5 Lunar New Year Festival 2018 Events

Chinese New Year is known as the largest mass human migration in the world, as millions of Chinese make visits to their home countries, towns and family, to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  Vancouver and Richmond have many events for those of the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and other communities who can’t make the trip home or are returning home to visit.

Weeks of events to commemorate the Lunar New Year Festival include:

Lunar Fest 2018 at the newly renovated Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza welcomes the whole family and their four-legged friends with entertainment, exhibits, crafts, markets over two weekends; Feb 18, 24 and 25, as well as events at Oakridge and Vancouver Playhouse.

Fly Over Canada – a spectacular double bill ‘flies’ over Canada and then follows through the peaks and valleys of China’s vibrant landscape in the Flight Of The Dragon, until February 18th

Lanterns in the Garden fill the Dr Sun Yat Sen classical Chinese Garden with lanterns, food, activities of a traditional YUAN XIAO (Lunar Month) lantern festival,  for three weekends from February 16th to March 4th.

International Village Mall, Aberdeen Centre, Oakridge Centre  and other Shopping Centres all around Metro Vancouver are hosting Chinese and Lunar New Year events;  Exhibits, Craft & Flower Market, Stage Performances, Dragon and Lion Dances, Kids Activities, Prizes and more fill the Malls through the New Year.

Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival, rings in the new year with a bang on February 18th as firecrackers crack through the sounds of spectators and revellers lining the route of the 45th Chinatown Parade from 11am, along E Pender, Gore and Keefer Streets. After the parade watch for ‘the Lions’ as they visit and perform for local Chinatown businesses to bring good fortune through the new year.

For more Vancouver and Richmond events and information visit lunarfestival.com

Who will be the Best Sommelier of BC 2018?

On January 29, 2018,  the fourth annual Best Sommelier of BC Competition returns to Rogers Arena, Hosted by The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers British Columbia Chapter (CAPS BC).  Canadian Assoc Professional Sommeliers

This annual competition brings some of the best and brightest sommeliers from across the province together to compete for the title of BC’s Best Sommelier 2018 . The challenging competition includes both a written and practical examination. The practical exam will be held live as the top three sommeliers from the written portion compete for the 2018 title.

Eligible competitors must be accredited members of CAPS BC, and Canadian citizens or permanent residents earning at least 50% of their income from hospitality employment as a sommelier. 

For the first time, this year CAPS BC is also hosting the 2018 BC Aspiring Somm Competition.

This additional event is open to any member of CAPS BC who earns at least 50% of their income from hospitality employment in any role and also has an interest in participating in future Best Sommelier of BC competitions. Shadowing the Best Sommelier of BC format the competition gives aspiring sommeliers the opportunity to understand what the competition is really all about.  The 2018 BC Aspiring Sommelier Winner will be announced prior to the Best Sommelier of BC announcement on Monday evening.

Esteemed judges for this year: Barbara Philip, Michaela Morris and Sebastien Le Goff. Emcee is DJ Kearney and Shane Taylor, winner of 2017 Best Sommelier BC Competition.

On competition day, the hard work for the contestants starts at  9:00am behind closed doors as the preliminary competition, including written exam and blind tasting, with all candidates gets underway.  

Then at noon, the Top 3 Competitors will be announced, and then immediately compete live, before the public and industry, for Best Somm BC 2018. Tickets for the live competition only are just $10 at the door.

In the evening celebrate the day’s competition at the Champions Dinner, starting with cocktails at 4:30pm followed by dinner and the announcement of the winners of BC’s Best Sommelier 2018.

For registration and more details on the events visit bc.sommelierscanada.ca

Get Tickets for Tasting Plates Mount Pleasant – Feb 7th.

Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates starts 2018 with a visit to Mount Pleasant.  The ever changing East Vancouver neighbourhood is due for another tour from the roaming restaurant hunt.
Join friends and foodies on Wednesday February 7, 2018, for a taste of the ‘hood, along Main Street, between 3rd and 16th. The eclectic neighbourhood is sure to tantalize taste buds as you explore.
Check in at the registration establishment, then set off and find out what the locales’ restaurant chefs and cafe owners have created for their tasting plates and cups.  Along with way visit with fellow food enthusiasts, the chefs and owners themselves.
Tasting Plates Mount Pleasant includes Mexican restaurant Maizel, 2815 Main St, Ignite Pizzeria, 2588 Main St, Panidor Cafe Bakery 3080 Main St plus more establishments to be added.
Get $35 early-bird tickets, on sale now until January 23rd. After January 23rd, $45 advance tickets are on sale until February 4th, then $60 tickets last minute.   Tickets are available on Eventbrite

Dine Out 2018 serves up more great food events & menus

Now that you’ve had a couple weeks to get over your Holiday indulgences, Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2018 is here to serve you mouth watering events and set menus.

The 2018 line up of food events has been selling fast already and now the set menus have been released for participating restaurants to start taking reservations.   Three hundred + restaurants, wineries, breweries, and suppliers from Abbotsford to the North Shore, are featuring set lunch and dinner menus at $20, $30, and $40 for the 17 day Dine Out Vancouver Festival.

In addition to the set menus, check out over 40 unique food and drink events ranging from food tours, and food trucks to specialist tastings, to international chef collaborations, secret suppers and VQA wine tastings.

