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By Brittany Tiplady

Our beloved BC salmon season is here and whether it’s baked, grilled, smoked, or served raw, BCers love their salmon (and preferably, of course, Ocean Wise). As the summer continues to be heated (this BC heat wave sure is intense), cooking in-doors becomes less of an option and outdoor BBQs, waterfront patios, and AC-clad restaurants reign supreme. Check out this helpful list of local Metro Vancouver restaurants and small-scale shops who are serving up fresh BC salmon to enjoy this season.

Vancouver’s North Shore

The Salmon House
A truly stunning and coveted spot serving Indigenous West Coast fare for over 40 years. The Salmon House On The Hill is not for any old dinner, this iconic North Shore haunt is perfect for anniversaries, birthdays, and really, celebrations of any kind. Bonus: the window-wrapped dining room bares the breathtaking view of the Vancouver and Burrard Inlet. As the name might suggest, there are plenty of salmon dishes to enjoy at The Salmon House, but a notable item is the alder grilled salmon trio (Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Salmon); $41. When dining at The Salmon House, however, one most definitely cannot forget the seafood tower for two, including two price variations ($80 and $100), boasting a grilled, chilled, and bouillabaisse component.
Location: 2229 Folkestone Way, West Vancouver

The Salmon Shop
If you’re picking up some fresh fish for home, pop into the Lonsdale Quay for your loot. The Salmon Shop, a finalist for “Best Fresh Seafood in the Best of the North Shore 2012” is a retail fish shop “specializing in a great variety of BC smoked salmon, fresh local fish, prawns and shrimp.
Location: Lonsdale Quay Market, 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver, open 7 days a week.

Vancouver

Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium launched the Ocean Wise® sustainable seafood conservation program in 2005, and in 2016 welcomed the acclaimed Ned Bell as the executive chef. Bell is at the helm of the Aquarium’s restaurant and cafes, creating unique and exciting dishes with sustainability at the forefront. Try the wild salmon blueberry salad; $13.50, or the wild salmon, kale and spinach salad; $13.50 at the Upstream Cafe.
Location: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, open 7 days a week.

Salmon n’ Bannock
A must for Vancourites, Fraser Valley dwellers, and tourists alike, try Vancouver’s only Indigenous restaurant, Salmon n’ Bannock: specializing in wild fish, free range game meat and of course bannock, freshly baked daily. The folks at Salmon n’ Bannock use traditional ingredients prepared and presented in a modern fashion. “In the spirit of First Nations’ traditions, [their] intention is to provide a gathering place where the focus is on the people and the food.” The menu is abundant but an obvious choice is a family style meal of wild sockeye, including bannock, garden salad (organic greens) and roasted potatoes; $25, and for gluten-free guests, check out their selection of sandwiches on gluten-free bannock: the barbecue salmon salad with tomato and organic greens sandwich, $10, is calling our name!
Location: 1128 W Broadway #7, Vancouver; open Monday-Saturday.

Fresh Ideas Start Here

Shizen Ya
It’s common knowledge that Vancouver has an overwhelming number of sushi restaurants and nooks to choose from, but one of our highest recommendations is SHIZEN YA. This organic eatery serves their sushi and dishes with brown rice, organic greens and no additives, accompanied by Ocean Wise fish. Score! Their selection of seafood is so fresh (we’re talkin’ decadent, bright coloured sashimi that feels like butter), you’ll be a religious regular after one visit. Try their spicy (or regular) salmon rolls ($2.95/$4.95), the Wild Sockeye Salmon Nigiri Sashimi, or the Ocean Quartet Sashimi Salad also featuring the Wild Sockeye Salmon Nigiri Sashimi, $13.95.
Location: 965 Hornby St., Vancouver, or 1102 W.Broadway, Vancouver. Open 7 days a week.

The Fish Counter
Whether you’re grabbing some fish n’ chips to go, dining in for a quick bite, or shopping for groceries the Fish Counter–a Main Street staple–has you covered and you better believe their fish is local and abundant in seasonal variety! Head in for pink salmon caught in Dixon Entrance off Haida Gwaii, Humpback Shrimp caught in Prince Rupert, Mussels grown by Sawmill Bay off Read Island, or BC Spot Prawns caught by Gregg Best on Cowichan Bay. What’s even better is that the Fish Counter is entirely  Ocean Wise, so you can purchase your goodies in good conscience.
Location: 3825 Main Street, Vancouver. Open 5 days a week, closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Fresh Ideas Start Here

Fresh Ideas Start Here
Helmed by the fabulous Jenice Yu, f.i.s.h. is a beloved fish shop that serves their loyal customers only the finest, local products. Yu’s mission is to elevate and promote the abundance of healthy fish that we have in BC oceans. Her passion came to life when she opened her first f.i.s.h. store in South Burnaby on Market Crossing. She now has a second location in Kitsilano, a thriving wholesale business, and nearly every influential chef in Vancouver on speed dial: everybody wants in on Yu’s fresh, Ocean Wise, beautiful seafood. Check out our feature on Jenice published earlier this year. If you’re in the mood for breakfast foods, Fresh Ideas Starts Here has a mouth-watering recipe for a Shmoked Wild BC Salmon Frittata. Get cookin’!
Location: Fresh Ideas Start Here, 2959 W Broadway, Vancouver. Fresh Ideas Start Here, #180 -7515 Market Crossing, Burnaby. Open 7 days a week.

Richmond

The River Rock Casino: Tramonto and Curve
Both restaurants at the River Rock are rockin’ an Ocean Wise menu jam packed with seafood options! At Tramonto, the River Rock’s more upscale dining spot, try the salmon scallop ceviche with strawberry, Compressed rhubarb, fresh mint, citrus oil, baby celery greens; $20, or the grilled ora king salmon with nori arancini wonton, baby bok choy, salmon roe, wasabi emulsion for $38.
Location: 8811 River Road, Richmond.

Surrey

Dublin Crossing
Who says pub food can’t be sustainable? Not the Dublin Crossing! This Cloverdale hotspot presents an all Ocean Wise menu! Next time you’re at the Dublin for a pint and some live entertainment, try the gluten sensitive mango chipotle salmon with Vancouver Island Lois Lake steelhead, mild chipotle seasoning, mango avocado salsa, seasonal vegetables and brown rice; $21.95.
Location: 18789 Fraser Highway, #101, Surrey,

 

 

 

Photos by Michele Mateus
Words by Alexis Baran

It wasn’t long ago that if offered a murky, bubbly, slightly sour beverage with a brewing process that involves a rubbery, wet bit of floating bacteria referred to as a “mother”, most people would not-so-politely decline. But now with varieties that range from those that are sweetly flavoured, bottled by Pepsico and found in gas station fridges to tart kitchen counter home-brews, kombucha is now a probiotic and antioxidant beverage staple of the pacific northwest and certainly in the Vancouver area.

Martin Ebadi, owner of Green Leaf Brewery and avid kombucha creator, was willing to let us behind his scenes to have a look at what goes into this fresh fermentation at his Lonsdale Quay brewery alongside the beer casks.

Green Leaf Kombucha

Ebadi, a former car mechanic, is soft spoken yet enthusiastic with a warm smile and a welcoming demeanor. It took 15 years of unhappy people walking through his shop doors for Ebadi to quit the automotive industry and instead open a business where people arrive and are happy to be there. “I wasn’t learning anymore,” says Ebadi, and people are never happy when they come to a mechanic. The brewery has such good energy and people come in because they want to, not because they have to.”

Green Leaf Brewery Kombucha

Green Leaf Brewery was opened in 2013 and have a variety of their own beer and seasonal taps, as well as a selection of whiskey, scotch, tequila and other spirits. (They can pour you a mean whiskey and beer pairing too!)

What was originally a side project at home, Ebadi decided to bring his kombucha to the brewery 2 years ago and brew it alongside their ales, IPAs and lagers. “Not everyone wants to drink alcohol,” says Ebadi, “I wanted to make something healthy and non-alcoholic as an option for all kinds of customers.”

Each batch of Green Leaf’s kombucha starts out with high quality black tea, fresh-juiced fruit, berries, or vegetables, and of course, the “mother” or “scoby” which is an acronym of “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”, which floats in the beverage while it’s brewing.

The first step is culture the tea. The black tea is combined with sugar and cultured with the scoby, which is a bacteria that consumes much of the sugar (much like how bacteria in yogurt cultures milk).

Scobys reproduce quite quickly, and at Green Leaf there are post-its beside some of the batches with phone numbers of people who’d like the next scoby for their own home brewing.

A scoby!

Next comes the addition of flavours.

The flavours of Green Leaf’s kombucha vary with the season, but there is almost always a ginger lemon variety, which is quite strong, and a milder flavour, that can incorporate berries, veggies, and other natural ingredients.

Ebadi (right) and his team work with mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as frozen berries.

The juicing ginger sends a warm spice into the air of the back room, and then is complemented by the sweetness of apples.

The finished product can be found at Green Leaf Brewery – try it in a cocktail, from a jar, or fill your growler to take some home.

Green Leaf Brewery Kombucha

Green Leaf Brewery Kombucha

Green Leaf Brewery
Lonsdale Quay Market
North Vancouver
greenleafbrew.com

Beer has a long history of bringing people together and lucky for us, there’s never been a better time than right now to be a beer lover on Canada’s West Coast.

Check out this video to plan your itinerary then grab your friends and hit the road to explore BC’s newest Ale Trail in Richmond, New Westminster, Surrey and Delta. The area’s craft breweries are pouring classic beers with a west coast twist, super-hoppy IPAs, unexpected sours and satisfying stouts, and it’s entirely possible that you’ll discover your new favourite beer while exploring this hopping craft beer region.

 

By Brittany Tiplady

For the love of garlic! We’re so fortunate to live in a province that is abundant with beautiful fresh produce year round. Gear up for garlic month happening in August with this list of Metro Vancouver restaurants that have added some garlicky features to their menu, as well as a list of Farmer’s Markets so you can support local and grab your garlic to-go.

Richmond Garlic Festival

You won’t want to miss the 10th annual Richmond Garlic Festival happening August 19. Chefs from various restaurants in Richmond and Vancouver will be volunteering to present festival-goers with a grand selection of garlic-based eats including garlic ice cream. Of course the festival’s supporter, The Sharing Farm, will be selling their famous own-grown garlic as well.

Dates: Sunday, August 19
Time: 10 am- 3 pm; visit their website for more details!
Location: 2771 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC

Kulinarya Filipino Eatery

It’s never too early to get your garlic fix! Check out the new item on the Kulinarya menu: breakfast items featuring a garlic fried rice called a Silog.

Locations: 114 -2922 Glen Dr, Coquitlam or, 1134 Commercial Dr, Vancouver.

The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar

Dubbed as “Langley’s growing little secret” The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar is a lovable contemporary suburban restaurant serving locally sourced and ethically raised product as well as sustainable seafood. Currently on the menu is the fried cauliflower with confit garlic and preserved lemons dressing topped with crispy garlic.

Location: #4 20178 96th Ave, Langley

Fortitude

Chef Romy Prasad’s elegant Fort Langley haunt is producing beautiful, high quality plates with a focus on local produce. Don’t miss the vegetable risotto with asparagus, snow peas, confit peppers, carrots, lemon garlic and the option to add prawns or scallops.

Location: 190, 9220 Glover Road, Fort Langley

Blue Heron Creamery


For our vegan pals, this is for you! Blue Heron Creamery produces beautiful plant-based, cultured, aged “cheeses” that could fool any dairy-lover. Add some Blue Heron locally made vegan products, especially the to your next cheese board we guarantee you’ll be the favourite person at the dinner party. In light of garlic season, we recommend herb & garlic cumulus cheese.

Location: 2410 Main St., Vancouver, note that their store front is only open on Saturdays from 12 PM to 5 PM. You can also find Blue Heron Creamery products on the menu at Heirloom’s new West Vancouver Ambleside location.

Bao Down Gastropub + Raw Bar

It’s “Pacific Rim cuisine with Filipino flair.” If you find Bao’s abundant menu is overwhelming, we suggest ordering the Bao Chicka Bao Bao: garlic and lemongrass fried chicken, daikon, crisp garlic, fish sauce glaze, carrot, garlic scape mayo.

Location: 115 West 2nd, Vancouver

Gyoza Bar


Downtown Vancouver’s contemporary Japanese spot has released a new summer lunch menu that features some garlic goodness! Check out the delightful teppan bistro fillet steak: 50z of tender sliced steak, sous-vide egg, fragrant garlic rice, shiitake mushrooms, corn, and kimchi, finished with sweet soy reduction.

Location: 622 W Pender St, Vancouver

Burdock & Co


This beloved Main Street haunt, boasts a beautiful seasonal menu full of farm to table freshness. This season, check out the spring green risotto with watercress, pickled garlic scapes, peas, and pecorino, and/or the pizzichi farro pasta with dandelion, anchovy, preserved lemon and black garlic.

Location: 2702 Main St, Vancouver

If you’re wanting to experiment with garlic at home, head on over to the nearest farmer’s market to grab fresh, locally grown garlic and garlic scapes.
Here’s Vancouver’s local markets, but you can see more markets here.

Downtown Farmers Market
Thursdays at šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn Square (QET Plaza)

Riley Park
Saturdays at 30th Avenue & Ontario Street

Trout Lake
Saturdays at Lakewood Dr. & E 13th Ave.

West End
Saturdays at 1100 Comox St btw. Bute & Thurlow

Kitsilano
Sundays at the Kitsilano Community Centre

Mount Pleasant
Sundays at Dude Chilling Park

By Alexis Baran

What is cheese, anyways? The cultured snack favourite can be buttery, sweet, herbal, earthy, pungent, bitter, footy, even barnyardy. It’s one of the few foods that people will gladly eat even (or especially) when visibly laced with thick mold and it is a staple of modern dining. For centuries it’s been made using animal milk – but who’s to say milk is the only thing that can create a fantastic cheese?

The assumption that animal milk must be the base for cheese is a notion that Chef Karen McAthy, the founder of Blue Heron Cheese, has been challenging. She’s aiming to change how consumers, as well as the food regulators, think about these wheels of flavour, all from her store and creamery on Vancouver’s Main Street.

A completely plant-based board

Blue Heron Creamery opened in Vancouver in early 2018 to block-long line-ups and a sold-out shop. The nut-based cheeses are so popular that Blue Heron is currently only open one day a week, for five hours. During that time customers often line up for their turn in the tiny storefront, and by the time they’re closed they can pretty much turn off the refrigerator – everything is gone.

When I sat down with McAthy and asked about her cheeses in comparison to “real” cheese, I clearly mis-spoke. “What is real cheese anyways,” questioned McAthy with a challenging grin, “a lot of cheese makers wouldn’t call a lot of what we buy at the grocery store ‘real cheese’.” Peruse the cheese aisle with that in mind and you’ll see what she means. Refrigerators are full of processed spreadable “cheeses” and other products that are made to taste like cheese but have never been fermented or cultured.

“I wanted to make real, non-dairy cheese, and I didn’t love the recipes I found. There was no troubleshooting advice, so I started looking into the methodology of how dairy cheese was made and applied that to cheese made with other proteins.”

Shore cheese by Blue Heron

Dairy cheese is made by culturing the animal fats and proteins found in milk. To make the non-dairy cheese at Blue Heron, McAthy and her small team cultures fats and proteins found in other places, such as coconut milk, walnuts, cashews, almonds and other nuts. The result looks and feels the same as dairy cheese, with its own variety of tastes – some being close in taste to mild diary cheeses such as brie. Others have a flavour all their own, such as Cormorant, a black ash-covered cashew and coconut milk cheese with a sharp taste, sweet coconut notes, and a spreadable chevre-like texture or Shore, a smooth and mild cashew cheese made with caraway and whole pink peppercorn.

Burrata classic cheese by Blue Heron

“If you look at the name of cheeses – some are named for the culture that creates it, not the milk. Camembert, for example, is from the penicillium camemberti culture. I can use that same culture to make a camembert with cashews and coconut” says McAthy. “I’m also using the same culture in a cambazola I’m working on.”

Is there a flavour difference between Blue Heron’s cheese and dairy cheese? Of course, but there’s also flavour differences between the myriad of varieties of dairy cheese as well. Whether you’re looking to replace dairy cheese or you’re interested in cultivating some new flavours into your platters and recipes, plant-based cheese is real, and it’s delicious.

Blue Heron Creamery
2410 Main St.
Vancouver, BC
blueheroncheese.com

By Ariane Fleischmann

Hillcrest Bakery is serving up something a little different these days. Owner David Moyer had to think outside the box when the 45-year-old bakery relocated due to construction in the burgeoning uptown White Rock area. What started as casual conversations with local breweries White Rock Beach Beer Company and 3 Dogs Brewing soon became a new business model: using spent grain from the brewing process at the bakery to create unique and tasty eats.

Canada’s West Coast is known for many things: scenic ocean and mountain views, hiking, biking, kayaking–pretty much every outdoorsy activity you can imagine–and craft beer. Yes, after a day on the water or in the woods, people love to grab a bite to eat and a craft beer to wash it all down with. So, is it really a surprise that a bakery would team up with some breweries to combine the two?

What is spent grain? In the brewing process, grains are added to simmering water to steep. After that step is complete, the grains are discarded, hence the term “spent grain”. Many breweries send their spent grain to farms, where it’s used to feed livestock. But this high fibre, high protein, low-carb grain can be used in other ways.

Spent grain munchie mix | Image courtesy of Hillcrest Bakery

White Rock Beach Beer Company and 3 Dogs Brewing first approached Moyer to have Hillcrest provide some nibbles for their tasting rooms. “In two separate conversations with both owners over a beer,” Moyer says the brewers asked: “You know, we’ve got all these spent grains. Do you think there’s something you could do with it?”

Intrigued, Moyer did some research, found a few recipes, but then didn’t think much more of it. Before the move, Hillcrest Bakery was busy preparing, so diversifying his business was not Moyer’s priority. Fast forward a few months, however, and he realized the immense opportunity in front of him. What goes best with beer? Tasty snacks.

A little more research and Moyer was in the spent grain business. He’s now partnered with three breweries (Fuggles & Warlock is the most recent), providing food like nuts and bolts and pretzels made with spent grain. The nuts and bolts are based off of Moyer’s grandmother’s recipe. They swapped out the almonds for a spent grain chip, and voila, the perfect snack.

Before joining Hillcrest Bakery in 1988, Moyer apprenticed with a German-style bakery, so pretzels are dear to his heart. “These are spectacular pretzels,” Moyer says. “You’ve never had a pretzel that tasted this good. I guarantee it.”

Spent grain pretzel | Image courtesy of Hillcrest Bakery

Moyer receives wet grains from the three breweries. While he does use some of the grain in this format–in pizza dough, for example–he dehydrates the rest, and then mills a portion of that into flour. A question that came up early in the research and recipe development period was whether or not Moyer should be separating the grains into different beer types (like IPA, lager, and ale). Ultimately, Moyer and the brewers decided it would make most sense to separate the grain into three categories: light, medium, and dark. He uses mostly light and medium in his baking, as they provide the easiest-to-work-with flavour for pairing. Through experimentation, Moyer has found most recipes can tolerate between 10 and 20 percent spent grain flour in replacement of regular flour to create something that works–scientifically, that is.

While the brewery snacks are truly delicious, Moyer has also been using the spent grain in a variety of other products, including waffles, pizza dough, cheese sticks, chips, cookies, clusters, and three kinds of bread. The clusters come in several flavours, like hot chocolate with jalapeno, salt and pepper peanut, maple cranberry, and hazelnut with coriander and cumin. Four flavours with four beers, anyone? It’s the perfect flight.

Look for Hillcrest Bakery’s spent grain products at farmers markets, beer festivals, and the following locations:

Hillcrest Bakery / The Spent Grain Baker
3 Dogs Brewing
White Rock Beach Beer Company
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks
Jan’s on the Beach

 

Photos by Michele Mateus
Words by Alexis Baran

Scoop up the kids – it’s time for ice cream! But this time they’ll have to work for it. Burnaby Village Museum invites families to come learn how to make old fashioned ice cream using simple ingredients, classic methods, and a little bit of crank-churning muscle.

It all begins in the kitchen of 1920s home with a few simple ingredients and a resident expert.

The kids learn a little about what family life in the Vancouver area 100 years ago, as well as what goes into one of their favourite desserts.

Ingredients are measured…

Ice is added…

And then it’s time to crank, crank, crank until it’s done!

Everybody gets a turn.

It gets tougher as the ice cream thickens.

But then…

Ice cream!

To learn more about ice cream making and the Burnaby Village Museum’s many programs (including a resident Chinese herbalist this summer) visit burnabyvillagemuseum.ca.

By Brittany Tiplady

Giddy-up for the inaugural Clover Valley Beer Festival, happening August 11  in the heart of Cloverdale!

This first-time festival— hosted by the powerhouse team that also produces the Whistler Village Beer Festival and the Great Okanagan Beer Festival—promises an afternoon of coveted craft beer, food truck favourites, live music, and event support from local sponsorship. Clover Valley’s festival team has also partnered with Twins Cancer Fundraising as their charitable partner, who will receive proceeds from ticket sales to support their efforts on raising money for cancer-fighting charities.

Over 40 craft breweries are expected to set up camp at the fest, including Langley’s Trading Post Brewing, Central City Brewing, and Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing and Parkside Brewery. “We really want to highlight BC craft beers and ciders but we also have some international brews joining us,” explains events manager Tara Myers.

Image courtesy of Clover Valley Beer Festival

For cider lovers, this festival has you covered: you’ll find craft cider mills like No Boats on Sunday, and Rock Creek ready to quench your thirst.

Keeping festival goers well-fed is an array of local food vendors. Snack on some grub from Mike’s Perfect Perogy’s, Vancouver’s Urban Woodfired Pizza, Mediterranean cuisine from Meet2Eat, and ooey gooey gourmet grilled cheese from Sammy J’s Grill & Bar.

While your sip and sample, the Clover Valley Beer Festival team has arranged a fantastic line-up of local performers. Headlining the festival is rock-band Red Chair (they headlined the Great Okanagan Beer Festival earlier this year), and to follow, R&B ensemble JennaMae & The Groove Section, and rock-alt band Mood Therapy.

“Between bands a DJ from JR FM will be joining us to play some music as well!” adds Myers.

For those interested in attending (and why wouldn’t you be?) the damage is slim. A $45 general admission ticket includes entry to the festival and three beer tokens. An express pass will run you $60 but includes entry and 10 beer tokens and a chance to skip the lines.

Image courtesy of Clover Valley Beer Festival

“Cloverdale is such a great fit for [our events]. It could potentially become our biggest festival, yet! We also know that there is a ton of craft beer in the Fraser Valley that deserves to be celebrated, and there’s such a large local audience supporting the craft beer industry.”

The Clover Valley Beer Festival takes place from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM, with last entry at 4:00 PM. Grab your tickets early online now.

By Kristi Alexandra

It’s no wonder that New Westminster’s downtown hub is warming up to its nickname “Delicious Downtown.” It’s home not only to a handful of hip eateries, but to Canada’s largest-ever food truck festival.

The Royal City’s residents and their neighbours are about to get all trucked up as the annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival celebrates its sixth year on July 28, 2018. With more than 150 vendors on the docket for the mouth-watering milestone, there will be no shortage of options to treat the taste buds.

Image Courtesy of Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival

From newly-scouted trucks such as the Frying Pan (crispy fried chicken) and Taco’N Todo (authentic Mexican fare) to returning favourites like Vij’s Railway Express and Gypsy Trunk Vegan Food Cart, there’s a nosh or nibble for everyone. REEL Mac & Cheese, Japadog, Crab Park Chowdery, and Feastro the Rolling Bistro also feature on the lineup — but food isn’t the only thing on offer during the foodie fete.

C’est si Bon | Image Courtesy of Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival

Running in conjunction with the food truck festival, is a special artisan market. Tucked in the air-conditioned comfort of The Anvil Centre, the British Columbia Artisan Society is hosting more than 50 local artists. Feasters can take a break from the heat and shop for jewellery, paintings, chocolate, tea, clothing, beauty products and more.

New Westminster-based boutiques such as Mila + Paige will be styling up fashionable feasters, along with Grand Central Consignment, Inner Fire, Lofty Living, and the city’s very own brewery Steel & Oak will be hawking their suds-inspired duds.

For those who would rather lay back and relax, there are four different stages to catch some live music acts, while sipping on a draft under a shaded patio or in one of the eight beer gardens.

Image Courtesy of Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival

“Like always, we’ll have tons of bands and performers through the Arts Council of New West,” Whitfield assures, “and we’re once again showcasing the Artisan’s Market inside the Anvil Centre, and the Farmer’s Market will be part of the event.”

As if food trucks, live music, arts, and fashion still weren’t enough to entice you to strut Columbia Street during the festival, admission for the event, as always, is free!

#GetTruckedUp at the fifth annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival on July 28, 2018 from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.

By Jaclyn Jularbal

The Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf in Richmond boasts an amazing view of the Fraser River and it’s also home to some of the best fish and chips around. Whether you’re a cod, halibut, or even a prawn fan – the deliciously deep-fried choice is up to you. In rain or shine, for here or to go, the wharf is open year-round to serve you up some world-famous eats.

Pajo’s
12351 3 Ave, Richmond, BC

One of the most recognizable, long-standing places along the wharf is Pajo’s.
Having been around for over 30 years, its yellow banner and unique dock-style entranceway has been a staple in Steveston for decades. Don’t let the lineup of people fool you, the cooks and counter clerks are speedy and the food is worth the wait. Ask anyone in line and they’ll be able to attest that what they’re waiting for is fish-and-chip perfection. Pajo’s crisp and golden fish has just the right amount of crunch; couple that with their home-style tartar sauce or sour lemon zest and the combination will leave your mouth watering for more.

Pajos | image by Sandra Steier
Pajos | Image by Sandra Steier

Now, a favourite thing about Pajo’s is that they offer the option for grilled fish and chips. If you’re not in the mood for deep-fried but you’re still a fish-fanatic, you can have your favourite fish served grilled on top of a basket of hot Pajo’s fries. With one, two, and three-piece combos, Pajo’s leaves you with lots of options based on your hunger and craving level.

The view by Pajo’s is also one-of-a-kind. Because its located on a dock, down and away from the wharf, Pajo’s location is exclusive and allows you to eat your meal directly on the Fraser River; creating the perfect ambience for a relaxing afternoon lunch.

Sockeye City Grill
108-3800 Bayview St, Steveston, BC

Further down the Wharf is the rock star patio belonging to Sockeye City Grill.  Whether you eat inside or wait at the take-out window, there are fresh fish options for everyone.

Image courtesy of Sockeye City Grill
Image courtesy of Sockeye City Grill

One of the best things about Sockeye City Grill is that they have prawns n’ chips!  Deep-fried prawns paired with tasty restaurant-style fries is a great take on an old summer staple – and an absolutely perfect choice for prawn-lovers.

Sockeye City Grill’s Take-Out Prawns n’ Chips | Image by Daryl Hayward
Sockeye City Grill’s Take-Out Prawns n’ Chips | Image by Daryl Hayward

Sockeye City Grill also has some cool side add-ons, like extra fish or oyster pieces, and a creamy seafood chowder.  Eat inside, eat on the patio, or eat on a bench along the wharf – the Sockeye City Grill experience is up to you.

The waterfront atmosphere of Fisherman’s Wharf really revs up the appetite –

so if you’re craving battered fish, grilled fish, or even prawns on a heaping portion of fries with homemade tartar sauces, head over to Steveston on the southwest tip of Richmond.

by Kathy Mak

Few things are more Vancouver than the beloved seawall, considered the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.   Cycling the seawall bike lane is one of the most entrenched pastimes of locals and a must-do for newcomers. Some folks ride the Vancouver seawall for exercise, some for the extraordinary views and iconic sights, and some for the novelty; but few may realize the seawall is a string of the best waterside pubs and patios in the city! If pairing tasty bites and beverages with your wheels is a priority, then you’re in for a treat with over 24 waterfront pit stops to please your palette while you pedal!

This suggested “Pubs & Patios Pedal” route will take you on a bikeable feast along Vancouver’s seawall. Start at Canada Place for 11 am and wind along the mostly paved, flat path for 22 km (13.7 miles) via Stanley Park, English Bay, and False Creek to Kitsilano Beach for a sunset (map). Depending on your self-guided pace, the route can be enjoyed at a leisurely time of 5 to 8 hours with photo ops and breaks for tapas and ‘tinis. Here’s a photoscape of what you can expect with some recommendations for refueling. A bike helmet, camera and fun attitude are mandatory!

1-Tap-&-Barrel--Vancouver-Convention-Centre-(Kathy-Mak)
Tap & Barrel -Vancouver Convention Centre
2-LIFT-Bar-Grill-View---Coal-Harbour-(Kathy-Mak)
LIFT Bar Grill View – Coal Harbour
3a-Vancouver-Seawall-(Kathy-Mak)
Vancouver Seawall – English Bay
3c-Cactus-Club-Cafe---English-Bay-(Kathy-Mak)
Vancouver Seawall – English Bay
4a-Vancouver-Seawall---Sunset-Beach-(Kathy-Mak)
Vancouver Seawall – Sunset Beach
4b-Vancouver-Seawall---False-Creek,-Yaletown-(Kathy-Mak)
Vancouver Seawall – False Creek, Yaletown
5-Tap-&-Barrell---Olympic-Village-(Kathy-Mak)
Tap & Barrel – Olympic Village
6-Mahoney-&-Sons---Stamps-Landing-(Kathy-Mak)
Mahoney & Sons – Stamps Landing
7-Bridges-Restaurant---Granville-Island-(Kathy-Mak)
Bridges Restaurant – Granville Island
8-Go-Fish---Fishermen's-Wharf-(Kathy-Mak)
Go Fish – Fishermen’s Wharf
9-Vancouver-Seawall---Kitsilano-Beach-(Kathy-Mak)
Vancouver Seawall – Kitsilano Beach
10-Boathouse-Restaurant---Kitsilano-Beach-(Kathy-Mak)
Boathouse Restaurant – Kitsilano Beach

Here is a list of some of the pubs and patios you can visit on a pedal around the Vancouver Seawall:

Tap & Barrel (Vancouver Convention Centre)
Mill Marine Bistro (Coal Harbour)
Cardero’s Restaurant (Coal Harbour)
LIFT Bar Grill View (Coal Harbour)
Teahouse (Stanley Park)
Cactus Club (English Bay)
Tap Shack (False Creek)
Provence Marinaside (Yaletown)
Tap & Barrel (Olympic Village)
Mahoney & Sons (Stamp’s Landing)
Wicklow Pub (Stamp’s Landing)
Dockside Seafood Restaurant (Granville Island)
Bridges Restaurant (Granville Island)
Go Fish (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Boathouse Restaurant (Kitsilano Beach)

By Ariane Fleischmann

On July 31, 2018, you’ll have a chance to experience an authentic spread of Syrian cuisine and be entertained by bellydancers and drag performers – all while supporting a charity that ensures safe passage of queer refugees into Canada.

When Danny Ramadan first came to Canada as a Syrian refugee in 2014, he initially felt alone and out of sorts. He’s proud of his Syrian heritage and, although he was forced to leave his home, slowly but surely, Ramadan says he fell in love with his new Canadian community.

“Syria has a very rich and long history that has so many identities being accepted,” says Ramadan, who informed us that same-sex marriage was accepted and normalized in the 1800s and welcomed as part of the structure of their communities. “Only over the past hundred years or so has the community become more and more socially and legally conservative when it comes to our gender and sexual minorities.” Upon arriving in Canada, however, Ramadan says he felt welcomed: “My queerness respected.”

Wanting to pay it forward – he arrived as a refugee through a private sponsorship group – Ramadan created a fundraising event called Syrian Extravaganza in 2015. Four years later, it has evolved into An Evening in Damascus.

The evening will be catered by Tayybeh

The capital of Syria, Damascus was a city of splendour, elegance, and vibrancy. Ramadan wanted to portray to Canadians the Syria that he remembers, one of delicious food and delightful entertainment. An Evening in Damascus is designed to recreate that feeling of discovery and community.

Not only will guests be supporting a great cause – proceeds go to Rainbow Refugee to fund the safe passage of Syrian queer refugees to come to Canada – they will have the opportunity to delight in traditional Syrian cuisine and sip fresh Mediterranean wines.

The event is catered by Tayybeh, a group of Syrian refugee women who have found new community here in Canada. Tayybeh means “delicious” in Syrian Arabic, but the word is also used to impart a feeling of good nature. Attendees can expect to dine on shish taouk, a traditional chicken dish, as well as hummus and mutabal (egglplant spread), and light tabbouleh salad.

“I honestly am very proud to have partnered with those women to bring the delicious taste of food from Syria here to Canada,” says Ramadan. “It’s a mixture of heritage cooking that has been going on in Syria for years and years, that represents how detail-oriented our food has become.”

A cash bar with white and rose wine from the Mediterranean is a refreshing complement to the food. You won’t be disappointed with this spread.

Other interactive elements of the evening also pay homage to both Syrian and Canadian communities. Projected on the walls are photos and videos of downtown Damascus. Ramadan, an author and storyteller, will be sharing his story on stage. “I’m also doing a little spoken word poem about being a refugee,” he says.

