Five Canada Day 2018 Celebrations

Canada Day is upon us, after last year’s 150 celebrations it’s easy to think 2018 will be more subdued but there are still plenty of great ways to celebrate your Canadian Pride.

Canada Day Fireworks

Here’s a selection of celebrations from around Metro Vancouver:

Canada Day at Canada Place : The hub of Metro Vancouver’s celebrations starts with a citizenship ceremony at 10am then entertainment and activities begin at 11am. Canada Day wraps with a bang, as a fireworks show illuminates Burrard Inlet at 10:50pm.

Steveston Salmon Festival : Since 1945 the community of Steveston has celebrated Canada Day and the bounty of Steveston’s rich waters and farms. Beginning at 6:30am with a pancake breakfast with a 10am Canada Day Parade then entertainment, food and fun all through the day.

Canada Day At Canada Place

Surrey Canada Day : Amusement rides, food trucks, strawberry tea and headliners Serena Ryder and Brett Kissel bring something for all ages to Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre from 11am until a 10:30pm fireworks show.

Canada Day #onRobson Street : From Noon to 4pm, Robson Street sidewalks between Burrard and Denman will be filled with giveaways, promotions and treats from local merchants, plus entertainment and music from Krystal Dos Santos, Diamond Crew, DJ Static, Dueling Pianos and more.

Canada Day at Burnaby Village Museum : Celebrate 1920s style at the historic village museum with multicultural entertainment, carousel rides, a parade, Red Serge RCMP, and roaming costumed characters.

This is just a few of the many Canada Celebrations happening this weekend, look in your neighbourhood for other events, plan your own celebrations with family and friends, or check out Jazz Festival, Vancouver Canadians Baseball, Vancouver Whitecaps.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival – West End Brunch Crawl 2017

The 2017 Dine Out Vancouver Festival wrapped up this weekend and before it concluded, another pair of neighbourhood Brunch Crawls, presented by Vancouver Foodster.  This week saw a tour of Robson Street / West End Brunch Crawl on Saturday and Commercial Drive Brunch Crawl on Sunday.

We stepped out on a snowy Saturday morning to take in the Robson Street / West End Brunch Crawl.  Beginning with a visit to Papparoti to pick up our Brunch Crawl registration cards and then to get the day started with Papparoti’s Brunch Crawl offering.

If Papparoti was on my way to work, I’d be starting my day this way a lot more often. They served a pair of their flavoured fresh from the oven Rollies; Coconut and Choco Banana filled. Accompanying my pastries was a Signature Karak Tea, like a light, milky chai tea. The Tea, Papparoti Pastries and a paper would be a perfect leisurely weekend morning but we had many more places to visit so off we went.

Down the street, one of our favourites, De Dutch Pannekoek House had the griddle on serving a sweet or savoury pannekoeken.  Edam and de Bakon made a meaty, melty combination for me, if sweet was in mind, a strawberry topped pannekoeken was the other option. Sweet or Savoury is always a hard decision, even harder when facing the full De Dutch menu!

On the corner of Robson and Denman, PuntoPasta introduces Brunch Crawlers to the newest addition to their menu, pizza. A natural fit for an Italian cafe, PuntoPasta offered a trio of pizza toppings; Margherita, Veggie or Carbonara. Equally at home on pasta as on oven baked dough. Served alongside was a cup of fresh brewed Lavazza Italian Coffee.

Further down Denman a collaborative effort at Ritual Vancouver, the comfort food cafe where Commodity Juicery serves their fresh cold-pressed juices and smoothies.  Ritual served a rich, and flavourful dish; Yam Of Your Dreams; a roasted, sweet caramelized yam topped with hearty pulled pork.  On the side, an Upbeet Smoothie from Commodity was a blend of pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, beets, banana, coconut, ginger, dates and apple juice.

Finally, we visited Styo Dessert the waffle and smoothie cafe offered a Ham & Cheese pair with a Blueberry croissant style waffle for sweet and savoury plate.  To keep our morning energy up, an Antioxidant Berry dairy-free smoothie completed our tastes and wrapped up the Brunch Crawls for 2017.

