Hey, All You Cool Cats and Kittens

Being a full year into Quarantine, there are a few things that we can look back on and think how they were just “quarantine things”. One that comes to mind right away is Tiger King. I loved that show. I was absolutely obsessed. I was so obsessed that my mom had my birthday cake with my face photoshopped on Tiger King. And the song, “I saw a tiger/ A tiger saw a man/ Now I understand.” It was cringy but oh so catchy.

– My birthday cake

Another quarantine activity was push up challenges on Instagram. There were a lot of poor performances. I was nominated and I contemplated on whether or not I would do it but I’m always up for a challenge so of course I did. It took me many attempts because I needed perfect form. Having a mom as an ex-personal trainer and fitness instructor, I couldn’t let her down. I did it and I nailed it. I’m happy to say I was better than my friends who I nominated, that’s all that really matters. 

One of the main quarantine things were the 7pm cheering for health care workers. My family and I moved to a high-rise apartment building in Port Moody last year. It was amazing being able to see almost everyone out on their decks clapping and cheering. On Friday’s, we would even get emergency response vehicles that drove through the complex with their lights and sirens going. 

Something for me that makes me look back on quarantine is a little something called Giggly Squad that took up my time every night between 7 and 8pm. It was an Instagram Live with Hannah Berner and Paige DeSorbo from Bravo’s Summer House. Hannah is a comedian and has her own podcast, Berning in Hell and Paige is a fashion writer.

The two would hop on the live and talk about what they did during the day, sometimes give a Summer House recap, spill celebrity gossip and fashion trends. It was just two best friends having a conversation over wine… but just with four thousand other people watching. This happened every night so we got to know the two very well between their families popping in from time to time to having inside jokes and hearing all the tea on their dating lives.

During mid summer, Hannah and Paige put an end to their Instagram Lives. It was a tradition that went on for so long so it was weird to no longer have that. I found that I was able to have a bit more flexibility in my life by not having to be on my phone for an hour at 7 each night. My parents would get so annoyed because I would have to be home for that time each and every night and I could not be bugged while I was watching.

Since the end of the Instagram Lives, the duo has started their own podcast called none other than “Giggly Squad.” It releases every Monday and has the same vibe that the livestream did.

I mean, quarantine has sucked but there were also some parts of it that, I feel weird to admit, but I kind of miss. I hope we get to go back to living our normal lives, but I have memories from the past year that I will always hang on to.

Puppy Party for the Dog Gram

Instagram is one of the most popular forms of social media. I mean, everyone and their dog has it. My dog has it, give him a follow @stanley.pierre_. He’s a Lab/ Great Dane rescue dog who is crazy and energetic for the two hours he’s awake in the day. They sleep a lot, a snore louder. I describe him as “my annoying little brother” as he’s always there nudging to play with his toys or to hang out with him. I’m an old child so he’s the closest thing I have.

@peachespasutto / Instagram

But this week is his birthday and I need to make his birthday look better than Nacho Cilantro and Peaches Pasutto. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, those are Jillian Harris’s dogs, which have some of the best Instagrams I’ve ever seen. Nacho has 102 thousand followers and Peaches has 47.2 thousand. Peaches began on January 19, 2019, nacho Cilantro on the other hand began on June 20, 2016 so the gap is just because Peaches is much newer. You log onto their account and it’s all ascetically pleasing with the same colour theme throughout and these dogs sit so well behaved. I can’t compete with them. I don’t even put that much work into my own Instagram let alone Stanley’s. I point a camera at Stan and he starts misbehaving right on the spot. I know Jillian probably has people that post on the accounts and engage with everyone but c’mon.

So his seventh birthday is this weekend and I’m going to make his birthday the most aesthetically pleasing Instagramable event. I have ordered him a cake. It’s a peanut butter heart shaped cake from Three Dog Bakery in Port Moody. I got him a new bow tie. It’s purple and looks very smart. He has a new silver prince hat that has sparkles and feathers. Last year he has a blue birthday hat so I figured he’s upgrading this year to a Prince. I have “Happy birthday” streamers and the perfect background for his pictures. I will be using the hashtag #StanleysSeven throughout the day if you would like to keep up with Stan throughout his big day.

