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By Brittany Tiplady When I call Paul Grunberg for our interview it’s obvious that he’s in the throws of a lunch rush. “I’m so sorry, can I call you back in 45 minutes? 30 minutes?” he asks, raising his voice amongst the fray of voices, and dishes clanging. Less than half an hour later, we resume. I’ve been doing this job for a while, and I’ve gotten used to the usual shtick when interviewing a very busy person; it can be frustrating at worst, and tricky at best to capture the attention of your subject when their entrepreneur brain is focused elsewhere. I expected to have to fight for Grunberg’s attention over the phone, but to my surprise he was warm and pleasant and delightfully attentive. Much like his restaurants. If you’ve ever been to one of Grunberg’s establishments, you’ll agree that it’s fair to say the man is kind…

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 For chef Dan Leung, the unexpected road to a successful catering and restaurant business started as a teenager. Leung’s first restaurant industry job was in the kitchen of Vancouver’s legendary Elbow Room Café.  The job, he says, sparked his interest in food and cooking. After a sharp career detour to the field of electronics, Leung circled back to follow his true calling as a professional chef.  He graduated from Dubrulle Culinary Institute (now The Art Institute of Vancouver) and gathered experience at various restaurants and caterers before starting his own catering company, Danz Gourmet, with wife Wanda Lai in 2003. Fittingly, Leung’s desire to expand his culinary ingenuity led the husband-and-wife duo to open their restaurant–The Rise Eatery – in 2017. Located in the well-appointed neighbourhood of South Granville, their unique cuisine champions unconventional, global-fusion which Leung describes as the art of blending and balancing flavours/ingredients despite…

By Alexis Baran The Dine Out Vancouver Festival graces plates from January 18th – February 3rd and along with three-course meals, culinary tours, classes and tastings all over the city, guest chefs from all over the world will be cooking up inspired collaborations. Each chef from abroad will be in the kitchen with a Vancouverite, and the pairs will work together creating something that shakes up the tastebuds. Look who’s teaming up: London, Great Britain Who: Chef Warren Geraghty and Vancouver’s Chef Felix Zhou Where: Heritage Asian Eatery When: January 22, 2019 Details: The two accomplished culinary stars first met working on the line at Vancouver’s acclaimed West Restaurant and later teamed up across the pond at Michelin-starred restaurant Galvin La Chapelle in London. During this one-night-only event, Zhou and Geraghty will work in tandem to prepare an internationally inspired multi-course tasting menu that showcases their respective global experiences. Sydney, Australia…

By Wade Kinley Since happy hour became a regular thing around Vancouver just a few years ago (thanks to nifty adjustments to some by-laws) local restaurants in the city have embraced the opportunity to showcase some of the incredible food being created in the city, without those big-city prices. Here are four of the happiest hours in Vancouver, to fuel that second round of urban rambling. Tuc Craft Kitchen As the name suggests, there’s always some innovative and exciting work being done within the rustic walls of this well-loved Gastown eatery. Think comfort-food with the wow turned up to 11, and some of the most alluring cocktail ideas in the city and you’ll get an idea why Tuc has remained at the top of “Vancouver’s Best” lists since they opened in 2013. Luckily, tastes of both are on offer at happy hour, every day from 4 to 6 PM. Classic…

By Lenée Son In the 1970s in Hong Kong, Andrew Leung was still a young adult unsure of what path to take when his father encouraged him to work at a restaurant. His father, a fireball restaurateur who managed several eateries, asked the chefs at the restaurants he managed to mentor his son. Over 30 years later, Leung is the owner of Gain Wah Restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown and still makes his char siu (barbecued pork) the exact same way his teachers showed him. After emigrating from Hong Kong to Vancouver in 1973, Leung found job prospects to be limited for Chinese immigrants–but one way for new immigrants to support their families was to enter the restaurant business. “It was hard to find work for immigrants in those days,” said Leung, “my dad brought me into the restaurants in Hong Kong to learn how to cook and it ended up…

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 Ariane Fleischmann Cooking and eating at home has always been a part of Paula Mohammed’s life. Her parents, immigrants from India and New Zealand, always made the kitchen a place to gather with friends and family to share stories and recipes, to talk, and to open their minds. Mohammed has an early memory of her grandmother’s Dunbar apartment: it smelled of Indian spices; her grandmother’s bracelets jingled while she stirred a pot of curry peas. Before that day, Mohammed hated peas. “I remember that opening up my mind to try everything more than once,” she says. As a child, Mohammed spent time in New Zealand for a time before moving back to Canada. At the time, her father had a number of Japanese business partners, and instead of going out for dinner, he would invite them to their home where everyone cooked together. With her background in marketing and…

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 Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours Though the Granville Island Public Market is most known for its supply of specialty ingredients, foodies can leave the details with Bon Macaron Patisserie when it comes to macarons. The boutique was opened by two talented French bakers who wanted to bring a bit of France to the Canadian west coast. The macaron, they decided, is the perfect French dessert, as they are rich, light, and decadent, with infinite flavour possibilities. Infinite indeed – Bon Macaron has over 50 flavours to choose from, both savoury and sweet. Here are 5 macaron flavours from Granville Island you absolutely can’t miss: Fuzzy Peach It’s the exact punchy-tart peach flavour from your childhood, complete with sugar crystals on top. Candied Pecan The shop on Granville Island has a few exclusive flavours made with ingredients from the Public Market. This nutty macaron is made with Candied Pecans from…

BigHeart Bannock serves brunch from 10 am to 2 pm on weekends, where Lodge guests and non-guests can dig into dishes like baked or fried bannock with a choice of house-made jam (featuring flavours like sage-smoked woodland berry and sweetgrass strawberry), baked bannock French toast, bison sausage hash, or a wild boar sausage patty with elderberry barbecue aioli, among other offerings.

