It is always a delight to dine with HG and BSK’s talented, food and wine loving friends in Vancouver. Pablo R. is a talented modernist architect (and former restaurateur) and his wife, Monica J., is an international lawyer. HG and BSK had never been to their new Gastown apartment, a dwelling they occupy with their 18-month-old daughter. Surprisingly (given Pablo’s cutting edge sense of design), the building turned out to be a rather shabby “heritage” structure. But, when the front door opened you were in a world of contemporary, minimalist design. Startling. It seems the developer retained only the facade of the building (required by neighborhood’s zoning laws) and built an entirely new building behind it. As to be expected, Pablo and Monica’s duplex is a lovely space. For dinner, Pablo prepared a Vancouver specialty — fresh Pacific Black Cod. Pablo marinated the fish in miso before a quick saute. Served with pasta, it was memorable.
There was another remarkable fish dish in HG’s future when HG/BSK dined at Chambar Restaurant with Jamie S. and his glorious lady friend, Karen St. John (pronounced “SinJin” in the English fashion which Anglophiles HG/BSK were pleased to learn). At Chambar, HG had a perfect chunk of halibut cooked with the kind of exquisite timing HG associates with Le Bernardin in New York. Chanbar, which seems to attract Vancouver’s beautiful people, is a great place to drink (as well as eat). HG had a Negroni cocktail which outshone anything HG ever drank at Harry’s Bar in Venice. The Belgian beers and ales on tap are equally outstanding. Before Chambar, HG/BSK, Karen and Jamie, drank some very good white wine at Jamie’s triplex apartment which features his carefully curated collection of Alessi, Starck and other design icons. Jamie’s roof deck is one of Vancouver’s great spaces, overlooking mountains, water and the glittering skyline of the high rise city. Generous and hospitable, Jamie has furnished it for entertaining with an emphasis upon barbecue. A great Vancouver night (when it isn’t raining, of course) is devouring a Jamie steak accompanied by one of the splendid reds from his wine cellar. Sea gulls fly overhead, lights twinkle, Jamie is at hand to refill glasses and uncork another botttle of splendor. Don’t you wish you had a pal like that?