Your guide to the latest mouth-watering food and drinks in Vancouver this month
Credit: Chicha

Your guide to the latest mouth-watering food and drinks in Vancouver this month

For me, September is always the sweetest month in Vancouver: the tourists leave, the kids are back in school and it’s time for us locals to reclaim our favourite places without the crowds.

Make the most of these next 30 days; before you know it, the rain and grey will be back, pumpkin spice latte will be on your mind, and flip-flops swapped for rain boots. So, soak it up.

Raise a glass, head for a patio and eat, drink and be merry. As ever, take napkins 'cause it’s gonna get messy...

Plan ahead to EAT!
Credit: EAT! Vancouver 

Plan ahead to EAT!

EAT! Vancouver is back on from October 4th to 7th, and tickets are on sale now. Check out the Dinner Series which has some fantastic collaborations, such as Farmer’s Apprentice with Toronto’s LOKA and Anna Lena with Winnipeg’s deer + almond. Also the Eat Harvest event will be headlined by Food Network host Michael Smith and 16 of Canada’s best chefs "celebrating fall flavours accompanied by premium wines and decadent desserts."

It’s a great event. My one issue is that its key Dinner Series event is a total sausage fest. Out of 16 possible opportunities, not one woman chef is included. Yes, there is an all-women trio for the Food Trends Tasting Experience, but really? Not one woman chef in the whole of Canada gets to do an exciting collaborative dinner? We can—and should—do better than this. In the tech world, many male speakers are refusing to take part in all-male events. Isn’t it time male chefs helped level this playing field by doing the same? Your move, guys.

Go to all of the fun events
Credit: Sean Neild

Go to all of the fun events

There is a lot to do over the next few weeks and it’s all pretty unmissable.

Passions is back on September 7th at the Roundhouse in Yaletown, raising funds for the Dr Peter AIDS Foundation, featuring food from the city’s best restaurants, including Hawksworth, Cin Cin, Tojo’s, West and Forage.

On September 13th, it’s the first Chef Meets Truck event in Yaletown where VanCity chefs will be cooking up collaborations with the city’s best food trucks. This includes Community Pizzeria with Angus An (Maenam), Feastro with Lucais Syme (Cinara), Fliptop with Vikram Vij (Vij's) and Roaming Dragon with Scott Jaeger (The Peartree). Tickets include wine and beer samples along with food from all eight trucks. It’s a Chef’s Table Society of B.C. event in partnership with Yaletown BIA and Streetfood Vancouver Society with a portion of ticket sales donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Beaucoup Bakery's Jackie Kai Ellis is the featured chef at this month’s Greasy Spoon Diner event on September 12th at Save on Meats. Money raised goes towards A Better Life Foundation. I saw Jackie beat out Vikram Vij and Ned Bell at a cook-off event at EAT! a few years ago: I predict that this is going to be excellent.

The third annual Chef’s Table Slow Fish Dinner is back at PICA on September 18th, featuring eight chefs in eight kitchens serving sustainable local seafood and fish along with Salmon-Safe local wines. Chefs include Ned Bell (Ocean Wise/Vancouver Aquarium), Meeru Dhalwala (Vij’s, Rangoli) and Roger Ma (Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar). Snap up early bird tickets here.

Pacific Northwest modernist cooks’ collective, Elementa is hosting a dinner with Chris Wolff and Jonathan Tu from Journeymen Oakland on Monday, September 26th. There are two seatings, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and they say, “this dinner will be a collaborative effort between both groups. Dishes will go back and forth, from the urban, intensely flavoured dishes of Journeymen to the natural, earthy offerings of Elementa.’ Get tickets here.

Drink all the awesome things
Credit: Nikki Bayley

Drink all the awesome things

Top Drop, Vancouver’s boutique wine event from all-round top chap Kurtis Kolt returns on September 7th and 8th. The main event is a "grazing-style tasting where, alongside sips and stories from the principals of 35 international wineries, attendees can visit and taste with a good handful of British Columbian craft breweries, cideries and food purveyors." Find out more and get tickets here.

Worship at the temple of bacon
Credit: Kim Ahlström

Worship at the temple of bacon

Oh lordy, the city is hosting BaconCon at the PNE on September 24th and 25th with over 100 bacon-related booths for all your pork-based needs. I’m told by organizers that there will be, “a guest-determined competition for best bacon offering at the event, a bacon-eating competition and a guest- and vendor-submitted bacon-art contest.”

Say no more, just sign me up.

Confirmed baconators so far include: Johnston's Pork, Big Rock Urban, Dirty Hipster Printing Co. (made-to-order BaconCon clothing), Vera's Burgers, Cannibal Cafe, Georel's Smokehouse and Pepper Pot Food Truck. Tickets include a souvenir mug and two bacon sampling tickets.

Eat all the super sweet B.C. corn
Credit: Nikki Bayley

Eat all the super sweet B.C. corn

Is there anything as beautiful as Chilliwack peaches-and-cream corn right at the peak of its juicy freshness? Now is the time to hoover it all up before it’s out of season again. These guys are doing wonderful things with it, so go eat up their offerings...

Burdock & Co is serving a vegan and rice-free corn ‘risotto’ with lobster mushrooms, poblano broth and charred husk. It’s made with a combination of charred and niblet corn and corn purée to mimic the consistency of a risotto. 

