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Vancouver View Magazine http://viewmagazine.ca Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:23:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.1 Ask an Expert Financial Planner: More Retirement Income without the Risk http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/ask-expert-financial-planner-more-retirement-income-without-risk/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/ask-expert-financial-planner-more-retirement-income-without-risk/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 18:10:28 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=24012 with Jeff Swanson, CFP, CLU, BBA, RHU, CHS
President, Swanson Financial Footprint Inc. 

Question: I don’t want to take a lot of risk with my investments, but the interest rates on GIC’s are so low. Are there any other guaranteed investments with a higher rate of return?

In these times of low interest rates, many retirees are coming to me looking for higher yields on their money, but still don’t want to take on risk. This is understandable, especially since they are in those crucial retirement years where they can’t handle significant fluctuations associated with the stock market. Traditionally, most retirees in this situation would have substantial assets in GIC’s. However, there is an alternative investment tool that can provide much higher returns without the risk. It is called an insured annuity.

To simplify it, think of an insured annuity as a GIC for life. The lump sum you currently have invested in GIC’s will still be protected to pass on to your heirs, but you will earn a substantially higher after-tax return on it for a more lucrative retirement income.

How Does It Work

For the purpose of this article, I will keep it simple:

Step One:

An annuity is purchased with the lump sum of cash or GIC’s you currently have. This annuity will pay you a high, guaranteed monthly income for the rest of your life, in exchange for this lump sum of cash.

Many people ask, “How do I pass on the capital to my heirs if I have purchased an annuity with it?”

Step Two:

A portion of the monthly income you will receive will go to pay for a life insurance policy, which will pay out (tax-free) your original capital when you pass away to your beneficiaries. For example, if you put $250,000 towards the annuity, a $250,000 life insurance policy would be used to replenish the capital when you pass away.

The Result:

The remaining monthly income, after paying the life insurance premiums, is substantially higher than the interest you will earn on a GIC, especially on an after-tax basis (which is the most important). Depending on your age and tax bracket, the after-tax retirement income can even double what you are currently receiving from your GIC’s. As well, once you pass away, the lump sum from the life insurance policy is paid to your specified beneficiaries tax-free and avoids probate fees.

Who It Is Ideal For

An insured annuity is ideal for those who:

  • want a higher return on their low-risk investments for retirement income
  • want to pass on money to their heirs
  • want to avoid probate fees
  • want to minimize taxes

As with all investment strategies, I don’t believe 100% of your investment capital should ever go into one strategy, including insured annuities. If you would like to see if this investment tool is right for you, be sure to speak with a qualified financial planner who is licenced for both investments and insurance advice. As always, I am happy to help; you may contact me with any questions at jswanson@bmfg.ca

 

 

 

 

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Real Estate: Playing to the demographics http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/real-estate-playing-demographics/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/real-estate-playing-demographics/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 18:08:29 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=24008 by Ryan Deluca | July/August 2012

Vancouver is such a fantastic city that the world has taken notice. Consistently ranked one of the top cities to live in, Vancouver has so much to offer a wide variety of people who make up the many demographics residing here. Knowing the demographics of any given neighbourhood can help you buy a home in an area that is perfectly suited to you and your family, or sell your home to the right buyer for a higher price.

Professional research of demographics is an expensive prospect. For the average home purchaser, the easiest way to conduct this research is to simply take notice of who the local retailers are catering to. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars researching the perfect placement of their stores in order to sell the most products. You can take advantage of this research while seeking out your dream home. So in areas like South Main where you will find many cafes, independent art galleries and trendy restaurants and bars, one can deduce by watching those frequenting the businesses that this area is made up primarily of younger professionals, artists and young families.

It is also important to visit an area at differing times of day. Viewing any part of town at just one point of day can give you a false representation of the true demographics of that neighbourhood. Some neighbourhoods like Coal Harbour can be hustling and bustling with professionals during the business hours, but, come evening, can turn into a quiet residentially occupied area catering to an upscale and mature resident.

Retailer’s research is not only a valuable tool for buyers; sellers can take advantage of it as well. Neighbourhoods are constantly changing and evolving. Cities like Port Moody have gone from being a tiny town of single-family homes and mom-and-pop shops catering to families and retirees, to a trendy community of high-rise condos and swanky restaurants that appeal to younger, first-time home owners and new families with one or two young children.

