As Justin Lussier traveled through Naples in 2005, he decided to stop for the city's famous pizza at a small street-side eatery bearing the sign Pizzeria Sorbillo. He loved his traditional thin-crust pie so much that he rushed to a pay phone and called his friends Christian Bullock and Jason Allard to tell them that he wanted to make that same pizza. When Justin returned to Canada, the trio travelled to confer with the culinary experts at Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) in order to uncover what truly makes a pizza Neapolitan. Two years later, the friends set out to open Famoso.
Famoso's chefs all follow strict guidelines set by the AVPN?they only use OO Caputo flour imported from Naples, and they hand mill tomatoes imported from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, where each crop is grown in soil enriched by volcanic ash and sung to daily by volcanologists. Chefs top the crust with local fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and pecorino romano cheese. They then spread dough into wafer-thin disks, which they blast-fire at 900 degrees for 90 seconds inside imported Italian bell-shaped ovens. Pizzas are also topped with ingredients such as soppressata, oven-roasted Italian sausage, kalamata olives, and truffle oil.
Famoso Baristas can pair many of these pies, some of which are reinvented twice each year, with a mix of local and international wines?including vintages from Italy and Canada?and hand-crafted gelato. At each restaurant, they ferry dishes and drinks through rustic and inviting interiors, each of which reflects the unique style of its neighbourhood, though all are united by accents of exposed brick and wood, wine-bottle art, and sculptural pizza-box displays.
Though both of Shawn and Lisa Low's daughters, Isabella and Emma, love cupcakes, it was Emma who unwittingly named her parents' bakery—when presented with a cupcake, she used to clap her hands and shout, "Happy for me!" At Happycakes, a team of pastry chefs bakes fresh cupcakes from scratch as the sun rises, creating both filled and unfilled varieties. The ever-changing roster of 15 flavours includes inventive selections such as peanut-butter supreme alongside signature red velvet cupcakes. Though cupcakes are the bakery's bread and butter, it also tempts sweet teeth with other treats—cake pops, fudge, cakes, and coffee—and sates hungry bathtubs with cupcake-themed bath products.
Happycakes invites guests of all ages to celebrate birthdays in its cupcakery, and offers party packages that include ceramic painting, decorations, and goodie bags. Happycakes also caters its eye-catching cakes and cupcakes to help celebrate weddings, corporate events, and corporate marriages of two smitten conglomerates.
You could say that the art of food preparation is in chef Manish Rawat‘s blood. An India native, his culinary passion started early on by observing his father’s restaurant and catering business. That experience formed the kind of chef he is today: one who is passionate about artful cuisine and the lengths to which he can bend flavours. That’s nowhere more evident than in the way his kitchen staff at Chef's Kebab blends herbs and spices to craft his extensive menu of vegetarian and meat-based entrees and tandoor-baked breads.
But dinner at Chef’s Kebab is a treat for the other senses, too. The restaurant’s use of white plates makes the chef’s colourful food pop, whether it’s the ochre glow of a cashew curry with lamb or the vibrant green of a cumin-spinach puree with farmer's cheese. Inside the tandoor oven, skewered black tiger prawns, peppercorn-flavoured lamb, and yogurt-marinated jack fruit might be found roasting over an open flame or perfecting their tan lines.
It’s a Friday night at Xcalibur Bowling, and the lights have gone out. As a vibrant glow overtakes the space, with balls and pins blushing in the dark and laser lights dancing across the centre’s 36 lanes, it becomes clear: tonight is Xtreme Bowling. A DJ begins to spin chart-topping hits of yesterday and today—from Nicki Minaj to John Philip Sousa—and, as if on cue, the glowing orbs fly from bowlers’ hands and crash against their targets. The glow-in-the-dark party is a regular occurrence at Xcalibur, taking place every Friday and Saturday night. Yet, the rest of the week is no snooze fest: “Old Skool” music blasts from the speakers on Sundays, and a video arcade waits for antsy hands every single day.
The centre's The Edge Sports Bar tempts bowlers with LCD TVs, draft beers, and a pool table and dartboards. After a few frames, underage gamers can retreat to The Grill Restaurant to quell postgame hunger with salads, pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches.
You might notice your order taking a bit longer at Vera's Burger Shack than it would at a standard quick-serve restaurant. That's because specially-trained Burgeristas take the time to cook each fresh, hand-made burger to a perfect medium?just a little pinkness?and top it with a choice of specialty ingredients such as chipotle mayo, fried eggs, and even cheese curds, not to mention Vera?s signature sauce. The result is a roster of burgers that can number over 1,000 combinations and has topped readers' choice polls for over a decade, as they did again in Westender in 2014. Diners can switch it up by ordering a patty made with lamb, turkey, or veggies, and they can make the meal complete with double-fried fresh-cut fries and milkshakes made with hand scooped ice cream.
Among the lively chatter of friends and the glow of 11 HDTVs, Rusty’s offers a home away from home where patrons can relax and beer spills are not a big deal. Bartenders pour tall, frosty glasses of Canadian and import brews and shake up martinis and cocktails. The menu offers eclectic dishes, such as perogies and chorizo, butter-chicken rice bowls, and Big Kahuna flatbread. Patrons can pop in to catch the Canucks, BC Lions, and Whitecaps or stop by on Mondays to flex their golden pipes or practice their duck calls during karaoke. As a part of the community, the team at Rusty’s looks to help their patrons drink responsibly and offers a complimentary pickup-and-drop-off shuttle service from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.