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 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 Alexis Baran What if cheese wasn’t made from dairy? Would it still be cheese? This cultured snack favourite can be buttery, sweet, herbal, earthy, pungent, bitter, footy, even barnyardy. It’s one of the few foods that people will gladly eat even (or especially) when visibly laced with thick blue mold and it is a staple of modern dining. For centuries it’s been made using cow, goat, sheep and other animals’ milks – but who’s to say milk is the only thing that can create a fantastic cheese? The assumption that animal milk must be the base for cheese is a notion that Chef Karen McAthy, the founder of Blue Heron Cheese, has been challenging. She’s aiming to change how consumers, as well as the food regulators, think about these wheels of flavour, all from her store and creamery on Vancouver’s Main Street. Blue Heron Creamery opened in Vancouver in…

by Kathy Mak Few things are more Vancouver than the beloved seawall, considered the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.   Cycling the seawall bike lane is one of the most entrenched pastimes of locals and a must-do for newcomers. Some folks ride the Vancouver seawall for exercise, some for the extraordinary views and iconic sights, and some for the novelty; but few may realize the seawall is a string of the best waterside pubs and patios in the city! If pairing tasty bites and beverages with your wheels is a priority, then you’re in for a treat with over 24 waterfront pit stops to please your palette while you pedal! This suggested “Pubs & Patios Pedal” route will take you on a bikeable feast along Vancouver’s seawall. Start at Canada Place for 11 am and wind along the mostly paved, flat path for 22 km (13.7 miles) via Stanley Park, English…

We all have one: that friend who posts pictures of every meal on Instagram; who hosts immaculate dinner parties and amps up the carefully curated cheese board with homemade sourdough and prosciutto cured in their own garage; who frequently visits farmer’s markets or forages for fiddleheads. They’re a foodie. But who ever said foodies were exclusively adults? With the ubiquity of cooking shows, YouTube tutorials, and wherever else kids get their information these days, Gen Z is ready to make something delicious. And what responsible parent wants to ignore their child’s desire to be in the kitchen? (So long as they learn to clean, anyways.) Indulge your kid with one of these top-notch cooking classes whether you live in BC or are just visiting; after all, the best way to experience regional cuisine is to make it yourself. Your kids will learn to appreciate different kinds of food and take…

By Wildebeest Vancouver A unique twist on the classic Negroni cocktail, Wildebeest’s “Basilisk Negroni” delivers a smoky bite thanks to its blend of Mezcal, Cocchi Americano and Amaro Nonino. The limited-edition cocktail will be on offer during Negroni Week until June 10 – after that you can make it on your own. INGREDIENTS Mezcal (30ml) Cocchi Americano (20ml) Amaro Nonino (10ml) Grapefruit twist INSTRUCTIONS Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin. Add ice and stir. Serve in a rocks glass over ice with a grapefruit twist.

By Mary Ann Bell As with all classic cocktails, there is a tried and true method to creating the perfect sip, and there will always be those people who say that you shouldn’t mess with perfection. Well, we think that there’s always room for a little creativity, and when it comes to a Negroni, it’s just waiting for a talented bartender to make their mark.  June 4-10, 2018 is Negroni Week, and bartenders across Metro Vancouver have thrown their shakers into the ring to showcase their interpretation of this classic Italian cocktail. Traditionally mixed with equal parts gin, vermouth rosso (red, semi-sweet), and Campari, a classic Negroni is always garnished with an orange peel and is best enjoyed on a sunny patio, while dreaming about Italian vacations. Negroni week was started in 2013 by Campari and Imbibe Magazine with 120 venues participating and has since grown to include over 7,700 venues…

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 Catherine Dunwoody Vancouver Craft Beer Week is the annual summer beer festival. Now in its 9th year, (VCBW) Festival returns to the PNE Fairgrounds on June 2 and 3. Not a beer lover? Gotta drink gluten-free? Keep reading. The BC Farm Crafted Cider Association has created a brand new “cider row”, and you don’t want to miss out. Some to check out: Merridale Cidery & Distillery from Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island is pouring house craft cider, their Mexican-inspired Jalisco, Lime, Merri Berri and a juicy Mo’ Moro Dry Hopped Blood Orange. Vancouver’s own 33 Acres Brewery is proud to pour their 33 Acres Of Cid3r house cider, which is their interpretation of an old English scrumpy. Howling Moon Craft Cider is serving up their refreshing Cucumber Mint Maker’s Series, made with cucumber and lime, and both their semi-dry and dry craft ciders from the Okanagan Valley. Also from the Okanagan…

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 Brittany Tiplady Jenice Yu is a force. You may have seen her live on a CTV or CBC segment, or maybe you’ve followed one of her delightful seasonal recipes on BC Living, MONTECRISTO Magazine, or Western Living. Or, maybe, you’ve stopped into one of her fish shops, Fresh Ideas Start Here (f.i.s.h.), for some fresh seafood and a poke bowl to-go. Yu is a savvy business woman, an Ocean Wise advocate, seafood expert, a recipe developer and one of the most beloved entrepreneurs in Metro Vancouver. Her accolades are many. She’s been lauded as ‘Supplier of the Year’ by Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, just a few years after opening her first f.i.s.h. location, and is recognized province-wide for her knowledge and passion for sustainable seafood. At a young age, Yu and her family immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. The fish processing business became a family business, paving the…

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours Sweet, delicate, light and delicious, British Columbia’s spot prawns are highly coveted by chefs and foodies from around the world. In addition to their unique taste and spotted markings, fresh spot prawns, bred and harvested off the coast of British Columbia, are one of the most sustainable seafood choices on the market. BC’s spot prawn season is a short 6-8 weeks, which kicks off with an annual Spot Prawn Festival in Vancouver. On May 12, 2018, sun poured over the docks at Fisherman’s Wharf for the 12th Annual Spot Prawn Festival, where chefs, foodies, and seafood lovers gathered together to greet the fishing boats and indulge in the season’s first harvest. While the festival may be a one-day event, anyone is welcome to partake in the daily spot prawn spectacle at Fisherman’s Wharf. Just two minutes from Granville Island, anyone can walk down to…

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours Sticky, sweet, and delicious, British Columbia’s honey is an indulgence for food lovers. Each of the over 300 varieties of honey in North America can be a chef’s best weapon, a barista’s secret touch, and home cook’s finest ingredient. Here are three delicious ways you can try local honey in Vancouver: 1. Rain or Shine Ice Cream 1926 W 4th Ave, Vancouver BC The organic floral alfalfa honey from Aldergrove Farm, about 60km east of Vancouver, sweetens the honey lavender ice cream at Rain or Shine Ice Cream. Every scoop also features lavender is sourced from Tuscan Farms in Maple Ridge, BC. Refined and refreshing, the locally grown flavours work perfectly in tandem. 2. Tuc Craft Kitchen 60 W Cordova St, Vancouver BC At Tuc Craft Kitchen in Gastown, their supply of local honey is specially reserved for the cocktail bar. James, an owner…

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 Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours Spring is a beautiful time to be in British Columbia. While the flowers start to bud, there’s nothing like getting outside in the crisp air, finding one of Vancouver’s tantalizing food trucks and warming up with a piping hot meal. For Vancouver’s crisp spring days, these five food truck comfort foods will warm your soul: 1. Spicy Chicken Sandwich at The Frying Pan This Spicy chicken sandwich is notorious with locals who work in downtown Vancouver. If you love spice, this hefty deep-fried chicken sandwich will bring a pink flush to your cheeks. On those cool spring days, look for cherry blossoms and spicy chicken sandwiches around Burrard SkyTrain station. 2. Roasted Tomato Soup at Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck It’s always the ideal time of year for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck. If you’re visiting in winter or spring,…