Sellers should understand that just because they purchased a home when one demographic was predominant in the area, does not mean that the same demographic is prevalent today. Using the information obtained by the local retailers to your advantage can help you stage your property to attract the most appropriate potential buyer for your home. This could mean, for instance, changing your interior design from a traditional style—which appealed to an older purchaser—to a more contemporary and modern décor to attract the younger buyers.

It is also a great idea to generate a map of your neighbourhood, listing all the shops, stores, bars, schools, parks and such that would draw more interest to your home. Walk your area and use Google maps to locate and highlight all the things that make your home’s location ideal for a perspective buyer over a home in another part of town. Have the map available for showings and even ask your realtor to include it in the listing photos on MLS so people can view it before booking in to see the home.

In the end, demographics will play a key role in the purchase or sale of a property.  Take advantage of all the research that has already been done and utilize it to get a home in a neighbourhood you know you will love or to sell your home faster for top dollar and to the right buyer.

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Wellness: What’s on Tap? A Refreshing Perspective http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/wellness-whats-on-tap-refreshing-perspective/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/wellness-whats-on-tap-refreshing-perspective/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 18:02:43 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=24001 by Erica Blitz | July/August 2012

Water is all around us—we have the Pacific Ocean, the Fraser River, numerous mountain lakes and (there’s no denying it) significant annual rain fall. However, we all too often take for granted our high-quality and abundant drinking water that originates from rainwater and snow melt from the pristine mountains on the North Shore and in the Coquitlam area.

While there appears to be an abundance of water in the Vancouver area now, the inevitability of climate change and the consideration of Vancouver’s growing population and were motivating factors for the multi-million-dollar upgrade of the Seymour-Capilano water filtration plant in Metro Vancouver. Not only is this state-of-the-art water filtration system Canada’s largest water facility (and one of the biggest in North America), but it also uses UV light to disinfect potential pathogens, targets turbidity (cloudy water) and incorporates various innovative energy efficiency features as well. With a daily capacity of 1.8 billion litres, there is no need to boil, filter, or treat this water in any way, and some would argue the Seymour-Capilano plant produces the best tap water in the world.

Water snobs, beware. If you think that bottled water products are more pure and a healthier option for clean tap water, think again. Bottled water plants are often inspected only once every three years. Metro Vancouver, on the other hand, tests its water (from hundreds of sources) over 136,000 times per year.

So, Vancouver: Why are you buying so much bottled water? Convenience, you say?

With all of the fun and funky, eco-friendly water bottles on the market, there’s no reason to be without a reusable water bottle. If you’re out and about in Vancouver, finding tap water on the go is even easier with the Get Tap Map app. Use your iPhone to download this app from iTunes to quickly locate the closest public drinking fountains in Metro Vancouver (for Androids and Blackberries are coming soon). With over 550 public drinking fountains in municipalities spanning from West Vancouver to Langley, you won’t go thirsty.

Another reason that it is worthwhile to switch to drinking tap water over single-use plastic bottled water is the cost. Tap water costs approximately $0.0008 cents per litre, whereas bottled water ranges anywhere from $2–4 per litre, making bottled water more expensive per volume than gasoline.

Although plastic water bottles can be recycled, the truth of the matter is that between 40 and 80% of empty bottles end up directly into the garbage. Metro Vancouver estimates 3 million plastic bottles end up in BC landfills each year.

Is it time to give up the (water) bottle, Vancouver? I think so.

Tap water is making a comeback.

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Relationships: The First Kiss http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/relationships-first-kiss/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/relationships-first-kiss/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:59:36 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23998 by Susan Semeniw | July/August 2012

Remember the magic of that first kiss? The anticipation, the magic, the butterflies…

Well, that first kiss is so much more important than we thought. According to research in Evolutionary Psychology shows that 55% of men and 66% of women couldn’t tell if they are attracted to someone until that first kiss. Most of us go on a date and make a decision at the beginning whether or not we are attracted to someone; if we are not attracted to them, we’ll dismiss them. However, a simple kiss can change that.

A lot of people, women especially, change their mind about someone if the first kiss is good. Kissing can also determine if a relationship can be initiated. According to the evolutionary theory, there are psychological changes during a kiss that subconsciously signal if the other person could be a good partner.