Ramadan has also invited Karamella Barr and Madam Lola, two local drag queens to entertain guests. Khadiejah and a Middle Eastern belly dancer will roam the room to beautiful Arabic music.

For those who identify as queer and are refugees, there are tickets available at no cost, made possible by donation.  Ramadan wants to support queer and trans refugees from all countries, recognizing their shared experience and journey. “For me, it’s about making sure the door is open for people.”

Tickets can be purchased here.

An Evening in Damascus
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
7:00-10:00 pm
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC

By Lenée Son

Under the sweltering summer heat, there’s nothing better than cooling down with a walk on the White Rock pier and an ice cold treat. Whether it’s gelato, frozen yogurt, or traditional ice cream you’re craving, this beachside city is a haven for icy desserts. Here are four must-try places.

Sandcastle Sea Shoppe

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Located at the east beach in White Rock, Sandcastle Sea Shoppe has the largest selection of ice cream in the city. They carry fifty flavours at all times and nearly seventy during the peak season in the summer. Take your pick from gelato, ice cream, milk shakes, smoothies, or old fashioned frozen yogurt.

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The Sandcastle Sea Shoppe is home to the twin cone, a cone with a platform for two ice cream flavours side-by-side rather than on top of each other, which you won’t find anywhere else on the beach. They also carry an assortment of beach gear, beach toys for children, and beautifully hand crafted souvenirs.

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Try one of the homemade waffle cones at Sandcastle Sea Shoppe. Choose from Skor, rainbow sprinkles, white chocolate and coconut, chocolate dipped with chocolate sprinkles, chocolate and chopped peanuts, or caramel and peanuts.

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Pictured is a double scoop of Sandcastle Sea Shoppe’s creamy peanut butter chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups over a chocolate dipped peanut waffle cone. This one is for peanut butter lovers!

Sandcastle Sea Shoppe
15525 Marine Drive, White Rock
604-536-8830

Crazy Cows Ice Cream

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Crazy Cows Ice Cream makes fresh ice cream and gelato everyday with natural and local ingredients. They even take requests! If you’re looking for a custom flavour, call them ahead of time.

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Sweet and creamy, this swirl of ataulfo mango and passion fruit gelato is truly a tropical delight!

Crazy Cow’s Ice Cream
14971 Marine Drive, White Rock
604-837-8976

Seaside Scoops

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For a fun nostalgic 50’s diner experience, make a stop at Seaside Scoops. This vibrant ice cream parlour features old fashioned milk shakes, ice cream, slushies, and carnival and fair eats like hot dogs, nachos, and cotton candy.

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Seaside Scoops has a large window front where you can sit and enjoy your ice cream along with the beautiful view of White Rock beach.

Seaside Scoops
14893 Marine Drive, White Rock
604- 536-5554

Dolce Gelato

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For luxurious gourmet gelato and sorbetto, head over to Dolce Gelato! Dolce Gelato makes their gelato fresh daily and in small batches with high quality and local ingredients.

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Dolce Gelato’s authentic Italian gelato and sorbetto has a beautiful consistency and is perfectly creamy. From lavender and honey to classic Italian favourites like stracciatella, bacio, and cioccolatto, there are plenty of flavours to choose from.

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The sorbetto is vibrant, packed with fresh fruit, and rich with flavour. Pictured is the mango and strawberry sorbetto. Refreshingly perfect on a hot summer day!

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Indulge and enjoy the view!

Dolce Gelato
15045 Marine Drive, White Rock
604- 535-1070

By VisitRichmondBC.com

We’re ready for summer! When the sun is shining, indulge and cool down with one of these five delectable treats found in Richmond, BC.

Screamers

The Screamer is a half drink, half dessert hybrid that combines flavoured slush with vanilla soft-serve ice cream on the bottom and top. You can pick this treat up at Screamers Soft Serve in Steveston during the spring and summer months.

Mango Desserts

This juicy tropical fruit’s natural tartness and sweetness is a natural pick for Asian desserts. A great mango dessert should be juicy, fragrant, sweet and most importantly, it should send you on a tropical escape. Mango Yummy (6564 No. 3 Road) features a menu of mango-based desserts including drinks, shaved ice bowls, ice cream bowls and much more. Our top pick is the mango sago with pomelo, made with mango, pomelo, sago, coconut milk, cream, sugar and drizzled with condensed milk.

Mango sago at Mango Yummy | image by Sherman Chan
Mango sago at Mango Yummy | Image by Sherman Chan

Taiwanese Shaved Ice

Unlike the shaved ice found in sno-cones, the Taiwanese version of shaved ice dessert features finely shaved paper-thin ribbons of ice that comes piled high in a bowl and topped with your choice of toppings. Restaurants like Icy Bar (Parker Place Mall) specialize in dessert bowls like this and while the topping choices can be overwhelming, their menu offers set choices to make ordering easy. We recommend the mango strawberry shaved ice. This bowl of shaved ice is served with fresh chopped strawberries and mangoes, topped with a scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream and drizzled with condensed milk to balance out the tart fruits.

Strawberry mango icy bowl at Icy Bar | image by Sherman Chan
Strawberry mango icy bowl at Icy Bar | Image by Sherman Chan

Korean Bingsoo

Did you ever eat snow when you were a kid? Bingsoo is similar to that – except, far more delicious. At Snowy Village Dessert Café (8571 Alexandra Road), staff fill a metal bowl with a tower of creamy shaved iced milk that has the texture of fluffy snow. Your snowdrift-in-a-bowl is then covered with your choice of toppings – fresh mango, red bean, matcha or mixed with Oreos, and then crowned with a generous drizzle of condensed milk.

Injeolmi bingsoo at Snowy Village | image by Carolyn Heller
Injeolmi bingsoo at Snowy Village | Image by Carolyn Heller

Single-Origin Chocolate Custard Ice Cream

We couldn’t leave out the most important ice cold dessert: ice cream! Above and beyond your usual scoop or two of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream in a cone, the team at Wild Sweets by Dominique and Cindy Duby has a cups of single-origin chocolate custard ice cream – made with 70% dark chocolate bits and your choice of four fruit-filled flavoured. To top it -ff – get it baked baked crème brûlée.  Go get some at The Atelier at 214 – 12191 Hammersmith Way.

Image courtesy of Wild Sweets

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours

Funky, fruity, estery, tart, dry, and sour; these beer flavours can be under-appreciated but, this July, the fourth annual Farmhouse Festival returned to Vancouver to tease some diversity into a sold-out romp of discerning palates. If you didn’t make it to the festival, not to worry, we’re here to help you find some of the featured flavours.

 

Over 50 breweries and cider makers were invited to the UBC Farm, bringing their most innovative concoctions with them. From mouth-puckering to thirst-quenching, it was a field day (quite literally) for beer enthusiasts. While the majority of recipes were created specifically for the event, a handful of items are will be available for British Columbia locals. Here are 5 locals Farmhouse Festival beers to look out for:

Hailing from Burnaby, Dageraad Brewing was the proud supplier of this year’s official Farmhouse Fest beer. The Genever – a gin barrel aged saison – was a collaboration with Steel & Oak Brewing and Odd Society Spirits. You’ll now be able to get your hands on it in Dageraad’s Burnaby tasting room, while supplies last.

Vancouver’s Parallel 49 will have their Late Bloomer (barrel aged sour with cherry) and Blue Shift (barrel aged sour finished on blueberries) at their tasting room only, typically on Saturdays. Because these two beers have a fruity profile that’s quite subtle, they are a good introduction for those new to saisons and sours.

Luppolo, one of Vancouver’s breweries that’s regularly known for their farmhouse ales, sours, and saisons, will have their Albicocchina (barrel aged apricot sour) in their East Van tasting room.

The brewmasters from Vancouver’s Powell Brewery were on site at Farmhouse Fest, noting that La Belle, a gin barrel aged sour farmhouse ale, is now available in bottles at their shop, select liquor stores, and restaurants around the city. The Super Sexy Flanders, a barrel-fermented flanders red, was a crowd favourite from the event and is said to be available in 6 months at the tasting room.

Funky and fruity beers were in abundance at Farmhouse Fest, but there were several cider companies sharing the spotlight. We were blown away by Windfall Cider, Vancouver-based cider-makers that blew our tastebuds away with their Jackpot cider. Made with 100% BC dessert apples, it’s a light, sweet cider that would pair perfectly with a sunny West Coast day. Keep your eye out for Jackpot at local Vancouver restaurants like Bells and Whistles, and Liberty Wine Merchants.

See the full details on Farmhouse Fest here.

Vancouver Foodie Tours is locally-owned, walking food tour company run by passionate beer, wine and food lovers! You can experience Vancouver’s vibrant food scene through their four Foodie Tours and their online food blog at foodietours.ca.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Visitors to Vancouver’s North Shore and locals alike enjoy spending time in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park; breathing in all that pine-scented fresh mountain air while you explore one of British Columbia’s oldest rainforests just can’t be beat. But fresh air also makes us hungry.

Cliff House Restaurant is situated so that after you wobble bravely over the suspension bridge with its jaw dropping views, scramble on the Treetops Adventure and conquer Cliffwalk, a lovely sit-down restaurant with canyon views awaits for the whole family to enjoy.

Inspired by the first park owner’s original cabin in 1889, the restaurant’s décor has a Pacific Northwest look that is part old-timey and part modern chic. 150 seats both indoors and on the patio allow for visiting when the sun is shining brightly and when coastal rains roll in to quench the lush greenery.

Seafood chowder | Image courtesy of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The menu is all about local. There are BC wines on tap and craft beer options like Blood Orange Wheat Ale from nearby Bridge Brewing. Get a taste of the coast with a seasonally rotating menu – current features to try are a seafood chowder featuring local shellfish, ale battered fish and chips (both Ocean Wise) or a mushroom ravioli.

It’s not just the parks bridges, bird demonstrations and activities that’ll please the little ones – there’s a kid’s menu as well full of smaller items for smaller stomachs and choosier palates.

Cliff House Restaurant
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
https://www.capbridge.com

By Marc Slingsby-Jones, Bar Manager, Café Medina

INGREDIENTS

Flor de Cana (any aged rum will do) (1 oz)
Calvados (½ oz)
Fresh lemon juice (¾ oz)
Fresh apple juice (1 oz)
Moluccas syrup* (¾ oz)
Garnish: Apple slices, cinnamon, sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
  2. Strain into coupe or glass of choice.
  3. Garnish with apple slices dusted in cinnamon and sugar.

*Moluccas Syrup Recipe
Makes 1L

INGREDIENTS

Sugar (1kg)
Water (1L)
Cinnamon stick
Whole nutmeg (3)
Cloves (8)
Whole all spice (4)
Vanilla bean (½)
Peel of half an orange

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool overnight. Strain to remove spices before use.

By Ariane Fleishmann

Learning from the past starts with a question. Or many questions. For Lisa Codd, curator at Burnaby Village Museum, one of her questions was, “how has Chinese migration to the Burnaby region affected farming practices over time and space?” And that curiosity has led to many ways that visitors to the Burnaby Village Museum can now learn more about the region’s history and how it relates to the foods we eat today. What’s more? The research all ties in to an interactive market garden and the Way Sang Yuen Wat Kee & Co. herbalist shop on site.

“We’re really interested in learning more about Burnaby’s early Chinese-Canadian residents,” says Codd. “A big part of what we’ve been working on behind the scenes is connecting with Chinese-Canadian farm families. Burnaby—especially in the Fraser River Big Bend area—starting in the late 1800s there were people coming from China… people who were farming land and growing produce to sell to residents. There are farm families living in Burnaby who have been farming here for generations, and we wanted to connect in to that story.”

Interior of the Chinese herbalist shop | Image courtesy of the Burnaby Village Museum

To help make that connection and gain crucial context, Codd has been working not only with families in the region, but also with a group of academics from UBC. “Part of what we’re interested in is where they came from in China and what type of agricultural traditions they brought with them, and to [get] the picture of how they used knowledge from home to be successful farmers here.”

Research: What can we learn?

Research is being undertaken by a multi-disciplinary group of 20 UBC students from the Centre for Community Engaged Learning, Go Global, and the Asian Canadian & Asian Migration Studies program—the perfect match for a museum. The museum will serve as the site for their collaborative research project that explores migration from Kaiping, China to British Columbia, with a focus on the transfer of traditional agricultural practices, food consumption, and medicinal practices.

Codd gives us an example of how Chinese farming practices were used in the South Bend region of Burnaby: European farmers were struggling with drainage and losing their crops to flooding. “It had actually been cranberry bogs there, and that connects to First Nations’ history too,” says Codd. In early survey plans, Codd says we can see that Chinese farmers dug their ditches in a way that created better drainage in the area. “[The men] came from southern Guangdong and travelled here. That knowledge of diking and drainage was helpful.”

Earthenware containers found at the herbalist shop | Image courtesy of the Burnaby Village Museum

In the 1800s, many of the farmers coming to the region would have been single men who leased the land. Groups of them would work the farms together and found great success here. “If you go to farms in the Big Bend area today—like Hop On Farms—they’re still farming intensively,” says Codd. “They’re not huge farms; they’re small farms, always have been, and still are. And they’re specifically growing things that mature quickly, so they can get more than one cycle in: a high yield. We see this in the areas of China that are the origin communities, and then we see that happening here as well.”

The UBC students are traveling to some of those origin communities, like Kaiping in the Guangdong Province, west of the Pearl River Delta. They’ve taken with them information about local Burnaby farming practices and will learn what they can about farming traditions in those regions of China.

The research will be used to develop interpretive strategies for Burnaby Village Museum exhibits, including signage, hands-on activities, and scripts. But the students will also be on site in July and August to answer visitors’ questions and then also use that to inform further research and museum exhibit materials.

The Market Garden: Can we grow it?

Part of the exhibit about Burnaby farming practices will be an interactive market garden. Open May 5 to September 3, the garden is where visitors can attend a workshop about Burnaby’s Chinese-Canadian farming techniques and learn how to care for a variety of plants and ensure a bountiful yield.

Burnaby Village Museum wants families to attend these workshops as a way to learn that’s not just about reading displays. “Parents appreciate a bit of text and background information that they can refer to and interact with their children,” says Codd. “But we also have volunteers and staff to have conversations with people. And then demonstrations: the garden will have that sense of a demonstration; there’s some text and images, but really how we’re going to talk about the market garden is… we built one!”

Many visitors have the assumption that in the past, Chinese-Canadian market gardeners were selling to other Chinese migrants. But they largely sold to the general population. The market garden at Burnaby Village Museum has plants like spinach, kale, tomatoes, and zucchini—food you would find at your local farmer’s market. “But we’ll also grow a couple rows of Chinese vegetables, like bok choy and gai choy,” says Codd. They also have an herb garden. “Things like parsley that you’re selling as produce, but there could also be herbs that are used for herbal remedies. The line between food and medicine is much more blurry in Chinese culture.”

The Herbalist Shop: How was it used, and does it still exist?

And that brings us to the Way Sang Yuen Wat Kee & Co. herbalist shop. The shop operated in Victoria from 1905 to 1971, one of many herbalist shops in BC. In 1974, Burnaby Village Museum bought the entire contents of the shop and set it up at the museum. “And here it sits,” says Codd, “sort of a little time capsule.”

Here, Codd has more questions. While the space itself is fascinating, Codd wants to understand the context: “What are the medicines that we’re looking at? How were they prepared? How are the various tools used? How many people worked there? What were their jobs?” With the help of the UBC students, these questions are being answered and that knowledge is being passed on to museum visitors.

Codd has given the students numbered photos of the artifacts in the museum to bring with them to China. They hope to identify the objects, but also gain additional context. “Do these plants still grow? Are we still using them? How do they grow? Where do they come from? Do you also eat them? How do you eat them? What’s a recipe?”

Many of these questions have now been answered, so visitors to the herbalist shop can learn about local and Chinese foods and medicines when they come to the museum. Codd still has one unresolved question though: “Where did everything come from? Today, things like ginseng are grown in British Columbia, but was there a time when the sources of ingredients changed?” Packaging in the shop suggests everything was coming from Hong Kong, but Codd believes that it was likely just the distribution point for a much broader set of producers. “That’ll be fascinating to begin to piece that together.”

Burnaby Village Museum
6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby BC
Tue–Sun and statutory holidays
May 5–Sep 3
11 am–4:30 pm

Herbalist Shop
May 5–Sep 3
Open during Museum hours

Gardener-in-Residence
Saturdays in May and June
11 am–3 pm
Wednesdays in July and August
11 am–3 pm

 

By Brittany Tiplady

If you’re looking for seasonal, colourful, Italian cuisine in the Fraser Valley, the heart of Langley has a true hidden gem: The OSSO Lunchroom is a rustic, Italian break to your day, serving up fabulous lunch and dinner plates.

Helmed by the acclaimed executive chef and owner Sean Bone, the chalkboard menu is always budding with options suitable for various palates and preferences. It’s nearly impossible to decide one item: the options for soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, pizzas and desserts seem to be endless.

The space is warm and inviting; the decor is somewhat reminiscent of a rustic kitchen or dining area that could be found in a Tuscan villa. “Our vision for the restaurant was to have a modest beginning, based on Italian cuisine. Providing food made from scratch using as much local product as we could, from the ground to your plate,” says Chef Bone. “So naturally our design for the space came from the surrounding areas of Langley: a rich history of farming and early settlement. We used local reclaimed wood, metal and stone.”

Image courtesy of OSSO Lunchroom

Lunch at OSSO called for an abundant feast for two. We opted for the kale, butternut squash and feta salad to start ($13.75, option to add rosemary chicken for $4.95); a generous portion accented with fresh radishes, carrots, peppers, and chickpeas. Fulled by robust greens, we moved on to the polenta fries special accompanied by a dollop dilly yogurt ($6.50); perfectly seasoned with a delightful salty crunch and a soft earthy centre. For our main, we shared the favoured prosciutto, arugula, pesto, tomato pizza ($17.50). Served flatbread style in a perfect-for-sharing-portion, with thin crust, fresh greens, and gentle notes of acidity from the tomato and pesto base.

Polenta fries

To drink, I had a crisp glass of gamay rosé from the Bordertown Osoyoos Winery. For craft beer lovers, OSSO also has a selection of rotating taps featuring local breweries—Trading Post, Steel & Oak and Four Winds were represented. “Our wines are all from BC with some being organic,” explains Chef Bone. “We have a small variety of local wines that have great value in a restaurant setting but still provide exceptional flavour.”

Although well-hidden, OSSO is a coveted Langley spot often buzzing with hungry (and thirsty!) patrons during lunch hour. Whether you’re heading in for a quick bite to go, or for a more traditional sit-down meal, OSSO hits the spot.

“The community response to [our restaurant] has been so great. We are still in a city where big chain restaurants lead the charge with major food purveyors supplying them their goods. So to get our message across, we continue to use no major food purveyors for our produce, beef, veal, pork, lamb and seafood. We do this to prove that when you source food directly from farmers, small local producers, or when it’s grown yourself, you can truly give back to the community that you’re doing business in.”

OSSO Lunchroom
20381 #703 62 Ave.
Langley, BC, Canada
ossolunchroom.com

Open Monday-Wednesday (11 am- 8 pm), Thursday-Saturday (11 am – 9 pm).

By Catherine Dunwoody

Remember W Network’s The Shopping Bags? Co-host and co-producer Anna Wallner may have closed that chapter of her career some time ago, but she’s moved on to an exciting new project.

Wallner has recently purchased Vancouver catering and event-planning company, Savoury Chef Foods. After wrapping her last series, Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag, she studied at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. Since Anna is a culinary enthusiast, we asked her to share her favourite picnic spots in the lower mainland, and what she likes to eat. Here’s what she had to say:

“I love a picnic. And eating al fresco is my favourite way to enjoy a meal with friends. A gorgeous summer’s eve, cold drinks, delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere is pretty much perfection in my mind.

Savoury Chef Foods picnic
Image courtesy of Savoury Chef Foods

When you picnic with me you’ll be getting a gourmet offering. I’m in favour of grazing. A little of this and a little of that. A charcuterie board ticks the box perfectly. Cured meats, terrine, cheeses, dried fruits, compote, olives and fresh bread are a great way to get things going. And instead of traditional sandwiches why not go with wraps that can be sliced diagonally, which have great visual appeal and lend itself to the snacking approach.

Pack a nice bottle of wine or if you’re going non-alcoholic I suggest a bottle of sparkling water in a mason jar filled with mint and citrus for added flavour and refreshment.

Image courtesy of Savoury Chef Foods

Including cloth napkins and cutlery from home (not plastic), proper outdoor plates and a blanket also elevates things and helps to make your picnic feel special.

Picnics are a fun and affordable way to make the most of summer – who needs to sit on a restaurant patio when we’ve got so many free picnicking locations on offer?

When choosing a location, I personally avoid the beach. Who wants sand in their food?! I also avoid dog parks. I love my dog but I don’t love other people’s dogs nearly as much and I definitely don’t want them sniffing around my supper! I avoid anywhere that draws a crowd (i.e. playgrounds.) Seclusion is key. Pebbly beaches are a good choice as are grassy areas with shady trees and views.

Of course, those of us who are dedicated to the art of picnicking are always on the lookout for new and unknown locations and we are extremely protective of our secret spots.  So don’t ask me to draw you a map. But I will share a few starting points: In North Van head to Cates Park and Lynn Canyon. Port Moody is still surprisingly undiscovered for picnicking and you’ll finding picnic bliss around Buntzen Lake.

I always like to include some kind of activity around getting to my picnic location, be it a bike ride or a hike.”

By The Dirty Apron

 

INGREDIENTS

Puff pastry sheet (10 x 3 inch, rolled thin)
Large onion (1)
Soft goat cheese (170g)
Olive oil (2 tsp)
Toasted walnuts (2 tbsp)
Grape tomatoes (12)
Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper
Egg (1, beaten)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and, stirring constantly. Cook until golden brown and evenly caramelized. (Season the onions with salt and pepper and then remove from heat.)
  4. While the onions are caramelizing, prick the puff pastry all over with a fork, brush with egg wash and bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove pastry from oven and using a spoon, push down the center of the puff pastry to make an indentation for the goat cheese, onion, tomatoes and walnuts.
  6. Spread the goat cheese in the middle of the pastry and top with the onions, tomatoes and walnuts.
  7. Place the filled pastries back in the oven for 2 minutes.
  8. Once the tarts are finished, drizzle olive oil and serve immediately.

We all have one: that friend who posts pictures of every meal on Instagram; who hosts immaculate dinner parties and amps up the carefully curated cheese board with homemade sourdough and prosciutto cured in their own garage; who frequently visits farmer’s markets or forages for fiddleheads. They’re a foodie.

But who ever said foodies were exclusively adults? With the ubiquity of cooking shows, YouTube tutorials, and wherever else kids get their information these days, Gen Z is ready to make something delicious. And what responsible parent wants to ignore their child’s desire to be in the kitchen? (So long as they learn to clean, anyways.)

Indulge your kid with one of these top-notch cooking classes whether you live in BC or are just visiting; after all, the best way to experience regional cuisine is to make it yourself. Your kids will learn to appreciate different kinds of food and take home some serious life skills too. And, hey, while the kids are in class, maybe you can sneak off to enjoy some nosh or visit a local brewery.

 

Arts Umbrella

Surrey

Image courtesy of Arts Umbrella

Celebrity chef Vikram Vij leads a culinary arts workshop for teens ages 15-19 in his Surrey restaurant, My Shanti. Over the course of this three-hour journey into Indian cooking, youth learn about how to prepare food, what it takes to make it in the restaurant industry, and some super handy kitchen skills. Speaking about his journey from India to Vancouver, Vij shares stories from early in his career, reminding young chefs that everyone starts somewhere and that mistakes are part of the game. Workshops are limited. Check with Arts Umbrella for upcoming dates.

My Shanti
15869 Croydon Dr, Surrey
artsumbrella.com
Suitable for teens 15-19

 

Dirty Apron

Vancouver

Dirty Apron kids cooking class
Image courtesy of Dirty Apron

Designed with young chefs in mind, camps at the Dirty Apron teach kids about food and how to best prepare it. Using fresh, local ingredients, the chefs show participants how to use BC’s bounty to create dishes from around the world like Filipino chicken adobo, French potato rosti, or Mexican soft shell tacos—from scratch! The Dirty Apron is owned by husband-and-wife team Chef David and Sara Robertson, who, with their team, teach over 10,000 students every year. They’ve forged strong relationships with local farmers, growers and suppliers, knowledge they pass down to every students, youth or adult.

Dirty Apron
540 Beatty Street, Vancouver
dirtyapron.com
Suitable for kids 7-11

 

Nourish Café

Vancouver

Nourish Café believes that kids who know how to cook know how to eat better, and they might be on to something there. At their five-day summer camps, participants learn all about food facts but still have plenty of fun with hands-on cooking and silly games. Camps include recipes inspired by world cultures, including Italian, Chinese, Canadian, Japanese, and French cuisine. No matter the inspiration, at Nourish Café the chefs always keep Michael Pollan’s words in mind: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” They believe in using whole, organic foods and use a plant-based approach. They also support local farms and use seasonal ingredients, passing along knowledge about BC’s seasonal harvest to their budding chefs.

Nourish Café & Cooking School
3742 West 10th Ave., Vancouver
nourishvancouver.ca
Suitable for kids 8-13

 

Posh Pantry

Burnaby

Kids in the Posh kitchen learn how to bake and cook classic Western dishes, like mac and cheese, pizza balls, and cupcakes. In other workshops, they’ll get a taste of Mexico with enchiladas and churros, or Spain with delicious, fresh paella. They’ll learn how to mix and measure, incorporate ingredients, and how to be safe in the kitchen. These one-off workshops are perfect for a family that’s in town for just a short while, but summer camps are also available. Posh Pantry provides everything, including aprons, so there’s no need to worry about messes!

Posh Pantry
4548 Hastings Street, North Burnaby, BC
poshpantry.ca
Suitable for kids 4+

 

Sprouting Chefs

Vancouver/Vancouver’s North Shore

Sprouting Chefs cooking classes
Image courtesy of Sprouting Chefs

This non-profit organization is dedicated to the development and cultivation of school garden programs. Founder Barb Koyanagi McMahon teaches not only about kitchen safety, cooking techniques and food preparation, but also about the environmental impacts of choosing local, seasonal ingredients, how healthy food promotes health and wellness, and how to start your own garden. At her five-day summer camps, McMahon incorporates all this and more—like physical activity through foraging, arts and crafts, and team building. All of the recipes are centered on what kids can do at home, with and for their families. Your kid will be doing meal prep in no time!

Sprouting Chefs
Vancouver camp: True Nosh Studios, 2200 Ontario St., Vancouver
North Vancouver camp: Camp Capilano with Fireside Adventures, Capilano Park Rd., North Vancouver
sproutingchefs.com
Suitable for kids 7+

 

Well Fed

Vancouver’s North Shore

Well Fed kids cooking class
Image Courtesy of Well Fed

Being able to cook a delicious meal from scratch is an essential life skill according to Well Fed (they’re right!) and they teach kids the hands-on technical skills they’ll need to succeed in the kitchen. But perhaps more important is that they teach kids how to experiment with food to foster a life-long love of cooking. Recipes used in their five-day cooking camps are well-balanced and use whole foods. Well Fed follows what they like to call the lifestyle eating or 80/20 rule: 80 percent of their meals focus on health, using lean proteins and nutrient-rich vegetables. But that other 20 percent is all about decadence. With summer camps offered most weeks in July and August, you have the flexibility to make the most of your time.

Well Fed Studio
260 1st Street East, North Vancouver, BC
wellfedstudio.com
Suitable for kids 7-17

 

Well Seasoned

Langley

Looking for a short foodie workshop or camp? Well Seasoned offers a variety of one- to three-day camps where kids and teens get hands-on with their cooking. From breakfast and breads, to Japanese, Greek and Thai, to Western-style Sunday dinners and vegetarian feasts, there’s something for everyone. Working with Chef Helena, participants will leave these two-and-a-half hour sessions with plenty of new recipes under their belts. And bonus, the Well Seasoned store carries plenty of gourmet condiments, sauces and snacks, so if you want to bring home flavours from a class, you’re in the right place.

Well Seasoned
117—20353 64 Ave., Langley
wellseasoned.ca
Suitable for kids 7-16

 

By Wildebeest Vancouver

A unique twist on the classic Negroni cocktail, Wildebeest’s “Basilisk Negroni” delivers a smoky bite thanks to its blend of Mezcal, Cocchi Americano and Amaro Nonino. The limited-edition cocktail will be on offer during Negroni Week until June 10 – after that you can make it on your own.

 

INGREDIENTS

Mezcal (30ml)
Cocchi Americano (20ml)
Amaro Nonino (10ml)
Grapefruit twist

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin.
  2. Add ice and stir.
  3. Serve in a rocks glass over ice with a grapefruit twist.

By Brittany Tiplady

In search of the perfect cuppa, coffee connoisseurs generally flock to the many Vancouver cafes pouring quality espresso. Outside the city though, you can find some hidden gems. Black Tiger Coffee Co. a new Cloverdale haunt, is offering the city cafe vibe in Surrey’s burgeoning subdivision. You may have heard of the place: Black Tiger has garnered some significant attention on Instagram, posting frequent photos of their mouth-watering-Voodoo-like donuts, frothy lattes, and decadent sandwiches.

Image courtesy of Black Tiger Coffee

“Black Tiger is a fun, relaxing, open atmosphere. This is a place for friends and young families in the neighbourhood to come, chat, and catch up,” says Black Tiger owner and operator Natasha Multani. “We have a lot of regulars coming in. We’ve been open only eight months and we’ve grown quite a bit since we [opened our doors] and I think we can still grow even more.”

Multani, a chiropractor by trade, fell in love with Vancouver’s prominent coffee and cafe scene after years of working in the city. “When I stopped working Vancouver, every time I would get together with friends or make plans with friends I would want to meet up at a coffee shop in Vancouver. Some of my favourites in the city are 49th Parallel, Revolver, Timbertrain, and Elysian, but I really felt like there was a void here.”

Black Tiger was one of the first businesses to open in the new and expanding Focal Point Complex located at 64th Ave and Fraser Highway. The space is bright, airy, and open; boasting high ceilings with wood harvest tables, a statement (faux) live wall, a comfortable lounge area, and bonus, a stunning view of Mount Baker. It’s the ideal spot for a studying student, a working professional, or a coffee date with friends.

“We pour 49th Parallel coffee because they’re local—they roast in Burnaby—and it’s fresh. If you order an espresso today, the latest that coffee was roasted would be last week,” says Multani. “We worked together with 49th and their coffee educators to show us how to get the perfect espresso shot.”

One of the avocado toast options | Image courtesy of Black Tiger Coffee

On the menu there’s truly something for everyone. Black Tiger’s signature donuts are baked fresh daily—the big mini donut is my personal favourite, but for the more adventurous Black Tiger’s fruit loop, cookie crumble peanut butter drizzle, and Smarties* crunch donuts could satisfy any sweet tooth. As for the savoury selection, Black Tiger offers an assortment of sandwiches (vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available!), and avocado toasts (of course), all served on the A Bread Affair’s scrumptious bread. Patrons can take advantage of Black Tiger’s five-dollar donut and Americano special, seasonal donut releases, house-made iced teas, and, of course, coffee in all its forms.

*Editor’s note to non-Canadians: In Canada, Smarties are a candy-coated chocolate candy. Those things our friends from the USA call “smarties” – we call them “Rockets.” Yes, really.

Black Tiger Coffee Co.
110-19255 Fraser Highway, Surrey
blacktigercoffee.com
Open Monday-Saturday 8am- 6pm, Sundays 9am – 5pm

By Mary Ann Bell

As with all classic cocktails, there is a tried and true method to creating the perfect sip, and there will always be those people who say that you shouldn’t mess with perfection. Well, we think that there’s always room for a little creativity, and when it comes to a Negroni, it’s just waiting for a talented bartender to make their mark.  June 4-10, 2018 is Negroni Week, and bartenders across Metro Vancouver have thrown their shakers into the ring to showcase their interpretation of this classic Italian cocktail.

Traditionally mixed with equal parts gin, vermouth rosso (red, semi-sweet), and Campari, a classic Negroni is always garnished with an orange peel and is best enjoyed on a sunny patio, while dreaming about Italian vacations.

Negroni week was started in 2013 by Campari and Imbibe Magazine with 120 venues participating and has since grown to include over 7,700 venues from around the world. During Negroni Week, bars and restaurants mix classic Negronis and their own innovative Negroni creations with the ultimate goal of raising funds for the official charity of their choice.

Here are 7 Vancouver venues taking part:

Homer Street Café

Created by Beverage Director JS Dupuis, “The Duchess and The Queen” is a cheeky reference to the recent Royal wedding and is inspired by the classic Americano cocktail. Offered for $10 ($8 at Happy Hour), the limited-edition drink will benefit Slow Food International.

