Cioffi’s Cucina

Whenever I go anywhere near Burnaby I always make a point of hitting up Cioffi’s Meat Market to restock my pantry with uber authentic Italian items such as San Marzano canned tomatoes, Arborio rice and olives. I’ve often grabbed a sandwich or one of there prepared items and some sort of meat was always on the menu that night for dinner. Recently the Cioffi’s opened a Cucina in the spot next store to the market at  4142 Hastings Street and I made a point of getting out there for lunch immediately.

They’d always done some catering, but recently ramped it up volume wise and had run out of space so moved that into the new location. The Cucina offers authentic Italian dishes, such as pastas, pizzas, calzone, veal parmigiana, soups, pannini to grap or munch on right there and many hot and cold items to take home. Stop in for fresh or frozen lasagnas, pasta sauces, pesto, or pizza and feed your family a healthy meal made from scratch.  


Cioffi’s is taking part in Vancouver Foodster’s Big Melt Challenge until the end of the month with a four cheese melt organic beef short rib panini with crispy onions and arugula and it’s UNREAL. They better keep this one on the menu!

Pictures are courtesy of Kristy Cioffi. Both Cioffi’s are family run operations led by Rino, his wife Kristy and brother Sergio.

Pop Up Ted Baker Audio One Piece Vancouver at Experience Headphones

headphones2TODAY! Experience Headphones has gained a North America-wide exclusive to world renowned designer’s Ted Baker Audio Collection. Check out the Ted Baker Audio Collection along with holiday shopping event with local scarf designer and home decor creator Krista McKenna of One Piece Vancouver at the Experience Headphones boutique store on November 22, 2013

The time has come for holiday shopping! Handmade treats from One Piece Vancouver like Peruvian Wool Blankets and Super Wash Merino Wool Infinity Scarves, Hand Poured Soy Candles and Organic Spa Soaks while previewing the exquisite line of new products created by Ted Baker and the rest of the collection of luxury headphones carried by Experience.


Exclusive gift sets pair luxury headphones with the incredibly well crafted and locally made merino wool infinity scarfs by One Piece Vancouver- only available while supplies last.

Where: Experience Headphones, 3057 South Granville St
Vancouver, BC, V6H 3J9

Hashtag will be #ExperienceXOnePieceVan. Please share on your social media channels! @OnePieceVan & @Experience_headphones


Chef Ned Bell Takes The Win At The Chowder Chowdown


Chef NED Bell of YEW wins Both people’s choice and the title at 2014 vancouver aquarium ocean wise chowder chowdown and we’ve got the recipe below!

The Vancouver Aquarium was the site of a fierce battle last night, when 14 top Ocean Wise chefs from British Columbia ladled out their best work for guests and judges at the 2013 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. The competition, which featured ocean-friendly seafood chowders served with local beer, was all in the name of sustainable seafood. The evening’s victor was Ned Bell of Yew Restaurant, who was crowned by both an esteemed judging panel as the 2014 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Champion, and by event guests as winner of the People’s Choice award.

Chef Bell wowed both judging panel and guests with the recipe for his flavourful and super-local “Chowda,” featuring Ocean Wise smoked black cod with Okanagan apples, Chilliwack corn and Fraser Valley honey. Past two-time chowder champion, Chris Whittaker of Forage, won the award for Best Beer Pairing by dishing up his Smoked Sablefish and Chanterelle Mushroom Chowder alongside ale from R&B Brewing Company.

“The Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown is not only a must-do on the city’s fall event calendar, but it brings the community together to celebrate sustainable seafood and raise funds to support the Ocean Wise program,” says Ann-Marie Copping, Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise manager. “The popularity of the Chowder Chowdown demonstrates how the sustainable seafood movement is strengthened by the chefs, suppliers, producers, and consumers who choose Ocean Wise. We couldn’t do it without them.”

The seventh annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown showcased 14 Ocean Wise chefs who joined the sustainable seafood movement by competitng head to head in a friendly competition with their original, ocean-friendly seafood chowders, served with local beers. The diverse ingredients of the chowders ran the spectrum, from Ocean Wise honey mussels to wild Pacific albacore tuna. A list of participating chefs and their bios can be found here.

Ned Bell, YEW Seafood & Bar, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver 

Oceanwise Smoked Black Cod  ‘Chowda’
Okanagan Apples, Chilliwack Corn, Fraser Valley Honey

Recipe: 4-6 ppl

For the Chowder Base:

1 Liter Organic Avalon Dairy 35% Cream
2 tbsp butter
½ cup Okanagan White Wine
½ cup apple juice
1 onion, diced
1 Yukon Gold potato, steamed, peeled and diced
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup Chilliwack corn
1pc Okanagan apple
1 tbsp white peppercorns
3 tbsp sea salt
4tbsp Fraser Valley Honey


-sauté the onions and celery in the butter.
-add the salt and peppercorns.
-deglaze with the wine, and cook out for a few minutes
-add the cream and juice, simmer for 20 minutes.
Puree all the ingredients in a Vita Mix Blender and cool.

