You’ve Gotta Try This in May

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

Remember that hot girl/boy summer we were promised two years ago? In the words of the Weeknd, I feel it coming. Sakura season is still blooming, patio season is just about here, and the very first of the season’s asparagus is on menus across town and tasting freaking delicious. If you’re thinking of a B.C. road trip, now’s a pretty good time as Whistler has all kinds of dining deals and the Okanagan isn’t bumper-to-bumper with tourists.

Summer’s on the way, folks! Let’s make it memorable for all the right reasons. As always, grab napkins, it’s gonna get messy…

1. TWB is back

You can’t keep a great wine bar down, and one of my favourites, The Wine Bar at Provence Marinaside, is finally opening back up after three long years away. It boasts one of the largest wine selections in North America with more than 260 wines on the menu—including 125 by-the-glass options. Wines from the south of France, B.C., and Northern Italy take centre stage, but you’ll also find pinot noir from New Zealand, along with cabernet sauvignon from Washington State. Wine director Joshua Carlson says, “It’s meant to be fun, easy, and accessible. There’s something for everyone in every price range. Guests aren’t limited to drinking wine by the glass—with the exception of the bubbles list, everything available by the glass is also available by the ounce. And then, of course, there are the bottle options!” Head on over and get a flight with some nibbles, and enjoy those perfect ocean views.

2. New lounge at Maenam

Changes at Maenam! There are now two spaces for two very different evening experiences: walk-ins are welcome in the lounge, so if you want to pop by for no-res pad Thai, that’s where you go. It’s reservations only in the dining room for the chef’s family-style menu (pictured top), a steal of a deal offering 11 dishes, served over five courses for $88 per person. Lunch sets are also terrific value: you get a choice of main, soup, salad, and rice for $24 to $28. One thing that’s the same: my favourite dish in the city, chef Angus An’s wonderful fermented grilled Thai sausage and crispy rice salad is still available on the à la carte menu. Add it to whatever you’re having as it’s the bomb.

3. Slide into Ghost Roaster’s DMs

May I introduce you to the coffee-roasting genius that is Ghost Roaster Coffee? This operation is so small that you have to order through Instagram at this point (there’s no website yet!). Kevin McConnell (Mr Ghost Roaster) makes tiny coffee roasts from small producers around the world, creating some of the best beans I’ve ever tasted. Slide into his DMs and get a pack of whatever he’s roasting up next (move fast, it always sells out!) and join me in encouraging Kevin to just start a subscription program, already.

4. Hit up Top Drop

There are still a few tickets left for The Main Event at this year’s Top Drop, the city’s international terroir-focussed wine festival curated by the talented Kurtis Kolt and team. There are more than 40 wineries from the Okanagan and around the world at this year’s event on Tuesday, May 23rd and Wednesday, May 24th at the Roundhouse in Yaletown. This will sell out, so grab your tickets now to avoid disappointment.

5. Rekindle your desire for cheese toast

I drove past Hy’s the other day and had the most intense desire for cheese toast, something I’ve not had since pre-pandemic times. The next thing I knew, I was parking and sprinting over there for happy hour (Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.) and within minutes, I had a beautiful foil-wrapped basket packed with warm fluffy white bread, topped with gooey, cheesy, crispy deliciousness. I think we all know I wolfed down the lot in minutes. It was somehow even better than I remembered. Go get some today.

6. Celebrate five years of the Paella Guys

This is all kinds of lovely! The Paella Guys are throwing three nights of authentic Spanish culinary celebrations to toast their fifth anniversary at the Ellis Building on May 5th to 7th. On the menu: in a familiastyle table format, tapas including jamón Ibérico, a massive cooked-from-scratch-before-your-eyes paella mixta from chef Javier Blanc, and live Spanish music, a DJ on the 5th and 6th, plus a self-serve sangria, and gin and tonic bar, beer, wine and traditional churros.

7. Road Trip: Rockit in Whistler

Have you been to Rockit Coffee in Whistler yet? I finally popped by and it’s basically the coolest spot on the Sea to Sky. Featuring a gorgeous retro room that I could not stop taking photos of, banging tunes (while I was there, Steve Wonder’s Superstition, and Led Zep’s Immigrant Song were playing) and yes, absolutely excellent coffee too. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then grab a pistachio cruffin (too much sugar on the outside for me!), but the aero-smoothies are on-point and I recommend the Bananarama.

8. Steel & Oak Beer Run

I was going to tell you all to sign up for Steel and Oak’s inaugural beer run in Queens Park, New Westminster that’s raising money for KidSport New West, but it’s all sold out! Good work! However, there is a cheer section, so if you’re in New West on May 6th, and fancy whooping out loud as folks race past, head on down. There’s a beer garden, and the Lucha Libre food truck will be on hand.

9. Case shipping sale

Love Tantalus? Love wine discounts? Tantalus Vineyards is having a 50 percent off case shipping sale till Father’s Day. It’s plenty of time to order a little something for dad, and a little something for you, too. Don’t forget Tantalus don’t just do spectacular riesling, they also do some dope pinot noir, chardonnay and some of my favourite bubbles.

10. Pop That Pet-Nat

One of my favourite sommeliers, Jayton Paul (Published, Vignette, Bar Susu) has collaborated with one of my favourite winemakers, Jordan Kubek (Pamplemousse Jus) to create the very delicious-sounding ‘Carbo Pet-Nat Rosé, Cabin Creek Cuvée’, a sparkling blend of gamay noir and pinot noir from Summerland. This project between Kubek and Paul is the result of Jayton winning the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers’ ‘2022 Best Sommelier of British Columbia’ competition.

Part of the proceeds from every bottle purchased will be donated to the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation. You know there are few things I love more than drinking for a cause, so order a glass (or two) of this bright ruby rosé that’s only available in magnums at Published, Vignette, and Bar Susu, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be making someone’s life better every time you do.