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Images by Ryan Wagner / Good Side Photo Words by Alexis Baran On a dewy morning in Burnaby Heights, the small-town walkable vibe is just the right pace for some relaxed exploration. Sparrows hop through trees and along the streets hunting for crumbs, and residents walk their dogs with cups of hot coffee steaming up from their hands. As the shops put out their sandwich boards and your stomach starts to grumble, there are lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from. Here are a few. The Gray Olive 4190 Hastings Street Three brothers came together to create this spot that serves seasonal comfort food that’ll warm you up for the morning. The menu may change with the calendar but you can always expect something homey with a bit of a twist. Chez Meme Baguette Bistro 4016 Hastings Street Looking for breakfast classics? This small diner is a local favourite…

Images by Ryan Wagner / Good Side Photo Words by Alexis Baran Referred to by locals as “The Heights”, this neighborhood in Burnaby prides itself on being full of friendly local businesses and shops in a walkable little enclave. Nearby is Montrose Park where you can access the Trans Canada Trail, with a view of Vancouver’s North Shore mountains. After a bit of a wander, here’s what to eat. Green & Oak Malaysian Restaurant 3760 Hastings Street With a hot cup of tea and a deep breath of fresh spices, this modern eatery is welcoming and friendly. Their style suits couples tucking into warm bowls of soup as well as large family dinners with lots of sharables. Sopra Sotto 4022 Hastings Street Just up the street from Malaysian cuisine is modern Italian meals made with local ingredients. Classic pizzas slide from a stone pizza oven out front, and in the…

By Sonu Purhar Nothing beats a creamy cold treat on a hot summer day – but unfortunately for us vegan and non-dairy folks, options are often limited. Sure, we can wander into an ice cream parlour with a hypnotizing array of flavours, but something in us dies a little when we spot the sad collection of ice crystal-studded sorbets in the corner. So, we’ve uncovered seven spots all around Metro Vancouver that churn genuinely delicious, adventurously flavoured vegan ice cream – nary a sad sorbet in sight. Enjoy! Umaluma Dairy-Free Gelato 235 East Pender Street, Vancouver and other locations Umaluma’s creamy plant-based gelato is available in stores across Metro Vancouver, though the trendy Chinatown shop offers a cool vibe where you can savour your flavour among like-minded dessert addicts. There are more than 35 options to choose from, including innovative daily specials – we like the Drunken Cherry, which combines…

By Sonu Purhar Summer is in full swing, and that means more hours of sunshine in which to enjoy ice cream! Though we love a solid chocolate or cookies-and-cream scoop, there are plenty of next-level variations of our favourite warm-weather treat served at dessert cafés, parlours, farms and eateries across Metro Vancouver. Read on for 10 suggestions that will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you screaming for more ice cream. Mister 1141 Mainland Street, Vancouver It sounds like an Insta-bait science experiment, but liquid nitrogen plays an important role in producing creamy, flavour-packed ice cream: because nitrogen freezes the cream so rapidly, fewer ice crystals are formed and less air is allowed into the final product (science lesson over). Situated in trendy Yaletown, Mister is converting ice cream aficionados to the liquid nitrogen way one made-to-order cup at a time. Try the Marshmallow Crème Brûlée for a nostalgic treat…

By Kristi Alexandra Spicy, creamy, fishy, meaty. Throw in cabbage, leafy greens, eggs, wontons, mushrooms, ginger, thin-sliced meats and whatever else your heart (and tastebuds) may desire. There’s no shortage of customizations when it comes to hot pot, the meal you go out for and yet cook yourself. Made through a Chinese cooking method of preparing your food at the dining table, hot pot is an interactive meal made for group dinners on cool days. While a simmering soup base (spicy, creamy or vegetable, depending on the restaurant) is kept boiling, ingredients are thrown into a pot and cooked at the table. We found Metro Vancouver’s top 5 Hot Pot spots so you can cook and chow down at the same time. Pearl Hot Pot 7154 Sperling Ave, Burnaby Step right up and sit down for a group session at Pearl Hot Pot. Set right in the centre of the…