By Catherine Dunwoody Anyone familiar with Vancouver’s Main Street eatery Burdock & Co knows Chef Andrea Carlson has a vision. And one that you can taste in every delicious bite. She sat down to share her story. What was food like in your growing up household? Andrea Carlson: Low key – we ate out a lot and I fended for myself often with frozen dinners. Did you cook at home during your childhood? Carlson: When I was 13, I picked up a copy of Craig Clairbourne’s New York Times Cookbook at the book store on a whim and started cooking Julia Child’s chocolate mousse recipe and others when we would have company over. Where did you study culinary and when? Carlson: I studied in Vancouver way back in the day at The Dubrulle Culinary School. It was the place to go for a less trade school approach. Was Sooke Harbour…

by Catherine Dunwoody No excuses – our West Coast palette is refined, so waxy chocolate bunnies, rock-hard jellybeans and Peeps (what are those even made of anyway?) are just plain unacceptable. We can do better. And we do! Here, three of BC’s best chocolate makers show us what’s new for Easter 2018. Wild Sweets By Dominique and Cindy Duby’s Spring limited edition chocolate art collection screams “spring!” with the use of fruits, origin cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate and a palette of spring-like pastel colours. Sophisticated flavours include cassis caramels, pistachio praline and cherry caramel ganache, and a liquid strawberry caramel with dulce de leche. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Shop at their online boutique or at Wild Sweets’ own retail store The Atelier Chocolate Lab Gallery in Richmond. Shop at their online boutique or at Wild Sweets’ own retail store The Atelier Chocolate Lab Gallery in Richmond, BC. Purdys Chocolatier is about as old-school…

by Catherine Dunwoody Some say pie is making a comeback, but in my book it never left. Sisters Jenell and Carla Parsons teamed up to open The Pie Hole a few years ago, and in 2017 they opened their first retail location in Vancouver, followed by a second location in Burnaby in January 2018. The bakeries sell whole pies, individual pies and mini pies as well as take & bake options, plus coffee and ice cream. But lets get back to the pies; the pies you can get right now, whether you dine in, order and pick up or buy in numerous retail food shops throughout Metro Vancouver. When I asked Jenell where she sourced her ingredients, her answer, “I just drive out to get stuff as needed and when in season – Richmond for all my blueberries, Krause Berry Farms for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries,” sounds like something your…

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 Brittany Tiplady Perhaps the groundhogs were mistaken this year. As temperatures are proving winter is here to stay for now, hunkering down with a bowl of comfort food is essential. If you’re looking for some warmth, check out this list of five restaurants in Metro Vancouver that serve up delightful, warm, and nourishing stews, curries, and chilies to hit the spot. Forkhill House 1616 Alberni St, Vancouver Forkhill House has a bevy of options for traditional Irish cuisine, but in the spirit of all things warm and comforting check out the Irish stew: braised lamb, russet and sweet potatoes, carrot, parsnip, with a red wine demi ($26). Calabash Bistro 428 Carrall St, Vancouver Pop into this eclectic Gastown haunt for Caribbean food, rum drinks and late-night music. Try the jerk beef stew: slow cooked with butternut squash in Calabash jerk sauce, served with rice and peas, seasonal veg and…

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 Sabrine Dhaliwal, Bar Manager, UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar Sweetly spiced and with a dreamy pink hue, UVA’s “In Between Cupid” cocktail will have you falling for bar manager Sabrine Dhaliwal this Valentine’s Day. The bright, citrusy cocktail features gin, Campari, lemon juice, homemade spiced pineapple syrup and Bittered Sling Denman bitters which add complexity and an aromatic kick to this swoon-worthy sipper. INGREDIENTS Tanqueray  (1.5 oz) Campari (0.5 oz) Spiced Pineapple Syrup (0.5 oz) (The syrup is a blend of vanilla, cinnamon, green cardamom, star anise, peppercorns, pineapple juice and sugar) Lemon Juice (0.5 oz) Bittered Sling Denman Bitters (two dashes) INSTRUCTIONS Combine all ingredients into a cocktail tin, add ice and shake vigorously for 7 to 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist with a heart cutout.

By Catherine Dunwoody It’s February – have you made your Valentine’s Day reservations yet? Celebrate your most beloved loved one with a special evening for two at one of these restaurants across Metro Vancouver. Champagne optional (but not really – bubbly is pretty much essential). My Shanti Surrey Considered to be one of the best restaurants for Indian cuisine in the lower mainland, this Vij’s owned eatery has an exotic, dreamy vibe that is sure to set hearts aflame. Plus, spicy food helps. 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 Alexis Baran I dare you to put a jellyfish in your mouth. Double dare! The Blue Water Café makes it easy to brag about your culinary audacity this February with the Unsung Heroes Festival. The “heroes” of the festival are the locally plentiful, sustainable, yet overlooked and delicious seafood that North American menus have often forgotten. Barnacles for example (yes, those sharp little guys who dig into your bare feet on the beach) actually come in many varieties. Gooseneck barnacles, sourced from Clayoquot sound, have a soft stalk that Executive Chef Frank Pabst has featured in previous years. This year the oddball star of the show is red sea cucumber, a soft creature who lives on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean down to 250 m (820 ft). Try the red sea cucumber “hot dog style” with Asian pear and sweet pepper relish and uni miso mustard on a…

By Brittany Tiplady We have Europe to thank for the invention of olive oil and balsamic tasting bars. Now, olive oil specialty shops are popping up around Metro Vancouver and making quite the impression on curious foodies. Artisanal olive oil shops don’t just have bottles of beautiful oils (and most also have a large selection of vinegars) on display, olive oil tastings bars present an interactive and educational experience. Customers can peruse the lineup of fustis, special stainless-steel jars that store olive oil and balsamics, and learn about the flavours, origins, and make of each oil and vinegar. Tasting olive oils offers a sensory experience for the consumer, bringing the flavour profile we usually read on a label right to your palate. “Smaller boutique shops get people talking about traceability when it comes to olive oil. Shops like ours educate customers on who you are supporting, and the freshness of…

