10 tasty Vancouver eats that your law school budget can stomach

Ba Le

BY ANGELA LEE, LAW II

If you’re anything like me (probably better if you’re not), you like the idea of fine dining more than you actually enjoy the thing itself. Having a very stoic waiter address me as “miss” and carefully drape a napkin across my lap for me while I try to not knock three different types of spoons  off the table just makes me feel super bougie and uncomfortable.

On top of that, I’m a law student and one without a trust fund to boot, which combined, means that I’m not exactly making it rain. So in recognition of my lower-middle class roots and my empty wallet, I present to you some options for dining in Vancouver on the go and on the cheap.

  1. Tung Hing (1196 Kingsway). For the uninitiated, Vietnamese subs (or bahn mi, to be accurate) are deceptively delicious and a far superior option to that evil, weird smelling sandwich chain which shall remain unnamed. A gruff lady will slap together a baguette stuffed with things like cucumber, cilantro, hot peppers, and meat if you’re into that kind of thing, and you will marvel at the party your tastebuds are having. Tung Hing serves a vermicelli/tofu-based vegetarian option in addition to the traditional meat-based subs, and also conveniently doubles as a bakery, so you can make a meal of it with sandwich, beverage, and pastry for less than $10.
  2. Ba Le (various). There is a Ba Le in Chinatown and also one at Fraser and Kingsway. I prefer the Viet subs at Tung Hing, but Ba Le is also a strong contender. The downtown location may not be veg-friendly if I recall correctly, so be wary.
  3. Mitra Canteen (3034 Main Street). Falafels and shawarmas in a low-key, solo-dining friendly environment with beer served by the glass or by the pitcher. Good food and super friendly service.
  4. Babylon Café (various). Babylon Café was most famous for its tiny but ever-popular Robson & Granville storefront, which sadly is no longer around. However, they have various other locations, not all of which I have vetted but which hopefully all serve up the same quality and quantity of Middle Eastern food. I dream of their falafel plates.
  5. Goldies Pizza and Beer Lounge (605 West Pender Street). Respectable thin-crust pizza by the slice at their handy-dandy express window, or by the whole pie should you so choose. Strangely, I’ve never dined in here so I can’t speak to that experience, but all of the slices that I’ve tried whilst on the go have been delicious.
  6. Trilussa (4363 Main Street). Delicious Roman style pizza available by the piece or by the whole pie. They also serve panini and soup with combos available. All served by very lovely staff.
  7. House of Dosas (1391 Kingsway). On Mondays, all dosas are $5.99. Be careful when asked about preferred spice level by the waiter with a malevolent gleam in his eye – I’m usually a “Thai spicy” kind of girl, but the “hot” here is literally like 8 bird’s eye chilies cut up into your dosa, and if you order it that way, you’re going to have a bad time. Open 24 hours!
  8. The Dime (1565 Commercial Drive). All of the food here is $4.95, similar to the Factory and the Warehouse on Granville Street. I refuse to recommend the places on Granville Street on principle alone, so I shall resort to casually mentioning them as an aside if you happen to be into that kind of thing.
  9. Hawkers Delight (4127 Main Street). A bit of a hole in the wall serving Southeast Asian style “street” food at low prices. Vegetarian options available. Cash only.
  10. Bon’s Off Broadway (2451 Nanaimo Street). Bon’s is a bit of a legend, but I have not ever been, mostly because I don’t really do the whole eggs-bacon-toast breakfast thing. But if you do, go to Bon’s to get your fix for a whopping $2.95, all day erry day.

Angela is a 2L who is quickly losing steam with writing up all of these recommendations – but it’s still a better alternative to studying. You won’t find her on Facebook, but you can find her on Twitter at @ange7a or occasionally fleeing Allard Hall at top speeds if you ever want to talk about books, coffee, food, culture, the implications of technological innovation, the colonization of Mars, the meaning of life, or just about anything else.

