Happier Than a Pig In….


So.  Lots to tell you.

I figure if you’re a follower of this blog, we be besties now.  Meaning, I should probably be straight up with you already and tell you why I’ve been MIA for the last little while.  Life has taken a turn for the interesting over the last few months, and I’ve found myself in the middle of a divorce from my lovely husband. And yes, he’s still lovely, and always will be. Without divulging too much information, for your sake as much as mine, believe me, I’ll just say that I’m a firm believer in seeking out one’s happiness, and this new road I’m embarking on is going to lead me to just that.  So, if you PLEASE : no “I’m so sorry”s!  I simply can’t hear that sentence one more godforsaken time!  No one died!  I assure you, we’re both still alive and well.  Just alive and well and living in different cities.

Which brings me to my next bout of news.  I’ve decided to move back to my hometown of Vancouver, BC, the city of my support system, my fondest memories, my family, my friends, my favorite bartenders… Basically my place of refuge.  Although I adore Los Angeles, I’m a Canadian girl at heart, and it was time to get back to my roots.  And lord have I missed this city.  And if I do say so myself, I believe it may have missed me back.

But really, this isn’t about me.  This entry belongs to the latest object of my affection (or obsession), a restaurant that has slipped its way into one of my top ten favorites in this beautiful rainy city with one singular meal.  It’s called The Flying Pig, and it makes me oh so very happy.

The Flying Pig is smack dab in the middle of Yaletown, Vancouver’s trendy Soho-esque area teeming with the kind of pretty people who like to dress their dogs in clothes. But don’t let that deter you.  This is a restaurant worth checking out, even if they don’t take reservations and make you wait a rather obscene amount of time for a table. But the good news is, like all good things, the wait’s worth it. The ladies and I (or The Wives, as we are known to one another. Someone once equated our group of six to a “pack of loud, drunken, beautiful Barbies” but we’re still on the fence with that moniker, however accurate) headed there on a Saturday night at the early hour of 6 o’clock to ensure we ate before midnight. But after a mere half an hour we were seated and ready to rumble. One of my favorite things about TFP– we’re so close, we give each other acronyms!– is its open concept-style room, large communal wooden tables, a big welcoming bar, huge window looking into the kitchen to take in all the action, even old oak barrels scattered around the room to rest your drink on during that pesky wait. It’s loud and comforting and friendly, just like us wives.

Owned and operated by cuties John Crook and Eric Heck, it’s a place that prides itself in all things local and seasonal, which is to say what you’ll be eating will be fresh, sustainable, and just delicious. Bonus? John Crook trained with pastry god Francois Payard, so you best be saving room for dessert after dinner. We decided to go sharesies so we could try more stuff (we may be Barbies but we’re Barbies who pig out), and with a menu offering delectables like in-house smoked salmon samplers, skillet roasted beef filets with lobster mashed potatoes, and short rib macaroni, why on earth wouldn’t you?  Some of our favorites:

Beet and arugula salad with whipped chèvre and apple walnut dressing
Pan roasted halibut with broccoli rabe and beans with pancetta
Gorgeous veal piccata with parmesan risotto in a caper brown butter sauce
Brussel sprouts fried crisp with lemon and parmesan
...and a stupidly good maple sugar pie with walnut ice cream


Wanna know the piece de resistance? You can even sign up for a cooking class (your house or theirs) to learn how to cook this food at home for your lucky little friends!  That’s right, veal piccata and sugar pie any time you want, without the wait for a table!

But to be honest, sometimes the wait just makes the food taste better. Or, much more likely, they’re just better at cooking than I am. Either way, TFP?  Get ready to see more of the JBS.

(And no, I’m not telling you what that middle initial stands for….)




110 Comments Add yours

  1. Marisa says:

    Jewel – Even though I hate them, I am totally craving brussel sprouts right now thanks to this blog post. Thank you for making me reconsider my choice for nature’s nastiest vegetable.

  2. John says:

    Best of luck on your new adventures in making your life happy!!

  3. Rob says:

    A pig in … Vancouver? One more reason for me to visit Vancouver this summer. 🙂

    watch out for bears!