By Catherine Dunwoody Back by popular demand, Juke Fried Chicken is hosting their second annual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day events at their Keefer Street location in Vancouver’s Chinatown. On Sunday, December 31 from noon to 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve partygoers can gear up for a night of cocktails and countdown bubbly by ‘building a base’ with a hearty Southern-style fried chicken meal. But wait for it – it’s gluten-free (which can be ridiculously rare and hard to find) and is all non-GMO-grain-fed and free-range. A mouthwatering menu of seasonal snacks, salads, sides, desserts and sticky pork ribs are also on offer. Is a New Year’s Day hangover pretty much inevitable? Monday, January 1, Juke serves just what the doctor ordered from noon to 9 p.m. DJ For The Record will spin music for the soul, and an expanded dining room menu of exclusive breakfast selections includes…

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 Catherine Dunwoody From one of Vancouver’s favourite scenester hot spots, the Lobby Lounge, to gorgeous new and acclaimed Botanist bar and restaurant, this woman in the wine world is a true game-changer. Where were you born and where did you study to be a sommelier? Jill Spoor: [I was born in] Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. I studied in Vancouver at the Art Institute, studying the WSET program. What was your most rewarding experience in your earlier days? Spoor: Hosting a series of Italian wine seminars when we had our Italian wine bar here at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.  I absolutely love being on the educational side of wine and seminars, which allows me a platform in which to share my passion. Are you involved with any new projects or collaborations at the restaurant or elsewhere? Spoor: It’s been a very exciting year and I have had the honour of…

By Executive Chef Manuel Carganilla II, Wild Fig INGREDIENTS Coconut milk (150 ml) 36% cream (50 ml) Gelatin  (2 ct) Granulated sugar (25 ml) Vanilla extract (5 ml) Pineapple Jell-O (50 ml) Kiwi  (for garnish) Honeydew (for garnish) Cantaloupe (for garnish) Strawberries (for garnish) Raspberries (for garnish) Gooseberry (for garnish) Mint leaves (for garnish) DIRECTIONS  1. Place coconut milk, heavy cream, sugar and gelatin sheets in a small pot and bring to medium heat, stirring regularly. 2. Once this concoction begins to simmer, remove immediately from heat. 3. Pour into a mixing bowl and whisk vanilla extract. Put aside. 4. Mix pineapple Jell-O powder with ¼ cup of water; simmer and put aside. 5. Pour pineapple Jell-O into preferred glass or ramekins and let cool in cooler or fridge for 15 – 20 minutes. 6. Once Jell-O is set, pour the coconut milk-cream blend over the pineapple Jell-O and let…

By Katie Ingram, head bartender, L’Abattoir Vancouver’s L’Abattoir restaurant is housed in a 19th–century heritage building where the city’s first jail once stood. Head bartender Katie Ingram pays homage to the location’s haunted past with a cocktail inspired by a time when whisky followed freely. The bourbon-based drink offers savoury tasting notes that evoke elements of a prisoner’s last meal. Black tea and vermouth add a gamey quality to drink, while the Nightshade cordial bring weight and texture to create a full-bodied libation perfect for slow-sipping in dark corners.  INGREDIENTS Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon (45 mL or 1.5 oz.) Fermented black tea-infused vermouth (20 mL or 0.75 oz.) Nightshade cordial (10 mL or 0.25 oz.) Bittered Sling French Quarter Bitters (2 dashes) DIRECTIONS 1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice.

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 Catherine Dunwoody Even though it’s 2017, it’s hard to believe that women in the restaurant business are not as commonplace as we would like to think. Chef Shelome Bouvette, co-executive chef and co-owner of Chicha shares her story: Can you tell me about how you started your career as a chef? Shelome Bouvette: I attended VCC Culinary School and after graduation worked at Delilah’s, Allegro, and Lolita’s but learned the most under Chef Tina Fineza at Bin 942 who was a huge influence. You’ve been at Chicha for how long now? Bouvette: We feel honoured and blessed to have been in business for almost five years, in a city where competition is very tough. I am entirely responsible for the concept and menu, always a challenge, but hard work pays off. How was it cracking the world of male chefs as a female? Bouvette: You know in hindsight I…

By Kathy Mak After a spot of shopping in the vibrant South Granville strip of Vancouver, step around the corner to find Soffee Café, a dining haven nestled away on a quiet side street. Behold one of the city’s more laid-back, cozy afternoon tea experiences.  You’ll feel right at home in this quaint parlour-style café serving a tempting selection of handcrafted sweet and savoury fare, along with Afternoon Tea services done differently. What makes Soffee Café memorable is its relaxed charm and enticing array of in-house made food.  Step inside and you’ll discover comfy interiors adorned with antiques aplenty and an eclectic mix of flowery china.  You’ll quickly settle into this inviting space that feels more like an intimate living room than a café. The vintage ambiance sets the scene for an elegant, but unpretentious, afternoon tea experience that forgoes etiquette for a fresh twist on a posh tradition.  There…

By Catherine Dunwoody Ice Cream has blown up on Canada’s West Coast and charming new shops and parlours are popping up all over. But what about the folks who have allergies, sensitivities or make choices not to eat gluten or dairy? And who doesn’t like a cooling, sweet, creamy treat? Fret not folks, I did the research for you! Here’s my list of the best, where to go for it, and what to taste. Where: La Glace, Vancouver Try: Most ice creams here are gluten-free so, if you are as well, skip the cone and get a cup. Top your treat with a marshmallow or meringue (also gluten-free). Vegans and the lactose-intolerant will love the Chocohuete, which is made with peanut butter and dark chocolate. It’s dairy-free and made with their own made-in-house cashew milk base. Where: Spiritual Ingredients, White Rock Try: Nut allergy? You’re safe with any of the…

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 Jackie Dives Commercial Drive is a hot spot for food and shopping. Head north from your ride along the Central Valley Greenway for plenty of food options.  At Commercial Drive and East 7th you can grab a casual yet stacked burger and beer at Relish. It has a bit of a cafeteria vibe, so if that’s not exactly what you’re looking for try Jam Jar. For a completely new experience head a few stores down to 77k Freeze, where they make custom ice cream to order. This is a gem for people who have particular allergies or eating restrictions, as you choose the ingredients and they freeze the ice cream on the spot using liquid nitrogen. As the Greenway goes through Burnaby it takes more of a backroad detour. Still, there are a few places to stop and grab some treats to-go that are nearby. If chocolate is what…

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 Jackie Dives The Central Valley Greenway is an all-levels ride that takes you from Vancouver all the way to New Westminster. It’s mostly flat, separated from most vehicle traffic, and it’s easy to detour off for some hidden food gems. The more experienced you are, the more leisurely your food (and beer) stops will be along the way! Starting at Olympic Village in Vancouver, the food options are plentiful. Tractor is a fresh, healthy, leafy, crispy, hot or cold flavourful option at a good price point. They have salads and sandwich combos that are actually worth buying for both components full of favourites like grilled avocado, various protein options of the veggie and non-veggie variety, nuts, seeds, and cheeses. They are licensed, and also have kombucha on tap.   Alternatively, Terra Breads is nearby if you just need a snack. Hit up Tap and Barrel for beers with a view,…

