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

October already? How did that happen? Say goodbye to the last dog days of summer, buy a new pair of stretchy pants and celebrate the return of forgiving sweaters by stuffing yourself with all the carb-y goodness this season brings. It’s time to snuggle, y’all! Say yes to pumpkin, dive into king crab, check out super-cool events here and out of town; and most of all, grab a fat wad of napkins... it’s gonna get messy.

 

1. Celebrate fall with a king crab feast

King CrabWestern LakeSummer may seem like a distant memory already, but it’s hard to be sad when you have seasonal treats such as king crab to get excited about. I was fortunate enough to be invited to try the mid-autumn festival set dinner at Western Lake Chinese Restaurant and wow, it is a stunner. It features 12 delicious courses of seasonal faves including juicy king crab legs with lashings of garlic, crisp skinned Peking duck (with seriously the world’s best hoisin sauce), a terrific sautéed and deep-fried sole fillet, and fluffy light-baked rice studded with seafood. All that plus dessert with taro to bring good luck and, of course, mooncake for long life! Gather your friends and family and book a table for one of the best deals in town, as that feast for 10 people is just $668 plus tax.

 

2. Thanksgiving without cooking

Railtown Catering Thanksgiving To-GoRailtown CafeThe Cascade Room is rocking a three-course Thanksgiving menu on Sunday, October 8th for $35 per person over three seatings at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Free-range turkey, pumpkin tart and organic greens are on offer along with a vegetarian option and a kids’ meal for $25. Reservations are currently being accepted online.

Get a Thanksgiving to-go feast from Railtown Catering which includes a 16-pound sage-roasted turkey and giblet gravy, salad, seasonal sides plus pumpkin pie with Chantilly cream for dessert. You can order it either ready-to-eat (hot) and ready-to-bake (cold) formats and it’s enough for eight to 10 people and costs $299 plus tax. A very cool deal! Orders must be placed by Wednesday, October 4 at noon and are available for pickup between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (ready-to-bake) and between 3 and 5 p.m. (ready-to-eat) at Railtown Cafe on Sunday, October 8 and Monday, October 9, or by delivery for an additional charge.

You can have Thanksgiving lunch or dinner at Joe Fortes on Monday, October 9th. They have a traditional turkey dinner for $34.95 with roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey gravyall made in-house, or make it three courses for $46.95.

Last-minute panic? No problem. In Whistler, the Portobello Market at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is whipping up a turkey to go and orders will be accepted until Saturday, October 7th at 11:00 a.m. On offer, a slow-roasted free-run turkey, stuffing, baked yams and buttermilk-whipped potatoes, roasted B.C. root vegetables with thyme, pan gravy, all topped off with a spiced pumpkin pie. This is excellent value: it serves six to eight adults and costs $229 plus tax and gratuity. Available for pick-up Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th, 2017

 

3. Gobble up a Portuguese egg tart

NatasAvelino's NatasSo excited by this! Authentic Portuguese Pasteis de nata in Vancouver! Natas are a traditional dessert dating back to the 1800s. They’re Portugal’s most popular sweet snack for a very good reasonas you’ll find out when you give em a try: buttery flaky pastry and an eggy, lemon-y, cinnamon-y custard filling. Yum! Check out Avelino Santos’ pop-up Natas bar on Granville Street on Saturdays starting from noon between Dunsmuir and Pender, or become the most popular person in your office and arrange a delivery in downtown Vancouver of fresh-baked natas . $3 tax in for one,
$15 box of 6, or $25 a dozen, email to order: avelino@natascanada.com

 

4. Check out all the cool stuff out of town

The View Winery and VineyardThe View Winery and VineyardVictoria’s FTW cocktail bar is hosting a collaboration with Silk Road Tea where you can learn from the master, as ace bartender Shawn Soole is leading the FTW Bar & Silk Road Cocktail Class on tea and cocktails. Geek out with fellow booze nerds and learn four new tea-based drinks. Recipes, tasters and fun guaranteed for $55 per person.

