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Vancouver

Sweet Street

By SPENCER VAN VLOTEN

Just one of the many sweet creations along Gingerbread Lane.

There are plenty of sweet creations along Gingerbread Lane

Maybe you can’t catch the gingerbread man, but you can catch Hyatt Regency’s Gingerbread Lane from Dec. 4 to 27. The 26th edition of this sweet event features dozens of eye-catching creations by professional chefs, amateur culinary artists and local secondary school students. Previous displays include a towering building and the Gastown Steam Clock in cookie form, and a new selection of sugary masterpieces promises to impress. Stroll down the lane free of charge, and be sure to vote for your favourite.

Toruk on Tour

By SHERI RADFORD

Toruk--The First Flight. (Photo Errisson Lawrence)

Toruk–The First Flight. (Photo: Errisson Lawrence)

Dec 14-18 James Cameron’s record-breaking movie Avatar introduced the visually stunning world of Pandora. What do you get when you take Pandora and add in clever puppets, soaring kites, cutting-edge multimedia effects and the astounding stagecraft that Cirque du Soleil is famous for? Toruk – The First Flight, which is dazzling audiences this month at the Pacific Coliseum. It tells the story of two brave boys and their new friend who embark on a quest to save the Tree of Souls.

Tasty Tomes

By SHERI RADFORD

Bring home the delicious tastes of CinCin Ristorante and Araxi

Bring home the delicious tastes of Araxi and CinCin Ristorante

If only you could pack your favourite restaurant into a suitcase and take it home with you. Now you can (sort of), thanks to two newly published cookbooks. CinCin: Wood Fired Cucina shares the secrets of CinCin Ristorante’s wood-oven cooking techniques, revealing how to create traditional Italian dishes using seasonal West Coast ingredients. Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes embraces the local-eating philosophy of Araxi in recipes such as seared wild scallops with cauliflower tempura or roasted beets with chickpea caponata and nasturtium pesto. The two tasty tomes are available at Barbara-Jo’s Books To Cooks and other bookstores, which means the mouth-watering flavours of British Columbia can linger long after your vacation has ended.

 

Perfectly Packed

By SHERI RADFORD

A set of Mumi's packing cubes.

A set of Mumi packing cubes.

Tidy up your travel gear with a five-piece set of packing cubes from Mumi. Available in an array of bright colours, these lightweight but durable cubes help you maximize suitcase space by keeping everything organized, from socks and underwear to toiletries and electronics. Buy online at www.mumidesign.com.

Taco Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Soft and crunchy carnitas (front), lemon grass chicken burritos (left) and tater tots (right). (Photo: KK Law).

Soft and crunchy carnitas (front), lemon grass chicken burritos (left) and tater tots (right). (Photo: KK Law)

A recent arrival in Yaletown, pint-sized Tacofino is an offshoot of its ever-popular Gastown mothership. Pack in for surf-centric bites such as lingcod fish tacos, beef-brisket-barbacoa burritos, white-bean tacos and more. Traditional tequila cocktails include a margarita and a paloma. Think Tofino meets Baja–with sustainably sourced ingredients and Ocean Wise seafood.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Disney On Ice: Worlds of Enchantment

By SHERI RADFORD

Anna and Elsa are just two of the Disney stars coming to town for Worlds of Enchantment.

Anna and Elsa are just two of the Disney stars coming to town for Worlds of Enchantment.

Nov 23 to 27

Your kids know every word to “Let It Go”—and belt out the song at least once per day. They can recite all the adventures of Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Slinky Dog, Little Bo Peep and Mr. Potato Head. They pretend to be Lightning McQueen and Mater every time they enter a vehicle. In other words, your kids will absolutely love Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment, which skates into the Pacific Coliseum for nine shows filled with Disney-inspired music, dancing, stunts and, of course, superb ice skating.

Boundary Bending Boxes for a Cause

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Full Moon Container" by Shawn Hunt. (Photo: Lattimer Gallery).

