Monday, 29 July 2019

Bear's Blooms Brings Local Flowers to Vancouverites

Bear's Blooms: Delivering BC-grown flowers to the door's of Vancouverites
There are a lot of amazing floral shops in Vancouver; however, the majority of flowers used by the florists are flown in from around the globe. This came as a shock to me considering the numerous flower farmers in BC. Bear's Blooms recognized this and is helping Vancouverites connect with local growers. 

Bear's Blooms is challenging both consumers and florists to think local. By using flowers that are grown within the province - many of them come from within the Lower Mainland! - Bear's Blooms' carbon footprint is significantly smaller than the traditional florist as none of their flowers or greens are flown in from across the world. 

Bear's Blooms is a bit of a different business model as they offer a weekly subscription floral delivery service. The subscription model allows Bear's Blooms to be more accurate in the number of flowers they need for the week, so they can significantly minimize their weekly flower waste. Florists, on the other hand, can only estimate the number of flowers they will need for the week. On average, a florist typically discards 40% of their floral inventory. 

Friday, 19 July 2019

H Tasting Lounge Summer Patio Party



You know what the best part about spring and summer is? Patio Season! It is finally hot and sunny in Vancouver and I try to soak in every second of it. If I am going out to eat, I am getting a table on the patio because every minute spent indoors is a minute of summer wasted.

L to R: Christina Kaspercyk (Lumin Pictures), ME in the middle, Ruby Gillett (@rubygillett)
H Tasting Lounge is just off of Vancouver's Seawall inside the luxurious Westin Bayshore Hotel. From the patio, you get a clear view of Coal Harbour and the Northshore mountains. Before I get into the food and drinks, I cannot resist mentioning the Art Deco design of H Tasting Lounge. Art Deco has always captivated me with its bold geometric shapes and jewel tones crossed with rich yellow gold. H Tasting Lounge has gone with a contemporary take on art deco and breaks up the rich royal blue and gold with soft lilacs and white marble. I also love the amount of natural sunlight that drenches the space from the skylights and massive windows. Needless to say, H Tasting Lounge is a stunning space that embodies effortless luxury.

The Harbourside Patio is very spacious, and the distance from the seawall gives patrons still a sense of privacy. Not to mention the hotel is nestled away in a quiet neighbourhood, so there is no sound of traffic and roaring cars to kill the mood. 



During the media event, H Tasting Lounge had re-arranged their indoor dining room to accommodate a massive three table length charcuterie spread. There were luscious cheeses, salty crackers, beautifully arranged meats and spreads for days. I surely made a couple of laps around that table with my equally food-obsessed and new friend Ruby Gillet. My favourites from the table was the caramelized Goat Cheese Brulee which I paired with Rainforest Crips! So darn good!

The theme of the night was #SippingSeaside and H Tasting Lounge's Bar Team delivered. Every drink was mixed to order with flair and attention to detail. I also must mention the men behind the bar were total hunks - a feast for the eyes indeed! 



There were several cocktails available that evening. I sipped on a couple but soon transitioned to virgin-cocktails as I am not the most seasoned drinker. Thinner Walls (Tequila, snow peas, suze, lemon, soda) captivated everyone's attention with its rich green colour and snow pea garnish. I would describe it as a healthy green juice with a kick. 

Out on the patio, they had two tea-infused alcoholic punches. The Rye Chai had strong undernotes of spice while the Late Blossom was a lighter sweeter punch featuring Vodka, nutcracker tea and lime soda. These spiked teas are served in beautiful Japanese teapots with matching blue and white bone china teacups. 

There were several small bites being served throughout the night. My favourite was the Morel Mushroom Tartine which came on toasted sourdough. In fact, it sort of ended up being the only thing I had that night as the remainder of the offerings were primarily raw seafood and beef tartare all of which I generally do not eat. I did, however, try the Lump Crab Cake, which had a satisfyingly crispy exterior and soft flakey centre paired with H Tasting Lounge's signature Old Bay Aioli. 