So, how is this relevant to dating and relationship? Basically: if you’re not sure if you are attracted to someone or not, kiss them. Often, uncertainty can be turned into being supremely surprised and blown away at how sweet the kiss was. If you feel something, it is a good sign; however, if you don’t, it could be that you’re just not a match.

Consider these tips if you’re preparing for that first kiss, and don’t delay. If you’re confused about whether someone’s in the friend zone or not, don’t hold back and just go for it. Get the uncertainty over with.

If you think a kiss is in your future, make sure you have nothing stuck in your teeth and that your breath is fresh. Always be prepared with mints on hand, just in case; nothing kills intimacy faster than bad breath. Most girls also appreciate smooth skin; so guys, make sure you’ve eliminated your stubble beforehand with a close shave.

Ease into the kiss—you shouldn’t make it awkward; it should feel natural. As with anything, it’s important to relax. Also, make sure you’re somewhere private so you both feel comfortable. Lean in to the other person and make eye contact. If you’re the girl, look up at him. Let him know it is okay to go for it by putting your arms on his shoulders or around his neck. Drop your gaze slowly to focus on his lips and then, with a smile, look back up at him. Guys, this is the green light to go; so, take control and kiss her. Make sure that there’s no inappropriate groping, grabbing, grinding or death grip. Hold her nicely around the waist and bring her into you. Lastly, make it sweet and clean. Remember, slobbering is for pets and tonsil hockey is for teenagers. Kissing gets to be enjoyed by us humans!

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Beer & Spirits in Wine Country http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/beer-spirits-wine-country/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/beer-spirits-wine-country/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:55:03 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23994 by Joe Wiebe (thirstywriter.com) | July/August 2012

The Okanagan is a popular and well-known destination for wine lovers, but maybe my column has been getting you more and more interested in craft beer. So, the next time you’re headed to the Okanagan, why not try some beer and spirits in wine country? From Sorrento to Osoyoos, there are six breweries, five distilleries and four brewpubs to visit, each with its own unique style and flavour.

What’s more, the region hosts the annual Okanagan Fest-of-Ale, a two-day beer festival held in Penticton every April. Penticton sits at the base of Okanagan Lake with Skaha Lake to the south, nestled comfortably between the valley’s glacial slopes that have proven to be ideal for orchards and vineyards. The city of about 33,000 also has a long, sandy beach that runs along most of its northern edge and a quaint downtown with a fair sampling of well-maintained architecture from the 1950s and ’60s.

One of the older buildings downtown is a converted cannery that now houses over 30 businesses, including Cannery Brewing. Owned by Ron & Patt Dyck, Cannery Brewing has established itself as one of the Okanagan’s premier craft breweries. Cannery’s diverse range of nearly a dozen beers includes some standouts: Anarchist Amber Ale, Naramata Nut Brown Ale, Apricot Wheat Ale, Blackberry Porter and Squire Scotch Ale. Visit the brewery for a tour and tasting, and then pick up a growler (1.89-L refillable jug), bomber (650-ml bottle) or six-pack of your favourite style.

On the west side of Penticton is Tin Whistle Brewing, which brews Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale, Black Widow Dark Ale and Peach Cream Ale, among others. All of these brews are sold in 650-ml bottles.

For a change of pace from craft beer, visit Maple Leaf Spirits. When Jorg Engel moved to Penticton from Germany, he was amazed at all the fruit left on the trees or ground to rot after harvest. Back in Germany, there are thousands of small distilleries that turn leftover fruit into fruit schnapps or liqueurs. He was inspired to start his own fruit distillery in 2006, and within two years, he was winning major awards at international competitions. Engel has an incredible variety of products made from pears, cherries, grapes, nectarines and plums. He even has a maple liqueur that will knock your socks off.

The town of Oliver, about 45 minutes south of Penticton, calls itself the Wine Capital of Canada. However, among all those vineyards and wineries is one of BC’s newest breweries: Firehall Brewing. Based in the cellar of an old fire hall with a pub upstairs, the tiny microbrewery is run by a 20-something local musician named Sid Ruhland, whose enthusiasm and dedication, so obvious in person, is evident in the quality of his products.

Kelowna (which is about an hour north of Penticton) is also a great craft beer and spirits destination, either on its own or as part of an overall Okanagan trip. With over 117,000 residents, it is by far the largest city in the Okanagan. Surprisingly, given its size, Kelowna has only one craft brewery (Tree Brewing) and two micro-distilleries (Okanagan Spirits and Urban Distilleries).

