THE GOODS FROM DINE OUT VANCOUVER
Vancouver, BC | Attention food-loving folks: give your brain a break from the current holiday season madness and end-of-the-year stress to imagine a time in the New Year’s near future, after you’ve had a couple of weeks to recuperate. Are you with us now? Well, from January 17th to February 2nd the 18th annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival will be taking the run of over 300 restaurants citywide, just when we’ve all fully regained our appetites.
As usual, participating establishments are gearing up to give first-time and devoted diners unforgettable experiences. With so many – hundreds! – of delicious decisions to make over the 17-day stretch, Dine Out organizers have helped make it easier to choose those that suit you best by dividing menus into four pricing tiers – $15, $25, $35 and $45. If you do it right, Dine Out is a veritable food marathon, so start calculating your budget and stashing away some Dine Out dollars now! We don’t need to tell you that spots can fill up quickly, so you’ll also want to make sure to set a reminder for yourself for January 9th, when the full line-up of restaurants and their menus are announced, and reservations go live on the Dine Out website.
In the meantime, you’ll want to know that in addition to all of the pending brunch, lunch and dinner options, there are also over two dozen other ways to Dine Out in 2020 – from super casual to extravagant – and ticket sales for these events have already begun. As the special events do tend to sell out, whet your appetite with a review of events below and then skip over to the Dine Out website (here) for tickets before they’ve all been spoken for!
Launching Canada’s biggest annual culinary festival is a party of equally epic and flavourful proportions: The Great Big Taste is a tasting event that involves more than 20 restaurants and food-related businesses, and even more wineries, breweries and cideries. Attendees will enjoy eating and drinking to the beat of live DJs during the 2.5 hour feasting festivity, which also includes a gastronomic-themed auction in support of Dine Out’s official charity partner, the BC Hospitality Foundation. It’s a perfect partnership, since the foundation is all about supporting people working in the food and drink industry – in particular, those who are dealing with financial strain due to health issues. Tickets and more details about the festival’s kick-off party can be found here.
There are few better ways to get into the weekend spirit than with a big ol’ boozy brunch, don’t you agree? Well, if you’re a member of the mid-day cocktail loving crowd, then this year’s Punch Brunch at the Botanist is a must! For one day only, a group of the city’s most innovative bartenders will be mixing and serving up the inspiration for this flagrant affair, including the Keefer Bar’s Amber Bruce, Juke’s Fried Chicken’s Sabrine Dhaliwal, Elisa Steakhouse’s Katie Ingram, The Lobby Lounge and RawBar’s Sean McGuigan, and Botanist’s very own Jeff Savage. Executive Chef Hector Laguna has designed a decadent spread to enjoy with the libations, and rounding out the lively action will be a live performance of some jazzy tunes, especially for those who fancy a frolicking romp around the room. Additionally, proceeds from the event’s silent auction will benefit this year’s official charity partner, the BC Hospitality Foundation. All in all, the Punch Brunch promises to be Dine Out’s most swinging daytime activity. Find out more.
If a combination of mystery, anticipation and history gets your stomach juices flowing, then you need to sign up for one of the three Secret Supper Soirees. This year’s Secret Supper (organized by none other than the masters of local “hush hush” dining experiences, Swallow Tail Tours & Events, in collaboration with award-winning food personality, Chef Bruno Feldeisen) has a 1930s theme – think backroom Tiki bars, strong cocktails and Hawaiian shirts. To get in on this covert comestible excursion before it sells out, head over here.
Don’t forget to bundle up and hustle downtown to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Square to pay a visit to Street Food City 9. Vancouver’s largest congregation of food trucks will be parked outside the VAG for the opening and closing weekends of the festival plus an extension through the following week. (Jan 17-19, 31, Feb 1-6, 2020), making it super easy to hunt down your lunch or snack. The square will be transformed into a bustling scene of al fresco activity (weekdays from 11am-3pm; Saturday-Sunday from 11am-5pm), complete with picnic tables and music. Keeping with the Dine Out trend, vendors will also be serving up special new menu creations, making a visit to the City the easiest and most flexible family friendly way to get a taste of of the festival. Find out more.
