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By Wade Kinley Strolls along the Fraser River, a burgeoning arts and culture scene and new craft breweries popping up all the time, there’s plenty of reasons to hop the SkyTrain on the Evergreen Line and head out to Coquitlam. You can also add a great selection of happy hours to that list; here we present four of the happiest hours in Coquitlam. John B Neighbourhood Pub You can get an early start at the John B, a popular Coquitlam watering hole since 1978. Happy hour here starts at 2 pm and runs until 6 every day (not only that, you can enjoy similar deals on their Night Owl Menu that starts at 10 pm, Sunday to Wednesday). Premium highballs are only $3.50 while a “true sleeve” of draft beer is $4. House wine is $5.50, or get yourself a signature JB Root Beer for $4.75. You’ll need a thirst…

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 Brittany Tiplady For West Coast Canadian 90s kids, donuts serve up some serious childhood nostalgia. Tim Hortons trips before hockey, Long John’s served with elementary school hot lunches, boxes of Krispy Kreme at a birthday party. You get the jist. Today, donuts are somewhat of a cultural currency. The beloved pastry continues to be elevated and topped with unique, showstopping ingredients that are as delicious in real life as it looks on Instagram. Hungry yet? Browse the list below to find some local favourites to indulge in. Doppio Zero Pizza 1655 Como Lake, Avenue, Coquitlam Because, you can never eat too many carbs in our opinion, after dinner try the Graffe. It’s an Italian made-to-order style doughnut drizzled with hot caramel. Outpost Mini Donut Company 110-12240 Second Avenue, Richmond Located in the heart of Steveston’s idyllic village, Outpost Mini Donut Company lives up to its name, serving up gourmet…

By Ashley Lockyer The scent of toasted cashews wafts into the streets and ornate Persian silverwork adorns a shop brimming with baskets of colourful flavours. But, this isn’t a bazaar in the middle east, this is Coquitlam. Step inside Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts here or in several locations across Metro Vancouver to sample the roasting traditions and ambiance that embrace the shop’s origins in Iran. “In the middle east, there are nut stores on every corner, people are used to them. But here, we had to build a culture,” said Amir Hosseini, owner of Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts. Amir’s father, Ayoub himself, opened a small roasting store in Iran. The country is completely saturated with toasted nuts shops, so it’s a tough market to crack. Ayoub worked at crafting distinct recipes and mixes, and people went nuts! Soon, he had a million dollar business shipping all over the…

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…

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,…

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 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! But since we are all about the food here at WestCoastFood, we are super stoked about the booth at the festival where they sell…

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. 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…

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…

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 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:…

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. 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!…

By Catherine Dunwoody “I used to work for an investment firm for 15-plus years,” says Rose Samaniego, co-owner of Coquitlam’s Kulinarya Filipino Eatery. She decided to take the leap and open Kulinarya while still also working her full-time job. Fast forward from 2009 to today, and Rose clearly feels she made the right decision to leave her day job and focus on this busy restaurant, including plans to open a second location on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Rose is passionate about bringing authentic Filipino cuisine to BC, and guides her chef Joemel Gracilla to keep it real when it comes to the dishes served. So much so, that Kulinarya was given honourable mention for Best Southeast Asian restaurant in the 2013 Vancouver Magazine awards. For those not familiar with Filipino food, think Asian with a strong Spanish influence. Signature dishes? Kaldereta (beef and potato in a spicy tomato sauce), crispy pata…

By Brittany Tiplady It’s risky to open a craft brewery in such a saturated local market. With tasting rooms lining the streets of Vancouver, and Port Moody’s beloved Brewery Row, how does one launch a new craft brewery that we haven’t already seen, and sipped, so many times before? Mariner Brewing found the recipe to do just that. 26-year-old Byron Vallis brought his love of craft beer to his hometown of Coquitlam, just a few blocks from his childhood home. The vision he and his team shared was to bring a unique element to the craft beer scene in the untapped market of Coquitlam, so that folks like him (and girlfriend Lauren Ang, Chief Consumption Officer of Mariner Brewing,) could enjoy doing what they love most, right at home. Mariner Brewing opened their chic and nautical-themed tasting room on August 30th 2017 with four brews on tap, and has been…

