This is your indispensable companion to all that is hot, fresh and freaking delicious in Vancouver right now
No matter how old I get, I guess I’ll always have a melancholic going-back-to-school vibe in September. But, according to the long-range forecast this year, it’ll at least stay dry, so we should be able to to squeeze in a few more weeks of patio time and enjoy the generous bounty of fresh, beautiful produce rolling our way from the Lower Mainland and the sea.
My advice for September? Eat, drink and enjoy each day like it’s the last gasp of summer because those rain clouds will be here before you know it. As always, grab napkins 'cause it’s gonna get messy...
1. Raise a glass to Kait-A-Roo, the world’s No. 1 bartender
The cocktail world just took out an atlas to see where Canada is because Vancouver’s own Kaitlyn Stewart, aka Kait-A-Roo, bar director at Royal Dinette just beat out bartenders from around the world to win top place at the World Class Bartender of the Year competition. This is a huge deal. World Class is the biggest contest in the world with over 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries entering. After winning their regional competitions, 55 gathered together in Mexico City on Sunday, August 20th to compete—with Kaitlyn bagging the top prize.
"I'm so incredibly amazed and shocked to have been named the world's best bartender," she says. "It's been a grueling week, taking on the toughest challenges against some of most skilled bartenders I've ever met. Participating in the finals was amazing enough, but to finish the week as winner… I'm so delighted! Cocktails are on the up now more than ever and to be at the forefront of that, pushing forward the idea of using better ingredients and better recipes to create even better cocktails is something I'm really passionate about and I've loved every moment of this experience."
Can we organize some kind of parade? This is amazing. Well done!
2. Eat at one of Canada’s best new restaurants...
Hats off to Botanist, Cacao, Fayuca, Mak N Ming, The Salted Vine in Squamish and Malahat’s Summit for scoring a place on enRoute’s prestigious Best New Restaurant list. The Top 10 will be announced on October 19, 2017 and showcased in the November issue of enRoute, Air Canada's inflight travel magazine.
3. Check out the fun events
This sounds super fun! A free Mexican market event down at Robson Square on Saturday September 16th, hosted by the Mexican Tourist Board. Along with the food in the market, the event will also feature music, film programming, and a virtual reality experience.
The Chefs Table of BC is back with their annual truck-fest, aka Chef Meets Truck, in Yaletown on September 12th. Chefs from restaurants such as Savio Volpe, Au Comptoir, and Mak n Ming are involved along with trucks including Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Roaming Dragon and Via Tevere. The event will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and tickets are $69 + tax, which buys you food samples from the eight participating food trucks, as well as wine and beer samples too. A portion of ticket sales will go to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
It’s time for the Passions gala on September 27th, with 22 amazing restaurants serving up delicious bites, alongside cocktails from Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar's Sabrine Dhaliwal in support of the Dr Peter AIDS Foundation. This year it’s at Performance Works on Granville Island and you can get tickets here.
Head to Richmond Night Market to add some groove to your ‘things on skewers’ experience as September 8th is the final of the Vancouver DJ Festival! DJs will be spinning top tunes and wowing the finger-licking crowds from 9 to 11 p.m.
4. Take a trip out of town
WhistlerIt’s the annual Whistler Village Beer Festival from September 13th to 17th with fun, beer, mountains, and some more beer. Events range from tastings and beer-paired dinners to beer yoga and beer brunch.
Oh man, what could be better than a big ol’ pile of garlic? Except, perhaps, a big ol’ pile of garlic... in a winery. On September 30th, Hester Creek is hosting a Garlic Festival with local garlic growers, artisan crafters, food carts and live entertainment. It’s a family-friendly event in support of the Oliver Elementary School Farm to Table lunch program. Admission is by donation to the program and the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Make it a day trip and head on over to New West for the third annual Feast on the Fraser celebration, which takes place from September 22nd until October 1st. Food tours, children’s events, a Sri Lankan long table... there’s plenty to get excited about. Check it out!
5. Chow down on Chilliwack corn
Jonathan NortonWhen corn tastes as divine as those super-sweet bi-coloured Chilliwack niblets, you know you have to eat as much as you possibly can! Although it’s perfect roasted up in its husk on the grill, these guys have gone all next-level...
La Mezcaleria is serving up Pan De Elote, a dessert of sweet, warm cornbread, topped with vanilla ice cream and candied pecans.
Wildebeest has grilled corn cobs just dripping with citrus and chili butter and (whaaaaat?!) pork floss.
Dixies is whipping up locally grown creamed corn as a special 'cause, as co-owner Shoel Davidson says, “Nothing says Southern BBQ like creamed corn!”
The Mackenzie Room has its ‘Corn Porn’ feature back. It's essentially a quartered cob glistening with a spicy butter, a hit of lime and topped with grated cheese. Oh my...
Farmer’s Apprentice has corn ice cream with blueberries and blackberries on their dinner menu.
The brand new Tacofino Oasis in the Bentall location has a duck taco on the menu with roasted corn, dried apricot, jalapeños, cilantro, soy shiitake and black chili mayo.
6. Drink like you give a f***
Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths, the fine folk behind the Trash Tiki initiative are coming to town on September 2nd and 3rd at the Clough Club as part of their global ass-kicking, name-taking tour. I’ll just let them tell you what they’re up to:
“Trash Tiki is a pop-up and online platform that seeks to create all ingredients for a tiki bar, from off cuts, unsold products and other raw materials otherwise destined for the bin. It is fully open-sourced so that anyone around the world can be inspired and start changing the environmental impact of their bar, tonight.”
See? Amazing. Go. Be part of this and be inspired.
7. Eat all the peaches
PidginThere is nothing more delicious in the world than a fresh, ripe Okanagan peach. Stuff yourself silly while they’re here and try these peachy keen numbers while you can.
Pidgin has a seasonal special of roasted peach soaked in sake served with burrata on the menu at the moment, which is basically a list of my favourite things. Order several. Do not share.
Cin Cin has a wood-grilled B.C. peach dessert with vanilla mascarpone, roasted hazelnuts, fresh lemon and basil on the menu.
Nightingale has a terrific sounding Prosciutto di Parma plate, with Okanagan peach, aged balsamic and focaccia.
8. Get excited about new things!
Head to AnnaLena for their new happy hour every day from 5 to 6 p.m. Cocktails are $10, beers are $5 and wine is $8. Try the "Los Bravos" with tequila, strawberry-black pepper liqueur, cacao, jalapeño and lime.
News from the soon-to-open Bells and Whistles (the new beer hall/casual dining concept from the team behind Wildebeest, Bufala, and Lucky Taco) who have scored the "Ferrari of soft serve machines." They’ve created a proprietary recipe with Cowgirl Creamery, and the first flavours from chef Alessandro Vianello are likely to be a peanut butter and chocolate, as well as a salted caramel. Co-owner James Iranzed assures me that it will be, "unbelievably good and available for stout floats too.” Damn! Just open already!
I went to the Synchromesh long table dinner at the Westin Bayshore’s H2 Rotisserie in August and loved it: there was great acoustic music, the view over the mountains was perfect, I fell in love with Synchromesh’s many Rieslings and the food was great. The next supper is on Thursday, September 14th, featuring Similkameen Valley boutique winery Hugging Tree, whose 2012 Moonchild Merlot took gold in the B.C. Best of Varietal Awards category at the Okanagan Wine Festival. Tickets are $150 per person, including taxes and gratuity, and it makes for a great date or friends night out.