Stan at Romer’s for his sixth birthday

For his birthday, we normally just take him to happy hour. In Port Moody, dogs are welcome on the patios at the breweries, Romer’s Burger Bar has a special doggie patio and Browns Social House even has dogs on theirs. Stan might like going to happy hour more than me, not sure if its for the dog watching, the crumbs of food on the ground or his sneaky licks of wine. Stan will still get to do his favourite activity after I get the perfect photos.

I’ve been telling Stan all week that it’s his birthday so you know he is aware. When he saw his new bow tie, he started jumping up and down. He loves his wardrobe. His cake is going to make him even more excited even though it will be gobbled in five seconds. Dogs man, they don’t savour anything. So it’s game time for me.

If you’re looking to make your dog Instagram famous, take a look at this article which has some pretty great time consuming ideas. But it’s for the fame, right.

PS: if you’re wanting to send Stanley any gifts, he wears a size XX-L and loves cookies.

“And the Grammy Goes to Ffff…”

The Biggest Night in Music is back on Sunday. The 63rd Grammy Awards were originally going to be held back in January but due to COVID-19, they decided to postpone until this Sunday at 5pm. Now I don’t know about you but other than the Golden Globes, where celebs can get sloshed and make some unreal acceptance speeches, this is my favourite award show. There is something about having the most talented musicians in a room together and of course seeing Taylor Swift in the audience is always a plus.

From when I was around thirteen to until seventeen, I was a much more “hard-core Swiftie.” I basically dedicated my life to Taylor and she was all I talked about. Not that I don’t love her as much now, I just have other hobbies and school that takes priority. But anyways, I would make my whole family sit down and watch the Grammy’s and when Taylor came on the screen, oh my god, I would freak out. I also had a lot of rules for award show nights. 1) No talking while Taylor is performing. 2) No criticism towards Taylor, EVER! 3) If Taylor didn’t win an award, we all MUST be upset and throw a fit. Number three caused a lot of problems because I was very moody if Swift was to ever lose and my mom would yell at me, “not all our lives revolve around Taylor Swift!!!” After a while, my parents decided they would no longer have “Taylor Time” with me and we would watch separately. I think this year, I’ve calmed down slightly and maybe we can regroup all together this year. 

I do have to say, 2014 was the worst year. When they announced Album Of The Year, Taylor Swift was up for Red and Daft Punk was up for Random Access Memories. The announcer said “And the grammy goes to: Rrrrrrandom Acess memories, Daft Punk.” The “R” was drawn out so Taylor and her team thought Red won for a second. It was heartbreaking and I still believe Red deserved that Grammy and I could go on about that for hours.

This year the Awards will be a little different. The only audience will be the nominees and performers themselves all distanced apart. “Every 45 minutes, a new four groups come in and the previous four go out, “ Executive Producer, Ben Winston to Variety.

There are also a number of performances which will be pre recorded but Winston says, “You’re going to have to work out on the night what is and what isn’t live.” But every performance is taking place at the convention centre despite being pre-recorded or not. They are doing this in order to make it feel less of a disconnect and more of celebrating the Grammy’s and making everyone come together to make the show.


The Grammy’s will also be honouring music venues, by having many of the awards actually be handed out by people working the show- bartenders, door people and security.

The nominees for the three major categories are:

Record Of The Year includes Beyoncé’s Black Parade, Black Pumas and Colors, DaBaby Featuring Roddy Ricch with Rockstar, Doja Cat and Say So, Everything I Wanted from Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start Now, Circles from Post Malone and Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé with Savage. Due Lipa is predicted to take home this award.

The nominees for Album Of The Year are Post Malone with Hollywood’s Bleeding, Jhené Aiko for Chilombo, Black Pumas and their self titled album, Everyday Life from Coldplay, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Jacob Collier’s Vol. 3, Haim’s Women In Music Pt. III and the predicted winner of the category and allegedly the fourth sister of Haim, Taylor Swift with Folklore.

Song Of The Year, rewards all the hard work behind the writers. The Noms are: Black Parade, The Box, Cardigan, Circles, Don’t Start Now, I Can’t Breathe and If The World Was Ending. Due Lipa’s Don’t Start Now is predicted to take the W.

Performances at this years awards include Black Pumas, Cardi B, BTS, Billie Eilish, miranda Lambert, Chris Martin, Maren Morris, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift.

