Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge 2019 Results

The results are in! People have tasted and voted for their favourites in the 6th Vancouver Foodster Taco Challenge .  Over the past weeks, public and a panel of media judges, including myself, have been tasting and voting for our favourite tacos from a selection of participating eateries around Metro Vancouver.

As with other Vancouver Foodster challenges, chefs were invited to be as creative as they like in order to highlight an already existing menu item or they could create a completely unique dish for their Taco Challenge entry.

Little Mexico Cantina’s
Tacos Gobernador Estilo Sinaloa

For the 2019 Taco Challenge, four chefs rolled into action and wrapped up some tasty tacos, resulting in an array of flavours to sample.  The tacos were served at six different eateries from all across the region, from Chilliwack to Steveston, to North Vancouver and Cambie Village.  The public was encouraged to try any or all the Taco Challenge entries and then vote on Vancouver Foodster’s website for their favourites to be crowned People’s Choice Taco.  The media judges were also busy trying all the selections to choose the Judges’ Choice Winner.  Steveston’s recently reopened Little Mexico Cantina came out on top of both polls with their Tacos Gobernador Estilo Sinaloa , a creative combination flavours familiar to Sinaloa, Mexico.

Check out all the results of the Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge and see make you mouth water by following #TacoChallengeYVR to see the tasty tacos on social media, then head to the eateries to get your own!

Playland Nights returns for 2019

Playland Nights is returning for another summer of adults only entertainment, beginning July 5th. Every Friday evening from 7pm to midnight in July will bring dedicated, 19+ activities and entertainment line-up to make you forget about heading to a night club. 

Dance the evening away to guest DJs spinning tunes under the twinkling lights, while enjoying Playland-inspired adult beverages, specialty cocktails, craft beer and wine to sip while taking in the amusement park’s activities. 

This year, watch out for the roaming Underground Circus crew who are just one of the entertainment features for 2019. They are a roaming group of acrobats who bring with them a roaming Circus a la Carte full of circus menu items. The troupe will interact with guests to show off their best balancing, juggling or acrobatic moves, and maybe even get visitors to join in their acts (where appropriate). 

At 8 pm each Friday-in-July evening, things heat up with Drum N Dirty, a live percussion DJ who drums to reimagined and remixed party music. 

At 9 pm, guests can dance along to Samba Fusion, a group of Brazilian samba showgirls who are known for lighting up an event with their carnival costumes and high-impact energy. 

America’s Got Talent and MTV’s stunt magician, comedian extraordinaire and Instagram influencer Wes Barkerwill be on stage at 10 pm for each of the evenings. Hailing from Vancouver, BC, Barker is known for his ability to interact with the crowd and fool even the best of them including the iconic magician team Penn & Teller– as seen on Netflix.

Finally rounding out the stage entertainment is none other than the Dancing Teasing Fabulousness team whose Dezi Desire and Mister Nickel inspired burlesque show is the perfect evening entertainment cap. 

Of course, a visit to Playland wouldn’t be complete without the rides. More than 20 of Playland’s games and 20 of the park’s favourite rides will be open each evening, including the Flume, with its40-foot drop, The Beast, with its unparalleled g-forces, and the heart-stopping Hellevator. 

New this year is the VIP Experience, VIP ticket holders will have their very-own exclusive magical journeys in the park with a different theme for each of the Fridays in July to choose from. With a VIP ticket pass, they will receive express park entry, access to a VIP bar and the ability to skip-the-line ONCE at Playland’s most iconic rides like the wooden rollercoaster, Atmosfear, The Beast, Pirate Ship, Music Express, Hellevator, Breakdance and even the new Sea to Sky Swin

Find out more and get tickets for Playland Nights at pne.ca/playland-nights

Take a bite out of June with a trio of Tasting Plates

Vancouver Foodster has a planned a tasty June for fans of Tasting Plates, with three delicious events lined up for the month.

If you don’t already know, Tasting Plates are roaming food tours, visiting diverse neighbourhoods around the city, or focusing on one style of cuisine served in diverse ways. Tasting Plates patrons are sure to find something to savour when they roam the cafes and eateries that Vancouver Foodster has curated. Guests will check-in at the central registration location then head out with Tasting Plates map in-hand to try each restaurant, which will serve up a ‘tasting plate’ or ‘tasting cup’ from their menus. Since everyone has a love of food in common it’s easy to meet some new foodie friends in the line-ups or at the next table, also often the chefs and proprietors are on hand to answer questions and help visitors learn about their establishments.

