Food and Drink

Sample delicious snacks, sip yummy drinks from local establishments to beloved brand names around the world. All sorts of tasty treats can be found here, so bring your eyes and stomach. Bon appétit!

UBC Apple Festival returns for 26th year this October

Grimes Golden

A bag of Grimes Golden apples at the UBC Apple Festival.

Take a bite into fall with the UBC Apple Festival this October! On Saturday, October 14th and Sunday, October 15th, 2017, between the hours of 11:00 am and 4:00 pm, you can sink your teeth into everything apple related at the UBC Botanical Gardens on the west side of the university campus.

Some 63 types of apples are lined up, with 70 varieties of trees for purchase. While a list of cultivars for this year won’t be posted until October, some of the ones served up last year included Ambrosia, Bramley’s Seedling, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Grimes Golden, and Salish.

In addition to the apple sales, this family-friendly event will include an apple tasting, food stalls, a kids play area, crafts, live music and entertainment. Plus, the gardens are open for exploration, with special pricing for the Greenheart TreeWalk.

Admission is $5 (cash only), or free for those aged 12 and under, which gets you access to the event and the botanical gardens. There is no parking at the gardens, but shuttle buses will run every 15 minutes between the Botanical Gardens and the West Parkade and the Fraser River Parkade on campus.

For more information, visit the UBC Botanical Garden web site.

Eat! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival returns fall 2016

The 14th annual Eat! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival is back for another delicious year with a smorgasbord of dining events October 4th through 7th, 2016.

This year there are new experiences designed to get you up and close with some of Canada’s best chefs. 2016 edition of EAT! Vancouver will be highlighted by a Dinner Series over October 4th and 5th, BETA 5 chocolate demo on Monday, October 4th and a Food Trends Tasting Panel on Tuesday, October 5th, the Eat! Harvest feast on Thursday, October 6th, and lastly, An Intimate Evening with Chef Michael Smith on Friday, October 7th. Proceeds from these benefit the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Unlike earlier years, there is no one central location hosting a marketplace of vendors, restaurants and seminars. Each event is designed to create an a more inclusive atmosphere where patrons get to know their chefs and have an intimate involvement with their creations and techniques.

Tickets for these culinary sessions are available online through the Eat! Vancouver web site.

Fraser Valley Food Show returns to Abbotsford April 2016

Bring your appetite to the eighth annual Fraser Valley Food Show this April for three days full of cuisine, demonstrations and shopping at the Tradex in Abbotsford!

Through April 1st and 3rd, 2016, local vendors will have their best out for sample and sale. Everything from meats and dairy products, to vegetables, sweets, baked goods and seasonings. The Great Canadian Sausage Making Competition is an excellent way to become acquainted with the varieties and styles of preserving and curing meats. Adults can even partake in craft beers, regional wines and spirits in the Grapes and Hops pavilion. The Bite of The Valley pavilion brings a selection of Fraser Valley restaurants all under one big roof.

The Celebrity Stage will host a number of demonstrations throughout the festival to beef up your knowledge in the kitchen. This year’s special guest is the Food Network’s Bob Blumer.

In addition to all things edible, the festival is expanding to include spaces inside and outside the home with the Living Garden and the Spring Craft Market.

Admission tickets are available in advance online through the Fraser Valley Food Show web site or in person at the door.

Apple Festival returns to the UBC Botanical Gardens October 2015

Salish Apples

Bags of Salish apples for sale at the Apple Festival.

If you love apples (the edible kind, not the technology company), then the Apple Festival at the UBC Botanical Gardens is for you. Between the hours of 11:00 am and 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th, you can purchase bags of the crisp fruit, trees, and other apple-related treats.

But these aren’t just your regular Granny Smiths. Over 70 different varieties will be available, with some in limited quantities. While a list of cultivars for this year won’t be posted until October, some of the ones served up last year included Ambrosia, Bramley’s Seedling, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Grimes Golden, and Salish.

