Carnaval del Sol fills Concord Pacific Place with Festive Family Fun

Returning for an 11th year, Carnaval del Sol, the Pacific Northwest’s largest Latin-themed festival, takes over Concord Pacific Place, Saturday, July 6th and Sunday, July 7th. 

Carnaval del Sol photo: Hudson Hipolito

A celebration of the diversity and dynamism of Latin American culture, Carnaval del Sol features a vast array of music, dance, visual arts, fashion, sports, plus food and drink. Concord Pacific Place will be transformed to resemble a vibrant urban Latin American plaza, brimming with sound, colour, tempting aromas, and thousands of smiling faces.

Presented by Latincouver, a non-profit organization working to bring together Latin Americans and those who appreciates Latin culture. “All of us at Latincouver are thrilled to be bringing back Carnaval del Sol for its 11th consecutive year,” says Latincouver’s executive director, Paola Murillo. “This is the time of the year where you’ll feel the vast and exciting Latin American culture right here in Vancouver. We look forward to celebrating with you!”

Carnavel del Sol
photo: Marcos Badra

The 2019 edition of this family-friendly event finds more than 450 artists, who have come from around the world to entertain the masses at the Carnaval’s main stage and plazas, celebrating the festival’s 2019 theme “Sharing our Indigenous and Afro-Latin American roots. Let’s shine together.”

Plaza highlights include the following:

  • TIM HORTONS KIDS PLAZA: Hands-on creative activities for youngsters, including face painting, storytelling, games and music.
  • ARTS PLAZA: From sculpture and fashion to photography and handicrafts (including “live” painting, often accompanied by music), browse hundreds of brilliant artworks from talented Latin American artists.
  • YVR TRAVEL PLAZA: Vancouver International Airport brings you dance, music, games and prizes.
  • EXPERIENCES PLAZA: Witness authentic Latin American fare created before your eyes at a variety of live cooking demos
  • DRIFTWOOD BEER PLAZA: From noon to 9pm, unwind while enjoying delicious food and live music in this 1,000 seat, adults-only zone.
  • FOOD PLAZA: Some of British Columbia’s best Latin American restaurants and food trucks bring the flavours of Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, El Salvador, and Cuba.
  • FAMILY PLAZA: All ages will be captivated by live music and DJs, an exclusive fashion show, and much more to be announced. 
  • JOSE CUERVO LOUNGE PLAZA: An exclusive area for SuperPass holders, media, artists, and government officials.

Carnaval Del Sol takes place at Concord Pacific Place, 88 Pacific Boulevard, Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7. Gates open 11am to 10pm. 
Admission is $2 per adult (free admission for kids under 12). The $15 two-day SuperPass offers admittance to the Jose Cuervo Lounge Plaza, front-of-the-line access to the Driftwood Beer Plaza, festival souvenirs, discounts on select vendors, and more.
Find details and tickets at carnavaldelsol.ca

Tasting Plates North Vancouver – Recap

This week, the North Shore was invaded by a gaggle of hungry explorers taking part in Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates North Vancouver.  As with all Tasting Plates, the patrons got to experience a sampling of what the neighbourhood has to offer.  Restaurants, cafes, and their chefs put their best foot forward with their Tasting Plates and Cups.

Starting off at Bean Around The World at Lonsdale Quay Market, Tasting Platers collected their Tasting Plates cards and map, and sat down for a tasting cup of drip or espresso based coffees.  Armed with our Americano we set out on a flavorful journey around North Van.

 

 

 

The tasting plate that two-week old Lift Breakfast Bakery, 101 Lonsdale Avenue served was a perfect teaser of the sweet and savoury tastes we’ll find at Lift. Breakfast for dinner is always a favourite.

House Smoked Trout Eggs Benedict, served on a Potato Rosti with rich Hollandaise Sauce
Mini Kouign Amann, a Breton Pastry, crispy and sweet outside with a soft buttery flake inside.
Lightly Dressed Greens cleansed the palate between bites.