For June, Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates is exploring three neighbourhoods, North Vancouver – Lonsdale, Richmond, as well as an all vegetarian edition in East Vancouver.

June 12, 2019 – Tasting Plates North Vancouver Lonsdale
Explore the new Shipyards District and surrounding Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood in North Vancouver. The ever changing area is filled with great restaurants, cafes and markets waiting to be explored.

June 19, 2019 – Tasting Plates Richmond
The heart of Richmond can be overwhelming for choice, so take some time to visit the Richmond area, centered around Westminster Hwy and No. 3 Road to see what’s on offer.

June 26, 2019 – East Van Vegetarian Summer Edition
After a successful all Vegetarian tasting tour last fall, Tasting Plates brings a Summer all Vegetarian edition to the plant-based restaurants in East Vancouver between Commercial Drive and Main Street

Tickets for all three editions of Tasting Plates are on sale now via Eventbrite (click links above).
If it’s your first visit, get an idea of what’s in store for your Tasting Plates experience from a recap of the recent Tasting Plates Main & Fraser Street
On Social Media follow along with @tastingplatesyvr #tastingplatesyvr to see what the bites are all about!.

Outdoor Music Festivals 2019

This week, Victoria’s Rifflandia Festival announced that it was unfortunately not returning for 2019, joining a number of other festivals taking a break due until 2020. However, there are still lots more acts coming to music festival stages around the Pacific Northwest to fill our summer with great music. 

Here’s a list of some of the multi-artist festivals and outdoor shows right here at home, or within easy reach to make a great short music break.
(Note: not all the festivals have their artist line-up announced but genre and some featured artists are listed where available)

Victoria International Jazz Festival – Multiple Venues, Victoria, BC, June 21 – June 30, 2019 – Jazz – Marquee Series at Macpherson & Royal Theatres include; Raul Midón and Lionel Loueke & Laila Biali, The Suffers, Patricia Barber Trio, Joey Alexander Trio, Jesse Cook…  

Wu Tang Clan plays Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Vancouver International Jazz Festival – Multiple Venues, Vancouver, BC, June 21 – July 1, 2019 – Jazz – BC’s largest music and arts event features; Wu-Tang Clan, The Roots, Herbie Hancock, Marquis Hill Blacktet, The Suffers, Patricia Barber, Makaya McCraven, Jacob Collier, Melissa Aldana, Five Alarm Funk…

Malkin Bowl Concerts – Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, Vancouver BC – Rock/Pop/Blues – June 7: Chromeo. August 31: Anjunadeep Open Air. September 5: Death Cab For Cutie. September 6: Said The Whale. September 10: Gary Clark Jr. September 21-22: Mother Mother with guests Tokyo Police Club, The Zolas, and Sam Lynch

FVDED in the Park – Holland Park, Surrey, BC July 5 – 6, 2019 – Electronic/ Dance/Pop – Khalid, Zedd, Tory Lanez, French Montana and many more. 

Calgary Stampede 2019 – Multiple Stages, Calgary, AB July 5 – 14, 2019 – Rock/Country – In addition to nightly music throughout the Stampede the Virgin Mobile Stampede Series headliners are July 12: Zac Brown Band. July 13: Sugerland. July 14: Tim McGraw.

The Hamiltones perform at Harrison Festival of the Arts, plus Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Salmon Arm Blues & Roots Festival, and Vancouver Island Musicfest

Vancouver Island MusicFest – Comox Valley Fairgrounds, Courtenay, BC July 12 – 14, 2019 – Folk/Rock – Colin James, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Asleep at the Wheel, Sue Medley and more

Harrison Festival of the Arts – Multiple Stages, Harrison Hot Springs, BC July 12 – 21, 2019 – World/Folk/Rock – Harry Manx, Tal National, The Hamiltones, Veda Hille, Daniel Lapp, and more

Vancouver Folk Music Festival – Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver, BC July 19 – 21, 2019 – Folk – Basia Bulat, Corb Lund, Sam Roberts Band, and more

Capital Hill Block Party – Capital Hill, Seattle, WA July 19 – 21, 2019 – Pop/Rock – RL Grime, Lizzo, Phantogram plus more

Mission Folk Music Festival – Heritage Park, Mission, BC July 26 – 28, 2019 – World/Folk – Beaton-Plasse, Geoff Berner, Irish Mythen, Railyard Youth Open Stage Project and many others.

