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

I just finished writing this month’s column and sorry, but it’s alarmingly indulgent. Know what? You deserve it. We didn’t get that "hot girl summer" after all, so download your vax pass, put on your best cozy sweater and stretchy pants, and head on out to eat your feelings. I know that’s my plan for fall. 

Grab napkins too 'cause you know it’s gonna get messy...

 

1. Do the shake shake and NeNe

NeNe Chicken CanadaFacebook/NeNe Chicken CanadaThe West End continues to wow with new Korean fried chicken joints popping up on the regular. The latest to join is NeNe on Davie, next to local late-night poutine champs, La Belle Patate. NeNe (Korean for Yes Yes) is known for its crunchy fried chicken with flavour-packed toppings, including ‘snowing cheese’, ‘hot bling’, soy-garlic and green onion. Make sure you order a side of the shake-shake fries with the wildly addictive cheese powder on top to complete this feastafter all, let’s not pretend this is anything but a totally delicious treat, so lean in! 

 

2. Slurp those oysters

Fanny Bay OystersFacebook/Fanny Bay OystersAs we cruise into fall, freaking awesome shellfish season just keeps on getting better. Now is the season to slurp up oysters, crabs, mussels and all the shellfish you can eat. Head over to Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market at the bottom of Cambie just off Robson, where they are kicking off their fall menu this month with new menu items such as sablefish and hot soba; a brandy-spiked seafood pot pie with puff pastry; plus a pumpkin brûlée with a super-delicious sounding toasted pumpkin seed shortbread. They still have a killer happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., so go celebrate the best of the season.

 

3. Get your selfie on at TeamLab

Team Lab 食光里Facebook/Team Lab 食光里The Instagramification of food continues apace over at TeamLab in Richmond where LED lights pair with Asian-fusion cuisine in a riot of selfies and skewers. The team behind it takes pains to tell you that they are not associated with TeamLab Tokyo (a stunning digital art museum which, yes, incorporates LED lighting too), but a quick look at the Tokyo website tells you that it has been the inspiration for this spot all the same. Do we need twinkly lights and a "never seen-before LED walkway” to eat chicken lollipops and puffy seafood chowder? Probably not, but is it the kind of harmless blingy fun that might make the dark months ahead a shade more delightful? Absofreakinglutely. Heads up—it also has a private karaoke booth.

 

4. Teddy Bear Tea? Yes, please

Michi Craft KitchenFacebook/Michi Craft KitchenOh my god. How adorable is this? An iced Hong Kong-style milk tea with a goddam teddy bear ice sculpture on top?! MICHI on Robson is knocking it out of the park with Insta-worthy fodder these days inspired by Hong Kong café favourites such as golden lava toast and stuffed chicken wings (I hear the cheesy corn and fried rice are especially excellent).

 

5. Eat that cereal milk donut

MelloInstagram/@mellovancouverThree words: cereal milk donut. Mello has these astounding brioche donuts on the menu, and you need to eat them. You can pre-order by email 24 hours in advance to enjoy flavours like dark chocolate pudding, salted caramel, peanut butter and jelly and yes, cereal milk. Droooooool. Check out their Insta highlights for the full list plus instructions on ordering, or just head off to see them at 223 East Pender, and don’t forgetthey’re cashless. 

 

6. Road trip! Guess who’s back?

Q at the EmpressQ at the EmpressI have the softest of soft spots for Victoria’s Fairmont Empress hotel, so I was super jazzed to hear that Q at the Empress is reopening for dinner service again on October 1st with what sounds like a deeply delicious new menu from executive chef Morgan Wilson. Highlights include an olive oil-poached chinook salmon with watercress potato gnocchi (yum!) and a venison osso bucco. Obviously, you need to start any meal there with a large gin and tonic made with fabulous Empress 1908 colour-changing gin from local heroes Victoria Distillersbut have it in the bar and bag a selfie with the fabulously punky Queen Victoria prints. 

 

7. Stocking stuffer alert!

BC SpiritsBC SpiritsLegendary bartender, global mentor, Tik Tok superstar (seriouslyhis one-minute cocktail tutorials rack up millions of views) and author Shawn Soole, has released the BC Spirits Cocktail Book just in time for the holidays. Featuring a whopping 124 B.C.-based distilleries taking in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, the Interior and Vancouver Island, this is a must-buy for local spirits’ fans. Each distillery has their story, a cocktail recipe and info about what they produce. Booze inspiration awaits on every page. Buy it here and don’t forget to get a copy for your home bar library too. 

 

8. Road trip no. 2! Beer! Beer! Beer!

Coast Mountain BrewingFacebook/Coast Mountain BrewingOctober is Whistler Craft Beer month which offers up the excuse you’ve been waiting for to head up the Sea to Sky for a visit. There are some excellent events to bookfrom a beer-focussed mani-pedi at the Spa at Nita Lake Lodge which comes with a tall can from Coast Mountain Brewing and a BETA5 box of beer chocolates; a beer trivia night at Tapley’s on October 13th, as well as weekly Tuesday beer bingo nights hosted by Backcountry Brewing; plus the excellently named ‘Huck it in the Bucket’ axe-throwing at the Whistler Racquet Club, which comes with a bucket of mead from Humblebee Meadery and a flatbread from the Courtside Café with any booking of four people. There are also tastings, tours, dinners and more, so get your fully vaccinated self up there in October and enjoy! 

 

9. Stop the presses! Cute cake alert

wicked_cafeInstagram/wicked_cafeZOMYGOD, how freaking adorable is this? I haven’t tried it yet, as I just heard about it, but you know whatit’s worth it for the ‘gram alone. It’s a ‘Tom and Jerry’ lemon cheesecake and you can get it at the Wicked Café on W 7th. I know their cream puffs are excellent, so add one of these babies to your sweet-treats-must-eat list and tell me how it is.