You’ve Gotta Try This in June

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

Maybe if we all chant together it won’t happen: “No Juneuary! No Juneuary! No Juneuary!” You guys, I can’t take it this year. May has been so glorious! I’ve been snapping endless photos of the flowers in bloom, enjoying those first long joyful sessions on the patio (start with happy hour and end who knows where?!), and generally loving every second of how perfect everything feels right now.

OKI’ve probably jinxed us all with that dose of unabashed positivity, but to hell with it! We still have a few more weeks of spot prawns, rhubarb is on the menu everywhere (yum!), and those new-season B.C. rosés are tasting good! Eat and drink all the pink things this month and keep chanting “No Juneuary!” and maybe it won’t happen.

As always, grab napkins ’cause it’s gonna get messy!

1. Drink all the Lambrusco

I’m declaring it the summer of Lambrusco after I glugged my way to heaven on this delish plummy, raspberry-and-herbs sparkler from Cantina Arceto Migliolungo. Best served chilled, it’s super-refreshing paired with patio snacks, gossip and good times. Track it down at liquor stores or by the bottle at Tap & Barrel.

2. Embrace your plain-pasta-loving-basic-bitch self

I was in desperate need of comfort last week and I found it in big, creamy spoonfuls at Capo & Spritz in Yaletown in the form of the absolute best, best, best bowl of cacio e pepe that I can recall having in a while. If I’m being honest, it’s not the kind of thing I usually order c’mon, I’m gonna get the plain cheesy buttered noodles when I’m out?! I don’t think so. But it just so happened to be a tough day and a big ol’ bowl of carbs with cheese and butter sounded like the solution to all my problems. Reader, it was. They can drone on about ‘single origin black pepper’ on the menu, but really what we’re all here for is bouncy pasta hosed in lashings of melty, melty cheese. Do not let being a basic bitch put you off. This is a magnificent hug in a bowl.

3. Cool no-alcohol cocktails No. 1

Yup, I’m leaning into that sober-curious life and thankfully plenty of bartenders are too. My thing is that I loathe sugary drinks and all too often “no alcohol” seems to translate into sugar-bomb. Hurrah then, for the list over at H Tasting Lounge which offers up four options (all for just $11) with pleasingly complex ingredients such as calamansi, shiso and neroli. My Bossa Nova was made with palo santo (a sage-like wood), lime leaf, and toasted coconut and was absolutely excellent with toasty bitter notes and just a hint of sweetness. Yes, please!

3. Check out Pac Rim pop-up fun

This is cool! The Fairmont Pac Rim patio space is hosting a six-week pop-up that’s actually a pop-up (I am so over people saying they are doing a pop-up and it lasts for months)! So, each week (from June 1 to August 27), the patio will feature a summer-inspired dish for just four days from some of the city’s coolest chefs, including Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson (Published on Main June 1 to 4); Lý Nguyen and Vincent Nguyen (Anh & Chi June 29 to July 2); Andrea Carlson (Burdock & Co) June 15 to 18; Lee Cooper (L’Abattoir August 10-13); and Michael Zafirian (Bacaro August 24 to 27).  For every feature chef dish sold, a portion of proceeds will be donated to the BC Hospitality Foundation. Good job!

4. Inhale the banoffee cruffin

The banoffee pie was invented at a tiny restaurant in rural Sussex called The Hungry Monk. I know this because I drove there specially to eat a slice many years ago and was thwarted by a bizarrely grumpy manager who wouldn’t give me one as they were ‘almost closing’ (it was not quite 2 p.m. and they didn’t close till 3 p.m.!). Anyway. I love banoffee. It’s the absolute business, so hurrah to my friend Brad for bringing me a new way to eat my favourite dessertin cruffin form from the fine folks at Nemesis Coffee/Dope Bakehouse! Stuffed to bursting with a banana diplomate pastry cream, caramel sauce, vanilla chantilly and banana crumbs, and wrapped within a beautifully light buttery cruffin that you just kinda unravel and inhale, this is amazing, and believe it or not, it’s really not too sweet. Go get one!

5. Ask for rhubarb cocktails at Bacaro

I adore rhubarb. Tart, sweet, zippy and pretty as hell, it’s the first sign of spring and usually an indicator of deliciousness to come. I swung by Bacaro’s patio recently and got to try a rhubarb, vermouth and gin concoction that they were working on that you gotta have. The garnish alone was amazing (and thank you for indulging us with a plate of it that we totally demolished). It’s on the menu now and called the Rhubarb Boy. Have at it!

6. So long and thank you to Fiona at Buckstop

I haven’t lived in the West End since 2018, so it felt all kinds of amazing when I wandered in to see if Fiona was there at Buckstop as I’d heard she was closing, and I got loudly greeted by two friends I didn’t even know would be there. Buckstop always was like the West End’s version of Cheers, but with far better whisky, and like, way, way, way more gay. Along with dozens of other West End ‘orphans’, I’ve spent Christmas at Buckstop, enjoyed birthdays and celebrations there, and watched with such pride as Fiona created a community for everyone. She took on her duties as honorary den mother of Denman Street seriously, feeding everyone through the pandemic, and keeping spirits high when things felt at their worst. We will miss your insane Burger Monday creations. We will miss your hospitality. We will miss your freaking awesome deep-fried pickles! Thank you for giving us a decade of late night eats and drinks. Wishing you the very best of luck in Winnipeg!

7. Cool no-alcohol cocktails No. 2

This was so great! I was waiting for a girlfriend at the Lobby Lounge bar at the Pacific Rim and this was the only list they gave me! All zero-proof cocktails. Terrific! If raspberry anything is on the menu, then that’s what I’m having and the New Dawn is freaking superb: looks like a sexy cocktail, tastes like a damn sexy cocktail, zero alcohol. Bring it on! I want so many more of these options in my world, please.