By Kathy Mak Before you say yuck to cricket protein, you may be surprised to learn that a large portion of the world and most cultures are consuming edible insects by choice, a practice known as entomophagy.  For centuries, feasting on insects as a source of nutrition has been common in Asia, Africa and South America. The concept of eating bugs as an alternative protein has more recently started to make sense in North America. And one of the companies banking on bugs is Coast Protein. This New Westminster start-up is on a mission to normalize eating crickets as a viable, sustainable and healthy food source in various types of cuisine. Currently, they make edible cricket-based protein bars and powders that are available in 225 stores in Canada, of which there are 175 locations in British Columbia and 120 in the Lower Mainland. Crickets constitute the largest portion of the…

By Kristi Alexandra When the weather cools and our palate warms up, sending Metro Vancouverites on the search for soups, stews and steaming bowls of noodles. Welcome to ramen season! Traditionally, ramen is a Japanese noodle dish served up in a meat or fish-based broth, flavoured by shoyu or miso, and topped with accoutrements such as sliced meat, eggs, dried seaweed and more. There’s no one-way to do ramen, as evidenced by the ramen variations that represent different regions of Japan—from the mild-tasting, cloudy ramen of Kagoshima to the miso-style ramen of Sapporo. So, perhaps there’s really no tradition at all. In fact, a great ramen experience is all about choice and customization. One can choose to have their noodles thick or thin, chewy or soft; their broth with a pork-bone base (tonkotsu), or with fish or miso; then topped off with dressings to their heart’s content. We’ve rounded up…

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours If you don’t mind a light jacket and a slight chance of needing to move inside while a shower passes through, there’s still time to soak up British Columbia’s stunning vistas outside with a cold beer in hand this year. For the sunny days still to come, take note of these five local beer staples – easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing, ultra-refreshing – that you can find almost anywhere. 33 Acres of Sunshine 33 Acres Brewing, Vancouver This French Blanchè beer is inspired by the sun.  Fruity, orange-like, with a slightly sweet aftertaste, you’ll easily spot it on the shelves from its minimalist white label. Destiny IPA Fuggles and Warlock, Richmond Let’s say you’re the kind of person who picks beer by the label. You might already be familiar with Fuggles and Warlock for their whimsical illustrated labels and quirky names. The Destiny IPA has the hoppiness…

Almost immediately after the first harvest, many years ago, Sandve noticed something delicious about neighbourhood hives: each one tasted different. “It’s because whatever is in that neighbourhood, the bees are collecting,” he explains. “Some neighbourhoods have really nice streets lined with linden trees, or they’re near a ravine with lots of blackberries, or there’s a predominant [plant] in that area the bees like.

By Kristi Alexandra With sushi being a long-held staple of the Vancouver diet, it’s a wonder that Hawaiian poke—a cubed raw fish salad served atop rice—hadn’t hit the city’s mainstream earlier. Since 2016, though, it seems a new poke-fusion place is cropping up on every block. So, pescatarians rejoice! Now, the raw fish dish can be found trickling in to communities outside of Vancouver, and Steve Huynh is bringing his authentic poke to the community. But what is authentic poke, anyway? “Poke means chopped in Hawaii,” imparts Huynh, owner of Steve’s Poke Bar, “there’s different variations of raw fish. In Japan, you get sasami; if you go to Puerto Rico or Mexico, you’ll get ceviche. Different dishes have different ways to present raw fish,” the restaurateur tells WestCoastFood. Huynh and his wife, Camy opened the doors to Steve’s Poke Bar at SFU Burnaby in early 2017, serving up an authentic…

By Ariane Fleishmann 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…

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…

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…

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…

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. Originally opened in 1996, this 22-seat eatery celebrates 22…

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…

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. 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…