Get your wine and take-out ready to watch your favourite musicians in their stunning red carpet looks while you’re on the couch in your pyjamas. Don’t feel bad about yourself, just say you were planning on being in the audience this year but there is no way of that happening now.

Spring Break or a Spring Breakdown?

With Spring Break right around the corner, I know we can’t help but think back on all those years we were able to escape town for the week and head out on a family vacation or hanging out with friends, avoiding thinking about the midterms you have waiting for you when you get back. For me, Spring Break was usually the last hockey tournament or the first tournament of my softball season. Being in University now, I can say that I’m going to be taking full advantage of doing absolutely nothing except for applying for practicums, figuring out transfer credits for continuing my education, updating my website and I think I might just catch up on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Maybe I will be having a busy Spring Break. For those of you that might be having a “Spring Breakdown” as Luke Bryan says, there are still a few things you can get out and do with your tight bubble or household.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) has just launched BRIGHT Downtown which is a light show on The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. It’s featuring 3D animations and using the hotels structure for the bright optical illusions. They are suing this joyful imagery to help “Light Up Your Night” creating a positive, uplifting feeling for this year. The theme “Tangled” which is exploring the relationship between art and community by showing how art is involved in every step of the human experience. The lights will be on every half and hour for fifteen minute intervals and it’s free. Unfortunately, BRIGHT ends Sunday, so get there quick.

Cypress Mountain has a one-kilometre snowshoe trek, Lights to the Lodge, which leads to the historic Hollyburn Lodge through a self guided trail in the Old Growth Forest. Open from 4pm-9:30pm, the trail lit up with bright LED lights that are strung along the forest of trees. The whole family can come and enjoy a midday activity and you can get yourself the perfect Instagram photo infront of the hanging lights with the caption “après-ski”. At the lodge, guests are able to endugle in the delicious food and drinks which are perfect for a post snowshoe meal.

Tickets for Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition opening March 19, went on sale in January but quickly sold out but recently they have recently added additional tickets and expanded their hours. Taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the exhibition features over 200 of Van Gogh’s paintings that are being projected onto surfaces allowing got visitors to reconnect with his incredible work. Annabel Mauger and Julien Baron are behind this exhibition and also were the collaborators on shows at  Cathédrale d’images in Les Baux-de-Provence. They have used “advanced techniques of multi-projection and immersive audio to add emotional depth to each image, allowing us to live and feel the creative energy of the esteemed artist.”

My mom has brought up going to Imagine over the past few weeks, so I just bought the two of us tickets to go and check it out. Winning brownie points over here.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Shocking Truths

It was one of the biggest nights in TV last night. Over 17 million people tuned into Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s tell all interview with Oprah which rated higher than the recent Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. Many topics were covered during the two hour event which took place in a Santa Barbra backyard, not far from Meghan and Harry’s Californian home. Camera crew, and everyone on site was in double masks and full protective gear. Oprah was six feet away from Meghan and Harry.

Oprah dives right into the interview asking the gender of their baby. Meghan says she wants to wait for Harry to join to share and we later find out that they are having a baby girl. Oprah states that nothing is off limits and they are not being paid to do this interview.

They begin to talk about the wedding and how it was never really their day, it was a day for the world. She shares that her and Harry actually got married three days before the wedding so they had that just for themselves.

Markle went into this family naively as she did not grow up knowing much about the Royal Family. The first time she met the Queen, she had to quickly learn how to curtsy. Harry told her that they were going to see his grandmother and he asked her if she knew how curtsy. She did not but she was confused as to why she would have to if that was his grandmother, but his grandmother is the Queen. She practiced outside of the house and then went in. She ended up doing a very deep curtsy for her.

Oprah brings up the different headlines from Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. One of them was about how Kate was being praised for cradling her baby bump and the one about Meghan said, “Can’t keep hands off baby bump for pride or vanity?” The one that got me was headlines about avocados. “Kate eating avocados to help with morning sickness.” But one about Meghan eating avocados was “Meghan Markle’s beloved avocado linked to human rights abuse and drought, millennial shame.” Markle’s response to this: “a loaded pice of toast.” That might be my new favourite saying.

Being the first mixed race person to marry into the family, Meghan revealed that a senior member of the Royal Family was concerned about how dark Archies skin would be. Harry had a conversation with someone and there was a tandem that he would not be given security or a title and it was a conversation he never wanted to discuss.