A sample of just some of the events include:

The Art of Tea Gastronomy at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique, Vancouver – various dates.
Pop Up Ocean Wise Cafe at Vancouver Aquarium with Chef Ned Bell – 2 seating per night, various dates.
The BC VQA Wine Brunch at Hart House, Burnaby – January 20th. 
Get Shucked Up at Fanny Bay Oysters – January 22nd & 29th.
The Perfect Vegan Pizza Cooking Class at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company – January 29th
Vancouver World Chef Exchange with Chefs from Bangkok, Tokyo, Beijing, Nashville – various dates & locations

Coming from out of town, or even if you’re local, why not make a night of it and book one a night or package with one of the participating Dine Out Hotel Partners. 

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2018 runs January 19 – February 4, 2018. For menu information, restaurant and hotel reservations and event tickets visit dineoutvancouver.com



5 Winter Events to close the Festive Season

Happy New Year! While we are already into 2018, the lead up to the Holidays is sometime so busy we don’t have time to take in all the festive events. Here’s a few seasonal winter events that you can still catch for a few more weeks:

Beauty and the Beast at Stanley TheatreDisney’s Beauty and the Beast – The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a brilliant adaptation of Disney’s ‘tale as old as time’. Fun for the whole family as Belle and The Beast are supported by Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and others at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until January 13th – Tickets online at artsclub.com

Lights at Lafarge – Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival is the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland, Town Centre Park is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights, with roving performers, hot chocolate & cookies all just steps from Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain Station, making this one of the most easily accessible winter events. Continuing until January 21st, 2018 – Free Admission

Chinese Lantern FestivalVancouver Chinese Lantern Festival – the PNE features the largest festival of its kind in Canada. One of the most beautiful and culturally significant festivals lights up the night with dozens of spectacular gossamer lanterns, some reaching nearly 200 feet in length, transforming the 14 acres of Hastings Park, running until January 21, 2018. – Admission $19 online

Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park continues until January 28th, 2018. Thousands of lights spread throughout the Park, the bridge, Treetops Adventures, with 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree. – All-day Adult park admission is $42.95, includes the holiday activities, crafts and entertainment beginning at 4pm each day.

Robson Square Ice Rink – hit the ice for some old-fashioned outdoor winter fun, all-ages can lace up and enjoy the free skating experience at Robson Square. Until February 28, 2018, open from 9am to 9pm Sunday – Thursday and 9am to 11pm Friday – Saturday.  Skating is free, skate rentals are $4 (last rental, 30 minutes prior to closing)

6 Shops for Great Grab and Go Christmas Gifts

Time is quickly ticking closer to Christmas Day!  It’s probably too late for any online shopping and with our busy schedules there’s hardly any time to get out and shop. Here’s a few handy local shops to grab & go,  during your lunch hour or after-work, with lots of great gift ideas.

Cook Culture Cooking School

Cook Culture:  Find all the kitchenware, large and small, that anyone could dream of, and cooking classes too.
Three Vancouver Locations: Downtown – 377 Howe Street, 1548 W. Broadway (near Granville), North Vancouver – 1238 Lonsdale Avenue and in Victoria too. 

Masc:  A huge inventory of skincare and grooming products plus a knowledgeable team to help find the best gift for the men on your list.
Yaletown – 433 Davie Street (near Homer)

Silk Road

Silk Road Tea:  Seasonal, herbal, black, white, green and wellness tea blends to match every need, and a great selection of tea inspired gifts and bundles.
Kitsilano – 2066 West 4th Avenue and in 2 Victoria locations.

Old Faithful Shop: Gifts, gadgets, stationary, furniture, homewares and more. Cool gift ideas and stocking stuffers at every turn.
Gastown – 320 West Cordova Street

Walrus: Clothing and accessories, home, garden, decor and more, Walrus has all sorts of fun, and interesting items to wrap up this Christmas.
Cambie Village – 3408 Cambie Street

Meinhardt Fine Foods: Festive foods, tastes from around the globe, gourmet gift boxes for every kitchen and grab a tasty take-out hot lunch or dinner while you’re shopping too.
2 Vancouver Locations: Downtown, Pacific Centre – 609 Granville Street, South Granville – 3002 Granville Street


6 Restaurants for Last-Minute Christmas Dinner

With all the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s hard to find the time to spend quality time with your loved ones, even more so if you spend all day in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner.

Globe @ YVR

Many restaurants are now doing all the work for you and preparing Christmas dinner to go or to dine-in.  All you need to do is book, show up, sit, eat, and enjoy.  Freeing up your precious time for those important to you.

While it is late to be booking, there are still a few hotel restaurants with tables open for Christmas dinner on the evening of December 25th

Here’s a five of them that have seats available to book on Open Table (as of Dec 20th)

the apron – Westin Wall Centre Hotel – $65 / person Table d’hote menu

YEW seafood + bar – Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver – $96 / per person 3 course Christmas menu

Prestons Restaurant & Lounge – Coast Coal Harbour – a la carte menu

Globe @ YVR – Fairmont Vancouver Airport : $95 / person Christmas dinner + entertainment

p2b bistro & bar – Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront  : $46 / person Christmas menu

or take the A Christmas Story as inspiration for your Christmas Dinner and make a Chinese restaurant your destination; like the newly opened 1886 Chinese Fine Dining – parq Vancouver.

Wherever you tuck into your Christmas meal, enjoy your holiday season!