Juke Fried Chicken & Ribs

Bar Manager Cass Darmanovic has created four signature Negroni drinks plus a classic for this year’s event. Juke has selected Surfrider Foundation as its charity of choice. The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots non-profit environmental organization that works to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

Classic: Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth
Sunset Blvd: Bourbon, Campari, Punt e Mes, Maraschino, Cinnamon
Sunday Morning: Campari, Lillet Blanc, Fresh Watermelon, Lemon, Soda
Slow Jams: Gin, Campari, Pimms, House Strawberry Preserves, Lemon, Egg White
Fast Lane: Fig Infused Rum, Campari, Yellow Chartreuse, Vanilla, Lemon, Bitters

Sunday Morning Negroni by Juke Fried Chicken
Sunday Morning Negroni | Image courtesy of Juke Fried Chicken

Tableau Bar Bistro

Beverage Director JS Dupuis’ “Le Trompeur” cocktail is a twist on the Sbagliato and features Citadelle Gin, Campari, Dolin Blanc, Cuvée and a grapefruit twist. Offered for $12 ($10 at Happy Hour), the limited-edition drink will benefit Slow Food International.

Tuc Craft Kitchen

During Negroni Week, Tuc Craft Kitchen is serving three internationally inspired renditions of a classic Negroni, with a portion of the proceeds donated to WE Charity.

Paris Block: Campari, Sherringham Seaside Gin, Punt E Mes, Aperol, Fernet , Bittermans Hopped Grapefruit Bitters garnished with a grapefruit twist
Oaxaca: Campari, Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej Mezcal. Ancho Reyes Chile Liquer, Bittermans Xocolatl Mole Bitters garnished with a lemon twist
Philly: Campari, Rittenhouse Rye, Amaro Montenegro, Nocino, Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters, Orange twist

Paris Block Negroni by TUC, Vancouver
Paris Block Negroni | Image courtesy of Tuc Craft Kitchen

UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar bartender Lily Duong has created a limited edition “Ahoy Hoy” cocktail.  Served with fresh fruit in a wine glass, the summertime sipper features Beefeater Gin, Campari, Noilly Amber and Lambrusco. $2 from each drink ordered will be donated to the BC Hospitality Foundation.

Wildebeest

A unique twist on the classic Negroni cocktail, the “Basilisk Negroni”, created by Wildebeest bartender Drew McGuire, delivers a smoky bite thanks to its blend of Mezcal, Cocchi Americano and Amaro Nonino. The limited-edition cocktail is only on offer during Negroni Week and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to WE Charity.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar is featuring two interpretations of the Negroni – the classic and “The Dahlia” (siete misterios mezcal, lillet blanc, aperol). $2 from each Negroni cocktail sold will be donated to CORE, a non-profit that provides support to children of food and beverage services employees navigating life-altering circumstances.

By Anna Black

The BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival is bringing a little bit of Scotland right to the heart of Coquitlam with a day full of food and festivities (including a whisky school!) planned at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, BC on Saturday, June 16th, 2018.

The Games continue a tradition started in the Scottish “old country” that was a customary part of life in the highlands. Historically, the core of the games included tossing the caber, putting the stone, throwing the hammer, bagpipe competitions, and Highland dancing. Competitions were held to determine who could best represent various Scottish clans or work for the chief or chieftain. As the economy changed in Scotland, the tradition was brought by Scottish settlers to the Vancouver area where it has continued for over one hundred and fifty years.

Although the competitive nature of the games still very much has a presence, there are also a host of other activities to enjoy at the festival, and lots to eat and drink.

You’ve seen the words “malt” and “blend” on the bottles, and perhaps you have pondered over whether to buy a whisky aged 12 years, or one aged over 40. And what is the difference between a Scottish whisky and an Irish whiskey anyways? Enroll in a class at the Highland Games whisky school to taste your way to whisky expertise.

Phat Dawgs hot dogs | Photo courtesy of Tin Lizzy Concessions

Of course will be no shortage of amazing food to sample during the festival – hearty food fit for those who are tossing cabers, hurling stones, and even for kids on the hunt for haggis . Food trucks serving up a buffet of cuisines will be on site offering everything from gourmet mac n’ cheese and tube steaks to mouthwatering bacon sandwiches, square sausages, traditional fish and chips (and poutine!) and be sure to try a piece (or 3) of traditional melt-in-your-mouth Scottish shortbread. There will also be British delicacies a plenty, with the British Store offering up a bevy of traditional offerings from lemon jelly and Devon custard to porridge oats, Turkish Delights, and more.

When you need to escape the action, and give your stomach a chance to digest, there are a variety of tents dedicated to the cultural aspects of Scotland and the Scots in BC. There are also demonstration tents where you can explore Robert Burns, kilt making, cultural fusion in the Pacific Northwest or the Gaelic language and song.

The Games opens on Friday, June 15th with an Open Piobaireachd (piping competition) at 5 PM in the TD Community Plaza at Lafarge Lake Park.  Join the pipers afterwards at the Kick Off Ceilidh Beer Garden at Percy Perry Stadium until 9:30pm.

For a complete schedule of events on Games Day (June 16th), please click here.

Getting There

Getting to the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival in Coquitlam has never been easier. Perry Percy Stadium is located just steps away from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station on the new Translink Evergreen Line, making taking transit to and from the festival a breeze. There will also be ample parking with parking available both on-site at Town Centre Park as well as at nearby Douglas College with free shuttle transportation to the festival gate between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm on June 16th. Please note the shuttle is not suitable for children under 5.

Ticket Information

Tickets will be available on-site during the festival, payable by cash or credit card only. Please click here event day pricing. Children under six are free.

On Saturday, June 16th, come experience a little taste of Scottish history for yourself, complete with the traditions and competitive spirit that have made the games popular for hundreds of years (and counting!), not to mention plenty of yummy multi-cultural cuisine.

BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Percy Perry Stadium
Town Centre Park
1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC

Win a trip for two to Vancouver, Canada, complete with transportation, accommodation, a guided food tour, dinner and a basket of local culinary delights.

Bring a friend for a foodie experience that represents a taste of what lies beyond Vancouver’s cityscape.

You’ll make the Westin Bayshore your urban oasis for two nights with views of the mountains, the coastline, and scenic Stanley Park. Relax in your beautifully designed guest room or energize at the fitness studio or a yoga class to prepare for your foodie adventures.

Vancouver Foodie Tours

During your visit you’ll enjoy Vancouver Foodie Tours’ Gastronomic Gastown Tour. From savoury to sweet, this is an all-inclusive ticket for a full, progressive meal complete with Vancouver craft beer, award-winning wine, cocktails, and immaculate desserts.

Atlas Steak + Fish

Settle in for dinner at Burnaby’s newest high-end dining experience; Atlas Steak + Fish is a modern twist on the iconic North American steakhouse. Selecting the finest ingredients, exploring global flavours, showcasing unique cooking techniques, and engaging table-side service are all elements that combine to create a distinctive dining encounter.Lobster Burger

(photo credit: Food Burnaby)

Indulge in a chef-inspired meal at the idyllic Burnaby Mountain Restaurant.  Situated on a verdant and forested golf course, this charming venue presents an almost magical setting along with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients at every opportunity.  Burnaby Mountain’s award-winning Executive Chef Jason Mok has created a world of culinary offerings inspired by the West Coast.

Head home with your belly full and a basket full of gastronomic goodness from communities across Metro Vancouver. Enjoy wine from the finest wineries, chocolates from the top local chocolatiers, spirits from a small-batch distillery and more take-home treats.

Fields marked with an * are required

*Itineraries are all subject to seasonal changes, availability, open dates, and other limitations. Substitutions may apply.

  • Prize is valid from January 15, 2019 – May 15, 2019 (subject to availability and blackout dates)
  • Contest closes at 11:59:59 PM PT on November 30, 2018
  • The winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entrants and will be notified by email within 10 business days of the contest close date.
  • The contest is open to all legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of 19 years, and is open to all legal residents of the United States (excluding Florida), 21 years of age or older at the contest start date.
  • Non-alcoholic itineraries can be substituted, and will be accommodated.
  • Note: Only one entry per person allowed. Multiple entries will result in disqualification.
  • A Taste of the West Coast – Rules & Regulations

By Brittany Tiplady

Although it’s available year-round, spring and summer just feels like the right time to enjoy all of the fresh seafood that BC has to offer. Sure, you can grab a bowl of mussels or a platter of oysters just about anywhere, but where in Metro Vancouver can one go to try BC seafood prepared and served with innovation and uniqueness in mind? We sat down with Jenice Yu, proprietor of Fresh Ideas Start Here, seafood expert, foodie and fish purveyor to get the inside scoop. Let’s eat!

Coquille

181 Carrall Street, Vancouver

Coquille is the brand-new kid on the block, that’s already making quite the impression. When ordering, check out the spaghetti with clams, basil and uni butter, and the roasted lingcod or the extravagant seafood platter.

“Coquille has a different approach to West Coast seafood. They are very innovative; Coquille uses a lingcod collar, which actually has a lot of meat and flavour, but not something you can easily grab from any market,” says Yu.

Seafood platter | Image by Coquille
Seafood platter | Image by Coquille

 

Maenam

1938 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

This beloved Kitsilano staple serves authentic Thai cuisine with an inventive twist.

“Maenam does their own shrimp chips, which are amazing. You can buy shrimp chips in a store and they are already good, but imagine how good these are made in-house. They use spot prawn heads, grinded down and cooked in rice, and then fried to make spot prawn crackers. They are incredible,” says Yu.

Burdock&Co

2702 Main Street, Vancouver

Come for the natural wines, stay for the exquisite food. It’s highly encouraged that you try the gold beet and herring salad: lovely marriage of between the fresh herring and earthy root veg.

 

Heritage Asian Eatery

1108 West Pender, Vancouver

Tucked away in Vancouver’s financial district, Heritage Asian Eatery, now an Ocean Wise member, is a casual-counter service restaurant that serves beautiful Asian-inspired dishes with locally sourced ingredients.

Recently, Heritage Asian Eatery has been serving smoked uni charcoal ramen, an Ocean Wise life feature that is making mouths water all over the city. Take a lunchtime visit to see what they’ve got on now.

Uni Bowls | Image by Heritage Asian Eatery

 

Masayoshi

4376 Fraser Street, Vancouver

“Chef Masayoshi sees himself as a performer showcasing the best he can offer in front of a live audience, from beginning until the end,” says Yu. This Fraserhood spot is one to be checked off your culinary bucket list. Dining at Masayoshi requires a reservation so be sure to plan your evening well in advance.

During uni season, Masayoshi serves uni sashimi with fresh wasabi–a decadent and inventive treat like none other.

Stem Japanese Eatery

5205 Rumble Street, Burnaby

Stem, an izakaya-style Japanese eatery opened earlier this year, and has been wowing customers with their stunning menu and BC wine selection.

“Stem is but very innovative when it comes to the flavours and using certain parts of the fish as well, especially during Herring season” says Yu.

 

Royal Dinette

905 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver

When at Royal Dinette, you must check out Eva Chin’s spectacular dish: featuring Fresh Ideas Start Here BC ling cod and ikura with clams, Ailsa Craig sweet onion and daikon chowder, and OLD BAY® seasoning butter.

Image by Royal Dinette

Farmer’s Apprentice

1535 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver

Chef owner of Farmer’s Apprentice (also Grapes and Soda and Royal Dinette), David Gunawan, is one of Vancouver’s most celebrated chefs and a true pioneer in the industry.

The Farmer’s menu is always evolving, but watch out for Gunawan’s innovative uses of salmon, crab, tuna, and more when in season.

 

By Catherine Dunwoody

Vancouver Craft Beer Week is the annual summer beer festival. Now in its 9th year, (VCBW) Festival returns to the PNE Fairgrounds on June 2 and 3. Not a beer lover? Gotta drink gluten-free? Keep reading. The BC Farm Crafted Cider Association has created a brand new “cider row”, and you don’t want to miss out.

Some to check out:

 

Merridale Cidery & Distillery from Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island is pouring house craft cider, their Mexican-inspired Jalisco, Lime, Merri Berri and a juicy Mo’ Moro Dry Hopped Blood Orange.

Vancouver’s own 33 Acres Brewery is proud to pour their 33 Acres Of Cid3r house cider, which is their interpretation of an old English scrumpy.

Howling Moon Craft Cider is serving up their refreshing Cucumber Mint Maker’s Series, made with cucumber and lime, and both their semi-dry and dry craft ciders from the Okanagan Valley.

Also from the Okanagan Valley, Summerland Heritage Cider Company offers a Gose Style Cider made with coriander and orange zest.

Scenic Road Cider Co. is pouring Nearly Dry and Razz raspberry cider from their cidery in Kelowna.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a sampling to whet your whistle. A more complete listing is available on www.vancouvercraftbeerweek.com

By Jack Chen, Chef and Co-Owner, Coquille Fine Seafood

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 filet of Halibut (approximately 1 lb.)

Curing Salt
Coarse sea salt (1 cup)
Granulated sugar (1 cup)
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 orange
Combine all ingredients and let it sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours.

Poaching liquid
Fish stock (any flavoured stock will work) (2 L)
Butter (1 cup)
1 sprig tarragon
3 bay leaves
1 lemon peel
Pinch salt
Combine and set aside for later use.

Oyster Beurre Blanc
Butter, diced into 1 cm cubes (1 lb)
White wine (1 cup)
Heavy cream (2 cups)
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
Lemon juice (1/4 cup)
Oysters, chopped (1 cup)
Pinch salt
Parsley
Chives
Chervil
Tarragon

DIRECTIONS

Beurre Blanc

  1. Reduce white wine with shallots and bay leaf until you have a syrup-like liquid.
  2. Add cream and reduce down to about 1/2 cup.
  3. Slowly add cubes of butter into cream mixture on very low heat. Whisk until emulsified.
  4. Continue whisking while adding a few cubes of butter at a time.
  5. Once butter is fully emulsified, season with salt, lemon juice and chopped oysters.
  6. Finish sauce with a mixture of finely chopped parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon.

Escarole

  • Wash escarole thoroughly and grill on barbecue until wilted and slightly charred.
  • Dress with lemon vinaigrette (1 cup extra virgin olive oil,1/3 cup lemon juice) and Maldon salt.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Lightly cure halibut with curing salt for about 30 minutes. Wash thoroughly and dry.
  2. Add poaching liquid with aromatics to a pan and bring to about 55 °C to 60 °C and hold at this temp
  3. Add halibut to poaching liquid and poach for approximately 7 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of fish.
  4. Once fish is poached, carefully remove it from the liquid.
  5. Season with Maldon salt and lemon juice.
  6. Add dressed escarole to top of halibut.
  7. Cover fish and escarole thoroughly with oyster beurre blanc sauce.

 

Born in Taiwan but raised in Vancouver, Chen graduated from Northwest Culinary Academy and went on to follow his passion as a member of back-of-house teams at local restaurants such as Bishop’s and The Pear Tree before embarking on a tour de stage with stops in London, Edinburgh and New York. He has also spent time honing his skills at acclaimed restaurants in California, Belgium and Germany.

By Kristi Alexandra
& Mary Ann Bell

With indie breweries becoming almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks’ in Vancouver, you’d have to be wearing blinders to miss a brewpub or tasting room on any given block between Boundary Road and Kits Beach. But Vancouver’s not the only city under the influence, as the craft brewing boom has reached through Burnaby to the Valley, taking root in the communities in between.

This year, brews from outlying towns are making a splash at the ninth annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week, running from May 25 to June 5.

Once again this year, it seems communities outside the big city are unofficially on show. The week-long fete’s feature collaboration beer is a shared effort between three breweries found along the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway: North Vancouver’s Beere Brewing, Backcountry Brewing in Squamish and Whistler’s Coast Mountain Brewing.

In keeping with craft beer trends, this year’s VCBW signature beer is a Double Dry Hopped Pilsner. With 7% alcohol and copious amounts of Citra, Mosaic, Vic Secret and Enigma hops this beer is clean and soft, with a “powerful melange of fruit and dankness.”

Sea to Sky Country is just one area outside Vancouver that’s flourishing in beer flow — there’s a whole bevy of brewers that’ll keep you sipping during this seven-day soiree.

Trading Post – Langley

Perhaps an allusion to Fort Langley’s historic trade hub, Trading Post Brewing is all about celebrating community. “It is over a glass of that very creation, a labour of our love, where friendships deepen, family ties strengthen and community unites,” they say.

Beers they’re hawking: Dear James S.M.A.S.H Saison – a single malt, single hop saison with notes of fruit and spice; Hoppy Birthday Bock – inspired by the first beer they ever brewed, the Hop Session Lager, they’ve upped the hops and ABV on this classic style to crate a smooth, easy-drinking Northwest Bock; Raspberry Wheat Ale – sweet, strong and juicy making it seriously crushable during the summer months.

Trading Post beer | Image by Ashley Lockyer

Steel & Oak Brewing Co. – New Westminster

Steel & Oak Brewing Co. is nestled under a passenger bridge near steel and wood train tracks, the most unassuming of places, but one aligned with their brand. “Materials of strength and durability, steel and oak; house, protect and nurture what we stand for most – exceptional tasting craft beer,” as they put it.

Beers they’re hawking: Coorinna – Tasmanian pepper berries and a collection of New Zealand hop varietals create a crisp and dry, oceanic inspired saison with a touch of spice; Simple Things  – crisp, clean, with notes of honey, graham cracker, biscuit and a refreshing and lengthy bitterness; Weekend Plans Sour – light, tart and refreshing, just like you’d want your weekend plans to be. And for 2018 they added passionfruit to one batch and peach to the other … weekend plans two ways.

Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Richmond

With a motto like “Keeping Beer Weird”, it’s no wonder that the brewers at Fuggles & Warlock like to push traditional styles of beer to the limit, but adding a West Coast flair to each batch.

Beers they’re hawking: Destiny IPA – a light, easy-going malt profile with hop aromas of mandarin oranges, grapefruit and passionfruit that launch your taste buds into the cosmos; Gin & Lime Pilsner – a crisp, refreshing pilsner brewed with fresh limes and infused with Unruly Gin from Wayward Distillation House; Kiwami Plum Sour – a delicately tart wheat kettle sour brewed with fresh plums.

Red Racer – Surrey

Central City Brewers started out with a single silo in a brewpub and they’ve now “tapped-out” beyond their craft beer limits. Known best by their signature Red Racer beers, the brand has also come to distill high-end spirits as well as break records in beer production. “We approach our spiritual side with the same care and honour as we do with our beer” — or so their mantra goes.

Beers they’re hawking: Red Racer IPA – an iintense aroma and a long lingering finish. A beer for the connoisseur, this is the brewmaster’s choice; Red Racer Pilsner – This light and golden Pilsner has a distinct hop aroma and flavour with a dry, crisp finish; Ruby Sunset Across the Nation – Created in collaboration with Fuggles & Warlock for their Across the Nation Collaboration pack, Ruby Sunset is a delicious sour ale using pomegranate juice that is reminiscent of a west-coast summer sunset.

Mariner Brewing – Coquitlam

Mariner Brewing, Coquitlam’s first craft brewery, is driven by a desire to explore territory unknown and push the boundaries of craft beer. Instead of specializing in one or two styles, they love a lot of different types and want to offer it all … done well, of course. Look for beers ranging from eclectic to classic by merging tradition and new-school style.

Beers they’re hawking: Northeast IPA – lush malt and vibrant yeast temper the intense tropical fruit flavour making for an seriously quaffable beer; Tropical Stout – brewed for summer, this tropical stout is full of rich roasted malt, toasted coconut and blonde roast espresso from Coquitlam’s Creekside Coffee; Venture Blueberry – a sour ale brewed with 1000 pounds of local blueberries, lactose and an aromatic extract of mosaic hops that’s fruity, tart and delicious.

Deep Cove Brewers – Vancouver’s North Shore

This North Vancouver based brewery places an emphasis on providing uniquely distinctive craft beer flavour profiles using only sustainable Canadian ingredients. They provide an array of unconventional pairings that yield seamless, well-balanced beers while paying homage to the creative history of the industry.

What they’re hawking: Method – a dry-hopped pale ale that is being fine-tuned through multiple batches that has a  soft and full mouth feel from a healthy dose of oats; Sentinel –an IPA that boasts big, fragrant hop character with a balancing sweetness; Watershed Witbier – pairs the refreshing flavours of a Belgian-style witbier with the lemon-mandarin profile of the Yuzu fruit.

 

 

By Brittany Tiplady

Jenice Yu is a force. You may have seen her live on a CTV or CBC segment, or maybe you’ve followed one of her delightful seasonal recipes on BC Living, MONTECRISTO Magazine, or Western Living. Or, maybe, you’ve stopped into one of her fish shops, Fresh Ideas Start Here (f.i.s.h.), for some fresh seafood and a poke bowl to-go.

Yu is a savvy business woman, an Ocean Wise advocate, seafood expert, a recipe developer and one of the most beloved entrepreneurs in Metro Vancouver. Her accolades are many. She’s been lauded as ‘Supplier of the Year’ by Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, just a few years after opening her first f.i.s.h. location, and is recognized province-wide for her knowledge and passion for sustainable seafood.

Image courtesy of CBC

At a young age, Yu and her family immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. The fish processing business became a family business, paving the career path for Yu at an early age. Before the conversation of sustainability became a part of our cultural norm, Yu was invested in local waters–going to school with lunches filled with local seafood: BC spot prawns (not Tiger prawns) local salmon, and lingcod.

Yu’s mission is to elevate and promote the abundance of healthy fish that we have in BC oceans. Her passion came to life when she opened her first f.i.s.h. store in South Burnaby on Market Crossing. She now has a second location in Kitsilano, a thriving wholesale business, and nearly every influential chef in Vancouver on speed dial: everybody wants in on Yu’s fresh, OceanWise, beautiful seafood.

From the fish bar | Image courtesy of f.i.s.h.

In 2010, Yu launched Sakura Seafood in Richmond, BC: an additional supplier business that would allow her to smoke local, sustainable seafood without additives or preservatives, generating another signature product at f.i.s.h. (called Schmoked Salmon) that has customers returning again, and again.

I sat down with Yu at her Burnaby store to chat about her businesses, sustainable seafood, her involvement with OceanWise, and balancing it all as a new mother.

Can you explain the concept of both of your stores?
Jenice Yu: We have two retail stores and also do wholesale. We sell to about 70 high-end restaurants in the city; award winning restaurants. We do healthy seafood bowls ready to go at our fish bar–the fish bar is new, we just started doing this at both stores last year.

We’re finding now that with everyone’s busy schedules, people just love to have things on-the-go. There are two types of customers that come in here: one that comes in to buy a raw piece of fish and start from scratch; the home cooks, the foodies, it’s a new kind of demographic that’s coming through really wanting to cook. These people want to make a salmon wellington on the weekend. The other type of customer we commonly get is someone who wants their products pre-marinated, or they want to grab a bowl from our fish bar that are ready to go. And we can accommodate both!

Where does your fish come from?
Yu: For the most part, all of the ingredients we have in our stores are purveyed by us, whether through the direct licenses of the boats that we use, or from fishermen that I’ve known my whole life; we know exactly how they are fishing, how the fish enter our facility and how they are prepped. Nothing is overly processed, and almost everything is done by hand. There’s a lot of care and attention put into the products that we make.

Items carried in the store are OceanWise and that means that they are sustainable, mindfully caught fish that aren’t affecting the environment.

What made you start your wholesale businesses?
Yu: When I first opened this store ten years ago, I was doing everything: I was on the floor, I was cutting all the fish, every single thing was me. The first year was really tough because we weren’t getting enough customers coming through; [Market Crossing] was not developed like it is now. I grew up in the fishing community and industry, and a lot of the fisherman I grew up knowing were coming down to the store and showering me with beautiful products and this fish had nowhere to go. I worked in restaurants for years, and began to call up the chefs I had made relationships with, and offer them this beautiful fish I had coming in.

One of my first wholesale customers was Robert Clark: the godfather of sustainable seafood. He was one of my first supporters in buying my beautiful fish and since then we actually have not cold called any customers. They are all by referral and they are all amazing top award-winning restaurants. We have a great repertoire, and it all started with the early supporters.

Image courtesy if f.i.s.h.

Can you tell us about some of the unique products on the shelves (and in the fridge) at f.i.s.h?
Yu: The smoked salmon (known at Fresh Ideas Start Here as “Shmoked Salmon”) that we have is very unique because it is both sourced and smoked by us. We source the fish directly from the boat, we season it on our own, temper it, and smoke it. The whole process is very transparent and we are quite proud of it. And of course, we carry some beautiful uni during its season.

The cakes that we have (crab, halibut, shrimp, and lingcod) are a hit; on Wednesdays we do a “cake Wednesday” special and it’s buy two get one free. It gets crazy– everything is made by hand so you can really taste the love and attention that goes behind these products.

The salmon sausages are one of our best secret sellers. We don’t advertise them too much, but they silently fly off the shelves. You can cook them like a regular sausage or put them in a hot dog bun. I like to break them open in the casing and turn it into a stir fry because then you have amazing grounded, seasoned, salmon meat. It’s also amazing on some tofu-or sprinkle it on noodles. It’s a really versatile item.

Can you tell us about your involvement with Ocean Wise?
Yu: Ocean Wise and I have the same message that we try to get out there: sustainability. Here at f.i.s.h. we focus on sustainability from a local standpoint, but we have worked very closely with Ocean Wise and we communicate a lot. When something drops off the charts, and it’s no longer Ocean Wise we are very active to make sure we get the product out of our store, or when something is announced that it is now Ocean Wise we work to try and promote that product.

What made you decide to expand with a second store in Kitsilano?
Yu: Our expansion was basically a demand from people’s request. We also have a lot of restaurant customers that are from Vancouver, so just from our existing core of clients and clientele, we knew that was our next step. And we love Kits!

Do you find yourself dining around Vancouver a lot, seeing as your product is very prominent all over the city?
Yu: I’m quite privileged to sell to a lot of great restaurants, so I get invited to try out their new menus and sometimes I am asked to contribute ideas to their new menus. You really have to build a relationship with a restaurant to know what they want. Often I’ll know what’s in season, or things like lingcod collar that aren’t so abundant or popular will come up and I can present them to a chef and a restaurant. [Chefs and the restaurants I work with] have been an integral part of my business. We work with Maenam, Burdock&Co., Farmer’s Apprentice, Ask for Luigi, Hawksworth–amazing places.

How is Fresh Ideas Start Here different from other fish stores or markets?
Yu: As a child I remember going to so many fish markets and wanting to plug my nose. That doesn’t usually happen here. Other than when we sell herring, that’s a really strong-smelling fish! I always wanted to achieve having a clean, sleek, friendly, informative store. Our customers know that what we are selling is sustainable, local, and fresh.

Anything else you want to add about your stores and your career, Jenice?
Yu: I just gave birth five months ago. My husband is in the family business as well, so that of course really helps. But people keep saying to me ‘I love that you haven’t stopped working,’ but I want to tell them ‘No! I don’t want to be working as much as I am, but when you own a business and people’s livelihoods depend on you, you got to come to work.’ If you give birth to a child, stay home! I do this because this is my business. Let’s not shame any other moms that get to stay home and rest with their baby. Although, I grew up in a fish plant, and I want my son to come with me to work and see that it’s normal to watch mom hustle. It is so nice that we get to do this all as a family, even if we are all working at the office, we’re together.

As our interview ends, Yu sends me off with a box of candied salmon and cod with various flavours to enjoy on the way home. The perfect way to end an exquisite interview? I think so.

 

Shop:

Fresh Ideas Start Here
2959 W Broadway, Vancouver
Open 7 days a week

Fresh Ideas Start Here
#180 -7515 Market Crossing, Burnaby
Open 7 days a week

Follow @freshideasstarthere on Instagram for product updates and recipes.

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours

Sweet, delicate, light and delicious, British Columbia’s spot prawns are highly coveted by chefs and foodies from around the world. In addition to their unique taste and spotted markings, fresh spot prawns, bred and harvested off the coast of British Columbia, are one of the most sustainable seafood choices on the market.

BC’s spot prawn season is a short 6-8 weeks, which kicks off with an annual Spot Prawn Festival in Vancouver. On May 12, 2018, sun poured over the docks at Fisherman’s Wharf for the 12th Annual Spot Prawn Festival, where chefs, foodies, and seafood lovers gathered together to greet the fishing boats and indulge in the season’s first harvest.

While the festival may be a one-day event, anyone is welcome to partake in the daily spot prawn spectacle at Fisherman’s Wharf. Just two minutes from Granville Island, anyone can walk down to the dock, chat with the fishermen, and buy a few pounds of live spot prawns caught just hours prior. The experience is so nonchalant, but that’s exactly the thrill. The exchange from fisherman to foodie is strikingly simple.

BC Spot Prawns at Fisherman's Wharf
Peter (right) and his catch | Image by Joyce Chua

Peter, owner of the Bay Spirit, is a friendly face to look for at the docks. Fisherman’s Wharf is where Peter grew up – his father was a fisherman and these docks are like home to him. Despite more than 30 years of experience under his belt, Peter still greets all those who arrive at the dock with a friendly conversation before sending them on their way with a scoop of fresh spot prawns.

British Columbia is known for its bounty of local ingredients, but spot prawn season is a perfect time to experience what that really means. According to Peter, “between 1 and 2 o’clock is the best time to catch a few boats pulling in.” Peter helps supply the numerous seafood shops at the Granville Island Public Market but also noted that this year, he’s seen more “everyday people” alongside chefs buying directly from the boats. Straight from the Bay Spirit, spot prawns are going for $20 per pound – a steal of a deal, as seafood aficionados can attest.

Though you may see “spotted prawns” at sky-high prices in select stores year-round, these are often farmed overseas in freshwater pools, often exposed to chemicals, and pre-frozen. During May and June, you’ll want to look for “BC Spot Prawns” on local restaurant menus, paired with the Ocean Wise certification symbol.

In Vancouver, Boulevard Restaurant, Maenam and Miku are just a handful of restaurants to feature local spot prawns on their special menus. For an evening of seafood & bubbles, grab a ticket to Edible Canada at the Market’s May 29 event.

 

 

Vancouver Foodie Tours is a locally-owned walking food tour company with a passion for Vancouver’s food scene. The Best of Downtown Tour is a must-do for seafood lovers, and includes beer, wine and cocktail pairings. This is the city’s #1 Rated Tour on TripAdvisor! Learn more about Vancouver Foodie Tours at www.foodietours.ca.

By Kristi Alexandra

Meaty, cheesy, messy, mouthwatering. Depending on who you ask, the most savoury junk food treat to come out of French Canada–maudite poutine–roughly translates to “a damn mess” or “a fine mess.” The hodge-podge of ingredients–meat, gravy and fresh cheese curds atop fries–has been around since the 50s. In its younger days, poutine’s appeal was questionable, but twists on this classic comfort dish have been picking up steam on this side of Canada of late. It’s a damn fine mess that we don’t mind translating to our tastebuds, and here’s a few places you can find it.

Big Red’s Poutine

Traveling food truck

Go meat or go home! That’s the way Big Red likes it. This roaming poutine-only food truck serves up 14 meat-based poutines, from “the original” all the way to the spring roll poutine, packed with vegetable spring rolls cut into pieces in a homemade beef gravy and real cheese curds. If you love your poutine to squeal, opt for the bacon poutine: crispy bacon and handmade beef gravy top off real cheese curds and their handmade fries. According to the mobile poutinerie’s website, summer dates and locations will be announced soon.

Big Red’s Poutine Food Truck
Image courtesy of Big Red’s Poutine

The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar

#4 20178 96th Ave, Langley, BC

If upscale comfort food is your jam, find it at Langley The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar. The duck poutine finds a cozy home among the “schnacks” at this eatery, whose menu boasts a bevy of seafood options and game meats. Try their fried with duck confit in a duck gravy, perhaps among a dozen raw oysters on the shell.

Re-Up Barbecue

810 Quayside Dr, New Westminster, BC

Find this southern-style BBQ right on the river at New Westminster’s River Market. The spot is best known for its pulled pork, BBQ ribs, cornbread and homemade sweet tea, but south and northeast meet here in Re-Up BBQ’s Poutine ($6.25). Of course, it just wouldn’t be a BBQ joint without an authentic country gravy. It’s smothered in a pork-based gravy made with cream, or keep it traditional with a beef stock and onion gravy. Dress it up with braised beef or pulled pork for an extra $3.

Re-Up Barbecue Pulled Pork Poutine

Smoke’s Poutinerie

3700 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby, BC
942 Granville Street Vancouver, BC

What would on-campus food be if not ladened with carbs? Find Smoke’s Poutinerie in the middle of BCIT, fueling exams and soaking up sauce after a campus pub night. Or, find it right in the middle of Vancouver’s bar-and-club-laden Granville street. The most fitting? The hangover poutine, topped with scrambled eggs, double-smoked bacon and a hearty Canadian helping of maple syrup. If that’s not your style, there are still 25 other flavours to burn through before semester’s end.

Spud Shack

352-800 Carnarvon St, New Westminster, BC

The Spud Shack creates all ten of their poutine dishes with meat-free gravy, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without protein. Try out the butter chicken, made with marinated chicken thighs simmered in creamy tomato sauce, alongside cucumber raita and cilantro; or stir it up with Uncle Bob, a Jamaican jerk chicken poutine with cilantro slaw and grilled pineapple salsa.

Rocko’s 24 Hour Diner

32786 Lougheed Highway, Mission, BC

Want to explore a bit further? Chow down on some gravy-smothered chips just like Archie and the gang. Rocko’s 24 Hour Diner, known better to TV lovers as the actual film location of Pop Tate’s (Riverdale, anyone?), serves up the classic poutine–home-style fries covered with melted cheddar and mozza smothered with beef gravy–for $8.99. Three more bucks will earn you one of five “premium” poutines, such as the scrambled breakfast poutine or the Montreal poutine with smoked meat, cheese, gravy, pickles and Dijon mustard. Even Papa Poutine would approve.

