of it to be devoured. It wasn’t overpowering and heavy as pasta can be and the sauce was tangy, sweet, and almost sour – playing beautifully with the squash, brown butter, and the poached egg that added a creaminess.

The gentlemen all went with the pan fried pork schnitzel (cabbage, swiss cheese, mushroom gravy) and I think they raced to see who could clean their plate the quickest — really it was almost at the point where they were about to pick up the plates and lick them clean. It was another simple presentation packed with flavour and fresh ingredients.

Even though our heads were down enjoying each course, the conversation flowed and caught up on happenings in each others’ lives. Marc met Keira for the first time (then they both followed each other on Twitter), John Biehler showed us how he uses his Lytro camera, we congratulated Keira once again on her recent engagement, and we all took brief pauses to share notes on our dishes with Instagram.

Dine Out Vancouver Dine Out Vancouver Dine Out Vancouver

On top of documenting and reeling comments about how tasty our meal must have been there was a purpose to all the posting. Until the end of Dine Out Vancouver on February 3, 2013, festival-goers can enter the American Express Canada #DineWithAmex contest on Facebook for the chance to win one of ten $100 American Express Gift Cards. Simply Instagram your Dine Out meals and upload them with the hashtag #DineWithAmex like we were doing. Then visit DineWithAmex.ca to find the URL of your Instagram photo and submit your food photo entry. You can enter up to three times between January 18th and February 3rd for a chance to win.

Third Course
Having enjoyed the recommended wine pairings with our meals, we weren’t up for the suggested dessert cocktails however dessert itself was highly anticipated. Marc selected the banana poundcake (with passionfruit, caramelized white chocolate) and had to dodge my camera’s lens when he tried to dig in. Keira and John Biehler had the fizzy raspberry lemonade (raspberry frozen yogurt, meyer lemon, basil granite) that almost resembled a bubble tea, bursting with citrus. John, Kelli and I had the chestnut mousse (with apples, dark chocolate) because really, when there is chocolate on the menu it will always be my top choice. Light and airy, the apples cutting through the richness of the mousse and complimenting the dark chocolate, it was the perfect way to end the meal.

Dine Out Vancouver Dine Out Vancouver

Finishing off what was left of the wine pairings in our glasses we sat around, deep in conversation, as tables around us emptied out. The six of us have never enjoyed a meal like that together as our usual gatherings take place at special events, at a pub, or in passing. This Dine Out Vancouver dinner gave us the opportunity to have a meal at a relaxed pace and allowed for conversation (between our feverish postings to social networks). I’m very thankful for times like these with my friends and I’m beginning to think they need to happen more often. Leaving the table and heading out into the night John and I couldn’t help but smile and say, “now that was really fun.”

For more information about American Express Canada and Dine Out Vancouver, follow @AmexCanada and @DineOutVan on Twitter.

Our meals were compliments of American Express Canada in partnership with their Dine Out Vancouver sponsorship.