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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,…

By Gail Johnson It’s looking a lot like Christmas, and for those who prefer to dine out rather than eat in during the holidays, local restaurants have got you covered. Here are a few that will do the cooking for you. Vancouver YEW Seafood + Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (791 West Georgia Street) Christmas eve dinner, Christmas day brunch buffet, and Christmas day dinner are all on extravagant offer. This is the last time you’ll be able to celebrate the holidays at the Four Seasons: the luxury property is closing on January 30, 2020. Bombay Kitchen and Bar (1018 Commercial Drive; open December 24 and 25) Authentic Indian dishes will warm you up when the weather outside is frightful.  On the menu are tandoori chicken, prawns, veggies, lamb chops, and goat chops alongside vegetarian dishes like tofu tikka masala, eggplant bharta, and paneer vindaloo. Juke Fried Chicken…

By Brittany Tiplady Not much of a baker? Neither am I, but that doesn’t mean you can pull up to the party empty-handed. We’ve rounded up six Metro Vancouver bakeries and pie shops that are serving up decadent and unique cakes, tarts, cookies, and more. Catering to an array of dietary restrictions? We’ve sourced some gluten-free and dairy-free options for you as well! Pop in to your next holiday gathering with a bounty of holiday treats courtesy of one of the locations listed below. Cakes n Sweets 2773 Barnet Hwy, Coquitlam Near Coquitlam Centre SkyTrain station. This holiday season, Cakes n Sweets in Coquitlam will be offering gingerbread people cookies, gingerbread cupcakes, chocolate orange cupcakes, chocolate mint christmas tree cupcakes, christmas sugar cookies, red and green meringues, biscotti and ginger snap cookies. Find Cakes n Sweets just two  blocks west of Coquitlam Centre Mall, pop in for your holiday sweets…

By Kristi Alexandra There’s no time like the present to fill up on presents! While you’re leisurely taking in the lights, sounds and smells of holiday markets around Metro Vancouver, don’t forget there’s also a bounty of food-based stocking stuffers from local artisans all over. There’s something for everyone, from your chocolate-loving neice to your gourmand grandmother. Check out the assortment of preserves, gluten-free treats and more, and which markets you can find them at, below. Vancouver Christmas Market Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver Candy Meister at Vancouver Christmas Market invites you to the sweet side of life, offering a selection of colourful, all-natural, gluten-, dairy-, and corn-free candies from Germany! West Coast Wild Foods takes a walk on the wild side. As one of Canada’s leading wild mushroom companies, they bring wild mushrooms such as Chanterelle, Morel, Porcini, Pine and many others for the ultimate stocking…

By Sonu Purhar Everyone knows Christmas calories don’t count (right?) – and that’s why you’ll find us embarking on pilgrimages throughout the holiday season in search of desserts that even Santa would approve. Read on for our top picks, and be sure to post your own so we can expand our horizons and waistlines. Let’s get this sugarfest started! Clever Cupcakes 109-2985 Northern Avenue, Coquitlam 2 minute walk from Lincoln SkyTrain station. This cute cupcake shop was founded by Juan and Elsa Escobedo, who started the company after searching fruitlessly for tasty, allergy-friendly treats for their kids. Their cupcakes are certainly clever, boasting half the sugar of standard cakes, absolutely no peanuts or nuts, and exquisite designs holding bold flavours of double chocolate, vanilla and caramel. There are also vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives, which means everyone can find a sweet treat that satisfies. View this post on…

By Brittany Tiplady If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the holidays, why not take a stroll through a gorgeous display of lights? Treat your family, your significant other, or maybe just yourself to some Yuletide cheer! Metro Vancouver sure knows how to get into the holiday spirit with a vast selection of holiday light festivals popping up from Vancouver’s North Shore all the way to Langley. The artistry and brilliance of these events are bound to dissolve any Grinch-like feelings. The holidays are for feasting and you know that here at WestCoastFood we’ve got you covered in the food department. Grab a bite before or after with one of our recommendations below. Happy Holidays to you and yours! Vancouver Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Garden 5251 Oak St, Vancouver The annual Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Garden is arguably one of the most beloved holiday events in Vancouver…

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. 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 do a 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. The Gourmet Food area offers thousands of products you won’t easily find elsewhere, including popcorn in at least 10 fun flavours, a staggering 30 flavours of hot…

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…

By VisitRichmondBC.com With the holidays approaching fast, it’s time to start thinking about those gifts you want to buy. Especially when most of the people on your list probably have an overabundance of “stuff”, food and drink gifts can be ideal options since they don’t add to household clutter—and they taste delicious. Richmond has a wealth of different specialty food stores, as well as drink producers where you’ll find items to please the gourmands in your life. Give the Gift of Tea If you’re looking for the ultimate tea selection, head to Ten Fu Tea & Ginseng (Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way) where the knowledgeable staff will guide you through your purchasing decisions. The boutique has a range of pu-erh tea, a fermented tea that hails from Yunnan, China; plus oolong, jasmine, lapsang souchong (smoked black tea), and ginseng teas. Great Mountain Ginseng (Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way), a company…

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 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 Mr Pretzels 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…

A perfectly delightful morsel of chicken married with a combination of South East Asian flavours creates a small little burst of “more please”. This small bite will transform overused, under appreciated, and albeit rather boring chicken into a regular item on your party food list.

