I must admit, I never thought I would review The Cactus Club. But after my recent visit to their new location at Coal Harbour, I thought just based on the atmosphere and view (the ocean and mountains!!) that it would be worth sharing my experience. I went with a good buddy for a late Friday lunch. To start, we shared the mini burgers – certified angus beef®, cheddar, alder smoked bacon and red pepper relish ($12.50) and the always very tasty tuna tataki , locally caught oceanwise seared albacore tuna, green papaya slaw, orange, avocado, pine nuts and yuzu vinaigrette ($14.50). We also had to try one of my favorites the ceviche; Ocean wise steelhead, sustainably harvested prawns, red onions, Thai basil, mint and cilantro ($14). We decided not to order any mains courses and simply stick with more starters to complement the drinks. We tried: Tuna sushi cones, spicy ocean wise albacore tuna cones, avocado, cucumber, pickled ginger, tempura, soy paper wrappers ($ 8). Very delicious, plus the kobe style meatball trio roasted tomato sauce, freshly grated parmesan($10.50).
With what I would say is the biggest and busiest restaurant in town, the new Cactus Club at Coal Harbour is sure to deliver on atmosphere, and just shear energy. The place was rocking, the service was excellent and Top Chef Rob Feenie was actually there tasting the food and overseeing quality control.
Giesen Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
The Marlborough region of New Zealand produces some very tasty Sauvignon Blanc and my usual go to is the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (as I have written about before). A suggestion from the BC Liquor Store consultant had me purchasing the Giesen Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012. This wine is pale yellow in colour with green hues with strong aromas of grapefruit, gooseberry and crushed herbs with a delicate mix of tomato and blackcurrant leaf. The palate has wonderful vibrancy and fruit weight, with crisp and clean acidity culminating in a lengthy finish. Although this won’t replace my favourite, it is a great value at $15.99 and can be found at your local BC liquor store.
Are you looking for condos for sale in Vancouver? First time buyers may take a number of challenges when deciding on whether to buy a property or not. If you want to be completely satisfied with your investment, you need to fully understand how the Vancouver condo market works. You need to be well-informed before making a decision so you will have a realistic expectation on the property.
Before making your first condo investment, you need to be fully equipped with the details to avoid any issues in the future. When buying a condo, you have to understand that you are into a shared living. This means that you do not have full control on how much you have to shell-out for the upgrades, maintenance and other emergencies.
You also need to be prepared in paying more than what you expect - for the emergencies or strata fees that are listed on the data sheet. Strata fees usually increases so you need to anticipate the costs and make sure that you set aside a budget for it.
Condo sellers in Vancouver are not obliged to give you the whole history of the building, they may only give you a report from the past two years but make sure your Realtor requests the appropriate documents to help you understand the history of the condo development. When you look at the report pay attention to the rehabilitation work, assessment from engineers and if there are major repairs needed. Good thing, there is legislation in place allowing buyers to get a depreciation report.
Being aware of the history of the unit is very important so you would know if the renovations were done legally and with proper city permits. You also need to know that not all the Vancouver strata boards have property management companies that are taking care of the building. Beware of that property with no history of property Management Company or they keep on changing management.
When buying a condo go beyond the aesthetics. Assess yourself if you really need to use the amenities like sauna, gym, pool and many others that the developers offer. In the end, you have to remember that you will be the one to pay for the maintenance of these amenities.
If you plan to buy a new condo, ask if it has a warranty and determine also the warranty coverage. Have a background check of the building contractor and check whether they have a reputable history. Condos that are built during the 80’s and 90’s are considered problematic for leaks and it may cost you a lot for repairs and other renovations.
You have to remember that the older the condo unit, the more cost you have to endure for repairs. Good thing, there are many real estate agents or brokers to assists you in deciding which condos for sale in Vancouver is good for you or not. Seeking their assistance is a wise decision so you can choose the right condo that meets your needs and wants.
I had a Digital Marketing Conference in San Francisco this month so I decided that I would write a review about my favorite restaurant in San Fran. Plouf,is a trendy French seafood bistro located on lively Belden Alley in the Financial District. It specializes in mussels, seafood dishes and meats. I was travelling alone so I had to eat there twice to review two dishes! Poor me! The first night I had “Mussels plouf” :pastis, cream, shallots, roasted garlic, chili flakes and fine herbs with pommes frites ($16.50). They were one of the best mussels I have ever tried, perfect size and texture and the broth was killer! I was found nose deep in the bowl trying to get every last bit! The portion was so massive, it was all I needed. On my second visit, I had the Marinated Bavette Steak as I had seen a server have it the night before. It came with crushed fingerling potatoes, root vegetables and mushroom demi ($28.00). The steak arrived cooked medium rare as ordered, and was perfect with my bottle of house red! I highly recommend visiting this Parisian restaurant if you are in the area.