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 Jaclyn Jularbal Wednesday, June 21st marks the 21st Annual Celebration of National Aboriginal Day. Each year, thousands of people head to Vancouver’s Trout Lake Park for a fun-filled day of both traditional and contemporary Indigenous activities, entertainment, and food.  And what would a community gathering be without a mouth-watering, stomach-filling feast? With food trucks, caterers, and bannock makers on site – come hungry and get ready to journey into the tastiest National Aboriginal Day festival of all time. Great gatherings start with great food, and this year the PR Bannock Factory will join the festivities as the featured caterers serving a community favourite: Chef Paul Natrall’s bannock tacos. For the first time ever, the National Aboriginal Day at Trout Lake site map includes a food truck village open all day from 12pm to 10pm. Park visitors can enjoy plenty of street eats both savory and sweet, full of pizza,…

By Catherine Dunwoody One of downtown Vancouver’s favourite hotels now offers even more reasons to want to hang here. New restaurant and bar, Botanist, has taken over the former Oru restaurant, and has refreshed the palette of the Fairmont Pacific Rim. With four diverse spaces made up of a dining room, cocktail bar, glassed-in lab, garden, and a champagne lounge, Botanist wowed me from the get-go. Executive chef Hector Laguna, formerly of stints at both Toronto’s Susur Lee restaurant and at Vancouver’s Hawksworth, has created a botanical-centric menu that’s bursting off the page and plate with colour, texture and taste. Clearly dialed-in to what our region offers when it comes to its world-class culinary ingredients, organic regional produce, sustainably sourced meat and seafood – Chef Laguna has found his sweet spot running the show here at Botanist. Signature items include roasted root vegetables, perfect micro spring greens, and fresh seafood…

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 With floor to ceiling windows overlooking Vancouver’s Library Square, Hendricks Resto-Lounge is just what Robson Street needs. A hotel restaurant that’s not just there to service the guests sleeping in those Westin Grande Hotel Heavenly Beds, but a new eatery for breakfast, lunch and dinner that locals will love as well. Matter of fact, locals already are loving it plenty. Hendricks sleek bar bisects the room into restaurant to the right, lounge to the left. Serving up old-school drinks updated with fresh, bright flavours, like head bartender Matt’s Robson Roy cocktail with Apothecary Bitters from East Van. Note: check out the live music and DJ nights here too. Chef Chris Savino’s menus are impressive, with fresh BC seafood front and centre. The Shrimp Cocktail features tiny, tender and meaty Bella Bella humpback shrimp from Organic Oceans, shredded lettuce and green goddess dressing. The west coast salmon salad is a colourful plate with spinach &…

By Joyce Chua of Vancouver Foodie Tours This Year’s BC Spot Prawn Festival is coming up on May 13th, and it’s your chance to try these little local sea creatures that are coveted around the world for their delicate flavour, plump nature, and eye-catching “spotted” markings. 2017 marks the 11th annual Spot Prawn Festival, which will include a spot prawn gala, spot prawn cooking classes and the famous spot prawn boil. Festival founder, seafood entrepreneur and Ocean Wise advocate, Chef Rob Clark, reflects on over a decade that’s gone by. How it began: Starting the Spot Prawn Festival When Chef Robert Clark started the Spot Prawn Festival, he was the chef at C Restaurant – a fine dining establishment that until it’s closure in 2014, was known for its impressive seafood menu. The search for sustainable seafood and spot prawns sprouted out of necessity, as Chef Robert wanted to serve…

by Catherine Dunwoody No excuses – our west coast palette is refined, so waxy chocolate bunnies, rock-hard jellybeans and Peeps (what are those even made of anyway?) are just plain unacceptable. We can do better. And we do! Here, three of BC’s best chocolate makers show us what’s new for Easter 2017. Wild Sweets By Dominique and Cindy Duby in Richmond have new chocolate art collections with made in-house designs and from origin cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate. Sophisticated flavours include cassis caramels, pistachio praline and cherry caramel ganache, and a liquid strawberry caramel with dulce de leche. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Shop at their online boutique or at Wild Sweets’ own retail store The Atelier Chocolate Lab Gallery in Richmond, BC. Purdys Chocolatier is about as old-school and iconic as you get. Founded in 1907 in Vancouver, they have a long history of providing the West Coast with melt-in-your-mouth…

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 Vancouver’s Granville Island is gearing up for their 12th annual event that celebrates all things winter, taking place February 17-19 this year. The Winterruption Festival is a fun mix of culture and arts with live music, theatre, dance and street performance, plus art exhibits, film, crafts, family activities and, of course, fabulous food. The festival has a new hub this year, called The Forge. Historically the former home of Canada Chain and Forge (a supply company from the location’s more industrial beginnings), we now know it as the big covered parking lot under the bridge. Food-centric events we are super stoked about? The Winterruption Donut Spectacular at Lee’s Donuts, plus maple syrup made into treats on snow, and the best soul-warming soups ever at Rebel Kitchen. Or sign up for a Granville Island Market Tour, or The Liberty Distillery Tour to get an insiders edge and peek…

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 Ashley Lockyer ‘Tis the season for twinkling lights, freshly made goodies, and jingles you love for just a few weeks of the year. One dazzling Vancouver tradition is a visit to the famous VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights. Millions of brilliant bulbs decorate this winter wonderland and there are plenty of mitten-friendly snacks to keep your spirits just as bright. Bring your friends and family together for tasty treats and watch wide-eyed as magical holiday memories unfold. The VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights is beaming with everything you love about the season.  You can see what fun it is to ride and sing on a carousel ride at night (for ages young to shameless). Or, watch lights dance over Livingstone Lake set to your favourite festive tunes. You’ll also get a chance to exchange holiday puns with the mischievous Scandinavian elves. All this while you indulge in enough cozy…

by Catherine Dunwoody Canada’s favourite brunch cocktail – the Caesar – is enjoyed by some 350 million Canadians every year. If you’ve not tried Walter, the premium, all-natural mix since it first launched in 2013, the time is now. Not only is this most delicious product the brainchild of co-founders Zack Silverman and Aaron Harowitz, both born and raised in Vancouver; Walter is Canada’s first Ocean Wise recommended Caesar mix. Caesar mix isn’t just amped up tomato juice. In the case of Walter, ocean-friendly clam juice (which is what makes this different from, and arguably way better than a Bloody Mary) is harvested sustainably from the North Atlantic, mixed with all natural ingredients and free of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colours and flavours. The Ocean Wise designation is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance for an ocean-friendly seafood choice that helps ensure the health of the oceans for generations to…

by Catherine Dunwoody Although the concept isn’t new, it certainly is timely. Founded by Victor Straatman who recently partnered with Chef Trevor Bird (Top Chef Canada Runner-up, Fable Kitchen, Fable Diner) to create a ‘meat sharing’ company called Meatme. Many consumers want to know where their food comes from, especially when it comes to meat, and increasing awareness of the factory farm industry is driving people to want to purchase meat from farmers who raise their beef ethically and humanely. But how can we be sure when we buy it from a supermarket and the grey area of the elusive middle-man makes it challenging? Enter MeatMe. Operating business from Gastown and North Vancouver plus butchering done in Abbotsford, the company supports BC farmers who raise their cattle right – 100% grass fed, free range, no chemicals or antibiotics, locally sourced Angus beef. Here is how it works: Buy your beef…