Tree’s brewmaster Stefan Buhl was born in Germany and studied his craft at a brewing university there before moving to Canada in 1996. He has been with Tree since 2000 and has developed a reputation as one of BC’s premier brewers. He also gives a great tour, so call ahead to see if he is available. Tree produces a wide range of beers, including Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale, Kelowna Pilsner, Hop Head IPA, Hefeweizen and their newest brew, Madcap Belgian White Ale. Look for their amped-up seasonals, such as Captivator Doppelbock, Hop Head Double and Black IPA, where Buhl really gets to show off.

Urban Distilleries draws its name from owner Mike Urban, but the products and style of the tasting room itself definitely also have an urban vibe. The distillery makes a wide variety of spirits, including Spirit Bear Vodka and Gin, and Urban Single-Malt Whisky and Rum. As a unique twist, you can customize your own whisky by adding different types of oak directly to the bottle, simulating the barrel-aging conditions whiskies undergo at larger distilleries.

The other distillery in Kelowna, Okanagan Spirits, is located in the heart of the downtown. Okanagan Spirits produces a wide range of spirits, including vodka, gin, aquavit, rye whiskey, fruit brandies and liqueurs, and it also makes one thing no one else in the region does: absinthe. Infamous for supposedly being poisonous and hallucinogenic, the spirit is actually neither, but the distillery embraces the myths around the drink by calling its product Taboo Absinthe. It has a strong anise and herbal flavour and, although some people like to add sugar, it tastes great mixed with cold water (which will turn it cloudy, similar to pastis).

So, with all of these different craft beer and spirits options to consider, your next visit to wine country might not even involve wine. Cheers!

 

Sidebar: Touring in Style

Based in Penticton, Grape Friends offers a Barley, Hops and Spirits Tour that is the perfect way to sample the local craft beer and spirits scene. Ride in style in their comfortable Lincoln Navigator from brewpub to brewery to distillery without having to worry about who is the designated driver.

grapefriendsloungeandtours.com/other-grape-friend-tours

 

Places to Visit

Penticton

Cannery Brewing

#112-1475 Fairview Rd.

cannerybrewing.com

Tin Whistle Brewing

954 Eckhardt Ave. W.

250-770-1122

Kettle Valley Station Pub

1050 Eckhardt Ave. W.

kettlevalleystation.com

Barley Mill Brewpub

2460 Skaha Lake Rd.

barleymillpub.com

Maple Leaf Spirits

1386 Carmi Ave.

mapleleafspirits.ca

Elite Restaurant

340 Main St.

eliterestaurant.ca

Burger 55

85 Westminster Ave. E.

burger55.com

Oliver

Firehall Brewery

6077 Main St.

firehallbrewery.com

Kelowna

Tree Brewing

1083 Richter St.

treebeer.com

Urban Distilleries

6-325 Bay Ave.

urbandistilleries.ca

Okanagan Spirits

267 Bernard Ave.

okanaganspirits.com

RauDZ Regional Table

1560 Water St.

raudz.com

Freddy’s Brewpub

948 McCurdy Rd.

mccurdybowl.com

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Summer Escape – Hornby Island http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/summer-escape-hornby-island/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/summer-escape-hornby-island/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:47:13 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23990 by Alison Malone Eathorne | July/August 2012

Turquoise waters and a laissez-faire attitude welcome visitors to Hornby Island

Home to beautiful beaches and a bohemian vibe, Hornby Island is the jewel of the northern Gulf Islands. Populated by approximately 1,000 year-round residents, the island’s population swells during warmer months with visitors eager to relax and unwind.

STAY

Thanks to its lack of a major hotel or resort, Hornby Island has retained the rustic charm that has been attracting vacationers for decades. Visitors stay in oceanfront rental homes, bed and breakfasts set on pastoral properties and the tranquil Sea Breeze Lodge; camping enthusiasts will also find several sites dotted around the island.

BEACH

Dubbed “Little Hawaii,” Tribune Bay Provincial Park is known internationally for its one-kilometre stretch of white sand and its crystal-clear, turquoise waters. In July and August, the beach transforms into a playground for families, sun worshippers and pleasure boaters, who set anchor in the bay’s calm waters. Meanwhile, neighbouring bay, Little Tribune, plays host to free-spirited beach goers seeking a clothing-optional atmosphere. Whaling Station, named for its role as a whaling port in the late 19th century, is a third sandy beach located on the northeast side of the island. For stellar views of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, pack a picnic and grab your walking shoes for a hike along the spectacular bluffs at Helliwell Provincial Park. The 2,872-hectare park is home to majestic old-growth Douglas fir trees.

