This is your indispensable companion to all that is fresh and delicious in Vancouver right now
Well, this is rather lovely, isn’t it? Blazing blue skies, fun pop-ups, happy tourists thronging the streets (and spending money)... summer is here and at long last, the living is easy. I spent a few days exploring the Gulf Islands this month and if you’re planning to snatch a few more joyful moments of summer outside of the city, I have an amazing pizza recommendation for you—plus, exciting new restaurants right here in Vancouver and the ultimate comfort dish for when that rain hits.
As always, grab a napkin 'cause it’s gonna get messy...
1. No. 1 Hot spot alert: Suyo
Friend of the column, Max Curzon-Price (formerly of Botanist) has teamed up with another one of our favourites, chef Ricardo Valverde (formerly of Ancora) to launch Suyo up on Main Street. Opening weekend was packed and I’ll be checking 'em out very soon. According to chef Valverde, they’ll be creating their versions of, "the most popular dishes in Peru: from ceviches and tiraditos to causas and anticuchos, with high-altitude cocktails, vibrant South American wines and the flavours of Peru with a modern approach." Join the queue and make a reservation.
2. Head to Salt Spring Island for the world’s best pizza
Nikki BayleyI think I just had the best pizza of my life! Frustratingly, it’s from True Love Pizza, a food truck on Salt Spring Island, but honestly? It's worth the trip. We had the Royale with Cheese: a puffy crisp sourdough crust, mind-bendingly fresh tomato sauce, generous with the cheese and—the kicker—a punchy garlicky, chile, anchovy and olive-studded Puttanesca sauce drizzled on top that had us all hollering with delight. Man, this is great pizza! You’ll find 'em in a cute little food truck food court just up the road from Ganges. Book that ferry immediately.
3. Don’t forget to eat at Elephant
Nikki BayleyI didn't have time to indulge with the omakase menu at Elephant when I visited the other day, but I did want to see what everyone was raving about. So I raced by to grab a seat at the bar (pro tip: sit as far from the door as possible, as the bus which stops outside has a piercing alarm!) to dive into my go-to bar snack of choice: tartare. The version at Elephant is the perfect balance of tangy, crunchy and meaty, it came shrouded in thinly sliced radish and simply dressed with zingy pickles and spicy horseradish, and I absolutely loved it. Pair with whatever exciting by-the-glass option they have open and enjoy.
4. Devour the chicken piccata at Pepino’s
If you recall, last month I was raving about Caffe La Tana, so this month I checked out its big bro, Pepino’s Spaghetti House and dang, if their chicken piccata isn’t one of the best, most buttery, comforting delights I’ve had in a while. I went with a fun group so I could try all the pastas (so freaking good), but the hit of the night was the piccata. It’s such an old-school traditional dish, I don’t think I’ve had it in years, but a friend recommended we try it and holy moly, it was superb. It's the instant solution to rainy-day blues: crunchy chicken happily swimming in an absurdly generous pour of plate-lickingly good buttery lemon-y sauce. Yum!
5. No. 2 Hot spot alert: Is That French
Facebook/Is That FrenchSnacks and low-intervention wines? Yes, please! I popped in to check out new kids on the block, Is That French in the old Salt Tasting Room spot last week and adored it. They're serving up raw bar-inspired small plates (think pickled peaches, Oyama coppa and mozzarella, or combo-cured scallops with seaweed gremolata), and an exciting ever-changing list of awesome drinks from sake and vermouth to skin-contact wines. Walk-ins only.
6. Steak up at Riley’s
Nikki BayleyAfter getting Insta-post-envy from some truly tasty-looking dinners, I finally got to Riley’s for lunch, and you've gotta have the steak-frites 'cause it’s insanely good—fab presentation, just the perfect char on the meat, and potato starch-dusted fries for superb crunchy results. While the weather’s good, grab seats on the patio and enjoy an Ibiza-like vibe, sipping cocktails and watching the tourists. So fun!
7. Grab gluten-free treats ahoy at Coffeebar
Nikki BayleyI don’t often mention gluten-free bakes as I’m usually trying to score as much extra gluten as possible (#TeamCarbUp!), but a visiting gluten-intolerant friend had me snacking on all her treats while she was in town, so I can heartily recommend the delicious little cocoa cookie sandwiches at Coffeebar in Gastown, which come with a generous filling of raspberry buttercream. They're super-dense and not too crumbly, satisfyingly chocolatey and I loved the fruity icing! Oh—and they’re vegan too.
8. Okanagan road trip: lobster and mags, oh My(er)!
Meyer'sThere are few things I love more than lobsters and magnums, so hats off to Meyer Family Vineyards for creating my ultimate feast! Join them for a family-style lobster boil longtable dinner with chef Scott Saunderson of SilverStar Mountain Resort on Saturday September 10th at the winery in Okanagan Falls. The night kicks off with oysters and Meyer’s truly excellent NV Traditional Method sparkling wine, then eases into Magnums of the 2018 McLean Creek Road Chardonnay with lobster, corn on the cob, mini potatoes and Caesar salad. An orchard cobbler dessert comes paired with 2019 Mayhem fortified Gewürztraminer. Call for tickets.