By Joanne Sasvari If you think sake is a boiling hot beverage that tastes like turpentine, well, you clearly haven’t tasted Masa Shiroki’s handcrafted sakes. Since 2007, when he became Canada’s first producer of premium craft sake, he’s been making rice wines that taste delicately of citrus, apple, pineapple and brioche, with notes of spice and touches of herbaceousness. Not a hint of turpentine anywhere. A couple years after he started producing his Osake brand, Shiroki started growing his own rice in the Fraser Valley, making his rice wine a truly local and sustainable product. Now he’s heading up Vancouver’s first (and, he hopes, annual) Sake Fest. On Sept. 29, 2016, when 21 producers will gather at the Imperial in Chinatown, where they will pour some 100 different types of sake. Kampai! “It’s been a long time coming,” Shiroki says. Sake is a fermented beverage made from rice, water and…

By Catherine Dunwoody “Put a bit of class in your glass,” so say the creators of Ascot Beer Cocktail Company – a unique new collection of beer cocktails using fresh, natural ingredients that offer the sophistication of a cocktail – as easy as cracking a cold beer. Well known in Vancouver’s bar scene, Nick Devine is the creator of the brand; starting out behind the bar in the famous horseracing town of Ascot (hence the name), then on to tend bars in London and San Francisco, until settling in Vancouver. Here he won Vancouver Magazine’s Bartender of the Year. A partner in Vancouver’s Cascade Company, which owns The Cascade Room, El Camino’s, The Union, Charlie’s Little Italian, as well as Main Street Brewing, Devine, is skilled in designing cocktails for a variety of tastes. “I set out to try bottling liquor-based cocktails years ago, but stalled after encountering logistical problems,”…

By Sonu Purhar Fancy infusions, liquid nitrogen and inventive ice… these days, it’s par for the course to find your coupe filled with a (damn delicious) work of art – but let’s not forget from whence they came. Yes, I’m talking about The Classic Cocktail. As with any historical certainty, no one is certain when and where the cocktail originated. What we can agree on is that these stimulating brews traditionally consisted of spirits, sugar and bitters. By the mid-1800s, liqueur had joined as the fourth horseman. And shortly thereafter, the first genuine “cocktails” were born, including our friends the Sazerac, Old Fashioned and Manhattan. If it weren’t for these forerunners, you’d be sipping on bitter bathtub gin. But even now, centuries later, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a really good classic cocktail. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t easy to make. And that’s reason #562 Vancouver is the best…

By Joyce Chua of Vancouver Foodie Tours Ask anyone, biking Vancouver’s picturesque seawall is an absolute must-do. Stretching 28 kilometres (about 17.5 miles) long, biking the seawall is a fun and leisurely way to take in the beautiful West Coast scenery. A lesser-known secret? Biking is just half the fun…you’ve got to EAT your way around the seawall for the full Vancouver experience! For a bite here, a craft beer there, there isn’t a stretch of the seawall without something to devour. So, hop that bike and start your appetite. Here are 17 stops to eat your way around the seawall: Kits Beach Local Public Eatery A legendary watering hole for a day at the beach. Nachos, Fish Tacos, Tuna Club sandwiches, craft beers, lucky lemonades and all the usual suspects. Viva Fine Foods & Bakery For a quick bite and a killer mocha. Granville Island Go Fish at Fisherman’s…

By Catherine Dunwoody Award-winning Vancouver mixologist, Lauren Mote, and her talented chef husband Jonathan Chovancek, created their retail line of high-quality, small-batch bitters, known as Bittered Sling, back in 2012. The product line won “Supplier & Producer of the Year” at the 23rd Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, and has been available for sale at Edible Canada on Granville Island since its launch. The big news? A special edition “Chinook” Bitters has resulted from that partnership, and is available exclusively at Edible Canada’s retail store on Granville Island and through their online shop. Chinook’ is both the name of a prominent hop variety which Bittered Sling utilizes in their blend, grown in the Pemberton-Lillooet area, and of the warm winds that move down the BC Rockies into Alberta. The Chinook Bitters gets a bright citrus kick from fresh and dried grapefruit peels and botanicals combined with those hops – tasting…

By Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours Long gone are the days of food carts peddling only hotdogs and pretzels – in Vancouver food trucks showcase multicultural menus and gourmet ingredients. Take Kaboom Box, for example which is a staple in the heart of downtown. Locals swarm Kaboom Box on the daily, hungry for hot smoked salmon sandwiches, Pacific cod fish and chips, and gulf island oyster po’boys. It’s an obvious case for seriously delicious coastal food. What may come as a surprise to first-timers, is that Kaboom Box is dedicated to certified Ocean Wise seafood and sustainably produced meat. Their greens are organic, and all items are sourced locally, whenever possible. The notes are subtle, and it takes a keen eye to spot the Ocean Wise sticker on the side of the truck. But perhaps that’s the greatest allure of Kaboom is that they’re hardly self-righteous – quality ingredients are…

By Joyce Chua Vancouver Foodie Tours A stroll around Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood will tell you just how much locals love their coffee. Artisan cafes mark every street corner ready to re-fuel shoppers, wanderers and to tide over diners before their reservations are ready. You won’t find coffee like this in every city, let alone the passionate purveyors in Gastown who live and breathe quality beans. Here’s some places to start: Consider Purebread. The Whistler-born bakery entices patrons with piles (literally) of fresh pastries, cakes, brownies, breads and oversized meringues. Heaven would be envious of how the little bakeshop smells. It’s one of the only places in Vancouver that you’ll find Stumptown coffee – the sweetheart success from Oregon. In Gastown’s iconic Woodward’s Building, JJ Bean Coffee Roasters is simultaneously perfecting French-pressed single-origin coffee and freshly baked goods. With 18 locations in Vancouver, this family business knows the city inside and…