THE ARTS

Given its natural beauty and unpretentious attitude, it’s no surprise that Hornby Island inspires the work of several resident artists, artisans and musicians; during the summer, many artists feature their work at the Hornby Island Farmers’ Market—located in a unique forest setting—and open their studios to visitors on self-guided tours. (The studio of Heinz Laffin and Gerhard Kozel, whose ceramics are a personal favourite of yours truly, is one example.) The Hornby Festival—an annual event that launched in 1982—is recognized across Canada as a stellar showcase for jazz, world and classical music, along with spoken word and modern dance performances. Taking place this year on August 2-11, the festival will feature over a dozen concerts and an art exhibition.

WINE AND DINE

Hornby Island is home to a clutch of artisans who craft delicious wine, vodka and mead. Wine lovers relish visiting Little Tribune Winery, Hornby Island Winery and Carbrea Vineyard & Winery, which crafts gewürztraminer, pinot gris, pinot noir and agria wines using estate-grown fruit. Middle Mountain Mead, set on a spectacular hilltop property, makes various blends of the ancient, honey-based wine. Island Spirits Distillery—the brainchild of an icebreaker captain and a professor of organic chemistry—produces a range of botanical-based gins and vodkas.

After sampling the island’s wines and spirits, make your way to the Cardboard House Bakery, a Hornby Island institution where folks line up to enjoy homemade pizza in the garden. Adjacent to the Co-op grocery store, visitors will find a collection of whimsical shops and cafés proffering everything from espresso and cappuccino to Mexican fare and gourmet sandwiches.

GETTING THERE

From Nanaimo, drive one hour north to Buckley Bay. Take BC Ferries to Denman Island, then cross the island by car to Gravelly Bay and board another ferry to Shingle Spit on Hornby Island.

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To Die For Faces: Chefs Dale MacKay & Brad Hendrickson http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/die-for-faces-chefs-dale-mackay-brad-hendrickson/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/die-for-faces-chefs-dale-mackay-brad-hendrickson/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:39:42 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23983 by Erin Ireland | July/August 2012

Dale MacKay has never been busier, and he loves it.

In less than a year, the Vancouver-based chef won Top Chef Canada and opened two restaurants (Ensemble and Ensemble Tap—also known as eTap), all the while raising his own little Mini-Me: a ten-year-old son named Ayden.

“We’re big movie guys,” said MacKay, who believes in leading a balanced lifestyle, of himself and his son. “I’ll pick him up from school and we’ll come hang out here [eTap]. He’s part of the restaurant.”

If eTap is home away from home, Executive Chef Brad Hendrickson is like family. He and Dale are going on five years together. “I truly like working for Dale,” says Hendrickson. “He’s passionate and you can see that in how intense he gets.”

With a hankering for wings and draught beer, Hendrickson is the just kind of guy who MacKay believes will help take eTap to the next level. And the long term plan is inspiring: bring better “pub food” to the Canadian provinces that need it most.

Read on for MacKay and Hendrickson’s favourite foods in Vancouver.

Q: Will you show us your “to die for face”? (This is the expression occurring at the taste of “to die for food”—you know the one!)

See the pictures.

Brad Hendrickson’s To Die For Face

Q: The food you would most often describe as “to die for”?

DM: Barbecue. One time at Gordon Ramsay’s in NYC we barbecued at 10 a.m. There were five types of wings, ribs and coleslaw. No one could work after 11 a.m.; we were so full.

BH: Sausages, salami, and pata negro jamon from Spain. Windsor Meats here in Vancouver can order it in.

Q: Your favourite local restaurant?

DM: La Buca, La Quercia and Maenam. My son Ayden and I always go to these places because we like Italian. I don’t normally eat out without him.

BH: Phnom Penh. It’s pretty much my fiancé’s family’s restaurant. Their chicken wings are awesome.

Q: Your trashy indulgence? (that is, that late night 7-Eleven or drive-thru treat)

DM: McChicken, a Big Mac or 7-Eleven nachos. I love that nacho cheese.