Location: 40 Belden Place, Financial District, San Francisco Website: www.ploufsf.com
CHATEAU OLLIEUX ROMANIS, CORBIÈRES “Cuvée Alice”
A family owned vineyard for several generations, Château Les OllieuxRomanis is in Montseret, situated in the heart of the Boutenac region.The vines are located on a sheltered hillside facing south east. The Cuvée Classique Rouge, a Rhône-style Red Blend, is a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah from vines planted on hard red clay soil.Luscious red and black flavours are contrasted by the drier garrigue notes of bayleaf and rosemary, as well as tobacco leaf and pepper.
Maenam Thai Restaurant Located on busy West 4th avenue, this Thai restaurant serves up big flavoursand deliciousfood. My wife and I recently enjoyed an evening out at Maenam. To start with she had the green papaya salad (somdtam), long beans, carrot, garlic, bird's eye chilis, dried shrimp ($10). This has been her favourite Thai dish after working in Thailand for a year and Maenam’s version does not disappoint. I had the grilled Thai sausage and crispy rice salad (yam naam), grilled house fermented Thai sausage with garlic and chilies served with curried rice puffs, lemongrass and fried shallots ($11). As a main course, I enjoyed the stir fried Paradise Valley baby back pork ribs( pad see klongmuu), braised then fried pork ribs, glazed in athree flavour sauce and fried shallots ($18) and my wife had the aromatic curry of free range Rossdown farms chicken (genggarigai) , one of the oldest styles of curries, with roasted sweet onions and longans($18). One of the reasons I love dining out is the opportunity to taste many different foods with great flavours. Maenam delivers this perfectly!
Location: 1938 West 4th Ave. Vancouver 604-730-5579 Website: www.maenam.ca
2007 Bolla Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico We enjoyed this beautiful red over the holidays and loved it so much I wanted to share it with you. At $44 it is on the pricey side but if you are looking for a solid Amarone then this is the one.AmaronedellaValpolicellais a richred amarone wine from the traditional classico viticultural zone of Valpolicella in Veneto, north-eastern Italy.Bolla was the first winery to produce a wine with the name "Amarone" on the label, in 1953. After harvest, the hand-picked grapes are laid out to dry in hillside barns called 'fruttai', to concentrate their flavours and bring added complexity to the wine - a traditional winemaking technique from Roman times. Rich, full-bodied flavours of black cherries, prunes and cedar spice are followed by a long, elegant finish.
Even in mid-November, the Sandbar has a great heated patio to sit on for lunch. Located on Granville Island under the Granville Bridge, this restaurant provides a unique atmosphere with a great view of Vancouver. To start, we had one of my favorite appetizers, the Sweet & Sour Wok Chicken withwonton crisps ($11), and the Blue Shell Mussels steamed with coconut red curry sauce ($15). As mains, my wife had the Warm Beet Salad with champagne vinaigrette, walnuts and goat cheese ($11) and I had my usual sable fish, seared rare with soy, pickled ginger and served with rice and vegetables($29). The SandBar always has great service and the food never disappoints.
This is a great tasting Argentinian Red from the Uco Valley, Mendoza! It has a superb complexity on the nose with concentrated aromas of sweet vanilla, mocha and blackberry. The palate is dry and fruity with a focus and intensity on the flavours. It is a very friendly and approachable wine. Great with vegetarian pasta with a basil sauce, or with grilled peppercorn steak.
My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at one of our favorite restaurants: Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House! You probably don’t need me to tell you how good it is as I am sure you know (or you have heard). The quality of food, service and atmosphere are hands down the best in the city.
We sat on their famous patio and started with a cup of the Roasted Pepper Soup topped with sour cream and chives ($7.95). It was absolutely delicious; I think I pretty much drank it! My wife had the Classic Tiger Prawn Cocktail with fresh horseradish and cocktail sauce ($15.95). They were massive and very fresh.
For our mains we had the fish cakes which were part of their “Blue Plate Special” for $9.95. A generous serving and they were cooked perfectly.Our other main was Miso Marinated Sablefish - baby bokchoy, mushrooms, ginger scallion butter and jasmine rice ($34.95) I have this dish almost every time because I just can’t help myself, it is that good! We also shared an order of their very popular Truffle Parmesan Fries - very addictive!