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 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 Sure. We have salmon, spot prawns and Dungeness crab aplenty here on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean we don’t crave fresh lobster every summer as well, like our neighbours out east who get to feast on it regularly. Loving fresh lobster is easy right now on Canada’s west coast. Here’s a hot list of restaurants serving it up in a variety of ways. Lobster. The love is real, people.  Vancouver Lobster Fest is an annual thing at Provence Marinaside, returning every July and on now ‘til month end. Executive Chef Jean-Francis Quaglia created a three-course menu for a sweet deal at $62 with optional wine pairings for an additional charge. Choices of starters like lobster salad with fresh peas and puree or classic lobster Thermidor whet your palate for even more, with main options offered x3. The whole Atlantic lobster done Provençal style is ridiculously…

By Catherine Dunwoody Bingsoo Korean shaved ice dessert may make you forget about traditional ice cream forever. Also known as patbingsu or bingsu, this treat traditionally uses water as its icy main ingredient, however Snowy Village Canada uses 100% Canadian milk which is frozen and shaved to create a snowy consistency. Red bean paste is the traditional topping, however fresh fruit like strawberries, jelly, Oreo cookies, roasted grain powder and other toppings give it a modern texture that is suited to Canadian tastes. Snowy Village opened its first location in Richmond back in 2015, then a second in downtown Vancouver, and a third in Coquitlam.  Surrey and Langley locations are planned for this summer. As well as bingsoo, the shops serve croissant taiyaki (which is like a filled, press-grilled sandwich), healthy smoothies, great coffee and a variety of savoury and cheesy snacks. snowyvillages.ca

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 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 17th, 2017. 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,…

By Jennifer Foden Craft beer lovers in Coquitlam can rejoice: the city’s first craft brewery is scheduled to open in summer 2017. After the city of Coquitlam changed their liquor regulations last year (allowing craft breweries to exist in the city), Byron Vallis went ahead with plans to open Mariner Brewing in the city he grew up in. Mariner Brewing will be just a 25km/16mi drive from Vancouver or a 10 minute walk from Coquitlam Central Skytrain station. The 3,000 square foot space is located at Barnet Highway and Lansdowne Drive, just a short walk from Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station. Plans for the brewery include a 50-seat tasting room that will have an “exploration” vibe (look out for constellation designs and lots of navy blue.) The brewery and tasting room will also have growler fills, a food menu (including gourmet hot dogs and charcuterie boards) and, of course, delicious beer.…

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 Ashley Lockyer How fresh do you like your coffee? Each morning the scent of roasting beans spills out from Creekside Coffee Factory in Coquitlam. Here, you can sip a handcrafted beverage beside the bright red roaster where your drink started its journey, from beans to a piece of latte art. Owner and roaster Jay Lee had his own unique journey. It all began while he was a stockbroker in South Korea. He found himself daydreaming of owning a business while the numbers poured down the screens. When he moved with his family to Canada, Jay set off to master another market, something that interested him: coffee. Jay was mentored by a master roaster in South Korea. He then worked in a cafe to learn the hands-on craft of drink making. Finally, he heard famous coffee roasters spill the beans on their techniques while working at a coffee company and…

By Anna Black If you’re looking for a unique dessert experience in the Coquitlam area, you may want to give saffron desserts a try. The city offers up a variety of choices for this decadent after dinner treat, enjoyed for its orange-hued, earthy pungent flavor. About Saffron Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the Crocus sativus or saffron crocus. Once considered a luxury item due to its price, it is commonly used today in South Asian, European, and North African cuisine. Common examples of saffron desserts include Persian ice cream, shirini-e keshmeshi (raisin and saffron cookies), harireh (pudding), sohān-e-asali (honey toffee), and gaz (Persian nougat). “Since saffron is a unique and popular spice, our guests love to try any product that contains saffron, and the most enjoyable thing about it is its one of a kind aroma and flavor.” – Bita Askari, General Manager, Urban Gate “Saffron…

By Nikki Hillman You’ll know Rocco’s is passionate about supporting local as soon as you enter the store. The seating area is dominated by two, long wooden tables, built by a company directly across the street, who salvaged fallen trees from within the area. These tables foster traditional Italian family dining and, if you’ve visited Italy, you will be familiar with this concept – and Rocco’s is definitely about family. The store is managed by Andy and Jana Mollica (a retired Air Canada employee) and their trusted employee, general manager and chef, Pat Toynbee. Stop by on a weekday afternoon and you could be entertained by their adorable children as they munch on pepperoni sticks from behind the deli glass. Rocco’s opened in August of 2015 and has quickly become the go-to place for coffee, meats, cheeses and treats. Most of the pastries are made in store; try a café…