  4. Heather says:

    You, my dear, are simply awesome (and the Flying Pig looks fantastic, too). Wishing you all the best in your next chapter.

  5. verybookish says:

    Lucky Vancouver to get you back!

  6. Richard says:

    Yay, Jewel’s back on the market!!

  7. Phil says:

    Happiness should be second to none. I am glad you are doing what you want to be happy! Best of luck to you on your return to Vancouver!

    Now stop making me hungry!

  8. Yay for happiness! 🙂 Love you Jewel! Enjoy your move back to Canada! I’m also Canadian, so I can fully support this 😉

  9. Kat says:

    I love Vancouver! Much better than crazy LA. And major kudos to you for knowing what makes you happy and going after it!

  10. Rosie says:

    Thank you Jewel for always sharing your life with us. I’ve never been to Canada but if I go Vancouver will be my first stop.

    I’m excited for you and your new adventures.

    Great Blog! I really love your writing!

  11. Ed Stephens says:

    B is for bestest, right?

  12. Dave says:

    So….does this mean you’re free for dinner soon?

  13. Tamara Gauld says:

    Ah wish I read this before my recent trip to Vancouver, well maybe next year! We did eat at Bao Bei, if you have not been I insist you check it out, amazing!

  14. Ribac says:

    Since we must skip the Voldemort sentence, I’ll say I made a crucial mistake AGAIN and read Happy Opu without any food in front of me… Now I must raid my fridge! And here is 2 p.m., stairs are incredibly squeaky and I have 8 roommates… Dang!

  15. Josh says:

    Maybe it’s selfish, but I’m glad you’re single once again. It means I now have a chance to get you for myself. 😉 I’ll have to move to Canada though…

    Also now I’m hungry.

  16. Josh Willis says:

    Life rewards those with the courage to change things in ways that are sometimes difficult.

    Good looking food. Reminds me a bit of Nopa here in SF.

  17. Carol says:

    I’m sure Vancouver is delighted to have you back…can’t wait to hear LOTS more tales from some of the greatest eateries around…and if you want to follow the Black Bear he now has his own Twitter acc..the wonders of modern technology eh?… https://twitter.com/#!/downtown_bear

    Enjoy your life back home…and be happy and well dined!…

    And wined of course!!..

  18. Crystal says:

    No place like home. Especially in winter …. Welcome back.
    And if I drank, we could go out for drinks.

  19. Anton says:

    Having been through a divorce, I know it is no fun. Good luck with getting through the process, and for the move. Moving sucks.

    I wish my favorite restaurant offered cooking classes! That would be amazing.

  20. Lindsay says:

    I’m moving to Vancouver in a year and a half!!!! I am SO ridiculously excited to try the places you’ve been ^___^ Though on a student salary, I’m not sure how many of the places I will be able to afford 😛

  21. Dan says:

    Congrats on the move back home, its always great to go back to the place it all started. All the true Jewel fans know what the B stands for 😉

  22. It’s good you’re on a path that will eventually make you happy. 🙂

  23. Simone Santos (@RandomSimone) says:

    It’s good to see you back my dear. I was wondering where you’ve been. Once again you’ve managed to make me ravenous even though I ate dinner. If my diet had eyes it would be glaring at you right about now. Look forward to reading more about your food adventures and wishing you to best as you go back to your old stomping ground!

  24. Martin says:

    Keep going, Jewel. We love you.

  25. Michael says:

    Speaking on behalf of men everywhere, don’t expect us to be sorry that Jewel Staite, one of the most beautiful women in the world, is now available again. Not going to happen!

  26. Erin says:

    Heeey, Jewel, we’re momentous life direction change buddies! Though I’m not moving to Canada… yet. I did cut 6 inches off my hair and dye it auburn though. ^_^

    And you made me want to get into the Vancouver ISCRAM conference even more now…

  27. Chelsea says:

    Glad you’re back….Beatrice?

  28. Jen says:

    I’m fairly sure that before I found this blog I had no clue how to eat. Come to think of it, I still don’t know how to really eat and enjoy food as you do. Got any recommendations for a neophyte foodie in Washington, D.C. looking for a change from Five Guys Burgers?