In addition to the prix fixe menus, there are also a handful of dinner highlights included in this year’s Dine Out calendar. Beginning on January 17th and continuing for a total of eight Saturday evenings, the table will be set in the York Room at Hawksworth Restaurant for a delectable feast created by Chef Anthonio and his talented kitchen team. The Hawksworth Long Table Dinner Series includes a five course tasting menu paired with local wines selected by Wine Director Bryant Mao.
If, despite the wintry weather, you find yourself longing for a day at the farm, your appetite will find ample consolation at the Farm in the City: BC Farm to Table dinner at the Sweetery Café and Dessert. The themed pop-up dinner is designed by Gaia Kitchen Chef and artisan pie expert Regina Lee, and features ingredients sourced from six BC farms and producers, served family style and accompanied by Strange Fellows beer. There are only two seatings for this pastoral-inspired meal, so you’ll have to act quickly to get in on the action!
Even more exclusive, three of the dinners are limited to one-night-only affairs, beginning with The Flying Pig’s Signature Pig Roast Dinner on January 22nd. This whole-hog meal is pretty self-explanatory, and is basically guaranteed to fulfill your comfort food cravings. The following night in Gastown, L’Abattoir is hosting Le Vieux Pin Winery’s, Rasoul Salehi, for an elegant wine-paired dinner. Each of the five French-inspired courses, prepared by Chef Lee Cooper, are matched with a selection of current and vintage wines from the South Okanagan winery, including a 2012 Ava library re-release. For wine-lovers seeking a taste of something even more southern there’s the Australia Day Wine Dinner at Cafe Medina on January 25. Sommeliers Jenna Briscoe and Jason Yamasaki will be leading this Down Under culinary wine adventure, alongside a meal of the restaurant’s much-loved Mediterranean-style dishes, created by Chef Chris West.
Dine Out will be offering more international-inspired gastronomic opportunities as part of their 5th Vancouver World Chef Exchange Series of collaboration dinners, from January 21 to February 2nd. From our Canadian neighbours to the east and down to Mexico, and as far away as Ireland and New Zealand – each of the visiting chefs have been matched with a local chef to share and join their distinct visions in the kitchen. Diners will be treated to the tantalizing harmonious results during four one-night-only all-inclusive events, beginning memorably at Chicha restaurant, with a meal by a Vancouver-Naramata-Toronto trifecta of talent. Local Peruvian-inspired Chef Shelome Bouvette, Toronto-based Chef Charlotte Langley and JoieFarm’s Heidi Noble will be bonding over their love of fresh seafood and excellent wine to create this multi-course masterpiece. Then, the following week, Chef Ian McHale will be welcoming his culinary kindred spirit and former colleague, Chef Ahmet Dede of Mews Restaurant (West Cork, Ireland), into the kitchen at Wildebeest to do what they both do best: make magic out of the best local and seasonal ingredients available to them. A couple of nights later, WildTale’s Yaletown location will be getting a Mexican infusion courtesy of culinary diplomat, food television personality and award-winning chef, Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain, from Monterrey. His multi-course collaboration with Executive Chef Francisco Higareda will be further elevated by pairings including tequilas, mezcals, and local and international wines. The series rounds up with its Cross-Pacific Indigenous Nations “Off the Hook” dinner by Maori Chef Rewi Spraggon, Chef Shane Chartrand from Edmonton and the team at Salmon n’Bannock, Vancouver’s only First Nations restaurant.
For eaters and drinkers who are interested in a more active Dine Out experience, there are also a bunch of themed tours designed to satisfy wandering hungers. Take an evening stroll through the Lonsdale Quay Market with frequent pit stops for sipping and noshing (Jan. 23, 6:30-8:30pm, $39.66); exercise your legs while visiting some of downtown Vancouver’s best seafood restaurants, on an educational tasting tour guided by Ocean Wise Seafood Program staff (Tues, Jan. 21 & 28, 2pm, $36.57); or, if Dim Sum is your preferred choice of educational focus, join in on one of the six popular Historic Chinatown tours, which also includes Chinese BBQ and a traditional Tea Ceremony (Weekends, Jan. 18 – Feb. 2, 1pm, $94.50).
