This is your indispensable companion to all that is hot, fresh and freaking delicious in Vancouver right now
Urgh. Look what happens if you take your eye off the ball. Flipping November turns up and there is nothing we can do about it apart from wait it out. To pass the time, fortunately, we are blessed with any amount of distractions and delights this month—from fun events in and out of town, to mouth-watering new openings and some super fun pop-ups too. Oh, and if, like me, you love our B.C. wine, then make sure you check out the #CanadianWineForAll crowdfunder; good folks are doing important work—let’s have their backs.
In the meanwhile, grab a fat stack of napkins, things are gonna get messy...
1. Crowdfund for #CanadianWineForAll
Lionel TrudelAs an immigrant, I’ve always regarded Canada’s inter-provincial trading barriers as completely crazy. Dudes, you know that this doesn’t happen elsewhere, right? In other parts of the world, trading across provincial borders is not an issue. Canada, I love you, but you are one country, you have been for a while now, so perhaps it’s time to start acting like it. It’s crazy that someone in another part of Canada can’t buy B.C. wine as easily as we can. Fortunately, five small Okanagan wineries are going to the Supreme Court of Canada to try and change the law around the barriers which currently stand in the way of inter-provincial shipping of wine made from Canadian-grown grapes. Liquidity, Painted Rock, 50th Parallel Estate, Okanagan Crush Pad and Noble Ridge are going to court to plead their case to free our grapes. You can contribute to the crowdfunder campaign here, so they can afford to make a better legal argument than my compelling but short plea that this is batshit crazy.
2. Give into dosa mania
You may have heard my shriek of excitement echoing around the West End when I discovered I have a goddamn dosa place a couple of blocks from my apartment. Shriek! Yes, the Davie Dosa Company has arrived and I couldn’t be more delighted. Dosas are essentially the food of the gods. They're from Chennai in Southern India and if you’ve never had one before, basically they’re a kind of very light, long, crisp savoury crepe—gluten- and nut-free—usually rolled up (but sometimes folded into a parcel) and stuffed with delicious things. I’m a sucker for their masala potato, but there’s a super-tasty butter chicken variety, a cheese-garlic one that’s ridiculously good too plus a whole bunch of other veggie and meat options. They also do excellent curries— try the lamb biryani.
3. Welcome the city’s most festive treat back!
One of the most adorable seasonal treats in town is coming back, so say hello again to the Winter Pop-Up at Reflections at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia starting November 16th from 3:30 until 10:30 p.m. daily. Get in the festive mood with holiday decor, including twinkling trees, mistletoe and oversized candles, along with a menu of holiday treats including cheese fondue, turkey and sage sausage rolls and profiteroles, plus festive cocktails, mulled wine and hot toddies.
4. Say "See you in Whistler" to a Vancouver treasure
Brandon HartIt’s all change over at the Toptable Group, now that West Restaurant’s acclaimed chef Quang Dang has packed his bags and headed off up the Sea to Sky to take over at one of my other all-time favourite restaurants, Araxi, and chef James Walt is heading across the street to take on the opening of Toptable’s new Il Caminetto spot (pictured at top of article). Sure, this gives us all one more reason to head to Whistler, but Quang will be sincerely missed. Back at West, there’s a room refresh planned, plus a change in menu as Bobby Milheron takes over as new executive chef.
5. Go to all the cool events in town
Oh, the Irish Heather, you basically had me at ‘Ardbeg’... there’s a splendid night of cocktails, whisky flights and two courses of deliciousness planned at the Shebeen Whisky Bar on Friday November 3rd at 6:30 p.m. The Shebeen recently won at the Global Irish Pubs in Dublin awards and has brand ambassador for Ardbeg and Glenmorangie, Ruaraidh MacIntyre on hand to guide you through the Ardbeg flight and answer your questions. Tickets are $50 + tax + gratuity.
Feeling flush? Bag a ticket to one of the city’s most glamorous and fun events, the Vancouver International Wine festival’s Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction. It’s the 30th anniversary next February, and this sell-out night promises to be a corker. Saturday, February 24th, 6 p.m. till midnight, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver $450/$3,600 table of 8
Timber is hosting an ‘All Rye’ld Up’ Canucks & Cask night on November 18th when they plan to tap three kegs of rye beer and one cask of rye ale at 6 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m, Canucks vs St. Louis Blues and at 8 p.m. there’s a bison meat draw (legion-style).
Oh wow, is it really that time of year again? Yup, the calendar countdown is on to the 10th anniversary annual Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium on November 22nd. This year they’re trying something different with the past winners plus champs from Toronto and Calgary competing to throw down in a battle to claim chowder bragging rights for the next year. All proceeds go to help support the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program!