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. 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…

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. 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…

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. 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. 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…

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…

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 Place a large, oven-proof saucepan on a high heat and add a good dash of olive oil. Add the lamb…

By Kristi Alexandra Tucked away just behind Burnaby’s landmark shopping epicentre, Metrotown, where there’s no shortage of food to wares, is a small culinary enclave to satisfy any sweet tooth. Beresford Street, between Dow and Willingdon Avenues, is home to several cafes boasting homemade sweets with the saccharine quality of authenticity. From bubble tea and waffles, to gourmet soups, fresh pastries and handmade chocolates, this gastronomic haven is the gourmand’s secret gem — it’s a place to dine, sip, and study in relative quiet just steps away from the bustling crowds. EStEA Café | 4466 Beresford St.  EStEA Cafe is the eatery to frequent whether you want to stay for five minutes or a few hours. The quaint cafe recalls a Riverdale favorite, Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe, with a modern Taiwanese influence. Seating less than 20, the cafe has an ambiance as adorable as its treats – with spiraling pink art…

There’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker on Canada’s West Coast. The region is undergoing a craft brewing renaissance and it seems that there is a new craft brewery popping up every week. Let WestCoastFood and our transportation partner, Burnaby Tours, be your host as we guide you to some of the best craft breweries in the region. Enjoy an in-depth look at the art of beer making with a behind-the-scenes tour at one of the breweries, and get a full sampling of the breweries’ finest beers. (If you left beer fans at home, be sure to pick up a growler or two!) On this tour, you’ll visit:   Mariner Brewing, Coquitlam One of the new kids on the block, Mariner Brewing opened recently to much fanfare. Beer enthusiasts can expect their first offerings to include a sour weisse, a dry-hopped cream ale and a Northeastern…

By Brittany Tiplady It goes without saying that Burnaby is the epi-center for Bubble Tea lovers. With bubble tea restaurants and cafes a plenty, the local options are endless, and can be somewhat overwhelming. Here are some choice stops on Burnaby’s “Bubble Tea Way,” a summation of local hot spots serving the popular beverage.  Bubble World-Burnaby 4300 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 1Z5 11 am-2 am  This sought after location, often appeals to late-night crowd, serving both sweet and savory dishes and beverages. Pearl Castle Café 4429 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2A1 11 am-12 am  Tucked away in Old Orchard Shopping Centre, Pearl Castle is an unassuming and quaint spot, specializing in Taiwanese tea and offering over 100 flavours of specialty beverages. Crystal Mall 4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC 9 am-9 pm Crystal Mall is a wealth of great bubble tea spots. We suggest TMix (unit 1696), Tea Plus (unit 21220, Café…

By BC Association of Farmers Markets The BC growing season is in full swing, and you can experience the palette of summer with a trip to some of the 145+ BC farmers’ markets. Whether you’re headed here on a weekend with family or friends, or taking the summer to explore Canada’s West Coast, here’s everything you need to build a farmers’ market visit into your summer travels across the province. Step 1: Know your BC farmers’ markets With over 145 BC farmers’ markets across the province, you’re sure to discover more than a few that you’ll love to return to year after year. This helpful BC Farmers’ Market Finder tool will help you make the tough choices (popsicles in White Rock, or honey in Richmond?) and you might be surprised to see how easy it is to access more than one farmers’ market closer to home. Here’s a tip: BC…

By Catherine Dunwoody  It was only a matter of time until The Heights in Burnaby claimed their very own neighbourhood dining showcase. The festival takes place smack in the middle of summer, August 16-30, 2017 for two weeks of daily deals and special features, entertainment and more. Every day each restaurant and eatery has a different special; some are offering new menu items created just for Crave, while others are doing special happy hour features or after-dinner desserts. The Heights will come to life with live music and street buskers along their section of Hastings Street, opting for an urban, summer atmosphere you just can’t recreate any other season. “The Heights is a special place, rich in multiculturalism,” remarked Isabel Kolic, executive director of the Heights Merchants Association, “Crave is a perfect way to not only experience this strong sense of culture, but also to discover the variety of amazing…

