THE GOODS FROM DINE OUT VANCOUVER
Tourism Vancouver’s highly anticipated annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is almost upon us. It is the country’s largest annual celebration of food and drink, featuring a record 288 participating restaurants that vary in theme and concept from casual ma and pops to fine dining titans.
The 17 day extravaganza attracts over 100,000 visitors and locals alike not only with its affordable prix fixe menus ($20, $30, $40) and optional BC VQA wines (paired courtesy of Wines of British Columbia), but also with its always interesting (not to mention delicious) culinary events. Most exciting for us are the events. There are whopping 44 in total this year, all designed by local chefs, food experts, and restaurateurs.
Headlining these is the Vancouver World Chef Exchange, a knockout series of collaborative dinners pairing local chefs with some of their counterparts from the world’s most exciting food cities, among them Sydney, New York, Copenhagen, and Los Angeles.
For lovers of craft beer, there’s the Winter Beer Hall, which gives attendees the opportunity to sample suds from several local breweries – including the first-ever Dine Out Van Fest Ale – along with a three-course dinner at Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery. There’s also an awesome-sounding Craft Beer & Food Pairing Tour, organised by the knowledgable crew behind Vancouver Brewery Tours.
Continuing the drinks theme, there’s How it’s Made: A Brewery, Distillery and Winery Tour, which is led by Off the Eaten Track (behind-the-scenes peeks at three drinking establishments where the stars are locally made vodka, gin, wine and ale); Spirits 101, a series of mixology masterclasses led by UVA Wine + Cocktail Bar’s Lauren Mote; and a Robbie Burns Pop-Up Dinner and Single Malt Seminar at Yew in the Four Seasons.
As far as new events are concerned, we’re eyeballing Bhangra with Vij’s, which is being billed as a colourful evening of Indian flavours and bhangra dance hosted by chef/restaurateur Vikram Vij; Mamie Taylor’s Low Country Pig Roast, which features a whole-roast suckling pig carved tableside and served with sweet potato cheddar biscuits and apple pie with Kentucky whisky pudding; and Café Medina’s Breakfast for Dinner, which focuses on familiar Medina favourites like Saumon Fumé, Short Rib Fricassée and Liege waffles.
You can also travel back to the 1930s and spend the evening in a secret speakeasy a la Swallow Tail Tours’ Secret Supper Soiree; get baked and buzzed (hey, it’s Vancouver) by exploring the city’s best coffee shops and bakeries with Off the Eaten Track; or follow along with Art, Eat and Sip, a self-guided food, drink and art walk on Granville Island.
Not to be outdone are the returning favourites. We’re partial to Film Feast, that tasty festival within a festival presenting food-focused films (e. The Search for General Tso) followed by dinners inspired by the same movies; the lunchtime food cart bonanza known as Street Food City (now extended to a full week); and Hawksworth Side Dishes, which sees four nights of family-style dining above David Hawksworth’s signature restaurant in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Heritage York Room.
Whatever you do, don’t forget about the special hotel packages. Participating hotels are discounting room rates just as restaurants are discounting menus. Price points are $80, $110 and $140 per night. And should you feel like splurging, there three luxe Club Amuse Bouche Collection experiences that pair accommodations with once-in-a-lifetime culinary adventures (crab fishing with Chef Ned Bell, anyone?). The list of hotels, package information and booking details are available at www.dineoutvancouver.com/hotels.