“Full Moon Container” by Shawn Hunt. (Photo: Lattimer Gallery).

Nov 19 to Dec 3, 2016

Some artists think outside the box—others paint it. Each year, Lattimer Gallery presents 20 BC-based First Nations artists with a blank cedar bentwood box, and receives a stunning showcase of creativity in return. The handcrafted artworks are then auctioned off, all in support of the Urban Native Youth Association. See boundary-bending pieces by the likes of Corrine Hunt, Sonny Assu, Gwaai Edenshaw and Shawn Hunt at the 2016 Annual Charity Bentwood Box Event, Nov. 19 to Dec. 3, 2016. Now that’s a cool cause.

Eastside Culture Crawl

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“Alley Variations #5” by Richard Tetrault

“Alley Variations #5” by Richard Tetrault

For 20 years, art admirers have taken to the streets to ponder paintings, pottery, photography and more at the Eastside Culture Crawl (Nov. 17 to 20, 2016). The popular festival draws over 25,000 studio-hoppers as they tour the creative spaces of nearly 500 local artists. Download a map from the Crawl’s website and embark on a self-guided tour to 78 venues in edgy East Van. The souvenir-savvy snag one-of-a-kind pieces, such as relief prints by Richard Tetrault (“Alley Variations #5,” pictured).

Brothel #9: Catch the Award-winning Play at The Cultch

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Brothel #9 (Photo: Emily Cooper).

Brothel #9 (Photo: Emily Cooper)

Nov 17 to 27

In Brothel #9, an award-winning play by Anusree Roy, a young woman named Rekha travels from her tiny Indian village to the big city of Calcutta, to begin work in a light-bulb factory. However, she quickly discovers that her new job isn’t what she expected—she’s been sold into a brothel. Catch her haunting, hard-hitting journey at The Cultch.

Convention Centre Cravings

By TIM PAWSEY

Angus prime rib beef dip, at Lions Pub. (Photo: KK Law).

Angus prime rib beef dip, at Lions Pub. (Photo: KK Law)

A wealth of options around the Vancouver Convention Centre include breakfast bites at De Dutch, pub fare at Mahony & Sons, West Coast cuisine at Cactus Club and well-picked pints at Tap & Barrel. Plus myriad flavours await just a few steps away.

Lions Pub This warm and welcoming British-inspired haunt yields good local taps and suitably pubbish fare to go along, from Scotch eggs to rarebit to mini Yorkshire puddings.

Chewies This bustling emporium adds a southern twist to all things bivalve, “steamed, stewed or nude.”

Giovane Just off the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s lobby, this self-serve Euro-cafe enjoys a well-earned rep for excellent coffee, smart paninis, perfect pasta and tempting baked treats.

Hapa Izakaya Find traditional Japanese tastes with a West Coast small-plates bent, along with the freshest of sushi, serious sake and smartly chosen wines, in a sleek ’n’ sexy setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Gift Rapt: Circle Craft Christmas Market

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Felted bowls by Hold

Felted bowls by Hold

It’s never too early to start making your list and checking it twice. The Circle Craft Christmas Market (Nov. 9 to 13, 2016) makes gift-giving merry and bright with handmade pieces perfect for everyone on your list—naughty or nice. The event showcases over 300 artisans and their wares, including wraps by Chloë Angus Design, wooden toys by Fidoodle, textiles by Hold (pictured) and everything in-between. It’s holiday shopping, all wrapped up.

Sweet Treats at Yew Seafood + Bar

By SHERI RADFORD

Old-fashioned chocolate cake

Old-fashioned chocolate cake

It’s always a good idea to save room for dessert, but especially so at Yew Seafood + Bar. Executive pastry chef Mark Burton constantly dreams up new ways to satisfy a sweet tooth, and his ever-changing menu features new creations alongside tried-and-true favourites such as old-fashioned chocolate cake. Good thing calories consumed while on vacation don’t count.