Select Finalists Announced for 25th Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

Vancouver MagazineVancouver, B.C.; April 15th, 2014 – Vancouver Magazine announced today select finalists for its upcoming 25th Annual Restaurant Awards.  Finalists were named in the magazine’s new Best of Neighbourhood award categories including: Best Downtown, Best Yaletown, Best West End, Best Gastown & Chinatown, Best West Side, Best East Side, and Best Richmond.

These categories join Best North Shore in highlighting establishments for diners for whom location is at least as important as reputation, type of cuisine, ambiance, and price. See attached fact sheet for finalist restaurants.

“For the past 25 years, Vancouver Magazine has been cataloguing the city’s finest rooms and creating a definitive compendium of all that is delicious, masterful, and of the moment,” said John Burns, Vancouver Magazine Editor-in-Chief. “The addition of Best of Neighbourhood awards reflects our judges’ view that for many people, location matters a great deal when deciding where to dine.”

Finalists in the remaining 42 categories won’t be revealed until the gala, to be held at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel on April 22nd. More than 700 of B.C.’s top chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and food critics will gather to recognize the city’s best. Vancouverites can follow the event live on Twitter and Instagram using #VanMagAwards.

Vancouver Magazine’s May issue includes a 42-page feature on all the award categories. The issue will be on newsstands on April 28th and digital subscriptions will be available at vanmag.com.

Finalists for New Best of Neighbourhood Categories

Best Yaletown

  • Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar,
  • Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca,
  • The Flying Pig,
  • Homer St. Café and Bar,
  • La Pentola della Quercia

Best West End

  • Forage,
  • Hokkaido Ramen Santouka,
  • Kingyo,
  • Nook,
  • Tavola

Best Downtown

  • Cactus Club Coal Harbour,
  • Hawksworth,
  • The Mexican, Antojitos y Cantina;
  • Tableau Bar Bistro,
  • Yew Seafood & Bar

Best Gastown & Chinatown

  • Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie,
  • Campagnolo,
  • Phnom Penh,
  • Pidgin,
  • The Union

Best West Side

  • Maenam,
  • La Quercia,
  • Vijs,
  • West,
  • Zest

Best East Side

  • Campagnolo Roma,
  • Chicha,
  • Les Faux Bourgeois,
  • The Red Wagon,
  • Via Tevere

Best Richmond

  • Dinesty Chinese,
  • Gudrun,
  • Hoi Tong Seafood,
  • Spicy Vegetarian Cuisine,
  • Top Shanghai Cuisine

Best North Shore

  • Blue Eyed Marys,
  • Canyon,
  • Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle,
  • Gusto di Quattro,
  • La Régalade

 

 

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Lulu Island Winery Spring 2011 Wine Release Party

April 9 and 10, 2011 was the Spring Wine Release Party at Lulu Island Winery, located in Richmond, BC. This was not a release of all their new vintages .There were three fruit wines released, one of which is a brand new fruit wine for me. The three fruit wines I tasted were:

  • Raspberry 2008 ($15.95)
  • Cranberry 2007 ($16.95)
  • Passion Fruit 2006 ($18.95)

The raspberries and cranberries are sourced locally. The raspberries coming from Abbotsford and the cranberries from Richmond. I haven’t seen any passion fruit trees growing locally, and found out the fruit for this wine came from Taiwan in pulp format.

All three fruit wines have sweetness between 2 and 4, so you would think you would be tasting quite sweet libations, but you would be wrong. These three wines have nice tart acidity that balances out the sugar.

The Raspberry 2008 is deep garnet in colour with aromas of juicy raspberries and floweriness. Dry mouthfeel with sour raspberry flavour. This was a nice pairing with some ripe strawberries at the tasting.

The Cranberry 2007 had red cherry and cranberry aromas. Sour red cherry and cranberry flavour. Medium length. Also good with the strawberries.

The Passion Fruit 2006 had a very intriguing aromas and flavours. This wine had a beautiful golden colour in the glass.  How do you describe passion fruit aroma and flavour to someone that has not grown up with this fruit?  My initial stab at a description was honey, peach and ripe topical fruit.  The wine also had a dried raisin flavour to it too.  Very dry with medium body.  Lots of pucker power with this wine.  Good crisp acidity.

While I was there, I thought I’d try two of the red wines which I had before.  The Lulu Island Cabernet Franc 2009 ($24.95) was deep garnet in colour.  Slight cedar on the nose along with red cherries.  On the palate it was soft in the mouth with ripe red cherries, vanilla and cedar flavours.  Low tannins and medium length.  A very enjoyable wine.

The Lulu Island Meritage 2009 ($31.95) is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.  It had a dark fruit nose.  Quite round mouthfeel. Cherries, raspberries and vanilla on the palate.  Soft tannins with some spice on the finish.  Another nice wine.

