The Georgia Straight has been covering food and beverages for most of its 50-year history.
Here are blasts from the past in each of its first five decades.
July 7, 1967
The cover line on the Straight’s third issue reads: “OUT, OUT, Damned Spot!”—in reference to the White Spot restaurant chain. “Our cartoonist, Zipp [Peter Almasay], who did Acid Man, and some staff went into the White Spot on Broadway, which is still there,” publisher-owner Dan McLeod recalls. “They wouldn’t serve him because he had sandals. You know the saying: ‘No shoes, no shirt…’ A gang of us got together and started picketing.”
White Spot founder Nat Bailey is quoted in the article as having said “Hippies stink.”
May 25–June 1, 1984
One of a few reviews by a certain Jan van Luven appears—the byline being a pseudonym for the late Straight film writer Ian Caddell. He gives a French restaurant called Eat Your Heart Out two-and-a-half stars out of four, describing his Pears au Pernod, served in a ring of meringue, as “one of those rare dishes that should be photographed before being eaten”.
September 19–26, 1996
The inaugural Best of Vancouver issue, in its Best of Food and Drink section, features entries such as: best place for a proposal (Hermitage); best place for a cappuccino, a crash course in plaster sculptures, a lecture on civic politics, and, if you’re lucky, a tenor who could never be mistaken for Pavarotti (Café Calabria); best ginseng-fed chickens (T and T Supermarket); and best dessert pig-out (Griffins Restaurant-Bistro). Readers pick Delilah’s as having the best martinis.
March 22–29, 2001
In the Straight's fourth annual Golden Plate Awards, readers vote Fogg & Sudds for best beer list, Bridges for best patio, La Bodega Restaurant & Tapas Bar for best Spanish, Irish Heather for best casual, and the Teahouse for best weekend brunch.
Stephen Wong shares his preferred hangover cure: "Fish congee and sunglasses. The congee is comforting and easy to digest, and it reminds me of my mother’s tender, loving care when I behaved badly at a family New Year’s Eve party when I was 16. The glasses? They keep away glares of disapproval.”
June 19–26, 2012
In an anonymous review of just-opened Fable, the restaurant Trevor Bird launched after appearing on Top Chef Canada, I wrote of his farm-to-table cooking: “You might not have earned the title of Canada’s Top Chef, Mr. Bird, but you’re a star here on the West Coast.”
He went on to open Fable Diner, which landed in the Top 3 in the 2017 Golden Plate Awards for best comfort food and best diner. Bird also came in second for best chef, while Fable landed second spot for both best use of local ingredients and best organic dining.