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam Whether you’re interested in people watching or simply soaking up some sun, dining al fresco has never been easier or more enjoyable with Coquitlam’s outdoor restaurant patios. All you have to do is settle in, order a cool drink and figure out what to order. Where to go? Here’s a list of some of the city’s best patios for dining and relaxing outdoors: Browns Socialhouse Town Centre Nestled behind Coquitlam Centre, this Brown’s restaurant sits along Glen Drive and presents a perfect opportunity to people watch while enjoying the bustling ambiance and friendly service. #120 – 2950 Glen Drive 604.474.3255 Cactus Club Coquitlam Featuring a generous patio, Cactus Club Coquitlam makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors while still being close to the city’s entertainment district (the Hard Rock Casino and SilverCity Coquitlam are just a few minutes away). #110 – 101…

By Nikki Hillman In Coquitlam’s city centre, Glen Drive is evolving into a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. There are several Pho, sushi, and waffle stores – and there is a wealth of hidden Persian and Iranian gems. I found myself drawn to The High Street and stopped in at the Urban Gate Bar and Grill for some dinner, and was surprised to find a traditional Iranian/Persian Market attached to the restaurant. The scents of the sweets were enticing as I sat down to order. I asked my server to recommend a traditional Iranian meal and she instantly pointed out her favorite on the menu; Jujeh. This is a classic kebab of chicken, marinated in lemon, yogurt and saffron. The meal also comes with a small salad, barbecue Roma tomato, lemon, onion and saffron rice. The combination of the flavors was delicious but I was won over…

By Catherine Dunwoody Scott Harper watched the movie Chef one night, and the next morning looked in the mirror and said “I don’t want to spend another minute of my life doing anything I don’t love to do.”  And added, “one day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”    According to his wife Debbie, she laughs and says,  “Scott’s a dreamer, he built me a beautiful food truck… I’m the real Chef.” The couple are a second­generation family born and raised in Coquitlam, with a strong pull to give back to the local community that supports them. Cheese Street Grill food truck is their baby, and they travel the food truck festival circuit, plus other events and markets throughout the Lower Mainland. What do they serve? Handcrafted grilled cheese sandwiches, seasonal soups, all made with locally sourced, highest quality ingredients. And love. Their “mac…

By Catherine Dunwoody Vegans and vegetarians will want to add Sunday visits to the Coquitlam Farmers Market to their calendars, from now until end of October. Jessica Kralj, owner of Tasty Plants, has a love for plant-based foods, and a knack for preparing a variety of delicious dishes, that she sells at the market. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Kralj offers fresh and frozen prepared meals plus brownies, cookies, bars, and snacks. Customers line up for her three bean and quinoa chili, enchiladas, curried chickpeas and cauliflower soup. Sweet tooth? Try the energy bites (2 flavors: dark cocoa-coconut and key-lime coconut), and vegan brownies. Tasty Plants does not use any animal products/by-products, supports BC farmers and suppliers, and is an environmentally friendly business. “There are so many health issues associated with the consumption of meats and dairy, as well as so many people with allergies to these products and not many…

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam The temperate climate of BC’s Lower Mainland makes it especially easy to enjoy impromptu (and planned) barbecues and picnics – particularly in the warmer months of spring, summer and early fall. So, why not take it easy on yourself and enjoy the weather… and let someone else (preferably an expert!) do all the prep work? Enter Coquitlam’s array of specialty and multicultural delis, where you’ll find everything from authentic Italian salami and street food to Eastern European delights and even some flavourful Persian treats and meat. Here are just a few Coquitlam delis (in alphabetical order) where you can pop in and grab what you need for a quick and delicious meal: Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering 1-555 North Road Tucked away in Coquitlam’s North Road, this eclectic deli features most anything one could imagine from Central, Eastern and Northern Europe.…

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam When Maurio Ramos and his family emigrated from Brazil to Canada in 2001, it was with the hope of achieving a better quality of life. While the family immersed and settled themselves entirely in their new chosen home of Metro Vancouver, there was one thing they couldn’t and wouldn’t leave behind: the food and flavours of their native country. With extensive restaurant experience in their hometown of Aracaju, which sits in the north-eastern part of Brazil, the decision to venture into the food service industry here was an easy one. “About one year after we arrived in Canada, we were approached by an investor to open a Brazilian Steakhouse, which became Samba,” explains Felipe Ramos, Maurio’s son and a trained chef. “Maurio and I were the only two people involved in the restaurant, and I was one of the first chefs at…