Image via Rocko’s 24 Hour Diner

Looking for veggie poutine? We’ve got you covered right here! >>

By Thomas Haas Patisserie – Chocolate Café

Makes about 4 six ounce glass terrines.

INGREDIENTS

Cream (1 ¾ cups)
Milk (¼ cup)
Dried lavender (1 tsp)
Egg yolks (7 yolks)
Granulated sugar (¼ cup)
Vanilla bean, split and beans scraped (½  bean)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine cream, milk, vanilla bean, dried lavender and bring to a scald. Tightly cover and steep for 30 minutes (or longer for a stronger flavor).
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.
  3. Slowly incorporate the hot milk-cream mixture into the egg yolk-sugar mixture while continuously whisking
  4. Strain the crème mixture and refrigerate overnight
  5. The next day, pre-heat oven to 210°F
  6. Arrange the vessels into a baking pan that is about 2 inches deep
  7. Pour the crème brulée mix into the dishes to almost full
  8. Pour boiling water into the baking pan allowing the pan to be filled halfway with water
  9. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour or until the center is slightly set
  10. Once cooked, allow to cool in the baking dish. Remove and refrigerate until cold (about 4 hours or overnight)
  11. Once chilled, sprinkle sugar and caramelize with a blow torch.
  12. Top with fresh berries and serve.

 

An internationally acclaimed, fourth-generation pâtissier, Thomas Haas gained experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and North America before settling in Vancouver and opening his own namesake chocolaterie, patisserie and café in 2005.

By Brittany Tiplady

Hello, spring, goodbye winter hibernation! If you’re planning your next night out with a date, a loved one, or a group of friends, consider heading to a local haunt that offers live music in-house. There’s something exciting about a meal or drinks paired with the live performance of a band; it feels somewhat nostalgic, interactive, and like a true night out on the town. Stay over in relaxed, beach-side White Rock for a late night out and then a rejuvenating morning stroll by the water.

Here are some of our suggestions in White Rock:

 

West Beach Bar & Grill
1101 Elm St. White Rock

Known as White Rock’s number one live music venue, West Beach is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Live music is scheduled five night per week, including jams on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. With everything from pub food to share to burgers, tacos, and wraps, it’s a best bet for music and munchies.

Washington Avenue Grill
15782 Marine Dr #5, White Rock

The WAG is a truly magnificent spot, serving up quality food and drinks including a selection of salads, seafood and pastas in White Rock for over 20 years. Enjoy live music at the WAG every Wednesday to Saturday! Pro-tip: you can check out the events lineup and see who’s playing online ahead of time here.

Washington Avenue Grill
Image courtesy of Washington Avenue Grill

Dew Drop Inn
15065 Marine Dr White Rock

Boogie on over to the Dew Drop Inn for a true Irish Pub atmosphere: every Thursday night Dew Drop hosts a live Celtic band! Get ready to break out your best Irish jig, it’s an evening that you won’t want to miss!

Bin 101 Wine & Tapas Bar
1436 Johnston Rd, White Rock

This elegant White Rock spot specializes in tapas, large plates and of course, good wine. Pop in for local entertainment on the Baby Grand piano on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 11pm! Open mic nights at Bin 101 are on Thursday nights from 7 to 9 pm; all singers and acoustic guitar musicians are welcome. Follow Bin 101 on Facebook to keep up with their events and updates!

 Bin 101 Wine & Tapas Bar
Image courtesy of Bin 101 Wine & Tapas Bar

Sawbuck’s Neighborhood Pub
1626 152nd Street, South Surrey

If you’re looking for a good time, Sawbuck’s is your place. Lauded as the friendliest place in White Rock, Sawbuck’s is also a rip roaring neighborhood haunt, offering a karaoke dance party every Friday, Top 40 Dance music From a live DJ, and live bands every second Saturday. Follow Sawbuck’s on Facebook to keep up with their live events here.

Oceanside Yacht Club & Public House
14995 Marine Dr, White Rock 

Right by the pier, start your weekend at the Oceanside Yacht Club for Live Acoustic Fridays hosted every week from 6:30 to 9 pm. There’s a large balcony for warmer nights, and karaoke on Mondays. This spot also has a dedicated menus for those who are gluten-free or vegetarian.

Blue Frog Studios
1328 Johnston Rd, White Rock

If you’d rather have dinner and then a show after, this is the place to go; the quaint community of White Rock, BC is home to the internationally known, multi-media recording studio, event venue, and video production house, Blue Frog Studios. This 4800 sq. foot facility can seat up to 100 audience members for “unique, up close and personal concerts with some of the world’s most talented entertainers.” Shows at the Blue Frog sell out fast, so follow them on Facebook or sign up for the Blue Frog newsletter for frequent updates and ticket information.

 

By Sheliza Mitha

If you believe that it takes a passport and a trip to the other side of the world to get yourself an authentic chicken shawarma or any handful of Lebanese mezze (starters), you’d be happily wrong. A little bit of Lebanon can be easily found at the Golden Pita, a quick SkyTrain ride away from Vancouver in the Lougheed Mall neighbourhood.

With a menu that overflows with authentic Lebanese fare, you won’t know where to start or where to stop.  In full disclosure, I am what you would call kind of a regular here. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think about my next Golden Pita meal almost as soon as I’ve finished my last bite.  Then I diligently pour over my calendar, questioning when I can get my next fix.  An addiction?  Kind of.

Golden Pita
Image courtesy of Golden Pita

Originally opened in 1996, this 22-seat eatery celebrates 22 years this July – and without any signs of slowing.  The owners – Imran and Jad – are two cousins from Lebanon who manage every aspect of this ambitious operation.

When they took over the business four years ago from another Lebanese family, it was a turnkey operation with a loyal client base. That base has since grown due to the cousins’ own flair for serving up traditional Lebanese cuisine.  Case in point is their revamped chicken shawarma. Served with garlic paste, pickled turnips and tahini, this is likely their most popular menu item – and the kind of authentic you would find at any Lebanese eatery.

The mezzes are all equally traditional and tempting, making you question whether you’ve actually traversed the globe to find yourself in the heart of Lebanon. Such is the feeling when sampling their handmade, homemade savoury meat pastries – which are what you would find at their local bakeries, as ubiquitous in Lebanon as cafés in Metro Vancouver.

While here, sample the falafel, fatayer (Lebanese mini spinach pies) or the sambousek – an untraditional meat pie flavoured with a special seven-spice blend common to Lebanese and Arab cuisine.  The kebbeh is another must-try: filled with ground beef and surrounded by a shell of bulgur wheat and more ground beef.

And for nearly every meat mezze, there seems to be appetizing and delicious vegetarian versions.  My favourite? The baba ghannouj. Impossibly smooth and smoky, yet with a surprising hint of tang that inevitably forces me to order another to take away with me.

Image courtesy of Golden Pita

With Imran’s marketing background and Jad being a former accountant, I asked these cousins what inspired them to become chefs, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs. Their answers were simple and soulful.

“We wanted to do something creative, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity,” Imran explains, “there’s really no where else in Vancouver that has real Lebanese food, the kind you find in bakeries or homes in Lebanon. That’s what makes the Golden Pita so unique.”

As for Jad, he adds that “it was important for us to bring something from home here – the flavours and spices, but also the feel of Lebanon. This is food that’s meant for sharing, family style. This is what I urge people… please share the food. You don’t have to share the bill, but do try different things and share the food.”

 

Golden Pita
9630 Cameron St.
Burnaby, BC
goldenpita.ca

By Chef Daryle Nagata, Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant

Richmond’s own Chopped Canada champion, Chef Daryle Nagata is of Japanese and Scottish heritage, and developed his skills in some of the finest hotels in the world. He is a strong proponent of fresh and local and was a grass roots trailblazer in sourcing his ingredients from local farmers, markets, foragers and fishermen.

Makes 8 portions.

 INGREDIENTS

Diced Ahi Tuna (16 oz)
Sake (3 oz)
Light miso paste (2 oz)
Sesame oil (1 oz)
Rice wine vinegar (1 oz)
Ponzu soya sauce – Japanese (1 oz)
Water (1 oz)
Chopped pickled ginger (1 oz)
Togarashi spice (1 tsp)
Chopped chives (1 tbsp)
Chopped kaiware (daikon radish sprouts) (20 pcs)
Bonito flakes (1 oz)
Flying fish roe (tobiko) (1 oz)
Shrimp crackers (8 pcs)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dice Salmon in ½ inch cubes.
  2. Toss diced salmon in 3 oz of sake. Reserve covered & refrigerated on ice.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together miso paste, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soya sauce, water, pickled ginger and togarashi. Reserve in a cover contained in fridge until further use.
  4. Deep fry shrimp cracker at 370 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 seconds until puffed up and fully crisp. Drain on paper towel and reserve covered until further use.
  5. When ready to serve, toss the ice chilled tuna with 10 tbsp of the miso marinade from step 3.
  6. Fold in half of the chopped kaiware sprouts and all of the chopped chives.
  7. Place tuna mixture onto each of the shrimp crackers Daikon Sprouts and any other garnishes you like.
  8. Serve immediately.

Blue Canoe is an upscale-casual dining experience that blends simplicity with the freshest local ingredients available. Relaxed and casual, unpretentious and fun, it is located on the Bayview Pier in historic Steveston Village.

By Catherine Dunwoody

If you have ever spent time in BC’s charming Fort Langley then you know that hosting an annual food and beer festival just seems like a natural fit. Be sure and mark your calendars for for May 19th, 2018!

Fort Langley’s old-timey streets are a mix of pleasant restaurants, quaint shops and there is a cozy neighbourhood feel that’s hard to capture unless it just comes about organically.

The Fort Langley Beer & Food Festival returns for it’s second year for a celebration of craft beer, local food and old-fashioned fun. The festival is the dreamchild of Fort Langley’s own Trading Post Brewing Company and local is the name of the game. So local in fact, that of the 24 breweries participating, the farthest is Mission’s Mission Springs Brewery at 34 km (21 m) and the food is grown and produced in the Fraser Valley.

Image courtesy of Fort Langley Beer & Food Festival

Proceeds will, once again, benefit the Brewing Lab scholarship at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The scholarship was created by Trading Post and named after John Mitchell, who is considered the grandfather of craft beer in Canada.

Admission to the Fort Langley National Historic Site is included in the ticket price and fest-goers will have an opportunity to learn about the lives of the First Nations communities, international fur traders, gold miners, and even Hawaiians who converged on this spot 190 years ago, and where British Columbia was established in 1858.

For more information visit www.fortlangley.beer

Langley National Historic Site
23433 Mavis Ave.
Langley, BC

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours

Sticky, sweet, and delicious, British Columbia’s honey is an indulgence for food lovers. Each of the over 300 varieties of honey in North America can be a chef’s best weapon, a barista’s secret touch, and home cook’s finest ingredient.

Here are three delicious ways you can try local honey in Vancouver:

1. Rain or Shine Ice Cream

1926 W 4th Ave, Vancouver BC

The organic floral alfalfa honey from Aldergrove Farm, about 60km east of Vancouver, sweetens the honey lavender ice cream at Rain or Shine Ice Cream. Every scoop also features lavender is sourced from Tuscan Farms in Maple Ridge, BC. Refined and refreshing, the locally grown flavours work perfectly in tandem.

2. Tuc Craft Kitchen

60 W Cordova St, Vancouver BC

At Tuc Craft Kitchen in Gastown, their supply of local honey is specially reserved for the cocktail bar. James, an owner of Tuc, receives honey from his father’s farm in Langley, just an hour’s drive from his restaurant.

Tuc’s Puebla Margarita wouldn’t be the same without a touch of honey to balance out the punch of Hornidos Resposados Tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde liqueur, lime, and piri piri bitters. This, with a side of crispy parsnip fries and Tuc’s famous pork belly crackling makes for a marvelous afternoon.

3. Wildebeest

120 W Hastings St, Vancouver BC

Meanwhile at Wildebeest, a Vancouver restaurant known for a meat-centric menu, Hives for Humanity honey bookends their menu. Hives for Humanity is a local non-profit with bee hives at an urban farm located a few blocks away from Wildebeest.

Honey is paired with their house made charcuterie; the sticky and sweet honey contrasts the cured and salty meats. To finish, make it an all sweet finale with an immaculate honey tart, milk ice cream, and fresh honeycomb.

Vancouver Foodie Tours runs food tasting and cultural walking tours to explore to one-of-a-kind dishes that define Vancouver’s culinary scene. Find out more at foodietours.ca.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Locally born and raised, Chef Alistair Veen worked his way up from dishwasher to Red Seal chef. To get to where he is now at Tap Restaurant in Surrey, BC, his message is simple and humble: It’s about hard work.

Where were you born?
Alistair Veen: I was born in Langley, BC, many, many moons ago. The rest of my family still lives there.

What was food like in your growing up household?
Veen: Both my parents worked, so dinner was a lot more function than form. They shared cooking responsibilities, which was pretty unique among my friends. My dad was a make-up-your-own-pasta kind of chef where my mum was more of a cookbook test kitchen. She had recipe cards that were tried tested and true, and she never deviated from them. Once she found a recipe she liked, she stuck with it, and there’s something to be said for consistency! Even now if I go to their place for dinner and I have a chicken cacciatore, I know that it will be the same one I had as a teenager.

Where did you study culinary and when?
Veen: I started washing dishes at the local pub when I was 15. I liked that they served me a beer after my shift despite my age. There was a real sense of teamwork and you saw the big picture for how a brigade works. I started cooking full time in 2000 after a failed stint at UBC and finished my culinary Red Seal seven years later. My formal training was through the apprenticeship program at VCC [Vancouver Community College] but the real training came in the trenches of a half dozen restaurants throughout Vancouver.

Most rewarding experience in your earlier days? Any mentors?
Veen: The most important figure in my culinary life is Thomas Keller. I used to sleep with a copy of the French Laundry Cookbook under my pillow. Although lots of chefs have contributed to where I am now, he is undoubtedly the most important. I have eaten at his restaurants before but never met the man. It is only a matter of time.

Image courtesy of Tap Restaurant

Are you involved with any new projects or collaborations at the restaurant or elsewhere?  
Veen: I don’t have any new projects currently, but I am open to something where there is a strong partnership. I don’t think I would ever go it alone on a restaurant, and it seems unbelievable to me that my current partner and I have made it as far as we have. Most of the classes I teach, believe it or not, have to do with wine more than food. I am an advanced sommelier with the court of masters, and I am eligible to write the Master Somm Diploma next July. That exam looms heavily over everything I do right now and I don’t think it leaves much time for anything besides family, work and study. There’s no way I could possibly start a new project until that’s finished.

Tell me about your favourite dishes at Tap?
Veen: We have a signature style that focuses on skill and simplicity and it is on display with every part of our cuisine. We have some consistent preparations; for instance, we will always serve a roasted rack of lamb, we will always confit a duck leg and there will always be a butter poached lobster. The accompaniments or flavour profiles will change frequently, but the core techniques stay the same. I would confidently put our confit duck leg against the best in the world.

Image courtesy of Tap Restaurant

What style of cuisine do you serve at the restaurant?
Veen: Contemporary. French fundamentals. And then who knows what we call it from there. Pacific North West? I try not to describe it as anything other than contemporary since once you say something, people often have different expectations. One thing I can tell you we are not is fine dining. I hate it when people say we are a fine dining restaurant. I want to be able to execute at a fine dining level of detail for sure, but there are a lot of unnecessary expectations out there once you label yourself as fine dining. We want to put our efforts into our brand of hospitality, not into ironing tablecloths every day and passing around silver trays with silver gravy boats.

What were your biggest challenges as a chef?
Veen: Any chef struggles with their identity. Once you find your style, you are able to decide what interests you and what you can ignore. I know that I continue to learn and that is important to me, but there are a lot of cuisines out there that I am simply not interested in pursuing. I just want to make really great food that may surprise you, but won’t leave anything to the imagination. My current struggle is always hiring. It is difficult to hire people from other restaurants, but that is where the best people already are. We hire out of culinary schools and by word of mouth. Our staff have always been trained at a super-high level of expectations so they are very difficult to replace.

Any advice for young people who aspire to be chefs or restaurateurs?
Veen: Stop watching the Food Network and go out there and work. Then go out to great restaurants and eat the food. A lot of people fall in love with this romantic idea of being a cook and that is crazy to me. That’s like falling in love with the idea of being an elevator technician. You aren’t going to get better at something without putting in the hours and figuring out if you like it or not. So forget about getting hired as this brilliant armchair-home-cooking-celebrity-chef, It isn’t going to happen. You are going to have to wash dishes and learn fundamentals, and you are going to have to be really good at it. You can’t build a skyscraper without digging a really big hole first, so you had better be prepared to put in the time. That sounds a bit harsh but I think all the great chefs out there are nodding their heads in agreement.
Tap Restaurant
101-15350 34th Avenue, Surrey BC
604.536.1954
taprestaurant.ca

By Angie Quaale, owner of Well Seasoned

“Chèvre and asparagus really should get married! They’re the perfect couple.

This recipe tastes like spring to me. The rich earthiness of the asparagus pairs so well with the slightly  acidic tang of the fresh chèvre. This is delicious served on its own as a main course or with a green salad. As a side dish, it can really class up a simple oven-roasted chicken. It’s a recipe I’ve been serving variations of for years. Once you have the technique for a great risotto you can really customize the flavors to highlight seasonal ingredients like these or local mushrooms in the fall. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this dish!”

INGREDIENTS

Asparagus, ends trimmed (1⁄2  lb)
Chicken or vegetable stock (3 cups)
Unsalted butter (4 Tbsp)
Vegetable oil (1 Tbsp)
Yellow onion, finely chopped (1⁄2  cup)
Arborio rice (1-1⁄2  cups)
Milner Valley herb chèvre (1 tub (6 oz))
Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
Italian parsley, chopped (1 Tbsp)
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare a bowl of ice water.
  2. In a sauté pan of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus until the spears are fork-tender. With a set of tongs, transfer the spears to the ice water to stop the cooking immediately. Once the asparagus has cooled, cut the tips off and reserve for later. Chop the spears into 1/4-inch pieces and reserve.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. In a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan, place 2 tbsp of the butter, the vegetable oil, and the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the rice to the saucepan. Stir to coat it well. Add a ladleful of warm stock and stir with a wooden spoon to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the liquid is evaporated, add another ladleful of stock, repeating until the grains of rice lose their chalky centers and are firm yet tender, about 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chèvre and add the asparagus stalks. When the risotto is done (it should be soft yet still slightly al dente), about another 8 minutes, turn off the heat. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then the asparagus tips, parmesan, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the risotto to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Tip: Leftover risotto makes a great breakfast! Form the cold risotto into 1-inch-thick patties. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add a bit of olive oil. Sauté the risotto cakes until golden brown and crispy. Serve them topped with an over-easy egg, a slice or two of crisp bacon, and a couple of slices of fresh tomato.

Excerpted from Eating Local in the Fraser Valley by Angie Quaale. Copyright © 2018 Angie Quaale. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

By Kristi Alexandra

Newly yoked vegetarians may have a hard time breaking their ties with Canada’s favourite comfort food, but good gravy – going meat-free is no reason to quit poutine altogether! We did the legwork to find the best vegetarian poutines beyond Vancouver so you can split a meal with your meat-eating friends, guilt-free! Bon Appetit, as the French Canadians say.

 

Spud Shack

352-800 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster

Breeze into this New Westminster’s poutinerie by way of the Skytrain for a healthy handful of meat-free options. The Spud Shack creates all ten of their poutine dishes with meat-free gravy, including “The Original.” If you’re looking for a few more twists on this classic Eastern Canadian dish, try out The Big V–loaded with vegetarian chili, sour cream, cheese, and green onions. The buffalo chicken poutine also comes with a vegetarian option, complete with Frank’s Hot Sauce, ranch, and green onions. Prices range from $5.75 to $16 – and definitely don’t miss out on Monday Madness, when poutines are half price!

Spud Shack Poutine

 

Anny’s Dairy Bar

722 6th Street, New Westminster

The Anny’s experience is as close as you’ll come to Montreal without the plane ticket. Steamies, maple cones, smoked meat sandwiches and poutine abound at this Sixth Street eatery. All of Anny’s poutines are made with authentic cheese curds and thick, hand-cut french fries. Oh, and meat-free poutine sauce. Snag a regular at $6 or a large for $8.

 

Cockney Kings Fish & Chips

6574 East Hastings Street, Burnaby

All-you-can eat fish and chips may not evoke visions of Quebec, especially at this English-style restaurant in Burnaby, but don’t think they’ve forgotten about us comfort food lovers. You can poutine your chips in your fish-and-chip meal without going back to red meat as Cockney Kings always makes their poutine with a meat-free gravy sauce. Have it on its own for $6.25, or upgrade your chips for just $2.50.

 

Chomp Vegan Eatery

7-201 Morrissey Road, Port Moody

If you’re meat-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, there’s still a way to get pleasure from poutine! Try out Port Moody’s “Fairground Poutine”, made with twice baked hand-cut potatoes topped with dairy-free cheese meatless gravy for just $9.25. Crave variety? Make it chili cheese fries for just a toonie ($2) more! Could anything sound more wholesome… and Canadian?

 

New York Fries

Various locations

Many know that poutine is definitely to be found in any SilverCity movie theatre across Metro Vancouver at a New York Fries kiosk, but few know the chain’s gravy is soy-based. Reach for that bucket of meat-free poutine rather than popcorn on your next movie outing and you won’t be disappointed! The “Veggie Works” isn’t a bad option either, complete with fresh green onions and tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese sauce. A small is $4.99 while a regular is just a loonie ($1) more!

Find New York Fries at Coquitlam Centre, Metropolis at Metrotown, Richmond Centre, Lougheed Town Centre, Tsawassen Mills, Guildford Town Centre, Pacific Centre and Oakridge Centre.

By Dan Olson, Chef/Owner, Railtown Café and Catering

A light spring dish layered with sweet pea puree, shellfish gelée, chowder garnish and potato cream, topped with caviar and a crisp rye crouton. Made with Littleneck clams, Dungeness crab, Side Stripe shrimp, Salt Spring Island mussels, and Northern Divine caviar.

Serves 8 appetizer portions

INGREDIENTS

Spring Pea Purée
Freshly-shucked English peas (2 cups)
1 spring onion (white only), julienned
1 clove garlic
1 sprig tarragon
heavy cream (1/2 cup)
butter (1 tsp)
salt and pepper
1 lemon

Shellfish Gelée
1 fresh Dungeness crab
Live littleneck clams (3oz)
Live mussels (3oz)
Side striped shrimp, peeled and cleaned (3oz)
1 shallot
Chopped garlic (2 cloves)
Parsley chiffonade
Chive tips
White wine (1/4 cup)
Butter (1 tsp)
Salt
Cracked black pepper
Carrot (1/2)
1 celery stalk
Double-shucked peas (2 tbsp)
1/4 fennel and fennel frond
2 sheets gelatin (bloomed in ice water)

Potato Vichyssoise 
1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled, diced and boiled until soft
1 spring onion julienne
Butter (1 tbsp)
Heavy cream (1/2 cup)
Whipped cream (1 tbsp)
Salt
Lemon juice to taste

Finishing
1 tin Northern Divine Caviar
Chive tips for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Spring Pea Purée

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic lightly in butter until soft.
  2. Add the peas and chopped tarragon, fill with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until peas are soft but still green.
  4. Add cream, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add lemon to taste.
  5. Using a hand-blender, mix until smooth. Divide the thick, bright green purée into 8 glass verrines (small thick-glass containers) and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Shellfish Gelée

  1. Cook the crab in simmering water for 10 minutes and ice down to chill.
  2. Poach the shrimp in court-bouillon until tender (about 90 seconds).
  3. Simmer the clams and mussels in butter, white wine, shallots and garlic until the shells open up.
  4. Chill down and reserve the cooking juices.
  5. Separate the meat from the shells.
  6. Clean the crab meat out of the shell and make a stock with the crab carcass.
  7. Strain the stock and mix with the clam and mussel broth, heat and add the bloomed gelatin sheets to 400ml of stock. Strain and chill.
  8. Brunoise the carrot, celery and fennel. Blanch in salted water till soft.
  9. Add the parsley chiffonade and chive tips, mix together with the shellfish meat, the brunoise vegetables, the double-shucked peas and the warm gelée.
  10. Divide the gelée over top of the pea purée inside your the glass verrines. Refrigerate.

Potato Vichyssoise 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat off the spring onion in butter until soft.
  2. Add cooked potato and cream, reduce by half.
  3. Purée quickly in the blender until smooth.
  4. Allow to cool and fold in 1 Tbsp whipped cream.
  5. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

TO FINISH

Take the verrines out of the fridge, top with a thin layer of the potato vichyssoise, a spoon of caviar and garnish with a chive tip. You should see 3 perfect layers of spring pea purée, shellfish gelée and potato vichyssoise.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours

Spring is a beautiful time to be in British Columbia. While the flowers start to bud, there’s nothing like getting outside in the crisp air, finding one of Vancouver’s tantalizing food trucks and warming up with a piping hot meal.

For Vancouver’s crisp spring days, these five food truck comfort foods will warm your soul:

1. Spicy Chicken Sandwich at The Frying Pan

This Spicy chicken sandwich is notorious with locals who work in downtown Vancouver. If you love spice, this hefty deep-fried chicken sandwich will bring a pink flush to your cheeks. On those cool spring days, look for cherry blossoms and spicy chicken sandwiches around Burrard SkyTrain station.

2. Roasted Tomato Soup at Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck

It’s always the ideal time of year for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck. If you’re visiting in winter or spring, there’s a good chance Mom is still serving up her cozy cups of roasted tomato soup. This classic combination is especially delicious with the scenic view from the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

3. Mushroom Poutine from Kaboom Box

The Mushroom poutine is a well-kept secret at Kaboom Box. This little red food cart is most well known for their sustainable seafood – particularly their hot smoked salmon. But on a cool Spring day, savvy foodies will add to their order a helping of crispy fries, squeaky cheese curds, vegetarian gravy, and hearty mushrooms.

Mushroom Poutine at Kaboom Box

4. Korubuta Terimayo at Japadog

When you’re walking around downtown Vancouver, you’re never far from the famous Japanese hot dog stand – Japadog! The decadent smell wafting from the carts comes from their juicy Korubuta pork sausages, which are cooked to perfection before your eyes. The classic Korubuta Terimayo – complete with dried seaweed, Japanese mayonnaise, bonito flakes and teriyaki sauce –  has become a comfort food staple for locals.

5. Pulled Pork Seoul Fries from Disco Cheetah

Pulled pork, French fries, and Korean kimchi; three soul foods have found a place together in one steamy, dreamy dish: Seoul fries. Disco Cheetah’s bright yellow food truck serves up deliciousness in and Vancouver – downtown, farmers markets and beyond.

Vancouver Foodie Tours runs food tasting and cultural walking tours to explore to one-of-a-kind dishes that define Vancouver’s culinary scene. Find out more at foodietours.ca.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Anyone familiar with Vancouver’s Main Street eatery Burdock & Co knows Chef Andrea Carlson has a vision. And one that you can taste in every delicious bite. She sat down to share her story.

What was food like in your growing up household?
Andrea Carlson: Low key – we ate out a lot and I fended for myself often with frozen dinners.

Did you cook at home during your childhood?
Carlson: When I was 13, I picked up a copy of Craig Clairbourne’s New York Times Cookbook at the book store on a whim and started cooking Julia Child’s chocolate mousse recipe and others when we would have company over.

Where did you study culinary and when?
Carlson: I studied in Vancouver way back in the day at The Dubrulle Culinary School. It was the place to go for a less trade school approach.

Was Sooke Harbour House your first job?
Carlson: It was not my first job. I already had Star Anise under Adam Busby and C Restaurant under Rob Clark, which were the top-rated French and seafood restaurants in Vancouver at the time.
My partner Kevin and I had also created the Sunflour Bakery on Savary Island for a season before he started architecture school. I worked at Sooke Harbour House with for nearly a year with some greats like Edward Tuscon, Rhonda Viani, and Marc Andre Chocette. We created new menus everyday for our stations while at Sooke Harbour House – It was a really inspiring place – the gardens, the vibe was open and progressive towards food. Sinclair and Frederique had created what was Canada’s “Noma” well before eating locally was commonplace.

Image courtesy of Burdock & Co.

Can you be credited for the 100-Mile Menu?
Carlson: Yes we created the 100 mile menu while at Raincity Grill, inspired by the writings of James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith.

When were you executive chef at Bishops, and when did the awards happen?
Carlson: I started at Bishop’s in 2007 and was there for 4 years.  We won Vancouver Magazine’s Best Regional Restaurant award twice.

What was the most rewarding experience in your earlier days?
Carlson: Having Alain Passard (3 Michelin star chef) come for lunch unexpectedly (he was recommended to us by Marc-Andre, chef at Lumiere, who I had worked with at Sooke) while I was at Raincity nearly gave me a heart attack!

Tell me about your upcoming cookbook.
Carlson: The book is published by Appetite Random House, due out spring 2019 and focuses on Burdock & Co.

Do you have a signature dish?
Carlson: People love the buttermilk fried chicken with pickles.

What were your biggest challenges as a chef, especially a female in this industry?
Carlson: Vancouver’s staffing shortage is likely the biggest challenge these days – you can only spread yourself so thin.

Any advice for young women who aspire to be chefs or restaurateurs?
Carlson: Be true to your passions for food – whether it’s a style or cuisine and seek out opportunities to work with foods and people that inspire you. Never ever stick around toxic people or workplaces – life is too short and it will kill your creativity.

By VisitRichmondBC.com

It’s time to get out your chopsticks with the recent announcement of the Diners’ Choice Awards for the 2018 Chinese Restaurant Awards. And, once again, Richmond has come out on top, with twelve of the twenty-one winners forming part of the city’s vibrant dining landscape.

Now in its tenth year, the successful Chinese Restaurant Awards aims to recognize excellence in both Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine in Metro Vancouver. The Diners’ Choice Awards were tallied from 35,219 on-line and WeChat votes from the public over the course of four weeks.

The results showcase what the Lower Mainland has to offer in terms of exemplary Chinese and Taiwanese dining. Here are the twelve Richmond restaurants that the discerning voting-public thinks you need to try:

 

Best Shanghainese Stir Fry Egg White
Suhang Restaurant (100-8291 Ackroyd Road, Richmond)

Best Shanghainese Stir Fry Egg White

This popular Richmond establishment has won one of the four new dish categories. Suhang Restaurant offers a refined dining experience, specializing in Shanghainese dim sum items (eg xiao long bao) and dishes that highlight the flavours of Jiangnam, located south of the Yangtze River. The restaurant’s winning dish is a classic and expertly executed combination of broccoli, egg white, shrimp, and egg yolk.

Best New Restaurant (opened less than one year)
Geng Shi Ji (1211-8338 Capstan Way, Richmond)

Best New Restaurant

The winner of best new restaurant is the Richmond outpost of an established restaurant franchise from Hunan, China. The kitchen aims to showcase classic and reinvented dishes from a variety of Chinese regional cuisines. Recommended dishes include egg wrap with pork meatballs, crab with rice cakes, sour cabbage fish soup, and spicy beef shank.

Best Dim Sum Restaurant
Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant (101-4600 Number 3 Road, Richmond)

Best Dim Sum

With elevated items like black truffle siu mai and steamed buns filled with salty egg yolk lava, Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant was bound to be crowned the winner of best dim sum. The establishment prides itself on its stellar dim sum experience, from the dazzling room, to the attentive service, to the inventive and delicately crafted dishes.

Best Cantonese Restaurant
Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine (130-6200 River Road, Richmond)

Best Cantonese Restaurant

Located just across the street from the iconic Olympic Oval, Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine is the epitome of upscale Cantonese dining, with elegant interiors and a menu that evidences refined technique and top quality ingredients. Diners come for the chef specialty dim sum items, like truffle chicken, as well as opulent dinner dishes, such as braised sea cucumber with sliced abalone and greens.

Best Shanghainese Restaurant
Z&Y Shanghai Cuisine (1010-4711 McClelland Road, Richmond)

Best Shanghainese Restaurant

Under the same ownership as Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine (180-4260 Number 3 Road, Richmond), Z&Y Shanghai Cuisine invites with modern décor and flavourful Shanghainese cooking. Expect classic dishes like xiao long bao, tea-smoked duck, stir-fried rice cakes, and slow braised pork hock. The large room is ideal for convivial sharing of food with friends and family.

Best Sichuan/Hunan Restaurant
Happy Tree House BBQ (105-8171 Alexander Road, Richmond)

Best Sichuan/Hunan Restaurant

It’s all about the skewers at the two locations of Happy Tree House BBQ (one in Vancouver and one in Richmond). There’s a wide selection of proteins, from the crowd favourite lamb to more exotic choices like chicken gizzards. The meat already comes generously spiced, but flavour addicts can amp things up with ground cumin and chili.