10 Vancouver watering holes for the erudite, and everyone else

BeerMast

 

BY ANGELA LEE, LAW II

As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. We have previously covered caffeine in all of its liquid glory, and this week we will cover the countervailing substance – alcohol. Although you may primarily see alcohol as some combination of: soother of wearisome study sessions, eraser of nightmarish exam writing experiences, fuel of bad dance moves, instigator of questionable decision making, and facilitator of strangely intense 3:00am bonding with that weird girl in your contracts class, we can’t forget that alcohol has a highbrow side to it as well. I’m certainly not beyond Saturday nights spent crying tears of pure, undiluted whisky while eating greasy pizza and listening to bad music when life feels truly unbearable, but there are people with much greater expertise than I when it comes to cheap drinks in bountiful quantities, so I’ll defer to those authorities.

Anyone who’s spent virtually any amount of time in most other places in the world will recognize that Vancouver’s draconian liquor laws make drinking less fun (see, as a comparative example, Montreal’s numerous terrasses) and more challenging (see, as a comparative example, bottles of wine for pocketfuls of change across the border), but while we wait for the tides to turn, here are a list of places to enjoy a tipple and hopefully not have to re-evaluate your whole life the next morning. As always, be cool, stay safe, and keep hydrated.

  1. Pourhouse (162 Water Street). Pourhouse boasts a beautiful room and sophisticated ambiance, complete with live music on Sunday evenings. The bartenders here are awesome, and the drinks they craft are incredible and worth the expense. Try their house-made maraschino cherries – I know, I was skeptical too, but trust.
  2. The Diamond (6 Powell Street). Another great room combined with talented bartenders and skillfully mixed cocktails. Lovely view if you manage to score a window seat. Always busy in the evenings, and lots of industry types hang out here if you’re into the whole see-and-be-seen type of thing.
  3. The Cascade Room (2616 Main Street). The Cascade is one of my safety choices, as it is a consistently good place to spend an evening. Also, games night on Monday! The focus here, again, is on cocktails, although they also serve wine and beer. Generally I’ve found that it’s pretty mellow on weeknights (as in I’ve posted up in one of their booths sipping drinks for four hours on a Tuesday night) and bumping on weekends (as in I’ve waited 30 minutes just to get seats at the bar on a Friday night).
  4. Alibi Room (157 Alexander Street). Beer, beer, and more beer. The Alibi Room is one of the best places to visit for a rotating selection of many different microbrews, alongside a tight wine and cocktail list.
  5. St. Augustine’s (2360 Commercial Drive). A casual spot centrally located on the Drive near the Skytrain station. Check out their website for their live beer menu, which is also displayed on screens on site. 60+ taps which are rotated on a regular basis means that you will always find something new to try or old favourites to revisit.
  6. The Union (219 Union Street). The Union slings stiff, Southeast Asian inspired cocktails that may assist in easing pangs for Sangsom buckets and large bottles of Singhas quaffed on sandy beaches. Long tables and pocketbook-friendly weeknight specials mean that you can bring all your friends.
  7. 33 Acres Brewing Company (15 West 8th Avenue). A new local microbrewery, 33 Acres also has a tasting room where you can enjoy their beers on tap. I haven’t yet been, but I’m excited by these kinds of developments – if you go, let us know how it is!
  8. Shebeen (210 Carrall Street). Tucked in behind the Irish Heather is Shebeen, boasting what may arguably be the most comprehensive offering of whiskies in Vancouver. Whisky from Islay, whisky from Kentucky, whisky from Japan, they have it. Tasting flights are available if you’re feeling unsure, indecisive, or just looking to dabble.
  9. The Storm Crow Tavern (1305 Commercial Drive). Ever thought to yourself: gee, I wish there was a bar I could go to and enjoy affordably priced food, have a few drinks, and play some tabletop board games? Well, there is, and it’s The Storm Crow. It’s a nerd bar, and it is awesome. That is all.
  10. Firefly (2857 Cambie Street). Sometimes you just want to stay in and enjoy your fancy drinks and greasy pizza and whisky tears in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Firefly has one of the greatest selections of non-mainstream wine, beer, and spirits in the city. Their craft beer collection alone is truly impressive. The employees are super knowledgeable about all things alcohol and are happy to make recommendations.

Angela is a 2L who already needs a nightly drink this soon into the semester, and also feels the need to remind us all to be excellent to one another as we fight these collective battles against never-ending readings. You won’t find her on Facebook, but you can find her on Twitter at @ange7a or occasionally fleeing Allard Hall at top speeds if you ever want to talk about books, coffee, food, culture, the implications of technological innovation, the colonization of Mars, the meaning of life, or just about anything else. 

