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Where to Eat Vancouver

Talk Like a Pirate Day

By SHERI RADFORD

Bring home your pirate-themed booty in a tote bag from Make

Bring home your pirate-themed booty in a tote bag from Make

No need to walk the plank: landlubbers and salty dogs alike take part in International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which happens every year on Sep. 19. And there’s a treasure trove of pirate-themed fun in Vancouver.

Brush up on your facts with I Wonder Why Pirates Wore Earrings by Pat Jacobs and Wow! Surprising Facts About Pirates by Philip Steele (at local bookstores). Put your new knowledge to use composing a sonnet or haiku with a Pirate Magnetic Poetry Kit—though perhaps a ribald sea shanty would be more apropos. Discover all sorts of nautical lore at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and if swashbuckling swordplay is more your thing, visit Academie Duello to learn how to use a rapier, longsword and more.

Look the part in a skull t-shirt by Strellson (at The Bay), an anchor ring handmade by Vancouver company Lacar (at Cavalier) and an anchor pendant from Thomas Sabo. Deck out your abode with an anchor doormat from Kikkerland and a Jolly Roger from The Flag Shop. Carry your buccaneer booty home in a tote bag from Make.

Dress pint-sized pirates in super-soft clothes from Pineapple Pete Kids

Dress pint-sized pirates in super-soft clothes from Pineapple Pete Kids

Dress a pint-sized pirate in an adorable shirt made from ultra-soft bamboo/cotton by local company Pineapple Pete Kids and a Disney’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates watch by Flik Flak (at Swatch The Store). Then keep the rapscallions and scallywags busy with Pirate Adventure Dice (at www.amazon.ca), a sailing trip around False Creek with Pirate Adventures or a visit to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, which on Sep. 19 features a pirate-themed scavenger hunt with the grand prize of a chocolate treasure chest. Also popular with the 10-and-under crowd is a Pirate Pak meal from White Spot, served in a cardboard boat.

Pillaging and plundering are hard work, so bring your appetite to the Burrard Bridge Marine Bar & Grill. Known as Vancouver’s pirate pub, this charming eatery goes overboard for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, with themed contests, drink specials, swag, trivia and a photo booth, plus a prize for the best-dressed pirate.

Trade in the usual grog for Crystal Head Vodka

Trade in the usual grog for Crystal Head Vodka

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! If no grog is handy to wash down your rations, try some Crystal Head Vodka. Manufactured in Canada, this additive-free spirit was created by actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander, who designed the distinctive skull bottle (at local liquor stores).

Shiver me timbers, if only this day came around more than once a year!

Decked-Out Decor

By KRISTEN MORAN

Dine amongst beautiful decor, and all for a good cause

Dine amongst beautiful decor, and all for a good cause

September 21 and 22

Dining at lavish, whimsical tablescapes and sipping elegant cocktails while supporting a good cause? Monogram Dinner by Design really sets the bar high for an unforgettable culinary experience. The event sees 15 interior designers transform small spaces into inventive dining rooms, in themes ranging from ultra-chic to fanciful, creating a feast for the eyes. Come to the Cocktail Art evening (Sep. 21) for mingling, drinks and live entertainment, or opt for the Gala Dinner (Sep. 22) to enjoy a delectable meal at one of the extraordinary tables, with proceeds going to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.

Pleasantly Pubby

By TIM PAWSEY

Pork pie accompanied by  a pint of Guinness. (Photo: KK Law)

Pork pie accompanied by a pint of Guinness. (Photo: KK Law)

Pop by the West End’s Fat Badger and you’ll find more than a hint of what’s helped to put the UK back on the dining map. Chef and co-owner Neil Taylor hails from Berkshire, which bestows full licence for “serious” pub food with a local twist in a conversation-friendly, TV-free setting. Recent favourites include whisky-cured salmon, pork belly and terrine. But don’t miss the Scotch eggs; the trio of Yorkshire puddings with roast beef, gravy and horseradish; the sinfully good sticky toffee pudding—or the parade of appropriate taps, from Smithwick’s to Guinness to Kilkenny and more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Blacktail Florist’s Elevated Plates

By TIM PAWSEY

Salad of spring vegetables and mushrooms. (Photo: KK Law)

Salad of spring vegetables and mushrooms. (Photo: KK Law)

Up a few stairs off Gastown’s Water Street, Blacktail Florist, a casual but polished haunt, brims with local taste and creativity. Myriad choices may roam from Humboldt squid with rhubarb and celery slaw, to wild mushroom poutine, to roasted duck breast with sunchoke, onions and watercress. A well-chosen wine list of BC’s top drops makes for perfect—and still very regional—pairings.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Beachy Brunch at Calabash Bistro

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

French toast with a tropical twist, at Calabash Bistro

French toast with a tropical twist, at Calabash Bistro

Islands-inspired French toast, pastries and eggs—all served with a side of Bob Marley and a Dark & Stormy. That’s what you’ll find at Calabash Bistro’s weekend brunch. Tropical temptations range from brunch bowls complete with coconut rundown hollandaise—a custard-like coconut reduction—and fried plantains, to French toast (pictured) served with delectable banana cream and spiced mango syrup on fresh-baked Guyanese coconut bread. Plus, beachy bevvies such as sorrel rum punch may take brunch into lunch and beyond. Paradise, found.

Why We Love Farmers’ Markets

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

There is a lot to love at Vancouver's farmers' markets

There is a lot to love at Vancouver’s farmers’ markets

Local Eating Though most meals travel 2,400 km (1,491 mi) from producer to plate, market produce usually travels less than 300 km (186 mi), which is great for the planet—and tastes better, too.

