We’re kicking things off with Youna Choi this week on Instagram and are here to give you the ‘who, what, where’ on this coffee loving, design coveting, store sniffing photographer.

Where do you find inspiration?

I get inspiration from good design, books, and people watching – and Gastown is the perfect hub for all three.

Inform Interiors has an insane design book/magazine collection – I almost always stop by to skim through their library and get my fill. If scents inspire you – the best smelling place has to be Old Faithful. I’m tempted to just stop by and smell their place, with its blend of aromatic cedar and soft vanilla oatmeal incense (at least that’s how I like to describe it). But, I can’t just stop and sniff. I usually end up chatting with Donny, because he’s awesome, and checking out their beautifully curated collection of lifestyle goods and publications.

How about when you need a jolt of caffeine?

I go to Timbertrain a lot – they have a very nice space with cool seating. It’s awesome for getting some light work done on the computer and enjoying the friendly buzz of conversations or watching the baristas carefully masterpiece their Kalita drip. 

Revolver is a classic, and if you score a window seat – it’s the perfect place to people watch. Or just sit, sketch, and daydream. And when I can’t do coffee without chocolate, I’ll hop over to East Van Roasters and pick up a macchiato with some hand made truffles. Those days are extra good.

MG-YounaChoi1   MG-YounaChoi2

Best place to window shop (or spend some hard earned cash)?

This is a hard one, because Gastown is very window shop-able. But, if I had to narrow it down, One of a Few and The Block for their gorgeous selection of boutique clothing and shoes. The ladies at One of a Few have sold me on the Martinianos. There goes my paycheque.

Where do you go for a culinary adventure?

Salt Tasting Room in Blood Alley for a night of wine and cheese pairings. I indulged at Shirakawa for the very first time recently. Holy kakuni, so good. And last but not least, when in need of comfort, I head to the corner of Water & Abbott, where a Flying Pig ‘magically’ transforms into a mouth-watering plateful of pulled pork 4 cheese gnocchi. Comfort achieved.

And finally, to celebrate a job well done?

If I’m in the mood for…
Sippin’ – Shebeen Whiskey House
Chuggin’ – Six Acres
Sippin’, Chuggin’ and/or Jenga – Guilt ’n Co.

We are so thankful to Youna for being the inaugural insider. She’s in the drivers seat this week on our Instagram feed @MyGastown with images of her fave spots. You can find / follow Youna on Tumblr and on Instagram @brickandpendant.

We’ll have our next profile up in January, so be sure to check back for more. And if you’re an insider with a unique perspective on the neighbourhood, find us on Instagram @MyGastown, tag your photos, and you might hear from us!