Meghan was struggling. She said she didn’t want to be alive anymore while she was a working member of the Royal Family. She was ashamed of feeling this way, especially sharing with Harry. She went to someone high up and asked about getting therapy. The Institution didn’t want her to go to therapy because it wouldn’t look good for the Royal’s.

There was a large focus on how the Institution would not provide security for them. After moving to Vancouver Island, they got word that the royal security would no longer be provided for them. They then moved into Tyler Perry’s Los Angeles home where he proved them security. At the beginning of 2020, the family cut Harry off financially and all they had is what his mother, Princess Diana, left him. If they had support from them, they would still be there. They said they did everything they could with so much respect to try and stay but they couldn’t.

Although the headlines of them blindsiding the Queen, the couple had many talks with her before they decided to no longer be working members of the family. The couple still has a great relationship with the Queen and they FaceTime her often with Archie.

Meghan says her one regret is believing The Institution when they said she would be protected.

Island Time is the Best Time

I love restaurants in Vancouver and life in the city but there is a little place located in the Southern Gold Islands called Mayne Island and it has my heart. It’s a place I can go, unwind and everything feels ok in the world. Our family friends have a cabin on the island and one of my good friends also has a cabin down the road too. Mayne is a small town full of beach days, hiking and even geocaching. From arriving to leaving you’re on “Island Time,” without anywhere to be or a care in the world. I’ve had some of the best days hanging out on Mayne.

Mayne Island is very community based town with one grocery store, a few scattered pubs, one Home Hardware and everyone knows everyone. They hold a Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings in the towns centre. I say town centre but it’s just where the grocery store and a couple little shops are along the way at Miners Bay. At the Farmers Market, islanders sell their local produce, artwork and baked goods. Everyone goes crazy for the pork and apple pie .One of my favourites from the stand was bean tacos. I mean tacos at 10am, you can’t go wrong there. After the market, there is a fish boat that pulls up around noon and stays until 2pm, selling freshly caught seafood. We always get crab and have “Crab Night” as we call it on Saturday nights.

Although we enjoy cooking, it is always nice to go out for lunch or happy hour from time to time. The Springwater Lodge serves up the best fish and chips that I have ever had. From the time when we get to Mayne to when we finally get to indulge in the fish and chips, my mom and I don’t stop talking about them.

Located in Miners Bay, The Springwater’s deck is one of the best. It is over looking the Active Pass where the ferries sail through, the sun sets, and sea life is all around. With a pint in hand, a full stomach and the beautiful view, you can’t go wrong.

The Springwater was established in 1892 and began hosting lodgers in 1895. Word on the street is that it is the oldest continuously operating hotel and bar in BC. The rumour on the island is that the Springwater is haunted by the ghosts of the miners who passed through long ago en route to the mainland.

Above the pub is where the old lodge used to be. Usually it is closed off but there is a slight chance my friend Gen and I may have suck up and checked it out. White walls, broken down doors and damaged floors. It basically looked like ghosts lived up there. Every sound I heard, I jumped, scared that a ghost was present.

The Mayne Inn, located at Bennett Bay, my favourite beach on the island, is also haunted. The Mayne Inn has been bought and sold more than thirty times over the past hundred years. It was purchases from the Crown to Thomas Bennett in 1892 and they owned and worked on the property until 1910, hence the name Bennett Bay. At the Mayne Island Graveyard, there are many of the Bennett’s memorials throughout the area.

The Mayne Inn was transferred to the Franco Canadian Brickworks Company in 1911, where they began construction of a brick works complex developing the deposit of blue clay along Bennett Bay. When World War I began, the Bricksworks closed and it became the Canadian Boarding house. It later was renamed to the Arbutus Lodge in the sixties, the Mayne Hotel in the seventies and the Mayne Inn in the eighties. Land developers have preserved the historic in as a centre piece for the Mayne Inn Resort. Now there are many cabins around the Inn for tourists as well as a restaurant with on outside patio with a view of the Bay. 

One of the new additions to Mayne is Mayne Island Brewing. With a passion for home brewing and an expert palette with over 22 years in BC wine sales, Michael Garratt opened Mayne Island Brewing Company. Mayne Island has been the home to Micheal and his wife Annette along with their two children, Jasper and Grace, since 2005 so it was the perfect place to start the business.Michael does the brewing and tasting and Annette hand prints all the merchandise as well as running the office and tasting room.

