You’ve Gotta Try This in September

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

In honour of that inevitable September back-to-school vibe, I bought a new set of coloured Sharpies today and will use them to label my canned peaches, tomatoes and pickles. You guys, the peaches this year are ridiculously good. Wait till they are tender to touch and dive in; sticky fingered with perfect peach juice is how I wish to remember this summer.

There are fun events to go to this month, delicious things to eat and new chefs to check out. Go, do all the things! But as always, don’t forget napkins ’cause it’s definitely gonna get messy…

1. Please support B.C. wine

It’s been nothing short of a disastrous year for B.C. wine. The season began assessing the damage after the winter freeze and it’s pretty much as bad as it could be: 45 percent of total plant acreage suffered long-term damage, and there will be a 54 percent reduction for the 2023 vintage. Reeling from those setbacks, wineries then had to face far lower visitor numbers, and a brutal fire season and smoke. So, I have a request. If you drink wine, please drink B.C. wine. Come visit this month! Harvest is in full swing, and you can’t imagine how happy people will be to see you—and your spending money. Join a wine club! Join two! Buy wine club memberships as holiday gifts! In short, if you have money to spend, come spend it with those small wineries who do not have deep pockets and corporate owners. They really need you right now.

2. Raise money for B.C.’s wildfire relief in a delicious way

Hats off to the folks at Kitchen Table Restaurant group who are fundraising for wildfire relief via the Red Cross by donating $1 from a featured dish across each of their restaurants for the whole of September. You have plenty of spots to choose from as their empire is made up of: Bacaro, Ask for Luigi, Carlino, Di Beppe, Farina a Legna, Giovane Caffe, Pizzeria Farina, Pourhouse, Caffe Veloce, and new burger spot Motoretto. You gotta eat, go eat somewhere that gives a damn.

3. Eat the best meal in the world before the season shifts

There are just a few short weeks left to gobble down the year’s most perfect dish: a whole burrata, grilled Okanagan (or better yet, Similkameen) peaches, and just-on-the-point-of-being-overripe heirloom tomatoes. Dress simply with the best olive oil you can find, some smoked Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add prosciutto if you want, and maybe a little grilled sourdough. Do not share. This is just for you. Hit up La Grotta del Formaggio, Duso’s on Granville Island, or the perennially wonderful Les Amis du Fromage for your burrata.

4. Taste which Vancouver pizza slice TikTok says is best

I am in awe of TikTok creator @fakeLiamGraham who has been on a mission to discover Vancouver’s best slice of pizza. After weeks of crust-munching, his verdict is in and Did’s Pizza on Dunsmuir is the winner, thanks to their fresh pesto, second layer of mozzarella and plentiful Grano Padano. Dive deep into the comments on his many pizza posts to enjoy the totally reasonable and completely normal debate from other TikTokers on their city favourites. Pizza Tok is a mood, people. And me? Oh, I’m not a slice girl. It’s the whole pie or nothing, baby.

5. Sounding the fancy olive oil alert!

Friends of the column, Caffe La Tana posted an absolutely beautiful Insta shot the other day of a bottle of their new Volpi olive oil from Sicily. Made from 100 percent Castelvetrano olives and packaged in a gorgeous metal flask designed by city restaurant faves, Glasfurd and Walker, this is probably your new go-to gift for everyone who is hard to buy for. Currently sold out (no wonder!), it’s back in October, but content yourself in the meanwhile with their peppery house extra virgin olive oil which is a steal at just $14 for the 375ml size—I’ve been obsessed with drizzling it over very good vanilla ice cream with a sprinkle of sea salt this summer. Try it!

6. So, it’s manger like ‘mon-jay’ not manger like man-grrr

We all have our slightly shameful chain store loves, mine is Pret a Manger. Pret is a UK chain that I’ve loved for more almost two decades, thanks not in small part to their delightful policy of offering random free drinks, excellent coffee (shut up, I like it), decent croissants and superb egg and bacon baguettes. Well, it turns out dreams come true because there are now a trio of Prets across the city. Sure, they’re just a counter, tucked in random A&Ws, but it’s good enough for me to get my fix, and now you can make like a homesick Brit and get your own Pret-habit too.

7. Chef news

Oooh, it feels like a while since we’ve had a good chef switcheroo, and now we’ve got two at once! Exciting things are coming to Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel as one of my favourite chefs, Stefan Hartmann (pictured, Bauhaus, Tacofino), has joined their team as executive chef. Over at Forage, Craig Sung is stepping into the very big shoes left after the departure of the excellent chef Welbert Choi (and the much-missed Chris Whittaker). Best of luck to both!

8. New event alert!

I love the sound of Kamayan Fest, a new event in Mount Pleasant at the City Centre Artist Lodge on September 24th showcasing local Filipinx gastronomy and culture. I’ll let them tell you more: “It’s a community-driven and community-sponsored event that promises to be a sensory journey that transcends generations, bringing to life the heart and soul of the Philippines. Kamayan describes the act of eating with the bare hands, which is the traditional pre-colonial method of eating in Filipinx culture. Kamayan also describes the traditional communal feasts or family meals. Kamayan Fest is an ode to that tradition passed down through generations. Attendees will have the opportunity to indulge in the best of local Filipinx gastronomy, presented in contemporary and creative ways that pays homage to tradition while embracing innovation.”

9. Returning event alert

Feast of Fields is happening on Sunday, September 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Stable Harvest Farm in Langley. Book one of the shuttles to enjoy a stress-free day of drinking wine, beer and cider and tasting bites from some 40 vendors including Burdock & Co, Stable House Bistro, Earnest Ice Cream and Skipper Otto. An annual local food celebration and signature fundraising event, this is a terrific day out and helps strengthen sustainable food systems in B.C.! This year, you can combine your trip with a selfie session in the sunflower fields next to the farm!