Since we were on the patio at Joe Fortes, I thought we should have what I consider a great patio drinking wine: Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot Gris. This wine offers notes of white peach, grapefruit, citrus and even a hint of honey. Dry and quite fresh, this intriguing wine is a fine palate-refresher with aromas of white peach and melon. Clean and crisp with no heavy oak. It pairs well with grilled calamari, fish and spicy sauces.
Pee Wee's Playhouse Meets The Jetsons | Condos For Sale Vancouver
If you are looking for Condos For Sale Vancouver, my office is selling one of the most unique condos in Vancouver. This is a Pink condo owned by a very interesting character! The condo if fully decorated with 50's and 60's collectibles. The owner has to move and wants to sell his condo with everything in it. There are upwards of $100 000 dollars in vintage and retro decor and furniture. If you are into mid-century modern furniture or retro design you have to see this Video. Call me 604 783 5593 if you are intersted in viewing this property and please feel free to leave your comments!
This Gastown gem has been around for a while; recently moving just a few blocks from its original location and now located on Water Street. We were impressed with the room layout and all around vibe and managed to get a table without a reservation on a Friday night! My wife and I started with the Seared Scallops that came with fingerling potatoes and black trumpet mushrooms as well as the Deep Fried Octopus Chips that came with a Thai chili & lemon dressing. The scallops were tender and cooked perfectly. We saw that the Octopus Chips were being ordered everywhere around us so we had to try them! We found them a bit too large for our liking. For our mains my wife had the halibut with baby artichokes, fava beans and morel mushrooms. She loved it...and so did I! My main course was the Beef Strip Loin with smoked bone marrow & potato puree. It was delicious. The service was attentive and the atmosphere and all around vibe gave me the feeling of being in a New York restaurant. I highly recommend it. Location:12 Water Street Gastown, Vancouver, BC
If you are in the mood for a nice table red that will go with almost any meal, J. Lohr 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is always a great choice. $22.99
The quality of this Californian vintage is apparent in the wine's density and strong regional expression of black cherry and blackberry fruit. It has melted dark chocolate tannin flavours which are complemented by vanilla and toasty oak notes. This is a complex wine with plump, soft textured mouthfeel and a long finish. This red wine pairs well with a wide range of food but a must try with tomato based pastas and steaks.
A recent Vancouver Magazine Winner of Best Casual Restaurant in Vancouver 2012, L'Abattoir has it going on! Servers in skinny jeans and plaid shirts make the atmosphere casual and hip, but the service is up scale and extremely attentive. During our evening, we had several staff take great care of us. Each dish is described in full upon delivery and our water glasses were always full. To start, my table of four had the Dungeness Crab and Chickpea Toast($13), Poached Egg and Pan Fried Escargots Spatzle ($16), Marinated North Arm Farm Beetroot Tallegio Custard ($12) and Asparagus Salad Pancetta, ($15). I chose the Asparagus Salad as it came with chicken wings! For our Main course, my wife had the Roast Scallops, char grilled kale, beans, bacon ($26). This dish had 5 generous scallops cooked perfectly. Our guests had the Steak Diane with charred onions, potato fondant, peppercorn condiment ($28) and the Duck breast roasted on the bone ($29). I had the Pork shoulder cooked in milk with turnips, kale, and salsa verde ($25). The meat was very tender and full of flavour. I finished my meal of with the Coffee Custard ($9), dark and white chocolate sorbets, cookie crumble and whipped milk. We had a very enjoyable evening and left feeling very satisfied. If you want to experience a food, cocktail and service experience that you won't forget... visit L'Abattoir.
Location:217 Carrall St Gastown, Vancouver - (604) 568 1701
The wine for the evening came recommended by L'Abbattoir's sommelier. He chose for us Heidi Schröck, Grauburgunder 2010. For $66, this Austrian wine was delicious and went perfectly with our meals! This white wine has some spice and power, with aromas of orange zest layered with herbal, ripe apple and delicate honey tones. On the palate, there was pear and exotic fruit, with a lovely finish. It is matured 18 months in new French oak.
'Go Fish' (formerly BIN 942) Prime Restaurant Location Business For Sale at 1521 BROADWAY W in VANCOUVER, BC Canada. Well Established Restaurant with a 50 seat Food Primery License in a prime Vancouver location at Granville and Broadway. Great opportunity to carry on as 'Go Fish' or start a new project.