They produce over 15 styles of brews in small batches. My favourite Mayne Island Brewing beer is the Blonde Ale which is a Belgian styled single at 6% which is inspired by the Dutch Girl Blonde.

Mayne Island Brewing has also won a few awards over the past few years:

1st for Punch’s Barrel Aged Farmhouse at the BC Beer Awards 2019

3rd for the Beet Buck at the BC Beer Awards 2018

Silver for the Barrel Aged Brown at the Canadian Brewing Awards 2018

You can grab their beer at the brewery itself on Mayne or they are also found throughout Vancouver and Whistler. During the summer, the brewery has many out door seating as well as a drive through to quickly pick up your beers to grab and go.

Now I’m not encouraging you to go to Mayne because I love the little quiet Island but if you do end up there on your travels, don’t forget to grab your fish and chips by the water or see if you can find any ghosts hanging around.

Strolling Through Market City

Over my 21 years living in Vancouver I had never really gone to Granville Island. I mean I did go in grade one for a field trip if that counts but I have no recollection of it. I’ve heard great things about it but it was just never a destination of mine, until my really old friend Jas (who might be really old age wise or I’ve known her for a very long time. You can decide), who is in my teeny tiny bubble called me on a Saturday morning. She asked me if I wanted to go on an adventure. My answer to that will always be a “yes.” So we decided we would head downtown and make our way to Granville Island. I told my mom we were going and she told me that we had to go to  Lee’s Donuts. Noted. So Jas and I took the skytrain downtown. Of course we had to stop at Notch8 for a pre cocktail and snack before we Ubered to Granville Island.

When we arrived I felt like I was a tourist in my own city. It’s an area I had never explored so I had no idea where I was or what to expect but I was excited. Our first stop was Granville Island Brewing for a quick flight. Located in a large blue building, giving it the market vibe, high top tables throughout the room and clear glass surrounding where the beers are brewed.

Granville Island Brewing’s mission is to craft delicious, locally brewed beer with high quality, natural ingredients. Brewmaster, Kevin Emms, brews in small batches in order to create, develop and perfect new styles for craft beer lovers. Their beer menu is full of a variety of different beers and styles as well as having a food menu with classic brewery snacks.  We ended up ordering pirogies. They were cheesy and delicious. we debated if we should order another. We decided we would be grabbing a bite at another stop along our travels.

Across the street from the brewery was a old red train caboose from the industrial past of Granville Island, with a boutique pet store inside. Granville Island Pet Treatery is the home to the first pet bakery in the city which serves handcrafted baked goods for your furry friend. Owner, Stuart Scher, focuses on “developing delicious recipes that combine much needed functionality with all natural, human-grade ingredients.” I ended up picking my Great Dane, Stan, up some bacon cookies and Jas grabbed a variety of things as well for her dogs.

On our way to the market, we popped into The Liberty Distillery. Opening in 2013, they have been offering hand crafted, premium artisanal spirits made from 100% organic BC grain and raw material. Unfortunately they were full for tastings but we took a look around at some of their merchandise, cocktail tools and books. I would love to head back and give their sports a try.

We arrived at the market to a crazy long line that looked like it was going to take forever. Any guesses for what is was for? It was for Lee’s Donuts. Sorry mom, not waiting in that line. We explored throughout the market, drooling over all the cheeses that would be perfect for a charcuterie board. I ended up buying some hot sauces from the Mexican section. After looking at all the food in the market, we decided it was time for happy hour and a snack.

We went to Bridges, which has been a landmark restaurant for Vancouver since it’s opening in the 1980’s. It all started with an idea of two UBC professors, one in Urban Planning and the other in Math, started tossing an idea around of opening a small neighbourhood pub in Vancouver. After bringing on a local industrialist and a hotel operator they were set. The building was built structurally unsound. They did this by preserving and repairing all trusses and retiring them to their original position with reinforcement.

We sat upstairs which features a beautiful a view overlooking the city skyline, North Shore mountains and False Creek. Sadly for us, they were out of a lot of items on their menu so we just stayed for a glass of wine.

Overall, my experience at Granville Island was wonderful and I’m excited to go back and explore the places I did not get to go. You’ll be seeing me soon Lee’s Donuts.

