Celebrated Chef John Bishop shares his favourite shops and nosheries (and what to order) on Vancouver’s Westside.
Regional, seasonal cuisine made with fresh, organic, local ingredients is common- place at many restaurants in Vancouver today, but this notion was revolutionary in Vancouver in 1985 when John Bishop opened the casually elegant restaurant that bears his name on 4th Avenue.
Consistently listed among restaurant guidebooks as one of the city’s top fine dining eateries, award-winning Bishop’s seasonal menus continue to reflect Chef Bishop’s original commitment to sustainable ingredients and the growers who produce them, a dedication also affirmed in his now-classic 2002 documentary, Deconstructing Supper, that investigates food safety in the age of GMOs (genetically modified foods) and industrial agriculture.
This past year, John Bishop received the first-ever Governor Generals’ award for culinary arts, plus a coveted Edna. The Edna, a Canadian Culinary Book Award, is a lifetime achievement prize given to someone who has contributed significantly to the promotion of regional cuisine In Canada.
John Bishop’s 5 free, cheap or worth it things to see, do or buy in Vancouver
STOP for a real European artisanal bread experience at the Transylvania Bakery in Kitsilano—no passport required. These incredible heavyweight loaves come in one style and two sizes (2 pounds for $7 and 4 pounds for $11). Best before says the bread should last a week, but not in our house! It will stay fresh for the week if kept wrapped in a moist cloth. Bring your Christmas visitors to check out the wood-fired oven. Ask for Florin. 3474 West Broadway, 604-319-5623
GRAB AND GO for takeout at East is East (the best seat is on a log with a view at Spanish Banks) or enter the restaurant and escape to another world. My choice is a double: it consists of two freshly prepared hot wraps. My favourite is Ghandi’s breakfast or peas and cheese; these are accompanied with a dressed organic salad and a wonderful earthy lentil soup. 3243 W. Broadway, 604-734-5881. www.eastiseast.ca
PAMPER YOURSELF in the godfather way with a totally artisanal facial experience with Jordi’s old fashioned haircut and shaves at Uptown Barber. A hint for Christmas: Jordi will also issue gift certificates. Haircut, $16; shave, $25. 2341 Main Street, 604-251-0625
GET A TASTE of your family history or take a trip down memory lane with a visit to Totters of Knightsbridge. This little gem of a store has just about everything your grandmother had: cups, plates, tables and chairs, antique silver. A real treasure trove at extremely reasonable prices. Ask for Dori. 4023 Macdonald Street, 604-737-2793
SHOP for those favourite kitchen gadgets at Ming Wo. Ask Diane in the Fourth Avenue store for Calphalon slider pans. My favourite little pan is the de Buyer (1838 France)—really a small crepe pan, but I use it for everything. If you have a gas stove, diffusers are indispensible. www.mingwo.com
Bishop’s is located at 2183 West 4th Ave., 604-738-2025. Visit the website HERE.
Photo: Jordi Sancho