$225,000 - 1521 BROADWAY West VANCOUVER (Vancouver West, Fairview VW) V6H 3G6
Congratulations to everyone in our Vancouver group of offices. We are #1 in the World once again with over $3.6 Billion in Sales!
I keep going back and I can't get enough! This is not your regular pub fare and Owner/Chef Dale MacKay, winner of Canada's Next Top Chef, has hit a home run with the food. 'Ensemble Tap' is Chef MacKay's sister restaurant to his more up- scale restaurant 'Ensemble'. I won't list off everything that I enjoyed on this menu because I love the entire menu. I have been back 5 times in the last few months and I can't wait to go back again all because of the great food quality and flavours. Here are a few of my and my guest's favorite dishes. We both agreed that Ensemble Tap has the best Chicken Wings in the city and we have been looking for a very long time! We like the 'hot" wings with fresh cucumber pickles and ranch ($12). Another top choice is the Award-Winning Pulled Pork Sandwich (From Top Chef Canada) with Apple-Horseradish Slaw, BBQ Beans and Fries ($13). We also sampled the Crispy Chicken Burger with Bacon ($14), Mussels and Fries in a Thai Curry Broth ($18) and Crispy Braised Ribs with BBQ-Spiced Rub ($15). I really could go on! This restaurant should be on everyone's list to visit and I encourage everyone to check it out.
Location:990 Smith Street, Vancouver - (604) 566-9770
This red wine is from the Elqui Valley region of Chile and made with 100% dried grapes. The Falernia winery is Chile's nothernmost wine estate. This wine is priced at $17.99 and has a herbal edge that carries on the palate, with a certain leathery note with delicious chocolaty notes and a touch of sweetness. This Carmenere pairs well with rich dishes including Lamb Shank, Steak, Spaghetti Bolognese and of course great with chocolate for desert.
Six of us recently had the opportunity to get together for a great evening of wine and food at this long standing Yaletown restaurant. To start, we decided to share the following starters: Crab Cakes ($12) with organic salad, chipotle mayonnaise; melt in your mouth Tenderloin Carpaccio ($10); Garlic Prawns ($12), pan seared with lemon garlic butter and garlic bread. For mains, the three guys in the group had the 16oz Ribeye ($26). We all agreed that these certified Angus beef steaks were packed with flavour and had the perfect amount of marbling. For sides we chose pommes frites, sauteed garlic mushrooms and asparagus. The ladies decided to go with lighter dishes that included a beautifully prepared Halibut dish from the Dine Out Vancouver menu, Grilled Sockeye Salmon ($24) and Stuffed Chicken Breast ($20), herb crusted, stuffed with brie, cherries and pecans. To finish it off we shared a dessert plate presented to us by owner/executive chef Neil Wyles, which included his to die for Gingerbread Pudding. Described as "buttery goodness" by one of the ladies, it arrived with a trio of homemade ice cream. We all enjoyed the atmosphere, food and great service at this Yaletown eatery and look forward to returning very soon.
Location:1009 Hamilton Street Vancouver Bc. 604.331.1511
Blue Mountain Wines are always quite exceptional and I recently had the opportunity to sample their 2009 Chardonnay $26.99 which did not disappoint. It contains flavours of citrus with a fresh yet rich lemony character and tastes of green apple in the background and anise notes on the finish. This wine will pair well with fish, chicken, light cream sauces and cheese.
For product information and availability visit your local Liberty Wine Merchant HERE!
I would like to introduce a Free Real Estate Mobile Tool that I am providing for you. No log-in or downloading required. It's not an App, it's a Tool! Bookmark this link on your mobile phone's home page and use it anytime to find current Greater Vancouver real estate listings.
This is really cool! Simply click on this link MLS Mobile Tool and automatically locate yourself via GPS and see all the available MLS listings for sale up to a 1km radius around you. Have the application "follow" you by automatically updating your position and nearby listings as you walk or drive around. You can also manually override your current location by entering the address of your choice to see specific listings. This tool will also work from your home or work computer.
These are my personal tips that you should consider when buying a property.
1) Research is the key
Always do research. You can never do enough research. A lot of people dive into the property market head first and blind folded, and that’s when people make bad purchases. If you like a property, find out about the surrounding area; find out the local crime rate, find out how much properties in the area recently sold for. Find out EVERYTHING. There are tonnes of websites out there that will give you all these details at no cost. Start with my website http://vancouvercanadahomes.com
2) Prepare yourself financially
Financially prepare yourself before you make any offers- get financially sorted. Make sure you can afford the property. Make sure you have taken every cost into consideration, like conveyancing solicitors, stamp duty, survery fees, Real Estate Agent fees etc. Most importantly, make sure you can get the financial backing you need.
