You’ve Gotta Try This in August

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

I was all set to write a blistering rant about the proposed removal of Storm Brewing’s decade-old iconic mural… something-something, no-fun city, something-something, massive hypocrite beer-chugging mayor… you know, that kind of thing. But guess what? A motion was just passed at council unanimously allowing the sign to stay. Obviously, it’s crackers that it even got this far but let’s just take that as a win. Also: seriously—how is it August? I haven’t even had my first peach yet.

As always, grab napkins ’cause things are gonna get messy…

1. Road trip: Visit Cawston’s new spirited centre

There’s a brand-new craft distillery in Cawston (the first in the Similkameen) and damn, it’s excellent! The Sharpe Distillery boasts a beautifully spacious tasting room overlooking their handsome gleaming stills, with a gorgeous green lawn where you can play games, or sometimes musicians set up to entertain. Expect creative craft cocktails made with local ingredients, as well as unique spirits including a terrific cherry vodka, a pisco-alike Pisqu (made from grapes from the local Crowsnest winery), which has the most divine buttered popcorn note to it, as well as an excellent West Coast-style gin with Cawston lavender and honey. For once, what’s in the bottle matches the freaking cool labels. Head on up for a visit or order online now. It’s sooo good!

2. Celebrate tomatoes at Provence

Hooray! It’s tomato festival time over at Provence Marinaside again. This year’s annual celebration of the tomato takes place for the entire month of August. On the prix-fixe $75 three-course menu, expect all things tomato-y—from an heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho to candied tomatoes on the mixed berry tartlet. Wine pairings are available too with tempting options from France’s Languedoc Roussillon region ranging from rosés and sparkling to textural whites and elegant reds.

3. Dive into (free!) Argentinian wine

Mark Friday, August 18 on your calendar and head on over to the 39th and Cambie Signature BC Liquor store between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. for a reception-style event featuring a range of wines from Argentina paired with tasty empanandasfrom Panaderia Latina Bakery. Follow #VinoArgentino to learn more about the celebrations!

4. Salt Tasting Room’s back!

I am delighted to tell you that one of Vancouver’s most important restaurants is making a re-appearance. It sounds crazy now, but more than a decade ago, Salt Tasting Room in Gastown introduced so many in the city to the (now universally known) art of pairing cured meats, cheeses, condiments and wine. I loved that restaurant: it was the first place I ever tasted cheese from Salt Spring, and the first time I ate a pickled Okanagan cherry. As I recall, the Guinness grainy mustard was the finest I’ve ever tasted. Well, it’s coming back, in a new location (on West Pender, the same street as Kissa Tanto and Barbara) in September. I asked owner Sean Heather to tell us more: “Re-opening Salt was always a goal—I viewed it as a final benchmark for having survived all that was thrown at us over the last couple of years. Salt open again means that we have survived and are stronger for it. I am excited at the prospect of having fun again—seeking out cured meats, unusual cheese, delicious wines from local producers or abroad is a blast for me. I can’t wait for that part.” Me either, Sean!

5. Bar Susu pops up at Novella

After a recent fire, column favourite Bar Susu was forced to close, but happily has now headed up Main Street to its sister location Novella (home of the world’s best omelette) to operate as an evening pop-up while repairs are completed. Cody Allmin, co-founder of Boxset Collective, the team behind Published on Main, Bar Susu, Novella, Vignette, Twin Sails Brewing, and Thorn & Burrow Wines, explains: “We were already undergoing a transition period at Vignette, with opening chef Ashley Kurtz’s recent departure. While an evolution is still in the works, we look forward to welcoming Bar Susu guests at Novella.” Bar Susu: The Pop-Up Edition will be open seven days a week, from 5 p.m. to late.

6. Important ice cream update!

Longtime column favourite, Glenburn Soda Fountain is finally making its own ice cream in-house! You can, of course, order it as a sundae to enjoy there, but you can also take it home in pints. Flavours change all the time, but expect treats such as smokey maple walnut (surely begging for a whisky chaser?); Thai tea cookie with pieces of Pirate peanut butter sandwich cookies; and Moon Mist, a blend of banana, bubblegum and grape ice cream that’s apparently a big favourite in the Maritimes!

7. New wine festival alert!

Oh, this sounds like a very good time. Curated by Bar Susu’s wine director Brittany Hoorne, the Farmhouse Fest Wine Fair is happening on Saturday, August 13 at UBC Farm, and will feature 27 natural, biodynamic and low-intervention wineries from Canada and the rest of the world. This pairs perfectly with the day before’s fun at Farmhouse Fest which celebrates all things saison, sour, lambic, wild ale and cider! Tickets available online, and check out the pleasingly comprehensive FAQ.