Exploration of the neighbourhood meets exploration of the world’s flavours at Maru Korean Bistro, 125 2nd St E, a plate as pretty as it was flavourful.
Saeng-Gool :- Oyster with Yuzu Foam and Tabasco-Gochujang Caviar (Jelly Pearls),
Kim-Bugak :- Crisp Nori Puff, with XO Aioli, Salmon Roe, Lime Caviar
Yook-Hoe :- Korean Beef Tartare, Sea Lettuce Powder Dusted Crostini, Asian Pear, Sesame Oil Dust and Garlic Chip.

 

Just down the street The Juicery Co 254 1st St E cleansed us with a tasting cups of The Greenest (Kale, Collards, Watercress, Cucumber, Cilantro, Dandelion, Lemon, Ginger) and Honey & Vanilla Almond Milk.  For something substantial but light a small cup of Acai Bowl creamy and smooth, with a crunchy topping of The Juicery Co‘s signature housemade granola

Who doesn’t love some chocolate, Coconama Chocolate Shop and Factory 2568 1st St E, has plenty. Artisan handmade Japanese-style truffles, were rich and creamy, with a wide variety of flavours.
COCOBARs are blended, flavoured chocolate bars, the Salted Caramel was a treat!
COCO LABO are single source, small batch, high quality chocolate. Unlike some high percentage cocoa dark chocolates, these were smooth and not grainy feeling.

 

Even though it’s only been open 7 weeks, Welcome Parlour Ice Cream, 277 8th St E, has a century of history behind it.  Housed in a building owned by the original owner of Welcome Parlor, a 1910 ice cream, candy and smoke shop on Lonsdale Ave, this renewed version is serving a selection of nostalgic and modern candy treats alongside their rich and creamy natural churned ice cream blends (plus a couple of non-dairy coconut milk based creams)
A quartet of flavours filled my Welcome Parlour Tasting Box:
Homemade Apple Pie – a real house baked apple pie crushed and blended into ice cream
Rocky Road – like s’mores on ice
Vanilla Vanilla – a creamy butter coloured, vanilla bean classic
Non-Dairy Chocolate Coconut – I can’t believe it’s not dairy

 

Last but not least, Hearthstone Brewery and Restaurant 1015 Marine Drive, combines the brewery with their recently opened Forno to bring mediterranean flavours to the imbibers.
Panzanella Salad, a nicely dressed blend of Bread, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Onion, Fiore de Latte and Herb Vinaigrette
From the choice of beers I selected a clear and refreshing Rizzla Rice Lager

If this flavour adventure sounded tasty to you, join in on Vancouver Foodster’s next Tasting Plates Burnaby Heights on May 17th.

3rd Annual BC Cider Week opens tomorrow

The Northwest Cider Association’s (NWCA) third annual BC Cider Week gets underway from tomorrow, April 28th until May 7th. The ten-day celebration of the art of craft cider includes cider-centric events, tastings and festivities throughout the province.

Tasting events from Kelowna to Vancouver Island include festivals, tap take overs, cider pairing meals, limited edition ciders and much more throughout the 10 day event.

Some of the highlights of BC Cider Week are:

BC Tree Fruits Cider adds a new pear & peach flavour to its Broken Ladder Cider series.
Tod Creek Cider debuts a limited edition Cascadian Tod Cider available exclusively at Cascadia Liquor Stores.
April 28th : Bacon and Cider Festival in Kelowna.
April 29th : Orchard and the Sea launches it’s first festival called British Columbia Cider Festival at Heritage Hall in Vancouver.
April 30th: SeaCider is bringing back their popular Cider Social in Saanichton.
May 4th: Howling Moon Craft Cider Dinner at Cascade Room on Main Street, Vancouver
May 5th: Cinco de Mayo at Merridale Cider in Cobble Hill
May 6th: Okanagan Craft Cider Festival at BC Tree Fruits in Kelowna.
May 6th: An Afternoon of Snake Bites at Tod Creek Craft Cider in Victoria

For more information, tickets and new BC Cider Week events keep watch online at nwcider.com/bccw-events or facebook.com/bcciderweek/

Hot Chocolate Festival 2017

Hot Chocolate is the perfect antidote to fight this unseasonal cold winter we’ve been experiencing so what’s better than a whole month of Hot Chocolate! Presented by Cityfood Magazine, the 7th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival hits town this Friday, January 19th, running until February 14th.