3) Structural Survey
Always get a structural survey or inspection done. With the newer homes, the basic or mid-ranged survey is fine. But with older properties, definitely get the higher-level inspection. Sure this may add expenses onto your limited budget, but it could potentially save you thousands. Regardless, most Mortgage lenders will insist on a structural survey and inspection, as they won’t want to help you finance a house that’s about to fall apart.
4) Property fittings
Make sure you ask what comes with the property before you make an offer. A lot of houses are presented beautifully, especially with fitted bathrooms and kitchens. You may get a nasty shock when you move in only to find the previous owners took the fittings with them.
5) Stay away from the asking price
Never offer the asking price, unless it is known that you are in a competing offer situation, even if you’re in love with a particular property. Sellers/ Real Estate Agents usually add on a few thousand pounds from the actual value of the property, because they expect offers to always be below asking price. Be risky, and make a cheeky offer- you maybe surprised.
6) The Property Market
Find out how long a property has been on the market for from your Vancouver REALTOR®. If a property you’re in love with has been on the market for a long period of time, ask yourself why; be suspicious. If the property is legit, and for some odd reason it’s not selling, then make a low offer.
7) Control your emotions
Never act overly keen to either the seller or your Real Estate Agent. The REALTOR® and seller both have one thing in common- they want the buyer to spend as much as possible. Remember, the Real Estate Agent is working for the seller, not the buyer. If you act overly keen, they will make you spend more money than necessary. Buying property is like playing a game of poker- you need to play the game with a face of stone.
8.) Be patient
Don’t let your patience get the better of you. Never rush into buying a property; buying a house is a big deal and will effect your life. There is an art to buying property, and patience is a big part of it. Impatience leads to expensive and inadequate purchases. If your patience is the direct reason of losing out on a deal, don’t worry, properties come and go on the market. On the other hand, your impatience could be the direct reason of making a bad purchase, and consequently throwing your money down the drain.
9) The future is important
Think about the unforeseeable future. The property market is a very uncertain area. Interest rates can increase at any time, and that will have direct impact on your monthly mortgage repayments. You may be out of work for a period of time, would you still be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments?
10) An empty property looks so much different
Imagine the property is empty- do not be fooled by props a seller has strategically planned. Once a house is stripped from all it’s wrapping, you maybe surprised how different it looks. Check behind and under the furniture, because you never know what surprises maybe hidden away- peeling wallpaper, stained carpets etc.
11) Don’t forget your neigbourhood
Are you looking for a peaceful area? Remember, an Real Estate Agent is working with the seller to get a maximum sale value- they will arrange viewings at optimum times. When you view a property, the surrounding area may be quiet and peaceful. Consider what the noise maybe like at times you haven’t been there.
12) Damp properties
Smell for dampness. Touch the walls; feel if they’re damp. Always be suspicious if a home is overly heated and sprayed with overpowering fragrances.
13) The roof can be costly to fix
Check the tiles on the roof. A lot of people neglect the roof when inspecting a house, and that’s exactly where a lot of people have to shell out a lot of expenses. This especially applies to older properties.
14) Location is just as important as the property
Finding the dream house is always great. But what about your dream location? Does it contain all your essentials, like a local groceries, schools etc. Don’t just focus on the property; focus on the bigger picture. Make sure the local area is equipped for your requirements.
15) Shop around for property
You can never find the right property after one viewing; even if you think otherwise. Make sure you take your time looking at several difference properties. Don’t just look in one area, be a little open minded and open yourself to possibilities. You’ll get a better idea of what your hard earned cash can actually get you.
You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house. The process of buying a Vancouver home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once. Where do you start?
It is essential you do your homework before you begin. Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable. But be careful: learning from your mistakes may prove costly. Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes when buying real estate in Vancouver BC.
1. Searching for Vancouver Real Estate without getting pre-approved by a lender:
Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.
2. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision:
The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy. Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home in Vancouver as objectively as you can. Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment. Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work. Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour! Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions.
3. Failing to have the Vancouver home inspected before you buy:
6. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying:
Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around. What amenities does the area have to offer? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children. How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Are there infrastructure projects in development? All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home or investment in Vancouver, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.
7. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move:
If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal when buying a Vancouver Home.
8. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation:
Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.