Schell: Vancouver celebrates our wines

Had a tremendous experience at the International Playhouse Wine Festival in Vancouver.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten (left) at MARKET in Vancouver’s Shangri-La Hotel

Had a tremendous experience at the International Playhouse Wine Festival in Vancouver. It is always a thrill to see our vast array of wineries in line with those on the world stage. I never tire of hearing the rave reviews about our beautiful Okanagan Valley from our international visitors—like Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Famous French restaurateur and super chef,  Jean-Georges, (The New York Times Food critic Ruth Reichl once claimed: “His food took my breath away”) thrilled our B.C. food world in 2009 by choosing Vancouver to open his first Canadian restaurant, MARKET.

Located in the chic Shangri-la Hotel downtown, I had the absolute pleasure of making his acquaintance. Local celeb chef Bernard Casavant and I also had the opportunity to extend an invitation to Vongerichten to come visit us and tour our splendid wine country. I am crossing my fingers.

On your next visit to Vancouver, don’t miss a chance to experience MARKET. If you should find the dining room too expensive, have a seat in the sexy lounge area. The bar menu offers up gorgeous choices, like our absolute favourite: Truffle and fontina pizza (ridiculously delicious).

And, while our week was wine-focused, my foodist posse and I also partook in the hot cocktail trend that is thriving in the city—MARKET’s blueberry sangria was a favourite.

No surprise, Vancouver mixologist extraordinaire Jay Jones now runs their bar.

For lunch, I highly recommend a new hot spot that offers fantasy nosh for the carnivore: Meat & Bread.

Located on Cambie Street in the super cool Gastown district, this eatery serves up—you guessed it—meat sandwiches. Although soup and salad are also offered as a side, they are all about meat and bread with the signature porchetta sandwich being a favourite.

With one type of bottled beer to choose from, and a couple of sandwich constants like meatball and grilled cheese plus a daily special, M&B is simple and absolutely delicious.

Décor is shabby chic with interesting touches (I believe offering glimpses from this historic building’s colourful past) like boxing gloves and a punching bag. Patrons are seated at the bar or around one long communal table.

Owned by three young, handsome lads who are busily building your samies behind the bar, the place is buzzing with conversation and happy, messy diners. Prepare to leave with drips and crumbs on your bib. Meat & Bread, 370 Cambie St. at Victory Square.

More on my Vancouver food diary next week—think chocolates and bone marrow.

Jennifer Schell is editor of B.C. Wine Trails Magazine.


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