The Festival finds 29 participants around the city creating an offering of 61 different flavours of chocolate drinks.  The Hot Chocolate Festival gives guests the chance to explore Vancouver’s favourite cafes, chocolatiers, patisseries, gelaterias, and restaurants in search for one of their Chocolates flavours.  Since launching in 2011, the Festival has expanded to cover much of the city; from Doughgirls Comfort Kitchen on the UBC Campus, to Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby, to Thomas Haas Chocolates in North Vancouver.  Created with Milk, Dark and White Chocolates, flavours range from single origin cups, vibrant and spicy blends, liquor and floral infusions, vegan or coconut milk options.

Visit hotchocolatefest.com to see what the participants have to offer and to download the Hot Chocolate Festival map and guide.

The Hot Chocolate Festival is a fundraiser for the PHS Community Services Society and East Van Roasters’ Downtown Eastside Women’s Job Training Program.

Mixology Night On The Pier

West Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival is now underway, one of the signature events this year is Mixology Night On The Pier.  In celebration of the rebirth of cocktail culture, Mixology Night On The Pier brings together some of the city’s top bartenders for an evening of competitive cocktail creations.  Ticketed guests are invited to the pop-up beach lounge at Ambleside Pier to vote for their favourite libation, enjoy food from Bon Vivant Catering and listen to surfside entertainment throughout the evening.

Bartenders competing for votes in Mixology Night On The Pier are:

Alex Black – Nightingale Restaurant
Jayton Paul – Nightingale Restaurant
Grant Sceney – Fairmont Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge
Katie Ingram – L’Abbatoir
Olivia Povarchook – Juniper Bar & Kitchen
Robyn Gray – Prohibition Bar
Sabrine Dhaliwal – UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar
Shea Hogan – Shameful Tiki Bar

In addition to an evening of cocktails, food and entertainment voting enters guests for the chance to win a Victoria Trip from Helijet and Cactus Club Cafe – roundtrip flights for two plus lunch or dinner at Cactus Club Cafe in downtown Victoria.

Mixology Night On The Pier takes place at Ambleside Pier from 8 – 10pm on Thursday August 4th.
Tickets are on sale online now

Blackfin Pub at the Comox Marina

BlackfinPub_IMG_0165Grabbing a seat at Blackfin Pub at the Marina, it’s easy to see why it was voted Vancouver Island’s Best Pub/Bar & Patio in 2013.
The large patio, floor to ceiling windows all give great vistas over the picturesque Comox Marina and across the Harbour to the mountain spine of Vancouver Island with Comox Glacier on the horizon.  The room is built so that almost every table has a view, but even when the sun goes down and the view is gone, the room is still inviting and warm.BlackfinPub_IMG_0162

BlackfinPub_IMG_0160BlackfinPub_IMG_0163However, a pub cannot survive on it’s views, the food and service needs to keep up.  The Blackfin Pub lives up to the bill, you can tell by the steady stream of patrons that the food has to be good. From traditional share plates to local fresh seafood entrees that wouldn’t be amiss on a fine dining menu, Chef Nigel McMeans has created a menu for everyone (including gluten free options). In all the times I’ve visited over the years, it’s always been a good time with good food and drinks.  Add in the stunning views of a sunny afternoon or an evening by the fire with friends and the Blackfin Pub is the place to be when in Comox

The Blackfin Pub at the Marina is located at 132 Port Augusta Street, overlooking the Marina in downtown Comox, BC

Taste Victoria 2015 – Opening Tonight

Today is the day Victoria foodies wait all year to sink their teeth into! Taste Victoria Festival of Food and Drink kicks off  this afternoon with an opening night extravaganza at Hotel Grand Pacific.

TasteVictoriaFood
Taste Victoria Eat

 

The Opening Night event, Taste The Difference, brings together dozens of local Victoria restaurants and dozens of British Columbia wineries.  Wander the tasting stations in the ballrooms, mingle with fellow foodies and experience the great tastes prepared by the city’s chefs and vintners.

TasteVictoriaWine
Taste Victoria Drink

This is only the beginning of Taste Victoria, the tasting continues throughout the weekend with more great events for you to expand you palate and knowledge.  Some events are already sold out but tickets are still available for others so get tickets soon.

To read more about all the events at Taste Victoria visit victoriataste.com