This is your indispensable companion to all that is fresh and delicious in Vancouver right now
You guys, we almost made it. This dumpster fire of a year is very nearly over! Yay! Time then to celebrate—not too much, of course, thanks to Omicron rearing its oh-so-very unwanted head at precisely the worst possible moment—but a little; more than last year for sure, and that’s something to be thankful for, right?
The one thing we can cling to in the midst of this uncertainty? We live in a delicious AF place, but it only gets to be that way if we make it so; therefore, eat out, drink up, tip well, mask up, get your boosters and make merry.
See you next year, and don’t forget those napkins, it’s gonna get messy...
1. Giant Krampus Gingerbread Man PSA
Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t long for this oversized Krampus gingerbread man. You can’t, can you? One of many excellent holiday treats from innovative bakers Punk Rock Pastries in Burnaby, you can order this online up till December 23rd. Put that festive order in along with a good supply of their other baked goods—may I recommend you check out the Crazy Weird Treats section and just go nuts?
2. Buy all the Simps Syrup samplers
We’ve all become a bit better at making cocktails at home thanks to the pandemic, but there’s always a way to up your game even more, so may I introduce you to the genius of Simps syrups? The brainchild of two talented ex-Vancouver and now Kelowna bartenders, Gerry Jobe and Dave Simpson (you may already be familiar with their killer Serious Caesar Mix. If not, get some; the dill pickle version is astounding), you can try five of their most popular cocktail syrups: ginger, lemon sour, Old Fashioned, lavender and root beer Old Fashioned, in cute 50 ml sample sizes in their new handy packs. I cannot recommend the Old Fashioned syrup enough. Just add ice, 2 oz of whisky, ½ oz of syrup and stir; it’s perfect. They also have a coffee syrup sampler pack, and due to being a basic bitch, I am addicted to their sugar-free vanilla in my morning latte. Great for gifts—even better for you.
3. Sounding the Salted Egg Yolk Crab klaxon
Rich WonIf you can recall all the way back to last month’s column and my current obsession with all things salted egg yolk, then it won’t come as any kind of surprise that I think you should book Potluck Hawker Eatery immediately for their Salted Egg Yolk Crab Feast. It’s only on December 10th and 11th, so make sure you don’t miss out on a whole Dungeness crab deep-fried with crispy puffed rice and stir-fried salted egg yolk butter curry leaf. Part of the restaurant’s winter crab celebration, each meal serves four and comes with four sides including roti canai with curry dipping sauce, fish sauce caramel chicken wings, green papaya and beet salad, egg fried rice with uni paste and tobiko, and an exclusive Ovaltine-Milo Icebox Cake by The Dessert Club. Pre-order and enjoy at home, or book to enjoy with friends.
4. Cheers to Moontail
Leila KwokOne of the very, very few bright spots in the pandemic has been the long overdue changes to liquor laws, so celebrate that by ordering up a brace of delicious drink-at-home Moontail cocktails from Torafuku. Created by Steve Kuan, Torafuku owner and Wade Chou, Torafuku bar manager, expect Asian flavours in familiar formats using dried fruits, premium teas and spirits. Each bottle is shelf stable and serves two to three cocktails. I love the packaging by Maggie Ikemiya, a local Japanese-Canadian graphic designer, illustrator, muralist and former staff member of Torafuku. If you’re entertaining over the holidays, I think your very best bet is to get a gift box of all five which comes with seasonal garnishes, for instant fancy cocktail party vibes for just $90.
5. Dine Out dates announced
Dine Out VancouverIs there a more joyful sign that things are returning to some kind of normality than the launch of Dine Out Vancouver? Everyone’s favourite festival is back for its 20th anniversary edition from January 14th to 31st. Tickets are on sale now for events, reservations open for the set menus on January 6th, and Street Food City is back from the 15th to 23rd at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The World Chef Exchange dinners will be announced next week—including a very cool chef from Iqaluit. The Vancouver restaurant scene is one of the most innovative, delicious and multicultural in the world; it’s a jewel in the city’s crown. The past two years have been impossibly hard on everyone within the hospitality industry, so please make sure that you make time to Dine Out this January and support some of the folks who’ve made it through.
6. Taste tapas heaven in Mount Pleasant
I was happily following along the crew from ¿CóMO? Taperia last month on Insta and drooling as they ate their way through Spain. Now as part of enRoute and Open Table’s Chef’s Menu campaign, you can enjoy the results of their culinary research with the Taste our Travels menu, served tapas style for groups of two until January 27th. It’s $130 per pair with an optional (and highly recommended by me!) $50 drinks pairing per person. Treats include a pork lomo chicharron, clams in vermut, and a very delicious-sounding octopus with black garlic.
7. Yay! Moose mugs are back
I have been so sad that the Four Seasons and its fabulous seasonal must-drink, the Cog Nog, is no more. I loved those moose mugs; they were the ultimate holiday drinks selfie accessory. So, I am delighted to report that the moose mug is back at H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore with their Don’t Hog the Nog, a terrifically booze-forward blend of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Hennessy VS cognac, Torres five-year brandy, Hart & Sons 151 rum, and, of course, house-made egg nog. It’s a feature on their movie-themed holiday cocktail list from bartender Andrew Kong and available till December 25th.
8. Get chef recipes with Organic Ocean
I’m a raving fan of chef Julian Bond, so any chance to whoop enthusiastically about him is a good day for me. He’s collaborating with another of my favourites, the folks at Organic Ocean, on the 12 Days of Fishmas—featuring 12 different products, including scallops, spot prawns and albacore tuna. When you buy any of them, you get a delicious recipe that Julian’s created just for Organic Ocean. Follow them on Instagram for giveaways throughout December.