There will be a tasting tent to sample an array of some 60 different apples; there’s a separate $5.00 admission to enter. Other free events include educational demonstrations, a food and craft fair, live music and children-friendly activities.

Admission is $4, or free for those aged 12 and under, and gets you access to the event and the botanical gardens. There is no parking at the gardens, but there will be shuttle buses running to and from the West Parkade on campus.

For more information, visit the UBC Botanical Garden web site.

Cool down with Tea Sparrow’s Iced Tea Festival

With summer is already in full gear, beat the heat by stopping off at Tea Sparrow’s first annual Iced Tea Festival. Sample many loose-leaf iced teas from Germany, Canada, and the United States on Sunday, July 19th between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Heritage Hall in Vancouver.

There will be 16 variations of tea available, each having passed stringent quality and taste tests before being served up. Individual teas will be available for purchase, and new Tea Sparrow subscribers will be able to choose their first four teas at 40% off regular price.

Tea Sparrow is a monthly tea club where subscribers receive a box containing a new selection of high quality, chemical-free teas through the mail. The leaves are critiqued and scored by Tea Sparrow’s staff; only the best gets passed along to its members.

Admission to Tea Sparrow’s first annual Iced Tea-Off can be purchased in advance, with 2 for $10 or $10 at the door on Sunday, July 19th. Further details and tickets can be found on Tea Sparrow’s web site.

Kintaro serves up authentic Japanese-style ramen

Kintaro Ramen

Kintaro Ramen on Denman Street.

The thought of ramen shouldn’t stir up memories of dried packets of noodles and boiling water from a kettle. It should be long noodles served in savoury broth with chunks of meat and real vegetables. Kintaro does just that and like a traditional Japanese noodle-house, specializing in tonkotsu, or pork-bone broth ramen.

Situated just off the corner of Robson and Denman Streets in Vancouver’s West End, Kintaro is as close to a traditional ramen shop without having to cross the Pacific. It’s small and almost always busy; a good sign. On some days it’s not surprising to see line-ups outside, occasionally stretching up to the Robson Street intersection. If there’s a line, the ever-attentive waitresses are out with menus and taking orders, so as soon as you’re seated there’s no additional waiting for the food.

The menu may seem limited, but its because it keeps the kitchen focused on providing a consistent and delicious product. The soups themselves are are all made with pork-bone stock and customizable with a rich, medium or light broth and fatty or lean pork cutlets. There’s four main bowls available: shoyu made with soy sauce, shio made with pork stocks and sea salt, miso with a combination of soybean pastes from around Japan and twelve different spices, and spicy garlic with a hot miso broth and ground garlic. Specialty soups are available, with a cold ramen available in summer (June-September), and a ramen with two kinds of cheese.

Shoyu Ramen

A bowl of fresh shoyu ramen.

I usually order the shoyu ramen in medium broth and fat barbecue pork; the fat has all the flavour. Garnished with a heaping pile of bean sprouts and bamboo shoots, diced green onion, a paper-thin square of dried seaweed and a tender slice of pork. The noodles themselves are thin and soft, but not mushy; the sprouts counter this with a bit of a crunch. With the soy sauce mixed in, the broth is a little salty yet not overpowering. The pork can be a little chewy, but that delicious flavour brought out by the barbecue makes up for it. The bowls are big and I’m left with a sea of broth that will slosh around inside me after all the noodles, meat and vegetables are gone. It’s not a bad feeling, it just leaves me full, satisfied and slow-moving.

In addition to ramen and should still be hungry, Kintaro also serves up gyoza (dumplings), hanpayaro (small pieces of barbecue pork), slices of pork meat, kimchi (spicy Korean-style vegetables) and rice.

Prices are relatively cheap – $8.95 for most bowls, increasing to $10.45 for specialty soups. Additional toppings are a dollar extra, with pop at $1.85, local beer at $4.75 and imported beer at $5.75.

