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!

Getaway for Christmas at The Empress

Many of the Christmas traditions we know and love were established in Victorian England, and that Christmas charm lives on in the city of Victoria.  Central to Victoria’s Yuletide spirit is the famed Fairmont Empress.  The grand Castle on the Coast is making spirits bright with Christmas at the Empress, the first festive season following its grand $60 Million restoration; events and festivities throughout the hotel.

Friends and relations send salutations over Festive Tea at the Empress, pouring until January 2, 2018. Traditional afternoon tea with famous seasonal offerings and classic desserts is made extra special for Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea including a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne. On December 16, 17, 23 and 24, live carolers singing Christmas favourites in the Lobby Lounge add even more Christmas spirit to the festivities.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, until December 23rd, take the chill off and enjoy the Inner Harbour views from the Fairmont Empress’ Winter Veranda. Find a selection of hot beverages and holiday bites while making s’mores around a fire.  If adult libations are more your speed, step into Q Bar for the Season of Joy Drinks, the Empress mixologists are pouring warm and cold modern interpretations of classic festive cocktails throughout the Holidays.

On New Year’s Eve, Q at the Empress and the Crystal Ballroom have a celebration fit for a Queen. In Q, find a five-course set menu, followed by a grand dessert buffet in Lobby Lounge. In the iconic Crystal Ballroom, a modern, Chef-attended festive buffet with live music and cash bar starts the celebrations. After dinner, ring in the New Year with live music at the most elegant New Year’s Eve party in Canada’s most romantic city with a live performance by local jazz and pop singer, Amanda Woods.

 In the morning, start the New Year off right, at Fairmont Empress Resolution Brunch on January 1, 2018 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm in the Lower Lobby. The best brunch in town, filled with everything sweet and savoury to kick off the New Year and wrap up Christmas at the Empress for another season.

 For complete list of Christmas at the Empress and New Year’s Eve events, visit the Fairmont Empress holiday brochure online.

Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival illuminates PNE

This Friday, December 15, 2017, the PNE debuts the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival, the largest of its kind in Canada. One of the most beautiful and culturally significant festivals will light up the skies of Vancouver with dozens of spectacular gossamer lanterns, some reaching nearly 200 feet in length.

Bin Zhu, Director of Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd says, “We believe our lantern festivals can improve cultural communication between China and the world.”

“It is a tremendous honour to have been selected by this leading cultural organization as the inaugural host in Canada for this important festival,” says Mike McDaniel, President and CEO of the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). “We anticipate people from all ethnicities and cultures from across our region will be excited about the opportunity to see this important and impressive display.”

Lantern festivals started during the Han Dynasty, about 2,000 years ago. For centuries, lanterns festivals have been lit on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese calendar to pray for a good harvest, and to gain favor of Taiyi, god of heaven. Today, the lantern festivals are still held each year around the country, with each major Chinese city having its own light festival.  In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs such as the ones that will be on display at the PNE.

The Festival will be featuring Dragon, White Pagoda, Kylin, and Huabiao Column lanterns, each lantern symbolizing a Chinese sage or legend. The columns are said to be protectors of the residents and a reminder for the emperor to pay attention to his duties.

In addition to the lantern displays, the festival will also include two nightly performances in the PNE Amphitheatre: Sunday to Thursday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, and Friday and Saturdays at 7pm and 9pm. Featuring Face Changing, Acrobatics, Plate Spinners, Folk Dance, Jar Balancing and Erhu. These exciting performances are family friendly, and are sure to wow. The lantern festival will also feature a food and beverage program and additional children’s activities.

Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival opens December 15th, featuring 35 illuminated displays transforming over 14 acres of Hastings Park running daily from December 15th, 2017 (closed Christmas Day) until January 21, 2018.

For further information and tickets visit vancouverlanternfestival.ca 

Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market Recap

This week, Vancouver Foodster presented the first edition of Holiday Market, a great evening of browsing, shopping and tasting.