To Assemble the Chowder:

Warm the soup up with the smoked black cod, this will allow the cod to cook gently and add flavor. Add the fresh raw corn, the potato, and raw diced apple. Drizzle the soup with the Fraser Valley Honey and garnish with a few fresh pieces of raw Okanagan apple.

Chef Ned Bell, Dolf Dejong, Vancouver Aquarium vice president of conservation and education, and Ann-Marie Copping, manager of Ocean Wise.ChowderChowdown-2014-16


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Eastside Culture Crawl

The Eastside Culture Crawl is an annual 4-day visual arts festival held November 20-23, 2014 that involves artists on Vancouver’s Eastside opening their studio to the public. The event is focused on the area bounded by Main St., 1st Ave., Victoria Drive, and the Waterfront and involves painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers; from emerging artists to those internationally established.


The Eastside Culture Crawl officially began in 1997 with 45 visual artists in 3 Strathcona area studio buildings and was attended by a few hundred people. Since that time the event has grown to include over 400 artists, craftspeople and designers attracting an audience of more than 20,000. The organization itself has evolved to represent the heart of the East Van creative community.


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Flashdance The Musical recently came to town and brought back memories of leg warmers, ripped sweatshirts, and the dance classes I took in the 80’s. Most of the cast of Flashdance is almost too young to remember the original movie, but they certainly did their research and pulled off the era’s dance moves very believably. Flashdance was one of my favourite movies during my pre-teen years. What more could one want in a film than dance, romance, a little sex and some welding?


While in town a few members of the cast joined Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Clubs  to teach one of the dance numbers and I dropped in for a quick interview and a few quick dance moves.


Caste member Katherine Roarty studied every single role in the musical and can cover if anyone takes the night off. She hails from Pittsburgh where the story takes place.

Brandon Stonestreet came to dancing a bit late (age 14), but he soon landed roles touring and left school to pursue his dream.


They put us through a warm up before teaching the class a routine. I soon realized how much I needed better drastically increase my physical activity, if I ever wanted to keep up with the crew, even only after the warm up.


The instructors were joined by fitness reporter Natalie Langston, who had mastered the routine earlier.

Thankfully Steve Nash Fitness has many classes to assist me in this endeavor and I’m going to be partnering with them soon for a series on fitting fitness into a busy life. I’ll need some cheering so I will be hoping to have some of you join me along the way.

In the meantime you can get a free 10 day pass here. See you at the club!

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market


Tis the season to be jolly! The beloved annual Vancouver Christmas Market will be celebrating its 5th anniversary in the heart of downtown at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza from November 22nd to December 24th, 2014. With a total of over 50 unique vendors, local and international flavour, beautiful lights and delicious food, guests of all ages will find something to satisfy their yuletide appetites at this year’s Christmas Market.

Holly and Jolly

Traditional wooden huts will once again fill the Plaza, this year each decorated with handmade Herrnhuter stars, and the Christmas Market is sure to put visitors, young and old, in the festive spirit of the holiday season for the fifth year in a row. With 14 new vendors, returning and first-time visitors alike are sure to find something they’ll love.

Those looking to satisfy their hunger and sugar cravings will be thrilled to discover 17 different food options, more than ever before, with both returning classics and new additions, including Dutch mini pancakes, Ukrainian crepes, vegan options and more. Parents are encouraged to bring their kids along, so they can decorate their own gingerbread; take pictures with Vancouver Christmas Market mascots, Holly and Jolly; and try their hand at crafting their very own Herrnhuter star.

Nutcracker House

Cultural entertainment like the annual X-mas Factor singing competition, Christmas carols and thousands of twinkling lights will highlight your stroll through the Market as you shop for gifts, try out the new photo hut, sip on authentic Glühwein and take a spin on Vancouver’s only Christmas carousel.

Event:                 2014 Vancouver Christmas Market
November 22nd to December 24th
11am to 9pm daily; 11am to 6pm on December 24th
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Adults (13+): $7 – Mon-Fri 4pm-9pm & Weekends 11am-9pm
Adults (13+): $4 Special! Mon-Fri 11am-4pm
Seniors (60+): $1 off regular admission
Youth (7-12): $3
Child (0-6): FREE
Carousel Rides: $3 per ticket; $10 per package of 5 tickets

Returning again for 2014, for the price of any paid admission, visitors will be given a FREE Season’s Pass so that they can enjoy the Vancouver Christmas Market time and again over the course of the 33-day event. Also, those who come from 11 am to 2pm on weekdays can beat the crowds and enjoy 2-for-1 lunch admission, making the Market the perfect place to grab a delightful meal with friends.

For tickets, available online now, visit

For our coverage from 2012 click here.

