Controversial Kitchen, indeed.

For several years, I volunteered as an A/V tech for Earthsave BC’s annual Taste of Health. Though not a vegetarian, I initially became involved to expand my knowledge in live stage management, and was careful not to wear my leather jacket when attending meetings. Though I learned little about live sound, I learned a ton sitting through dozens of seminars and cooking demos about organic food, and a ton more about my precious McDonalds habit.

Controversial Kitchen aims for the niche I needed filled; organic, omnivorous food. Owned by Barbara Schellenberg, who also owns North Vancouver’s Ethical Kitchen, you’d expect her second restaurant to meet modest expectations. Especially at 10 dollars a sandwich.

On the way in, we were greeted by a nice woman carrying a baby in a diaper as she stood at the register. One doesn’t need to work in the restaurant industry (as I have) to know that if you’re going to be a toddler in the kitchen, you’re going to have to put on some pants. And not attempt to eat the sharpie on the counter. Maybe I should have turned around then. Once we’d ordered, I noticed the lady at the register pass off the baby, hand me my change, and grab a spatula.

“Wait,” she remembered.

“First, I need to rinse off my hands for three seconds without using soap. And I can leave that spatula right there in the food prep area while I start making their meals. I mean, it’s not like money and diapers are THAT dirty.”

Oh no.

Once we seated ourselves near the window, we got our food; a hearty sandwich for myself and some kind of egg concoction for my girlfriend. The food itself was decent enough, but we were put off by restaurant patrons seated outside who were smoking while they chatted; all well within 6 metres from the door, in violation of the city’s smoking bylaw [pdf]. I didn’t order my “nutrient-dense” sandwich with a side of cigarette smoke, thanks. I didn’t really expect anyone to stop them, but I also didn’t expect Fiona, the manager (and Barbara’s sister), to join them for a smoke herself.

I hope these guys can clean their act up. Until then, you’ll find me at Nuba. Or Radha. Or just about anywhere else.


Elfsar Comics closing out sale.

May 1st, 2010 - special guest Alan Moore poses with costumed entertainers outside Elfsar Comics. (photo by Taylor Latour)


Seven years. I was one of the first people through the door. I was account #10.

And it was everything I wanted in a comic shop. Nice staff that could talk nerd with you at the drop of a hat, talk friendly and helpful to all folks that came through the door, and never talk down to anyone. Elfsar comics strove to have something for everyone and they were always happy to help you find it. And now it’s dead. Like someone poisoned, it will continue until May 23rd, but then it will collapse and be no more.
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Sinner Man

Over the weekend, I was able to participate in the Sins of the City Walking Tour. I got a free pass, but at 15 dollars, this is a good look at your own city’s sordid past.

When I see century-old pictures of Vancouver  I often find myself wondering, where is that? What was Vancouver? This tour serves well to show Vancouver’s early, and often ugly, days. Ever wondered why Blood Alley is so gruesomely named? Or why there are glass tiles lining the sidewalk at Jack Chow’s?

Tour admission also includes admission to the Vancouver Police Museum, a great little house of horrors located at the former Vancouver Morgue. Their collection of confiscated weapons alone will make you think twice about stepping out of your house.

Vancouver Police Museum

Sins of the City Walking Tour Reservations

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The Alibi Room

I’ve been in Vancouver for 5 years now, and when I first moved here, I found myself constantly yearning for a couple of decent pubs. A place where I didn’t have to scream at a friend sitting three feet away to converse with them. (I’m looking at you, Donnelly Group uber-”pubs.”)

The Alibi Room is a diamond in the rough. Decorated in hardwood and brick, you’re offered a handwritten photocopied menu (sealed in laminate). Though they offer an interesting array of food, it’s their rotating beer menu that keeps this place hop-ping. With an emphasis on local, they also offer a nightly cask selection. These guys have gained a lot of momentum with designers and programmers.

If you’re headed down in the next couple weeks, try Phillip’s Chocolate Porter. It makes a quick joke of beers claiming chocolate “notes” or “bouquets.” You can also find these guys on Twitter.

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Dine Out Vancouver 2010

Flying Tiger

Dine Out Vancouver is the local restaurant industry’s way of trying to make it through the lean months before Vancouver returns to being the prime tourist destination that it is. Now in previous years it’s happened when it’s winter, but since we weren’t having an issue with lack of tourists during the Olympics it’s been pushed back to spring.

Dine Out is a good chance for people like me to try out some of the city’s best restaurants, places that an unpaid blogger could not normally afford to go. For all the resturtants and information you need check out Tourism Vancouver’s special Dine Out site [dov].

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100 Best Local Places to Eat & Shop

I was recently given one of the most interesting takes on a coupon book I’ve seen. Instead of a coupon book with hundreds of “local” discounts on everything from drycleaning services to shock absorbers, this deck of cards focuses on what Vancouverites seem to enjoy most; eating out and shopping. The real treat is that every one of them is in Vancouver, with serious emphasis on the downtown core.

