In the dining room, the rhythmic pounding of a bodhrán hand drum mingles with the joyful melodies of a tin flute, flooding every inch of the space with an ebullience punctuated by onlookers’ clapping hands and tapping feet. The diners have left the feasts spread across their tables mostly untouched, their attention glued to the band in the midst of their lively song. Such moments aren't a rarity at Donegal's Irish House, but are an almost nightly occurrence at the jovial eatery that brings locals together to make new friends and share in internationally inspired meals.
Champions of fostering an atmosphere of community and friendship, the affable staff goes out of its way to make guests feel welcome, thanks to attentive service and an ever-changing calendar of events that keep inviting guests back. On select evenings, patrons can convene at Donegal's to watch a Canucks game or to see local bands. As guests chat and mingle in the dining room, the kitchen buzzes with chefs concocting Irish standards such as shepherd's pie and international cuisine that includes perogies and sausage, jambalaya, and butter chicken. Donegal's signature dish remains the whopping blarney stone burger, a 7.5-pound charbroiled Canadian beef patty that gets its eater a commemorative T-shirt and a place on the wall of fame if it's eaten within two hours with no help. Unsuccessful competitors, meanwhile, find their snapshot displayed on the wall of shame, under the most personal entry from their dream journals.
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.
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.
Since debuting in 1938, DQ Grill & Chill has become one of the world's leading purveyors of frozen treats. Today, their sweet empire stretches across the globe, with more than 6,000 stores scattered across the United States, Canada, and 18 other countries. At each shop, an enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and Blizzards Treats to iconic Dilly Bars, Peanut Buster Parfaits, DQ Cakes, and much more. Not content with just conquering dessert, DQ Grill & Chill also tames flames with its menu of hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken.
Bringing an approachable style of tavern cheer to its Surrey street corner, Jack's Public House sets its hearty breakfast and dinner fare against a perpetually festive backdrop. Customers enter under Jack's long, blue awning and elbow up to the bar's rich woodwork or grab a specialty drink such as a Jackersonic gin and tonic before sauntering over to the outdoor patio area. Recent and enthusiastic new owners have revamped the menu and installed flat-screen TVs for keeping tabs on UFC, NFL, and soap-opera action. Each day delivers a different weekly promotion or event such as Almost Famous Karaoke nights emceed by sing-along enthusiast Jacqueline Stone.