Beer-lovers have several opportunities to get exploratory, including an invigorating bright and early Coffee, Brunch, Donuts & Beer Tour that bounces between Agro, Red Truck Brewing, Brassneck and Cartem’s (Weekends, Jan. 18 – Feb. 2, 10am, $105.99); a BBQ, Fried Chicken and Brewery Tour with fill-ups at Juke’s, Memphis Blues and the newly opened Container Brewing (Friday & Saturday, Jan. 17 – Feb 1, 4pm, $105.99); a more traditional Flights & Bites beer and snacking hop between three specially selected breweries (Weekends, Jan. 18 – Feb. 2, 4:30pm, $94.50); and the booziest option of all is The Mashup, a three-stop alcohol-inspired tour that includes drinks and eats – from appetizers to dessert – at a local brewery, urban winery and distillery (Friday & Monday, Jan. 17 – 31, $119).
Coffee enthusiasts will want to get on board for one of the caffeine-driven Coffee Roast & Delightful Bites Tours that highlights the many different steps and processes involved in creating your favourite coffee drinks (Jan. 18 – Feb. 2, 9am, $75); while wine devotees have three opportunities to spend a full day drinking and learning about wines coming out of the Fraser Valley with a small group of their grape-loving peers (Saturdays, Jan. 18 – Feb. 1, 11am-5pm, $139).
CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
Learning about food while also eating it seems like a surefire – and fun! – way of gaining some knowledge that will really “stick to your ribs”, don’t you think? Depending on your culinary curiosity, there are five different classes and workshops that you can take advantage of…
Stimulate your senses and lift yourself out of a weather-induced grey state of mind and into a sunnier one by way of the Kona Coffee Hand Brew Workshop at Honolulu Coffee’s downtown cafe. During each 2-hour long session (there are three total) participants will get to focus on practicing and perfecting a different brewing method – coffee and sweet treat included.
Former author and chef, and longtime Chinatown resident, Thomas Robson, will be imparting some Dim Sum wisdom over the course of four 2-hour long meals at Vancouver’s renown Jade Dynasty Restaurant. Alternately, if you’d rather get hands-on with your dumplings, then sign up for a Chinatown Dumpling Masterclass, which includes every step from shopping for ingredients in Chinatown, to the prep, cooking and eating of your stuffed creations.
Now is an excellent time to enjoy oysters, and Fanny Bay is helping you unlock the delicious tastes, techniques and histories of six varieties of the mollusks at their freshest, via two evenings of shucking, slurping and sipping on accompanying cocktails. On the other hand, anytime is a fantastic time for pizza, as the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company knows well, so they’ve organized three weekly workshops at multiple times nightly, spread out between each of their local restaurant locations. All three nights include a three-course meal, starring your very own handmade and personalized pizza, plus BC beers to enjoy it all with.
For those visiting from out of town – or locals looking for an excuse to pretend like they’re on a food-cation – Dine Out has hooked up with three local hotels to offer eaters special deals on their stays: the Westin Bayshore Vancouver, the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver, Rosellen Suites at Stanley Park, the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, and more…
Since you’re already making the most out of the city’s dining scene, you might as well treat the rest of your senses to the best of Vancouver too! Fortunately, both the Pinnacle Hotel in Coal Harbour and the Westin Bayshore Vancouver, are conveniently located next to the seawall – ideal for those who want to balance their eating activities with some outdoors ones. There’s nothing like taking in the some fresh air during a bracing waterfront stroll or hike through the forest to keep up a healthy appetite between your restaurant reservations!
Alternately, the Wedgewood Hotel, in the heart of the downtown dining scene, offers up full 360 degree views of Vancouver. It’s also home to an award-winning day spa – notable for visitors who want to pamper their full body as well as their tummies. Before you make your journey to Vancouver, be sure to call ahead and book a pre-dinner massage or facial (there’s even something called a ‘Jet Lag Recovery’ package that includes both, if your flight in to town is a long haul). As an added bonus, access to the revitalizing Eucalyptus and Lemongrass Steam Room is free for hotel guests.
You can access special Dine Out rates (from $99 per night) by following the links on this page.