Best Taiwanese Restaurant/BBT Café
Memory Corner (6900 Number 3 Road, Richmond)

Best Taiwanese Restaurant/BBT Café

If you’re wanting rustic, authentic Taiwanese cuisine, Memory Corner is the restaurant to visit. This establishment is a tribute to family roots in the restaurant business, lovingly celebrated with dishes like lamb noodle soup, Taiwanese deep-fried crispy chicken, and three-cup chicken.

Best Hot Pot Restaurant
Boiling Point (130-4800 Number 3 Road, Richmond)

Best Hot Pot Restaurant

With four locations in the Lower Mainland, Boiling Point began originally in California and has since spread globally. The menu at the Richmond restaurant features the chain’s signature hot soups, including their Japanese miso soup, lamb soup, and Taiwanese spicy soup. They all come chockfull of ingredients, with the option to include add-ins like lobster fish balls.

Best Hong Kong-Style Café
Copa Café (105-6200 River Road)

Best Hong Kong-Style Café

The enduring appeal of Hong Kong cafes is exemplified in the success of Copa Café, a chain with three locations in the Lower Mainland. The restaurant provides East meets West classic dishes, such as baked pork chop on rice, a clubhouse sandwich, and seafood and pineapple fried rice.

Best BBQ Shop
HK BBQ Master (145-4651 Number Three Road, Richmond)

Best BBQ Shop

By this point, HK BBQ Master has reached cult-like status on Canada’s west coast, with people driving especially to Richmond to purchase chef Eric Leung’s barbecue perfection in items like barbecued pork, roast pork, and barbecued spareribs. The slow-cooked meat is tender and intensely flavourful.

Best Bakery Shop
Maxim’s Bakery (Richmond Centre, 6551 Number Three Road, Richmond)

Best Bakery Shop

The Richmond location of this beloved Chinese bakery chain sees considerable traffic from customers craving their layered fruit and cream cakes, coconut buns, and pineapple buns. Snack on an egg tart as you window shop around Richmond Centre.

Best Fantuan Delivery
Me + Crêpe (128-8531 Alexandra Road, Richmond)

Best Fantuan Delivery

This restaurant, with locations in Richmond, Vancouver, and Burnaby, specializes in inventive Asian-style crêpes, with original fillings, like egg, Chinese donut, and soybean paste; and sliced duck with cucumber, green onion, and soybean paste. Who knew that the classic French dish could become even better?

by Catherine Dunwoody

No excuses – our West Coast palette is refined, so waxy chocolate bunnies, rock-hard jellybeans and Peeps (what are those even made of anyway?) are just plain unacceptable. We can do better. And we do! Here, three of BC’s best chocolate makers show us what’s new for Easter 2018.

Wild Sweets By Dominique and Cindy Duby’s Spring limited edition chocolate art collection screams “spring!” with the use of fruits, origin cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate and a palette of spring-like pastel colours. Sophisticated flavours include cassis caramels, pistachio praline and cherry caramel ganache, and a liquid strawberry caramel with dulce de leche. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Shop at their online boutique or at Wild Sweets’ own retail store The Atelier Chocolate Lab Gallery in Richmond.

Image courtesy of Wild Sweets By Dominique and Cindy Duby

Shop at their online boutique or at Wild Sweets’ own retail store The Atelier Chocolate Lab Gallery in Richmond, BC.

Purdys Chocolatier is about as old-school and iconic as you get. Founded in 1907 in Vancouver, they have a long history of providing the West Coast with melt-in-your-mouth Easter chocolate. But that doesn’t mean the brand isn’t constantly reinventing its collection and bringing out new products non-stop. New this year is the “Bunny Bag”, a cute tote filled with a mouth-watering selection of their most popular Easter chocolates including Bunny Lollies, a Wooly Lamb, lots of mini foiled eggs & bunnies and that decadent Fudge Egg. And a little bunny told us that the popular Peanut Butter eggs are now available in mini. Visit Purdys stores or shop online.

Image courtesy of Purdys Chocolatier

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Pâtisserie from Vancouver’s North Shore has a delightful way of combining charming classic styles like the laughing bunny, with world-class quality chocolate. This Easter the line up includes a variety of whimsical chocolate-sculpted characters including an Easter Bunny, a hen and chicks, with a mother hen and her chicks filled with chocolate creations, Easter Eggs filled with chocolate surprises, and a flower pot with handcrafted chocolate blooms. Easter also sees the return of the signature Easter Stollen, a seasonal bread made with almonds, pistachios and kirsch-soaked organic cherries. Visit the Kitsilano or North Shore shops, or online.

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Pâtisserie | Image by Amy Ho

Mink Chocolates, winners of the 2014 International Chocolate Salon’s best chocolate in the world, have an Easter treat for everyone in the family. Kids will love Kollie the Flop-Eared Bunny (milk chocolate) and her buddy Levi (dark chocolate), while parents will appreciate Easter eggs filled with lime ganache or hazelnut. And for those who don’t quite buy into the bunny, you can pick up a gift box filled with strawberry caramel bunny bonbons and Mink’s stunning bonbon art series, where each bonbon is a tiny piece of art.  Visit Mink at their South Surrey or Vancouver locations or online.

Image courtesy of Mink Chocolates

By Dan Olson, Chef/Owner, Railtown Catering

This creamy, cheesy side dish is the perfect accompaniment to your Easter or Harvest Festival dinner.  Make it yourself, or let the team at Railtown Catering make dinner for you! Place your Easter to-go order by 3pm on Wednesday, March 28 and choose from an entrée choice of honey-glazed bone-in ham or lemon-and-rosemary-crusted leg of lamb and a wide array of homespun seasonal side dishes, salads, rolls and dessert.

INGREDIENTS

Heavy Cream (1 cup)
Milk  (1 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Russet potatoes  (4 lbs)
Butter, softened (1 tbsp)
Fresh thyme, chopped (2 sprigs)
Garlic, minced (2 cloves)
Gruyère cheese, grated  (1 cup)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Brush a baking pan or casserole dish with the softened butter. Sprinkle with minced garlic, chopped fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Peel potatoes, and slice width wise into 1/4” disks. Shingle layer into baking pan or casserole dish, seasoning each layer with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover with cream and milk and sprinkle grated gruyère over top.
  5. Cover with tin foil. Bake until potatoes are completely tender when pierced by the tip of a sharp knife (about 1 hour and 45 minutes).
  6. Remove tin foil and allow to gratiné until golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy.

By Catherine Dunwoody

The award-winning supplier of ethical and sustainable meats sold at some of BC’s best restaurants has opened up shop.

It’s a traditional working butchery, complete with a glass-walled dry-age room; a European-style deli and take-away counter; plus a 32-seat, eat-in restaurant. There’s a stylish terrazzo-floor, 2,500 square-foot industrial space and come sunny weather, an additional 16-seat patio where you can get a hearty lunch or share a charcuterie board.

Chef Tony Starratt | Image by Adam Blasberg
Chef Tony Starratt | Image by Adam Blasberg

Two Rivers Meats selects, prepares and sells only ethically and sustainably raised products from like-minded farms, including Cache Creek Natural Beef, Peace Country lamb, Cheam View Pork, Farm Crest Chickens, Canadian Rangeland bison, Yarrow Meadows Farm duck, and others.

Head Butcher Pasqual Stufano | Image by Adam Blasberg
Head Butcher Pasqual Stufano | Image by Adam Blasberg

Chef Tony Starratt’s kitchen and family-style eatery serves what the Two Rivers brand does so well. Bonus? Guests can dine in and then take home recipe ideas.

Charcuterie & Cheese | Image by Adam Blasberg
Charcuterie & Cheese | Image by Adam Blasberg

Try the 60-day dry-aged burger or the rotisserie chicken with hand-cut fried cooked in beef tallow. Fortify with their house-made chicken or beef bone broth. In keeping with the local vibe, a rotating selection of B.C. beer and wine will be available on tap too.

Two Rivers Specialty Meats
180 Donaghy Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
www.tworiversmeats.ca

By Rebekah Crowley, still master at Roots and Wings Distillery

INGREDIENTS
Rebel by Roots and Wings Distillery (2oz)
Porter’s Tonic Syrup – Cardamom Orange (1 oz)
Lillet (1 oz)
Lemon Juice (1 oz)
Dash of Scrappy’s Bitters – Cardamom

INSTRUCTIONS

In Shaker, combine ingredients with ice. Shake until cold. Pour into coupe glass and enjoy. Garnish with lemon zest and mint.

Read more about Roots and Wings Distillery here.

By Chef Dhruv Jhanjee, Tour De Feast

INGREDIENTS

Chicken livers (1lb)
Duck livers (1lb)
Heavy cream (1/2 cup)
Milk (to soak)
Butter, unsalted (250gms)
Brandy (1 1/2 cups)
Nutmeg (1oz)
Shallots, diced (1/2 cup)
Rosemary, fresh (1 stem)
Thyme, fresh (4 stems)
Bay leaf (1)
Orange (1, for the peel)

DIRECTIONS

    1. Soak livers in milk overnight
    2. Dry both livers thoroughly with paper towels.
    3. Season with salt and pepper.
    4. In a large pan, brown the livers on one side in half of the butter.
    5. Flip the livers and add shallots, rosemary & thyme sprigs, along with bay leaf.
    6. Deglaze with brandy off heat.
    7. Return to heat and cook the liquid out until almost dry. Remove thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.
    8. Puree the livers, in a blender, with remaining melted butter and heavy cream.
    9. Use a sieve to strain the liquid. Adjust the seasoning with nutmeg, salt and pepper and grate fresh orange zest.
    10. Use a pate mold. Line it with plastic wrap, pour in the liquid and bake in the oven at 325F for 20-25 mins.

Pate should look smooth and the temperature inside should be 165F. Chill overnight.

Can be used as a spread or as an appetizer with Dijon mustard & sweet pickles.

 

By Kathy Mak

With the surge of new craft distilleries in BC, it’s not unusual to find an expanding collection of local spirits on the shelves of liquor stores and cocktail bars; but finding craft spirits made by a female distiller and with potatoes and corn grown on a distillery’s own farmland is unusual! Enter Roots and Wings Distillery, opened in early 2017 as the first craft distillery in Langley, BC.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

Situated on a 30-acre farm in the idyllic countryside near the village of Fort Langley, Roots and Wings Distillery embraces a true field-to-bottle approach when producing artisan spirits. Back in 2015, the co-founders/owners – Rob Rindt and Rebekah Crowley – were inspired to handcraft their own distilled spirits when they couldn’t find a good locally-made potato or corn vodka for sipping straight.  With some research and a big leap of faith, the couple created the distillery from the ground up, literally.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Katie McTiernan
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In keeping with Rob’s agricultural roots, but unlike most distilleries, they produce their spirits in-house from scratch with potatoes and corn that they grow (and with natural spring water) in a barn-converted stillhouse at their farm. It’s the art of craft distilling at it’s purest, a meticulous hands-on approach to controlling the highest quality – from planting and harvesting to mashing, fermenting, distilling and bottling – for small-batch spirits. They do it all.

In addition to creating uniquely homegrown and handcrafted spirits, the distillery has the distinction of being one of a few in British Columbia (and possibly a handful in Canada) to have a female distiller.  In a male dominated spirits trade, Rebekah is pleased to lead the way for other women interested in distilling.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

Although a relatively new entrant in the craft spirits boom, Roots and Wings Distillery is showing no signs of slowing down.  Currently, they offer Vital Vodka (potato-corn vodka),  Double Vice (coffee infused potato-corn vodka), Rebel (an unaged corn whiskey), and Jackknife Gin (potato-corn gin). Bottles of these spirits can be sampled and purchased at the distillery.  They are also available at the distillery’s online shop and in a selection of private BC liquor stores.  As for the future, a blackberry liqueur is in the works, an unnamed bourbon is aging, and other liqueurs are on their wish list.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

I sat down to learn more about the distillery from Rebekah, the head distiller.

When you started, what was your mission?

To create quality over quantity, so craft was the obvious answer. Rob and I didn’t set out to make mass-produced products, but instead, we wanted to create spirits that stand on their own before mixing. I believe we have accomplished this in our core spirits. However, it turns out the spirits are also amazing in cocktails, so I designed a variety of craft cocktail recipes for everyone’s enjoyment. I’m by no means a master in mixology, and I will leave that to the professionals, but I love a good cocktail!

How did you come up with the name Roots and Wings Distillery?

It comes from the saying that the best thing you can give your kids are roots and wings; roots of responsibility and wings of independence.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

Why did you want to become a distiller and how did you get started?

I wasn’t a home brewing hobbyist or a wine kit maker, and I didn’t have any previous experience in distilling; my background is in sales for a technology company.  It wasn’t that I wanted to be a distiller but more that I’m just better in the kitchen than Rob and it naturally worked out that way. I also had the free time to take the Canadian Master Distilling program at Urban Distilleries & Winery (Kelowna) and came away with the practical knowledge. We wanted to start a distillery because of our appreciation for fine spirits. It started as an experiment but after investing the money into the equipment and the passion to perfect the spirit, we knew we had to turn it into business.

What makes your flavours unique?

The uniqueness comes in part (to start) from our farm and the soil in which we grow the potatoes and corn to the spring water which we use to proof the spirits down and everything in-between. Is it something that you can pinpoint on your palate? Maybe not, but I do believe it gives an added layer of interest and quality.

Roots and Wings Distillery - Langley
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How are your artisan products different from others in BC?

Most BC craft distillers use winter wheat and barley for their spirits. These are most common grains in BC. Being designated craft, one must use 100% BC grown products. What makes us different is that we are located on Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR) and the regulations state that we must grow 50% of what we want to distill. Not only do we fall under the 100% BC grown products but half of that must be grown on our own farm. We opted to use Kennenbec potatoes and Jubilee corn for our base spirits over wheat or barley because I am a fan of corn vodka and Rob is a fan of potato vodka, so we just combined them.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

What is the timeline from planting crops to distilling the finished spirits?

Rob plants the potatoes and corn in the early spring, then they are harvested at the end of September early October … all weather dependent. The raw material is placed in onsite storage. From the storage it will be cleaned in the distillery then ground up before it goes into the mash. Once the mash is done, it will ferment from 4 days to a week then put through the still for the stripping run. We do several of these runs to collect enough spirit for a spirit run and then again for a third time which will then get proofed and polished depending on the type of spirit. If it’s vodka its takes about a month from the first mash to the bottled product. If it is Rebel it takes about 3 months from first mash to bottle. We are currently working on our bourbon which will take much longer.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak 1

How much corn and potatoes are used for your distilling?

2/3 potatoes to 1/3 corn for the vodka and for the Rebel and it’s all corn for the bourbon.

Other than your own crops, what other local ingredients do you incorporate into you spirits?

There is a local hop farm called Crooked Stick Hopyard here in Langley that we use as well as local honey, and Fort Langley’s Republica Roasters’ coffee beans for Double Vice. We, of course, use as much as we can from our farm and garden, like the blackberries (for our blackberry liqueur) or cucumbers (for our gin). We are happy to collaborate with local producers when possible.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

What is your current capacity?

Our still is 400 litres and we produce about 500 litres per month.  We started out with a 30 gallon still from HBS copper from Barlow Kentucky and have now moved into a 100 gallon still from the same manufacturer. We also have an 80-gallon mash tun from Specific Mechanical Systems, in Victoria BC. The other equipment in our stillhouse is from various places throughout BC – bottler, fermentation and blending tanks.

Are your spirits gluten-free or organic?

Since potatoes and corn are naturally gluten-free, which are used for our base spirits, then we are gluten-free. However, the Canadian labeling standards still require us to get it tested for the claim to be on the label; so, we also passed the official gluten-free test!  We feel our spirits are organic based on our ingredients, but we are not aiming to be certified organic.

Vital Vodka - Roots and Wings Distillery - image by Kathy Mak

Why did you choose vodka as your first product?

Vodka is the water of life… the base of many great spirits. It’s also the only spirit Rob consumes so that was the deal – to make great quality sipping vodka first and then we will discuss what comes next.

Which spirit is your favourite?

Jackknife Gin! I love the flavor that comes out in the spirit. When it is blended with soda and fresh mint, it’s the most refreshing cocktail.

What is your favourite cocktail at present?

That would be the whiskey-styled Cardomom Rebel Sour!

What is currently the most popular product in your spirit line?

The Rebel seems to be the go-to spirit as its not a whiskey and its not a white spirit either – it has the taste of oak and honey with no age behind it. It’s an interesting spirit that can blend nicely in cocktails or stand on its own greatness.

Roots and Wings Distillery by Kathy Mak

How did you come up with Double Vice, the coffee infused vodka?

The day before opening I realized we needed a few more options for the tasting bar so I infused a vodka with coffee beans, one with sweet tea and one with cucumber and jalapenos. The coffee was a hit, so we stuck with it and made a label.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

Since we are new to this distilling process I would say that being able to put out four different spirits in the first 7 months of opening is a huge accomplishment that should be given its due. There are of course many other accomplishments that got us to where we were able to do that. In the end, our success is mostly the result of hard work.

What is in your bucket list for the distillery in 3-5 years? 

That bucket is full of ideas, from new recipe development to larger equipment to hiring full time staff and expanding our presence in other provinces.

Who do you feel is the innovative force behind the local craft distilling industry?

BC Distilled does an excellent job of promoting the local distilleries as well as showcasing new talent and hosting spirit competitions amongst Canadian craft distillers.

Is there a local distillery that inspired you?

When Rob and I started out, Sons of Vancouver were wonderful at sharing their story and helpful insights. Like them, we started as a very small batch distillery. They have made a great name for themselves in the industry and continue to share their knowledge with the industry.

What is one thing you feel people should know about the craft spirits industry in Greater Vancouver?

Its better to buy local from any of us then from the big guys like Absolute, Smirnoff or Stoli because you are personally being part of our journey to build a locally-owned business from the ground up.

 

Visit Roots and Wings Distillery as part an outing to Fort Langley or while exploring Langley on a self-guided Circle Farm Tour. Weekly classes or pop up shops will begin in early 2018 and tours of the distillery will start in Summer 2018 on a scheduled and pre-booked basis.

 

Roots and Wings Distillery
Tasting Room & Bar Shop
7897 – 240th Street
Langley, BC, V1M 3P9
604.371.2268
www.rootsandwingsdistillery.ca

For Rebekah’s cardamom rebel sour cocktail recipe, click here. 

 

*Images marked with a star are by Katie McTierman.

By Rebekah Crowley, still master at Roots and Wings Distillery

INGREDIENTS
Rebel by Roots and Wings Distillery (2oz)
Porter’s Tonic Syrup – Cardamom Orange (1 oz)
Lillet (1 oz)
Lemon Juice (1 oz)
Dash of Scrappy’s Bitters – Cardamom

INSTRUCTIONS

In Shaker, combine ingredients with ice. Shake until cold. Pour into coupe glass and enjoy. Garnish with lemon zest and mint.

Read more about Roots and Wings Distillery here.

by Catherine Dunwoody

Some say pie is making a comeback, but in my book it never left.

Sisters Jenell and Carla Parsons teamed up to open The Pie Hole a few years ago, and in 2017 they opened their first retail location in Vancouver, followed by a second location in Burnaby in January 2018. The bakeries sell whole pies, individual pies and mini pies as well as take & bake options, plus coffee and ice cream.

Image courtesy of Vancouver Pie Hole
Image courtesy of Vancouver Pie Hole

But lets get back to the pies; the pies you can get right now, whether you dine in, order and pick up or buy in numerous retail food shops throughout Metro Vancouver.

When I asked Jenell where she sourced her ingredients, her answer, “I just drive out to get stuff as needed and when in season – Richmond for all my blueberries, Krause Berry Farms for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries,” sounds like something your mom would say, not the entrepreneur-owner of a growing pie company that has turned out thousands of fresh-baked deliciousness in the past few years.

That down-to -earth charm is likely what makes her pies so flaky and delicious, they’re leaps and bounds better than our moms would make (sorry mama but I cannot lie) and just one taste confirms the sisters’ company is surely a labour of love.

Jenell sources her Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter turkeys for savoury pies from JD Farms in The Fraser Valley. Pumpkins for her bourbon-laced version? “I usually pick them up at either Richmond Country Farms or Aldor Acres Farm in Langley.”

Image courtesy of Vancouver Pie Hole
Image courtesy of Vancouver Pie Hole

Much like fresh fruit, we like to eat what is in season locally, and that means Vancouver Pie Hole’s pie selection rotates depending on the time of year. Be sure and visit the website for what is available and when. Holy Vancouver Pie Hole! Your pies have ruined me for any other.

Vancouver Pie Hole

3497 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC
604.428.2743

7832 6th Street
Burnaby, BC
604.553.7437

www.vancouverpiehole.com

by Catherine Dunwoody

Friday March 23rd kicks off this annual Francophone festival and you don’t want to miss out. Musical artists, family cultural activities and of course fabulous food bring the big heated tents at Mackin Park in Maillardville, Coquitlam to life.

Festival du Bois is the largest festival of its kind in BC, bringing a little bit of Québécois culture to the west coast. Friday’s kick off includes the first-ever Friday Night Contra Dance, featuring live music from The Sybaritic String Band, Vancouver’s premier contradance band. What’s that exactly? Contra dancing is social dancing done in lines of couples to live traditional music. There’s a dance caller who teaches easy “figures” on the spot, like in square dancing, and prompts you during the dance. Fun!

Traditional poutine at the festival | Image courtesy of the Festival du Bois

But since we are all about the food here at WestCoastFood, we are super stoked about the booth at the festival where they sell cuisine traditionnelle. Try the pea soup, or go whole hog with the lumberjack plate, complete with traditional tourtière, pork and beans, coleslaw, bread and pate. Sweet tooth? Tuck into a slice of sugar pie, a favourite Quebecois dessert or stop at the André Beauregard Sugar Shack for maple taffy on snow.

Grab some tickets to the pancake and maple syrup breakfast Sunday at 10am for $7 adults, $3 children – but do note that this doesn’t include admission to the festival site itself.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, musical groups include Le Vent du Nord, Bon Débarras, Les Chauffeurs à pieds, Mazacote, Gabriel Dubreuil, Jacky Essombe, Blackthorn, Podorythmie, Alouest, Boris Sichon, André Thériault, Alphonse et Lola and Vazzy.

Get schooled on Maillardville’s history at the “post office”, shop at the artisan kiosks carrying all kinds of crafts, and plan to stop at at C’est si Bon, a local food truck serving brioche sliders served with their famous pommes dauphines, crêpes, beef bourguignon, and pastries.

Maple Taffy | Image courtesy of the Festival du Bois

To fully embrace the spirit of the festival be sure to wear your plaid to honour the lumberjack heritage of the community and celebrate its French-Canadian pioneering history. And while you look the part, why not try your hand at axe throwing with the Axewood Crew, a fully mobile axe throwing experience?

In addition to the grand chapiteau (main stage – big tent) where the music will rock you day and night, pop by the children’s tent (petit chapiteau) in the zone jeunesse (youth zone), and the workshop tent (tente de ateliers), plus the folk jam tent where you get to play along, the improv tent, and pioneers tent.

Francophone family fun!

For tickets and information visit www.festivaldubois.ca.

By Catherine Dunwoody

If being elbow-deep in the freshest, tastiest seafood around is your kind of feast, then The Captain’s Boil is your new go-to eatery. And with so many options of flavor, spice, and sides, it’s a crowd-pleaser for everyone in the family.

With numerous west coast locations, including Richmond, Coquitlam, Vancouver’s North Shore (coming soon), and Vancouver, this Canadian chain restaurant offers a classic Cajun-inspired seafood boil that you customize to suit your tastes perfectly.

 The Captain's Boil Lobster
Image Courtesy of The Captain’s Boil

Start with choosing from a variety of freshly caught fish and shellfish, then add sides and sauces from a lengthy menu of options. You’ll be given a plastic bib and gloves to protect your clothes and hands from the delicious mess, and you wont find cutlery on the table either. Shellfish crackers are provided and the fun begins.

Try the Cajun crawfish with a side of okra, or the king crab legs with lotus root, or lobster with corn on the cob. Select your sauce, from mild to smokin’ hot, from lemon pepper to garlic. You get the idea. Mix it up, share with your tablemates, and get set for perhaps the most fun you’ve ever had at a meal.

Eat in, or take the feast to your dining room table.

For locations and hours, visit:

The Captain’s Boil
thecaptainsboil.com

By Sheliza Mitha

When asked what inspires Executive Chef Jason Mok upon creating his seasonal dinner menus for the Burnaby Mountain and Riverway restaurants, his answer is nothing short of precise:

“I love feeding people and seeing a happy, bustling restaurant.”

Indeed, on this cold February evening at the spectacular Riverway Restaurant, the place is hopping. I’ve been told the restaurant is booked solid – a testament to the popularity of his evolving and seasonal menus, both here and at the cozy Burnaby Mountain Restaurant in North Burnaby.

Lobster Burger
Lobster Burger at Riverway Restaurant | Image courtesy of the City of Burnaby

While the dinner menu reflects Chef Mok’s creative flair, it’s his unique three-course menu that often steals the spotlight for his guests. It’s easy to see why with its generous selection of appetizers and entrees (yes, count ’em… five!): New York steak, seafood linguine (with prawns, mussels, lobster and salmon), the vegetarian butternut squash ravioli, a twist on the regular with the oven-roasted Malaysian style half-chicken with toasted almonds, and vegetables and coconut rice with the ever-popular lobster burger.

And then there’s dessert.

But it’s all a labour of love for this award-winning chef, who was inspired at a very early age by his mother and grandmother.

This casual early apprenticeship became a solid foundation for Chef Mok, and inspired him to earn his culinary chops and find his own style in the kitchen – the result of years of schooling and experience at esteemed kitchens across Metro Vancouver, including the VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Shaughnessy Restaurant, the Westin Grand and Richmond’s Quilchena Golf & Country Club.

New York steak at Riverway Restaurant | Image courtesy of the City of Burnaby

Finally, it was in 2011 that Chef Mok joined the culinary team at the City of Burnaby.  Under his leadership as Executive Chef, both the Riverway and Burnaby Mountain restaurants have become among the city’s most popular and highly-regarded dining establishments, earning various accolades including “Favourite Hidden Gem” from A-List Magazine and Dine Out Vancouver Festival’s “Best Menu” award – among many others.

While the industry accolades are nice, he says this is not what drives him.

“Each day I am here, I try to connect with customers and other team members to find out if they’re happy with the food we prepare and serve,” Chef Mok explains. “Their answers are what keep me going, and this is what drives me – feeding people, making them happy and seeing them enjoy our food.”

Burnaby Mountain Restaurant
7600 Halifax Street
Burnaby, BC
Phone: 604.297.4883

Riverway Restaurant
9001 Bill Fox Way
Burnaby, BC
Phone: 604.297.4883

By Kristi Alexandra

With sprawling greenery, idyllic farmland, and wild brambles flourishing in the sub-rural town of Langley, it’s no wonder it’s is home to so many winery vineyards — and a couple breweries, too.

Spring is in the air to thaw the frost of winter, and with that comes new berries, new grapes, and new spirits. Enter a new season of sipping.

From mead to wine to beer, here’s where you can find fresh new bottles to imbibe in Langley.

Festina Lente Estate Winery

21113 16th Avenue

From King Arthur’s court to Game of Thrones, the ancient art of mead has always been a tasty one. Festina Lente Estate Winery brings traditional honey wine to the present day with their “modern, sophisticated twist.” This year, they’re introducing two new wines whose names harken back (perhaps) to when mead was a dinnertime staple.

Venus Melomel is aptly named after the Goddess of Love, and the heart of a melomel is adding fruit to honey wine; in this case it’s blackberries right off the bramble. It’s a floral and fruity mead fit to be poured into a goblet or wine glass –  drinker’s choice.

Minerva Metheglin is named for the goddess of knowledge and medicine, and this spicy wine is just what the doctor ordered. With a spicy, crisp ginger taste keeping you alert, this metheglin (a spiced variety of mead) is the zingy pick-me-up that’ll wake you out of your winter funk.

Image courtesy of Festina Lente

Trading Post Brewing

20120 64th Avenue

This relatively young brewery comes with an old soul. Setting up shop in one of BC’s most historic communities, Trading Post Brewery gives a nod to Fort Langley’s original fur trade post. This year, the brewery celebrates its second birthday and we’re in for a surprise.

At the brewery’s birthday party in February they released Hoppy Birthday Bock to celebrate! You’ll have to visit to find out just what this tastes like, but you bet it’ll be fresh.

After the birthday lines run dry, keep sipping on their Dear James SMASH Saison. In keeping with the town’s roots, this is a farmhouse-style saison that recalls orchards of apricots, and the zingy taste of citrus and spice. It’s a golden straw-coloured refresher fit for taking a break at the farm.

Trading Post Brewery | Image by Ashley Lockyer
Trading Post Brewery | Image by Ashley Lockyer

Township7

21152 16th Avenue

Small batches of top-flight wines are what Township7 is known best for. The family-owned winery creates complex, flavourful and well-balanced wines for the sophisticated palate – and plays host to wine tours, pairings and painting on plein air in the late spring and summertime.

Don’t miss their Seven Stars Sparkling wine, just released.

Township7
Image courtesy of Township7

Dead Frog Brewery

27272 Gloucester Way (Aldergrove, BC)

When this brewery hit the scene in 2007, a few years before the big craft beer boom, they boasted the slogan “nothing goes down like a cold, dead frog.” While it may not have been the most appetizing of slogans, it somehow begged to be challenged. Here are a couple beers from the brewery you can expect in spring that are guaranteed to taste better than your backyard pond or amphibian’s terrarium.

The Obsidian Dagger is an IPA Noire made from tropical hops and a deep, dark roasted malt. Complex and strong, this beer is made for only the most daring of palates and is available in April.

Tropic Vice, on the other hand, is an easygoing tropical fruit ale. Made of golden white wheat and a juicy mango and passionfruit taste, this spring and summer beer hits shelves and taps in March and sticks around until the end of September.

By VisitRichmondBC.com

The ushering in of the Year of the Dog was on February 16, and was a joyous and festive time for the Chinese community in the Lower Mainland characterized by time spent with family and friends and, of course, by copious delicious feasting.

Who doesn’t love a good hearty meal? Chinese New Year an opportunity for everyone to partake in holiday eating, most especially dishes that will, hopefully, improve success in the coming lunar year. Richmond, as a confluence of various Chinese cuisines, offers many culinary opportunities for celebrating Year of the Dog well into 2018. Here are 8 luck-magnet dishes that will appeal to your palate and your fortunes throughout the year:

Whole Fish

A particularly significant dish for Chinese New Year consists of a whole fish; its associations with unity and good fortune make it a centerpiece item. A whole steamed rock cod at Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant (2200-4540 Number 3 Road, Richmond) is a seemingly simple, yet lovely dish that really highlights the freshness and subtle flavour of the fish.

Spring Rolls

Because spring rolls resemble gold bars, they are a popular food item for encouraging wealth in your life – plus their deep fried crispiness makes them undeniably enjoyable to eat. While these tasty snacks can be found on most dim sum menus, chef May Chau at Golden Paramount (8071 Park Road, Richmond) has created an inventive version you have to try that has juicy shredded daikon filling.

Daikon spring rolls | Image by Tara Lee
Daikon spring rolls from Golden Paramount | Image by Tara Lee

Dumplings

Dumplings signal wealth in Chinese traditions, and the more of them you eat, the more prosperous you’ll be. In other words, you have full license to gorge on dumplings during the New Year festivities! Richmond has an almost endless selection of dumplings, as evidenced by its Dumpling Trail self-guided itineraries. A classic type is shui jiao, water boiled dumplings filled with ingredients like pork, prawns, shiitake mushroom, and chives. Especially good shui jiao can be gobbled at Golden Sichuan (170-3631 Number 3 Road, Richmond). These dumplings are definitely hearty and very addictive.

Dumplings at Golden Sichuan | Image by Dee de los Santos
Dumplings at Golden Sichuan | Image by Dee de los Santos

Rice Cakes

Another dish aimed to bolster happiness in the New Year consists of Shangainese savoury chewy pan-fried rice cakes or nian gao. A sweet pudding-type version of nian gao is also available at establishments like Saint Germain Bakery (Aberdeen Centre, 1428-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). In Mandarin, the name nian gao is a homonym for “higher” or “taller” year, making this item particularly lucky. You’ll find them at most Shanghainese restaurants in Richmond, such as at Shanghai Wonderful (Best Western Plus Abercorn Inn, 9260 Bridgeport Road, Richmond), which serves a rendition with spinach, chopped cabbage, and shredded pork.

Rice Cakes at Shanghai Wonderful | Image by Tara Lee
Rice Cakes at Shanghai Wonderful | Image by Tara Lee

Oysters

A dish that appears frequently on Chinese New Year menus consists of braised dried oysters with Chinese mushrooms and sea moss, with a particularly impressive version found at Fisherman’s Terrace (Aberdeen Centre, 3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). The item is a showcase of lucky ingredients. Dried oysters are said to aid in bolstering business, while the name for sea moss (fat choy) is a homonym for “good fortune.”

Oysters at Fisherman's Terrace | Image by Lindsay Anderson
Oysters at Fisherman’s Terrace | Image by Lindsay Anderson

Lobster

A feast isn’t complete without a plate of lobster, which symbolizes abundance and prosperity, especially with its red lucky colour. Hoi Tong (8191 Westminster Highway, Richmond) offers wok-tossed double lobsters in a consommé sauce, served atop springy egg noodles. Flavours are kept simple in order to showcase the natural sweetness and texture of the seafood.