By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering We use a tenderizing brine of honey, lemon, herbs, garlic, salt and spices for maximum moisture retention and flavour.  INGREDIENTS Organic Tom Turkey (15-lb) Kosher salt (4 cups, plus more to taste) Honey (1 cup) Whole black peppercorn (¼ cup) Lemons (5, halved) Bay leaves (2) Garlic (2 heads, halved and smashed) Parsley (1 bunch) Sage (1 bunch) Thyme (1 bunch) Clarified butter for brushing (¼ cup) Carrots (2, quartered) Small leek (1, halved) Small yellow onion (1, halved) Turkey stock (8 cups) Flour (1 cup) DIRECTIONS  For the brine: 1. In a large stockpot, boil salt, honey, lemons, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic heads, parsley, thyme in 8 liters of water. 2. Reserve the neck bones and giblets from the turkey. Let brine cool, add the turkey, then cover and refrigerate overnight. To roast the turkey: 1. Heat the oven to 425°F. 2. Remove…

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…

By: Mario Pelletier, Pastry Chef, Railtown Cafe and Railtown Catering INGREDIENTS (Recipe yields two pecan pies) Sable Base Flour, 470 grams Ground almonds, 60 grams Butter, 240 grams Icing sugar 180 grams 2 eggs Salt, 1 tsp Crumble all dry ingredients together except eggs in a mixing bowl. Slowly add eggs and combine until smooth. Line the base mixture in two 10-inch circle tart tins. Place tins in the oven at 170°C (roughly 340°F) and blind bake (using beans on top of the crust) for approximately 20-25 minutes until the crust is half cooked. Pecan Filling Eggs, 9     Demerara sugar, 500g Golden syrup, 612.5g Butter, 125g Pinch salt Pecans, 1kg DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 175°C (roughly 350°F). Melt the butter. In a mixing bowl and slowly mix in the eggs, sugar and syrup. Incorporate the butter, salt and then the pecans. Divide the pecan filling between the two…

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. 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 Santa’s Belly — a chocolate crafted Santa belly filled with an assortment of salted dark chocolate caramels, cocoa nib crunch and caramelized almonds and hazelnuts dipped in dark, milk and white chocolate. An internationally acclaimed 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…

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,…

By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering  DOUGH INGREDIENTS Flour (1 ½ cups) Salt (pinch) Sugar (pinch) Butter (½ cup) Water (30 mL) DOUGH INSTRUCTIONS  1. Sift flour, add salt and sugar, then cut butter into small pieces. 2. Pinch butter into flour until broken down into pea-sized pieces. 3. Add water and start to bring together. Cover dough and rest in the fridge for an hour. 4. Roll out and place in pie pan (9”) PUMPKIN FILLING INGREDIENTS  Whipping cream (116 mL or 4oz) Whole milk (116 mL or 4oz) Brown sugar (½ cup) Flour (1 ¼ tbsp.) Cinnamon (1 tsp) Ground ginger (½ tsp) Ground clove (½ tsp) Ground nutmeg (½ tsp) Whole eggs (2 ½) Pumpkin purée (333g or 1 cup) PUMPKIN FILLING INSTRUCTIONS  1. Whisk all ingredients together and pour into shell. 2. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes until the middle is firm and a knife…

By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering INGREDIENTS Brioche bread (2 loaves, diced into cubes) Celery (4 stalks, diced) Small yellow onion (1, diced) Garlic (4 cloves, chopped) Fresh sage (½ bunch, chopped) Fresh thyme (¼ bunch, chopped) Dried apricots (1 small handful, diced) Roasted chestnuts (1 cup, chopped) Toasted pine nuts (¼ cup) Butter (½ pound) Reserved turkey fat/drippings Turkey stock (3 cups) Whole eggs (4 , whisked together) Old bay seasoning spice (1 tbsp) Juice from one orange Salt and cracked black pepper to taste INSTRUCTIONS  1. In an oven preheated to 350°F, toast the brioche cubes into golden brown croutons with garlic oil and salt. Set aside. 2. Sauté the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, sage and seasonings together in the reserved turkey dripping and butter. 3. In a large mixing bowl, add the croutons, chestnuts, pine nuts, sautéed vegetables, orange juice, turkey stock and eggs. Season with salt…

By VisitRichmondBC.com Most restaurants are on lock-down during Christmas and we can’t really blame them. It is, after all, a time to celebrate with friends and family! Even so, Christmas remains the busiest day for the few restaurants that are open during this holiday. If you’re visiting Richmond during the holidays, be sure to try our top five restaurant picks in Richmond open during Christmas: HK BBQ Master If you’re looking to get a fill of Cantonese-style barbecue, HK BBQ Master (4651 No. 3 Road) is hands down one of the best places to get your fill of char siu, crispy skin roast pork, BBQ duck or BBQ chicken. It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall type eatery with just 14 seats and they accept cash only for payment. So be warned: come early to snag seats, or buy the meats by the pound with a side of rice and take it to…

By Catherine Dunwoody Sometimes slowing down during the holiday season is the greatest gift of all. Through all the craziness, the non-stop hustle and bustle, just settling in for a hot cuppa and some delicious treats with family or friends is an ideal time out. Not only is most of the honey served at Honeybee Centre collected from their own bees, it is a big part of their new Holiday High Tea. Served from December 1st to 31st, choose from a variety of high quality teas (black, green and herbal) that come to your table in a French press, along with a tiered tray (doesn’t everyone love those?) with Christmas-themed cupcakes, macarons, cheesecake, shortbread cookies, cranberry orange scone with clotted cream and honey, plus savoury treats like the brie and roasted chicken panini, artichoke baguette, and a turkey and cranberry roll. Not a tea drinker? No worries, have a peppermint…