For their second issue, MONTECRISTO Magazine is very excited to have Jay Jones join its team of contributors. Though Jones is the mixologist and head bartender at the Loden Hotel’s Voya Restaurant, it’s the latter title he prefers. Throughout his career at the bars of some of Vancouver’s most prestigious restaurants, he has been dubbed a variety of names, each one seemingly an attempt to elevate the public perception and appreciation of the lowly barkeep. To him, it seems that “bartender” has become a dirty word, so in the spring issue of MONTECRISTO, Jones makes a humble appeal for its resurrection.
You could see the [hospitality] industry percolating, as new ambitious kitchens began to pop up. We started to embrace fresh, regional ingredients and to pay attention to seasonality. The ambition and creativity was inspiring as chefs became celebrities. The world began to notice. Bartenders began to notice.
MONTECRISTO magazine is a regional lifestyle quarterly created for the discerning, cultured Vancouverite, and is designed with the highest standard of quality in mind. The upcoming spring issue of MONTECRISTO will be available at Chapters/Indigo stores across Greater Vancouver, as of April 20th. www.montecristomagazine.com
Modern Mix Vancouver was invited to Yaletown’s r.tl (1130 Mainland Street) last week for a sampling of its new regional features. In case you missed the first article, r.tl’s menu is split into three sections, with each section featuring five to six small plates inspired from a distinct region of the world. The featured regions rotate on a three month basis, with the exception of BC, which is a constant on the menu.
A quick peek at the menu reveals that executive chef Erik Smith has chosen Portugal and France to join BC as its regional features for the next three months. The 50-seat establishment is chic and trendy, with dark wood furniture contrasted by contemporary white chairs.
Au Petit Chavignol (845 East Hastings Street) is now open. Strathcona’s new 36 seat cheese and wine bistro is open for dinner from 5pm to Midnight, Thursday through Monday. Their dinner menu is categorized into “cow”, “goat” and “sheep” (milk, that is) and “mixed milk”. All cheeses are served with baguette and croccantini. A selection of accompanying side dishes can also be ordered for $3 or less – including almonds, onions, specialty cherries, jelly and granny smith apple. I am a big fan of nibbley food and tapas; I have yet to try out Au Petit Chavignol but I am looking forward to checking it out in the near future!
I went to Hapa Izakaya (1479 Robson St) in downtown on Friday night. The location of the restaurant is quite hidden – although located on Robson between Nicola and Broughton Street (those names don’t mean anything to me – just know it’s closer towards Denman Street), the outside of the restaurant is quite dark. The first time I walked in, I was amazed to see such a small opening expand into a fairly spacious cavern of a restaurant.
Hapa Izakaya is known for its Japanese-style tapas. We were a group of 6 and didn’t make reservations (couldn’t until 8pm) and we ended up waiting almost an hour for our table. While we were waiting, we were seated around a small table and we had the option of ordering drinks and looking at the menu. Prices range from about $3 for edamame beans or octopus sashimi to about $7 for “ebi mayo” prawn tempura (highly recommended) to $10+ for featured appetizers consisting of seafood and meats. These dishes are meant to be shared but if you want to get an individual portion of something filling, try the “ishi-yaki”, a Korean rice bowl with egg. We watched the servers madly beating the raw egg into the rice and watched it cook against the inside of the hot stone bowl it was served in.
So go see for yourself – check out Hapa Izakaya. There is also a location in Kitsilano.