This is your indispensable companion to all that is fresh and delicious in Vancouver right now

Mood: Double-vaxxed and ready to get smashed! How you doin’?

Things are looking so much brighter – and I don’t just mean the weather. Juicy peaches are here, sweet apricots, the cherries are at their most delicious and the corn is so, so good. Patio life in Vancouver continues to feel wonderful and it was just the absolute best feeling at the weekend to walk through the West End and hear happy laughter and the clink of glasses everywhere I went. Let’s keep this going! Take those un-vaccinated friends to get their shots and then toast em with the other kind of shot. We can do it! 

So, bring napkins cos you will be sticky with peach juice this month, hells yes, it’s gonna get gloriously messy...

 

1. Eat Crazy Cheese-Chicken on Robson

Globalbbq CanadaFacebook/ Globalbbq CanadaI went for a stroll down Robson towards Denman at the weekend and you guys, if fried chicken is your jam, then get your ass over there (clad in your stretchiest pants). My go-to was always Zabu for the crispiest, stickiest Korean-style fried chicken, but there are new pretenders to throne... I have no clue what B.BQ Chicken Lemon has been smoking but I absolutely want some. They do Korean-style BBQ chicken, but they also zoom off-piste with some bonkers flavour combos: their ‘Lemon Cheesling’ chicken (nope, me either) comes with ‘a signature lemon sauce and powdered mascarpone and cheddar cheese’. They have chocolate flavour deep-fried rice balls stuffed with cream cheese. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Alas, I did not have time to stop and stuff my face, but I will very soon. I did however want to tell you about this madness so you could check it out too.
Details here

 

2. Drink Miro Vermouth

Legacy Wine and SpiritsLegacy Wine and SpiritsI screamed so loud on Galiano Island last Monday that you may have heard me on the mainland. The reason? Miro vermouth. Long-time readers of this column will know I am a dyed-in-the-wool vermouth FIEND, and the kind that makes me happier than almost anything comes from a tiny spot outside Barcelona, called Reus. There you will find the awesome Vermut Museum and also the good people who make one of the tastiest vermouths around – Miro. Shockingly, this has been available in BC for a while, and I didn’t know. You can guess that I am making up for lost time now though. Join me, buy BUCKETS of it. Use it in your negronis, or sip it lovingly, served long over ice with an orange peel garnish, topped with soda water. It is heaven in a glass, and you can find it at Legacy and other good independent stores. 
Details online

 

3. Dare to be Sour

Deep Cove Brewers + DistillersFacebook/ Deep Cove Brewers + DistillersI’m currently enjoying my transition in life from, person who only really likes radlers to person who kinda digs sours now, I guess? Helping me along that path is this delight from Deep Cove, a Mango Pineapple Secret Beach sour. Tart and packed with bags of tropical fruit flavours, super refreshing and not at all too *wince* hoppy, this is the bomb. The can is gorgeous too! 

 

4. Make it Spritz o’Clock Twice a Day

Homer Street CaféHomer Street CaféI got to bask in a slice of patio life down at Homer Street Café the other afternoon. Soaking up the sunshine on their on-street terrace with my little pup curled up at my feet, I could have been back in Paris or some other civilized city. I am loving the patios and want them to stay in Vancouver forever! We arrived at exactly the right time; Spritz o’Clock, AKA Happy Hour, so ordered up a brace of Biciclettas (Campari, white wine and soda water) ($2 off through their twice-daily Happy Hour 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. till close) with a side of their divine smoked sour cream steak tartare. So, so good. 

 

5. Smash That Burger (In your face).

Burgerland Smash UpBurgerland Smash UpSo, apologies for not having tried this yet, but I just heard about it and I wanted you to know about it IMMEDIATELY. Burgerland Smash Up offers home delivery for their freshly ground organic and grass-fed beef smashburger kits, and also operates as a food truck. I don’t recall seeing such a well thought out website before, with videos for every conceivable question you may have on the smashing process for each meat, veggie or vegan burger option. I am obsessed with trying the Oklahoma Fried Onion and Cheese kit. The kits offer four burgers with all the fixings (and cult-status Martin’s potato rolls from Pennsylvania) for just $40. That’s ten bucks each for organic, grass-fed beef (or a flex, veg or vegan option). I think that’s terrific value. The kits come in what looks like a pizza box and even have salt, sauce, tomato, lettuce, etc. and a card with a QR code so you can watch the 'how to' video. Genius! 

 

6. Eat the Whole Damn Menu at Maxine’s

Maxine’s Cafe & BarNikki Bayley I finally got to check out the new hot brunch-lunch-dinner spot, Maxine’s on the corner of Burrard and Harwood, and I can confirm that all those breathless reports of it being frikkin’ awesome are 100% true. I think this may be a first, but I am still raving about their chickpea falafel bowl to anyone who will listen. The falafel is the best I’ve ever tasted – crisp on the outside, creamy and moist in the middle, and perfectly spiced. It comes with quinoa, tahini and crunchy, punchy pickled veg and I adored it. There’s really not a duff note on the whole menu. The burger is terrific, there’s a fabulous (and insanely complicated-to-make) rosti with sour cream and bacon, their meatballs, served with a hardcore garlic sourdough bread were the bomb, and I even found room for a divine dulce de leche éclair. *Burp*

 

7. Raise Funds for Cool Stuff

Fresh RootsFresh RootsInvite friends to share in the Schoolyard Harvest Dinner this year as they blend virtual and real life for their annual Sustainable Opportunities Youth Leadership Program Fundraiser on Thursday, August 19th at 6:30 p.m. You can purchase a summer harvest box packed with everything you’ll need for a beautiful backyard supper, including fresh and lovingly prepared dishes created by the first cohort of Flavours of Hope’s Dream Cuisine initiative, a pilot program supporting newcomer refugee women in launching their food business, Ono Vancouver, Kula Kitchen, Susgrainable, and more. This simple and delicious meal will require minimal finishing and will be accompanied by thoughtful accouterments like flowers for the table, drinks, and specially crafted products created by the 2021 SOYL youth crew. Order online for pick up or delivery. 

 

8. Poke at Home

Nikki BayleyNikki BayleyHats off to Organic Ocean and their Signature Poke Marinade which just won Vancouver magazine’s 2021 Made in Vancouver Award in the “Food (Savoury)” category. Have you had this before? It is delicious! I don’t just use it for poke, it goes on salads, rice bowls, pretty much anything that requires an instant salty-umami-spicy punch. It keeps well in the fridge and is, of course, bloody marvellous for poke!