Tuesday, 20 August 2019

First Time at Diner en Blanc Vancouver

Fleurs De Villes: Gorgeous floral sculpture in the background at Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2019
I have been wanting to attend Diner en Blanc for a couple of years now. In fact, I actually purchased tickets for Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2017, but since I was a student with a part-time job, additional costs of attending Diner en Blanc were not feasible for me, so I ended up giving them to a friend. Now that I have a full-time job, I can finally attend and have an amazing time!  

Diner en Blanc's history is quite interesting. The original - Le Diner en Blanc de Paris - was held by a small group of friends in 1988. They decided to set up a dinner in the midst of Parc do Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne. The once small and "illegal" has grown into a massive must-attend night that has thousands of guests descending upon a secret location for a night of fun, laughter and great food. Currently, Diner en Blanc takes place in 30 different countries in over 80 major cities. The main attributes to Diner en Blanc are that everyone must be dressed in white, you must bring your own table, chairs and food and the location is kept completely a secret until you board the chartered bus. 

This year, Diner en Blanc 2019 was held on Thursday, August 8th at George Wainburn Park, which overlooks the gorgeous Yaletown Marina. Technically my friend and I were part of the "charter bus" group that was going to board a bus at David Lam Park, but we were massively duped because as it happens, the secret location was only a block over. Our "charter bus" group just ended up walking five minutes over to George Wainborn Park in Yaletown. 

Maggi -- Also a Vancouver Blogger 
In under 30 minutes, the green grass was dotted with white tables and hundreds of guests all clad in their trendiest white outfits. Aside from being clad in white, attendees are to bring their own table, chairs, table cloth, tableware, non-alcoholic beverages and food (the additional costs to factor in) ! Yup, you have to lug an entire dinner table set up with you and set it up in the park. There are lots of rules too such as the size of the table, dishware having to be china, glass stemware for wine (you must pre-order wine from Diner en Blanc. No alcohol can be brought in to the event) and decorations for your table. I cannot stress how important and helpful it is to have a buggy that can fit everything because walking around with arms full of bags as well as a table and chairs is NOT fun and I am certain those who did forgo the wagon were majorly regretting their decision. Plus, when you are tired and just want to head home, being able to toss everything into a cart/buggy/wagon really makes all the difference especially when you have a bit of a trek home! Remember, everyone either arrived by foot or charter bus, none of the guests drove to the actual event since the location is closely guarded secret. 

You would think I would be more interested in what the girls were wearing, but I was fawning more of the men's outfits. Many of the male guests opted for a crisp white button-downs, white slacks that they cuffed above the ankle and the whitest pair of sneakers imaginable. Such a cute look! Gave me major summer evening vibes! 

The organizers had also set up various "photo-op" areas that included hammocks - I LOVE HAMMOCKS - sparkly lights and gorgeous fresh flower sculptures by Fleurs De Villes. Maggi ( Vie A Maggi ) and I definitely had a fun time posing on the hammock and with all the other gorgeous decorations. In fact, our crazy hammock pictures made Daily Hive's best moments from 2019 Diner en Blanc !!! 

For my Diner en Blanc outfit, I went with a flowy linen dress from Aritiza, simple pearl studs with sterling silver posts from Leah Alexander and probably the most comfortable heels ever which I got from Steve Madden. Hair and makeup I kept it simple as I was coming from work. 

My friend and I ended up bringing far too much food. We brought a massive charcuterie spread, macaroni salad, spinach salad and I also baked a massive pavlova. I was under the impression that the table groups would share amongst one another, so I wanted to ensure there was plenty to go around. Unfortunately, it looked like everyone brought TOO much food. You think you are going to be starving, but less is more. It would have made my life much easier considering how much of our stuff was basically food. There is the option to pre-order food boxes through Diner en Blanc, but I found them a bit overpriced. 

