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Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: events Page 1 of 15

Pendulum Magazine x Origo Club, free cocktail hour

I was invited down to “Q-Lab” (a vape store by Stadium Skytrain station), to check out a new cocktail-tasting experience coming to downtown Vancouver; brought to you by “Pendulum Magazine​“. “Pendulum” is a Vancouver-based online publication, available in both in English and Chinese. It features travel, business, art, design, architecture, photography and culinary arts; internationally. And starting the month of October, they are teaming up with local restaurants and bartenders that aren’t necessarily accessible in downtown Vancouver. Together, they are bringing you a taste of what they are about, right to your doorstep. A concept that began from the feeling that there is not enough being done to highlight Vancouver’s amazing cocktail programs and mixologists. So this is “Pendulum” shining a light on them, with their platform.

I was here for their inaugural test run, two weeks before. A chance to test out the logistics and gather feedback for the official cocktail hour on October 26th, 2019. This is a free event, but in order to attend you need to register your attendance on “EventBrite”. I will provide the link below for those interested. It is a drop-in where guests enjoy a unique cocktail and small bite for their troubles.

October’s feature restaurant was “Origo Club”, focused on fine French food and drink in Richmond, with their flagship location in Beijing. What makes them unique is their desire to combine Chinese art with their food. Diners can expect authentic French cuisine, and enjoy it with the visuals of a rotating art collection. Their Richmond location boasts an exclusive list of French wines, Barons de Rothschild champagne, classic cocktails, and imported saké and whiskies from around the world.

For this collaboration they are featuring a unique Old Fashion. In true Old Fashion fashion, this one contains sugar, bitters, and whiskey. It is normally $20 a glass, but costs 5 times that to prepare. And is completely free to try in the days to come. Created by, Winson Ho, “Origo’s” Bar Manager. It is made with “the rare ​Château d’Arlay Côtes du Jura Vin Jaune​ (from France) and ​Aged 15-Year Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey”. This cleverly named, “Peculiar Fashion” adds a twist with its highlight of the rare French yellow wine, which is not readily available in Vancouver. A bottle will cost you $150-200, given its specialty production. The wine is not sealed in a barrel, but instead aged with air, giving it sherry notes as an aperitif. And a bottle of the 15 year old whiskey usually runs for $129. This promises to be a strong drink so they are suggesting that you don’t drive, if you plan on indulging. It is familiar as an Old Fashion with dry and mellow notes, while being warming and fresh.

With it, “Origo” is showcasing classic French canapés. A smoked salmon croissant with creme fraiche, and a side of water melon radish and three types of pickles. A beautifully composed small bite, but one that doesn’t necessarily match the cocktail above. Best enjoyed alone or with some tea, especially considering the small bite to follow.

And to finish off your snack, grab one of their housemade matcha macarons finished off with a logo stamped chocolate disk.

A great idea, and worth checking out if you will be in the area that day, especially if you like liquor. To see what they are about, register for your ticket with the link below. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/pendulum-magazine-x-origo-club-cocktail-hour-at-89-smithe-tickets-76346513477

Passions 2019, Vancouver’s best small food & wine gala

This past week marked the 16th annual “Passions” fundraiser. A night where local chefs and philanthropists come together to raise much needed funds for the Dr. Peter Aids Foundation. Through such efforts they are able to supply nutritious and much needed food for those in our community suffering from HIV/AIDS, mental illness, housing insecurity, and various substance use disorders. Each year they prepare approximately 96,000 meals for approximately 500 people. Everyone enrolled in the program has access to quality food twice a day. Enough to ensure that they meet their daily nutrient requirements, which is critical in helping with all or any “hefty medication regime”. The result, a program that boasts the best food for any social service program, anywhere. Through all their sponsors and all the donations, 100% of the funds raised went directly to the the foundation, which was a record-breaking $220,000 plus!

The night featured many of Vancouver’s best chefs and mixologists, living up to its reputation as “Vancouver’s best small food & wine gala”. The following is a recap of the night, as I ate and drank my way though all the offerings, and contributed to the good cause myself.

Held at “Performance Works” on Granville Island, the space was expanded and set up to host over 20 restaurants as individual tables, with stations to cook and assemble their small bites. As VIPs we were given earlier access to the event. An hour more to take in the food without crowds, and an hour more to drink; starting with a welcome glass of sparkling.