Chicha is in corn heaven right now. Peruvian cuisine uses a lot of corn, so you'll find sweet niblets in their classico ceviche, made with fresh halibut and served with yams, fresh corn on the cob, salsa criolla (a South American version of salsa) and cancha (a popped corn snack from Peru). Or try the Lenguado A Lo Macho with fresh local pan-seared halibut, sidestripe prawns, aji Amarillo and homemade gnocchi and a fresh local corn sauce and crispy sage. Chef Shelome Bouvette says, “We slow cook the fresh corn right on the cobs in sidestripe stock and purée with spices and cream. Such a nice balance with the fish—very summery.” 

Fable is serving up a charred corn chowder with pork and scallops. Says chef Trevor Bird: “We roast the corn over really high heat till it blisters and make a chowder with the cobs. We add clams, seared scallops and house smoked belly as garnish.”

Over at Fable Diner, corn on the cob is slathered with lime-bacon butter, passilla sauce and cilantro.

Check out new hot spots
Credit: Nikki Bayley

Check out new hot spots

This month’s will-they-or-won’t-they opening for September has to be chef Felix Zhou’s Heritage Asian Eatery at 1108 Pender Street. I’ve been a fan of Felix’s cooking since he was at The Parker, where he was spinning magic from vegetables, and I loved what he was doing most recently at the Beach Bay Cafe.

According to the press release, Heritage Asian Eatery, "will bring together a blend of Asian flavours with a locally sourced, sustainable focus, as well as a bar menu showcasing B.C. wines and local and import beer by the bottle."

Familiar ground for Vancouver, but it’s Zhou’s cheffy skills that I’m expecting will lift this into something exciting. The restaurant will initially open for lunch service (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday), breakfast service, pop-up dinners and private event functions will soon follow suit. Follow 'em on Twitter to see when they’re open for business.

I saw the sign on my way home and shuddered—I’d misread and assumed it was some wretched Pokémon GO outpost, but happily I was wrong. Instead, Poké Time is a Hawaiian-style poké lunch counter offering fast service and tasty deals with pleasingly-fresh fish. Try ‘the works’ for a little taste of everything that they do. One quibble—can you guys please get in low-salt soy? I was so thirsty afterwards.

Staying on Robson, there’s a new outpost of Richmond’s Snowy Village on the 1600 block serving up Korean patbingsu, a shaved ice dessert with red beans. For the bean-phobic amongst us, there are plenty of other options too. I’d recommend the mango shaved ice dessert which is delicious and surprisingly large, so it's great to share.

Start getting excited about...

Start getting excited about...

In case there was a trace of doubt, I’m calling it: Kitsilano is officially the hottest food spot in the city right now and it’s only going to get hotter with the opening of two hugely anticipated restaurants from two of the city’s most talented chefs.

Opening Mak N Ming in the old Thai Star location at 1629 Yew Street, chefs Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng (ex-chef and pastry chef at Pidgin, respectively) are planning a French-Japanese fusion restaurant with a seasonal chef’s menu. Follow them on Twitter for an opening date.

Around the corner on West 1st, one of my all-time favourite creative chefs, Jefferson Alvarez has finally, after a year of looking, secured a location. Opening soon, Cacao, will be serving up all things "wild, seasonal, local with a Latin twist."

Vote for Vancouver!

Vote for Vancouver!

The annual enRoute magazine Best New Restaurant 2016 bun fight was revealed earlier this month with a whopping seven Vancouver restaurants on the list. It’s your duty as a good Vanouverite to support these guys like mad with a vote—and many visits. Let’s bring that Best New Restaurant in Canada award home where it belongs.

Hats off to Ancora, Kissa Tanto, Mission, Nightingale, Osteria Savio Volpe, Royal Dinette and Torafuku. Vote here till September 30th.

Celebrate Mobi bikes with Radlers

Celebrate Mobi bikes with Radlers

Said to have been invented in the 1920s in Deisenhofen, just outside Munich, a radler—German for cyclist—is a refreshing blend of beer and sparkling lemonade, but can also be a blend of beer and fruit juice. It’s the perfect drink after a long bike ride: thirst-quenching and not too alcoholic. Celebrate the launch of Vancouver’s Mobi bike share scheme with a brisk cycle around the seawall and then a radler or two.

I adored Parallel 49’s Tricycle, made with crisp tart grapefruit, and their new Meyer lemon variety hits the spot too. Stock up as they tend to stop producing this around the end of August and there are still weeks of warm cycling days ahead.

Surrey’s Central City has a radler with a twist. Their Hopping Mad Cider Radler is  the first-ever Cider Radler released in Canada. With a blend of off-dry premium apple cider and grapefruit juice, it’s deliciously sweet, tart and gluten-free. They also have a ruby-red grapefruit radler blended with a light blonde ale and lemon juice. Again: stock up, these bad boys won’t be around for long.

Celebrate local spirits

Celebrate local spirits

B.C. has more craft distilleries than the rest of Canada put together, so it’s really not a day with a ‘y’ in it unless there’s a cool new release on the shelves made by one of our local distillers. Say hello to Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka, distilled in Delta from Peace River Valley grain.

Sweet with caramel-vanilla notes, it’s smooth enough to be sipped from the freezer and makes a great addition to cocktails too. Break it out for my favourite pre-gaming drink when I’ve had a long day, Dick Bradsell’s classic Espresso Martini: vodka, Kahlua, a shot of fresh espresso, shaken over ice and strained into a Martini glass. I’d skip the usual sugar syrup, it’s sweet enough.

Also new on the scene is Central City’s Queensborough Gin, a classic London Dry style gin with a decidedly West Coast vibe. I really love the pine and floral notes on this. It’s made with mountain juniper berries from the Interior and spruce tips from Vancouver Island. See if you can hunt down a bottle of Phillips Fermentorium Artisanal Dry Tonic to have with it as it really makes the perfect G&T and complements this citrus-spruce gin well.