Lulu Island’s current vintages of Merlot 2009, Pinot Noir 2009, and Blueberry wines are SOLD OUT.  Their Late Harvest Merlot stock is low.  Take a weekend trip to Lulu Island Winery.  They are in Richmond so not too far to go for Vancouverites.  Be a tourist in your own city.  Enjoy!

Have You Been to Lulu Island Winery? @LuluIslandWine

Living in Vancouver, you may not realize that there are many wineries in Richmond and the Fraser Valley. Lulu Island Winery, located in Richmond, started it’s life as Blossom Winery producing fruit wines, and now has blossomed into Lulu Island winery, producing a wide range of grape and fruit wines. They celebrated their Grand Opening at the new winery July 3, 2009. I attended the Grand Opening and have the review of that great day here.

For my current tasting and tour, I was met by Heather Turnbull from Lulu Island Winery.  We started off viewing part of the vineyards that are behind the winery building.  There were a few different varieties planted.  One for sure was pinot noir, which they think will do well in our cool, maritime climate.   The fermentation room with the gleaming stainless steel tanks were next.  When I was first there in 2009 at the Grand Opening they had 3 tanks.  Now there were around 10 tanks (sorry I did not count the exact amount).  So things are progressing well for Lulu Island winery.  It is nice to see success.

Before moving on to the tasting, the last thing Heather showed me, and talked to me about was the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. During the Olympics, Lulu Island winery was the Chinese Olympic Delegation house “China House“.  Various Chinese products and producers were at the winery, along with athletes, food, and more, to help promote China to everyone celebrating the Olympic Games.  There were a few remnants of the Games left there still; some red lanterns, and a display showing the Chinese athletes’ outfits.  I really enjoyed the Olympics.  I was a volunteer, working at the curling centre.  I did see the Chinese women’s team play against Team Canada.

Now for the wine tasting.  I tasted 11 different wines, but to keep to blogging brevity, I’ll outline a few of my favourites.  Their Gewurztraminer 2009 ($16.97) is light lemon in colour.  Off-dry with lychee and sweet red apple flavours.  Medium- body and medium length.  An easy sipper.  My overall favourite red wine is their Petit Verdot 2009 ($18.95).  Medium purple in colour.  Rich cassis nose.  Rich, ripe cassis and cherry flavours.  Medium body.  Vanilla on the mid palate.  Medium length with a light bit of spice on the finish.  The winemaker’s favorite wine is his Meritage 2009 ($31.95). The Meritage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. It is deep garnet coloured in the glass.  Bright cassis and fruit on the nose.  Lots of cherries on the palate.  Slightly herbal, with vanilla and oak flavours as well.  Medium tannins with a dry cherry finish.  If you like sweeter wines, you may want to try their Iceder ($31.95).  This is a blend of apple cider and ice wine.  This had a medium golden colour.  Nice apple aromas.  Very round mouthfeel and velvety. Good acidity to balance the sugar, making a refreshing apple flavoured wine with a long finish.  Give it a try.

I hope you get a chance to visit Lulu Island winery.  It’s nearby, so try it for a Saturday or Sunday weekend visit.  Enjoy!

Lulu Island Winery Grand Opening

 

Today, July 3, 2009 was the grand opening of the Lulu Island Winery in Richmond. There was an official ribbon cutting with federal, provincial, and municipal dignitaries there in abundance. I was there of course for the wine. This winery I believe was previously called Blossom Winery and have now renamed themselves as Lulu Island Winery.

Blossom Winery was well known to me as producing non-grape, fruit wines. But with Lulu Island Winery, they contracted with grape growers in the south Okanagan to produce a range of grape wines. The wines that are currently available from Lulu Island winery are:

Chardonnay $14.95
Gewurztraminer $16.75
Sauvignon Blanc $13.95
Merlot 2008 $18.95
Riesling / Chardonnay Ice wine 2007 $69
Merlot / Pinot Noir Ice wine 2007 $95
Raspberry $15.95
Blueberry $18.95

I did not record a vintage for all the bottles, so only listed the vintages I knew.

On the white wines, I particularly enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc. It was medium lemon in colour, and had a light grapefruit nose. Good acid, with honey and grapefruit flavours. There was only 1 red, which was the Merlot and was also quite nice. This wine was deep purple in the glass. It had oak, vanilla, and black plum aromas. It was medium body , medium tannins, with plum and cherry fruit flavours. Both ice wines were very unctus and can be enjoyed either on their own or maybe with cake or fruit. Finally I quite liked their blueberry wine. Although it was listed as a sweetness of 4, it had good acidity to balance the sugar and keep the wine refreshing. Lots of blueberry aroma and flavour.

Lulu Island Winery is located at 16880 Westminster Highway in Richmond, BC. Their tel is 604-232-9839. A nice place to visit on a weekend for those of you that live in the Vancouver lower mainland.