For the recap of the night through video, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

The following are the chefs and the restaurants they represent, as I ate through it all. To be honest with all the mingling and sampling, I didn’t get a chance to fully taste, critique, and take notes; so will only offer descriptions of what I can recall and that which stood out. But over all, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like, it was all dynamic, creative, and easy to eat as finger food.

Chef Richard Valverde was here representing “Ancora”. He brought with him an interactive “Manila clam ceviche shooter”. Made with aji amarillo leche de Tigre, and crispy quinoa. You stir it up, lick the rim, and take the fulsome contents down the throat in one go. Served cold, it was spiced well with citrus zest, and chewy with seafood.

Chef Hidekazu Tojo himself was on site, and as charming as ever. He remixed sushi with a duo of “smoked sablefish temari” and “geoduck gunkan”. No seaweed, but thinly sliced squash and cucumber used as a wrap with sushi rice instead. He called it “healthy”.

Chef Andrew Richardson from “Cin Cin” served up a vegetarian option in their “golden and chioggia beet salad” with whipped ricotta, smoked orange vinaigrette and pistachios. Fresh beets, salty cheese, crunchy nuts, and a light citrus dressing to bring it all together.

Chef Eva Chin from “Blvd” had “melon gazpacho” with lemon verbena, and variations of melon and fennel; served in little plastic cups with little plastic spoons. A cool, thinner soup, with a refreshing finish.

From “Copper Chimney” Chef Valentino Pereira had “quinoa chaat bites” with an avocado tamarind mousse. A crispy fried shell hiding a creamed centre, with additional crunch from the bed of puffed rice.

Chef Lee Cooper from “L’Abattoir” had a lovely “smoked duck breast” with beetroot and preserved blueberries. It was well balanced with fatty salty meat and sweet fruit.

“West’s” Bobby Milheron had a “geoduck tostada” topped with pickled Fresno chilli, green romesco, and cilantro. A crispy lime-forward snack to crunch on.

Chef Subir Ghosh from “Arc” had “pork rilletes” with fermentation vegetables and black mustard. A crusty crostini spread over generously with a chunk meat paste for a sour, tangy, and peppery two bites.

Chef Welbert Choi of “Forage” was serving up perfectly rounded “bison short rib arancini” balls in a chanterelle mushroom cream with rutabaga. A crispy fried battered ball of tender meat, fully flavoured with the distinct flavour of the chanterelle. Delicious.

Soon to open North Vancouver Restaurant, “Cantina Norte” was making their “Passions” debut with a fresh seafood ceviche from their chef, Jeremy Mitchell. Fresh shrimp, scallops, and white fish in citrus and aromatic herbs. Served on a flour tortilla chip with a spicy avocado mousse. This was my favourite ceviche interpretation of the night. The harder base made the seafood lighter and chewier for a nice contrast, and the spicy avocado mousse finished it off wonderfully.

“The Observatory” at Grouse Mountain had Chef Jack Chen on site offering up a “Chicken terrine” with cured egg yolk and a buttermilk sauce. A little dry, but very tasty with the yolk and peppery sauce.

A “Passions” regular Jean-Francis Quaglia was here representing his restaurant, “Provence”, with a “duck confit ballottine” and pickled BC cherries. The salty duck and sweet cherry were a great contrasting coupling, I just wanted something doughy to go with it.

I really liked the meaty canapé from “Notch8’s” Chef Dennis Peckham”. A “dry aged tataki” dressed with black pepper ponzu, spiced peanut, furikake, and shisho. Meat, bread, cream, and greens gathered together for a balanced bite.

“Market by Jean-Georges” has Chef Ken Nakano on location with “soy braised wagyu beef cheeks. Served on an airy fried prawn cracker, with a sweet and only slightly spicy Asian pear kimchi. Another meaty canapé I enjoyed, especially the prawn cracker that takes me back to my childhood.

Chef Marty Ra of “Pacific Yacht Charters” offered a hearty “Cambodian lemon chicken terrine” with a coconut lime foam, puffed rice, and cilantro. A little on the dense side, but tropical in flavour and fun in textural combinations.

“Honey Salt’s” Chef Jason Harper had a playful presentation for his “duck yolk gel”. It is best a mini cone to bite into, rather than lick from. Topped with orange segment, chive shallot, and a foie gras mousse it was salty and meaty, and the cone offered a neutral base.