The Phillips Backyard Weekender – Phillips Brewery Backyard, Victoria, BC July 26 – 28, 2019 – various artists(pending)

Squamish Constellation Festival – Hendrickson Field, Squamish BC, July 26 – 28, 2019 – Pop/Rock – Jesse Reyez, Bahamas, Serena Ryder, Wintersleep, plus more

Merritt Rockin’ River Music Fest– Merritt, BC August 1 – 4, 2019 – Country – Jason Aldean, Old Dominion, Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, Brett Kissel and many more

Sunfest Country Music Festival – Laketown Ranch, Youbou, BC August 1 – 4, 2019 – Country – Jason Aldean, Maren Morris, Kip Moore, Terri Clark, Randy Houser and others. 

Harmony Arts Festival

Harmony Arts Festival – Multiple Stages, Ambleside, West Vancouver, BC August 2-11, 2019 – Multi-Genre – various artists (pending)

Deer Lake Festival Lawn – Deer Lake Park, Burnaby BC – Rock/Pop/Blues  – August 10: Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival featuring Feist, Lord Huron, Dan Mangan and more. August 28: The National. September 25: Vampire Weekend.

Shambhala Music Festival – Salmo River Ranch, Salmo, BC August 9 – 12, 2019 – Electronic – Bonobo, Kascade, Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), Zeds Did and more

Salmon Arm Blues & Roots Festival – Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, Salmon Arm, BC August 15 – 18, 2019 – Blues/Roots – Jim Cuddy Band, Ruthie Foster, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Dawn Pemberton, Valdy, plus more

Rock Ambleside Park – Ambleside Park, West Vancouver, BC – August 16 – 18, 2019 – Classic Rock – Headpins, Honeymoon Suite, Saga, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Quiet Riot, Blue Oyster Cult and others

Too Many Zooz play Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and Cumberland Wild

Cumberland Wild– Cumberland, BC August 17 – 18, 2019 – Pop/Rock – Too Many Zooz, The Sorority, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Dirtwire and other live acts, plus numerous Silent Disco DJs 

Bumbershoot Festival – Seattle Centre, Seattle, WA  August 31- September  2, 2019 – Multi-Genre – various artists (pending)

Vancouver Foodster Best Taco Challenge 2019

Tuesdays aren’t the only day we dream about Tacos so Vancouver Foodster’s Best Taco Challenge is helping us find a new favourite taco for every day of the week.

The Best Taco Challenge runs May 16 – June 9, 2019 at restaurants around Metro Vancouver! 

Vancouver Foodster has challenged chefs to create their taco however their imagination can dream of; complicated or simple, traditional or uniquely non-traditional, vegetarian or meat-filled.

The public is invited to try out all of the Taco Challenge dishes then vote for their favourite creation at vancouverfoodster.com/taco-challenge to determine the People’s Choice Best Taco. 

In addition to the public vote, a panel of media judges, of which I’m proud and excited to be one, will be tasting the Best Taco Challenge entries to choose the Judges Choice Winner. Follow me, @jminter on Twitter and Instagram to see the Taco Challenge creations landing on my plate and those of the other Media Judges too, follow them at @lforlife_vancouver and @domoiscraving. See what other diners are talking about too by following #TacoChallengeYVR.

Don’t forget to follow the participating restaurants too, to see what they’re entry in the Best Taco Challenge;

Vancouver 
Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie Street

North Vancouver
Cinco De Mayo Mexican Grill, 200 Esplanade W.

Richmond
Little Mexico Cantina, 3131 Chatham St #150

Surrey
Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen,19151 Fraser Highwayn

Richmond
Hugo’s Tacos & Churros, 7899 Templeton Station Rd

Chilliwack
Hugo’s Mexican Food, 7101 Vedder Rd

Start planning your visits to Van Foodster Best Taco Challenge participants, try them all, and remember to vote for your favourite!

Tasting Plates Fraser & Main – recap

Last night Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates headed to Fraser & Main Streets for a roaming food tour of the diverse neighbourhood. Centred on Fraser and Main Streets, around King Edward, Tasting Plates patrons found something for everyone’s taste as they roamed the evening’s eateries. As with all Tasting Plates events, patrons will checked in to recieve at the fist stop – Main Street Honey Shoppe – to receive their Tasting Plates map. Then it was off to try each restaurant’s ‘tasting plate’ or ‘tasting cup’. Check out #TastingPlatesYVR on social media to see some of the other patron’s posts of their experience.