    All the best! You deserve it!

  29. Maggie says:

    Best wishes for the future, Jewel. 🙂

  30. Bernie says:

    I hope you will review some of the sushi available in Vancouver. My Vancouver friends say its some of the best!

  31. Jen says:

    Best Wishes!

  32. Chris says:

    You’re single… I’m single. You’re attractive…. I’m… single.

    Everything looks and sounds good, but that pie eclipses everything else in this post. That looks heavenly.

  33. farleyk says:

    What? Maple Sugar Pie? There is such a thing as Maple Sugar Pie? I have never heard of it, but want it, and curse the world in general for keeping its existance a secret from me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe I need to do a good bit of googling, unless, of course, you might have lifted the recipe for this from somewhere?

  34. V says:

    If ever there was a time for the classic “Hang in there” kitten picture…

  35. Carlos says:

    Ok, that maple sugar pie and walnut ice cream sounds tasty. I want to try it now. Also, I already know what that middle initial stands for 🙂

  36. Gosh, Jewel, you’re so lovely, even in divorce! Being in exactly same process now I love your attitude and wish you all the best in this new part of your life!

  37. Steve says:

    Glad to hear the good news, now you are free to marry me, lol.

    1. Steve says:

      PS: I know what the B stands for…

      1. frank says:

        You thins this makes you sound cute, but in reality it makes you sound like a creepy stalker. Plus keep your hands off my woman you gorram fool.

  38. Grim... says:

    So, where’s the waiting list?

  39. Janine says:

    No “I’m sorry”s from me, just a “go for it”, we all need to do what’s best for ourselves, and if this is what will make you happy then I’m all for it. Getting divorced was what I needed to find out who I was, not just one half of a couple, I’m definitely happier now. Good luck on the move back to Vancouver. Even if it is “home” it’ll be a bit of an upheavel for a little while but it sounds great. And omg those brussel sprouts look amazing. I’m the ONLY person I know who loves them, and right now I’m craving them and it’s only 7.40am in London lol.

  40. puffamy says:

    My plan next year is to visit my bestie in Vancouver (well, my other bestie, since we’re all besties now). So more food-crack blogs please – I’ll need at least a weeks worth of dining out options.

  41. Philippa Chapman says:

    I wish you both nothing but the best 🙂

  42. Ronan says:

    @Richard : I must admit I thought the same way before the “sorry” :oP

    I’m really curious about the brussel sprout dish, never been a big fan of those for having to eat crap ones at lunch at the school canteen as a kid, but those looks good!

  43. Can you imagine how often drunk Barbies fall over? Stick with being the Wives! The veal piccata looks so good!

  44. Chris says:

    Wishing you the warmest of winter wishes. I may not be able to eat 1/10th of the food here on display but I relish every last syllable of your writing.

  45. Wolfie74 says:

    The halibut with broccoli rabbie would be great with a chunk of pork side but I guess one must have a fish course. 🙂
    Also, now I must make maple pie…

  46. Eliza says:

    Congrats on moving forward with life! Hope it brings all the best and all of the pancetta.

  47. LindaP says:

    You always make these reseraunts sound fun , inviting and worth the wait! Could it be the company you keep? And the wine you drink? BC has always been on my Bucket List. Heck all of the NW is on my Bucket List.
    Hurray for makinging sure of your own happiness! And for returning to your roots and support (group:) system:D

  48. kitten says:

    Henceforth I shall adopt and adapt your moniker and be LDB. Loud, drunk and beautiful. (Ain’t no way I’m a Barbie.) Good luck with your move. I’ve always been drawn to that part of the world, so I’m a little jealous of you. (I mean, besides your amazing hair.)

  49. Josh Loomis says:

    So glad you’re doing well, Jewel. Please keep posting whenever you can! It’s great to catch up.

  50. NerdGirl says:

    Canada’s gain & LA’s loss. You strike me as a lady with a lot of moxie so I have no doubt you will continue to be awesome. Thanks for coming back to the interwebs and sharing more of your foodie adventures with us.