Penticton is the place to be for Cropped by Valley First, B.C.’s Largest Wine Tasting & Farmers Market on October 6th and 7th. Cropped is a "... sensory and visual experience that truly depicts the Okanagan in its fall splendor, featuring over 200 wines and an indoor farmers market." Tickets are $69 and there are some rather cool accommodation deals to be had, so why not treat yourself to a weekend in wine country?

Quick reminder that tickets for Cornucopia in Whistler are selling out fast. Running from November 9th to 19th, with seminars, tastings, parties and picnics, there’s no better reason to make for the Sea to Sky!

This is straight-up genius: a candy-and-wine pairing event at The View Winery and Vineyard and Wards Cider on October 28th and 29th from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Prizes for adults in costume, $4 tasting fee... so much candy... just brilliant!

 

5. Go to all of the delish events in town

Harvest HausJonathan EvansThe annual Apprentice’s Dinner is back on Wednesday, October 25th at Fairmont Waterfront for a fun and delicious evening of culinary craft and competition. Apprentice teams from each of the Fairmont hotels compete to present a six-course feast for a sell-out crowd. This year’s dinner theme, From Nose to Tail, pays homage to lesser-known cuts over a six-course tasting menu that includes duck, sturgeon, pork, lamb, beef and bison.  Each tasting dish is paired with wine and includes three cuts to profile different flavours, textures and cooking methods.  ickets are $149 per person including the reception, six-course dinner, wine, taxes and gratuities. Tickets can be purchased through the event coordinator at irene.martyniuk@fairmont.com or by calling 604-691-1814.

One of the best events of the year, Toast to the Coast is back at the Vancouver Aquarium on October 20th, with Ocean Wise canapés, B.C. wines, an amazing raffle and auction, plus a late-night party with DJ Darren Butler. All raising money to support research, education and direct action programs to benefit ocean conservation.

The 13th annual Taste of Yaletown (TOY), is back from October 11th to 27th, with an amazing 26 different restaurants and bars to pick from this year. Featuring special three-course meals themed around ‘pairings and sharings’ at set prices of $25, $35, and $45, this is a great opportunity to head to Yaletown and check out new and old favourites.

Raise a foaming tankard of beer, as Harvest Haus is back at Sole Food Street Farms, which will be transformed into the West Coast’s largest Germanic-inspired cultural harvest festival, in the great Harvest Haus Halle tent! Expect medieval japes, axe-throwing, swordplay, a live Bavarian oompah band and plenty of European beers, giant Jenga and darts, as well as traditional Oktoberfest delicacies such as pretzels, brezen, bratwürst and sauerkraut available in the open-air Marktplatz (marketplace).Tickets range from $25 for general admission to $50 for VIP, available now online. Partial proceeds benefit the Music Heals Charitable Foundation

Campagnolo ROMA is back with its popular Quinto Quarto event on Friday, October 13th with guest chef, Jonas Stadtländer alongside chef Jesse McMillan. Celebrate fall's harvest, with unique cuts of meat, seasonal produce and local beverages. Tickets are $100 and available now online.

 

6. Buy chef Ned Bell’s cookbook

Ned Bell's LureNed BellI’ve always regarded my friend chef Ned Bell as something of a superhero ever since he cycled across Canada to raise awareness for sustainable seafood. I get out of breath going over the Lions Gate Bridge, so to me, cycling across the country is next-level astounding. His commitment to all things Ocean Wise, and his ceaseless championing of sustainable seafood is beyond admirable. More to the point, as a chef, his food always delicious; clean, bright flavours which always seem to sum up that West Coast healthy harvest abundance.

It should come as no surprise that Lure, his first cookbook, co-written with ace writer Valerie Howes, is just wonderful too. It’s a beauty of bookbright, full of gorgeous imagery and laid out in an attractive easy-to-understand style. It’s also packed with tempting recipes that—thanks to Val’s easy style and Ned’s culinary smarts—appear childishly simple to master: no mean feat. I’m planning to start with the comforting West Coast bouillabaisse and I’m already planning the luscious-sounding planked wild salmon with nectarines, thyme, honey, almonds and ricotta as my Canada Day BBQ for next year. Get a copy of this excellent book for yourself and plan to buy a few extras for gifts too. It’s terrific.