I do want to mention that the team at H Tasting Lounge did a stunning job at displaying the freshly shucked oysters, Crudo and carpaccio. Two massive "H" Tasting Lounge logos were carved from ice and the various fresh seafood was beautifully displayed on a table of crushed ice with fresh flower petal garnishes. Each Crudo and carpaccio was pre-portioned on tiny little white dishes for patrons to grab. I think this is the first event that I attended with an ice carving and it made me feel so boujee. 

To finish off the evening, I got to spoil myself with unlimited Salted Caramel Gelato and fresh Altulfo Mango Sorbet by Uno Gelato. The gelato was being scooped from an adorable bike drawn ice cream cart complete with a red canopy. Uno Gelato is owned by the internationally acclaimed gelato master, James Coleridge, so it goes without saying that the gelato and sorbet were magnificooo!



This was my first impression of H Tasting Lounge and they get two thumbs up from me. I probably will be returning to this patio very soon because of its location and privacy. Also, I just love the warmth of the sun on my skin and the cool sea breeze brushing my cheeks. Living in Vancouver means I have a short window of hot summer days, so I need to soak up every moment of it.

BYES 

H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore Hotel
A: 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver, BC


Disclaimer: Media Invite. All opinions and content are original and my own. Certain pictures are courtesy of Denise Lin Photography. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Pangea Pod Hotel | A Night In Whistler


This is Part Two of my 24 hours in Whistler. Part Two is going to focus on accommodations: The Pangea Pod Hotel

The Pangea Pod Hotel is in the heart of Whistler Village. It had made quite the buzz last summer when it first opened its doors. It is no secret that hotel prices in Whistler are astronomical. During peak ski and snowboarding season, some hotel rooms can go for as much as $1000 per night! That is MADNESS! No wonder I keep my visits to Whistler to day trips. 

Unlike traditional hotels, husband and wife duo Russell and Jelena Kling, set out to create a boutique-hotel-like experience at an affordable price. (Weekdays range $85/1 person, $160/2 people; Weekends $170 /1 person, $280 /2 people). Honestly, the only time I am in my hotel room is when I am showering, getting ready and sleeping. It is a rarity for me to utilize hotel amenities like pools or gyms or whatever else they might offer because I want to spend my time exploring the city. 

THE PODS

When I heard we would be staying at a pod hotel, the first thing that crossed my mind was the Japanese Capsule Hotels. I hate small spaces and when it is enclosed - NOPE. The capsules in Japan are exactly that. Fortunately, Pangea Pod Hotel is the polar opposite and are surprisingly roomy. Purely a guestimation from me, but I would say the length is 8 feet, width 4 feet and a height of 3.5 feet?! I am 5 Feet 1 Inch tall, so use your own judgement from the pictures. But I definitely had ample room to sit up straight without knocking my head against the ceiling. 

Each pod is equipped with a double memory-foam mattress, mirror, USB outlets, lights, small lockable cupboard, fan and storage space. For facilities like bathrooms and showers, Pangea's 88 pods are divided among 8 suites which each have two bathrooms, two showers, four sinks and two changing rooms. The suites, facilities and hotel was immaculate and very well maintained. Coming from someone who is very particular about cleanliness, I was quite impressed by Pangea's attention to detail. 


RFID ROOM PASS

Pangea Pod Hotel is the first hotel that I have stayed at that does not use a traditional room key card. During check-in, each Pangea Pod Guest is issued a fancy RFID Wristband. I found it be brilliant because not only can you add money to the RFID to spend at the hotel's restaurant and rooftop bar, but you will never lose your room key again! A few nights later, I was at a hotel in Victoria BC that used the standard room pass and yours truly lost hers within the hour. So RFID wristband room passes need to become the norm!!!


FOOD & DRINKS

On the main floor, Pangea Pod Hotel has a cafe and full-service bar called "The Living Room." On the second floor, they have an outdoor rooftop bar called "The Rooftop." The Living Room is a stunning mishmash of design featuring hexagonal mirrors on the ceiling, copper pipe detailing and the most beautiful coral pink, baby blue and grey Ola Volo mural. The Living Room also boasts an impressive collection of board games which gets two thumbs up from me because what better way to meet new people than over a fun board game. 