By Catherine Dunwoody How cool is it (literally) that this most delicious and special day happens to fall on our very own Canada Day, July 1st? Vancouver and its diverse surrounding communities certainly know how to celebrate two things at once, and the proof is in the cone. Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by toasting with one of these super special flavours, and some for a very limited time only. Here’s what they are and where to find them. Flavour: Canadian Maple Bacon Where to get it: Welcome Parlour Ice Cream, Vancouver’s North Shore The scoop: This shop just opened this past spring in a 1909 heritage building, and this special flavour is only available for 1 day. Made with caramelized bacon and real maple syrup. Patriotic and proud! Flavour: Roasted Strawberry Where to get it: Rain or Shine, Vancouver The scoop: Brought back for another summer, this fave 4th Avenue…

By Kristi Alexandra In a time when $22 avocado toast is the norm, even going out for a casual brunch can feel pretty bourgeois. Fortunately for residents of Burnaby Heights, The Gray Olive Cafeteria has brought classic, casual fare to the neighbourhood — while still maintaining the class. Located at the corner of Hastings Street and Carleton Avenue, the cafeteria-style, 20-seat eatery opened its doors in February of 2017, serving up comfort food with a refined twist. Founded by brothers Brian, Steve, and Jeremy Wong, the trio of siblings attests they just wanted to dish up mouth-watering food that recalls simple home-style cooking. “We’re such a food-driven family,” Steve, the youngest brother, tells WestCoastFood at the Hastings Street eatery, “all of us are so food-driven. Our mom would cook all our meals and even my friends would come over just to eat dinner with us. All of us are just…

By Brittany Tiplady The age-old motto “first we eat, then we do everything else,” rings true at North Burnaby’s modern Italian nook, Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria. Serving up generous portions of modernized Italian cuisine, Neapolitan VPN certified pizza, and wine on tap, Cotto Enoteca is the perfect spot to indulge in a bevy of carb-loaded menu options made with sustainability in mind. In true west coast fashion, this pizzeria engages in some unique, eco-friendly initiatives including QWater (filtered water, eliminating bottles), Ocean Wise seafood, and choosing to source their ingredients, specifically produce, locally. Found on the corner of Hastings and Fell, this Italian joint aims to “[Showcase] the best of BC and Italy, [marrying] the traditional techniques of Italy with the best of local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients.” Still wondering what Neapolitan VPN certified pizza means? This authentic seal of approval is awarded to restaurants by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza…

By Kristi Alexandra 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 eighth annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week, running from May 26 to June 4. “We keep growing and changing every year because we want to create this beer experience that all of us want to experience ourselves,” says co-founder and events director Leah Heneghan. 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 the four breweries that dot Port…

by Catherine Dunwoody You may be familiar with Left Coast Naturals, a Burnaby-based brand that started back in 1996. Owned by Jason Dorland and Ian Walker, they kicked off with a line of natural nut butters called Skeet & Ike’s that they sold on Granville Island Market on weekends. Things went well, the company ticked along for a long while, and then in 2005 they launched a variety of tortilla chips, named Hippie Chips, after the 60s hippie movement where people looked to raw, natural foods for better health. Hippie Foods has grown since then, and now is a whole line of healthy (and tasty!) snacks, cereals and cookies. See? Going way beyond granola. Though their granola is darn good. Here are some goodies to watch for in markets on Canada’s west coast. Bonus? All of these are organic, gluten free and non-GMO too: Hippie Snacks Coconut Clusters. Organic roasted…