A Beber y a Tragar…

…que el mundo se va a acabar.

Vancouver has many outstaying restaurants from steakhouses to seafood chops and Italian or basically anything you can imagine. Some of my favourite food is Mexican. There are many taco shops and food trucks hanging around the city which are always enjoyable but having authentic Mexican is a different experience. There is something about going to an outstanding Mexican or Latin American restaurant, having a mezcal margarita and chowing down on some authentic cousins as the chefs and bartenders have heart and passion for what they are creating. Two of the best in Vancouver include La Mezcaleria and Orphelia.

Founded in 2013, La Mezcaleria serves food and drinks inspired by different regions in Mexico, using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Located at 1622 Commercial Drive, La Mezcaleria has a eccentric turquoise interior with low tables and a large bar with seats around.

Mezcaleria serves a large variety of tacos from meats including Al Pastor Asado, Carnitas, Polo Asado to seafood, Pescado Baja, Pulpo Al Ajillo as well as vegetarian tacos De Frijoles, Rajas and Hongos. With a large appetizer menu from Guac or Pico De Gallo and chips, Ceviche Fresco or on the larger side Enchiladas Clasicas or Burrito Del Norte. One of the items on the menu that they are known for is their Quest Fundidos, which is their signature molten cheese fondue served in a volcanic stone bowl with six hot corn tortillas. I highly recommend ordering this for

Mezcaleria also has one of Canada’s biggest Agave based spirits collection with a large cocktail list including Margaritas, Palomas, Ancho Old Fashioned among other tequila and mezcal drinks. I have indulged in their margaritas. I normally get mine with mezcal instead of tequila to give it a smoky favour and they are outstanding. There are some restaurants where they have a basic margarita with nothing special to them but Mezcaleria’s is one of the best I’ve had. I’m not going to give away their secrets as to how they make their margs so you will have to go in and try one for yourself. They also offer Mezcal flights which is a great way to sample a range of Agave spirit flavours.

Winning Gold at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards for Best Latin American in 2017, “La Mezcaleria’s queso fundido and mezcal-based cocktails make for what one judge describes as ‘the best Friday night on the Drive’” – Vancouver Magazine, 2017 Restaurant Awards

They also serve a Mexican inspired brunch on the weekends from 10am to 2pm as well as Happy Hour served daily.

Coming from the Flying Pig family, Ophelia is a new member to the city as they last Summer in WildTales former location in Olympic Village. Named after Chef Fransisco Higareda’s mother, Orphelia, specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine prepared with a refined and elevated approach as well as serving hand crafted cocktails with premium tequila and mezcals, craft beer and wines from around the world.

Chef Francisco Higareda grew up with a family who loved food and ate with a passion, which is the reason for his love of it. He trained at Ambrosía Centro Culinario in Mexico City and earned a diploma in High Cuisine & Gastronomic Management at Mariano Moreno Instsitue in Buesnos Aires, Argentina. After working in Spain and France, he ran his own restaurant in Chihuahua before moving to Vancouver in 2017 to work at Flying Pig and it’s sister restaurant WildTale.

“Given my strong connection to Mexican cuisine, we saw an opportunity to take advantage of my knowledge and passion and do something truly unique here in Olympic Village,” Higareda explains. “My mother inspired my love of cooking and it will be a true honour to return to my roots and pay homage to her and my country at Ophelia this spring.”

From an array of tacos to enchiladas gratinadas to churros for dessert, you will be sure to enjoy what Orphelia has to offer. Margarita Monday is celebrated every Monday from 4 to closing offering four different types of margs or the featured margarita that changes weekly. Their classic Orphelia Margarita comes out bright pink with a half salted rim and a dehydrated lime. They are outstanding. Happy Hour is also served daily from 4 to 5:30 which includes Orphelia Margaritas, beer and wine, guac, ceviche and tacos.


There is artwork from Mexican muralist Saicker, that you can find throughout Orphelia. His work is based on “Mexican culture, the inner spirit of women, floral shapes encapsulated in geometric pieces and monochrome colours that can give life to endless stories.” Along with Saicker’s work, there are other items around that are representing influences of Latin culture.

Ophelia’s location is just steps away from False Creek and the other hot spots Olympic Village has to offer.

