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

I tend to like a slow slide between seasonsa gentle fade between hot to cool, then cold and back again. Welp! That did not happen this year. Instead, it was seemingly endless summer, summer, glorious summer, then INSTANT FALL. OH GOD, SO MUCH FALL. No gradual cool down at all. GAH!

So, I’m writing this while soup bubbles away on the stove and I’m dreaming of snacking on buttery cookies. Heads up: if you were looking for a super-healthy column this month, you’re pretty much straight out of luck 'cause it’s comfort food all the way here right now.

As ever, grab napkins because it’s gonna get messy...

 

1. Go to all the cool things

BBQBig ol’ piles of BBQ and the game? Sounds like a perfect Sunday, right? And that’s exactly what you can do every Sunday for the rest of the year with the Big Day BBQ's tailgate series, a first-come, first-served affair, starting at 10 a.m. every Sunday until December 29th, 2019 at The American, 926 Main Street. Prices start from $20.

Join Royal Dinette for this Friends of Laphroaig spirited dinner and discover a different side of Islay with a brand ambassador-guided tasting! Tuesday, October 8th, 2019, 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Head to the Irish Heather on Sunday, October 13th at 7 p.m., as they give thanks and celebrate with their 11-years-old tradition of feeding hundreds of guests on the Thanksgiving weekend. On the menu, a delicious roasted turkey dinner with all the trimmings, paired with a pint of beer or glass of wine for just $21.

 

2. Behold! Your new bar snack of choice

pidgin beef tendonI stopped by Pidgin the other day to try some super-fresh, first-of-the-season local uni which chef Wesley Young is serving up on sushi rice garnished with a little kombu and ume furikake that he bought back from a recent trip to Osaka. While I was waiting, I tried one of their new bar snacks, a puffed beef tendon: a crunchy, lime-and-gochugaru-spiked delight that you absolutely gotta try. It’s a gloriously cheffy little snack. The tendon is braised in water until it’s soft, thinly sliced, dehydrated and then deep-fried into a chicharrón-like puff of tastiness. They’re just $6 a bowl. Go have some now

 

3. Eat family-style at Homer Street Café

chickenI don’t know why, but I realized the other day that I hadn’t been to Homer Street Café in years. Not for any good reasonit just hadn’t been on my list—so we stopped by for a fun family dinner the other night and it just could be our new go-to spot.

We ordered the family-style dinner: share plates for $49 per person and man, did it deliver! You get not just a crazy amount of food, butand this is so rareit’s a crazy amount of really great food: a mountain of appies, including wings, salad, hummus, olives and so on... and then that great rotisserie chicken, a perfect steak and juicy salmon, plus three different kinds of dessert. Yes, we had doggy bags to go. And yes, we will be back. The wine list is a treat and with front of house being looked after by one of the city’s most treasured hospitality veterans, David Wolowidnyk, you know the service is top notch too.

 

4. Get the Hundy burger

hundyI finally made it out to Hundy in Kits the other night to try their burgers. We tried a couple and I gotta recommend the not-always-on-the-list Hundy burger, a juicy, sloppy pleasurably messy burger that had us licking our fingers and smacking our lips. Love that they have a cool lil’ wine list here too!

 

5. Buy chef Andrea Carlson’s terrific book

burdock bookFlicking through the pages of an advance copy of this immensely personal reflection by one of my favourite chefs and her co-writer Clea McDougall, I’m struck at once by the intimate beauty of this book. Somewhere between a cookbook, memoir, and love letter to the West Coast in general and Vancouver in particular, Burdock & Co, like Carlson herself, is something of a rare treasure.

Described as "poetic recipes inspired by ocean, land and air," I love how confessions of day-drinking staff parties sit next to stories of fishing in Haida Gwaii as a teenager and tales linking the solar eclipse to drinking nun-made wine and musing on the mysteries of fermentation.

The recipes are ambitious enough to feel inspirational and well-explained enough to seem manageable (I like to picture myself gathering cherry blossoms to make sakura tofu, pickled fuki stem, cattail and chickweed) and yes, Burdock & Co’s killer buttermilk fried chicken is represented in all its glory over pages 300 to 302.

Out on October 1st, I’ll be snapping up a few more copies as Christmas gifts, and you absolutely should too.

 

6. Take a field trip

whistler wine walkWhistler InsiderWhistler: Wine plus art? Love the sound of this! The new Whistler Wine Walk happens every Friday between 5 and 7 p.m. throughout October, taking in both public and private art galleries through town, featuring local and international artwork paired with hors d’oeuvres and wines from B.C. wineries.

Oliver: Fall is fun in the South Okanagan over October 5th and 6th for Cask & Keg and the Festival of the Grape celebrating Oliver, the community and all things grape- (and beer-)related!

Chilliwack: I adore this: a five-course, beer-paired meal at Old Yale Brewing on Sunday, October 27th called Dinner en Flannel... "an awesome celebration of local hand-crafted food, paired perfectly with Old Yale beera relaxed, Chilliwack-style “fancy” dinner with friends eating delicious food and drinking tasty brews in their comfy flannel apparel!” Plus, live music and the head chef and head brewer will be in attendance to share the story of locally sourced food and delicious beer pairings.