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

As I write this, indoor dining restrictions have just been lifted. You know what to do: go visit your neighbourhood spots who perhaps didn’t have a patio and so are clinging onto life right now and desperately need your support. And, while you’re there, gobble up all the fine things that June brings: sweet spot prawns, just-grilled asparagus, tart juicy rhubarb and later in the month, the very first fragrant strawberries from the Valleys. Vaccinations are up. Cases are down. Let’s not blow this.

As ever, grab all the napkins 'cause it’s gonna get messy...

 

1. Car hop at Yuu Tapas

Yuu TapasYuu TapasFair warningI haven’t been, but the car-hop service at Yuu Tapas in Richmond sounds like too much fun to wait to talk about. And, if I’m being brutally honest, I secretly quite enjoy eating in my car. I’d absolutely love to be able to stuff myself with Tonkatsu and Takoyaki whilst parked at the wheel instead of drive-through burgers. All you need to do is park in front of the restaurant, turn on your hazard lights, call in in 604-214-7722 for your order, then they bring an attachable tray so you can dine right in your car. I love the idea of this retro dining trend taking off, so go give it a whirl.

 

2. Let them eat Cake Bae

Cake BaeCake BaeInstagrammable and Tik Tok-able AF super-trend, the 20-layer mille crêpe cake has landed at Dunbar at Cake Bae. I’m a little late to the party on this one (they opened in December last year), but am drooling at the thought of these gorgeous over-the-top cakes layered with wafer-thin crepes and pastry cream. Available for pre-order as whole or quarter cakes in flavours such as Matcha, London Fog and Houjicha, you can visit the store for smaller slices, excellent coffee and matcha lattes, and other baked treats such as raspberry-dark chocolate financiers or Valrhona brown butter cookies.

 

3. Achieve sandwich nirvana at Vennie’s Sub Shop

Vennie’s Sub ShopVennie’s Sub ShopContinuing in their seemingly unstoppable mission to open eateries which do one thing and do it really frickin’ wellDoug Stephen and Lindsey Mann, fresh from dominating the fried chicken scene with DL Chicken Shack and owning burgers with Downlow Burgers have opened Vennie’s Sub Shop and look set to control the city’s hoagie situation too. The opening menu features five eight-inch hoagie subs, Livia potato bun options, a Japanese milk bread creation, plus sides. Beware: their Insta may cause drooling…

 

4. B.C. beer gets petal power

Parkside BrewingParkside BrewingI got fascinating mail from the fine folks at the BC Ale Trail recently, apparently hot ingredients for brewery’s spring releases this year include fruits, berries and flowers, with one of my favouritesthe hibiscusfeaturing in a brace of beers, so thinkand drink—pink this season! Coast Mountain Brewing has a hibiscus Bloem saison, Camp Beer Co. has a Rose Hibiscus saison, Deep Cove is offering up a delicious sounding Pomegranate and Hibiscus sour, and Parkside Brewing has a wonderfully names Saxy Time Hibiscus Sour Gose.

 

5. Chambar’s back, baby!

ChambarChambarA friend shared a photo a few weeks back of Chambar with a sign on their door saying: closed until further notice. I was horrified! Surely after the sadness of the past 14 months we wouldn’t be expected to bear the closure of Chambar too? Thankfully no. I was thrilled to get mail from the restaurant earlier this month with the subject: We are back! And, indeed they are: the patio is open, moules-frites is on the menu, the wine list and cocktail menu are wonderful and they’re still the absolute best and most reliable spot for a casual breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner in town. Go see 'em and celebrate their return.

 

6. Toast the 30th anniversary of Blue Mountain

Blue MountainBlue MountainThere are so many things over the past year we have missed out on celebrating which seem painfully unfair. I’m adding the 30th anniversary of Blue Mountain to that list. I have no doubt that in pre-pandemic times, this milestone would have been celebrated with all the fanfare, partying and accolades that one of Canada’s true winery gems deserves. One of the very first B.C. wineries to make their wines exclusively from grapes from their own estate, their ultra-reliable bubbles have likely graced your table over the years and made your own celebrations extra-special. I am a raving fan of their Chardonnay and Gamay too, and just wanted to take this space to raise a glass to the Mavety family (yes, they’re still family-owned) and say thank you for the deliciousness and here’s to 30 more.

 

7. Give in to the inevitable and get your croissant on at Paul’s

Paul’s French bakeryPaul’s French bakeryUsually I’m pretty ‘meh’ about chains, but I was always a fan of Paul’s French bakery and would inevitably find myself there gobbling up buttery flaky croissants at their St. Pancras outlet in London as I waited for my train. They’ve opened on Robson now and I’m sure they’re killing it. It’s been over two years since I’ve been to Paris so until international travel opens up, I’m all for scoring a (kinda) authentic taste of France wherever I can get it! My advice: get a latte to dunk your croissant or pain au chocolat in… Oh god... drooling!