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 Joyce Chua, Vancouver Foodie Tours This Valentine’s Day, the only dessert-focused fine dining spot in Gastown is having their one-year anniversary. The stylish dining room of Mosquito is chic, dark, and a delightfully dramatic way to share some bubbly and sweets (or cheese and charcuterie). It was a beautiful day in Gastown when I met with Mosquito owners, Alice Wu and Johan Friedrich. As I hustled down the lively cobbled streets, I noted the many signs and sandwich boards straining to catch the attention of those passing by. There was nothing to be seen for Mosquito, but I bustled along, knowing their non-descript door would appear somewhere soon and welcome me to a quiet oasis. As Johan described the inspiration for Mosquito as an “out-of-world experience that heightened all senses,” I could not help but smile, as the idea has completely come to life. The high-ceilings, dark furnishings, sparkling…

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 Joyce Chua Vancouver Foodie Tours Street Food City is celebrating its fifth anniversary with Dine Out Vancouver, returning to the Vancouver Art Gallery from January 16-24, 2016. Vancouver has become one of North America’s top street food cities, tempting locals with a full spectrum of multicultural flavours. Over 25 local food trucks will park in the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza and, if it’s anything like past years, thousands of foodies will meet them there. This year, food trucks will be donating $1 of sales from special menu items to A Loving Spoonful – a volunteer-driven organization that provides meals to those living with HIV/AIDS in Metro Vancouver. So what’s on the menu? Here are 6 Serious Eats to beeline for at Street Food City: 1. The “Hot Mama” at Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck This spicy, savoury, sexy sandwich has got its eye on the prize in this year’s…

By Kathy Mak Baby, it’s cold outside! The best thing you can do is hoist a few wintry beers and cheers to chase the chill away. Winter beers, affectionately called “winter warmers”, are typically stouts and porters that are more robust – richer, bolder, creamier, and hoppier in style with a deeper hue appearance. They also tend to be higher in alcohol by volume (ABV) to keep you warm! Comforting flavours can range from hints of toffee, caramel, chocolate and molasses to smokiness. Some winter beers have spicy or sweet notes, while the more serious brews are barrel-aged. Unlike their summery counterparts, winter beers are sipped, not guzzled, and taste better around 7-10o C instead of icy-cold. In Vancouver and the valley, microbrewers have been busy crafting some of the most innovative seasonal specialities. Touted as the craft beer mecca of Canada, with over 50 artisanal breweries, there is an…

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 Alexis Baran Coastal and multicultural are the flavours of Vancouver’s most recognized specialties. To get to know the unique bites (and sips) Vancouverites love to munch, start with these eleven favorites: JapaDog Vancouver’s original most-talked-about food cart serves Japanese-inspired hotdogs. Bask in the salty, sweet, and spicy tastes of seaweed flakes, teriyaki sauce, miso, wasabi and kimchi. There are multiple locations in downtown Vancouver, including an indoor location at 530 Robson. B.C. Rolls British Columbia’s signature sushi roll is done in many ways, but the one consistent ingredient is grilled savoury and chewy salmon skin. Get them at just about any sushi joint in Vancouver. Coffee Busy Vancouverites are often particular about their favorite liquid pick-me-up, and love their pour-overs and flavoured espresso drinks. Some local chains to try are Milano Coffee, 49th Parallel, and JJ Bean. But don’t forget the many cozy independent shops to be found who…

By Kathy Mak Coffee, served hot or cold, is arguably the world’s most popular beverage. In the ranking of best coffee cities in the world, Vancouver has become one of the undisputed top ten leaders. The obsession with coffee, particularly independent coffee shops/roasters, is a big part of what defines the city’s foodie culture, as much as craft breweries, food trucks, farmers markets, boutique eateries, etc. And, the love affair with java extends throughout the Fraser Valley. To truly appreciate the local coffee scene, grab your travel mug and follow this itinerary to sip on some of the best coffee, and special accompaniments, at a batch of unique micro-roasters in Greater Vancouver. As the saying goes, “life is too short to drink bad coffee.”  If you crave unique coffee flavours that are ethically sourced, then you may be part of a growing trend of coffee connoisseurs that support indie-owned coffee…

By Nikki Bayley Cited as one of the key players of the city’s culinary scene, chef Andrea Carlson has been quietly shaping the way that Vancouverites eat for more than a decade. From the (now closed) C Restaurant and the Rain City Grill, to Sooke Harbour House and Bishop’s, Andrea has worked at some of the province’s most important restaurants, whose locavore seasonal menus helped to lay down the foundations of a more sustainable way of eating in B.C. and beyond. Now chef/co-owner at Burdock & Co. on Main Street, and the celebrated local community store/delicious noodle soup bar, Harvest Union, we spoke to Andrea to find out more. “The driving force behind Burdock & Co is to present farm to table food in a casual environment and bring what used to be a bit elitist to families and the neighbourhood at a more accessible price point. I wanted to…

Circa 1900, “Brewery Creek” was moniker for a stretch of stream in what is today Mount Pleasant. Centered on what’s now known as Main Street, the trickling water supply powered water wheels for area beer and soda producers. Decades of urban development saw the stream closed over and the prohibition years resulted in the breweries closing down – until now. Thanks to the recent change in liquor laws and new crop of breweries are popping up in Mount Pleasant and the area is reclaiming the name Brewery Creek. Take yourself on a tour, strolling around brewery creek until you can stroll no more. Red Truck Brewery 295 East 1st Avenue Begin the tour at the brand new Red Truck brewery diner. Fill up on food and delicious beer before you begin to ingest even more beer! Brassneck Brewery 2148 Main St, Vancouver Head south on Main Street up the hill…

By Kathy Mak To truly experience an authentic slice of local life, you can’t get more local than the neighbourhood farmers markets. Whether you’re shopping or browsing, each of the numerous markets showcases genuinely local products and proprietors from all over the Valley. Immerse yourself in sampling seasonal and fresh fare, gourmet treats, and artisanal delights that have been prepared or produced with a regional spin.   Half the fun is being part of the market’s social scene and friendly atmosphere. Chat with other food enthusiasts and meet small-scale but passionate food artisans. You’re certain to enjoy the stories or inspirations behind their unique products. Without a doubt, you’ll be glad you sampled and supported local flavours! On any given Wednesday to Sunday (May to October), there are numerous outdoor farmers markets in and around Vancouver communities. With so many choices, you may want to explore a market a day or…

