Vancouver with Josh Hebert and Helen Yung
Picture Vancouver, and you see friendly Canadians kayaking the Pacific and cycling through rainforest – in the center of the city.
Now add innovative East-meets-West cuisine to your imaginings.
Josh Hebert, owner/operator of Hot Noodles Cold Sake, recently dined his way through the British Columbian city, where he relished rare Dassai 23 sake at “killer izakaya” Guu (guu-izakaya.com). Meanwhile, Sweet Republic co-owner Helen Yung took time off from crafting world-famous ice cream to visit her parents in Vancouver, where the Hong Kong native tasted “the best dim sum ever.”
L’Abbatoir: “A cool, hip, fancy French restaurant with a good wine list, sweetbreads and foie!” 217 Carrall St., 604-568-1701, labattoir.ca
Nightingale: “Super cool dining room with a small plates menu done better than almost all small plates places. Amazing veg dishes.” 1017 W. Hastings St., 604-695-9500, hawknightingale.com
The Keefer Bar: “A weird spot with tons of odd medical references, X-rays everywhere and amazing cocktails.” 135 Keefer St., 604-688-1961, thekeeferbar.com
Burdock & Co: “Chef/owner Andrea Carlson brings out the best in seasonal, local ingredients with love, creativity, balance, finesse and restraint. Cocktails are killer, too.” 2702 Main St., 604-879-0077, burdockandco.com
Kinome Japanese Kitchen: “Soulful and homey – the kind of place I could eat at every day. The chef/owner cooks right in front of you. It’s inspired by what’s local and seasonal, while staying true to traditional Japanese flavors.” 2511 W. Broadway, 778-379-1925
Kirin Seafood Restaurant: “Sophisticated dim sum made by some of the most skilled chefs in the world using super fresh, quality ingredients, ranging from old-school favorites to creative, modern interpretations. Possibly the best dim sum I have ever had (yes, even better than Hong Kong).” 7900 Westminster Hwy., Richmond, 604-303-8833, kirinrestaurants.com
• Trail Mix. Looking for a prêt-à-porter hike-and-dine experience in Sedona? Chef-owner Lisa Dahl of Mariposa offers this doozy: Enjoy a morning or early afternoon hike on the moderate, 1.7-mile Adobe Jack Trail just west of Sedona’s famed “Y” intersection off Highway 89A, then relish a post-hike refreshment at Dahl’s Latin fusion grill just a short walk from the trailhead. “Hikers in outdoor gear are welcome” at Mariposa during lunch and happy hour, according to a spokesperson. mariposasedona.com
• Pledging Allegiance. Our secret travel-junkie thrill? Getting our monthly e-mail from Allegiant Air, the Nevada-based bargain carrier that runs a welter of lesser-known routes out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Winter specials include:
• $66 one-way to Bellingham, WA. Only a 90-minute drive from Seattle. Fare good through January 20.
• $29 one-way to Colorado Springs, CO. Not our favorite Colorado town, but... $29. And not too far from Breckenridge. Fare good through December 16.
• $51 one-way to Bozeman, MT. Cold? Most certainly. But also located near Bridger Bowl and other ski areas. Fare good through December 16. allegiantair.com
• Mamma Mia, Figueroa. The rehabilitation of Downtown Los Angeles as an elite tourism destination continues. To wit: the recently completed $55 million remodel of the iconic Hotel Figueroa, once a YMCA hostel, now a 268-room, arts-focused resort within walking distance of Staples Center, various arts venues and myriad restaurants. Our recommendation if you’re in town for a Suns game. hotelfigueroa.com
After hibernating for the long, hot summer, the quirky, just-north-of-the-border golf and art colony of Tubac is back with a bang this winter, with a slew of new shops and events for southerly-migrating Phoenicians’ amusement.
Dipped in Tubac Chocolate Festival
Not content merely to feast on the stuff, the studious chocoholics at the Tubac Chamber of Commerce want to teach about the history and art of chocolate at the city’s inaugural chocolate fest. The cacao-rific program runs from December 5-10, with daily historic interpretations at Tubac Presidio State Park, classes at Tumacookery cooking school, an exhibition on the art of chocolate at Tubac Center for the Arts and chocolate specials and discounts at local shops. tubacaz.com
Tubac native Loretta Betts is proud of her artsy boutique’s inventory of jewelry, handbags, home goods and photographs. “It’s all handmade, all local,” Betts says. “People don’t want to come to Tubac and buy something that says, ‘Made in China.’” Betts’ crowning jewel is her eponymous accessories line, but she hopes to expand the scope of the shop – which opened in October – next year to include even more handcrafted goods. 2221 E. Frontage Rd., 520-398-3364
Dave Wilson Fine Art Landscape Photography
After traveling the state and selling his work at street shows for two years, Phoenix photographer Dave Wilson decided to set down roots with his own gallery in Tubac. “It’s a nice arts community with a lot of winter visitors,” Wilson says. His space, which opened in October, is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appointment. 12 Tubac Rd., 602-448-6746, davewilsonimages.com
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