Categorized by neighbourhood (Kitsilano, South Granville), each card gives a synopsis and a price range, and some notable discounts. This is a wonderful pickup for foodies on a budget. Check out Joe Fortes or the Goldfish Pacific for some free “bite size chef specialties”, Stella’s for 25% off the total bill (alcohol excluded) or, if you’re in the mood for buying some exotic housewares, 50% off a single item at Nood.

My only real annoyance with the book is that the cards are double-sided, which can cause problems with a retailer’s lack of familiarity. It’s sometimes hard getting them back to use the other side. They’re also not sub-categorized to separate the food from the clothes, which can be a nuisance when you’re flipping for, say, a restaurant in Kitsilano.

Well worth their cost, you can pick these up for 11.95 at Chapters. Also available in Chinese or Japanese for a dollar more.

Travellers Deck.

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Langley Metblogs – Twilight Drive-in


Yay! Summer is approaching, which means the Twilight Drive-in is slowly powering back up for the Summer months!

I grew up going to drive-ins, which was largely luck, as even in the late 70s, early 80s, Drive-ins in Canada – already hampered by seasonal weather considerations – were slowly dying out. When a refinery fire in Calgary crippled then closed the Corral 4, that was pretty much it. It’s only been in the last few years that I got to hit the Brackley Beach Drive-in on PEI, and then regularly attend the Twilight Drive-in in Langley – a mainstay in the lower mainland, it closed for a few years, and then re-opened under new owners, and so far, so good.

The trick, at least for me, is getting a movie line-up that is perfect for a drive-in. Art films and Oscars winners need not apply. Instead, the B-grade and sensational films, films you regard as “renters” are perfect. This weekend’s line-up of Brooklyn’s Finest and The Crazies has “drive-in” written all over it. And if that’s not enough, they have a regular Sunday swap-meet!

So, if you’ve been looking for a good reason to get that Zipcar account, this could be something to seriously consider – screw trips to IKEA. The age of the drive-in will not last forever – enjoy it while you still can.


Museum of Vancouver

Never heard of this! Why!?

Hidden near English Bay, along with the HR McMillan Space Centre and The Vancouver Maritime Museum, is the Museum of Vancouver, which is definitely an alternative to the Vancouver Art Gallery – hands-on and interactive versus stand and stare. Not that I’m saying one is better than the other, I’m just delighted to discover the MOV.

With tickets ranging from ten to fifteen bucks, depending on the event, you can enjoy everything from a family night of making cardboard animals to Friday’s screening of Handmade Nation.

A Documentary By Faythe Levine

Handmade Nation documents the new wave of art, craft and design that is capturing the attention of the nation. It is the feature film debut of director, author, artist and curator Faythe Levine. Levine traveled to 15 cities and covered more than 19,000 miles to interview artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members.

Today’s craft world has emerged as a synthesis of historical technique, punk culture, and the DIY ethos, also influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art.

Director Faythe Levine captured the tightly knit community that exists through websites, blogs, and online stores that connect to the greater public through independent boutiques, galleries and craft fairs.

Interviews were conducted on-location in artist studios, homes, boutiques, offices and craft fairs, giving the public an exclusive and rarely seen look into the lives of these creative individuals.

Screening will be followed by a reception in the MOV Studio.

Tickets will be sold online ($12) until 5pm, Thursday, March 18. Remaining tickets will be available for purchase at Visitor Services on the 19th. No Refunds. No Latecomers Permitted.

[VIA VIA]

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Underground dining – figuratively. Maybe.

I had no idea, until I read this post at Senses and Style – apparently there’s a trend (or movement, or what have you) for surprise dining. Dining without a helmet. Ultra-spontaneous dining. Let me elaborate;

No Fixed Address is where you email reservations (to nfa.reservations@gmail.com) and that’s it – your involvement is done until chewing is required. You know the date you will be dining, but you do not know where dining will occur until the day before (so you can plan transportation appropriately) and you don’t know the menu until the day of (so you can… I’m not sure why? Maybe so you have some option to say “Strawberry’s will kill me” and adjustments can be made for you, or you can back out.) Once there and seated all you have to do is enjoy. I like it.

Have a look at S&S’s adventure in mystery dining here, complete with pictures.

photos by Senses and Styles

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Andrew Koenig, 41, found dead in Stanley Park

I’m breaking with the Olympic post titling – what was an alarming story, but one where everyone was hoping for the best, has turned out as feared, and the funny post title just doesn’t suit.

Andrew Koenig, who went missing in Vancouver over a week ago, was found dead today in Stanley Park.

The CBC has the full story – no word yet on how those who wish to show their support of the Koenig family can do so, but we will watch for that.

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Olympocalypse! Canada loses in hockey and I make a video

I realize it’s probably a bit tacky to suddenly return after not posting for a long while to try to drive more traffic to a video I made, but hey I still have the most posts on Vancouver Metblogs so I figure it should be allowed.  Granted most of those posts were just a video of the sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium floating around their tank holding hands, but it’s hard work making that seem new after the fourth hundred time.  And gosh aren’t they cute?