10 Vancouver coffee venues to help get you through the grind

Coffee Beans

BY ANGELA LEE, LAW II

Now that the school year is underway, it’s high time to turn our minds to a staple of the law student’s diet – coffee. I brew mine at home with a setup involving a Porlex tall hand grinder with an inverted Aeropress and Able fine disk filter, but I appreciate that you might not be as hardcore. If you just want a delicious cup of liquid motivation without the accompanying labour of love, you may be curious to know what some of the better coffee offerings in Vancouver are, especially if you happen to be new to the city. (Also, if you fall into the latter category, I apologize in advance for the deep depression you may find yourself in during the upcoming months of endless rain combined with tedious case law.)

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but is merely intended to offer a glimpse into our city’s burgeoning coffee scene while also inspiring java-fuelled study sessions. Obligatory earthsaving mention: bring your own mugs! I know you have at least one law firm branded reusable mug somewhere!

  1. Matchstick Coffee (6239 East 15th Avenue). The darling of my neighbourhood, Matchstick serves up excellent coffee, delicious pastries, and freshly roasted beans for all your home brewed needs.
  2. Kafka’s Coffee and Tea (2525 Main Street). Pourover, Aeropress, syphon, espresso, or even tea, everyone will find something to their liking at Kafka’s. They also support local artists by exhibiting a revolving showcase of their work.
  3. Revolver (325 Cambie Street). The epitome of hipstery coffee snobbery, for the true connoisseur. Revolving list of carefully sourced coffee is meticulously brewed by the cup (read: slowly). Good luck finding a seat during peak hours.
  4. Rocanini (127 West 5th Avenue). This location is primarily a roastery, which means that it’s definitely not the cozy, sit-and-stay-awhile type of place. However, you can and should pop in for a cup of expertly brewed coffee, and they sometimes host free tastings (and maybe even impromptu glimpses at the roaster if you ask nicely). If you find Sharif here, he is super friendly and happy to chat about everything coffee-related. They also sell whole beans here alongside brewing equipment.
  5. 49th Parallel (various). A Vancouver original. The 4th Avenue location is the OG, but the Main Street location also houses Lucky’s Doughnuts, so choose wisely.
  6. Elysian Coffee (various). I haven’t been to the 5th Avenue location of Elysian, but have had many tasty cups of coffee at their Broadway location (which also has a delightful outdoor seating area).
  7. Caffe Cittadella (2310 Ash Street). A beautiful heritage house transformed into wonderful café with seating upstairs, downstairs, indoors and outdoors. They use 49th Parallel beans, and do a fairly masterful job of turning them into tasty caffeinated nectar. Their food also doesn’t look half-bad for coffee shop fare.
  8. JJ Bean (various). JJ serves consistently decent coffee and enormous cookies and muffins (with vegan options) for when you just need a rainy day pick-me-up. Beware the sometimes surly service, and some of their locations might still be wifi-less.
  9. Our Town (245 East Broadway). One of the many places where you might find a law student in the wild (as in, not in the confines of Allard Hall). Free wifi and great window seats if you can snag one. Our Town is open until decently late, and also offers libations for when you need to switch from coffee to wine. It appears that they are working on a new location at the intersection of Kingsway and Knight (they sure love their corner spaces).
  10. The Grind (4124 Main Street). So, the coffee here is entirely forgettable, but I include it on my list for a very important reason –  this is one of the rare few coffee shops in Vancouver open late nights/early mornings (the jury is still out on whether it’s truly 24 hours or not?), with free wifi and a decent number of power outlets. I’m too distractible to be able to study effectively at coffee shops (or even really study at all, to be honest), but if you’re the type to really hit the books hard with a mug of coffee and a pair of earplugs at 11:00pm, then you’re welcome.

Angela is, inter alia, a 2L, Ontario transplant, skeptic, coffee snob, and lover of good vegetarian food. You won’t find her on Facebook, but you can find her on Twitter at @ange7a or occasionally fleeing Allard Hall at top speeds if you ever want to talk about books, coffee, food, culture, the implications of technological innovation, the colonization of Mars, the meaning of life, or just about anything else.