By Gail Johnson
There’s something magical about dining outdoors at a long table set amid beautiful surroundings. A communal table transforms a meal into a celebration. Summertime calls for languorous evenings of delicious food and drink that bring people together during golden sunsets.
Here are a few long-table dinners in the region taking place this summer.
July 6 | Langley
What began with 500 baby chicks and Kendall Ballantine’s desire to know where the foods she was feeding her kids comes from has evolved into the full-time, family run Central Park Farms. The 40-acre spot near Little Campbell River produces free-range chicken, pasture-raised pork, grass-fed black Angus beef, and more.
Its only communal dinner of year is truly farm-to-table, less 100-mile diet than 100-feet: everything on the menu comes from the very fields guests will be surrounded by.
Abbotsford’s award-winning Restaurant 62 will prepare share plates such as whole roasted pork loin and braised pork belly with stone-fruit moustarda and sautéed cabbage, fried chicken roulade with braised greens and salsa verde, seasonal salads, and roasted summer vegetables.
A glass of local wine or craft beer is included, as is live music, farm tours, and the chance to take it all in while sitting around a fire with friends old and new.
At 527 224 Street, Langley. Tickets are $125 plus fees, at Central Park Farms.
August 8 | Vancouver
Overlooking False Creek and so many sailboats, paddlers, and small ferries going by, the patio at Dockside Restaurant on Granville Island has one of the city’s most captivating views. Add in fireplaces and blankets for when the evening cools off, and you’ve got the makings of a waterfront urban oasis.
When the restaurant hosts Monte Creek Ranch Winery for a five-course menu with wine pairings, executive chef Zach Steele will showcase fresh, local, seasonal ingredients while diners mingle with the people behind the grapes, Monte Creek winemaker Galen Barnhardt and general manager Erik Fisher.
Situated in the Thompson River region next to its working cattle and horse ranch, the winery grows several varietals on 75 acres of vineyards through natural and organic farming practices.
At 1253 Johnston Street (Granville Island). Tickets, $94.95 plus taxes, fees, and gratuity, at Eventbrite.
Every Sunday from June 30 to August 25 | Vancouver
If communal dining is celebratory, a traditional East Coast- style seafood boil on the West Coast is even more fun.
Taking place on the upscale Boulevard Restaurant’s elegant wraparound patio, the weekly long-table dinner features fresh lobster, Dungeness crab, jumbo prawns, clams, and mussels all served atop butcher’s paper, with corn and potatoes tumbled out of a dish right onto the table as well. There are crackers to break shells, and luxury Frette linen napkins for bibs.
The evening kicks off in style with a glass of Haywire “the Bub” sparkling wine from the Okanagan Valley. Exquisite side dishes include baby gem salad with wild rice, almond crunch, shaved crudités, crispy egg, house-made pickles, and buttermilk ranch dressing; and bacon-and-jalapeño-jack-cheese cornbread skillet.
To finish are beignets à la café du monde with blueberry compote and lemon balm ice cream.
At 845 Burrard Street. Tickets are $68 per person plus tax and gratuity, at Eventbrite.
August 6 | Vancouver’s North Shore
This year will mark the second incarnation of the seaside Indigenous Feast in partnership with BMO Bank of Montreal. Taking place at Ambleside Landing on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, the long-table dinner opens with a traditional welcoming song and blessing of the food.
The menu for this year’s communal meal is still being finalized, but examples from the inaugural edition include bannock, bison, berries, grilled wild salmon, and Three Sisters salad, which consists of the holy trinity of corn, beans, and squash.
Besides a multi-course meal with wine, the feast features singing, dancing, drumming, and the opportunity to learn more about the culture of those who have called this spectacular land home for millennia.
At Ambleside Landing, 1564 Argyle Avenue. Tickets are $95 plus tax, at Harmony Arts Festival.
July 26 | Langley
JRG stands for the Joseph Richards Group, which operates numerous restaurants, pubs, and other businesses, including Glass House Estate Winery, throughout Metro Vancouver. Corporate chef David Jorge earned bragging rights as the winner on Masterchef Canada’s second season. (Cooking is just one of his strengths. He’s also a master pourer of concrete.) The JRG culinary team will create a six-course dinner with wine pairings to be served amid the grapevines of the Glass House Estate Winery.
The al fresco evening also features a welcome reception and live music, while the ticket comes with a gift certificate for a separate wine tasting.
At Glass House Estate Winery, 23449 0 Avenue. Tickets are $199, plus fees and taxes at Eventbrite.
For more fabulous foodie events, including Fraser Valley Cider’s Long Table series visit our events page.