 

7. Celebrate National Taco Day

La TaqueriaLa TaqueriaNot gonna lie, I am a sucker for A) tacos and B) a scavenger hunt, so imagine my delight that La Taqueria is planning to celebrate National Taco Day on October 4th with a taco-prize-based scavenger hunt. Yay! They’re also serving up two-for-one tacos at all locations during happy hour, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Clues about the various hiding spots in Victoria and Vancouver will be shared on La Taqueria’s Instagram page throughout the day. The hunt starts at 11 a.m., until all prizes are found or by 6 p.m.

 

8. Woah! News...

Noodlebox spicy peanutThis is a cool deal! It’s National Noodle Day on October 6th, and to celebrate Noodlebox is doing its popular spicy peanut noodle box for just $5 a pop.

Wild Rice has a new happy hour menu with specials running all day on Mondays and Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday to Sunday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., including $5 wine, $6 cocktails and $6 yam fries and $8 Peking duck tacos.

Davie Street just got happier as Mexican vegetarian restaurant Lucha Verde is launching their inaugural happy hour menu late nights on Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Check out their Instagram for current deals, but expect treats such as $8 BBQ nachos, $4 shishito peppers, $7.50 double margaritas (with all the good stuff: Cazadores, Cointreau and freshly squeezed lime!) and rotating beer specials $4 to $5.

 

9. Eat all the pumpkin!

Pumpkin and GourdsSpecialty Produce

Whoop. It’s Decorative Gourd Season, so eat all the pumpkin! However, avoid at all costs the vile-sounding creation that was spotted at a restaurant who shall remain nameless on Denman Street: a bandwagon-jumping ‘bone-broth pumpkin-spiced lattes.' This has to be a joke? No? Oh god, make it not real...

Do go fancy at Cioppino’s. Chef Pino tells me he’s using local Japanese squash (kabocha) to stuff ravioli with amaretto cookies and spices. And you can also try a crustless caramelized savoury kabocha tart served with baby kale and Parmigiano.

Keep it veggie at Tacofino in Gastown with cauliflower and squash tostadas.

Indulge at Cibo Trattoria with squash tortelloni with brown butter, sage, toasted hazelnuts and Grana Padano. And 'cause good kitchens make sure nothing gets wasted, their brunch menu has a seasonal French toast topped with citrus curd, mascarpone, fruit compote, pumpkin seeds and maple syrup.

Head out of town (as this is surely worth the trip to the Island alone) and go to the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa where whizz bartender Julie Ferris is whipping up a hot-buttered rum with roasted puréed pumpkin, Cruzan Blackstrap Rum and house made allspice liqueur. Yes, please!

Have a positive pumpkin parade up at North Arm Farm, where chef Ryan Bissell and team have pumpkin in everything from pies and tarts to soups and ravioli. Go pumpkin crazy with pumpkin patch rides and weekend BBQs at the farm on Friday to Sunday all through October.

Come for the ceviche, stay for the picarones at Chicha, a tasty Peruvian pumpkin and sweet potato doughnut!

Get dessert at ice cream newbies, La Glace and their peppered pumpkin flavour, with cinnamon and black pepper topped with a gluten-free pumpkin-spice meringue.

 

10. Eat bacon for a good cause

baconThe CapitalI'm very tempted to take part in this at The Capital on Davie Street on Sunday, October 15: a bacon-eating contest with proceeds going to the B.C. Children’s Hospital. It’s $10 to enter, and the contest will run in heats and groups. Each plate of bacon will weigh the same amount. Each round will be 40-seconds long. Each heat/group will have a winner and will face off against other winners until an “ultimate bacon champion” is crowned. I didn’t know it till now, but I think all I want in life is to be able to have ‘ultimate bacon champion’ on my business card.