Within a former Fraser River shake-and-shingle mill relocated to Granville Island, Cats Socialhouse’s team of expert chefs works tirelessly to forge inventive takes on traditional dishes for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Culinary gurus prove their dedication to the fusion of comfort fare with the flavours of Vancouver’s diverse influences as they whip up noshes featuring ingredients such as house-made guacamole, almond rice, fresh basil, and coconut milk. Affable servers deliver freshly minted eats, such as shrimp and chicken pad thai and juicy hickory burgers, late into the evening in order to accommodate customers’ varied schedules and hunger cravings after midnight Jazzercise classes. When outside temperatures take a turn for the balmy, a spacious seasonal patio enables alfresco dining accompanied by cool sea breezes and the stares of pizza-craving clouds.
In 1999, Freshslice Pizza founder Ray Russell set out to combine the once-separate worlds of pizza-by-the-slice joints and speedy pie delivery. Each ready-made slice or delivery pie is created with a dough recipe that's seven years in the making, with a wholesome multigrain base with a crispy texture unheard of in run-of-the-mill pizzas made with boring white dough or pickled Frisbees. At each of the restaurant's 70 British Columbia and Ontario locations, customers can pop in for a few takeout slices, select a feast from the litany of suggested topping combos, or craft their own creation from three different sauces, more than 20 different toppings, and a variety of cheeses. In addition to savoury slices of pizza covered in combos such as pesto, spinach, ham, and mozzarella, customers can dine on morsels of baked lasagna, sweet cinnamon sticks, or other pizzeria fare.
Winner of Best Tapas at the 2009 Georgia Straight Golden Plate Awards, Bin 942 serves up a multi-award-winning menu of globally-inspired tapatisers —larger than standard tapas, but smaller than an entree — and small plates that are artistically crafted from sustainable, local, and organic ingredients. Owner/chef Gord Martin is a punk-rock front man turned culinary artist who designed Bin 942 to channel the spirit of New York–style wine and tapas bars. Diners can knot their taste buds around a selection from the Tongue Twisters menu, which includes items such as golden beets in a truffle honey glaze ($8) and duck confit poutine ($9). Sharing ensues with tapatisers ($15–$17) such as Kobe-beef meatballs with black-truffle pinot-noir sauce and the prawn and scallop brochette with celeriac and tortellini. Body builders can bulk up on steamed Cortez Island mussels ($15), and greenery grazers can nibble gourmet salads ($10). As a complement to well-layered eats, Bin 942 features hand-picked wines, beers, and spirits to pair with its creative concoctions. The funky interior's dazzling mirrored accents, eclectic artwork, and bright splashes of colour stimulate the eyeballs while sultry music whispers sweet nothings to enticed ears.
FastLife hosts themed speed-dating events at hip hot spots and nightclubs for its worldwide network of singles to attend. Using information entered online, FastLife selectively invites its clients to events in their city with guest lists packed with singles who match their ideal partners' qualities, with preferences such as age or favourite impersonations. Events often feature perks such as an open bar or three-course meals interspersed between meeting possible dates. The dating company hosts events in New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain as well.
The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests' senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store's staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of super-premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavour from a list of more than 50 options. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company's founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery's signature sweet-cream ice cream. Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer's choice of ice cream and mixins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one customized mélange.
Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers other scream-worthy confections including cakes, shakes, and ice cream cupcakes. Catering is available at many locations.
Modelled after sweets from classic European chocolatiers, Xoxolat's award-winning chocolate makers concoct an assortment of bars, truffles, and artisanal chocolate creations. Since June 2007, they have treated palates to fair-trade and equitable-trade chocolates and single-origin selections from artisan lines such as Republica Del Cacao, Amedei, and zotter. In addition to selling an assortment of gourmet chocolate bars and truffles, Xoxolat holds a Chocolate 101 class where participants learn cacao bean-facts and the ethics behind eating chocolate Easter bunnies.