I had an amazing night at Diner en Blanc 2019 Vancouver. I hope to attend again in the future. Perhaps I can convince a few more of my friends to go with me since it essentially comes down to what you make of it. If you want to have a good time, it is going to be a fantastic time. I know for a fact that if it were not for my crazy other half, Maggi, it probably would not have been as fun! 


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Vancouver's Hidden Lounge: Key Party

Local restauranteur Rachel Zottenberg, recently named one of Western Living's 2019 Foodies of the Year, is bring some much-needed excitement and thrills to Vancouver. Let's face it, Vancouver has a bit of a "no fun" reputation and a non-existent nightlife. The half-block on Granville Street basically sums it up! Sure, bubble tea and chic hipster cafes are yummy, but sometimes I just crave something more thrilling than the newest insta-worthy latte. 

Key Party is the newest addition to Zottenberg's already impressive portfolio of restaurants and lounges. Hidden behind the facade of Zottenberg & Son's Accounting is the most bougiee 1970's inspired cocktail lounge in Vancouver. Do not let the dusty facade of the boring accounting office that has been plucked straight from 70's fool you because the two spaces could not be more of a juxtaposition of one another! 

The under the radar lounge has no signage, so only those "in the know" actually know about it, but despite being incognito, Key Party is filled with patrons sipping cocktails. The lounge is gorgeous. Thick red velvet drapes cover the walls and flank a massive hand-painted mural of a woman trying to look demure while she casually drapes her naked body over a tiger. In the background, two other red-haired women are also nonchalantly hanging out in the nude and completely unfazed by the giant wild cat. If not for anything else, just go for the naked ladies in the mural! I also loved the Himalayan salt votives that covered the space making for a delightful glow and cozy atmosphere. Not to mention the crystal cut barware was stunning so no matter the drink, you are going to feel special sipping from those glasses. Even the spouted pitcher used for mixing cocktails was crystal! Definitely made me feel like I was at an oppoluent Great Gatsby party. 

The interior is a throwback to retro vintage vegas vibes. For atmosphere, I wanted to create a space where people could relax and meet new people. A place where you can just let go and have a good time.  
                                                                                          Rachel Zottenberg, Co-Owner of Key Party

Key Party has a phenomenal lineup of re-imagined classics as well as their own creations, but aside from the yummy drinks, Key Party has added tableside s'mores! Because who does not love an ooey-gooey freshly toasted marshmallow sandwiched between graham cookies and a piece of chocolate. Table-top mini sterno fires come with each other, so you got to roast your marshmallow on a pocky stick to your liking. I love toasting my mallows until they are a little blackened so they are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Sandwich your roasted marshmallow with Nutella - in an adorable mini jar - between house-made wheat germ graham crackers infused with Grand Marnier. Late-night summer dessert just got so much more fun as an adult! 

Not everyone is sweets obsessed like me, so for those who are a little more liquor-inclined, Key Party's cocktail roster will surely peek your interest. Their cocktails are top-notch and feature cheeky names like 'Bee On Your Knees' and 'S&M.'The Coconut GrassHopper is an iconic beverage that may resemble a shamrock shake, but is actually concocted with coconut cream, creme de menthe and cacao. The use of coconut milk makes the Coconut Grass Hopper vegan-friendly. For something more fruity, The Bruised Peach Punch is layered with flavour featuring Lot 40 Whiskey, organic peach puree, mint, cardamom bitters and soda. 

My favourite boozy beverage of the night was not actually drinkable because it was the Kir Royal Jell-O Shot! Probably the most beautiful and sophisticated Jell-O Shot that I have ever seen. It is a layered shot of champagne and a rich maroon layer of absolut vodka and cassis. A swirl of whipped cream with rainbow sprinkles finish off the Kir Royal Jell-O Shot. 

Thank you Rachel for opening a secret lounge with a fake storefront! For your next place, PLEASE put in a door that has a sliding slot through which someone asks for a password! That would be so bloody cool! 


Disclaimer: Media Invite.  All opinions and content are original and my own.

2303 Main Street, Vancouver BC : a