Lobster at Hoi Tong | Image by Sherman Chan
Lobster at Hoi Tong | Image by Sherman Chan

Pomelo and Other Fruits

The spherical shape of pomelos and other citrus fruits, like oranges, signal wholeness and prosperity. The name for pomelo, you, also sounds similar to “to have” or “you,” which gives it further prosperity associations. Wild Sweets (2145-12191 Hammersmith Way, Richmond), run by world acclaimed science-based chocolatiers Dominque and Cindy Duby, released a limited edition 2018 “Year of the Dog Chocolate Art Collection” that features these prosperous fruits. The chocolates have fillings such as pomelo caramel ganache and ginger lemon honey nut cream, and kumquat orange caramel ganache and citrus honey nut cream.

Image courtesy of Wild Sweets

Noodles

At any Chinese New Year’s banquet, diners anticipate noodles to appear as one of the final courses, signaling a celebration of long life. Richmond has a plethora of places for getting your noodle fix, with the hand-pulled noodles at the unassuming Xi’an Cuisine (2370-8260 Westminster Highway, Richmond) at the Richmond Public Market being a very satisfying frontrunner choice. Have them in soup or stir-fried, or go for the noodles in spicy peanut sauce, if you want a saucier version. The non-uniform shape and size of the noodles are part of their rustic charm.

Noodles at Xi’an Cuisine | Image by Michael Kwan
Noodles at Xi’an Cuisine | Image by Michael Kwan

Happy eating and happy Year of the Dog!

By Mary Ann Bell

Cupcakes are little hand-held delights of the baking world. They’re just enough to feel like you’re enjoying a decadent treat, but not so much that you feel like you’ve eaten the entire cake. With as many variations as you can dream up, they come in simple as well as unique flavours, and are topped with everything from frosting and sprinkles to bacon and pickles.

Every February, animal rescue organizations including the BCSPCA are holding their annual National Cupcake Day* to raise money for animals, and what better way to get into the spirit than with a cupcake party?

Bake your own or visit one of these Metro Vancouver bakeshops:

Pink Ribbon Bakery
103-306 6th Street, New Westminster

This funky little shop is New West’s go-to spot for cakes and cupcakes.  With their newly introduced “flavour of the week” cupcakes like Mountain Dew x Doritos, Nanaimo Bar or Dill Pickle, in addition to their more traditional flavours, you’re guaranteed a flavour explosion.

Image courtesy of Pink Ribbon Bakery

Butter Lane Bakeshop & Tea House
6607 Royal Avenue, Vancouver’s North Shore

This cozy, mother-daughter-owned bakeshop & teahouse in Horseshoe Bay has a vanilla cupcake with vanilla bean frosting that will change the way you feel about a “plain” vanilla cupcake.  Perfect for settling in for a quiet afternoon with your cupcake and a pot of tea.

Image courtesy of Butter Lane Bakeshop & Tea House

Cassia Bakeshop
1706 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Self-proclaimed cupcake lovers, the folks at Cassia Bakeshop know their way around a cupcake. Originally a cupcakery, specializing in all things cupcake (including gluten-free and vegan), Cassia recently expanded to offer cakes, croissants, cookies and a tasty lunch menu, but cupcakes remain their first love.

Image courtesy of Cassia Bakeshop

Happy Cakes
101-18640 Fraser Highway, Surrey

Is there any dessert happier than a cupcake? The folks at Happy Cakes don’t think so, hence the name of the shop. Choose from filled cupcakes like Caramelicious which is a vanilla cupcake with caramel filling, caramel buttercream and topped with toffee pieces. For a more traditional un-filled cupcake, try their chocolate cupcake topped with their signature blue frosting and sprinkles. At least fifteen different cupcake flavours are offered daily.

Image courtesy of Happy Cakes

Frosting Cupcakery
20411 Fraser Highway, Langley

Sky-high frosting and mouthwatering flavours are Frosting Cupcakery’s cupcake trademarks. Flavours change daily and seasonal cupcakes like the 100% Canadian Cupcake (all things maple) or the Blueberry Bliss make limited seasonal appearances.  Gluten-free cupcakes are also available every day.

Image courtesy of Frosting Cupcakery

The Clever Cupcakes
109 – 2985 Northern Avenue, Coquitlam

Creating an all-natural cupcake with no artificial flavours or colouring, without compromising taste or looks, is the goal of the team at The Clever Cupcakes.  And they definitely deliver.  Baked daily in a nut-free facility, they offer feature flavours such as raspberry or banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Gluten-free cupcakes are also available, in addition to a wide variety of flavours and sizes. Giant cupcake anyone?

Image courtesy of The Clever Cupcakes

Prefer to make your own? Try the Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout Cupcakes recipe from Old Yale Brewing Company.

 

*National Cupcake Day™ is a coordinated Canadian event to support local shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies. In 2017, animal lovers across Canada raised over $600,000 in support of their favourite societies. The campaign has raised $2.45 million to date!

By Brittany Tiplady

Perhaps the groundhogs were mistaken this year. As temperatures are proving winter is here to stay for now, hunkering down with a bowl of comfort food is essential. If you’re looking for some warmth, check out this list of five restaurants in Metro Vancouver that serve up delightful, warm, and nourishing stews, curries, and chilies to hit the spot.

Forkhill House
1616 Alberni St, Vancouver

Forkhill House has a bevy of options for traditional Irish cuisine, but in the spirit of all things warm and comforting check out the Irish stew: braised lamb, russet and sweet potatoes, carrot, parsnip, with a red wine demi ($26).

Calabash Bistro
428 Carrall St, Vancouver

Pop into this eclectic Gastown haunt for Caribbean food, rum drinks and late-night music. Try the jerk beef stew: slow cooked with butternut squash in Calabash jerk sauce, served with rice and peas, seasonal veg and ripe plantain ($19).

Image courtesy of the Calabash Bistro

Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe
9233 Glover Rd, Langley

This famous Fort Langley staple has a menu that never fails! Staying on the theme of hot and hearty, check out the chicken chili yam bowl: grilled chicken, roasted yams, peppers, onions, cilantro, black beans, sweet chili sauce with crisp tortillas and sriracha aioli ($14). The most sought-after dish at Wendel’s however is most definitely the butter chicken: creamy chicken curry with mild cumin and garam masala, basmati rice, cilantro with garlic naan bread ($14).

Wendel’s butter chicken in Langley | Image courtesy of Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe

Washington Avenue Grill
#5 – 15782 Marine Dr, White Rock

It’s doesn’t quite fall under the stew category, but this dish is hearty, warm, and the perfect winter entree. Try the seafood hotpot: salmon, red snapper, prawns, and mussels in a spicy red curry cream broth with rice noodles ($21.99).

Tasty Indian Bistro
8295 120th St, Delta

It’s tough to pick just one menu item from the generous selection Tasty Indian Bistro has to offer. My personal favourites include the Keema curry masala ($15) and the paneer vindaloo (a great option for vegetarians, at $13) and the chicken Tikka masala ($14). Of course, a generous side of naan bread and rice is a must!

By Josh Pape, co-owner, Wildebeest

In honour of Valentine’s Day, Wildebeest co-owner and bar manager Josh Pape has created a signature cocktail for all the lovers out there. A bubbly bevvy with a red hue perfect for the occasion, The Final Rose offers a sweet-and-citrusy mix of sparkling wine, raspberry, aperol, rose water and lemon. 

INGREDIENTS:

Sparkling Wine (90 mL)
6 Raspberries (muddled)
Aperol (15 mL)
Rose Water (2 Drops)
Lemon Juice (15 mL)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add all ingredients except sparkling wine to a cocktail shaker and shake for 7-10 seconds.
  2. Fine strain into a chilled flute glass.
  3. Top with sparkling wine.

By Brittany Tiplady

Ah, February, the month of all things sweet. Sure, the weather may still be chilly but you can’t deny that love is in the air and the temptation for sweets is stronger than ever. If you’re an inquisitive chocolate lover you’ve come to the right place! Consider learning more about your favourite decadent treat at one of these workshops:

Wild Sweets by Dominic and Cindy Duby

Richmond (12191 Hammersmith Way #2145)

Wild Sweets offers weekly sessions, every Saturday, for attendees 10 years and older. Sessions include an extensive and educational chocolate tasting, appreciation and pairing, (including wine, beer, and spirits) priced at $45.

Image courtesy of Wild Sweets by Dominic and Cindy Duby

Coconama

Vancouver’s North Shore (264 East 1st Street)

In only two hours the chocolate experts at Coconama will teach you how to make chocolate from scratch by hand, and of course, you get to take your treats home with you! Classes are $40 per person; reserve your spot now-they sell out quickly!

Chocolate with Geoseph

Burnaby & Vancouver

Heighten your senses with Geoseph’s Chocolate Sensory Workshops that delve into the world of fine chocolate. His approach is fun, exciting and comprehensive, exploring technique that is typically only practiced at a professional level.  Peruse the website for an in-depth look at the repertoire and menu and find a location and date that works best for you! Classes are 2.5 hours and $60 per person.

Image courtesy of Chocolate with Geoseph

XOXOLAT

Vancouver (1271 Homer, between Davie & Drake)

Located in the heart of Yaletown, XOXOLAT is here to spread the love of chocolate, and offer some fun educational workshops for the curious chocolate pupil. Check out their Chocolate Tasting 101 class to learn about the many “facets of chocolate from the bean to the bar,” and taste some of XOXOLAT’s best selling products. Classes are only $25, running mainly on weekends-or, if you’re looking to treat your Valentine to something special, you can book a spot for their Valentine’s Day class.

Image courtesy of XOXOLAT

Koko Monk Raw Chocolate Tasting & Decoding Class

Vancouver (1849 W 1st Ave)

Join Paul Dincer, Koko Monk’s chocolatier and founder on a raw chocolate tasting expedition. Koko Monk’s classes will explore the history and transformation of chocolate “while sampling a wide range of cacao beans and single origin, stone-ground, bean-to-bar chocolate.” It’s forewarned: this class is for more refined palate. Tasting and classes packages are $45 for two.

Purdy’s Chocolatier South Granville

Vancouver (2705 Granville Street)

Of course we couldn’t forget Purdy’s.  In these private classes you’ll learn how to make a batch of truffles or chocolate bark using 100% sustainable cocoa. You’ll be sent home with the treats you make, and extra recipes to try at on your own. Classes are two hours and the location is customizable! Host a workshop at your office space, your home, or go the traditional route, and book your class at Purdys Factory Kitchen in Vancouver.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Spoil your sweetheart and yourself with one of these sumptuous treats just in time for Cupid’s big day. Remember nothing says “I Love You” more than chocolate. Or cake. Or pastries. You get the idea.

Every Community in Metro Vancouver is whipping up something special this year; have a look at our picks from each:

Fieldstone Bakery
Surrey

Their Heart Shaped Cake for 2, ($16) is a chocolate cake filled with hazelnut mousseline and topped with a chocolate mirror glaze. Available from February 9th –18th at the store, but pre-orders are always recommended.

Chez Christophe
Burnaby

A new Velour dessert has red velvet sponge, lemon yogurt mousse, pistachio ganache, pistachio beet chocolate crunch, and raspberry jam. Available February 9th – 14th.

Chez Christophe
Image courtesy of Chez Christophe

Cakes N Sweets
Coquitlam

Valentines High Tea features buttermilk scones with Devonshire cream and jam, cucumber and lemon aioli finger sandwiches, red pepper and cream cheese croissant, three cheese quiche, chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate ganache cups, a macaron, and a mini red velvet cupcake. At $22, be sure and call to reserve in advance.

Thierry
Vancouver

How about his & her Romeo and Juliet cakes? With ingredients like pistachio jaconde, chocolate mousse studded with Kirsch-infused cherries, and pistachio buttercream you can’t go wrong. $22 each and available for in-store pick-up only on February 14th.

Theirry chocolates
Image courtesy of Theirry

Temper Pastry
Vancouver’s North Shore

We love the classic chocolate heart showpieces – filled with creamy caramel.

caramel hearts from Temper
Image courtesy of Temper Pastry

Blacksmith Bakery
Langley

As a part of their sensory “I Do Éclair” line, the bakery is presenting a raspberry champagne meringue éclair. While you’re there, grab some cinnamon heart meringues, Valentine’s cookie necklaces and raspberry white chocolate heart Vienna donuts.

Blacksmith Bakery eclair
Image courtesy of Blacksmith Bakery

Wild Sweets
Richmond

Try the Gianduja & Fruits Heart Collection, from $8.25. Think sweet and melty chocolate with soft orange, lavender, and caramel ganache.

Pink Ribbon Bakery
New Westminster

Grab a “babe cake” – a sweet little cupcake topped with a celebrity babe and a cute message, just for Valentine’s day – $3 each! They also have handmade chocolates and assorted cakes.

 Pink Ribbon Bakery Babe Cakes
Image courtesy of Pink Ribbon Bakery

By Sabrine Dhaliwal, Bar Manager, UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

Sweetly spiced and with a dreamy pink hue, UVA’s “In Between Cupid” cocktail will have you falling for bar manager Sabrine Dhaliwal this Valentine’s Day. The bright, citrusy cocktail features gin, Campari, lemon juice, homemade spiced pineapple syrup and Bittered Sling Denman bitters which add complexity and an aromatic kick to this swoon-worthy sipper.

INGREDIENTS

Tanqueray  (1.5 oz)
Campari (0.5 oz)
Spiced Pineapple Syrup (0.5 oz)
(The syrup is a blend of vanilla, cinnamon, green cardamom, star anise, peppercorns, pineapple juice and sugar)
Lemon Juice (0.5 oz)
Bittered Sling Denman Bitters (two dashes)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients into a cocktail tin, add ice and shake vigorously for 7 to 10 seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist with a heart cutout.

By Catherine Dunwoody

It’s February – have you made your Valentine’s Day reservations yet? Celebrate your most beloved loved one with a special evening for two at one of these restaurants across Metro Vancouver. Champagne optional (but not really – bubbly is pretty much essential).

My Shanti

Surrey

Considered to be one of the best restaurants for Indian cuisine in the lower mainland, this Vij’s owned eatery has an exotic, dreamy vibe that is sure to set hearts aflame. Plus, spicy food helps.

Interior of My Shanti in Surrey
Interior of My Shanti in Surrey | Image Courtesy of My Shanti

Wild Rice

New Westminster, in River Market

Order the share table for two, $60, with $5 from every meal donated to Ocean Wise. Nibble on sautéed prawns, organic Angus beef carpaccio, seared sablefish and more. A sexy sharesie meal indeed.

Share table at Wild Rice
Share table at Wild Rice | Image courtesy of Wild Rice

Horizons

Burnaby
The view is absolutely spectacular in the gardens of Burnaby Mountain Park. Book soon to reserve a table early in the evening before sunset.

Globe@YVR

Richmond

Their interactive pop-up chocolate bar, $40, includes a hand-rolled truffle station, house-made cakes and candies, and even a liquid nitrogen sundae station. Live music and a special cocktail list will make it a fabulous night out.

Globe@YVR | Image courtesy of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport

H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore

Vancouver

For $120 per couple, indulge in multi courses including local oysters with caviar, aburi sashimi, beef wellington and dark chocolate fondue. Additional wine pairings are $55 extra and they are so worth it.

Image courtesy of H Tasting Lounge

The Lobby Restaurant at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier

North Shore

Special for Valentine’s Day, The Lobby Restaurant is offering a five-course dinner, $69 per person, that includes delicious choices like lobster bisque, duck confit, panna cotta and more.

The Fat Cow

Langley

Try a 4 course aphrodisiac dinner for $69 per guest, that includes raw oysters to start (naturally), plus choices of mains including pan roasted salmon and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

The Fat Cow
Image courtesy of The Fat Cow

Carnivores Rio Brazil Steakhouse

Coquitlam

Why not make your V-Day a carnivore carnival? Meat lovers can share a Rio-style meal with a great glass of red. Who says bubbly and oysters are for everyone, anyways?

Carnivores Rio Brazil Steakhouse
Image Courtesy of Carnivores Rio Brazil Steakhouse

By Brittany Tiplady

Spring, so close yet so far. We recommend hibernating for the remaining winter months with a cold beer and a whole lot of Netflix. Or, hang out in one of the tap rooms listed below and take advantage of the rich, wintery beers they have to offer.

Dageraad Brewing

3191 Thunderbird Crescent #114, Burnaby

Londen, 7.0%

Dageraad is the purveyor of classy and full-bodied craft beer. Recently released on January 19th, is Dageraad’s latest winter sipper called Londen; an English porter that is brewed with Belgian and Canadian influence and the “fruity, spicy mystery of a Belgian fermentation.” Try this on tap or in bottles at the Dageraad tasting room.

Image courtesy of Dageraad Brewing

10°, 10.5%

Hold onto your hats, this one is not for the faint of heart (or the lightweight)! The new Dageraad 10°, a 2016 bronze medalist at the 2016 BC Beer Awards, is an exotic winter brew quadruple brewed with unrefined sugars. 10° pays homage to the “strong, dark ales brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium,” a true testament to Dageraad’s Belgian roots and inspiration.

Image courtesy of Dageraad Brewing

Steamworks Brewery & Taproom

845 William St, Burnaby

Salted Chocolate Porter, 6%

This decadent brew is the first release of Steamworks’ illumination series. Find the Salted Chocolate Porter available in 650 ml bottles, boasting rich chocolate and vanilla aromas and flavours, brewed with hand-harvested Pacific Ocean Fleur de Sel from Vancouver Island Salt Co.

Winter Lager, 5.4%

Different than your average golden lager, the Steamworks Winter Lager pours a deep copper colour, with a fine balance of hops and rich malt flavour. Enjoy this easy drinking treat in 473 ml tall cans!

 

Image courtesy of Steamworks Brewery

Blitzen, 9%
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen! This daring winter beer is an ode to the beloved Belgian Trippel. Strong citrus aromas, and toasted malt.

East Van Brewing Company

1675 Venables St, Vancouver

When it Rains it Porters, 5%

A jet black American porter, easy on the alcohol content but rich with cocoa aromas. Brewed with Columbus and EKG hops. A delightful rainy-day treat.

Want more winter craft beer? Check out the seasonal winter beer in Vancouver’s North Shore, Surrey & Coquitlam, New Westminster & Richmond and Vancouver.

By Kristi Alexandra

Winter’s far from over, but the Christmas rush has many of our local craft breweries drying up their stores of limited release selections. If you’ve got a hankering to bring back the holiday season with a few sips of the suds just north of the Fraser, here’s where you can still pour some pints in New Westminster and Richmond.

Steel and Oak

1319 3rd Ave, New Westminster

This Third Street brewery is still going strong with its limited release, Windrose. This four-grain porter will bring you back to Christmas morning by the fire with the rich taste of chocolate, caramel and toffee fit for overindulging.

Sadly, you won’t find it on tap but there are still a few cases of the Zusammen Cardamom Fig Stout floating around Metro Vancouver liquor store shelves. This spicy beverage was brewed by the women of Steel and Oak along with Head Brewer Eric. Partial proceeds from this beer goes to support WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women)’s Rape Crisis Centre. Cheers to that!

Instead of reminiscing, you could move onto to the future with their latest: Simple Things. This fluffy German Pilsner is “crisp, clean, with notes of honey, graham cracker, biscuit, and a refreshing and lengthy bitterness.”

Brittania Brewing

250-12240 Second Ave, Richmond

This Steveston-based brewery has beer flowing as fast as the river it sits on – so don’t miss a pour of The Sirens Chai Saison. Made up of ingredients one knows to relish in their mulled wine recipe, this farmhouse ale combines a local chai-tea blend including rooibos, orange, star anise, clove and pepper. Bottoms up!

The Sirens Chai Saison | Britannia Brewing
The Sirens Chai Saison | Image courtesy of Britannia Brewing

Fuggles & Warlock

103 – 11220 Horseshoe Way, Richmond

There’s nothing that really ushers in the excitement of spring like a fresh plum blossom, which is perhaps what the Fuggles & Warlock Kiwami Plum Sour aims to do. This tart kettle sour made with fresh plums is light and sweet, with prickles lactic acidity for the tongue. Spring’s not here yet – but a sip of this beer will transport you a few months into the future.

Want more winter craft beer? Check out the seasonal winter beer in Vancouver’s North Shore, Surrey & Coquitlam, and Vancouver.

By Alexis Baran

I dare you to put a jellyfish in your mouth. Double dare! The Blue Water Café makes it easy to brag about your culinary audacity this February with the Unsung Heroes Festival.

The “heroes” of the festival are the locally plentiful, sustainable, yet overlooked and delicious seafood that North American menus have often forgotten. Barnacles for example (yes, those sharp little guys who dig into your bare feet on the beach) actually come in many varieties. Gooseneck barnacles, sourced from Clayoquot sound, have a soft stalk that Executive Chef Frank Pabst has featured in previous years. This year the oddball star of the show is red sea cucumber, a soft creature who lives on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean down to 250 m (820 ft). Try the red sea cucumber “hot dog style” with Asian pear and sweet pepper relish and uni miso mustard on a nori bun.

unsung-heroes2
Grilled octopus | Photo: John Sherlock

If you enjoy French escargot, try one of the west coast versions this year. Whelk are ocean snails, which Pabst is poaching with BC endives, slow cooked ham, and mornay sauce.  Limpets are also ocean snails with a cone-like shell (they look a bit like barnacles), which you can try in a paella.

For those who frequent Asian restauraunts, some of these ingredients may already be favorites. Jellyfish, sea urchin, fish roe and smelt, all of which will be on offer, are regulars in global cuisine that are underutilized on west coast contemporary menus, and any squeamish tendencies toward these can be conquered with mind-over-matter since each is locally sourced, sustainable, and has been prepared and eaten as a part of family meals for thousands of years.

An easy one to start with is smelt – just tiny little fishes with mild-tasting white meat. Just because they are usually served whole, doesn’t mean you have to eat the head (though you definitely can!) Pabst will be frying them to a crisp and serving them in tacos this year.

During the festival, the sustainable seafoods become heroes in more ways than one – ten percent of the proceeds of the Unsung Heroes Festival go to the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program, which works with restaurants to promote sustainability all year round.

Photo: John Sherlock
Sesame-marinated jellyfish | Photo: John Sherlock

Now, let’s get back to that jellyfish dare. During February, jellyfish will be served with kimchi, braised chicken, onion and carrot.  Give it a try, share it with a friend, and get adventurous.

The Unsung Heroes Festival is on this year from February 1 – 27, 2018

Blue Water Café
1095 Hamilton, Vancouver
www.bluewatercafe.net

By Kristi Alexandra

Though the holidays have passed, winter doesn’t officially end until well into March, and nor do the city’s seasonal brews. While it may be too late for that craft beer advent calendar, the seasonal suds are still flowing with these Vancouver-based beers. We suggest you run, don’t walk, to find the following beers in the city before they stop flowing (and most definitely, don’t drive after).

Postmark Brewing

55 Dunlevy Ave.

Winter Warmer
Bring it in for a classic, with touches so subtle you could drink this all-year-long. Dark, rich malts find themselves in a warming ale with refreshingly minimal spices.

Parallel 49

1950 Triumph St.

Broken Resolution Cherry Baltic Porter

Finally, a winter beer that looks beyond December 25th. For when you give up on sober January, grab a hold of Parallel 49’s twist on the classic English Porter. Chocolate, plum, and a bright tart, cherry flavour pop out from a roasted malt base.

 

Rock The Bells Cranberry Sour

Rock the Bells is a Sour Cranberry Ale that harkens back to your Christmas dinner. A tart, crisp cranberry flavour permeates this brew, which is the perfect accoutrement to any comfort food fare.

 

 

Strange Fellows Brewing

1345 Clark Dr.

Krampus

“Rich, sweet, and with a hint of Red Twizzler” is how Strange Fellows describes their holiday beer named after a European goat-demon meant to scare “bad children” on Christmas. Warm, malty, and hints of chocolate, cherry, and toffee permeate this pale Canadian brew. Trust us, this tastes a lot more delightful than its semi-evil folkloric title would suggest.

Bomber Brewing

1488 Adanac St.

Choqlette Chocolate Porter
If chocolate over the holidays is your weakness, this brew is for you. Tons of cocoa with a toasty black malt take over this beer. Find hints of banana with a healthy amount of yeast, harkening back to the most comforting chocolate chip banana bread you’ve ever tasted.

 

Granville Island Brewing

1441 Cartwright St.

Lions Winter Ale

Vanilla, cocoa, and caramel are the spotlight for the city’s most ubiquitous seasonal beer. Year after year, Granville Island’s Lions Winter Ale gives you the cozy comfort of winter that deserves a spot on your Hygge Pinterest board.

Stanley Park Brewing

New location coming soon!

Mandarin IPA

Reminisce about the oranges in your Christmas stocking by kicking back with this citrusy brew. Freshly peeled mandarin citrus, lemon, and grapefruit punctuate each sip of this winter IPA.

Strathcona Beer Company

895 E Hastings St.

Brrr! Winter Radler
For those who love the refreshing citrus of holiday flavours with a little less yeast. This winter radler blends beer, fresh cranberry and mandarin juice. Light, effervescent and easy-to-drink – the perfect beer to transition into spring.

Want more winter craft beer? Check out the seasonal winter beer in Vancouver’s North Shore, Surrey & Coquitlam, and New Westminster & Richmond.

By VisitRichmondBC.com

The arrival of 2018 heralds the chance to start afresh and to seek out new dining adventures in Metro Vancouver. Richmond, as an exciting nexus of so many different culinary traditions, is constantly evolving as a dining destination.

In the last six months, many new restaurants have launched, adding their menus to the breadth of options available in the city. Here are five establishments to kick-start your 2018 dining adventures.

I Love Fish

132-4200 No. 3 Road

I Love Fish
I Love Fish | Image by Tara Lee

In the last few years, a host of different hot pot restaurants have emerged in Richmond, offering their take on this delicious and interactive dining experience. I Love Fish one of the most recent entrants that specializes in (you guessed it) fish hot pot, Chongqing style. The room is a colourful space with a graffitied pop art aesthetic and servers are helpful and attentive. When you arrive, you’ll be presented with a laminated menu for checking off your desired broth, as well as add-in ingredients. All soups come with slices of cod, but can be customized with different flavours, such as curry, tomato, or soy.

I Love Fish Richmond BC Canada
I Love Fish | Image by Tara Lee

The hot and spicy version comes particularly recommended, though you should be prepared: even the mild broth is a real tongue burner. There are a range of ingredients to cook in the bubbling broth, including seafood balls (such as crab, shrimp), yam slices, rice noodles, tofu knots, and beef tripe.

Ichigo Ichie Ramen

150-11060 No. 5 Road

Ichigo Ichie Ramen Richmond BC Canada
Ichigo Mayu ramen | Image by Ichigo Ichie Ramen

The ramen craze continues with the opening of this new establishment. Located in East Richmond just off Highway 99, Ichigo Ichie Ramen exudes a hip vibe, with a stone-tiled accent wall, funky pendant lights, and an overall brightly inviting look.

Ordering works through a paper sheet for customizing your bowl of ramen. Choose between shoyu, shio, miso, vegetable, and mayu (spicy) ramen with garlic black oil. You also get to choose between chicken or pork chasiu, as well as pork, chicken, or vegetable broth. Additional ingredients include pork belly, nori, sweet corn, and a seasoned egg.

The menu offers a variety of rice bowls (such as spicy cod roe), as well as small plates, such as gyoza and chicken karaage. In sum, this is a great new spot for a quick and lip-smacking meal.

Ginger Indian Cuisine

490-9100 Blundell Road

Ginger Indian korma at Ginger Indian Cuisine
Ginger Indian korma at Ginger Indian Cuisine | Image by Tourism Richmond

The popular Ginger Indian Cuisine (140-3031 Beckham Place) has opened a new location, making their consistently standout Indian cuisine available to even more hungry diners. Interiors are modern, with plenty of comfortable booth seating. Regulars to the original restaurant (and newbies) can look forward to classic northern Indian dishes, such as butter chicken, lamb rogan josh, chicken or lamb korma, and spinach paneer. Of course, these rich dishes require sharing with friends and family, in addition to sides of saffron pilau rice and naan (garlic, whole wheat, paneer-stuffed).

New to the second location are items like grilled ground lamb sheesh kababs, calamari coated in chick pea batter and deep fried, and chicken wings marinated with ginger, garlic, and spices. Sip from a fragrant cup of chai in between bites of such Indian culinary bounty, and all feels right with the world.

Mr. Black Restaurant

2790-4151 Hazelbridge Way

Guykatsu at Mr. Black Richmond BC Canada
Guykatsu at Mr. Black | Image by Under Table Studio

 

In Aberdeen Centre, a new restaurant has taken the place of the former Guu Richmond. Mr. Black Restaurant boasts a sleek dark-hued décor and overall vibe, with a menu that distinctively focuses on Japanese katsu (deep fried cutlets) and other deep-fried specialties. Items include wagyu beef and foie gras korokke (croquettes), battered fried chicken, and both seafood (eg halibut) and pork katsu.

Their specialty is gyukatsu, deep fried wagyu beef cutlet that arrives ready for grilling to your liking at the table. Some of the items are coated in charcoal breadcrumbs, giving them a “black” appearance. While all this deep-frying may seem overwhelming, the restaurant aims for a crisp texture and light flavour. Fruit salad with lemon yogurt dressing, and green salad with fruit vinaigrette are available to balance out the indulgence.

Chiu Chow Cuisine

1080-8580 Alexandra Road

Chiu Chow Cuisine Richmond BC
Braised egg tofu | Image provided by Chiu Chow Cuisine

The extensive menu at this recently opened restaurant features many quintessential Chiu Chow items, like fried oyster omelette, braised duck, braised egg and tofu, cold crab, and steamed chicken in bean paste. Be sure to order the Chiu Chow-style wide rice noodle soup with seaweed and fish balls for a comforting, wintry dish. End your meal with sugar-coasted deep fried taro bars, a popular regional snack.

Ultimately, 2018 promises to be a fabulous eating year in Richmond. There’s no time like the present in getting started on your New Year’s solution to try new places and new cuisines!

 

By Brittany Tiplady

Beer can be romanticized in so many ways but the great Charles Bukowski nailed it: “stay with the beer,” he penned “beer is continuous blood. A continuous lover.” The holidays have come and gone, but Metro Vancouver’s mild winter weather is here to stay, at least for a few months. Curl up with these seasonal winter brews found in Surrey, White Rock and Coquitlam.

Russell Brewing Company

13018 80 Ave, Surrey

Winter Stout, 6.5%

The name says it all. Available now in 650ml at private liquor stores, Russell Brewing’s Winter Stout is chock-full of chocolate and black malts and roasted barley.

Black Death Porter, 6.5%

Buckle up for this one! The Black Death Porter, part of Russell Brewing’s Brewmaster Seasonal Series, is a heavy porter brewed with Canadian and Scottish malted barley. Find it on tap or on the shelves at private liquor stores but buyer beware: Russell warns that the Black Death Porter may result in some quirky behaviour.

 

 

Central City Brewers and Distillers

11411 Bridgeview Dr, Surrey

Thor’s Hammer-Limited Release, 11.5%

If barley wine is your palate pleaser, try the award-winning Thor’s Hammer -aptly depicted as a big flavoured and big bodied winter sipper. Crafted from fine barley malt, boasting deep and rich notes of dried fruit, plum and candy with a walnut finish. Find it on draught or in 650ml bottles.

 

White Rock Brewing

#13 – 3033 King George Blvd. Surrey

White Rock Mountain Ale, 5%

White Rock Brewing is an under-the-radar nano brewery that’s passionate about pouring fresh, chemical-free beer brewed onsite. Keeping it hyper-local, White Rock Brewing gets their hops from Chilliwack Hop Farms. Seasonals rotate every week, but we encourage you to head down quick and give the Mountain Ale a try-molasses, roasted barley grain, golding hops and a mild English finish.

Mariner Brewing

H-1100 Lansdowne Drive, Coquitlam

Night Sky Mocha Stout, 4.85%

It’s no secret that we are big fans of Mariner Brewing over here and we encourage you to pop into their sleek tasting room for a fresh, unique, and quality pint any time of year. This winter season, head into Mariner for the Night Sky Mocha Stout-a bold flavoured stout brewed with Creekside Coffee Factory coffee. Try this one in cans, on draught, or take a growler home with you!

 

 

 

 

 

Want more winter craft beer? Check out the seasonal winter beer in Vancouver’s North Shore, Vancouver, and New Westminster & Richmond.

By Kristi Alexandra

Imagine taking your two favourite pastimes and making them into a business. That’s what Pizzeria Ludica owner Daryl Boone decided to do.

He and his wife opened up their first restaurant on Vancouver’s Keefer Street four years ago, combining the two things they loved to do together most: share a meal and play board games.

Pizzeria Ludica Vancouver New West
Image courtesy of Pizzeria Ludica

“The idea is that people can come and order food, and after they’ve eaten they can stay up to two hours to play board games,” Boone tells WestCoastFood.

“I’ve been in the board game hobby for 10-plus years with my wife, and we’ve been looking for a small business to do together for a long time,” he says, “we thought we’d really like it if there were more restaurants out there that had more board games.”