by Catherine Dunwoody Burnaby’s constantly evolving Metrotown just got a little French and we couldn’t be more excited.   Paris-trained Chef Elena Krasnova opened her first standalone shop, “Mon Paris Pâtisserie” and that means delicious pastries, café au lait, and much more. The 1000 square foot space has a pretty modern, bright Parisian vibe with an open-concept kitchen, and intimate bistro-style seating (plus a patio space will open this spring). Republica Coffee Roasters is the café of choice, plus specialty teas, traditional French pastries, and Cacao Barry chocolate confections are served. Chef Krasnova trained at the famed Ferrandie Ecole de Gastronomie in Paris, and uses only the best local and international ingredients to create classic French desserts like the ‘Opera’ (intense coffee flavours melded with moist dark chocolate mousse), macarons, plus wedding and special occasion cakes. Feeling like trying your own hand at French deliciousness? We say oui! And with pastry…

With a backyard of clean rivers and lakes, the Pacific Ocean, and rich fertile land, the farmers, chefs, brewers, distillers, fishers, and producers are able to bring their diverse traditions, cultures, and creativity to the plates, cups, and glasses of Canada’s west coast. The taste is hyper local, from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley. Featured in this video: The Vancouver Aquarium, The Liberty Distillery, Fraser Valley Cider Company, Cherry Lane Farms, Burnaby Village Museum, Bella Gelateria, Crazy Cows, Steveston Seafood House, Campbells Gold, Central City Brewers and Distillers, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Trading Post Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Vij’s

by Catherine Dunwoody Here’s fun Dine Out Vancouver idea: Book brunch or lunch at one of the participating restaurants and stay the night before at a nearby Vancouver hotel. Remember the festival ends February 5th so make your reservations now! Brunch Crawl – East Village January 28, by Vancouver Foodster, this event starts at 10am and during the course of four hours, you’ll visit several restaurants in Vancouver’s East Village neighbourhood (Hastings/Sunrise to Grandview/Woodland) sampling everything from smoothies to brunch pizza. Book online. Hotel pairing: Waldorf Hotel at 1489 E Hastings Street is also your meeting place for the crawl. Roll out of bed, into the lobby and boom – brunch tour begins. Explore BC Wine Brunch at Boulevard On Saturday, February 4 at 11 a.m., brunch-lovers can taste some of BC’s best wines paired with Executive Chef and 2015 BC Gold Medal Plates Champion Alex Chen’s delicious fare. The…

By Catherine Dunwoody Canada Place hosted the largest gluten-free food trade show in the country recently, the Gluten Free Expo. An opportunity for the consumer to stop and sample the wares and gain information at the many booths, plus check out some cooking demos and presentations – all geared to folks with gluten-allergies or sensitivities. Newly diagnosed with celiac disease myself, this show intrigued me both professionally and personally as a food writer with a rather refined palette trying to navigate this New Year eating gluten-free. Here’s my ‘best of the fest’ – products I tried and thought worth sharing, and mostly made right here on Canada’s west coast. Naked Coconuts from Vancouver makes soy-free teriyaki sauces.  Not only gf, but also soy-free, this organic, non-GMO, sauce has that salty, umami flavour we crave when it’s stir-fry time, and this one has 65% less sodium too. Free Yumm cookies and…

by Catherine Dunwoody Such a glorious way for any food aficionado to spend some time – exploring all the bounty Burnaby’s Big Bend offers. Burnaby Food First, in partnership with the City of Burnaby and with support from Tourism Burnaby, has just released a self-guided map listing participating farms and nurseries that are opened to the public within Burnaby’s Big Bend area. Talk about buying local. Sustainable food, all grown right in the area, plus Burnaby Food First is offering local workshops on growing and cooking healthy. Fill up your bike basket with the freshest summertime vegetables and fruit around, or pile the family in the SUV and shop big. Soon enough it’ll be pickle and canning season after all, but visit throughout the summer season as the variety will change as produce becomes in-season. Participating farms and nurseries include, Urban Digs, Hop on Farms, Gardenworks at Mandeville, Wing Wong’s…

