Fresh, made-to-order Mexican dishes might not be what one would expect to see in Vancouver's Chinatown district, but that's just where the family behind Hogan's Alley Cafe plates its hearty breakfast and lunch dishes. Red, green, ranchero, and mole sauces, ladled over the restaurant's egg dishes, enchiladas, and chilaquiles.
The masterminds behind Waves Coffee House know that a good cup of joe starts with good beans. Before purchasing from a new supplier, their coffee experts put the beans through rigorous visual and taste tests that are graded on six levels?consistency, aroma, flavor, body, acidity, and aftertaste. Beans that survive this stage are subjected to additional testing, including a spelling bee and several different brewing methods. Once a batch passes muster, Waves works directly with farm cooperatives to ensure that farmers earn a competitive wage for their products.
The company?s insistence on quality and consistency has paid off: since opening, they?ve expanded to more than 10 stores in two provinces. Each location serves Waves?s signature coffee blends?West Coast, Mountain Blue, and Deep Blue?as well as rooibos tea turned into latte, cappuccino, and espresso forms.
Owners Karl Gregg and Allan Bosomworth channel their sundry culinary interests into Two Chefs and a Table, a French-cuisine-inspired bistro with a robust catering wing and a focus on delightful wines. Their laid-back eatery immerses diners in artful food preparation at the chef's table, where cooks prepare meals in the open to assuage the anxieties of claustrophobic cheeses.
The menu and its carefully selected complementary wines change with the season, variously sating appetites with fresh salmon, British Columbia boar, and a slew of other locally sourced ingredients. Occasional Wine Drinker dinners match themed five-course meals with ideal wines as patrons mingle in merriment. For special events and social gatherings, the catering service supplies appetizers and plated cuisine.
On the menu, a list of 10 Deacon's Corner-specific rules reminds visitors that food is meant to be enjoyed and that gluttony is underrated. Homestyle comfort food is the specialty here, with pulled pork, burgers, and French fries made to order, including during expanded hours that allow patrons to visit for dinner. Breakfast is also served around the clock, letting customers get their fill of truffled hollandaise sauce on eggs benedict or a veggie scramble any time of day.
Looking around, dark wood accents lend a sleek, modern feel to the place, courtesy of a recent makeover. But changes didn't just affect the décor; there are new additions to the menu, too. Newcomer plates include the Nick & Jade, a sandwich named after two of the diner’s servers that features chipotle mayo with fried chicken, cheese, and bacon on a bun. It’s listed on the Bigmouth Fellas list of colossal sandwiches, each of which the menu advises is "best enjoyed with two hands while planting your face into it and eating your way around."
DJs take song requests, get the party started, and according to disco band Indeep, save lives on the dance floor. At School of Remix, fledgling DJs learn the techniques needed to become sought-after party-starters. Under the tutelage of popular local DJs, students practice music mixing, spinning, and scratching behind a record’s ear on the school’s high-quality equipment, all while developing their own creativity and inimitable style.
The woks at Terracotta Modern Cuisine sizzle with Chinese tapas-style dishes that meld traditional flavours with contemporary plating. The menu teems with small plates of golden squid, shiitake mushrooms, and five-spice crispy chicken sliders nestled in golden mantou buns, as well as vegetarian options including vegan spring and rice paper rolls, sesame noodle salad, and vegetarian noodle soup. The staff regularly visits Chinatown for ingredients for their fresh desserts, such as the housemade baked tapioca Happy Ending paired with green-tea gelato from La Casa.
Beneath the modern dining room’s softly glowing pendant lights, terracotta warriors styled after those of the Qin dynasty stand guard over the dark wood tables. Cushy, high-backed leather chairs encourage a leisurely meal punctuated by diners swapping tales or shouting "comma" every few words.