We can’t wait until next year to see what the neighbourhoods have to offer.  If you can’t wait until then, check out some of the other Vancouver Foodster events coming up like; Pizza Palooza – February 22nd, or the 5th Anniversary Downtown Tasting Plates on March 8th.

Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizzeria

BrooklynPizza_IMG_6900I finally got the chance to grab a slice from the new pie on the block, Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizzeria.  Located at the east end of Robson Street, in the midst of a plethora of Asian eateries, the pizzeria stands out in its style and authenticity, in fact I’ve been to very similar small pizza joints in the Big Apple. BrooklynPizza_2015-05-01, 13 43 30
A rotating selection of pies are on deck for a quick by-the-slice purchase, ranging $3-$4 for a quarter pie slice. Whole 14″ pies can be ordered for take out or dine in, at one of the few tables or window seats. Simple classic flavours like; Margherita, Pepperoni, Clam, Spicy Meat run $13-$18 or create your own pie for $13 and watch as it’s pulled fresh from the oven right in front of you.
The simple, genuine pizza, is a great addition to the Library area food selections and makes a quick & easy lunch or an after work take out pizza. BrooklynPizza_IMG_6901

Visit Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizzeria at 350 Robson Street, open for Monday lunch, Tuesday – Thursday 11am – 9pm, Friday 11am-10pm and Saturday evenings, or online at straightouttabrooklynpizza.com

Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge

Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge is a hidden gem within the lobby of The Westin Grand Hotel in downtown Vancouver.  The second level restaurant and lounge is a comfortable space overlooking Library Square and Robson Street. A casual bar with an upscale vibe, that can make everyone comfortable, a group for after-work cocktails, a light bite after a day of travelling or an intimate dinner for two.

On our recent stay in the Harmony Suite at The Westin Grand, Billy (@billyforce) & I had a very enjoyable evening of dinner & cocktails at Hidden. Starting off with a plate of nicely crispy calamari topped with pickled red onions and a refreshing Hidden take on Pimms Cup, “Little Britain” for me and a tart tequila based “Spring Fashion” for Billy.

 

Even though the bar was fairly busy on a Friday evening, our main courses arrived quite quickly.  The hotel’s concierge, Lisa, had recommended the Vanilla Braised Short Ribs, Billy’s choice, a rich and tender portion atop gorgonzola bread pudding and garlic mash.  From the quite varied menu, I decided on Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken Breast, a chicken breast stuffed with basil and mozzarella served with herb polenta and vegetables.

 

We enjoyed both courses and the cocktails, and at $100 for 4 cocktails, appetizer and two entrees we were pleasantly pleased by the prices. Many hotel restaurant lounges end up being overpriced but Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge was quite reasonable, making it a great spot for the non-guest to stop by for breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails.

Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge is located in The Westin Grand Hotel at 433 Robson Street.  Open from 6:30am until midnight (Sun-Thu) or 1am (Fri/Sat). Call 604.647.2521 for reservations.

 

Find Harmony at the Westin Grand

Recently The Westin Grand Hotel in downtown Vancouver renovated their penthouse suite and along with VanCity Buzz held a contest to name the luxury suite – I was fortunate enough to win a night stay in the room with the name “Harmony Suite”, a fit with the property’s other musical themed meeting rooms; The Symphony, Concerto, Rondo and Allegro Rooms.

Like its namesake hotel, The Harmony Suite is grand in scale, the opulent corner room on the 31st floor covers half the hotel and offers views of the North Shore Mountains, English Bay (sunset above) and downtown Vancouver.  The bedroom features a king-size trademark Westin Heavenly Bed…so comfortable you’ll want to stay in bed all day, but when you do get out of bed there’s a cozy seating area with wet-bar and a 42 inch television along with a Westin Heavenly Bath room featuring a soaker tub and rain shower overhead.  If that wasn’t enough there’s more to the Harmony Suite, the adjoining room features another Heavenly Bath bathroom, comfortable seating with two sofas, one of them a king-size pull-out, an eating table for two, another 42inch TV as well as a computer desk.