A Trip to my Urban Oasis

Well it’s the first day of March so guess what that means? Patio season is right around the corner.

Now I don’t know about you but haven’t done any traveling to Europe (that was supposed to be last summer but we all know what happened to that) so my top patios are in North America. LA is a destination my parents and I love, so we usually try and get there once a year. One of my moms most beloved places is the Grove so when we are in LA we have to go. Not that I’m complaining at all because one of my favourite patios is located there, the rooftop of La Piazza. It’s a two story Italian restaurant with a patio on both floors that look out into the Grove as the fountains are dramatically shooting water to the music. The rooftop patio, has one of the best vibes as well as amazing people watching. We’ve shared a lot of laughs and enjoyed some fantastic food and beverages while hanging out on this patio.

But enough about the Grove and LA or how I would do anything to be able to go there right now and let’s get to Vancouver’s best patios. Now this is completely biased and my opinions but they are definitely right.

The patio that I award Vancouver’s Best Patio to is Refections: The Garden Terrace at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The first time I ever went, I knew it was not going to be the last. Stepping out of the elevator on the fourth floor urban oasis, you enter a massive fully open outdoor patio in the inner courtyard of the hotel. With a modern decor surrounding with vibrant trees, flowers and hanging lights, Refections makes you feel like you have transported to a tropical place. There are high top tables, couches as well as an outdoor bar where you can grab one of the best Old Fashioned’s in town. The staff is friendly and welcoming and also knows their menus like the back of their hands. Reflections has a menu full of wine, cocktails and some delicious summer food, which makes it the perfect stop after a long day of work or even just an afternoon galavanting throughout the city.

I have spent many afternoons as well as some evenings, by myself sitting at the bar or with a group divulging in Reflections offers. From days shopping with my mom to happy hours with my friends, I have never wanted to leave. I have even spent part of my 20th birthday here. After a rough afternoon with conflicting ideas with friends and my mom telling me to calm down, I left the friends and met up with my parents and some family friends before my dinner. We sat on one of the couches where we had Prosecco, shared some flatbreads and charcuterie. I ended up spilling some of the bright red sauce on my very light shirt that I was supposed to wear for the rest of the evening. Whoops. But my mom came in, saving the day and got most of it out.

Refections Patio

The patio is seasonal and closes throughout the fall and winter. They do open during the holiday season for their Winter Wonderland Patio, but unfortunately this year, they were unable to open. It’s been over a year since the patio has been open but the Hotel Georgia announced on Instagram last week that Reflections will be opening for Spring. Will I be there on it’s opening day? Well that seems to be a little eggar but you bet I’ll be there on day two. 

Safe to say, with the year we have had, I cannot wait to get back to the best patio in Vancouver. I’ll see you at Refections.

My runner up for Best Patio in Vancouver is The Roof at Black + Blue. Located on Alberni in the heart of Downtown, Black + Blue is one of the finest steakhouses in Vancouver but it also has an outstanding rooftop patio. The Roof has the perfect combination of style and luxury, tables and lounge sofas with an outdoor bar. Open daily, The Roof has fire places and heaters surrounding so even in the dead of Winter, it’s a hit. Looking out over a view of the city, with fantastic people watching, it’s not a bad place to be if you’re by yourself or with a group. From Lamb to Waygu or even fish and a large cocktail and wine list, The Roof has options for everyone.

Uncorked in Osoyoos

When I think about wine tasting and touring, many memories come to mind and it’s with the same group of pole every time. The people that make the whole experience.

In September 2017, my family and our good friends went to Osoyoos for a weekend wine tasting trip. With being an almost 19 year-old, I got away with tasting at most of the wineries the first day, but the second day it was a hard shut down. The weekend was full of wine, cracked teeth, signature drinks and a lot of laughs. We have been doing the same trip now for the past four years. Each year, new memories and a new “racehorse” but it just keeps getting better. Included is parents and I, my parents friends, D and Burger Bar, their kids Marn and Baby Colin as well as Seany, Marns hubby. It’s more of a friends who have become family. We have the name “Vino Squad” and everyone wants to be part of our club.

Through quarantine, we have even been doing Zoom potlucks. We chose a theme, everyone brings different pre-portioned dishes and we exchange in someones driveway. And of course we have a driveway beer to catch up. We go home, warm up our food and hop on Zoom, where someone makes a trivia for us to play after we eat. We did this for fourteen Sunday’s straight but as the Summer came closer, plans started to get in the way. We have recently brought it back through January and February and it picked right where we left off.

