Beachfire Brewing and Nosh House

beachfire-1It’s been little over a year since all the rumours about a CR brewery were confirmed and the buzz amongst local food ‘n beer nerds began. The survey followed quickly after and the anticipation grew, then came the zoning meetings and it grew a bit more. By late spring we were a frenzied mob! Our Lucky-lovin burg was getting into the craft brew scene, just like the big boys… Then it was quiet all summer long.

Boom, clang! Like a ninja the Beachfire Brewery and Nosh House appeared and opened for business seemingly overnight without me or many of my fellow industry folks noticing. Its beer time kids! I hopped on my bike after an early admin day and beelined to a block of downtown I haven’t visited in years.

(more…)

Read More

Howe Sound Brewpub (Squamish, BC)

howe-sound-brewery-1Squamish (or “Squampton” depending on where your allegiances lie) is a small burg nestled in the peaks between metropolitan Vancouver and the bacchanalian circus that is Whistler. It’s one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful places in BC that you can easily visit by car (half an hour from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry!) and if you happen to love outdoorsy stuff like my wife and I do it’s a must-visit destination… Except… Well… It’s kind of at war.

Y’see it’s still a small town, just enough industry to keep it going during the winter and enough summer kids hanging around to run the store while all the tourists pile in. Problem is we’re not talking a handful of tourists here. When a sizable portion of metro Vancouver decides to holiday in Whistler, they’re all driving up the same highway at the same time to get there. And they’re all having lunch in Squamish.

During our entire five day long stay in Squamish we witnessed cooks, servers and baristas battling some of the most outrageous lineups of entitled people we’ve seen since… Well, Whistler *laughs* But Whistler’s veteran hospitality army can handle ‘em… Squamish just couldn’t seem to hold the line. Nearly everywhere there were long waits for food, dirty tables and panicked bussers, fuming customers and thousand yard stares from beyond the pass. Our sushi restaurant even ran out of rice!

But I said “nearly” everyone didn’t I? Yes! One shining beacon of hospitality stood out amidst the cloud of war. It’s the biggest, baddest, jam-packed fullest joint in town. The number one recommendation for dinner and post-MTB drinks we got from everyone. Squampton’s Generalissimo in the war of hospitality: The Howe Sound Brewpub.

(more…)

Read More

We Are the Party – Notes From the 2016 BCSGA Shellfish Gala

BannerTwo weeks ago an army of talented local chefs, sous-chefs, servers, sommeliers and a mob of hungry guests converged on the pristine Fillberg Park for a night we’re all still recovering from in one way or another. *laughs* It was time again for the BCSGA Shellfish Gala Dinner, the island’s annual wine-soaked celebration of all the good things that come from the sea! (more…)

Read More

Veneto (Victoria, BC)

Veneto 1It’s 6 ‘o clock on a smoldering afternoon in Victoria and my wife and I are hiking down the main drag, one blistering cobblestone at a time. We’re desperate to get back to our hotel room out of this ocean of people and car exhaust. Sure, we could hang out downtown but our dinner reservation isn’t for another couple hours and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sweat in this hipster inferno any longer, especially with all these MEC bags full of biking gear and cookbooks weighing me down.

I’m ready to start shoving tourists and crusty punks out of my way when I see the Rialto Hotel off in the distance; its grand double doors wide open, inviting me to drop everything and sit at the long marble bar where an angel with wings of cascading vintage glassware is pouring two fingers of Victoria Gin into an icy shaker with a wry grin.

I grab my wife’s hands and drag her inside, bags discarded along the way. We collapse into the tall chairs lining the bar and breathe in the stillness, seemingly miles away from the heat and crowd. The marble is cool to the touch and I can smell mint and lavender bitters on the air… We’ve arrived at Veneto, Victoria’s premier craft cocktail oasis… Thank the Gods! (more…)

Read More