BH: Wendy’s on a late night; it’s on the drive home. Also, Uncle Fatih’s Pizza. I ask them to warm it up again…“can you kill some of that bacteria?”

Q: The one food you refuse to eat?

DM: I love sushi, but don’t like sashimi. I won’t eat big chunks of raw salmon; I’ll gag if I do.

BH: Raw tomatoes. It’s a textural thing. The whole taking it off the vine and eating with salt—just can’t do that.

Dale MacKay’s To Die For Face

Q: The sexiest food?

DM: Fish, partly for the way you can make it look…elegant and clean. Crab is quite sexy, too.

BH: Jamon. I learned how to eat it properly: put it in your hands, warm it up; then, rub it against your lips (which get greasy). This warms the meat to your body temperature before you eat it, all salty and sweet.

Q: Your favourite dessert?

DM: Soufflé or Pavlova. Those are two dishes I never take off the menu at Ensemble.

BH: I’m a cookie fiend. They don’t stand a chance when they come to the house. Chocolate chip is great and peanut butter is second best.

Q: Your favourite comfort food?

DM: Burgoo’s grilled cheese and tomato soup, or anything my mom makes. Last night she cooked chicken and new potatoes. We go over on Sundays to have dinner and watch Family Guy.

BH: Ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo, mustard, brown bread, Dijon and cheese singles—not even good cheese, just processed Kraft singles. Also, my mom’s meatloaf.

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Thirsty: Belgian Beer in Vancouver http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/thirsty-belgian-beer-vancouver/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/thirsty-belgian-beer-vancouver/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:38:52 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23980 by Joe Wiebe (thirstywriter.com) | July/August 2012

Belgian beer is considered by many craft beer aficionados to be among the best in the world. But what exactly is Belgian beer? The category actually encompasses a wide range of styles, including wit (white ale), saison, golden/blonde ale, Trappist/abbey ale and sweet/sour beer, such as gueuze, lambic and kriek.

The entry point into Belgian beer for most people is the wit. Maybe you have had a Hoegaarden in its characteristic hexagonal glass or a North American equivalent. Local craft brewers have been making exceptional white ales for several years now—Central City’s Red Racer White Ale is a great option, for example. This cloudy, light wheat beer is similar to the German hefeweizen, but the Belgian yeast imparts more of a spicy character that brewers often enhance by adding bitter orange peel, coriander or other spices.

Adding unusual things to beer is something the Belgians do more and better than any other region around the world. Fruit, spices, candied sugars, black pepper and wild yeasts that most brewers would consider dangerous to beer all get tossed in the brew kettles in Belgium, and the results are often stupendous.

Saisons, or farmhouse ales, were traditionally brewed by farmers for their workers to drink after a long day in the fields. Spicy, peppery and refreshing with a slightly sour tang in the background of the beer, Driftwood Brewing’s Farmhand Ale is a fine example. There are some great Belgian originals available in Vancouver, too, like Saison Dupont and Saison De Dottignies.

Trappist/abbey ales are generally brown ales that are dark, strong and slightly sweet, with complex fruit and berry flavours in the background. Dubbels (a type of Trappist ale) are generally 6-8% alc/vol while a tripel might be 9-10%.

The best place to try the whole range of Belgian beers in Vancouver is BierCraft, a chain of two restaurants (one on Cambie and one on Commercial) that features Belgian beer and food exclusively. There you can try a “Flight to Belgium” sampler of four different beers for $10. Another good choice is Chambar, and the Alibi Room and St.Augustine’s also serve a few Belgian beers among their multitudes of BC and Cascadian taps.

You can also find some excellent Belgian beers in the city’s liquor stores (both private and government outlets). Look for a small bottle with a pink elephant on it: Delirium Tremens is considered one of the best beers in the world. There’s also Moinette Blonde, Fruli, Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne, Cantillon Gueuze, Rochefort, La Chouffe and so many others.

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Spinning Plates http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/spinning-plates/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/spinning-plates/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:37:36 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23978 by Grace Cheung | July/August 2012

After a cool and far too soggy spring, summer is finally here. Now is the time to enjoy the beauty of Vancouver while dining on some fantastic food.

One place worth checking out is the iconic Seasons in the Park at Queen Elizabeth Park. If you are visiting Vancouver for the first time, the view from this restaurant is gorgeous. Chef Dennis Peckham—previously from Coast, and Black and Blue of the Glowbal Group—is now heading the kitchen, and he ensures that what arrives on your table is just as beautiful and amazing as the view outside.