By Tim Pawsey Somehow, amidst the never ending tsunami of trends and the revolving door of openings and closings, the buffet endures. An array of tastes and flavours offered at a reasonable price is tempting to the eclectic diner and to parents of choosy children, but to really be a hit, a good buffet needs to not only offer variety but also be well tended, with dishes kept warm and replenished as needed. Perhaps because it remains a bastion of family dining, frequently served only on weekends, the buffet is the one holdover from times past that we not only tolerate but celebrate. In Burnaby, which neighbours Vancouver with a thriving community of families and multiculturalism, there are many to choose from, with a strong focus on international cuisine. In Burnaby, Indian buffets rule. Four blocks west of Metrotown, contemporary toned Saffron Indian Cuisine yields both lunch and dinner extravaganzas.…

By Kathy Mak In an ideal world, we’d probably all like to make our own preserves; but most of us don’t have the time or the talent. Preserving food requires patience and practice. Making exquisite artisan preserves is an art form, which Geneviève Blanchet has mastered. A cut above ordinary homemade spreads, her handcrafted preserves uniquely capture the vibrant fruit flavours of the seasons by using traditional techniques blended with a holistic approach, wholesome values, and some French flare. When you understand her passion for preserves, you can fully appreciate why so many of us have upgraded our pantry with her remarkable jams, jellies and marmalades. Designing and creating interesting preserves come naturally to Geneviève. Influenced by nature and neighbours that lived off the land in the Quebec countryside, she learned to forage and use healthy ingredients, as well as make jams, at a young age. An early interest in…

By Geneviève Blanchet, Le Meadow’s Pantry This unctuous rice pudding will bring warmth and comfort on cold winter days. A tart blackcurrant or blackberry jam would work equally well during the summer months. I would substitute the cinnamon and saffron for fresh mint and fresh lemon balm for a cooling effect.  INGREDIENTS Jasmine rice (1/2 cup) Sea salt (a pinch) Fresh almond or nut milk (2 cups) Saffron (1 teaspoon) Ground cinnamon (1 teaspoon) Thick-cut orange marmalade (2 tablespoons) Pieces of walnut for garnish Maple syrup or honey for garnish DIRECTIONS Place the rice in a saucepan, cover with cold water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and drain. Combine milk and saffron in a saucepan and heat over high heat to a boil. Add the rice, cover, lower the heat to very low, and cook, stirring occasionally so the rice doesn’t…

By Joanne Sasvari At Urban Digs Farm, the pigs are brown and black and copper coloured, with jauntily spotted wiry coats, twirly tails and alert ears. You’d swear they’re smiling at you. And why not? These are some of the happiest pigs around. “We carry pigs that make good bacon and have good personalities,” says Julia Smith, co-founder and operations manager of Urban Digs. “Adorableness is one of the important characteristics we look for.” Smith and her partner Ludo Ferrari started the farm in 2012 on two weed-choked acres in Burnaby. Right from the beginning, they wanted to raise free-range, pasture-fed heritage pigs, not the big, pink commercial pigs we all know so well. Those commercial pigs have been bred for size, weight, uniformity and a lean, mild meat. They grow quickly and produce many litters of piglets, often without ever leaving the inside of a barn, making them ideal…

by Kathy Mak Winter may seem an unlikely time to visit an outdoor farmers market in Canada, but the milder climate in the Lower Mainland allows the markets and abundance of seasonal products to thrive. Deserving of more recognition, a winter market’s appeal lies not only in the quality and range of offerings, but also in knowing that it’s served by a passionate community of both food artisans/farmers and shopping foodies, all prepared to brave the elements in support of fresh local products. The charm of a winter market is in the smaller and manageable crowds. With shorter line ups, there’s time to sample and chit-chat with merchants. Live entertainment, food trucks and heating stations are also on hand to add some extra warmth. To visit a winter market is to crave comfy and warming flavours. It’s easy to take inspiration for cozy dishes from the bounty of seasonal products…