“Joe Fortes’” Wayne Sych had a simple yet elegant plate of “smoked sablefish” served with a sweet potato hummus as a sauce, and pita crisps as a base. Wonderfully crafted, with great flavours and textures that went well together.

Chef Chris Andraza from “Fanny Bay Oysters” prepared a “smoked scallop ceviche” seasoned with chilli and citrus, served with a chunk salsa and pita chip strips for crunch.

“Minami” had Chef Alan Ferrer toasting up “aburi salmon oshi sushi” on the spot. Pressed wild sockeye salmon, jalapeño, and their trademark mayo-based Miku sauce. A menu staple and one I came back for, for seconds. Each piece also came with “Albacore tuna and kaiso seaweed tartare”. Beautifully prepared, but a little bland by comparison. Even with the spicy ponzu vinaigrette, wasabi creme fraiche, and a sesame wonton crisp.

Pastry Chef Betty Hung from “Beaucoup Bakery” had the only dessert of the evening: a “Plum and mascarpone verrinne” with a spiced plum compote, mascarpone mousse, and a hazelnut sable. It was a lighter offering, not too sweet or too dense. A great palette refresher and a nice end to all the food before it. Tasty with refreshing fruit and a salty cream to lap up with syrupy compote. It was best with the cookie garnish, I would have liked more of that crumbled up as a base.

As for drinks Katie Ingram of “Elisa” was here mixing her custom cocktail, “Boy in Berlin” featuring Ungava gin, white port, lemon, Riesling cordial, ginger beer, Bitter Sling orange and juniper bitters. It was pretty over ice, with a dried lime wheel and a rose bud.

“Bearface whiskey” was representing with the “Chicha Mule” featuring their whiskey with ginger beer and lime. A simply delicious mule.

The “1181 Cosmo” was named after the bar on Davie with of the same name. Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, and lime; a strong drink with plenty of kick.

As we mixed and mingled, ate and drank, we heard from the fundraiser’s chair, and Dr. Peter’s mother. We heard the good our contributions did, and were encouraged to help further with additional donations and bids during the live auction.

Shirtless men sold raffle tickets to prize winning draws. The silent auctions were easy to bid on with iPads at every table, and an app to track whether you still held your bid.

But the main event was the live auction, offering up chases to win grand prizes and experiences like a sushi rolling class with Tojo, an island getaway, a giant bucket of pickles, and a multi course dinner prepared by and served by a team of handsome firefighters. All of the prizes above were donated in full, so for all the money they raised, 100% went to the “Dr. Peters” aids Foundation. I was happy to do my part, winning my silent auction bid: a night out to the ballet with an executive hotel stay.

In conclusion “Passions” is everything it promised to be, and more. A great night, serving a wonderful cause, rubbing shoulders with talented chefs and the city’s finest philanthropist. For more details, and how you can contribute to “Dr. Peters’s” cause, visit the link below.

PASSIONS 2019
1110 Comox Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 1K5 604-608-1874
www.drpeter.org
Facebook: DrPeterAIDSFoundation
Twitter: @drpeterAIDSfdn
Instagram: @drpetercentre
#Passions19

Jimmy Choo high tea

When I saw the advert for this online, I jumped at the chance to attend what sounded like such a bougie high tea experience. At my current income bracket I could not hope to own a pair of Jimmy Choo’s shoes, so this would be my way of getting close to that lifestyle. However, things were not as expected, and I would continue to feel luxury at arm’s length this afternoon.

The event advertised a Jimmy Choo themed high tea tower, a look at their new fall collection, and a free gift. And it was the latter that sealed the deal for me and had me reaching for my wallet. I was most excited about the promise of a free gift. Not only would it be a great keepsake, but it would make the whole $150 ticket price worth it. I was expecting a key chain or a sample size of their fragrance to take home. Instead, everyone got a gift card, in a box, placed on their setting. It was a $100 gift card to put towards today’s pop up shop. Sadly, majority of the diners already splurged on this, and were not planing on spending more on a handbag at $1500 or a pair of pumps at $2100. So as it was the case with me, many gift card went unused. Left in the box to expire in less than a month’s time. The gift card had many stipulations. You could not combine gift cards, one per transaction; nor could you use them towards a fragrance. And there are no Jimmy Choo stores in Vancouver so you only had a limited time to redeem the card. A month, which is the time the pop up shutters down.

