Five Foodie Events to Check Out at the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival

EATVancouver

The 13th annual EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival kicks off April 26, and this year, the foodie festival will run for an entire week. Events during the week include workshops, dinners, and special panel discussions with local chefs. This caps off with three days of shows, hands-on events, as well as food and beverage sampling at B.C. Place Stadium. Tickets are selling out fast, so here’s what to look forward to.

Bella Gelateria Gelatini Workshop

Go behind the scenes of one of Vancouver’s most popular gelato shops with this hands-on workshop that combines sweet treats and cocktails. On April 28 from 7 to 9 p.m., up to 20 guests will be invited to taste the range of gelato cocktails, or “gelatinis” at Bella Gelateria’s recently opened Yaletown restaurant (1089 Marinaside Crescent). Take a tour of the kitchen and bar, and learn how to integrate traditional mixology concepts with over 30 gelato and sorbetto flavours. The Bella Gelateria Gelatini Workshop is $65 per person.

Carl Heinrich and Trevor Bird at Fable Kitchen

Fans of Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada series won’t want to miss this unique evening. Enjoy a five-course dinner at Bird’s celebrated Kitsilano restaurant, Fable (1944 West 4th Avenue). The event is limited to 55 guests, who will be served family-style. Tickets are $135 and include the meal, wine pairings, and gratuity.

Canadian Flavours Gala

At the Terminal City Club (837 West Hastings Street) on April 30 from 7 to 9:30 p.m., taste dishes from 15 restaurants across Canada and wines from 24 wineries located in B.C.’s Naramata Bench. From Alberta, check out Calgary’s Charcut Roast House and River Café, as well as the Westin Edmonton from Edmonton. TIA Yukon will represent Whitehorse, and Lemeac will be here from Montreal. Toronto’s Black Hoof, DaiLo, and Richmond Station restaurants will all be present. Representatives of B.C. include Vancouver’s Edible Canada, Vancouver Aquarium, and YEW Restaurant; Tofino’s Wolf in the Fog; and Naramata’s Hillside Winery Bistro, the Vanilla Pod, and the Kitchen. Tickets to sip and taste everything are $125.

Celebrity Chef Throwdown

One of the most popular events during the weekend at B.C. Place Stadium is the Celebrity Chef Throwdown. This year’s contenders include Beaucoup Bakery’s Jackie Kai Ellis, Café Medina’s Jonathan Chovancek, and Food Network Canada’s Anna Olson. The chefs will be tasked to complete a variety of cooking challenges in front of an audience, with Iron Chef Canada’s Rob Feenie leading the judges. The Celebrity Chef Throwdown takes place May 1 at 8 p.m. and is free with admission.

Mark McEwen and Pino Posteraro at Cioppino’s

The final event of the festival will entice foodies with a bit of cash to spend. The special dinner is priced at $225 per person and limited to just 100 guests. Two of Canada’s top chefs will cook an Italian five-course meal at Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill (1133 Hamilton Street) on May 3. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., and the ticket includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine and wine pairings throughout the meal.

Five Modern Vegetarian Restaurants in Vancouver

Vegetables

It used to be that if you were vegetarian, you’d be stuck eating a sad-looking salad or relegated to the one vegetarian pasta-dish on a restaurant’s menu. Those days are long gone, especially if you’re a vegetarian in Vancouver. The city has seen a growing number of plant-based menus pop up in recent years, and there’s no indication that this trend will slow down anytime soon. Here, are five of the top modern vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver.

The Parker

Located on the edge of Chinatown, the Parker is a tiny vegetarian restaurant focused on locally sourced, bio-dynamic, sustainable ingredients. Open five nights a week for dinner, the menu here only features eight dishes. Three textures of cauliflower are topped with a red pepper purée, while beets are the star in a riff on tartare. Heartier plates include eggplant and curry dumplings as well as broccoli and pea gnocchi. A chef’s tasting menu allows diners to try a little bit of everything.

Heirloom

Herloom is located in a beautiful heritage building off of South Granville. Here, vegetable-based dishes are offered for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch in a beautiful and sundrenched setting.  The menu, which also includes plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, showcases local vegetables in delicious ways. Try the popular avocado frites served with Heirloom’s housemade ketchup or the butternut tacos. For heartier fare, order one of several curry bowls, burgers, or Mexi-inspired entrées.

The Acorn

Be prepared to be wowed at the Acorn. This East Vancouver haunt takes beautiful vegetables and renders them in the most imaginative ways. Take the leek and sunflower seed paté served on taro crisps, or the raw beet ravioli stuffed with macadamia cheese, grapefruit, and shaved fennel. Butternut squash mac and cheese is a popular dish for sharing, as are the coconut cashew and kimchi dumplings. Save room for one of the restaurant’s four desserts.