By Sheliza Mitha Six tempting restaurants. Countless culinary experiences. One dynamic venue. Welcome to the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam. A quick tour of the Hard Rock reveals a world of excitement and opportunity – including casino games, fun memorabilia, live entertainment and some remarkable cuisine. Along with slots, about a dozen table games and live shows (think comedy and concerts), you’ll also find innovative and eclectic restaurants with names that include: Asylum, Chip’s Sandwich Shop, Fú Express, Fuel Café, Roadies’ Burger Bar and (because this is a casino after all) The Buffet at Unlisted. With a reputation for world-class dining and experiences, it should come as no surprise that Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino – the only one in Canada, by the way – delivers at every turn. Here, each of the seven restaurants is focused on sourcing fresh and local as much as possible. The idea is to satisfy…

By Kulinarya in Coquitlam Ingredients: Chicken (800 grams) Garlic (6-8 cloves) Oil (1/4 cup) Peppercorn (1/2 tbsp) White vinegar (1 cup) Soy sauce (1/4 cup) Bay leaves (2) Rice water Preparation: Slice chicken in pieces Crush and peel garlic Crack the black peppercorns Directions: In a pot, combine the crushed garlic and cracked peppercorn with vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorn and bay leaves. This creates the adobo mixture. Add chicken pieces and enough water to cover the meat. Simmer until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken from adobo mixture and set aside mixture for later. In another heated pan, add oil, garlic. Add chicken and fry until brown. Just when ready to serve, gently pour the adobo mixture.  Serve with rice.

By Catherine Dunwoody Say oui! Western Canada’s largest francophone festival for 27 years is back for another fun weekend of all things French Canadian – right in Coquitlam, BC. From March 4 to 6, 2016, the Festival du Bois showcases our fabulous and proudly French traditions and culture in Canada by way of the real deal when it comes to food, traditional music, entertainment and fun activities. Taking place in Coquitlam’s Mackin Park the fest is definitely family-friendly and very affordable. Kick off the festival at Dîner en Plaid, with its traditional French Canadian cuisine, and rollicking music from a New Brunswick band. Plaid dress code in effect? Absolument! Be sure and sip a pint of the signature craft beer, French Lumberjack Ale, from Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing – especially while you cheer on participants in the arm wrestling competition and saw contests. Salut! Festival du Bois is known for…

By Sheliza Mitha Across a few short, bustling and walkable blocks of Coquitlam is where you’ll find Austin Heights – an unassuming culinary gem that’s home to some of the most delicious and densely concentrated restaurants anywhere in the Lower Mainland. Overflowing with restaurants representing nearly every corner of the globe, the area is relatively small in size (making it easy to explore by foot) but big on taste serving up the height(s) of culinary adventure with almost every step. Here, you’ll find a veritable foodie destination that requires some serious and dedicated exploration – which is just what I set out to do one bright, sunshine-filled day. The goal was to spend a good part of my day in a self-guided food tour of the area. This meant nearly five-hours of restaurant hopping to experience just a few of the area’s tastiest and most unique experiences – only because…

By Sheliza Mitha For those who love coffee, there is nothing quite as satisfying and soul replenishing as an authentically-Italian cup of joe (whether it’s an Americano, cappuccino, latte, etc.). In Coquitlam’s Austin Heights, a veritable foodie hub, you’ll find the GianCarlo Deli – the perfect place to get your Italian caffeine fix, and then some. A few short blocks away are more tempting Italian old-world traditions and flavours at the acclaimed Golden Boot Caffe and Jimoco Café and Pasta. I ventured to Austin Heights in search of traditional Italian fare – and that’s just what I got, in many different forms. My self-guided tour of Italy kicked off with a smooth latte at GianCarlo’s, where I perused the neatly stacked shelves of pasta, sauces, imported biscuits, crackers, juices and more. The morning I was there, the owner was busily making homemade lasagne noodles in the kitchen at the back…

By Sheliza Mitha It is precisely because Coquitlam’s Austin Heights neighbourhood is abundant with deliciously satisfying pizza joints – from locally-owned places to well-known chains – that makes it difficult to choose where to get your next slice. At one end of Austin Street sits Me-N-Ed’s, a true Coquitlam institution. Over the past four decades, Me-N-Ed’s has garnered its fair share of fans, including home-grown celebrities such as Michael J. Fox. In fact, the five Me-N-Ed’s locations throughout the Lower Mainland regularly host charity golf tournaments to raise funds for both the Parkinson’s Society of BC and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s. During a recent visit to Coquitlam, I stopped by Me-N-Ed’s to sample some of their best-known specialty pizzas: Greek (vegetarian), Smoked Salmon & Roasted Garlic and Thai Chicken. What Me-N-Ed’s might be best known for, however, is their uniquely thin, crunchy, wafer-like crust. Topped with an…