So already this event was off to a bad start in my books. And from here I was extra critical, trying to find value in what I had spent, yet coming out empty handed. For the visual blow by blow, and all the emotions, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

This high tea service, like all others at Fairmont Vancouver is held on the 15th floor, which is their roof. It is a lovely building with an amazing view, but the interior here is outdated, and nothing was done to mark the exclusivity of the occasion. You can enjoy tea here anytime with out a ticket, so I was wanted more bells and whistles for the commitment and price.

The only thing different, that was set up for the occasion was the showcase of Jimmy Choo shoes and small bags. Had I known this was targeted more as a shopping experience rather than high tea, I wouldn’t have bothered purchasing my ticket. And here I thought this was catered to us regular folk, a taste of the food life through finger sandwiches, scones, and sweets. Needless to say, I browsed the displays, lusted after the shoes, then simply walked away.

From here I continued to be disappointed in our food and drink offerings. You were able to choose your tea options from a list of 7. The menu listed them as “Lot 35 teas”, a brand I am familiar with, and one that I enjoy the prestige and quality of. One that I also felt would have matched well the feel of the space.

However what we actually got was tea by “David’s Tea”, as shown by the tags from the bags. It wasn’t bad per se, but it wasn’t what was advertised, and it felt a little too everyday for the upscale dining experience I bought in to.

We did each get a welcome glass of sparkling wine. This was not Moët, despite the menu listing Moët as the only option, at $30 a glass, if you wanted another. Yet another mar on the experience.

The actual tea tower was a pretty display. But besides a few of the desserts, it didn’t read any different or all that luxurious, or specifically like Jimmy Choo. I wanted more embellishments from each individual item, and a tray that was decorated and/or branded accordingly. I would valuable this at $50-60 for this. So I pretty much paid the remaining $90-100 for the gift card I will not be using. Nonetheless, the following is in the order of which we had them.

“Smoked salmon salad” with crème fraîche, salmon roe, and profiterole. Shredded fibrous salmon stuffed into a chewy pastry shell. The salmon roe was the highlight with its juicy pops.

The “Heirloom tomato” finger sandwich was visually appealing. Neufchâtel and balsamic pearls on whole wheat. The flavour came from the vinegary pearls, you had to place them strategically in order to get its tangy flavour with the other wise bland tomato sandwich. Some salt and pepper to taste would have been nice as well.

The “Traditional egg salad” came topped with thin slices of cucumber. It offered freshness and crunch to the otherwise pasty sandwich. The menu lists watermelon radish and brioche; I only got a sliver of the former as a garnish, and was missing brioche all together. As for the egg salad mixture it was chalky and light on mayo. Whereas I want tangy and maybe a little pickling from it.

The “Coronation Chicken” was my favourite of all the sandwiches. It had the most flavour with mango chutney, chilli, pickled walnut, and Pullman. The pickled walnut on top was interesting, it didn’t taste like a nut, and it wasn’t briny like a pickle. It was soggy and ate more like mushroom in its heartiness. The chicken spread was a tad spicy, and there was no sign of mango or its sweetness present.

I liked the look of the “Autumn harvest pea hummus” with prosciutto and ciabatta, but not its texture. And I didn’t find the ham and the hummus all that complimentary. The hummus was a pea forward grainy mush. The saltiness of the prosciutto hidden behind this flavour. The tangy goat cheese helped to pull it together, and the peppery pea shoots I found too much.

My guest doesn’t eat pork, so they substituted the prosciutto option above with beats and cream in another profiterole.

We each got two scones. One buttermilk raisin and one apricot. Served with orange marmalade, strawberry preserves, and clotted cream. The scones were perfect, exactly as I expected with plenty of spreads to give me the flavour I wanted.

For dessert, the two tone pink stiletto “Vanilla sugar cookie” was fun. Not too sweet, a great treat.

The “Macarons” were disappointing. They weren’t fresh. The shells were hard and crumbly and the cream, cakey. They were at least pretty in gold. Gold dusted caramelia cremeux and gold leaf topped elderflower cream. Neither were too sweet. Missing caramel, but got chocolate from the former. The latter was more floral.

The “Chocolate tart” was an explosion of chocolate, featuring a chocolate crust, a chocolate malt ball, a solid chocolate calling card, and plenty of creamy chocolate mousse. The Jimmy Choo logo was a nice tie in.