  51. zoomer says:

    Guess im going to have to check out Canada seems like their is some dang good food and actresses up there ” jewel and Rachel mcadams”

  52. birdie says:

    I love your blog and wish you lucky lucky best wishes for this new chapter in your life. Onward and upward!

  53. Steve says:

    I consider that “besties” thing for sure Jewel. I will be submitting a catalog to Wheddon in the near future (because I am a freaking geekasaurus).
    So, the divorce thing, I’m really sorry about that. Been married 16+ years and it’s not always been all blueberry pie, or shiny to say the least. Keep your chin up, and make yourself feel better: Set something up with Anthony Bourdain in the near future. Mutually beneficial. So nice to hear from you again.

    1. Steve says:

      So the whole not saying “sorry” thing? Missed it. Wish they made electronic “whiteout!”

  54. Tara S says:

    Vancouver!!!!!!! Yes! Hahahaha…take that, everywhere that isn’t the Lower Mainland. We have Jewel Staite! Sorry. Ahem. I’m very excited.

  55. Christine says:

    Wow, you moved back to Vancouver in the winter?! It MUST be a great city! 😉

    Wishing you the best.

  56. dan says:

    Welcome back Jewel, now you’re closer for that star gate reunion show… he says hopefully…


  57. Kenny says:

    I think we can all agree that we want you to be happy, and whatever you need to do to attain that is understandable. I wish you only the best.

    That being said, it’s great to see the reviews return. I adore reading your casual yet eloquent prose. Sometimes it’s like I’m at the table with you indulging in these delish finds of yours, or scowling at the atrocities(which you write about far less than your successes, but still an enjoyable read).

    Thank you for your triumphant return, and I eagerly await your next entry.

  58. Missy says:

    Holy wow, that all looks so delicious! Fried brussels sprouts are pretty great, but have you ever had them grilled? They get so sweet!

    I wish you every happiness on your new path.

  59. joanna says:

    Thank you for your sharesies on your lovely blog! Your committment to happiness is an inspiration. And lobster mashed potatoes? Sweet baby Jesus.
    Happy Holidays!

  60. Warren says:

    OK, so the 498th reason to get back to Vancouver.

    As either Casey Stangel or Yogi Berra said: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

  61. Adi says:

    I wish I could come to Vancouver… (if you are ever in Israel, dinner on me)

    going back to my Firefly marathon now, wanna join me?

    and btw, when are you going to be on Castle? (this is me wishing)

  62. Nick says:

    Vancouver’s lucky to have you back!
    Thank goodness for a new set of Canadian restaurants.

    Montreal anytime soon?

  63. Kim says:

    Thanks to your recommendation, Unibroue Blanche de Chambly is officially the first beer I ever finished on my own!

    As for your post-divo continued loveliness, James Gunn & Jenna Fisher might have some tips on that.

  64. Dawn says:

    They will do a cooking class AT YOUR HOUSE? That is the most brilliant thing ever.

    (Also, divorce is never fun, but it sounds like you’re on a good track for yourself, so YAY to future happiness.)

  65. Joe says:

    Sounds fun! But… no discussion of the wine list!

  66. David says:

    Hey Jewel, I hope you new life up north will treat you well!
    I actually saw a movie of yours, Call Me Mrs. Miracle, the other day, and found it really christmassy, which is a good grade for a movie like that. As expected, you were the greatest part in that movie and shine like a true star!
    /a swedish fan

  67. Erin says:

    Jewel, that stuff looks AMAZING! and Vancouver food looks incredible, which only reinforces the fact that I should move there x3498753. My 8+ years’ + dream come true! Good luck girl, in all things you do! xoxo Erin.

  68. Eridani says:

    You look like Belle from Beauty & the Beast in that photo. I love it.

    Also, best. brussel. sprouts. ever. I want them now!

  69. Michael says:

    I am afraid that everything is on the internet Miss Jewel Belair Staite….
    Interesting middle name, care to tell us what it means?

  70. Schnago says:

    Welcome back to the Northwest! A little farther north you’d make it to paradise! Although we don’t have “The Flying Pig.” We do have Zephyr. Great restaurant in Juneau and Ludvig’s in Sitka (closed in the winter months though) Come up for a visit! Well, you’ll find more to do in the spring, summer and early fall months.