Tasting Plates Fraser & Main included the following establishment

The Main Street Honey Shoppe for a tasting of their wide variety of their own pure and natural honey, and honey products, produced by their own local beehives.
Nammos Estiatorio, brought us a taste of Greece with their trio of flavours: Zucchini & Cheese Fritter, Keftes (grilled Greek meatball), and Deep-Fried Pita topped with Tarama (fish roe paste)
Eclettico Art & Coffee, a calm, quaint cafe and gallery plated a pair of food and drink pairings; Apple & Triple Cream Brie Panino + Bacio Rosa (Italian Lemonade, Wildberry Puree & Lime drink), as well as an Espresso Shot + Torroncini biscuit

Quesava, brought a quartet of gluten-free plant-based treats to the table to highlight their delicious good-for-you, ethically sourced foods; Porky Empanada (vegetarian, filled with smoked, spiced jackfruit), Bruschetta (topped with eggplant, zucchini ratatouille & vegan cheese on sourdough), Garlic Cheese Popper (plant based baked bites), & Vanilla Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co, welcomed patrons with a glass of Sangria or fresh fruity Lemonade, then rolled out three slices of their handmade pizza fresh from the forno; Vegan Beyond Sausage (topped with Beyond Sausage, fresh veggies and balsamic reduction), Vegetarian Farmers Market (topped with today’s finds from the market – Kale, Rhubarb, Cherry Tomatoes, Pea Shoots), and Parma Flatbread (topped with Schinken Speck Ham, Mozzarella, Crimini Mushrooms, Mango and Arugula)

If this edition of Tasting Plates along Fraser & Main whet your appetite, why not check out an upcoming edition when Tasting Plates visits North Vancouver’s Lonsdale neighbourhood on June 12th, then Tasting Plates ventures to Richmond June 19th, or check out what’s new in the East Van Vegetarian scene on June 26th. Tickets are on sale now for all three events.

23rd Where to Dine Awards

Earlier this week, Where Vancouver Magazine presented their 23rd annual Where to Dine Awards at D/6 Bar and Lounge in the Douglas Hotel.

As attendees sipped and nibbled their way around the luxurious lounge and sunny patio, nervous award finalists waited for host, ‘man-about-town’ Fred Lee to kick off the ceremony. Where magazine presented the 2019 restaurants selected where to dine in Vancouver and Whistler.  Where readers were asked to select 22 of the 29 awards with the remaining selected by the magazines critics and editors.

The 2019 Where To Dine Awards went to;

CRITICS’ CHOICE

White Spot Restaurants received the Sustainable Seafood Award presented by Ocean Wise

Provence Marinaside received the Silver Service Award, presented by members of Les Clefs d’Or BC, for consistently delivering the ultimate guest experience: an exceptional combination of food, service and hospitality.

Christine Coletta

Michel Jacob of Le Crocodile received the Leadership Award for his impact on Vancouver’s dining scene.

Christine Coletta of Okanagan Crush Pad received The Les Dames d’Escoffier Trailblazer Award recognizing her long-time commitment to excellence.

Where Vancouver food editor Tim Pawsey presented Hy’s Encore with the Editor’s Choice award.  Coquille Fine Seafood with Vancouver’s Best New Restaurant

READERS’ CHOICE – VANCOUVER

Indian: Vij’s Restaurant
Chinese: Peaceful Restaurant
Japanese: Miku Restaurant
Asian: Maenam
Latin: Ancora
Italian: Italian Kitchen
Patio: Cactus Club Cafe
Pub Fare: Tap & Barrel
Beer Experience: Granville Island Brewing
Seafood: Blue Water Cafe
Food Cart: Tacofino
West Coast: Coast
French: Le Crocodile
Steak: Gotham Steakhouse & Bar
European: Bauhaus
Brunch: Café Medina
Fine Dining: Hawksworth Restaurant
Dessert: Thierry
Hotel Dining: Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

READERS’ CHOICE – WHISTLER

Casual Dining: Bar Oso
Après-Ski: Dusty’s Bar & BBQ
Fine Dining: Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar
Best New Restaurant: Il Caminetto

To check out more details on all the winners and finalists of the Where To Dine 2019 list, pick up a copy of the May edition of Where Vancouver Magazine.