So they decided to do it themselves, adding some of their own personal collection to the eatery.

As of this year, you can find the couple’s second location in New Westminster, the latest place to get your buffalo margherita pizza with a side of Cards Against Humanity.

But great food and fun games isn’t the only reason Boone started Pizzeria Ludica – which translates roughly to a pizzeria about games.

Pizzeria Ludica Pizza
Image courtesy of Pizzeria Ludica

“As a board gamer, I’m actually very sensitive to people spending too much time on their screens,” Boone reveals.

“Board games are necessary now more than ever, and I’ve found they’re a very good first date kind of thing. It fills out that awkward silence… and if you make a joke and it kind of falls flat, just play the game for a bit and it eases the tension.”

In Vancouver or New Westminster you’ll be able to nibble on 14 of their Neapolitan house pizzas, from the Montreal to the Carcassone. If classic Italian fare is more your speed, you’ll enjoy splitting a prosciutto e rucola with fior di latte mozzarella, prosciutto crudo (cured ham), arugula, and shaved Parmesan or the simple mozza, basil and tomato sauce margherita. There is also a selection of pastas.

Prices for a pie run you anywhere from $13.50 to $17.50, while you can snag a few appies (such as the warm, mixed olives) for as little as $6.

Daryl Boone, owner of Pizzeria Ludica
Daryl Boone, owner | Image courtesy of Pizzeria Ludica

“I want people to unplug and get away from their phones and enjoy a meal,” Boone reiterates, “there’s no universal pastime like board gaming. A meal and a game is perfect!”

Pizzeria Ludica
Vancouver:
189 Keefer Place

New Westminster:
601 Carnarvon Street

By VisitRichmondBC.com

Dine Out Vancouver has started its 16th season, and we’ve compiled every single participating restaurant in Richmond – there are 18 in total, and we’ve even included what you should eat at each of them.

$20 Menu

 

The Flying Beaver Bar & Grill

Watch float planes land and take off at this unique bar & grill located on the north arm of the Fraser River, as you enjoy your Dine Out meal here! Offering both a dinner and lunch menu (both $20 each), we’d pick the clam chowder, the hoisin ginger sockeye salmon and a chocolate brownie to warm ourselves up during the cold days.

The Flying Beaver Bar & Grill

Monkey 9 Brewpub

Richmond’s newest brewpub joins the Dine Out Vancouver with a menu developed by Chef Kevin Connaghan. The newly renovated, open concept kitchen with a woodstone pizza oven basically tells diners that they can’t miss the pizza. Start with the beet & goat feta salad, followed by their special spicy kimchi and pork belly pizza, and top it off with a homestyle carrot cake (or a boozy Irish coffee!).

$30 Menu

 

The Boathouse Restaurant – Richmond

Known for amazing seafood dishes and a great cocktail selection, The Boathouse Restaurant in Richmond doesn’t disappoint. The Boathouse Restaurant offers both a dinner and lunch menu (both priced at $30), and our top picks include the seafood chowder, the pacific cod & chips, and… we gotta go for the mocha ice cream pie here!

Catch Kitchen + Bar

Located just above Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant in Steveston, this restaurant is not to be missed. Enjoy a wide array of west coast fare here, including the stuffed mushroom caps, the surf & turf, and the sticky toffee pudding – it’s seriously one of the best.

CAVU Kitchen Bar – Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel

Offering both dinner and lunch menus (please note, lunch menu is priced at $18), guests can enjoy fresh, flavourful food and drinks in a cool, laid-back atmosphere. Our top choices here include the mussels, the hoisin braised pork belly and of course, the red velvet cupcake jar.

Harold’s Bistro & Bar – Sheraton Vancouver Airport

Named after one of their most loyal patrons, Harold Cross, this restaurant has a charm all its own. Enjoy the shrimp swirl pop, the chicken curry and a delicious white chocolate mousse cake during their dinner service – offered from 5pm to 9pm during Dine Out Vancouver.

Little Mexico Cantina

Situated in beautiful Steveston, Little Mexico Cantina offers authentic Mexican food at an affordable price. Take a trip around Mexico with their themed Dine Out Vancouver menu – visit Mexico City by diving into a bowl of tortilla soup. Taste Sonora through their beef fajitas and top it off with churros with chocolate from Vera Cruz.

Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Known for their laid-back atmosphere and delicious plates of comfort food, Moxie’s won’t disappoint, no matter what you order. We’d pick the spicy tuna roll, the rustic Italian pulled short ribs and the sticky toffee pudding.

Shady Island Seafood Bar & Grill

Reach out and touch the Fraser River from Shady Island Seafood Bar & Grill, right on the waterfront in historic Steveston. Known best for their fresh seafood, our top picks here include the seafood chowder cup, the signature dish – the Fisherman’s Pot, and the strawberry champagne cheesecake – an ever-popular dessert.

The Shoestring Cafe

A new addition to Dine Out Vancouver, the Shoestring Café is a hidden gem in east Richmond. The value here can’t be beaten. Start your meal off with the grilled marinated quail, the grilled lobster tail and scallop risotto and finish it off with a chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream. Delish!

Yokohama Teppanyaki Japanese Restaurant

Artful, entertaining and delicious – it’s always a show at Yokohama Teppanyaki! Featuring both dinner and lunch menus (lunch menu priced at $19.95), this eatery also offers a vegetarian dine out menu. Get your surf and turf on with their three entrée menu options, and get ready to be wowed by the chef’s skills at the hot grill.

Yokohama Teppanyaki Japanese Restaurant | Image by Laura Zhu

$40 Menu

 

The American Grille – Vancouver Airport Marriott

Enjoy Executive Chef Danilo Ibarra’s delicious cuisine at American Grille, where seafood dishes are your best bet. Our top picks from this year’s Dine Out Vancouver menu include the tuna tataki, the seared ling cod and… can we have all three desserts please?

The American Grille

Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant

Executive Chef Daryle Nagata takes fresh seafood to a whole new level, infusing it with Asian influences. Our top picks here include the signature seafood chowder, the baked wild BC salmon and the warm apple tart a la mode… though you really can’t go wrong with either dessert.

Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant

Carver’s Steakhouse

Known for their steak, Carver’s Steakhouse has been feeding Richmondites for a long time. You can’t go wrong with the spicy beef bites, the 10 ounce New York Peppercorn strip loin, and the chocolate eruption cheesecake.

Chop Steakhouse & Bar

This upscale restaurant definitely has a resort vibe to it, and a wine menu that’s hard to beat. Offering both dinner and lunch menus (lunch is $20 for the set), you can’t leave Chop Steakhouse without trying the steak. Our top picks include the crab cakes, the prime rib and the warm apple crumble to finish things off. Yum!

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Richmond South

Located south of Steveston Highway on No. 5 Road in Richmond, The Richmond Keg Steakhouse + Bar is the preferred dining destination for locals as well as visitors. Start your meal off with the wild mushroom soup, followed by any of the steak options (tip: the top sirloin is 12 ounces!), and finish it off with your choice of a chocolatey, mocha pie or a thick and creamy cheesecake.

Red Star Restaurant

If you’ve ever wanted to try a 10-course Chinese banquet meal, Red Star Restaurant’s Dine Out Vancouver dinner menu lets you do just that – with a very affordable price tag. Our top picks are the hot & sour soup, the two-course Peking duck (best bang for your buck here!), and you won’t be disappointed by the Chef’s dessert of the day!

Tramonto at River Rock Casino Resort

Enjoy Executive Chef Eric Pless’ newest creations at Tramonto, found on the third floor of the east hotel tower in River Rock Casino Resort. Start off with the spiced winter squash Veloute, followed by the braised bison brisket and finish your meal off with their toffee bread pudding!

Dine Out Vancouver starts from January 19 until February 4, 2018. Book your table early and come hungry!

By Alexis Baran

It’s mid-January in Vancouver, and we are ready to stop letting the possibility of a little more winter rain dictate our plans at this point – we are ready to be outside. Street Food City, a part of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival is right on time, with a meeting of over 20 food trucks downtown all in one spot. Grab your coat, have your umbrella in hand, and follow the scent of melting cheeses, searing meats, grilling vegetables and wafts of spices to the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival Street Food City
Image by Tourism Vancouver / Vision Event Photography

You can get hot and gooey with not one but two grilled cheese trucks (with vegan cheese and gluten-free options) or have a heap of mac & cheese that goes from a classic style to topped with broccoli or banana peppers or even (and you’ve got to try this one) roasted seaweed and teriyaki.

If you’re into more world cuisine, travel around by sampling goodies from one of the many globally-inspired trucks. Aussie pies are made in the Australian style but with with local Canadian meats and veggies.  Of the Sicilian risotto balls at Mr. Arancino’s truck, the Salmon Arancini balls are my favourite, and he even has vegetarian and vegan options (yes, vegan risotto balls) on the menu. There are also Indian butter chicken schnitzels by world-renowned and celebrity chef, Vikram Vij; Korean tacos; Thai soup; Jamaican patties, and other flavourful bites for you find on your festival wander.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival Street Food City
Image by Tourism Vancouver / Rob Gilbert Photography

Vancouver’s own Kafka’s Coffee will be rolling in from Main Street and serving hot espresso drinks, pour-over coffee and teas to warm your hands while you wait.

In case of precipitation and for the added luxury of seated, two-handed chowing, there will be tents set up where you can spread out with friends and share your findings (or keep it all to yourself – your call).

Street Food City is January 22 – 28, check here for more information.

 

By Brittany Tiplady

Vancouver’s North Shore winters may be chilly and long, but there is always beer- and Kinky Friedman said it best: “Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.”

We know the holidays are long over (thank goodness!) but if seasonal beers are your jam, you’re in luck! There’s still a bevy of winter-themed brews stocked by beloved craft breweries on Vancouver’s North Shore to keep yourself warm for the winter months to come.

 

Green Leaf Brewing

123 Carrie Cates Court, Lonsdale Quay Market, North Vancouver

LoLo Stout 5.5%
Named after Green Leaf’s Lower Lonsdale neighborhood, LoLo is a dark and hearty stout that boasts rich and delicious chocolate and coffee flavours. Perfect for the endless North Shore winters.

 

Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers

2270 Dollarton Hwy #170, North Vancouver

Deep Cove Brewers Winter Craft Beer
Image Courtesy of Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers

Dog Mountain Extra Stout, 7.5% (Cans only)
Deep Cove Brewers lovingly describes the Dog Mountain Extra Stout as a “big wool sweater, but for your tummy,” and boy, is that an accurate description. Bundle up and sip on this stout apres ski and enjoy the rich notes of chocolate and espresso.

 

Beere Brewing Company

312 Esplanade E, North Vancouver

Alpine Start beer | Image courtesy of Beere Brewing
Alpine Start | Image courtesy of Beere Brewing

Alpine Start, 6.5%
A loaded IPA dryhopped with plenty of Mosaic and Chinook. Tropical, smooth, with a piney flavour and a resinous mouthfeel.

 

Bridge Brewing Company

1448 Charlotte Rd, North Vancouver

Bridge Brewing Winter Beer
Image courtesy of Bridge Brewing

The Grinch- Winter Ale, 6.50%
Bridge Brewing is current pouring this winter treat until the supply runs out! This delightful ale has aromas of caramelized malt and dried fruit, but not too overkill on the typical holiday flavours and spices.

Santa’s Sack- Belgian Golden Strong Ale, 10%
This hazy strong ale is not for the faint of heart-you might want to try this one with some food in your belly! Enjoy the classic Belgian yeast flavours of Santa’s Sac with some notes of banana and pear and a dry, floral, and hoppy, finish.

Sleigh booster – Imperial Red, 9%
This bold, bitter, and deep amber beer would be paired well with a hearty feast. Expect flavours of toffee and thick malt, and a delightfully hoppy aroma.

Want more winter craft beer? Check out the seasonal winter beer in Surrey & Coquitlam, Vancouver, and New Westminster & Richmond.

By Brittany Tiplady

We have Europe to thank for the invention of olive oil and balsamic tasting bars. Now, olive oil specialty shops are popping up around Metro Vancouver and making quite the impression on curious foodies.

Artisanal olive oil shops don’t just have bottles of beautiful oils (and most also have a large selection of vinegars) on display, olive oil tastings bars present an interactive and educational experience. Customers can peruse the lineup of fustis, special stainless-steel jars that store olive oil and balsamics, and learn about the flavours, origins, and make of each oil and vinegar. Tasting olive oils offers a sensory experience for the consumer, bringing the flavour profile we usually read on a label right to your palate.

Vancouver Olive Oil Company
Vancouver Olive Oil Company

“Smaller boutique shops get people talking about traceability when it comes to olive oil. Shops like ours educate customers on who you are supporting, and the freshness of the oils; I fell in love with the business concept because of this education. I really enjoy it,” says Vancouver Olive Oil Company owner, Michael-Ann Dodds.

“We started educating the public on extra virgin olive oil and what to look for. When an oil has been made, you should be looking for a harvest date or a crushed date, and consuming the oil within a year of that time.”

Vancouver Olive Oil Company is the first olive oil tasting shop in British Columbia and since, the trend has continued to flourish throughout Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, fueling the farm-to-table food movement right down to the condiment.

Check out the list of artisanal olive oil specialty shops in Metro Vancouver:

The Vancouver Olive Oil Company
A family owned business and the first shop of its kind in the province. This Kitsilano staple has a vast selection of artisanal oils and vinegars to sample and purchase. My personal favourite: the wild mushroom and sage olive oil.
2571 West Broadway, Vancouver. Open Tuesday-Sunday.

vooc.ca

Coastal Olive Oils
A South Delta gem that offers a full tasting room with a bevvy of flavours and varieties to sample and purchase.
1315 56 St Unit 121, Delta (Tsawwassen). Open seven days a week.

www.coastaloliveoils.ca

Heringers Meats
This Steveston staple is not just a butcher shop. Heringers offers a generous selection of artisanal olive oils to complete your shopping list in our place. No lineup of fustis for sampling here, but premium products available all the same.
190, 12251 No 1 Rd, Richmond. Open Tuesday to Saturday.
heringersmeats.com

Kimm Brickman-Pineau and Glenn Pineau of All Of Oils | Image courtesy of All Of Oils, Surrey
Kimm Brickman-Pineau and Glenn Pineau of All Of Oils | Image courtesy of All Of Oils, Surrey

All of Oils-Wholesome Oils and Vinegars
This shop is at the helm of artisanal olive oil shops in the Fraser Valley.  Check out their various locations for extra virgin olive oils, flavoured olive oils, speciality oils, balsamic vinegars, and flavoured vinegars.  Added bonus: you’ll  find many certified organic, gluten free, and kosher products on the shelves.
South Surrey location-#160-2940 King George Blvd.
Langley location-20450 Douglas Crescent.
Abbotsford location-#102A-2649 Trethewey St.
All locations open seven days a week.

Olives on Tap
Since opening in 2012, Olives on tap is the North Shores pioneer of artisanal olive oils and tastings, providing guests with a wealth of knowledge on their selection of premium extra virgin oils and vinegars.

928 16th St W, North Vancouver. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

olivesontap.com

Rain City Olives
Olive oil, like everything in 2017, is now available online. Rain City Olives is an e-commerce shop based in Vancouver that offers naturally fused and infused olive oil from all over the world. Shop online or find Rain City Olives at a local seasonal market.
raincityolives.ca

By Alexis Baran

The Dine Out Vancouver Festival graces plates across the city from January 19th – February 4th, and along with 3-course meals, culinary tours, classes and tastings come guest chefs cooking up inspired collaborations. Each chef from abroad will be in the kitchen with a Vancouverite, and each pair will work together creating something that shakes up the tastebuds.

Look who’s teaming up:

Chef Fumihiro Matsumoto and Vancouver’s Chef Andrea Carlson
Chef Andrea Carlson and Chef Fumihiro Matsumoto

Tokyo
Who: Chef Fumihiro Matsumoto and Vancouver’s Chef Andrea Carlson
Where: Burdock & Co. restaurant
When: January 22
Details: Burdock & Co. Chef and Owner Andrea Carlson welcomes Chef Fumihiro Matsumoto and Maitre d’ Kenji Kawamura of Kantera Restaurant in Tokyo. This farm-to-table multi-course dinner was inspired by Chef Carlson’s recent trip to Japan and will combine each of the chef’s favourite culinary inspirations, using fresh sustainable seafood and locally-grown ingredients.

Dine Out Vancouver World Chef Exchange Indigenous
Saskatoon’s Chef Rich Francis, Edmonton’s Chef Shane Chartrand, Winnipeg’s Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther and Vancouver’s Chef Tobias Grignon

Indigenous Canada
Who:Saskatoon’s Chef Rich Francis, Edmonton’s Chef Shane Chartrand, Winnipeg’s Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther and Vancouver’s Chef Tobias Grignon
Where: Edible Canada restaurant
When: January 24
Details: Join Edible Canada’s Director of Culinary, Chef Tobias Grignon as he joins forces with a trio of award-winning indigenous Canadian chefs; Rich Francis (Saskatoon), Christa Bruneau-Guenther (Winnipeg) and Shane Chartrand (Edmonton). This collaboration will consist of an eight-course feast showcasing indigenous products, stories, people, wines and cocktails, with the aim to bring Canadians together around a common table and celebrate indigenous heritage and the people who first inhabited these lands.

 

Chef Jiuxin Fan and Vancouver’s Chef Kamal Silva
Chef Kamal Silva and Chef Jiuxin Fan

Beijing
Who: Chef Jiuxin Fan and Vancouver’s Chef Kamal Silva
Where: HJU:Z Lounge at the Westin Bayshore Hotel
When: January 30
Details: The Westin Bayshore’s Executive Chef Kamal Silva welcomes Chef Jiuxin Fan from the Westin Beijing for this Asia-Pacific inspired collaboration. Set in HJU:Z Lounge, the Westin Bayshore’s newest dining establishment, this dinner will highlight Chinese and Cantonese cuisines, and showcase both chefs’ experiences of heading up kitchens at 5-star hotels around the world.

 

Chef Trevor Moran and Vancouver’s Chef David Gunawan
Chef David Gunawan and Chef Trevor Moran

Nashville
Who: Chef Trevor Moran and Vancouver’s Chef David Gunawan
Where: Farmer’s Apprentice restaurant
When: February 4
Details: Join Farmer’s Apprentice Chef and Owner David Gunawan in welcoming Chef Trevor Moran from Nashville, Tennessee. Pacific Northwest palates will enjoy a twist of southern hospitality at this unique North American collaborative dinner, where each chef will bring their own global experiences and focus on local ingredients.

 

Bangkok
Chef Angus An and Chef David Thompson

Bangkok (sold out)
Who: Chef David Thompson and Vancouver’s Chef Angus An
Where: Maenam restaurant
When: January 20 & 21
Details: Maenam Chef and Owner Angus An welcomes Michelin star chef and mentor David Thompson and Chef Prin Polsuk, as they visit Vancouver and Canada for the first time. Together they will create a traditional family-style Thai feast in the luxurious style that has gained them worldwide acclaim.

With a mix of styles in the kitchen, what’s in store for lucky diners at these tables? Secure your ticket to find out.

 

 

By Brittany Tiplady

Just off of the Trans-Canada highway, nestled into the heart of Langley, is a little cafe with a big vision. The space is simple and humble: white accents and lofty ceilings with exquisite art adorning the walls. On a Friday afternoon The Water Shed Arts Cafe is buzzing with customers, “it’s a busy day!” I note to Jenn Cornish, chef owner and operator. “Oh, this is nothing!” she says. “It gets really busy here.”

 Water Shed Arts Café Langley
A quiet moment before opening hours | Image courtesy of the Water Shed Arts Café

The Water Shed Arts cafe may seem like a typical suburban haunt to the untrained eye, but that’s far from the truth. Cornish has created a safe haven; The Water Shed mandate is “to set the table for humanity where everyone is loved, welcomed, nourished and celebrated,” and that’s exactly what she does. The menu is generous, chock-full of locally sourced ingredients and hearty whole foods that cater to all tastes and dietary needs. There is a vegetarian focus, but the options are not restricted to only herbivores and gluten-free options are available upon request.

The aforementioned art on the Water Shed walls are all for sale, with new work and new artists rotating every few months. This concept drives back to Cornish’s mandate for inclusivity and community involvement. The space is also available for event rentals in the evenings, and Cornish generously offers customizable catering, private dining, open mic nights, and art show openings at Water Shed as well.

Water Shed Arts Café Langley
Image courtesy of the Water Shed Arts Café

I enjoyed lunch with Chef Cornish on that busy Friday afternoon-I devoured the grilled turkey and havarti sandwich (a hearty slice of turkey breast with artichoke spread, red peppers, spinach on cranberry bread) and bowl of the featured pumpkin soup (nourishing and savory), while she munched away on a gluten-free tofu burrito. We got deeper into the ethos behind Water Shed, her concept behind the food, and her inspiration for opening the bustling Langley bistro.

BT: Let’s talk more about your vision and mandate.

Jenn Cornish: We are a place that nourishes people in every possible way. And part of that is seeing people and knowing them, and knowing who they really are. This is a safe place, and a judgement free zone where people can connect and be themselves, and enjoy a place where they are able to connect with other people

Part of that is done with our visual arts display, as well as musicians that come and play here. But we also hold that mandate for every customer that comes through the door. Everyone has something that they offer to the world and we see that.

BT: What gave you the inspiration to open up a spot like this?

Jenn Cornish: My partner is a very creative and artistic person and that was a huge inspiration, and I am too – my palette is just food. I was in health care for over 15 years, so when I decided to get out of that field, I ended up falling into this opportunity of opening a cafe. I realized within the first few months that this cafe brings together every aspect of who I am.

BT: Is there a theme or concept for the food?

Jenn Cornish: There isn’t necessarily a theme, but everything is made with real, whole food, and completely from scratch. We want people to know exactly what is in their food, and that’s something that’s really important to me. I have an autoimmune disease, and how I’ve managed it is through food. So it’s important to me to offer food to people that they can trust.

BT: I know you offer catering services, and open up the space in the evenings for events. What else does Water Shed offer after hours?

Jenn Cornish: We do community feasts as well. So I pick a theme and make a meal, sometimes it’s family style, sometimes it’s plated, and we sell tickets for the night at different price points depending on the courses and the style. It’s a really fun long table feast.

BT: I love how balanced your menu to accommodate everyone.

Jenn Cornish: It’s really important to me to be mindful of being responsible when thinking about the world around us, and being aware of who we share the planet with. We have a lot of gluten-free options and vegan options, and if you look at our menu, it’s definitely veggie centric but we don’t exclude. We just try to make as little negative impact on the environment as possible. There’s been a lot of education, and we want to have a menu that is accessible to everyone, so no matter who you are and where you are in your diet spectrum, you can eat here.

 

The Water Shed Arts Cafe
#11 20349 88th Ave, Langley
Open Monday-Saturday

Visit watershedartscafe.com to check out further information on events and catering.

By Catherine Dunwoody

Back by popular demand, Juke Fried Chicken is hosting their second annual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day events at their Keefer Street location in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

On Sunday, December 31 from noon to 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve partygoers can gear up for a night of cocktails and countdown bubbly by ‘building a base’ with a hearty Southern-style fried chicken meal. But wait for it – it’s gluten-free (which can be ridiculously rare and hard to find) and is all non-GMO-grain-fed and free-range.

A mouthwatering menu of seasonal snacks, salads, sides, desserts and sticky pork ribs are also on offer.

Image courtesy of Juke Fried Chicken

Is a New Year’s Day hangover pretty much inevitable? Monday, January 1, Juke serves just what the doctor ordered from noon to 9 p.m. DJ For The Record will spin music for the soul, and an expanded dining room menu of exclusive breakfast selections includes jalapeno-cheddar waffles and fried chicken, andouille breakfast sausage sandwiches as well as hair-of-the-dog housemade cocktails like Caesars and mimosas.

“Cluck Your Resolutions” service at Juke Fried Chicken will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, plus a full menu of take-out options will be available during both days.

Juke Fried Chicken
182 Keefer St.
Vancouver, BC
jukefriedchicken.com

By Brittany Tiplady

‘Tis the season for ubiquitous social media photos, Instagram stories, and Snapchats of holiday parties, outings, and events. Amongst the many options to get into the festive spirit in Metro Vancouver is the Lights at Lafarge.

Conveniently located only 140 metres from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Evergreen line station, the Lights at Lafarge the largest free outdoor lights display in the lower mainland. Free, being the operative word. Enjoy the display after dusk while going for a light stroll around the LaFarge Lake-a suitable and lovely outing for families, couples, and dog owners.

Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

As we enter the winter months, and temperatures drop, warming up after your walk through the Lights at Lafarge is essential. Browse through this selection of restaurants, cafes, and watering holes nearby.

Pappa Roti
Unit 100 – 1196 Pinetree Way
If you haven’t given these fluffy, decadent, Malaysian style buns a chance-now is the time! Warm up with a coffee, and a treat in Pappa Roti’s cozy, and comforting cafe atmosphere.

Open seven days a week.

Tacoreano
100-2970 Glen Drive
You can literally never have too many tacos. Pop in to Metro Vancouver’s original Asian fusion taco restaurant, a quick three-minute drive from the Lights at Lafarge. Recommended: The tofu 7” taco: Korean spiced fried tofu, cabbage, guacamole, pickled daikon. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

Mariner Brewing
H-1100 Landsdowne Drive
Well worth the drive is Coquitlam’s first and only craft brewery, Mariner Brewing. This nautical themed tasting room is a sweet spot to grab a quality brew, gourmet hotdog, or hot spinach dip after a jaunt around LaFarge Lake. Highly recommended: Order the Northeast IPA, a tropical, juicy IPA with a bold (and not too bitter!) finish. Food is served Wednesday-Sunday.

Check out our feature on Mariner Brewing here.

Image courtesy of Mariner Brewing

La Ruota
1168 The High Street
Walk, no, run, only 20 minutes to La Ruota’s artisan, hand-crafted, Neopolitan style pizzas. Open seven days a week, you can order a La Ruota pie to-go ahead of time and enjoy at home. Recommended: The Capicola a divine marriage of mozzarella, fior di latte, grana padano, capicolla, and mushroom.

NULIFE Living Food Cafe
2957 Glen Dr
Healthy, nourishing, local food, only 900 metres away. Book a table or simply pop in for an organic specialty coffee-NULIFE’s veggie forward menu is truly food for the soul. Open until 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and until 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Image courtesy of the City of Coquitlam

Craving something onsite? The Lights at Lafarge concession stand is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Stop by for the classic concession treats and favourites.

By VisitRichmondBC.ca

Let’s face it, while cooking a big turkey with all the fixin’s for family and friends can be incredibly rewarding, sometimes it’s much less stressful to go out to eat and let someone else do the work for you.

Many restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but, fortunately, many establishments in Richmond can come to your discerning palate’s rescue. Not only will they be open, but they also offer mouth-watering alternatives to the traditional Christmas meal.

Here are five places where you can dine out on December 24th and 25th:

Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang

Christmas often involves a bringing together of loved ones over good food. Hot pot adds an interactive dimension to the get-together that can be very enjoyable–and delicious. Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang (Aberdeen Centre, 2792-4151 Hazelbridge Way) is the Richmond location of a chain that hails from Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province, where they’re known for their spicy take on hot pot.

While there are many hot pot establishments in town, Yuan’s specializes in “chuan chuan,” an iteration that uses bamboo sticks for skewering many of their ingredients before they’re cooked in hot broth. Depending on how fiery you want it, you can opt for a spicy or non-spicy version (or a split pot with both) of the restorative pork broth, which comes with mushrooms, ginger, dried goji berries, dried red dates, green onion, tomato, and cucumber. The restaurant adds a mixture of dried chili peppers, garlic, longan skin, fermented bean paste, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns to transform the base broth into a tongue scalding experience.

The fun of hot pot is the sheer range of ingredients you can choose from, in this case selections such as beef tripe, pork belly, black fungus, quail eggs, and lotus root. You can also choose to partake in the sauce bar (such as mashed garlic, sesame oil) for heightening the flavours of your hot pot items.

Mega Sushi

Blue Ocean roll at Mega Sushi | Image by Lindsay Anderson

Here on the west coast, sushi has become a go-to option for many during the Christmas season. It’s a crowd pleaser, great for group ordering, and a welcome contrast to conventional holiday eating. Fortunately, Richmond’s dining landscape features some of the finest sushi on Canada’s West Coast, spanning traditional restaurants with exactingly crafted nigiri, to more casual establishments that showcase creative rolls and dishes.

Veggie udon at Mega Sushi | Image by Lindsay Anderson

Mega Sushi (3131 Chatham Street) in Steveston falls within the latter category, with a menu that is particularly playful when it comes to their specialty rolls. The Blue Ocean roll features red tuna, hamachi, salmon, radish sprouts, and avocado, all in a soy wrap, topped with tobiko. The “Sexy” roll is packed with crowd-pleasing ingredients like avocado, imitation crab, tuna, salmon, ebi, and tamago, wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber. Not just a sushi joint, the rest of the menu includes donburi, udon noodle soups, and various teriyaki options.

Suhang Restaurant

Santa himself would probably be craving dumplings at Suhang Restaurant (100-8291 Ackroyd Road) after his long night of delivering toys. This destination for top-notch Shanghainese cuisine offers some of the finest xiao long bao in Richmond. The generously sized dumplings boast fragrantly sweet broth, a thin wrapper, and substantial pork filling. (In short, these are highly satisfying.) Other dumplings on the menu include wontons in chili and peanut sauce, shrimp and chive dumplings, pan-fried pork and shrimp dumplings, and steamed veggie dumplings.

Dumplings at Suhang | Image by Dee De Los Santos

Other Shanghainese specialties are also available, from more rustic dishes like pan-fried rice cakes with pickled vegetables and pork, to more elevated dinner fare such as braised sea cucumber with seafood. One of their show-stoppers, which requires pre-ordering, is their beggar’s chicken, which consists of a whole chicken stuffed with sticky rice, water chestnuts, egg yolks, and edamame before being encased in lotus leaves and bread dough and then baked. The result is tender, juicy, and bursting with flavour. It’s a culinary centerpiece for the holidays.

Silkway Halal Cuisine

Focused on Chinese Muslim cooking, Silkway Halal Cuisine (110-8188 Saba Road) offers many dishes that originate from Xinjiang in northwestern China, home to a substantial Turkish Uyghur population. The room itself is elegantly inviting, with dark wood Chinese décor, many traditional framed pictures, and red accents.

Silkway cuisine | Image by Tara Lee

The halal menu excels when it comes to their lamb dishes, such as fried diced lamb coated in chili powder and whole and ground cumin; lamb soup; and fried sliced lamb with diced Xianjiang naan.

Lamb with naan at Silkway | Image by Carolyn B Heller

The bread, iconic of the Uyghur people, can be tried as part of the restaurant’s Chinese beef or lamb burgers. The rest of the offerings are extensive, with items like braised chicken, Xinjiang style; boiled sliced beef in hot chili oil; sautéed shredded potato with green chiles; and handmade fish and chive dumplings.

Double Double Restaurant

With all the rich holiday eating that inevitably happens, you may start to crave the classic comforting staples. In Richmond, this includes a cosseting bowl of steaming congee on a wintry December day. Double Double Restaurant (128-4600 Number 3 Road) does a particularly good version, with over a dozen different ingredient combinations. They include watercress and fish balls; fresh oysters; dried scallops and gingko; crispy minced beef; and sweet corn. Preserved egg and salted pork is a classic option, with the saltiness of these add-ins contrasting the more neutral taste of the congee. Double Double’s congee has a creamy texture, with pronounced pork broth flavour. The finishing fried peanuts on top add crunchy nuttiness to your spoonfuls of rice porridge.

Congee at Double Double | Image by Tara Lee

The congee comes in individual portions, or in larger bowls if you feel like sharing. Definitely order the youtiao (doughnuts) as well, since they’re a lovely accompaniment, especially when dipped in the congee. The menu features a range of other items, such as BBQ pork and mushroom rice rolls, dried scallop and egg white fried rice, and salt and pepper squid tentacles.

Youtiao at Double Double | Image by Tara Lee

Overall, each of these five Richmond restaurants, with their unique non-turkey creations, will give you a Christmas meal to remember.

By Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

Kipferl cookies originated in Austria and are traditional in Germany, Czech, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS

Cookies

Soft unsalted butter (2/3 cup)

Icing sugar, sifted (1/3 cup)

Ground almonds (1/2 cup)

Bread flour (1 cup)

Vanilla bean (1)

Salt (a pinch)

Vanilla sugar

Vanilla Sugar

Granulated sugar (4 cups)

Used vanilla pod from the cookie dough

DIRECTIONS

Cookies

1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the butter, icing sugar, and salt till smooth at medium speed.  Scrape the sides of the bowl frequently to prevent lumps.

2. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape to remove the seeds.  Reserve the pod for later use.  Add the seeds to the butter mixture and mix till thoroughly combined.

3. Whisk together the bread flour and ground almonds.  Add all the dry ingredients into the butter-mixture and mix on low speed till it forms into a dough.

4. On a flat surface dusted lightly with flour, form the dough into a long tube about 1 ¼ inch in diameter.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 24 even discs.

5. Take each disc and roll into a cigar-like tube about 3 ½ inches long and slightly tapered at the edges.  Bend this into a crescent shape and place on a parchment lined baking tray.

6. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

7. Once firm, bake in a 325° F oven for 9-12 minutes or until the tips of the crescent begin to brown.  Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes.

8. When the cookies are just cool enough to handle gently coat in vanilla sugar and allow to cool completely.

Vanilla Sugar

1. Take the vanilla pod and dry in a 200° F oven till brittle, usually 1-2 hours.

2. Use a spice grinder and process the dried vanilla pod to a fine powder. Use a fine mesh strainer if necessary.

3. Combine with the sugar (the amount of the sugar can be increased or decreased depending on your preference).

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours

It’s the last “sprint to the finish line” to find a unique and thoughtful gift for everyone on that Christmas list. Luckily, here in Vancouver, we’re blessed with Granville Island – an area filled with Canadian artisans, one-of-a-kind goods, and delicious wares.

The best part? It’s all at your fingertips – no shipping required. Check out these 6 expert tips on how you can find awesome last-minute gifts at Granville Island:

1. Arrive early or late

Granville Island is a hub for Christmas activity, especially in and around the Public Market. If you’re able to shop the Island before 11:00am or after 4:00pm, you’ll avoid the masses and have a chance to chat with the bakers, chefs, artisans and makers.

2. Start at Make Vancouver

Start at Make for a dose of gift inspiration. Start with a Canadiana t-shirt printed with images of Justin Trudeau, hockey and moose and move on to quirky gifts, the coolest patterns of Herschel Supply, and a whole lot of items (wearable and otherwise) that you can customize in their design lab.

3. Check out Edible Canada’s Retail Shop

Tucked behind Edible Canada’s bistro, this little retail shop is filled with delicious Canadian wares. From marshmallows to maple syrup, to chocolates, salts, and jams, each delectable item carries a meaningful story.

4. Surprise! The Kids Market is not just for kids

If you are looking for some scrumptious gifts for the furry ones in your lives, the kid’s market is home to the Granville Island Pet Treatery.

5. Finishing touches at Paper-Ya

Once you’ve picked out that perfect gift, it’s to Paper-Ya for the finishing touches. Tucked inside the blue Net Loft building, you’ll find adorable Christmas cards, holiday tags, and stunning wrapping paper!

Image by Joyce Chua
Image by Joyce Chua

6. Treat yourself to a well-deserved Lee’s Donuts

You’re all set! Seal the day of shopping success with a holiday gingerbread donut from Lee’s Donuts in the Public Market!

By Kristi Alexandra

You don’t always need wheat to stay sweet, and Cloud 9 specialty bakery owner Ray Porelatto knows it to be true. His gluten-free company started baking up treats for those with a taste for the toothsome in 2008, becoming a pioneer in wheat-free baking.

Nearly 10 years later, the gluten-free movement is more of a lifestyle than a craze, and the New Westminster bakery and test kitchen’s popularity can attest to that.

The delicious downtown haunt plays storefront to their wildly popular baking brand, serving up cupcakes, scones, buns, breads and more. That’s not to mention the baking mixes and custom-ordered cakes that can be purchased in the shop too.

In the back of the shop is the test kitchen, where you can find your cupcakes being created or any other combination of the mad science of sweets.

And just how has this speciality bakery kept alive after all these years? The bakery’s founder might have a few insights.

“More than 30 per cent of Canadians are said to have gluten intolerance in varying degrees,” Porelatto said in an interview at the 2012 Gluten-Free Expo in Vancouver. “The appetite for the market is big.”

Porelatto bit into the baking industry with his marshmallows: a treat that, by nature, is gluten-free. As more and more people asked him for more and more products, he began to create sweets, treats, and baking mixes beyond those delicious, fluffy morsels.

Today, you can pick up a loaf of bread, treat yourself to a six pack of jalapeno cheese buns, or order a dozen peanut butter and maple cupcakes (with adorable marzipan bees resting on top). Right now, autumn worshippers are in luck – they carry everything from pumpkin spice donuts to pumpkin cheesecake squares. With Christmas on the way, they’ll be hawking everything from classic fruitcakes to mint Nanaimo bars.

All year round, you can snag a bag of the bakery’s gluten-free flour to take home and test for yourself.

“My mom and I, who have a bakery background, went through vigorous testing: Over 2000 combinations over the course of a year down to the single gram to come up with our baking mix, which is a cup-for-cup replacement for wheat flour in any product,” Porelatto divulged.

You can find the bakery’s All Purpose Baking Mix — made of cornstarch, potato starch, rice flour, buckwheat, tapioca flour and xantham gum — at the storefront, online, and at commercial retailers such as Costco.

“One of the major factors in our flour that makes us different from anybody else is that we have buckwheat flour, which has 16 per cent fibre per serving,” Porelatto said, noting his goods’ nutritional value. “In anything that you make with our flour, you’ll get your daily amount of fibre.”

Nutritional, sweet, gluten-free and full of options, there’s one aspect of Cloud 9 specialty bakery that stands out among the rest.

“One of our catch phrases is there’s no compromise in taste and texture,” the owner said. Speaking for the other 70% of the population who doesn’t need to be gluten-free, it’s the mouth-watering goodness that keeps the Royal Avenue spot packed with goodie-loving guests.

Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery
1025 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC
cloud9specialtybakery.com

By Catherine Dunwoody

From one of Vancouver’s favourite scenester hot spots, the Lobby Lounge, to gorgeous new and acclaimed Botanist bar and restaurant, this woman in the wine world is a true game-changer.

The Botanist | Image courtesy of the Fairmont Pacific Rim

Where were you born and where did you study to be a sommelier?

Jill Spoor: [I was born in] Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. I studied in Vancouver at the Art Institute, studying the WSET program.

What was your most rewarding experience in your earlier days?

Spoor: Hosting a series of Italian wine seminars when we had our Italian wine bar here at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.  I absolutely love being on the educational side of wine and seminars, which allows me a platform in which to share my passion.

Are you involved with any new projects or collaborations at the restaurant or elsewhere?

Spoor: It’s been a very exciting year and I have had the honour of collaborating on many projects.  I released my own wine with the Okanagan Crush Pad this past February with all proceeds going to the BC Hospitality Foundation. I have also participated in All About Me, Ellevate, and Women in Wine which have been all female wine events. Most recently Botanist hosted its first Visa Infinite Dinner.

What were your biggest challenges as a sommelier?

Spoor: In my hotel world, it has been bringing wine programs to the forefront and communicating their importance.  It has been my mission from day one to elevate the quality, education and service of wine across the board.

What are a couple of your favourite wines?

Spoor: Just a couple, so many treasures to choose from! Well I will choose red then for the time of year:

  • BLANKbottle, The Life of a Black Valentine / Syrah / Cinsault / Grenache / Mourvedre / Western Cape, South Africa, 2015
  • Piaggia, Il Sasso, Sangiovese / Cabernet Sauvignon / 120Cabernet Franc / Carmignano / Tuscany, Italy, 2014
The Botanist | Image courtesy of the Fairmont Pacific Rim

Tell me about your all-female sommelier team at Botanist.

Spoor: Dreams really do come true! Not only do I have the first sommelier team at any Fairmont in BC but I have three superstars! It’s so exciting to be working with an all-female team that share the same passion that I do. It was really important to me to have the opportunity to mentor and develop young women in the industry. There is nothing more rewarding then being a leader and role model.

By Natalie Marcotte and Alexis Baran

Whether you’re a fan of winter weather matters not at Glow, an immersive festive display of over 500,000 lights under the protective cover of a massive greenhouse in Langley. Work up an appetite exploring the light gardens and traversing the musical light tunnel, and then have your pick of food from the Christmas market, food trucks, and of course, a bar for the adults.

Image by the Marcottes

A must-try for the kids is a festive lightbulb drink will re-charge the kids between a gift scavenger hunt and snowing bubbles, and allow you to explore the marketplace of boutique wears, decorations and locally made goods.

Grab your flashing cranberry drink from Donners’ Bar in a re-usable lightbulb for $8.

Image courtesy of Glow

The outside food truck courtyard features wood-fired pizza, Greek food, tornado potatoes, kettle corn, mac n’ cheese and baked potatoes including a holiday dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.

Image courtesy of Glow

Enjoy your food standing around the fire pit or head inside for a table.

Image by the Marcottes

The market features holiday baking and festive confections for sharing or indulging on your own.

Image by the Marcottes

This family-friendly holiday event is complete with something for every age and taste for naughty or nice. Just ask Santa.

Glow is fully accessible to strollers, scooters and wheelchairs, once you get from the gravel parking lot. Find out more at glowchristmas.ca

By Kristi Alexandra

Carousel rides, mulled wine, live trees, hand-crafted ornaments, and one-of-a-kind gifts can all be found at the Vancouver Christmas Market. Modelled after the European “Christkindlmarkts” of the old world, this relatively new-to-Vancouver tradition draws hordes of locals to its home at the Jack Poole Plaza every holiday season. And those who frequent the market come for the biggest attraction: the food.

Housed in huts that recall a true Bavarian experience, here are a few treats to try, from traditional German fare to modern Vancouver flare.

Pretzel from Das Pretzel Hut

No trip to a German Christmas Market (or anything German-themed, that is) is complete without a big, doughy pretzel. Twisted, braided, salted: whatever you choose, this wheat-filled treat goes best with spiced mustard and washes down well with a beer.

Hurricane Potatoes from Das Kartoffelhaus

Known sometimes as “tornado potatoes” or “hurricane fries,” this food originated on the streets of South Korea and may recall more of a summer night market than a European winter fete, but it just wouldn’t be Vancouver without them.

Gluhwein and Kinderpunsch in Collector Boots

Sip on this sweet, warm mulled wine (gluhwein) or the kid-friendly alternative while you browse wares in the marketplace from an ever-so-cute and collectible German boot mug. Prost!

Spanish Paella from Arc Iberco

Keep warm with some spice from below the equator with Vancouver Christmas Market’s newest vendor, Arc Iberco. The Spanish-style meaterie serves up cured meats and paella for palate-pleasing variety!

Salmon Burger from Eat F.I.S.H.

Feed your pretzel-bun craving while getting your omega 3s. Eat F.I.S.H. (fresh ideas start here) is the Christmas Market’s newest burger vendor, serving up sustainable, local, wild salmon on pretzel buns with all the fixings.

Cannoli from Cannoli King Vancouver’s Cannoli King serves up hand-rolled, deep-fried and filled sweet treats for those with an appetite for dessert. The family-owned company Cannoli King makes everything from scratch, from the dough to the fillings.

Gulasch, Schnitzel, Spatzle and Pork Knuckle

If you refuse to miss out on the real culture of the Christkindlmarkts, then you won’t leave without grabbing a bite of the most traditional fare. Fill up on warm, gooey gulash, chow down on breaded schnitzel covered in gravy or savour the tenderness of your slow-roasted pork knuckle. Guten Appetit!

Transylvanian Chimney Cakes

Chimney cakes are a festive sweet hailing from the birthplace of Dracula, but you won’t find him around this haunt. This spiral of sweet, flaky dough is coated with sugar while roasting on a spit and is perfectly pairs with your market stroll.

Vancouver Christmas Market
Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place
Open daily from 11am to 9pm

By Sheliza Mitha

Cora Breakfast and Lunch – or Chez Cora (as it’s known in Quebec) – could be described as nothing short of a Cinderella story.

This colourful eatery first opened its doors more than 30 years ago in Montreal’s lively Saint Laurent district as a modest diner by Cora Mussely Tsouflidou, a single mother of three. With uncanny prescience, Cora saw the need for a particular type of eatery and shifted the focus of her new diner just a few short months after opening.  Now, three decades later, Metro Vancouver is also home to five Cora locations.

Cora’s fruitful decision led to successful Cora restaurants specializing in breakfasts

and lunches – bringing together fruit, cheese, crepes, French toast, egg dishes (think omelettes, eggs Benedict and much more) in new and creative ways.  Since opening the first restaurant in May 1987, Cora the restaurateur has moved westward – bringing her fresh new ideas and items across the country – including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Richmond and Downtown Vancouver.

Asparagus & Swiss Ben et Dictine | Image courtesy of Cora

While remaining truly Canadian in every way and featuring some timeless breakfast dishes from Cora’s earliest years, Cora the chef continually works to evolve the menu with a pulse on current trends.  Take, for example, the new kale-mango smoothies and smoothie bowls as well as various vegetarian and gluten-free options.

“As a chef and an entrepreneur, Cora has her finger on the pulse of what’s driving Canadian eating habits and preferences,” says Colbin Wong, whose family owns and operates two Metro Vancouver Cora restaurants. “What we’ve noticed is that Cora has become the great unifier of people for a truly unique Canadian breakfast experience.”

When asked what makes Cora so different from other cafés and diners, Wong answers with a single question: “Have you seen the menu?”

While this question may seem simple, the answer is incredibly complex – reflecting Cora’s truly colourful, diverse and eclectic menu, of which fresh fruit seems to be the star. In fact, fresh fruit covers half the plate for many of the dishes here.

“The focus at Cora is on fresh and healthy, and sourcing the best of fresh and local at every opportunity – from fruit to dairy and more,” adds Wong. “There is no compromising on the menu or on the dishes. Unlike other typical diners, Cora pops with colour… around the room, around the menu and on every plate served here.”

Cora Special | Image courtesy of Cora

The most popular dish at Cora? Wong says that coast-to-coast, the most-served breakfast item is the classic (and aptly-named) “Cora’s Special,” which has been on the menu since day one and overflows with eggs, ham, sausage, homemade hash browns and fresh fruit.

“While ‘Cora’s Special’ seems to be the overall national favourite, many customers also have their very own preferred dish that’s special to them,” adds Wong. “On the West Coast, our smoothie bowls are incredibly popular, along with the fruit-filled Samira Wake-Up… and then there are the waffles, French toast, crepes, pancakes and our very own Eggs Ben et Dictine.  Everyone here has their own favourite that they come back for again and again.”

With so many diverse and delicious menu options, it may just be time to make your way to Cora and discover your very own favourite…

For more information and locations, visit chezcora.com.

By Chef Ned Bell, from his Lure Cookbook

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

Sauce Vierge

Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (4 tomatoes or about 3 cups)
Large shallot, finely chopped (1 or about ¼ cup)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley (½ cup)
Chopped fresh chives (½ cup)
Chopped fresh tarragon (3 Tbsp)
Extra-virgin olive oil (½ cup)
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Salmon

Salmon fillet (1 fillet, 2 to 3 lb)
Olive oil, for brushing the salmon and for drizzling
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
½ lemon

DIRECTIONS

Sauce Vierge

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Salmon

1. Preheat the oven to 350°f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the skin of the salmon with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Place the salmon skin side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Add the lemon cut side up beside the salmon, and bake for about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of fish. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read 120°f to 125°f. Set aside to rest for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add a few generous spoonfuls of sauce vierge on top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with the charred lemon.

Chef’s notes: Alternatively, preheat the grill and cook on the grate skin side down. (The bbq acts like an “oven” with the lid closed so you cook the fish evenly.)

Catherine Dunwoody

Is there a seafood enthusiast on your Christmas list? We found the perfect present. Chef Ned Bell has his first cookbook recently published, titled Lure Sustainable Seafood – Recipes from the West Coast.

Ned’s mission to bring sustainable seafood to restaurants and fish markets around BC, and now to our own kitchens with this cookbook has been impressive. As Dr. David Suzuki, award-winning scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster says, “Ned’s passion for sustainable seafood is infectious and this book irresistible. Bring his recipes into your home to support healthy oceans.”

Lure walks the reader through all things fish, from selecting to preparing, to cooking and serving fresh, delicious meals.

With 80 recipes to make at home included, it’s a useful edition to any foodie’s library.

Here’s a sneak peek with Chef Ned Bell’s recipe for Salmon Bake.

by Catherine Dunwoody

Chocolatier Thomas Haas has revealed their brand new holiday collection of Christmas-themed chocolates and candies, plus stocking stuffers and baked goods.

Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

A long-time resident of North Vancouver, Thomas and his wife Lisa own two patisseries, one on Harbourside (where the production kitchen is as well) and the other on Broadway in Kitsilano. The holiday goodies include Rudolph in the Forest— a chocolate crafted Rudolph with a belly full of cocoa nib crunch and caramelized nuts dipped in chocolate, a Truffle Tree, traditional stollen Christmas bread, chocolate lollipops, delicate fruit gelées and so much more.

An internationally acclaimed, fourth-generation pâtissier, Thomas Haas gained experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and North America before settling in Vancouver in 2005. Haas is a fourth-generation pâtissier, and has held stints as Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel, Executive Pastry Chef at chef Daniel Boulud’s flagship eatery Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and has been singled out as one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines.

Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
Image courtesy of Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

Thomas is not a fan of assembly lines and mass production, and instead has a team of 38 talented pastry chefs and chocolatiers who hand-make each confection with love. Haas carefully chooses his ingredients too, including BC wines, Fraser Valley hazelnuts and berries and Okanagan fruits for many of his products.

Visit Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie for these holiday treats and more.

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
128-998 Harbourside Drive
North Vancouver, BC
604.924.1847
(Closed Sunday & Monday)

2539 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
604.736.1848
(Closed Sunday & Monday)

By Kristi Alexandra

If there’s one thing to be known about Burnaby’s Mountain Heights area, it’s that the local eateries are deeply tied to a sense of community. Chez Meme, a resident favourite breakfast and lunch haunt, is no exception.

Isabelle and Ross Spence moved into the neighbourhood eight years ago, opening up the intimate seven-table bistro. The couple hoped to serve up comforting breakfasts and fresh lunches while still maintaining some leisure time in their lives.

Enter Chez Meme, the baguette bistro serving up breakfast, lunch, and a full wine menu from 8 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday.

“We used to own a creperie in downtown Vancouver, and we were open every day, so we had no life,” Isabelle tells WestCoastFood. “We just had two children, so we decided to sell [the creperie] and try to have a nice lifestyle. We wanted to still have a restaurant but to just do breakfast and lunch.”

The timing was just right, and the response from the neighbourhood has kept them busy ever since. But why breakfast and baguettes?

“We know how much people on the west coast love breakfast,” she says emphatically, “all day long.”

A Baguette Willy breakfast

As a born-and-raised West Coaster, I know she’s not wrong.

Isabelle serves and chats with all of the bistro’s customers, staying true the the haunt’s French roots by peppering her conversations with ouis, d’accords, and bon appetits.

The residents seem to love being regulars here, and Isabelle assures me that the feeling is mutual.

“Here, it’s laid back and has a community feeling. We have people who come back just to say hi because they live in the neighbourhood,” she says. “I’m from a small city in France, so for me, it was really nice to find that here.”

But it’s not just the comforting, European hospitality that keeps diners coming back. It is, without a doubt, the perfectly crusty but perfectly soft baguettes, handmade sides, and homey atmosphere that has Chez Meme always buzzing with patrons.

Kick off your breakfast with a Baguette Willy (an open baguette with scrambled eggs, black forest ham, and a bechamel cheese sauce) with homemade smashed potatoes, or a Pain Au Chocolat. Lunch timers can sit down with a classic cordon bleu or From’ton baguette, and a French onion or soupe du Jour to dip. The simple French fare and family-style service will make you feel like you’ve been whisked off to the simple life in the French countryside.

And it’s a feeling perfectly captured by Isabelle’s own childhood.

“My grandparents had a farm, and I named the restaurant after that: Chez Meme. ‘Meme’ is my grandma, and the idea was that every time my parents were like, ‘Let’s go Chez Meme,’ we knew we were going to have so much good food on the table. My grandma always cooked, and she’d make the chickens she had, and cook with vegetables from her own garden.”

It’s easy to understand why, when you walk into Chez Meme, you feel like you’re having lunch with family. With just a few tables and some spots lined up along the window, the little baguette bistro is not a place to be shy about grabbing a latte and a baguette by oneself – especially when the taste is so transcendent. The shop takes only one reservation every 45 minutes to an hour, so the tables are saved mostly for walk-ins.

“Because we make the baguette all day long, it’s always fresh,” Isabelle says, proudly. And there’s no reason not to take your lunch with libations.

“People come and when they do the brunch, they can come and have a mimosa or a wine with lunch. I mean, come on, we’re French!” she says with a laugh. “A little rose with your lunch is great. It makes you go home happy.”

And “happy” is absolutely the feeling you’ll have upon leaving this Mountain Heights cafe, with a belly full of baguette (and some wine, too).

Chez Meme Baguette Bistro
4016 Hastings Street
Burnaby, BC

by Catherine Dunwoody

Imagine 28,000 square feet of Christmas entertaining ideas, delectable gift shopping, and décor all under one roof. The Christmas Store at Potters Nurseries in South Surrey is open now until Christmas Eve, and you have never seen a thing like it.

sauces-n-dips

The foodie on your list will love the thought you put into creating your own culinary gift basket, delicious hostess gift, or stocking stuffers for them. Think hot chocolate packs, dips, soups, crackers, sauces, jellies, British biscuits, and preserves from local wineries. Bacon candy canes? Why not. Ornaments with a food theme? How does the burger and fries grab you? And nutcrackers? Imagine an entire section dedicated to a jaw dropping display and variety of options that make fabulous gifts.

bacon-canes

Décor inspiration and gift ideas runs the gamut here too, from a frosty winter white palette to traditional red and green, or geared to the gardener, the pet lover and well, just name it.

fries-orn

On weekends, festive live music put everyone in the holiday spirit, plus Santa and Mrs. Claus make appearances at the store from 10 am – 3 pm on Saturdays and from 11 am to 3 pm on Sundays, from December 2 to December 17.

Grinch wouldn’t stand a chance here. This Christmas happy place is a force to be reckoned with.

nutcracker

The Christmas Store at Potters
19158 48th Avenue
Surrey, BC
604.576.5011
potters.ca/christmas

By Catherine Dunwoody

New Westminster’s Wild Rice may well serve some of the best Asian soul food around, and young chef Jericho Garcia can most certainly be credited. He shared his journey with me, and clearly he is a talent to watch.

Where were you born?

Jericho Garcia: I was born in the largest group of islands in Philippines – Luzon, in the town of Pampanga which sits on the northern shore of Manila Bay. It is surrounded by commercial fishponds and rice fields.

What was food like in your growing up household?

 Garcia: I grew up in a culture where food preparation is taken seriously. Authentic traditional recipes are handed down generation after generation and kept as a family treasure. We had access to the best seafood the Pacific Ocean has to offer.

Image courtesy of Wild Rice

Where did you study cooking and when?

Garcia: When I was about 8 years old my parents had a small cantina that served the best pancit (noodles) in town. Though I was too young to get in to the business, I was always fascinated by my parents’ passion for cooking. I’ve been a student of the craft and art of cooking for as long as I can remember even though I have never taken a single culinary class in a formal school environment.

What was your first paying job?

Garcia: At Wendy’s [fast food restaurant] two weeks after my family moved to Canada. I was 17 years old. I was assigned to cook fries, flip burgers and assemble sandwiches.

What was your most rewarding experience in your early days?

Garcia: When you are in the business of cooking for people, every day seems to be rewarding, especially when you see people enjoying your creations. One of the most rewarding milestones of my life took place when I was dishwashing at Earl’s Restaurant. That is where I started to fall in love with what I do. We had the perfect team – I was the best dishwasher around, the nightshift was led by my former Sous Chef Justin Yoon (who is now the Head Chef of Earl’s Victoria) and a very young, up and coming Sous Chef, Levy Johnston. Under them was a group of passionate, hard-working cooks. These two chefs saw great potential in me and I was promoted as 3rd cook after not quite a year in the dish pit. At that moment I found my purpose. I was deeply passionate and I was eager. I had never felt something similar to this in all my life, so at first I didn’t know how to act. My chefs had faith in me and they kept me in line with my goals. Even though I had such great passion for my craft, if it hadn’t been for their mentorship I might not have made it as far as I have.

 Are you involved with any new projects or collaborations?

Garcia: The most recent one was on my 26th birthday. Instead of celebrating it with my family and friends like I usually do, I had this great idea of volunteering for homeless people and sharing love with the part of our society who need it most. So I took a trip to Victoria by myself and stayed at a motel right next to the homeless shelter. I volunteered for two days cooking batches of food and feeding the hungry. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my entire life and the memories of that experience still tears me up inside. On my 27th birthday I’m planning to do the same thing.

Image courtesy of Wild Rice

 Do you have a signature dish?

Garcia: Adobo ramen. I mix adobo sauce with chicken stock to give it a bit of tang but not over-powering. Then I pair this with traditional aspects of a ramen bowl – firm and chewy ramen noodles, soy-marinated soft-boiled eggs (with the yolk that melts in your mouth but firm enough not to mix with the soup) and thick creamy chicken broth with a slight hint of dried kelp and dried shitake mushrooms. That way I can keep the integrity of a traditional ramen and fuse it with the flavour of adobo I grew up with.

Do you plan to become a certified chef?

Garcia: Becoming a certified chef would be a confirmation of my hard work. Although it is nice to see yourself with a diploma and that tiny red circle on your jacket, my plans are far deeper than that. Cooking is my way of generosity. I thought I didn’t have much to give and not much to offer but cooking changed that for me. All of the sudden I can connect to the people I love. I can give happiness, I can give comfort. I create memories that might not last a lifetime but I think if I do it consistently, they just might. I don’t think I cook better than anybody else – I’ve never seen it that way, never will. The only possible difference is that I really love what I’m doing and who am I doing it for. The thrill of knowing what triggers someone’s appetite is the greatest challenge about cooking. It’s not always about the money, it’s not always about the depth of your knowledge. Sometimes it’s simply about the pure love of sharing that makes a chef successful.

Wild Rice
810 Quayside Drive
New Westminster, BC
wildricebc.ca

By VisitRichmondBC.com

These five spots for Taiwanese beef noodle soup showcase how one seemingly simple comfort dish can be interpreted in a variety of ways by chefs around Richmond. Regardless of the version you choose, you’ll leave very satisfied.

Joy’s Taiwanese Food
Parker Place, 4380 No 3 Road, Richmond BC

Soup at Joy’s | Image by Tara Lee

At first glance, the food court at Parker Place doesn’t seem like the place to find mind-blowing eating experiences. Vendor stalls are basic, with the kind of efficient service and plating you’d expect of mall dining.

However, a stall like Joy’s Taiwanese Food with its elevated beef noodle soup embodies much of the spirit of Richmond eating: unassuming cooking that is affordable and deliciously authentic.

The menu includes all sorts of Taiwanese classics like marinated tripe. Being an island nation, Taiwanese cuisine represents a confluence of culinary influences, as well as resourcefulness due to limited ingredients. Its food is superficially simple and rustic while being incredibly complex in flavour.

Case in point is Taiwanese beef noodle soup (niu rou mian); it’s Sichuan in origin and purported to have been brought to Taiwan during China’s Civil War. At Joy’s, the first spoonful of the broth, the litmus test of the dish, is revelatory, evidencing a deep leveraging of ingredients, like star anise, garlic, ginger, soy, bean paste, peppercorns, and garlic. The soup has a beefy cloudiness to it, which gives a pleasurable unctuousness. Meanwhile, the noodles have a good chew, and the beef shank is wonderfully tender.

The many other customers you’ll see hunched over bowls of noodle soup nearby, attests to the popularity of this dish. It’s the ultimate in comfort food, with standout versions to be found all around Richmond.

Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle
Aberdeen Centre, 2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond BC

Soup by Chef Hung | Image by Michael Kwan

The “king of Taiwanese beef noodle,” Chef Hung Ching-Lung has extended his empire to a location in Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre. His signature beef noodles have won numerous awards, including the Taipei International Beef Noodle Awards and, more locally, Best Noodle House at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. For pure consistency and breadth of options, Chef Hung definitely pulls ahead of the competition.

The menu allows patrons to customize their noodle soup, with a variety of broths (regular, clear, tomato, fire chili), noodles (flat noodle, thin noodle, rice noodle, vermicelli), and beef options (beef shank, brisket, tendon, tripe, sliced fatty beef). If you want to feel more virtuous, there’s also a version with five kinds of vegetables. Each iteration of Taiwan’s unofficial national dish is deeply enjoyable here, whether you want to go for the protein works, max the thickness of your noodles, or add a bit of contrasting tomato acidity to your beef broth.

Strike
Two locations:
Aberdeen Centre, 3260-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC
120-4751 Garden City Road, Richmond, BC

Soup at Strike | Image by Michael Kwan

If you’re in the mood (and have the stomach room) for a beef noodle soup showdown, you can wander over to Strike, located in the food court of Aberdeen Centre, for comparison. While the stall has a limited menu for expedient chowing down, the full restaurant on Garden City Road has more extensive options (like Taiwanese three cup chicken or octopus pancake). And of course, there are plenty of bubble tea options, like passion fruit black tea, for refreshing sips.

Strike’s beef noodle soup can’t be customized, but what you get is phenomenal. After all, who needs choices when the chefs have crafted the ultimate bowl? The sliced beef shank is tender and flavourful, while the abundant noodles are perfectly al dente. The broth also doesn’t stint on taste, with a dark flavour profile that embodies the robust nature of homestyle Taiwanese cooking.

Newton Beef Noodle House
150-8191 Saba Road, Richmond BC

Soup at Newton | Image by Tara Lee

With “beef noodle” in their restaurant name, Newton is intent on winning the stomachs of niu rou mian devotees. And indeed they are, one bowl-full at a time. Once you enter, you’ll be greeted by sleek dark interiors and by staff who are helpful and quick on their feet.

While the menu is primarily noodle focused, you can also order appetizers, like deep fried squid tentacles and as rice dishes. Non-soup noodle selections include homemade sesame sauce on noodles, as well as cumin beef stir-fried noodles. A range of teas, slushies, and fresh juices round out the offerings.

As for the beef noodle soup, customers can choose from the regular or spicy broth, as well as versions that include various combinations of beef shank, brisket, tendon, and tripe. Thin, thick, green bean, and rice noodles are available, depending on your carb preference. What arrives in front of you will not disappoint: the broth has an intense savoury, sweet, spicy, and slightly aromatic quality to it – all offset by the pickled mustard greens. The braised beef shank is toothsome and the noodles springy.

Pearl Castle Café
Two locations:
1128-3779 Sexsmith Road, Richmond, BC
Richmond Centre, 1782-6060 Minoru Boulevard, Richmond, BC

Soup at Pearl Castle | Image by Michael Kwan

This hip Taiwanese establishment began over two decades ago as a food court stand at Parker Place before morphing into a fixture of Richmond’s vibrant eating scene. Their winning formula (evidenced by four consecutive wins as Best Taiwanese Café for the Chinese Restaurant Awards Diners’Choice Awards) boils down to the modern décor, lively vibe, and impressively diverse menu. Snacks like fried chicken nuggets are addictively good, while the beef noodle soup is satisfying.

Versions here include house special beef noodle soup, tomato beef noodle soup, and, for those wanting real heat, extreme spicy beef noodle soup. Noodle selections consist of thin or thick noodles and vermicelli. With Pearl Castle open late on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s the perfect spot for a late night snack, especially if you’re craving a piping hot, generously portioned bowl of niu rou mian before braving the cold weather again.

By Chef Mike Genest, Hart House Restaurant

With chive and parmesan polenta, fried cauliflower, herbed bread crumb, and sherry reduction.

INGREDIENTS:

Lamb shanks
Lamb shank (4)
Leek, finely diced (1)
Carrots, finely diced (2)
Celery stalks, finely diced (2)
Shallots, finely diced (2)
Garlic, finely diced (2 cloves)
Red wine (300ml)
Beef stock (300ml)
Thyme (1 sprig)
Rosemary (1 sprig)
Sherry vinegar (3 tbsp)
Olive oil (3 tbsp)
Honey (2 tbsp)

Herbed Bread Crumbs
Bread crumbs (250g)
Rosemary, chopped (100g)
Chives, chopped (100g)
Garlic (1 clove)

Parmesan Chive Polenta
Cornmeal (1 cup)
Chicken stock (2.5 cups)
Milk (2.5 cups)
Parmesan cheese, grated (150g)
Chives, chopped (50g)
Unsalted butter (20g)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Fried Cauliflower
Cauliflower (1/2 head)
All-purpose flour (1 cup)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

Lamb

  1. Place a large, oven-proof saucepan on a high heat and add a good dash of olive oil.
  2. Add the lamb shanks to the pan, cooking until dark golden all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, sauté the carrots, shallots, leek, and celery until soft.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the red wine; then add the lamb, stock, and fresh herbs.
  6. Cook covered for 3 hours in a 300 F oven, until falling off the bone. Remove from oven and reduce sauce until thick and viscous. Finish with honey and sherry vinegar.

Polenta

  1. Bring milk and chicken stock to a boil.
  2. Add the cornmeal while whisking and cook 20-25 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Finish with the parmesan cheese, chives, salt and pepper, and butter.

Cauliflower

  1. In a pot of boiling water, quickly blanch the cauliflower for 30 seconds.
  2. Cool in ice water.
  3. Strain the cauliflower and toss in salt and pepper and flour.
  4. Deep fry the cauliflower until golden brown.

Herbed Bread Crumbs

  1. Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse until fine. Toast in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes.

To Finish

  1. Divide the polenta onto 4 plates, then add the fried cauliflower.
  2. Remove the lamb from the bone and place on top of the polenta.
  3. Pour some of the reduced lamb sauce on top, and sprinkle with herbed bread crumbs.