You’ve Gotta Try This in December

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

This holiday season I intend to be positively elf-like, enjoying all the fun and festive flavours and operating on a ‘nog till ya drop’ policy straight through till January 1st. Kick off your season at the 10th annual Candytown in Yaletown (December 3 and 4) with horse carriage rides, cookie-dressed characters, carolling in the streets and plenty of chances to shop for holiday gifts. Here’s to a happy, healthy year ahead with endless deliciousness along the way!

As always, grab napkins (make sure they’re festive themed) ’cause it’s gonna get gloriously messy…

1. Get festive AF at ‘A Christmas Cocktail Story’A Christmas Cocktail StoryFacebook/Rosie’s BBQ

As I said, I am all in for holiday themed everything this year, so this cute pop-up at Dalina in Chinatown sounds adorable. A Christmas Cocktail Story runs from December 1st to 23rd, and bookings start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $36.50 per person and include a welcome festive punch, a sampler plate of retro deliciousness including Pigs in a Blanket, Devilled Eggs, and Holiday Cheese Ball, plus your choice of cocktail, such as Hot Buttered Rum or a Christmas Old Fashioned. And yes, additional food and drink will be available for purchase. The room will be festively decked for holiday-themed photos, and on the menu, traditional holiday Americana dishes created by Chef Karl Gregg of Rosie’s BBQ alongside festive cocktails designed by local legend Scotty Marshall (Mamie Taylor’s) with help from former Vancouver Bartender of the Year Ron Oliver.

2. Coming soonNovella Coffee BarFacebook/Novella Cofee Bar

The unstoppable juggernaut of the team behind Published and Bar Susu have a new venture, Novella (2650 Main Street) due to open any day now. With coffee from House of Funk, food from chefs Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson and Ash Kurtz, pastries from Aaron Surman of ButterBoom, and wine selected by 2022 BC Sommelier of the Year, Jayton Paul, it looks set to be a no-brainer slam-dunk.

3. Carb up at The Preservatory Provisions & Toast BarPreservatory Toast BaorInstagram/Preservatory Toast Bar

I always say that it’s the simplest things done well that taste the most delicious. See this in action at Granville Island’s Public Market and chomp down on beautifully preserved fruit jams from Vista D’oro, local honey, and artisanal cheeses from Benton Brothers piled high on fresh baked bread, toasted to perfection. There’s nothing about this fun toast café that I don’t love, so stop by and carb up when you’re shopping for gifts.

4. Support local at Vancouver Fish CompanyCanadian Christmas FestivalCanadian Christmas Festival

Yay! There’s more holiday fun for free at the Canadian Christmas Festival on the boardwalk in front of The Vancouver Fish Company on Granville Island from Friday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. each week until Christmas Eve. There’s a festival to-go menu with treats including mulled wine, hot chocolate and cinnamon-spiced doughnuts with a caramel dipping sauce (yum!), and you can shop for all-natural handmade soaps, candles, wooden artwork and more.

6. Gin smash!Dirty gin martini with oliveLucas Ranzuglia

I’m an enormous fan of the dirty martini (always gin, please, and if possible, with Castelvetrano olive juice!), and recently discovered that the folks at the Wayward Distillery on Vancouver Island have made a small batch of my dream product: a super savoury olive gin with smoked rosemary, sea asparagus, and fresh oregano and thyme. It is magnificent. Infuriatingly, it’s currently out of stock on their website, but I would urge you to seek it out in good liquor stores, or to sign up to their mailing list to find out when the next batch is out. It’s simply that good.

7. Don’t miss the Mabuhay YVR pop-upMark Singson foodMark Singson

Chef Mark Singson (Top Chef, AnnaLena) is launching a new à la carte pop-up at Bao Bei every Monday through December. ‘Mabuhay YVR’ will pay homage to the Filipino dishes of Singson’s childhood. According to his Insta, you can expect a ‘small menu/limited items… wine, San Miguel, highballs with calamansi. No reservations, Walk-ins only. Snacks and good times!’

8. And… don’t forget #DOVFSalmon and BannockDOVF/Vision Photography

This column usually takes January off, so just a reminder that the Dine Out Vancouver festival will be back and it’s a great time to support restaurants across the city in a traditionally quiet period. This year the festival will run from January 20th to February 5th and reservations go live on January 11, 2023!