With the Westin Grand’s in-room dining menu there’s little reason to leave the suite but when you do, the hotel’s amenities are like a resort in the city.  On the lobby level, find Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails.  Call for personal spa services to visit your room or a personal trainer to keep up your workout on the road in the fully equipped WestinWORKOUT gym, with cardio machines, free weights, steamroom and sauna.

Carrying on through the gym, a vast outdoor patio awaits with a salt-water pool and hot tub surrounded by a large landscaped patio. One of the nicest and least expected outdoor pools in the city.  On Thursdays and Fridays during the summer, the patio turns into the #PopUpPatio, a lively after-work spot with cocktails, light bites and a DJ.

Even if you’re not staying in The Harmony Suite, all the rooms are comfortable and spacious, with the amenities on offer and location The Westin Grand is perfect for a business stay, city shopping trip, concert getaway or staycation.

The Westin Grand Hotel is located at 433 Robson Street, Vancouver. Reservations: 1.888.627.8574 or online at westingrandvancouver.com See inside scoop on Twitter @TheWestinGrand

 

Delicious Pho’ opens on Robson

DeliciousPho_0766On the east end of Robson Street, we have almost every style of cuisine for a quick lunch or dinner but until recently there wasn’t any pho’ noodle house.  That has now be remedied with the opening of Delicious Pho’, a large, bright restaurant serving a wide range of Vietnamese inspired menu items.  I must admit I’m not that well versed on Vietnamese food partly due to that fact we don’t seem to have that many options in our ‘hood.

Delicious Pho’ seems to be filling a gap in the market as they appear to be very busy since opening a couple weeks ago, we’ve been twice and it’s been full each time.  Most menu items are in the $10-$12 range and the servings are quite large so for downtown Vancouver it seems to be quite good value for money.  We’ve tried a number of options so far (although no pho’), and have been satisfied with each visit.

Starting with Salad Rolls that are quite full and fresh tasting, and at $2.50 each, a couple of them would make a nice light meal on their own.


The Lemongrass Chicken with fried egg and rice is a very simple but  ‘home cooked’ style meal.  Add the greens and veggies on the side and it was a very large portioned but balanced plate.
Another huge portion comes from the Vermicelli Bowl with Pork. A big, chilled bowl of vermicelli noodles topped with vegetables, pork and crispy spring roll.

Billy has tried two different large bowls as well, the Beef Vermicelli Bowl, topped with grilled beef and vegetables.  The Beef Stew in Broth was hot bowl of beef broth filled with noodles and braised beef, the only one of our meals that required a bit of tinkering with the condiments on the table as it was a slightly bland broth.

Overall, Delicious Pho’ is a welcome addition to the East End of Robson’s food scene.

Delicious Pho’ is located at 255 Robson Street. Ph: 604.559.4088
A second location is in Coquitlam at 160-1169 Pacific Street. Ph. 604.474.4088

 

 

SKK Italy opens in Vancouver

Eat Well, Live Well, Enjoy Life! That’s the motto and philosophy behind SKK Italy, the recently opened quick service location on the east end of Robson Street.  The Italian chain has location around the world but this is their first entry into Canada. The simple mediterranean menu fits in well with the line-up of restaurants in the area. The pita wraps and pizza make for easy lunchtime bites to take back to the office or sitting in the sun at Library Square across the street.

The daily special helps the budget but even the regular menu won’t hurt the wallet too much, most entrees are around $10. While the portion size suits lunch add in a side or a frozen custard after to make it a decent dinner time meal too.  All of the items that we’ve tried on the few visits have been tasty and are prepared to order.  The hearty pizzas look to turn over quite quickly so not under the heat lamp for long.  The friendly staff, are quick to explain the menu and helpful to understand the mediterranean items if they’re unfamiliar to patrons.

SKK Italy has a second location coming to Waterfront Station soon, in the meantime visit the location at 386 Robson. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter @SKKCanada