Father. Geek. Foodie. Entrepreneur.

Vancouver Magazine Kicks off 2008 with a Big Night!

When it comes to who’s number one, and who gets the failing grade in terms of Top Restaurants in Vancouver, look no further than Vancouver Magazine! “Big Night” is their celebration of the top winning wines paired with the best restaurants of the year. In only their third year, Big Night draws a crowd that includes the “who’s who” of Vancouver.


Speaking of the “Who’s Who”, it wouldn’t be a party without the Dot Com Pho Crew.  Representing the posse at this year’s event was John Chow, Ed Lau, Greg Morgan, and of course Kelly Frankson and myself. Kelly and I were a little late coming in thanks to the stupid late Vancouver Cab Company. We waited and waited and they didn’t show up, so we had to drive downtown and watch the wine intake. To add insult to injury, they paged me as I was pulling into the valet parking area, letting me know that the cab had arrived…an hour later. No wonder Vancouver cabbies are getting such a bad rap lately! First they won’t take your fares, and then they take their sweet time showing up. Bunch of D-Bags!


The event took place at the prestigious and exclusive Vancouver Club right in downtown Vancouver. I’ve been to the club for other events in the past and have always been impressed with the level of service in their dining room. For example, if you….I dunno….misplace your fork…by the time you turn around, it will be replaced. Or if you…put down your napkin to go to the can, when you return, your napkin will be refolded into some fancy design all over again. Cool! 😀


The Vancouver Club also has a strict dress code. Sarah, John’s wife was smart to make the “Panda Killer” dress up and wear a suit because his signature “Free Trade Show T-Shirt and Khaki Pants” wouldn’t have cut the mustard. Even Ed put on a tie and hung up his hoodies and trendy T’s for this event, though he refused to do up his tie all the way like he does at work. At least he’s a consistent “I Don’t Give a Crap” employee!


Although there were a lot of different wines at the event, my favourite wine was the Ice Wine by Inniskillin Okanagan. Voted as the Best Dessert Wine by Vancouver Magazine, this 2006 Riesling Icewine saw my tonsils more than a few times during the night. It was clearly my favourite, though the Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier 2006, which was the best Light White, also hit the spot.


Although the restaurant of the year, WEST, was also there with their refreshing “Kumamoto Oysters with Pink Lady Apple Jelly, Celeriac remoulade and Arctic Char caviar“, the biggest surprise was Lumiere’s (sans Rob Feenie) and their “Braised Lamb Cheeks with Brusssel Sprouts, Organic Beet and Parsnip Puree“. It was one of my favourite dishes at the event. I asked the staff manning the table about how they felt about their former boss and his decision to go flip burgers at Cactus Club. They refused to elaborate on that. I take it that their silence was in support of their former Head Chef and could be a telling detail of what really transpired behind the scenes.


For dessert, nothing beats a good Apple Pie a la Mode and Thomas Haas really took it up a notch with their “Slow baked apple confit with Granny Smith sorbet & pain d’epice” and of course, generous amounts of Ice Wine from the Inniskillin table beside them. I’d also like to give a shout out to the Balderson Cheese folks. I really, really, really….REALLY… liked your 40 year old cheddar and would be happy to review a larger sample if you want to ship me some 😉


Overall, Vancouver Magazine’s 2008 Big Night was a huge success and all I could see was smiles all around and people having a great time, especially the ones that had too much wine.  Apparently, JFK’s illegitimate son was part of the crowd as well. I even forgive that dork at the Thomas Haas table that just stood there the whole time, eating all the samples, while people were lined up waiting for their crack at the pie. Some people have no shame. Along with the Brian Jessel Cabriolet Fashion Gala, this is an event that I highly recommend you attend if you’re into high end wine and food.

For more pictures of the event, check out my 2008 Big Night Vancouver Photo Gallery.

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