In exchange for housing during the Olympics an out-of-town friend of mine provided me with tickets to see the Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey game between Canada and the United States of America.  Inspiredby the righteously awesome “A Night At The Emirates” video [yt] I set out to make my own fan’s perspective video.  It’s hard to say how it turned out because I’ve spent too much time on it to see it clearly and my wife loves me just enough not to insult it to my face.

So enjoy the video as you prepare to watch Team Canada (hopefully) beat up on Germany tonight.  Looking on the bright side it was a valuable wake-up call early in the tournament that hopefully will let us adjust before facing tougher opposition like Russia; though to be fair that’s what the game against Switzerland should have been.

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Olympocalypse! Andrew J. Koenig, missing.

I have a pile of things for another post, but I want this one to focus on just one news item.

I’ve mentioned a personal enjoyment of the Never Not Funny podcast and the show’s hosts when they come to Vancouver for the comedy festival. Well, the show’s engineer, Andrew Koenig, has disappeared here in town. Andrew has often expressed his love of Vancouver in the past, on the NNF show.

The parents of Andrew Koenig — who has reportedly been missing for the past week — described their son as “suffering from depression
” and “not doing good” in the days leading up to his disappearance.

Judy and Walter Koenig (who played Pavel Chekov in the “Star Trek” series) tell TMZ the last time they heard from Andrew was on February 9. They say his cell phone is turned off and that they have learned the last time his phone received a text was on February 16 in Vancouver.

They say he was last seen at a bakery in the Stanley Park area of Vancouver.

His partners at Never Not Funny made this post to Twitter just a few hours ago.

Please RT: Info about Andrew Koenig, missing 1 week? PLEASE call Vancouver authorities @ 604-717-2967 or 604-717-2534. Case #202029519.

A bizarre and sad tale during the Olympics. With so many visitors coming to town, how common is it for people to disappear during an Olympics? Who else has gone missing?

Please note the Vancouver PD contact numbers and case number above, if you have any information.

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Olympocalypse! The word that rhymes with “Rick”!

- Boardercross is way more exciting than I thought.

- Curling don’t get no TV love in the opening matches.

- The UK press really, really, really wants us to be embarrassed about our Olympics, but it’s pretty apparent it’s mostly collective nervousness they’ll be embarrassed of their own. British pals and pals of pals seem pretty supportive however and have carefully explained the press there is rarely indicative of the people. Fair enough.

- On Monday, ESPN columnist Rick Reilly was backhandedly complimentary of Canada for US readers. Met with huffy, Canadian indignation, Reilly open hand slaps Canada, then half-apologizes, asking, “Baby, why ya make me hit ya like that?”

I realize, slightly patronizing as it is, Reilly’s original blog was intended to be comedy. Cutting, condescending, stereotype-laden comedy, but comedy nonetheless. His response to Canadian offense however… well, to put it in Canadian terms Rick will think he understands; take off, eh?

Let’s take a look inside Rick’s tickle-trunk of loathing and see what’s inside, shall we?
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Olympocalypse! The Simpsons!

- I have no official head count, but a crowd, easily numbering a couple thousand (plus the couple of thousands watching) descended upon Robson Street and on cue, proceeded to demonstrate a non-Olympic sport; flashmob dancing. Imagine1Day, a group dedicated to educating the children of Ethiopia, organized the flashmob to raise awareness to their cause. They not only succeeded, but I’m sure they also caused an iTunes sales spike for Martha and the Vandellas (the crowd danced to – what else – the original Dancing In The Streets), and showed not all large gatherings in Vancouver result in police actions. Even surprise ones, which are normally a bad thing. Never pop a balloon around Grandpa while he’s sleeping and never surprise police on high alert. Am I right? Right? Right.

- Last night The Simpsons took to the Olympics, which depending on your personality as a Canadian, was hilariously awesome or pathetically offensive. For me, the most interesting part was when a preview commercial slammed Vancouver for “non-union filming”, which was changed in the actual show to a light ribbing over tax credits for filming. This, after governor Schwarzenegger, who has taken advantage of Vancouver’s film industry, both directly (Sixth Day) and indirectly (running for Governor on a platform against Canadian filming) was the last torchbearer prior to the opening ceremonies.

Photos by thedarkerside and nickfruhling.
To any American’s reading, 80% of all BC and Yukon film productions have union agreements – all of them local chapters as the same unions in the States.

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Olympocalypse! The Pepsi Generation!

- Want to keep track of everyone’s medals? I did, and while I still haven’t found a good, free iPhone app for it, there is this perfect and elegant website.

- I wish we had a video copy of NBC’s feature on the Women’s Moguls. It literally amounted to “Look! We made Canada cry! Awesome!” Well, keep laughing, ’cause we got it back today!

- And awesome guy of the day is this guy and his carefully selected spot behind the CTV outdoors news desk on Robson;

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