The “Orange pound cake” was a playful interpretation of one of the available to purchase Jimmy Choo handbags. The shade of pink was off, but the uniquely shaped crystal clasp was a pretty good match. I found the fondant too sweet, but the cake within, pleasant. Hints of orange from a nice sponge.

The most impressive of the lot was the “Lavender scented panna cotta”. All the balls and circles elevate this, adding juicy pops of jelly chews, along side the creamy panna cotta. The floral lavender notes paired well with the cassis brittle gel and passion fruit pearls. But it did get a little like eating perfume, towards the end.

The service was at least fantastic. Our server was attentive. He checked in on us and kept offering to take photos of us. And when we looked like we had, had our fill, he offered to pack it all up to go.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I expected a dip into luxury with this, and instead felt more on the outside looking in then ever. This was not for the every day person wanting to splurge, but a shopping experience for those who wouldn’t bat an eye at dropping $150 for a ticket to tea, and 2 more for each of their young daughters. Lesson learned, I will be staying away from ticketed high tea experiences for a while. Don’t deny your cravings.

FAIRMONT VANCOUVER
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC
(604) 684-3131
fairmont.com/hotel-vancouver

Starlight Casino

Today we were gathered at New Westminster’s “Starlight Casino”. Here, to get a more intimate look at this entertainment property. From two of its anchor restaurants to a game of baccarat in their salon room.

For the visual version, check out my latest vlog video, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

Our night began at “Kirin” for some fine Chinese cuisine. A whole suckling pig, lobster, and traditional dim sum desserts, to name a few. For more detail on what we ate, click the link below.

Kirin Banquet

 

As we nibbled we were also given a show by “Shang Noodle House” (also located within “Starlight”). They had their national noodle pulling champion from China, putting on a demonstration for us. She won the title 10 years ago, before she came to work with them here. From a ball of dough she pulled and stretched the round, repeating the motions again and again until she had noodle threads so thin and so soft.

We were then given a chance to touch it and hold it for ourselves. Although I wished there was time of us to try the pulling motion for ourselves, as well.

The final product was then deep fried for everyone to try. Crispy and crumbly, it melted in your mouth and tasted like corn flakes.

After dinner number one, we moved the party to the “Match Eatery” and pub, next door. We were given a tour of all their party rooms before finding ourselves in their “Bud room” with our own bar, pool table, and television screens. For the run down of “Match” and all that they have to offer as the place to party in New Westminster, visit the dedicated blog post below.

Match Eatery, Starlight Casino

From there it was a quick stop at the casino’s “Red Bar”. A bar and club of sorts. Every night, after 9pm its doors open and the party energy within spills on the actual casino floor. Here they have non-ticketed live bands playing every Friday and Saturday. Rotating musicians playing until 1pm and a live DJ taking over until they close at 2pm.

To immerse ourselves in the space further we enjoyed a “French 75”. A classic cocktail with gin, lemon juice, and sparkling wine.

With drink in hand we then rounded out the night playing baccarat, which all of us have never done so before. We were treated to a two round tournament in one of “Starlight’s “ prestigious salons. It is only open by special request with $25,000 buy-in to start and a $500 minimum to play. For those who request the salon, you are treated to your own concierge, they help with any requests you may have, and serve sparkling wine to help celebrate a win, or drown your sorrows in liquor.

The following are instructions on how to play baccarat, from what I retained. Naturally, there are a lot more nuisances to the game, but this is all I needed to get me through the first few rounds, where I started hot and fizzled out quick once my luck turned.

Each round is 20 hands. The goal of each hand is to get to 9. Aces are worth 1, face cards and 10s are 0. For example if you get a king and a 5, your total is 5 and another card is pulled trying to get to 9. The banker doesn’t draw on 7 or more, and the player will always draw on 5 or less. Either can only have up to 3 cards. You don’t actually hold any of the cards, the dealer places everything before them. A hand for the banker and one for the player. Your goal is to place your bet on whether you think the banker or the player would win. We were each given $2500 in chips to play with and one by one we busted. The last one standing won a gift card.

Thus, our night ended in us learning a whole lot more about the casino as a whole: sampling all the food options, checking out the entertainment possibilities, and trying our hand at the games. And yet there is still so much more we didn’t get to see and do. Definitely a great place for your next night out. And for those looking to go all out, they have shuttle service from the skytrain to the casino and back again, so you can leave your car and worries at home.