  71. JimFromJersey says:

    Hey Jewel, good luck in “seeking your happiness”. We all deserve a lot of that and life it too short to put it off.

  72. JimFromJersey says:

    IS* dammit. 😛

  73. Kira says:

    Eat,Drink and Be Merry is what I say! (Even when it is not the Holiday season)
    Keep the Vancouver recommendations coming. Planning a trip there in July 😉

  74. Gillian says:

    Shit happens. It’s how you deal with it that counts. Lessons learned. New start. On we go.

    : )

  75. Jaime says:

    You always inspire me to eat out at a nice restaurant, but my husband hates nice restaurants. Sometimes I live vicariously through your foodie blogs.

  76. Bart says:

    Anyone who doesn’t know your middle name doesn’t deserve to be called a bestie anyway 🙂

    Good luck on the new adventures!

  77. Aaron.. (pizza fan) says:

    God one day some one I adore will more to Italy… However Canada is better so good move … Love canada.

  78. Ash says:

    I feel like this is the first post in awhile without creepy food in. Nice, normal delicious things. Yay.

    And if you don’t want people knowing your middle name, you should tell imdb to take it off their website 😛

  79. Timothy says:

    Well if there is anything we besties can do please let us know. We will help you!! Right everybody?

  80. Libby-Layla says:

    New Starts, New Happiness and you’re New besties are here with you to enjoy the great food, Hot bartenders and lots of laughter with a cocktail in hand.

  81. Bill says:

    Ah damn Jewel, it breaks my heart that you’re hurting. I’m glad you’re home. Heal fast.

  82. E. Catherine Tobler says:

    Brussels sprouts! Onward into a new year. Be well and blessed!

  83. peter louch says:

    An amazingly beautiful woman.In aeveryway!lol.x

  84. Steve says:

    Well, congratulations on having an amicable split- you hear too much about the other kind.
    Best of luck to the both of you.

  85. Ed says:

    You are right to look after your happiness, it would be fantastic to achive it with a sole mate but not all sole mates are for life. Being good and happy in yourself means you will give much happiness to everyone you come in contact with – I’m glad a well adjusted Canadian girl can do this and stay friends unlike so many others in this world. May your 2012 be fantastic……… but being the person you are and with your attitude, of course it will be!!!

  86. James says:

    Gee Jewel, I have no idea how I found your blog … but since I’m here, might as well look around.
    I think it’s probably because I’m a die-hard Atlantis & Firefly fan, was probably stalking, er searching for you main cast members from Atlantis (still IMHO the best TV show of all time).
    Regardless, I’m here now, and although my palette is so refined, that I lean more towards Cheeseburgers & Beer … I’ll give your blog a “taste test” and see If I see something I like.
    Good luck in all your endeavors, and I agree with you on the response people give you when they first hear you’re going through the “D” word:o). I went through one several years ago, and I’m still friends with her entire family, adults can do that ya know.
    Take care.

  87. Gwen says:

    Jewel, you look absolutely beautiful and happy and very strong as waiting for the new challenges in your new life, glad to see it! 🙂
    I wish all your dremas come true in the new year!

  88. Jake Mongoose says:

    Look at it this way… next time you go to Dragon*Con you can REALLY party!

  89. Jared says:

    I missed this place when I was in Vancouver in May. Now I have two reasons to get back there. 😉

  90. Rob says:

    As a child of divorced parents, far from offering you an apology I’d like to offer you my congratulations. Yes, divorces are painful, but not getting divorced can be far, far worse.

  91. OldDogVT says:

    New to the blog … glad see it. Also glad to see your brief visit to my favorite city in the world … NYC. I live in Vermont, but frequently take the train down to the City for weekends. Would never live there again (attended Columbia in the early ’60s … yes, ‘olddog’ is an accurate portrayal), but miss it when I’ve been away too long. So, congratulations for embracing the City.