Graze

Graze is the ideal vegetarian restaurant for diners looking for a hearty, delicious meal. At both dinner and lunch, comfort food-style dishes are served with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options as well. Here, macaroni gets a smoky coconut-cheddar sauce and perogies are stuffed with eggplant, yam, and oyster mushrooms. Can’t decide what to eat? Share one of the “grazing boards”, which offers an assortment of finger foods that pair well with wine and beer.

CHAU Veggie Express

Vegetarian cuisine with a Vietnamese slant is what defines CHAU Veggie Express. The East Van restaurant serves just a dozen dishes over lunch and dinner. The Golden Temple tofu curry is served with a choice of quinoa, wild rice, or noodles. Meanwhile, the Rickety Rickshaw Ride, Ploughing the Rice Fields, and Soft Tropical Rainstorm are three different types of noodle bowls. Nine desserts, also infusing tropical flavours, are featured here, so be sure to save room.

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Hot-Ticket Arts Shows in Vancouver this Spring

QE Theatre

Vancouver is home to a thriving arts scene, from music to theatre to dance. Here’s a look at some of the most exciting productions to hit local stages this spring.

Trace by Ballet B.C.

Ballet B.C. continues there 2014-15 season with Trace the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from March 26 to 28. Under artistic director Emily Molnar’s direction since 2009, this local dance troupe has grown leaps and bounds. Ballet B.C. is known for cutting-edge contemporary works and Trace will be no different. A triple-bill program includes the Canadian premiere of William Fosythe’s workwithinwork, a world premiere by Walter Matteini, and the return of Medhi Walerski’s Petite Cérémonie. Tickets are $30 to $80, with rush student tickets available as well.

Mendelssohn’s Elijah by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

The Vancouver Bach Choir joins the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on stage at the Orpheum Theatre on March 28 for a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s masterwork Elijah. Conducted by the Bach Choir’s music director Leslie Dala, the oratorio will feature over 100 voices and solos by Giles Tomkins, Eve-Lyn de la Haye, Krisztina Szabó, and Adam Fisher. Tickets to Elijah start at $40.

The Book of Mormon by Broadway Across Canada

Broadway Across Canada brings the Tony Award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, to Vancouver. Running from April 7 to 12 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the musical is a religious satire by the same team behind Avenue Q. The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda. The show opened on Broadway in 2011 and in London’s West End in 2013. Tickets to The Book of Mormon are $35 to $99.

Sweeney Todd by Vancouver Opera

Sweeney Todd is a musical theatre work by Stephen Sondheim about a barber in 19th-century London, England, who kills his customers and disposes their bodies through a revolving trap door. In the basement, the victims are robbed before they’re dismembered and baked into meat pies. This might not be typical opera fare, but our local opera ensemble is taking a stab at it. In recent years, Vancouver Opera has branched out to include musicals and operettas into their programming. Sweeney Todd, which runs at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on select days from April 26 to May 3, will surely attract new audiences. Tickets range from $65 to $175.

In the Heights and Les Miserables by the Arts Club Theatre Company

The Arts Club Theatre Company will present two big musicals at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage to close out their 2014-15 season. First, audiences will be treated to In the Heights, a Tony Award-winning musical set in New York’s tough Washington Heights neighbourhood. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes, In the Heights, which runs from April 30 to June 7, tells the story of overcoming struggles and finding one’s way. Next up is Les Miserables, the long-running musical based on the French Revolution. This epic musical, which was recently made into a blockbuster movie, will run from July 2 to August 16. Tickets to either production start at $39.

Five Neapolitan Pizzerias in Vancouver

Neapolitan Pizza

There are a multitude of pizza options across the Lower Mainland, from inexpensive, by-the-slice options like Megabite Pizza, to sit-down restaurants, such as Boston Pizza and Pacifico Pizza. If you’d rather stay at home and order in, delivery spots like Panago, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut are fast and consistent.

A new wave of pizzerias have started gaining momentum in Vancouver over the past few years: those that serve authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. Often, these have a thin bubbly crust that’s slightly chewy, tomato sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh, simple ingredients.