But back to Osoyoos, Friday’s are filled with the long drive and winery stops on the way to the condo we stay at every year. Actually one year the condo was booked and we stayed two doors down which got confusing after a few bevies, entering the wrong door. Whoops. Saturday is the main day, where we have a set schedule of wineries we will be hitting. This year worked a little differently because we needed to pre book time slots so the schedule was set in stone and Marn kept a timer at each winery for when we needed to leave.

There is a few mandatory wineries we have to hit: Black Hills, Culmina, CheckMate and Phantom Creek.

Black Hills Estate has been a classic for our trips. With a beautiful tasting room and an outside patio above an out door pool with cabanas poolside and the grape vines surrounding. Safe to say, it is an unforgettable experience. Their wine is outstanding. From the buttery Chardonnay to the Nota Bene, which is one of the best wines I have ever tasted. Through the years we have sat inside, on the patio and twice in the cabanas. Once we were out in the cabanas during a windstorm which was a very cold experience. Black Hills that serves flatbreads and charcuterie from their Vineyard Kitchen.

Black Hills is located on Black Sage Road, in the middle of Canada’s only official desert. The microclimate leaves them with one of hottest, driest and sunniest sites in the country. With the northern latitude, Black Hills has more sunlight hours than Napa Valley in the key growing months from June to August.

Culmina Family Estate Winery is a different experience than Black Hills. The wine makers are there, sit you at a table and give the full story of the history of the winery and grapes followed by how they came to make each wine. Their winemaking philosophy revolves around two things: gentle handling of wine and minimal intervention of wine. That’s all I’m going to tell you because you need to go to the winery and experience the passion of these wines for yourself. Culmina is usually stop one on Saturday morning at 11am sharp so we have to behave on Friday night, which is rare. Culmina’s rosé is one of my top wines. It comes in a lovely bottle and has a glass cork which I thought was very cool.

Phantom Creek is a new discovery and quite possibly my favourite patio ever. Located on the lower terrace of the Black Sage Bench, Phaontom Creek has a grand outdoor entrance with statues, brick buildings and calming music playing that almost sounds like you are about to enter the spa and surrounded by rows of vineyards.

Phantom creek is full of a world-class team of wine professionals including Olivier Humbrecht MW, the consulting winemaker for the white wines and was France’s first Master of Wine. Philippe Melka is the consulting winemaker for the reds and has wroked with some of the most notable personalities in the wine business, still consulting for some of the world’s top wineries. Santiago Cilly is the CEO who worked with Jackson Family Wines in California for nine years before locating to Chile and returning to California as the President of Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate in Napa Valley.

-Phantom Creek

From the moment you arrive to entering the tasting room and having doing the tasting, it feels as though you have transported to Italy. I sat out on the patio, which has luxurious chairs and a breathtaking view. The tasting was impressive and the rosé was so good we just had to get a bottle to share and take in the winery. On the Sunday, we tried to go back but unfortunately they were fully booked up and I would do anything to be sitting on their patio with a glass of rosé right about now.

The 2017 Riesling was featured in Forbes as their White Wine of the Week saying, “Anyone who ever questions the potential of British Columbia to produce wines as complex as any in the world should start popping the corks on both the whites and the reds from Phantom Creek: They’ll be convinced by the second sip.”

CheckMate Artisanal Winery has some of the best wine and most expensive of the trip. Philip Mcgahan is an Australian Born lawyer who turned into a winemaker. He left Williams Selyem in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley to take on Checkmate. CheckMate focuses on making sophisticated world-class Chardonnays and Merlots on their family-owned and farmed estate vineyards. Their goal: To make new world Chardonnay and Merlot with old world elegance in North America. Wine bottle pricing range from $80 to $125 or there is an options for cases or becoming a member. In 2019, they were still building their main tasting room so we tasted in a pop-up intimate wine tasting building but this year the main room was ready. We sat and enjoyed our wine and hearing stories about how the wines became what they are today. We ended up bring home a few reds and the Little Pawn Chardonnay.


Those are just a few of Vino Squad’s favourite wineries and some of our fantastic experiences over the past few years.