Haywire Lunar New Year White 2013

Haywire-LunarWhiteAnother great wine for food with a touch of spice is the Haywire Lunar White in which the winery blends Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, and Viognier to create a harmonious bottle of noodle-worthy wine. You’ll find aromas of peach, tropical fruit, and floral notes and similar fresh flavours along with pink grapefruit, lychee and some zippy acidity. Great with seafood.

pH: 3.66 | TA: 5.90 | RS: 4.70 | Alc %: 12.9
SKU: 538793 | Price: $19.90

Haywire Lunar New Year Red 2012

Haywire-2012LunarRedWe recently celebrated Lunar New Year with dim sum and sipped on this wonderfully paired Haywire Lunar Red. Made from Gamay Noir grapes and a touch of  Syrah, this wine has aromas of plum and raspberry along with some chocolate and spice. On the palate there is jammy raspberry and red currant flavours along with soft tannins, spice and juicy acidity.

pH: 3.92 | TA: 5.50 | RS: 10.0 | Alc %: 12.6

SKU: 738781 | Price: $22.90


Blacktail Florist Whisky


Irish Whiskeys Paired With A Four-Course Menu

Blacktail Florist is excited to host whiskey lovers for an evening of hidden Irish treasures. On November 18th at 7pm, four premium whiskeys will be sampled for the first time in Canada; each of the four chosen liquors were imported directly from Ireland for this special event and will be accompanied by a one-time-only four-course tasting menu by Executive Chef Geoff Rogers. Dishes are designed to complement and counterbalance the historic and comforting whiskey flavours of Ireland.

The evening’s featured whiskeys are Pot Still Irish Whiskeys, a style made from both malted and unmalted barley which is triple-distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The method is commonly known as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey, and these varieties boast complex flavours and a true taste of Irish magic.

Guests will be warmly greeted in true Irish fashion—with a drink! After enjoying a complimentary Jameson Select Reserve cocktail, guests begin their journey through the evening’s main event. For those new to the charms of whiskey or wishing to expand their knowledge, the evening will be guided by a whiskey expert: Midleton Distillery-trained and Jameson Brand Ambassador to BC, Simone Kelly.

The Single Pot Still Dinner is $125 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) which includes a four-course meal paired with samples of four whiskeys. Only 26 tickets will be sold to correspond with the 26oz in each bottle, so interested parties should move quickly to secure their spot. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit

$125 per guest

Green Spot

Yellow Spot

Power’s John’s Lane Release
Voted best whiskey in Ireland by Jim Murray

Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength


Tucked among Gastown’s trademark brick buildings, Blacktail Florist shines a spotlight on BC’s overlooked and most humble ingredients. Fresh, local products are the inspiration behind daily dishes, while a range of thoughtfully selected wines by the glass and bottle showcase the best Cascadian varietals from coast to crest. Outdoor meets indoor in the welcoming, woodland-inspired interior and guests are encouraged to unwind over an adventurous and satisfying meal in a delicate and warm setting. Blacktail Florist is located at 200–322 Water Street and is open Monday to Sunday for lunch from 11:30AM to 2:30AM and for dinner from 5:00PM–12:00PM. Guests can make reservations online at For more information, visit

BC’s Parmigiano-Reggiano Week Celebrates Italy’s Finest Cheese In Vancouver & Whistler Restaurants

parmesanOne of the world’s most important consortiums, Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano (The Consortium of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese), Italy’s ‘King of Cheese,’ is proud to announce the first Parmigiano-Reggiano Week in British Columbia, a celebration of the world-famous, northern Italian cheese, taking place at select Vancouver and Whistler restaurants between November 17th and 23rd, 2014.

Ten of the premier restaurants in British Columbia will be offering special Parmigiano-Reggiano inspired dishes for guests to enjoy. Whether grated over a slice of fire-roasted pizza, delicately sprinkled inside a piping hot lasagna, or as a central ingredient in a pasta primavera, guests of these ten restaurants will be reminded why Parmigiano-Reggiano is king.

The following restaurants will be participating in BC’s Parmigiano-Reggiano Week:

British Columbia’s Parmigiano-Reggiano Week comes on the heels of the highly successful third annual Parmigiano-Reggiano Night, which took place in 188 restaurants and thousands of homes across Italy on October 25th. Parmigiano-Reggiano Night was created in order to educate Italians about the one-of-a-kind nature of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the 3,500 farms that produce it.

For more information about Parmigiano-Reggiano Week, visit

About Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano

Established in 1934, Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano (The Consortium of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese) protects Parmigiano-Reggiano hard cheese by certifying that the production of each wheel of cheese adheres to a strict process, ensuring the highest quality. According to European law, only PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Modena and Mantova can be labeled as “Parmesan.”  Each wheel of authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is aged for a minimum of 12 months, and reaches peak flavour at 24 months. For more information, visit

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