    As for Brussels Sprouts … much maligned, but, IMHO a worthy vegetable. Have never deep-fried, but have sauteed until crispy, and, my favorite, roasted in extra-virgin with fresh thyme. My favorite vegetable next to spinach and kale.

  92. meghan mackrous says:

    I have an almost unholy obsession with anything maple, and that pie sounds divine!! So awesome you’re moving back to Vancity… you are awesome!!!

  93. dmo says:

    u deserve a ascer for serenity !

  94. Tom says:

    You were so cute in Firefly. I named my Brittany Spaniel Kaylee after you. Loved that show.

  95. Liz says:

    Keep joyful Jewel! I love your blog and all of your work! Stay shiny and keep pigging out!
    Hugs from a South Carolina Browncoat!

  96. Josh says:

    Be strong, be happy, and drop by some day for a fruity beer and a well prepared steak dinner. My treat. Also, changing seasons are awesome, so screw L.A.

    1. Chris says:

      Blessings from ireland,loved you in Firefly
      and stargate atlantis hope this message finds you well
      have a great new year..C

  97. Melanie says:

    I just discovered your food blog as a result of a typical “You know that person that plays that person on that show….” Google search. In this case, it was “You know that girl that plays Kaylee on Firefly and Dr. Keller on SG Atlantis…” A quick read of Wikipedia led me here. Of course, the brief mention of this blog there was in the brief reference to your divorce, but I figure that’s your own business and none of mine. (Best of luck in that regard, though) I have a lot of back-reading to do. I love food blogs. 🙂 If my plans ever actually pan out and I actually make it to Vancouver (a few attempts that failed), I shall try The Flying Pig. It sounds really familiar. Perhaps one of my BC friends mentioned it at some point. 🙂

  98. James says:

    Bet its great to be home! Uhm, big fan of yours, but you always eat the grossest looking food though.:) (sorry I’m a country boy in TX and that stuff looks weird) Look forward to seeing more work from you!

    BTW see you listed as writer, and know you have comic book connections. Maybe you could join other Whedon actors (Tara Benson, James Marsters, etc) and write some? Kaylee miniseries?:)

  99. Edy says:

    Something seems missing from your lovely meal, perhaps some lightly toasted garlic bread with melted butter or perhaps some tortillas? What was the bevarage of choice with your meal? Makes me want to make some catfish burritos. Be well, eat well, and stay frosty.

  100. Mark Tim says:

    Great to hear you are back in Vancouver. The Flying Pig eh? I’ll give that a try. I’m headed to Seattle Comic Con next month and will be seeing Summer Glau and Adam Baldwin. Too bad you won’t be there. I’ll cross my fingers and hope you will be at this year’s Vancouver FanExpo.

  101. Michael Raine says:

    Not sure what the Firefly or Serenity references are? They sound like a couple of dodgy English nightclubs to me where you definately wouldnt
    want to eat your food off the floor.
    Happened to come accross this blog whilest looking for good eating joints for a trip to New York i’ve got planned in August.
    Good to see someone as god damn god looking as yourself not worrying about where the nearest lettuce leaf is coming from!! At the of day food is immense!
    Keep up the good work and if your ever over in good old England I can treat you to the earthy English delacacy that is Black Pudding!!

    1. Martin says:

      You don’t know what the references to Firefly or Serenity are? Dear gawd! lol I just finished watching all 14 episodes and Serenity over the last 3 days and really great, loved ’em, never saw them before, real shame they cancelled the series. So, go googley ’em and you’ll see what I mean – if you’re into sci-fi. And Jewel played my favourite character. Never watched Stargate Atlantis though, well, I did once but couldn’t get into it. And they cancelled Stargate Universe, what’s wrong with these people! : )

  102. Joe Sullivan says:

    I had missed this the first time but I figured that something was up. Moving back to the ‘couver because your ex stayed in LA? It’s a big city but not big enough for something like this? Reckon not…

  103. Michael says:

    So often people beg to find peace. The trick is…to let peace find you. It seems that peace has found your dear heart and that alone is worth a big fat glass of Sauvignon Blanc. A toast to your journey and the peace that finds you.

  104. DanlR says:

    There’s No Place Like Home!

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