First of all, lets hear it for the bargain. I like a sales rack. I scour the internet for the right deal on my Louis Vuitton luggage. I’m the idiot that reads those flyers at Whole Foods to see which kind of sustainable balsamic truffle mustard or whatever they’ve got on special that week. I bring my own kobe beef hot dog to the movies surreptitiously stuffed in my purse. And I only spring for first class on the plane if I’m in dire need of a nap, darling.
Same goes for restaurants. In all seriousness, I so love a food truck binge, a sneaky happy meal at McDonald’s, all-you-can-eat anything and a Brazilian meat buffet, even if it does give me the pork sweats. I’m happy if I’m fed, period. But, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there are things I cannot cook at home, and meals so special I would happily pay top dollar and/or spoon the chef’s nephew who works at a prison just for a plate of something extraordinary. Great food is sometimes worth it to me. I know there are some of you out there that cannot fathom paying the equivalent of a Smart Car for a 13 course tasting menu, and I get it… We just won’t ever get each other. (Or date each other, haha, I’m not joking.) Because to me, food is art. Delicious, beautifully crafted, perfectly seasoned art. And holy moly if I haven’t found Vancouver’s Mona Lisa.
It’s called Hawksworth, and it’s the new love of my life. We’ve established it ain’t cheap, and she doesn’t look cheap, either. Chandeliers, ivory leather booths, elegance and refined simplicity, beautifully coiffed, the Grace Kelly of dining rooms if Grace Kelly secretly knew how to party. Waitstaff glide by silently and attentively, polite and knowledgable but never pushy, noses refreshingly in-joint. The sommelier doesn’t blink when you ask him to pair a white with your steak, and then somehow blows your mind with the perfect pairing beyond your wildest drunken dreams. Its atmosphere is quiet and stoic enough for a business dinner, but dripping with romance for a special anniversary. It even has a sexy bar for relaxing over a cocktail on a Friday evening after a stressful work week, or for meeting a first date you’ve got a really good feeling about. Guys, I cannot get enough of this one.
Besides all that, she’s got the goods to back up the pretty, too. Chef David Hawksworth not only won Vancouver’s Chef of the Year in 2008, he’s a bonafide member of the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. His whole MO is local, sustainable, and the highest quality you can find, and by god can you ever taste it in every single dish coming out of that kitchen. English pea soup with lobster, a take on popcorn chicken that’s actually veal sweetbreads and bone marrow breaded and deep fried to crispy little animal bits, sablefish roasted in soy and served with pork dumplings… If you’re in the bar, there’s Korean fried “KFC” cauliflower to snack on, a beautiful plate of in-house made charcuterie, and a delectable cheese and bacon burger with thick-cut salty fries to go with that new outfit you picked up at Holt’s down the street. Desserts sound simple but are expertly crafted and so complex, a rich chevre and apple cheesecake with toasted walnuts, a stunning plate of soft and sweet macaroons, and my favorite, “the banana”– a true work-of-art dish compiled of a decadent milk chocolate and banana-filled tarte, banana sponge toffee, praline mousse, roasted peanuts, and a dollop of banana sorbet. It’s so good I want to kill someone.
Highlights from my last meal there, or anywhere else for the time-being if my date’s I mean my wallet can handle it (I joke! I kid!):
True, maybe Hawksworth should be left as a special occasion place. Maybe I get a little cray-cray on how much I’m willing to fork out for a delicious meal (that striploin was $40, just so we can be straight-up here). Or maybe we should all aim to treat ourselves and make special occasions less infrequent. Why are we waiting for that job promotion to celebrate in life? Or the ten year anniversary when maybe it would be nice to spring for a classy meal with your classy lady “just because” every once in a while? Life is too short not to enjoy ourselves. I’m not saying rob a bank and buy a yacht and become a super cool pirate renegade, even though that would be, like, the best. But please don’t be afraid to live a little. Try new things. Get gussied up and treat yourself to a great meal. You kind of deserve it, dude.
Also, just as a PS, be super careful with that hot dog in your purse because that can go sideways real fast.