Uva Wine Bar and Cibo Trattoria have hired Steve Edwards as their new general manager. Having returned from Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro, where he worked as general manager and sommelier, it’s nice to welcome Edwards back to Vancouver. Another addition is Colette Lynch who joins the team as restaurant sales director and is your go-to person for private parties at Cibo. Partnering up with Slow Food Vancouver, Chef Neil Taylor will be hosting a fundraising dinner on August 23 that will feature local farmers and sustainable and organic ingredients.

Looking for something fancy? Liberty Wine Merchants will be hosting a Champagne and Caviar night to benefit amateur sports. The even will take place July 5 at the Vancouver Rowing Club in scenic Stanley Park, and tickets are just $29.99.

If you’re planning a trip to Whistler this summer, why not check out the Araxi Longtable Dining Series? The dinners will take place on July 21 and August 18 in Whistler’s scenic Rainbow Park, with breathtaking views of Whistler, Blackcomb, and Alta Lake. There will also be a farmers’ market set up exclusively for the diners so they can taste the ingredients of Chef James Walt’s creations in their purest form. Included in the four-course dinner is a cocktail reception, as well as wine tastings with a vodka station from the Pemberton Distillery. It will also feature wine pairings for each course, meticulously selected by wine director Samantha Rahn. The meal promises an amazing farm-to-table experience. And in the name of charity, a portion of ticket sales will go to the Chef’s Table Society of BC.

And in other charitable news, both locations of Wild Rice are supporting Growing Chefs, a program in which chefs volunteer to visit local schools and educate children on the benefits of growing, cooking and eating healthy foods. Until August, a dollar from each Wild Rice vegetable spring roll and chocolate spring roll sold will go to the charity.

And halfway around the world in Marrakech, our own David Wolowidnyk—bar manager at West restaurant—won Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender award after an intense four-day competition. The winning cocktail, called the Beldi, and is now available on the West bar menu. Be sure to try this award winning cocktail.

So, don’t wait; grab a friend and head out to Vancouver and beyond for some amazing new dishes. Oh, and the Grouse Grind is a great way to work off some of those calories…

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Pretty in Pink http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/pretty-pink/ http://viewmagazine.ca/2012/07/pretty-pink/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:35:56 +0000 admin http://viewmagazine.ca/?p=23974 by Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris of house wine | July/August 2012

Just like a good romance novel or a game of bocce, rosé is de rigueur in the summer.

Gone are the days when pink meant sweet swill; before the likes of Mateus and white zinfandel, the traditional rosés of France and Spain were dry. In both countries, grenache is the darling. This grape is cherished for rosé as it gives juicy wines that are fruit-driven and low in tannin.

France’s sunny south offers an abundance of pink wine, but Provence in particular is synonymous with rosé. Expect a delicate style from this region. Price can be high in relation to quality, so choose wisely. The Rhône Valley appellations of Tavel and Lirac offer much fuller-bodied examples. These heady, high-alcohol pinks can be dangerous in the hot sun, so food is necessary. Think robust dishes like tuna, poultry and seafood in a creamy sauce.

Rosados hail from all over Spain, with the region of Navarra the proud leader.  Beyond Navarra, look out for those from Rioja, Jumilla and Peñedes. Spain’s gutsy rosados stand up to equally gutsy food. Enjoy a mouthwatering glass with traditional tapas of sardines, anchovies, olives and tomato gazpacho.

Rosé fever is back and here to stay year-round! Long after summer is gone, a glass of pink is a ray of sunshine on a cold, rainy winter day.

2011 La Vieille Ferme, Rosé, Côtes du Ventoux AOC, France $13.99 (SKU# 559393)

A perennial favourite and an affordable alternative to Tavel. Vibrant flavours of grapefruit and rhubarb. Did you say Salade Niçoise?

2011 Marqués de Cáceres, Rosado, Rioja DOCa, Spain $16.99 (SKU# 361188)

Juicy raspberry flavours, with a hint of orange zest. Equally delicious with bouillabaisse and paella.

2011 Tantalus Rosé, Okanagan VQA, BC $26*

European rosés have inspired winemakers around the world, including local wineries. Fuller style, in the vein of Tavel. A dream with local sockeye accompanied by a strawberry sauce.

 

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