If you’re looking to try one of these types of pizzas, here are some options below.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria

This Gastown pizzeria was one of the first Neapolitan pizza joints to open in Vancouver. Nicli Antica Pizzeria has 10 pies on its menu, ranging from the lightly dressed Marinara and Margherita, to the Pest B.B.T. (which includes basil pesto and house-smoked bacon) and Salsiccia E Cipolle (which has Italian sausage as one of its toppings). The pizzas are baked in the restaurant’s 900°F wood-fired oven for just 90 seconds, giving the dough a blistering effect with a soft, thin centre. Pizzas at Nicli range from $10 to $20

Via Tevere Pizzeria

Via Tevere is a family-owned pizzeria on Victoria Drive with 11 pizzas on the menu. Here, the pizzas are also baked in a 900°F wood-fired oven. The Filetto is topped with slices of San Marzano tomato, flor di latte, garlic, and basil; while the Capricciso has prosciutto, salami, artichokes, mushrooms, and olives. The pizzeria has an impressive wine list to accompany the pies, with selections from both Canada and Italy. Pizzas here are $10 to $20.

Pizzeria Farina

This pizza shop—and it is more of a shop than a restaurant—only has eight pizzas on the menu. Pizzeria Farina, located in Strathcona, opens daily at 5 p.m. and closes once the dough runs out. The Funghi is not your average mushroom pizza—red onions, garlic, and arugula give the pie extra flavour. The Finocchiona, topped with fennel sausage and spicy peppers, is a popular choice, while the Pistacchio with mortadella and pistachios is purely original. Pizzas at Pizzeria Farina are $10 to $17.

Pizza Fabrika

Recently opened in the West End, Pizza Fabrika might not be authentically Neapolitan style, but its dough comes close and its creations are tasty. All 12 of the pizzas here are 12 inches and available on gluten-free crust. For people who can’t eat cheese, the option of Daiya dairy-free cheese is also available on pizzas. The Puttanesca, loaded with white anchovies, capers, olives, red onion, and lemon zest is flavourful and fresh. Much richer is the Flammkuchen, topped with double-smoked bacon, crème fraiche, caramelized onion, pancetta, and chives. All pizzas here are $15 and $16 with the exception of a kid’s pizza for $13.

Bufala

Located in Kerrisdale, this spacious pizzeria is ideal for families. Eleven different pizzas include a simple but tasty Quattro Formaggio, rich Oxtail & Kale, and kid-friendly Green Peas & Ham. The Calabria, with spicy sausage, red peppers, and marinara is ideal for those who prefer a little heat on their pie. Meanwhile, the Pesto & Ricotta is mild and creamy. Pizzas here run $13 to $30.

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Five Free Kids’ Activities for Spring Break in Vancouver

SpringBreak

Planning a staycation this spring break? Taking the kids out of the house for some fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a couple of activities in and around Vancouver to enjoy with the whole family where kids are free.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

Break up all that screen-time kids get these days with a trip to VanDusen Botanical Garden (5251 Oak Street). Spend an afternoon wandering through the hedge maze, spotting local insects and birds, and exploring over 7,000 different species of plants from around the world. During the month of March, receive up to two free child admissions with the purchase of a regular-priced adult, senior, or youth entry ticket.  VanDusen Botanical Garden is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch with a side of fresh air on the grounds.

CelticFest Vancouver

The 11th annual CelticFest Vancouver takes place March 6 to 17 with family-friendly events, dance and music shows, and more across Vancouver. On March 14 and 15, visit the free Celtic Village on Granville Street downtown, which will be closed for pedestrian traffic only. Enjoy live music, street entertainment, food vendors, and shopping between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. If you’re headed downtown on Sunday, join the crowds for the free St. Patrick’s Day parade starting at 11 a.m.

Granville Island

Spend a day on the “Island”, just under the Granville Street Bridge. Explore artist galleries, shops, and more for free before stopping for lunch in the Public Market. Head outside to enjoy busking entertainment while watching boats pass east and west along False Creek. For kids, the best part about Granville Island is the Kids Market. Check out toy shops, the indoor Adventure Zone, and more before capping off the afternoon outside on the playground.

Contemporary Art Gallery

The Contemporary Art Gallery (555 Nelson Street) is one of the only free art galleries in the city. On the last Saturday of each month, the Yaletown gallery hosts a free family day open to all ages. Families are invited to drop in to the gallery between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. for short exhibition tours and free art-making activities related to the current exhibition, Jeremy Shaw: Medium-Based Time.

Vancouver Public Library

The Vancouver Public Library will host a series of free events for young readers at many of their locations over spring break. Drop in to your local branch to play board games with friends, create art and crafts, and even learn how to code using the latest iPad apps. At the West Point Grey branch on March 13, kids can enjoy scary tales as they gather around a “campfire” and enjoy marshmallows. The next day, build a Lego neighbourhood with other attendees at the Collingwood branch. Visit the Vancouver Public Library website for a full schedule of events.

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