By Kathy Mak There’s no denying it, eating counts as sightseeing, and when you have a sweet tooth, bakeries, pastry shops and other sweet stops are the attractions! You don’t have to go far in Vancouver to find every possible sugary delight, from award-winning ice cream, to-die-for pastries, and gourmet macarons to handcrafted chocolates. But, finding some of the unsung sweet treats further afield can be the real taste-adventure. Take this sweet-packed outing to discover a selection of local, laid-back gems in Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond and Vancouver, all easily linked by convenient public transit and short walks. Your self-guided, sweet tasting spree begins in downtown Vancouver with an early morning stop at Cartems Donuterie (534 West Pender). It’s hard enough to resist regular donuts, but resistance is futile when it comes to Cartems’ donuts as they are dreamy! (And, literally, Cartems was born out of a dream by the…

By Tim Pawsey Nestled on the shores of Deer Lake, Hart House was built by Frederick Hart well over a century ago. The mock Tudor manor and immaculate gardens were privately owned and developed by the Moore family and others, over the better part of the last century, until being acquired by the City of Burnaby in 1979. The restaurant, which opened in 1988, offers an idyllic escape from the nearby bustle of Burnaby and Vancouver. In many ways, Hart House’s dining history parallels the story and rise of regional cuisine in Vancouver. For years it specialized in the tried and true formula of continental cuisine, with a solid emphasis on roasted meats and grilled fare. In short, a protein lover’s paradise, with a cellar to match. More recently, though, the restaurant has changed course to embrace the notion of Pacific Northwest cuisine, perhaps no more so than today, with…

By Tim Pawsey Foodies have long known that the stretch of Hastings Street which runs east from Boundary Road (known as Burnaby Heights) is home to a wealth of myriad flavours. A reviewer once cheekily suggested that The Pear Tree was one of downtown Vancouver’s best dining destinations. (It’s not downtown and never has been, but just sports a certain sophistication that makes it feel that way.) Over the years, Pear Tree owners Stephanie and Scott Jaeger have won accolades for being very polished, cutting edge, and serving with casual flair in contemporary but comfortable surroundings. Scott’s regionally driven plates features the likes of pan roasted Lois Lake Steelhead salmon, served with pomme Dauphine and butternut squash, or twice cooked ‘Berkshire’ pork belly with white bean Cassoulet. Also firmly locally focused, Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria features VPN certified Neapolitan pizza (by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana ) and down to earth, truly…

By Nikki Bayley BC is known as a chef’s paradise for the sheer abundance, variety and quality of its produce from the land and sea. From super-sustainable spot prawns and juicy Okanagan peaches to fresh-foraged salmonberries and briny sea asparagus, there is something exciting to taste year-round you just need to know what to look for, and who better to explain the gems of BC seasonal dining than Scott Jaeger, one of Canada’s most respected chefs. Scott represented Canada in the prestigious Bocuse D’Or Culinary Competition in Lyon, France in 2007 and has won a brace of awards for his culinary skills including Chef of the Year and Best Restaurant for his Burnaby-based Peartree. “Here in BC we have a short but intense growing season when things ripen all at once; around May or June things start to pop out of the ground for four months. That’s our main season…

By Nikki Bayley If you want a sweet taste of BC in a glass, leave the downtown core and jump on a 135 bus which will take you straight along Hastings Street and deliver you to Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionary in the heart of Burnaby Heights. As a residential area dotted with historic heritage houses, it’s not necessarily somewhere that most visitors would see, but fans of ice cream and soda fountains need to add Glenburn to their itineraries; you’ll be delighted that you did. Once you’re in the parlour and take a seat at the shining counter, prepare to enter a world of delicious indecision: what should you order? So many choices! From milkshakes, malteds and egg creams to piled-high sundaes with a myriad of flavours, everything looks so tempting; but it’s when you discover that it’s you’re getting a truly local flavour that things get interesting… Owners…