Adam BlasbergAdding to the many attractions of North Van, now you can visit Two Rivers Meats "The Shop" and check out their traditional butchery, deli counter and eat-in grill. On offer are tempting meaty delights such as house-made sausages, dry-aged beef, salumi and charcuterie, plus chef Tony Starratt’s signature 60-day dry-aged burger.
Ack, poor Homer Street Cafe got flooded out recently and their beautiful Rotisol shiny red rotisserie was damaged. They’re now hosting a pop-up-style service in their upper bar and lounge, so head on over to support 'em while they get their house back in order. Weekday lunch service is on from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., featuring a daily rotating fresh sheet menu and additional sandwich specials. This will be followed from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. by an afternoon happy hour menu, and dinner service begins at 5 p.m. with a daily changing fresh sheet. There’s a weekend brunch service too from 10:30 a.m.
7. Go to all the fun events out of town
Whistler: It’s November and that means Whistler will be in full Cornucopia swing from November 9th to the 19th. There are still tickets left for some events—whether it’s learning how to ferment foods, enjoying a stellar wine-paired meal at Araxi, or partying at Crush, do yourself a solid, and book a guaranteed good time at B.C.’s most fun food and wine event!
Book a ticket now for this kick-ass dinner featuring chefs Isabel Chung (Fairmont Chateau Whistler), Melissa Craig (Bearfoot Bistro) and recent Top Chef Canada All-Star winner Nicole Gomes (Cluck and Cleaver) to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. The ELLEEvate TogetHER dinner takes place on Sunday, November 12th in the Grill Room, with wines from Quails’ Gate, presented by ace winemaker Nikki Callaway, who’ll be joined by two of B.C.’s top sommeliers, Maryke Vandermarel from Bearfoot Bistro and Jill Spoor from Fairmont Pacific Rim.
Okanagan: Tinhorn Creek’s gorgeous Miradoro restaurant is hosting a new fall series, ‘Communal Table’ to celebrate regional food and wine at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays throughout November. Reservations are required, and it’s just $35 per person, which is a terrific price to dive into chef Jeff Van Geest’s ambrosial cooking.
Langley: This sounds legit hilarious: beer and yoga at Trading Post Brewery in Langley on Saturday, November 25th. It’s just $20, so bring your own mat, and a 60-minute class and 16 oz beer are included. Space is very limited so email or call the Tasting Room at 604-343-2337 ext. 1 to reserve your spot!
Vancouver Island: Get yo’ shuck on at the 21st annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival and get ready to join fellow-minded bivalve lovers slurping their way through 11,000 oysters over four nights of fun events including an under-the-sea-themed costume party, oyster farm tours, live music and delicious restaurant events.
8. Cheer like mad for Mak N Ming
Boom! Massive congrats to the team at Kitsilano’s Mak N Ming who scored Vancouver’s only spot on the coveted enRoute Top Ten Best New Restaurants list. Also according to the folks at EnRoute, the hot new place to be is Edmonton. *Looks out window at mountains, sea, endless amazing international cuisine...* Yeah, whatever.
9. Drink all the cider
It’s apple season! And what better thing can you do with an apple than ferment it?
I love Wards Picker’s Hut Winter Spice cider from The View winery in Kelowna. It’s all baking apples, with a tiny hit of cinnamon and warming ginger—try it gently warmed up for a seriously cozy treat.
Sea Cider’s Rumrunner always makes me happy at this time of the year: Vancouver Island apples, buttery, brown sugar notes and with a kiss of rum and bourbon, this cider rocks!
Faustino are small batch cider-makers based in Osoyoos. Sure, they’re a little tricky to track down, but it’s totally worth your while to seek ‘em out: I massively recommend the apple-quince variety which is just table-bangingly wonderful.
10. Eat all the comfort food
Dripping and broken umbrellas. The unmistakable whiff of wet dogs and regret on the SkyTrain. Getting up in the dark to go to work and coming home in the dark too. Oh, god. If only there was a way to make it stop!
Well, momentarily, there is. Carb up, Vancouver! Just eat your feelings like a champ and join me in mindlessly stuffing your face with my three favourite rainy day comforts:
- The awesome gochujang chicken wings at Pidgin: crunchy, spicy, salty, with a good amount of char, I am freaking obsessed by how happy these wings always make me feel. Is it the high from the punch of the chili and the sweet funk of that gochujang paste? Could it be the negroni I usually pair with it? Who cares? It works!
- It’s Sunday. I am broken. Things feel weird but thanks to the wonders of modern life I can order up some poutine and a Montreal smoked meat sandwich (extra pickle) from the masters of the art of recovery at La Belle Patate on Davie. Within an hour, I am good to go. You will be too.
- Soup dumplings somehow seem to make everything better. Join the queues and see why Dinesty’s xiao long bao (XLB) are amongst the best in the city. Go basic with the steamed pork or mix it up with steamed luffa and shrimp, just don’t forget to slurp.