By Sheliza Mitha for the City of Coquitlam Craft beers and tasty twists on traditional pub grub seem to be a specialty in Coquitlam, where you’ll find plenty of spots to quench your thirst and satisfy your appetite – from cozy pubs to bustling bars. What’s the meaning of craft beer anyways? It’s best defined as being produced by independent brewers that are considerably smaller than major corporate breweries and are generally known for their emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing techniques. You’ll find some ardent fans of this brew in some of Coquitlam’s most popular local hangouts. Boasting more than 50 types of craft beer, the John B. Pub in the city’s south-western section is where you’ll want to kick start your self-styled tour of Coquitlam’s craft beer scene. The drink menu here changes quickly and often, with a fast-rotating list of unique craft beers at any given time.…

By Sheliza Mitha When you consider that Korean-Canadians are one of Coquitlam’s largest visible minorities, it should come as little surprise that a section of this city has unofficially become known as “Koreatown” – specifically the corner of North Road and Lougheed Highway. Chances are, you’ll know you’ve arrived in the right place when you hit the colourful English- and Korean-language shop and restaurant signs. Once here, kick off your culinary adventure with a visit to the Hanahreum Mart (known as H-Mart by locals), home to a dazzling array of Korean delicacies (think marinated meats, salty snacks, sweet treats, luscious breads, pastries and more.) The kimchi corner is particularly worth a visit. Korea’s national dish is well represented here with a seemingly-endless variety of this spicy pickled vegetable: cabbage, green bean, radish, daikon, scallion, eggplant, cucumber. If you’re feeling peckish, pick up lunch or a snack from the store’s hot…

By Sheliza Mitha Anchored by Coquitlam Centre (one of BC’s largest shopping centres) and the 100-acre Town Centre Park, Coquitlam’s City Centre is an evolving, ever-changing neighbourhood overflowing with delicious culinary opportunities around every corner. Take a quick tour, and you’re sure to discover all the ways that the dining scene here so aptly represents the best of the city’s diversity – and could very well act as a sort of multicultural microcosm of Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. Here, you’ll find Chinese, Japanese and Thai restaurants sharing the same city blocks with hip eateries and Middle Eastern specialties. Lounge over drinks and appetizers at Browns Socialhouse, a perfect urban hangout with an eclectic menu to please nearly ever palate (think tacos, burgers, pizza, pasta and the list goes on). Just a few steps away is Legend House, boasting more handmade savoury, seasoned noodle dishes that you can possibly imagine – hot,…

By Joanne Sasvari Head east of Chilliwack and just before you hit the misty Coastal Mountains you’ll run into a little slice of pastoral paradise, where happy cows graze in the meadows and one of North America’s best cheese makers, Debra Amrein-Boyes, is making magic from milk. Of course, you don’t have to travel all the way to Agassiz to sample her nutty cheddars, savoury blues and creamy bries. That’s because The Farm House Natural Cheeses can be found on just about every fine cheese plate in town. You’ll find it at restaurants that range from Salt Tasting Room to Farmer’s Apprentice to Hawksworth, and in cheese shops including small independents (Benton Brothers, Les Amis du Fromage), farm markets like Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford and Pomme Natural Market in Coquitlam, and big chains (Whole Foods, Save On Foods, Choices). Amrein-Boyes herself is a bit of a legend in cheese…

By Nikki Bayley Vancouver is known as Canada’s cocktail capital, a hotbed of innovative alcoholic creations, shaken and stirred by award-winning bartenders who are making a name for themselves on the international circuit. Tucked away in the city’s West End by Stanley Park on Denman Street, you’ll find Buckstop, owned by Fiona Grieve whose local-first approach to cocktails is making her late night barbecue joint a must-visit for locavore drinkers. “I’m local,” grins Fiona, “I was raised in the Tri-Cities area and have friends there who still who grow things and are always eager to get them into the restaurant. I love to use produce from Coquitlam to make my cocktail bitters. Bitters help to add layers of complexity to a drink, say you have just a plain tomato, if I add salt and pepper to that it changes it and makes it better. Then say I add balsamic vinegar…