You’ve Gotta Try This in July

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

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

I am in the sunniest of moods and life is feeling delicious at the moment. I’ve discovered a regular supply of my new favourite non-alcoholic Torino Martini Floreale white vermouth (it’s so good with tonic or grapefruit soda), I’m about to harvest my neighbour’s sour cherry tree to make a zippy cocktail shrub, and I can still get rhubarb and strawberries at the local farmers’ markets. Yay! Peas are here and tasting sublime, while the first corn is just moments away. Go, eat all the things— and revel in this glorious summer!

As always, get napkins ’cause it’s gonna get messy…

1. News in brief: Moules edition

There really never is a bad time to go to Chambar. It’s consistently on point as a place for brunch, lunch and dinner, but starting at the end of June, their moules frites are half price from Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 6 p.m. Get some! 

2. Wine and snacks pop-up PSA

Oh, this sounds cool! A summer wine and snacks pop-up at PICA’s Blue Hat Bakery-Café (just under the bridge at the entrance to Granville Island) featuring Vinnie’s Wine + Snack Bar. Open Thursday to Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. with happy hour features on Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m., you can find wines from top-notch B.C. producers such as Tractor and Vines and Lightning Rock, alongside wines from around the world (I’m very excited to see bubbles from Ridgeview in the UK on the menu! Go try ’em.) Snacks come from Top Chef Canada finalist Dez Lo and the now-closed Ubuntu Canteen’s Heedong Choi, and include crispy chicken, beef tartare and spiced popcorn.

3. Don’t sleep on Slothfuls

Warning: I have not been to this amazing-sounding spot yet, but I saw a TikTok about it and had to share—it’s a sloth-themed ice cream and bubble tea café on 5242 Kingsway in Burnaby called ‘Slothfuls.’ Yes, sloths! They have a bazillion bubble tea flavours and offer silky churned ice cream in Asian-inspired flavours such as Hokkaido ‘milk’, Creamy Mango, and Black Sesame (yum), alongside the opportunity to pose for selfies with a cute cartoon sloth and play the sloth-themed claw machine. I am in.

4. Celebrate Chinatown

Back for its 21st year, it’s the Vancouver Chinatown Festival on July 15 and 16 at Keefer and Columbia. Expect an action-packed time with the ever-popular giant mahjong, live entertainment (Yes. lion dancing from the Mah Society!), an artisans’ market and of course, delicious food from local vendors including the Ember Hong Kong Barbecue, Holy Duck Chili and Sweet U Bakery. There’s a special kids’ corner with farm animals and a display from Vancouver Aquarium, too. Find out more here.

5. Eat the fried chicken at Poplar Grove

I went for lunch at Poplar Grove the other week and wrote up a gushingly enthusiastic Insta post about it straight afterwards. Just to say it is now two weeks later and I am still obsessing about what I swooningly called: “Spicy ribbons of kohlrabi under the fork-shatter juicy fried chicken.” It was amazing. I want it again. Go see them and don’t be a chump like me and share it. No, my friend, this fried chicken is too good to share.

6. Make today the last day you say you’ve never been to Salsa and Agave

Sometimes (many would say often) I can be a total idiot. I don’t know why I turned my nose up at Salsa and Agave down on Pacific Boulevard, but I used to walk past it almost every day and just, I dunno, I just didn’t like the branding. So, I didn’t go in. Idiot!

I went there the other day in a fit of tired grumpiness and ordered up a few different tacos and was immediately transported to a place of bliss. So, so good! We’re talking hours of slow-cooking and a knowledgeable hand with the spices. I loved everything and will be back to try more. Don’t be a dummy like me and walk past again! Oh, and the horchata was perfect too—try the rum version for true table-banging delight.

7. Score stunning seafood at Blue Water’s patio

Yay, it’s truly summer, because the Blue Water Patio and Raw Bar menu is back every Friday to Sunday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Join me on #TeamSodIt and sneak off early from work to order up a single tier of seafood (oysters, jumbo prawns, jellyfish salad, mussels, clams, scallop ceviche) for the dynamite price of $42. Pair it with something cold and sparkling, and revel in the awesomeness of being you.

8. Join the tailgate party with Railtown

I went to one of the first of Railtown’s Tailgate BBQs years ago and still remember how fun it was and how incredibly good the brisket was! So I’m jazzed to see their custom-made 12-foot barbecue barrel is back again after a three-year gap.

Join the party on July 23rd and August 20th for a 3 or 5 p.m. seating at the Boxcar patio behind the Cobalt Hotel. Tickets are now on sale at Eventbrite and each ticket buys you: “a generous plate of mouth-watering slow-smoked brisket, pork shoulder, beer-brined chicken and brats, melt-in-your-mouth jalapeño cornbread, and a choice of two Southern-style sides. The Tailgate Plate is available for $35, as is a Vegetarian Plate with Vegan Bratwursts. Burger lovers can opt for a Railtown Cheeseburger or Beyond Meat Burger with Choice of Sides for $25. All tickets include a beverage (up to $7 value).”