STARLIGHT CASINO
350 Gifford St., New Westminster, BC, V3M 7A3
(604) 777-8008
matchpub.com

Pre-Passions Event at Pacific Yacht Charters

Today we were treated to a hint of sun, so we took advantage of the clear skies, and set sail with “Pacific Yacht Charters”!

We were gathered aboard to celebrate the upcoming Passions Gala, in support of the Dr. Peter Centre and the Dr. Peter AIDS Fountain. Their work is focused on providing food, support, and therapy to those suffering with HIV/AIDS. Doing so with the belief that “the most basic building block of health comes from the food we eat”. Each year the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation prepares approximately 96,000 meal for approximately 500 people living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, housing insecurity, and various substance use disorders. Everyone enrolled in the program has access to quality food twice a day. Enough to ensure that they meet their daily nutrient requirements, which is critical in helping with all or any “hefty medication regime”. The result, a program that boasts the best food for any social service program, anywhere.

Our evening started with drinks and canapés, meeting board members and recalling our favourite “Passions” memories from years past. Not to mention getting teasers on what we can expect from this year’s festivities, on its 16th year.

We drank organic wine, enjoying our watery backdrop.

And grazed on artisan olive oil dipped in to with fresh crusty bread.

We picked at a cheese platter with crisp crackers.

And snacked on revolving small bites like black bean quesadillas. Mashed bean and soften tortilla full of zesty flavour.

The beef tartar with Parmesan cheese and red onion was tasty, but the crumbly bread-y base had me wishing for a crunchier cracker.

The herbed chicken skewer was nice with its lemony finish.

And before our evening wrapped up all the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation community and board members were acknowledged, its staff thanked for pulling everything together; and the man that started it all: Nathan Fong, was recognized.

Nathan took the stage, recalling how he started the event over 16 years ago. It all began with a cooking class he held and the request to have him throw a cocktail party in support of the foundation. Back then his first go yielded 9 Chefs and 100 attendees, raising $7,000. Fast forward “Passions” has raised 1.6million to date. An impressive feat considering this is one of the only charitable organizations that donates 100% of all its profits to the very foundation it is fundraising for. If you haven’t heard of this event before, this is definitely not the one to miss. Over 20 restaurants and chefs rolling up their sleeves and cooking for a cause.

The following is a list of which restaurant attendees can expect. An impressive list representing the breadth of Vancouver’s culinary scene. New to “Passions” is “Cantina Norte” (coming to North Vancouver in 2020), “Hydra”, “L’ Abattoir”, “Ancora”, and “Fanny Bay Oysters”. Familiar annual favourites like “ARC”, “Beaucoup Bakery”, “Boulevard”, “CinCin”, “Forage”, “H2 Rotisserie”, “Honey Salt”, “Joe Fortes”, “Market by Jean-Georges”, “Minami”, “Notch8”, “Pacific Yacht Charters”, “Provence Marinaside”, “The Observatory”, “Togo’s”, and “West”; will be back for 2019.

For those interested, there are a few tickets left. General admission is $225 per ticket. It includes unlimited small bites from all the participating vendors above and drinks by mixologists from “Elisa” and “H tasting lounge”. For $300 per ticket you can upgrade to VIP status. If you are planning on attending, this is the ticket you want. VIP ticket holders gets in earlier, with first access to all the food and drink stations, glasses of bubbles, and a VIP gift bag to close out the night with. And once again, it all goes to a great cause. 100% of your ticket cost goes directly to support the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood; and their 7 day a week, 24 hour licensed care residence, and enhanced supportive housing program.

Speaking from experience, attending last year’s occasion for the first time, and bidding on and winning one of the large auction prizes; I can tell you this occasion is the one to be at! The preeminent food and drink event in the city; the one that every foodie needs to attend at least once. Entry includes the ability to hob knob with a room full of talented chefs, while gorging on their delicious dishes; all in support of a great cause.

For more information on next week’s highly anticipated gala, check out the link below, and be sure to get your tickets soon! I will see you there!
https://www.drpeter.org/events/Passions/

 

PASSIONS 2019
1110 Comox Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 1K5 604-608-1874
www.drpeter.org
Facebook: DrPeterAIDSFoundation
Twitter: @drpeterAIDSfdn
Instagram: @drpetercentre
#Passions19

Long Table Dinner at Singletree Winery

“Handmade and Homegrown” with Tourism Abbotsford

Today I was invited down to Abbotsford to learn more about their new marketing campaign: “Handmade and Homegrown”. We gathered at “Singletree Winery” for a harvest themed event, which spoke to “Abbotsford’s booming agricultural scene, unique food culture, and fall offerings.