The night that I arrived at Pangea Pod, I sampled a number of their drinks from the Rooftop Patio Bar. The night began with their signature cocktail, the Dalmation. A splendid sweet and tangy combination of vodka, peppercorn syrup, grapefruit and lemon juice and a sprig of fresh rosemary. I am a cocktail girl and the Dalmation ticked all the boxes for me. The Espresso Martini is a bold concoction of vodka, coffee liqueur and Pangea espresso. This Espresso Martini is a serious beverage that is a double tap of alcohol and caffeine. As I am a lightweight, I ended the night with a virgin Rooftop Iced Tea which is a delicious hibiscus black tea that I can totally see myself sipping on a hot summers day. I think my Starbucks Black Tea Lemonade might just have some competition from the Rooftop Iced Tea. 


I tried a number of their Flatbread Pizzas and all of them were fabulous. Pangea Pod is about excitement and the pizza menu echos it. I had two favourites from the night, the first being their Caramelized Pear and Brie Cheese pizza which is paired with mozzarella, parmesan, blue cheese, chopped walnuts on a base of tomato sauce. The second was the Butternut Squash & Goat's Cheese which is finished with house-made green pesto and a sweet syrupy balsamic reduction. 

In the morning when I checked out, I had breakfast from The Living Room. I wanted something simple and fresh and to my delight, their menu is exactly that! The spinach eggs Benedict has a luscious hollandaise that is buttery and in the word's Julia Child: "whipped to submission." The real winner for me was the Pangea Power Smoothie which I am still dreaming about and wishing I could have every single morning. if I lived in Whistler, I probably would go and get a smoothie every day! 

OLA VOLO ART

I have always been drawn to large mural pieces and Ola Volo's work happens to be one of my favourites. I have talked about her work in the past, but for those of you who are not as familiar with her, Ola Volo is a Vancouver-based artist. She works with bold lines and simple shapes that are filled in with intricate little details. Her murals generally have a very limited colour palette which only amplifies the use of bold black lines. 

At Pangea Pod Hotel, Ola Volo was commissioned for two large wall murals. The first one greets you at the entrance of the hotel. For this piece, Ola Volo uses a metallic gold which is contrasted by a deep black. The image is of a hipster dude in a flat rimmed hat just lounging on his back with a sultry woman who has flowing curly hair floating above him. Between and around the two subjects are little details relating to road trips and the tree-topped mountains that surround whistler. 

The second piece is as I previously stated inside Pangea Pod's Cafe. The coral pink and baby blue is my favourite of the two and perhaps even my favourite Ola Volo Mural to date. A boho-chic woman daintily holds a martini with four olives while giving the most killer side-eye. A hip dude with a standard-issued hipster beanie is holding what I thought at first glance an espresso, but after closer inspection, he too is gingerly grasping a martini glass between two fingers. 


GEAR STORAGE

When in Whistler, you have to hit the slopes whether it is boarding in the winter or biking in the summer. Either way, you probably have some expensive gear with you that you want to store in a safe place. Pangea's "Toy Box" features specially designed storage for skis, snowboards, boots and bikes. They are all lockable so you can rest assured that they are safe. 



Pangea Pod is an affordable hotel option that Whistler desperately needed. I am glad Russell and Jelena have created this phenomenal space for anyone that wants a comfortable safe place to sleep that is not going to break the bank. The Pods are spacious and the food is delicious. The best part, Pangea Pod is smack dab in the middle of Whistler Village so you are in the thick of all the Whistler action. 

BYES

Disclaimer: Complimentary Media trip courtesy of Serena PRTourism WhistlerDestination BC and Pangea Pod Hotel. All opinions and content are original and my own. Certain pictures provided by the talented Christina Kaspercyk of Lumin Pictures Inc


Pangea Pod Hotel
A: 4333 Sunrise Alley, Whistler, BC  V8E 1M7
T: 1-844-726-4329