Kintaro is located at 788 Denman Street in Vancouver, is open 11:30 am – 11:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday and closed Mondays. Methods of payment accepted are limited to cash and debit; no credit cards. Dine-in only.

Naruto Ramune

Naruto Ramune!

Naruto Ramune!

The wide-world of anime-related merchandise just wouldn’t be complete without Ramune. Over the years, the alien-looking glass bottles have been decorated with labels from Pokémon and One Piece. Last spring, Viz Media added Naruto-themed bottles to that list.

Though Viz Media posted a list of retailers that sold the drink in North America to their Facebook, the Canadian locations were limited to one vendor, JFC International (Canada) Inc., the company handling the distribution in both Vancouver and Toronto.

I lucked out as the Konbiniya Japanese Centre on Robson Street had started stocking them. I grabbed an armful as each bottle bore a different design. There’s Naruto battling Sasuke, Naruto with rasengan, a partial Team Seven with Naruto, Sakura and Kakashi, and group shot of Naruto and his fellow ninjas. Aside from the colourful labels there’s nothing different about the pop inside which still has the classic bubble gum flavour.

Ramune bottles with Naruto labels

Same flavour, different bottle.

For those unfamiliar with Ramune, it’s a Japanese carbonated soft drink sold little glass bottles that are sealed by a glass marble. A plastic plunger is attached to allow the marble to be pushed in so the contents can be consumed. To allow the liquid to flow, the bottle’s neck is pinched so that the marble can rest, sort of resembling the face of an alien when viewed from a specific angle. There are a variety of flavours, but bubble gum is the most common.

EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival 2015

Make way for the pasta train!

Make way for the pasta train!

With the sun poking its head out on the weekend, much of the city was indoors exploring the culinary world at the 13th annual EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival at BC Place. The floor of the stadium was transformed from May 1st through 3rd into a maze of booths and demonstrations of delicious and decadent creations: artisan chocolates, premium chefs knives, aromatic cheeses, craft beers, and oh so much more. Read the rest of this article…

EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival back this May

Local strawberries on sale at the Urban Fare store during EAT! Vancouver Cooking + Food Festival in 2014

Local strawberries on sale at the Urban Fare store during EAT! Vancouver Cooking + Food Festival in 2014

If you like to cook or eat for that matter, head on down to BC Place Stadium to indulge in the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival this May. From May 1st through 3rd, sample local fare, watch chefs whip up their specialties, and purchase that missing ingredient to spice up your meal.

Over 250 culinary-related exhibitors will pack the floor next to the stages for new demonstrations featuring VIP Chef Experiences and the “Talk & Taste” Stage at BC Place. Don’t forget to explore the Canadian Food Artisan Pavilion, the Craft Beer Alley and on-site Legacy Liquour Store for the adults. Celebrated chefs making appearances this year include Rob Feenie, Vikram Vij, Ned Bell, Anna Olson, Susur Lee and Mark McEwan.

Tickets for EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival can be purchased for a discount online or at regular price in person at BC Place.

 

Apple Festival returns October 2014

Salish apples

Salish apples

Apple lovers, mark your calendars! The crisp fruit is the star of the Apple Festival which takes over the UBC Botanical Garden Saturday the weekend of October 18th – 19th, 2014.

Not only will you find classics, like Fuji, Grimes Golden and Granny Smith, but new names like Ambrosia and Salish. In addition to individual apples, tree cultivars will also be available for purchase so you can grow some at home. Of course, other apple related treats will be available for purchase — juices, ciders, pastries, and so much more. There will also be an Apple Tasting Tent to sample a variety of cultivars. It’s an apple-lover’s paradise!

The Apple Festival runs from 11:00 am PDT to 4:00 pm PDT on Saturday and Sunday, and admission is $4 (cash only) and free for children under 12. Parking is not available at the UBC Botanical Gardens, but further in the UBC campus with shuttle buses running between the gardens and parkades. For more information, visit the UBC Botanical Garden web site.

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