The event brought together two dozen vendors at 4 locations around South Granville, Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant. The evening’s vendors included a mix of food products, artisans, and gift ideas just in time for Holiday shopping.  New enterprises, established ventures and collaborations were all presented by the vendors to educate the participants on their wares and services.

All participants checked in at Milano Coffee Roasters on West 8th Avenue which was filled with Holiday Market patrons anxious to see what lay ahead.

Within the cafe, Milano was warming everyone up, serving a duo of their award winning coffees to sip while browsing the vendors around the room including;

Olympia Komianos: Jeweler, Olympia showed her beautiful, rustic hand made silver and gold jewelry.

Foodie Books: Cookbooks by Brad Hill – The North Shore Foodie, The East Van Foodie, The Gastown Foodie are all part cookbook, neighbourhood restaurant guide and history book.

Hayat’s Garden: Floral salads and nutritious, athletic foods created by Saj & Co

Livia Sweets: a small, boutique bakery creating homestyle goodies for sale in cafes and markets around the city.

Jonny Hetherington Essentials: Clean, simple and delicious fruit based Hot Sauces and Ketchups from Jonny Hetherington

Whipped and Beaten: a brand new Vancouver baker creating gluten-free and traditional cakes and pastries.

Faculty Brewing: The False Creek brewer works in collaboration with Milano to brew the 599 Cold Brew ESB also serving their popular Citra (citrus based) Pale Ale.

Next up we visited Meinhardt Fine Foods at 14th & Granville in South Granville, where the store itself is a treasure trove of sweet and savoury gifts for everyone on your lists.  Here we found even more new and established vendors to show us what they’re all about;

Meinhardt’s kitchens prepared some of their renowned bites for patrons to indulge in as they walked over the threshold.  Perfectly balanced housemade Egg Nog, Fried Shrimp of savoury crackers, and Curry Chicken.

ARC Iberico: reminiscing of Spain, we sampled some Chorizo, Iberico Ham and more.

Sal de Ibiza: now in North American Sal de Ibiza presents 30+ products all touched by the Queen of Salts, Fleur de Sel.

Paw Paw’s Cocktail Cherries: Paw Paw is a Southern US term of endearment for Grandfather, who in this case, is on the bottle of these sweet, tart and perfect cocktail cherries.

Justea: Ethically, fair-trade tea direct from Kenyan farmers served their vibrant Purple Rain and Purple Mint teas, yes they’re really purple.

Maureen’s Natural Foods:  Maureen served her classic Caribbean Rum Cake

Terra International Foods: Great European foods gifts sourced from around the continent, like Stollen, Speculaas and more

Laiki Crackers: Simple and Satisfying red and black rice crackers, collaborated with
Blue Heron Creamery: a Vancouver plant-based non-dairy cheese maker
creating savoury cheese and cracker bites

Be Fresh Market Cafe on Bayswater was the next stop filled with more vendors from the shelves of the market curated by Spud.ca

Be Fresh Catering: tempting, tasty vegetarian bites, perfect for your next party like Roasted Zucchini and Brie Cheese Sliders and more.

Tempea Foods:  Rich, and ‘meaty’ Tempeh ‘meatballs’ do not make you miss the beef .

Biota Fermentation:  The small batch fermentor, specialized in fermented pro-biotic foods and kombucha and served a fresh tart and tangy wheatberry salad

Blume Latte:  Zesty, Spice, Sweet are the flavour palate that comes when you try Blume’s trio of Latte Mixes. Turmeric, Chili Turmeric, Beetroot

Kapow Now!: Plant-based superfoods crafts crispy, healthy crackers and much more.

Talk To Me Naked: Artist Tori Swanson is inspired by you, your body is her muse for her custom ink works

On 4th Avenue, Silk Road Tea has so much in-store they didn’t need other vendors to fill out our Holiday Market evening.

Serving a selection of their Wellness Teas, and a rich and decadent Tea Hot Chocolate, the Silk Road Tea shop is filled with create gifts for yourself or those on your lists.

The Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market was truly and evening of delicious inspiration.

Look out for the next Vancouver Foodster event, Noodle Mania January 10, 2018.