It’s so nice to have friends and family over during the holidays, but planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning can take away from the main objective of relaxing and catching up. Make it less work and more engaging by wrapping your ‘together time’ in an activity and adding an easy-as-it-gets one-stop feast. Here are a few suggestions…
BEACH & SEAFOOD BOIL | Bundle up and make your way to the beach to explore some tide pools. When you’re done, and your cheeks are good and rosy, it’s time to head home for a seafood feast. Vancouver Island company, The Wandering Mollusk, has recently started delivering Seafood Boil Buckets to Vancouver. We tried the Wu Tang Clam bucket – an all-in-one situation that loads West Coast Manila Clams into a bucket with chopped Chinese sausage, garlic, ginger, chilli peppers, butter, bok choy, yuzu, tamari, sambal and cilantro, and feeds 4-6 adults. All you have to do is put the bucket on the stove, add a little beer, water, or wine, wait 10 minutes…and bam – you’re ready to put dinner on the table. Other versions of the buckets include Dungeness Crab, Mussels, as well as Lobster (for really fancy occasions). See all the options here. Keep in mind that these buckets are only available on weekends and need to be ordered in advance.
Wandering Mollusk Wu Tang Clams | $130 | Feeds 4-6 adults | You will need: a bottle of beer or a few glugs of wine | DETAILS
LANTERNS & DUMPLINGS | The soft glowing light from a lantern in the winter is so comforting. Dumplings are too. Double down on comfort by pulling together family or friends for a night of dumpling making and lantern building. Making a lantern can be super easy (check out these how-to tutorials from Vancouver’s own Secret Lantern), and dumplings can be easy too! Here are several ready-made versions that we’ve tried and recommend: The Dumpling King (try both The OG and Taiwanese Style) and Old Bird both offer frozen bags that require very little effort. If you really want to dig into the full stuffing/shaping and pinching experience, we also like the sound of these Kitster Dumpling Kits (each kit comes with all the ingredients, you put them together and cook them). Once your belly is full and your lanterns are lit, take the party to the streets by joining one of the Winter Solstice lantern processions happening around Vancouver on Tuesday, December 21. Find out more here.
Dumpling King | $35 / 30 dumpling bag | You will need a good non-stick pan, some oil and dipping sauce. | DETAILS
Old Bird | $17 / 300g bag | Pick-up only | You will need a pot of water and some chili oil. | DETAILS
Kitster | $48 for 30 Dumplings | You will need a mixing bowl, some spoons, a pot, a non-stick pan, some oil. | DETAILS
MIYAZAKI & RAMEN | Take a detour from the regular roster of holiday flicks and settle into a full evening of Studio Ghibli (Totoro, Spirited Away, Nausicaä, Porco Rosso, Howl’s Moving Castle – Netflix has them all), and then amp up the experience by adding some ramen. There are a number of great make-at-home ramen kits in Vancouver right now, but we like the couldn’t-be-easier one from Franklin Food Lab. Just put the fully composed bowl of frozen ramen in a pot, heat up, and serve (Spicy Tonkotsu is the way to go). Find Franklin Food Lab provisions at 1600 Franklin St, in East Vancouver, or pick up at Fujiya on Clark. There are a number of other locations to score.
Franklin Street Food Lab Ramen | $13 per serving | You will need: a pot. | DETAILS.
FOREST & FONDUE | A giant bowl of melted cheese and some bread is fantastically delicious, and a dead easy way to warm up after a chilly trail walk. Hit Pacific Spirit Park for a forest hike and follow the fresh air adventure with a fondue. The East Vancouver location of Les Amis du Fromage offers fondue equipment rentals when you purchase your fondue cheese from them. Go Gruyere, Swiss, Emmenthal, Vacherin Friebourg, or Appenzeller. Also on hand: accoutrements including cornichons and baguettes. So simple.
Les Amis Du Fromage Fondue | Cost depends on amount ordered, staff will help you figure it all out | You will need: bread and condiments. DETAILS
BEERVAN | Avoid headache-inducing liquor store line-ups and general mayhem, and make everything easier by ordering your beer from BeerVan. The humble booze delivery service – run entirely by the same collective of local “mom-and-pop” businesses (and their employees) that stocks its virtual shelves – is out hitting the streets seven-evenings-a-week. That means you can easily stock up on a variety of the freshest brews from Luppolo, Faculty, Brassneck, Slow Hand, Hypha Project, Powell and Temporal Artisan Ales, all in one go. And don’t be misled by their name: BeerVan also runs some awesome non-beer beverages including a killer line up of ciders from Dominion Cider Co., and many flavours of Oddity Kombucha. | BONUS: Add on some easy, beer-friendly eats like The Magnet‘s bake-at-home “Perfect Little Pies”, plus coffee beans from Agro Roasters (to assist in getting over all of that delicious beer drinking) – both just a click away in BeerVan’s ‘FoodVan‘ section. Get your order in (cut-off is 4pm for same day delivery) and commence relaxing!