Fresh Produce In-season fruits and veggies make for picnic perfection, and September boasts a bounty of local fare:
Apples
Carrots
Grapes
Lettuce
Melons
Pears
Plums
Peppers
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Zucchini

Sweet Services Need a massage? Or fresh-cut flowers? How about knife sharpening? Many booths go far beyond fresh fruits and veggies.

Spirited Sips Find craft beer at R&B, or spirits produced from local ingredients at Odd Society and Long Table Distillery. Or for something truly unique, try the fortified walnut wine at Vista D’oro.

Cool Crafts A local handicraft makes a great souvenir. Chat with artisans over jewellery, pottery, beeswax products (delectable local honey included), chocolates, artworks, aromatherapy, woodwork and more.

Local markets are open rain or shine, and dogs are welcome

Idyllic Dining Escape

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Michael Genest of Hart House. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Michael Genest of Hart House. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away in Burnaby’s scenic Deer Lake Park, about 15 minutes from downtown, Hart House Restaurant is housed in a gracious, mock-Tudor manor, with lawns stretching down to the water’s edge. After cooking around the world, chef Michael Genest landed here to craft Pacific Northwest–inspired specialities such as Dungeness crab spaghettini, halibut duo, seared lamb loin and Brome Lake duck breast. Or go for the three-course, $36 prix fixe and take time to savour selections from the extensive, award-winning wine cellar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Gourmet Parisian Pastries

By TIM PAWSEY

An array of desserts found at Faubourg. (Photo: KK Law)

An array of desserts found at Faubourg. (Photo: KK Law)

Faubourg, a trio of smartly appointed, chandelier-bedecked, gourmet bakeries, transports you to Paris, with the look and feel of a fashionable cafe on the Champs-Élysées or Boulevard Saint-Germain. Owner Franck Point, who hails from Lyon, oversees meticulously made croissants (including pistachio or almond-paste-filled, and pain au chocolat, of course), baked fresh throughout the day. Other temptations range from flaky mille-feuille topped with Chantilly cream to impeccably made macarons, not to mention the dessert of the month, plus an array of delicious breads (baguette, brioche, etc.), excellent coffee and polished, prompt service.

Beaune on Main

By TIM PAWSEY

Floating Island (fluffy egg white floating on creme anglaise, toasted almond and caramel sugar nest). (Photo: KK Law)

Floating Island (fluffy egg white floating on creme anglaise, toasted almond and caramel sugar nest). (Photo: KK Law)

Nestled among Main Street’s funky antiques stores and edgy boutiques, The French Table is a welcoming, unswervingly Gallic salute in a laid-back bistro setting. Hervé Martin (once chef to the King of Belgium) revels in classics ranging from Burgundy fondue and pan-fried sweetbreads to duck confit and coq au vin, delivered with impeccable but friendly service. Unearth more good Main Street tastes at Burgoo, for comfort food, and The Acorn, for cutting-edge vegetarian.

West End Italian

By TIM PAWSEY

(Front) Antipasto salami and cheese platter. (Back) Tonnarelli cacio a pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper). (Photo: KK Law)

(Front) Antipasto salami and cheese platter. (Back) Tonnarelli cacio a pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper). (Photo: KK Law)

Locals know Tavola, a friendly haunt just west of Robson at Denman, for its flavour-packed fare and smartly picked Italian and Pacific Northwest wines. Perch at the bar for walnut pesto or chicken-liver crostini with a glass of grappa. Or settle in for house-made pastas, made fresh daily, such as seafood linguine with anchovies, garlic, chillies and lemon, or brown-sage gnocchi with pine nuts. Mains run from seasonal seafood to brick-roasted chicken and more.

Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tours

By SHERI RADFORD

Tour attendees sample food at Urban Fare

Tour attendees sample food at Urban Fare

Foodies know that the best way to experience a new city is by wining and dining, but there are only so many restaurants a solo eater can try each day. The solution? Sign up for the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour with Vancouver Foodie Tours and visit five of the city’s top destinations in just three hours. Stops such as Kirin and Urban Fare (pictured) guarantee that rumbly tummies quickly turn into satisfied bellies. Each tour ends with sweet treats at Bella Gelateria; the first delicious bite demonstrates why the celebrated gelato shop is the second busiest in the world. Let the eating begin!

The PNE by the Numbers

By SHERI RADFORD

Whether you go for just one day of the Fair at the Pacific National Exhibition or all 15 days, it adds up to a memorable experience

The Wave Swinger is a favourite for everyone at the Pacific National Exhibition. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE and Tourism Vancouver)

The Wave Swinger is a favourite for everyone at the Pacific National Exhibition. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

1910 - year of the first PNE

2,000 – times per day a PNE Prize Home ticket seller says, “Win a house, win a car!”

2,000 – calories in the Vortex Burger from Gourmet Burgers

860 - pounds of food consumed by the 45 Superdogs*

Full house at the Superdogs show at the PNE. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

Full house at the Superdogs show at the PNE. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

74 - years that local big-band leader Dal Richards has performed at the PNE

712,049 - visitors*

200,000 - people saw the Superdogs show*

250,000 - stuffed animal prizes won at the games*

22 - dumpster loads of dung taken away from the livestock barns*

The Hellevator and AtmosFEAR, two of the tallest rides at Playland. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

The Hellevator and AtmosFEAR, two of the tallest rides at Playland. (Photo: Courtesy of the PNE/Tourism Vancouver)

3,750 - deep-fried Mars bars sold*

81 - age of the oldest person to ride the AtmosFEAR*

2,000,000 - Those Little Donuts sold*

 

*During 2013 Fair at the PNE