By Nikki Bayley Vancouver’s foodie heaven is right in the heart of the city on Granville Island, a hub for all things delicious thanks to the public market, one of the city’s top attractions for visitors and locals alike. A delight for all the senses, walking around the market is guaranteed to get your taste buds working overtime. One of its most popular stalls is ChocolaTas, where you’ll find the seasonally-inspired creations of Belgian Master Chocolate maker, Wim Tas and his wife Veve. Trained at Belgium’s most respected chocolate house, Maison Wittamer, who exclusively supply the Belgian royal family with chocolates, Wim and Veve first came to Vancouver in 2000 and fell in love with Granville Island at first sight. “From the first time we came to Vancouver to visit and see if it was a possible place to live, I said I wanted a store on the Island,” reminisces…

By Nikki Bayley Vancouverites have a sweet tooth and love to dive straight into dessert, after all, life’s too short to wait for the last course! There are dozens of specialty dessert cafes and bars around the city that offer adventurous options when it comes to picking something sweet. From green tea macarons to raspberry and earl grey cream puffs, Vancouver’s got the lot and plenty use ingredients from right here in the lower mainland. Here are seven of our favourite spots to eat dessert in Vancouver. Bella Gelateria When it comes to gelato, there can be only one choice in Vancouver and it has to be the multi-award winning Bella Gelateria whose menu of incredibly smooth iced treats changes according to whatever is seasonally available from local farmers. This includes the finest berries from Krause Berry Farm and silky creamy goat cheese from Happy Farms in Abbotsford. Sweet Obsession…

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 Kathy Mak Few things are more Vancouver than the beloved seawall, considered the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.   Cycling the seawall bike lane is one of the most entrenched pastimes of locals and a must-do for newcomers. Some folks ride the Vancouver seawall for exercise, some for the extraordinary views and iconic sights, and some for the novelty; but few may realize the seawall is a string of the best waterside pubs and patios in the city! If pairing tasty bites and beverages with your wheels is a priority, then you’re in for a treat with over 24 waterfront pit stops to please your palette while you pedal! This suggested “Pubs & Patios Pedal” route will take you on a bikeable feast along Vancouver’s seawall. Start at Canada Place for 11 am and wind along the mostly paved, flat path for 22 km (13.7 miles) via Stanley Park, English…

By Nikki Bayley B.C. is at the heart of the craft distillery boom in Canada with more distilleries in the province right now than in the rest of Canada put together – and the majority of them are based in the lower mainland, using local ingredients to create craft gins, vodkas, and a dizzying range of fruit-based liqueurs. From the internationally award winning Long Table Distillery’s Cucumber Gin, made with locally-grown ‘cukes to the B.C. black currents in Odd Society Spirits’ Crème de Cassis, the focus is on delicious west coast and valley flavours. Alex Hamer founded the BC Distilled Festival to showcase and celebrate B.C. distilleries to a wider audience. After launching in 2014, the event throws open the doors each year to hundreds of local distillery fans who can sample spirits from the 22 distillers in attendance, “If you’re at all interested in tasting local spirits, the lower…

By Nikki Bayley Vancouver’s street food scene is known as being one of the best in North America, with more than 100 trucks dotted around the city serving up a dizzying selection of cuisines from around the world. On any given day you could dine on Mexican tortilla stuffed with cactus, a Thai papaya salad, Polish homemade pierogi or even just a hot dog – Japanese-style –dressed with Teriyaki sauce and seaweed. The delicious twist with many of the trucks you’ll find around town is that they use seasonal ingredients right from the lower mainland, so you can taste something new and local each month as the fresh harvest comes in. You’ll also see Ocean Wise stickers on many of the trucks, which means that the seafood they serve is 100% sustainable so you can chow down guilt free. Find your new favourite truck with the handy StreetFood app. Start your…

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…

By Nikki Bayley Vancouver’s cocktail scene is currently going from strength to strength, with innovative bartenders shaking up delicious drinks in bars and restaurants across the city. Vancouver bartenders love to push their creativity by entering –and often winning –tough cocktail contests, vying to be the best with a unique creations. Although several bartenders across the city have locked down nationwide titles (for instance Grant Sceney at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Lauren Mote at Uva, and Kevin Brownlee at AnnaLena), two bartenders in the city can make you drinks that are officially world beaters: West Restaurant’s Sabrine Dhaliwal and Cin Cin’s David Wolowidnyk have both placed first at international cocktail competitions, showing up all other competitors from around the world. All you need to do to taste a world class drink is take a seat at their bar. Sabrine Dhaliwal won the 2015 Belvedere Challenge to Create the Next Legendary…

By Nikki Bayley Many visitors to the west coast are drawn by its zingingly fresh seafood, famous the world over for being some of the very best that the ocean has to offer. However, overfishing is the greatest threat to all our oceans today and according to Ocean Wise, the Vancouver Aquarium conservation program which launched a decade ago to help consumers make environmentally friendly choices, “…an estimated 90% of all large, predatory fish are already gone from the world’s oceans. A recent scientific study predicted a world-wide fisheries collapse by 2048. The only solution is to turn back from the brink, and to begin consuming seafood in a sustainable manner.” Robert Clark and Mike McDermid are two men on a mission to change the way that we think about buying and eating seafood. After helping create and launch the Ocean Wise programme, they’ve taken the next step and have…

Last year chef Ned Bell launched the Chefs for Oceans Foundation and rode his bike 8,700 km across Canada in a bid to raise awareness of sustainable seafood and healthy lakes, rivers and oceans. Executive chef at The Vancouver Aquarium, Ned Bell believes passionately in educating diners on seafood sustainability and introducing them to delicious Ocean Wise alternatives. “People come to BC and they are looking for the west coast experience,” says Ned. “ I’d love them to start looking beyond wild salmon and enjoy some more of our rock-star sustainable seafoods!” Vancouver is leading the wave of change to a more sustainable diet when it comes to seafood. Explains Bell, “I think it’s because we have that connection to the coast and the extraordinary seafood that we get to pull from our ocean. We’re recognized for our passion for the environment and a healthy lifestyle too.” Visitors to the…

By Carolyn Ali Ever tried jellyfish, sturgeon liver, or smelt? What about gooseneck barnacles, sea cucumber, or whelks? (Perhaps you’re wrinkling your nose right about now and wondering,”What the heck is a whelk? Blue Water Cafe features these and other under-appreciated sea creatures throughout February during the restaurant’s Unsung Heroes festival. The month-long event promotes sustainable seafood by urging diners to try something a little (or a lot) different from what they’re accustomed to eating. The idea is to bring awareness to local and unique seafood and to avoid species that are over-fished or harvested in ways that can damage ocean beds. It’s a goal also promoted by the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise conservation program, of which Blue Water Cafe is a founding member. Don’t worry: you don’t have to finish your plate or forgo the salmon you know you’ll love. Octopus is an easy place to start. If you’ve tried it before and…