The heavy downpour put a damper on the evening’s plans, but with an erected tent and enough rain cover, we made the best out of the wet situation.

Our arrival began the reception, where we were treated to a welcome glass of “Singletree’s” sparkling wine. A light effervescent sipper that paired well with the large help yourself charcuterie board in the corner. This was a rustic platter of assorted meat and cheeses supplied by “Lepp Farm Market” and “Mt. Lehman cheese”. You grazed on the above, pairing it with crisp crackers, rye and sourdough loaf, seeded bread, and crusty baguette. Then dipped and spread your way through beetroot and chickpea hummus; roasted pumpkin, chilli and tahini; and eggplant and roasted garlic baba ganoush. There were also pickled bites and fresh fruit to nibble on. Pitted olives, pickled artichoke, strawberries donated by “Maan Farms”; and candied walnuts sweetened with honey from “Campbell’s gold honey farm and meadery”.

We grazed and chatted while awaiting the main event: the grape stomp. This will be my first ever grape stomp, and another one crossed off the foodie bucket list. The only thing I was missing was being able to pick the grape from the vine, and then drinking the squished product. For hygienic reasons, this is no longer the way juice is extracted from grapes, so it was a treat to be able to kick it old school, literally.

In groups of three we lined up behind the giant buckets filled with grapes still on stem. Then all participants stomped their hearts out, competing to see which team would produce the most juice. Speaking from my own experience it was fun, but tiring. Grapes between your toes, juice splashing against your ankles, and a warm foot bath waiting for you when your turn is done. Our team did not win, but everyone, who got to try, won in experience.

For how the stomping went, and the rest of this one of a kind night, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

Then it was time for our long table feast. Two tables set under the glow of strung up lights. Each laid with grape vines and silver plated chalices filled with actual grapes. They set the tone and spoke to the farm land we were dining on.

Our dinner was prepared by “White Table Catering Co.”. It featured plenty of local produce and products from neighbouring farms and businesses in Abbotsford; much like the charcuterie board above was. Their menu was created to reflect the transition of the season from summer to fall.

We started with the “zucchini veloute”, a luxurious soup. Soup so thick and creamy that it ate like dessert. It was given more depth with the roasted tomato tart finish. It was a two bite flaky pastry, topped with a micro herb salad for some freshness.

The next dishes were served family style, featuring locally grown vegetables. Platters that were passed from person to person as we took our fill and went back for more. The two salads were heartier, and exactly like how I want all my salads to be. The “Turmeric cauliflower salad” was crispy florets sweetened by bits of dates and pomegranate, given spice with coriander, and tang with yoghurt. I could eat this and the green salad below, every day.

The “Ladolemono salad” was green bean, asparagus, almond, and radish. More crispy vegetables, seasoned perfectly in butter, to allow them to shine through with their freshness. And the almonds slivers and the radish slices offered a different kind of textural crisp.

The “Roasted eggplant” was seasoned in Mediterranean spices, served with a thick Catalan tomato sauce, raw red pepper, and goat feta from “Mt. Lehman cheese”. You must like eggplant to enjoy this one; but if you don’t, the flavourful sauce and salty cheese does help to mask both the soggier texture and distinct taste of the purple vegetable. Good, but I would have preferred this as side to the chicken below, instead of a main on its own.

I much more preferred the “Roasted Brussels sprouts” with lemon yoghurt, dehydrated strawberries, more “Mt. Lehman” goat cheese, and crushed up hazelnuts. Another well balanced vegetable dish that gave you a great collection of tastes and texture to sort through. If I had access to such dishes more regularly, I would be a lot more healthier.

And lastly “roasted chicken” with a squash and pumpkin purée, and a corn and heirloom tomato succotash salad. This was my favourite of the savoury dishes. Tender and juicy quality chicken breast from “Rossdown Farms”, paired with every taste and textured side I would want with my lean chicken. Starchy purée, sweet corn, and juicy tomato.

And for dessert, it was one of the most beautiful panna cottas I have ever had. Roasted plum compote, pistachio, edible flowers, and honey from “Campbell’s gold honey farm and meadery”. A perfectly light dessert to end on. Just as fresh and beautifully done as all the courses before it. Tart plum and a silken pudding flavoured mildly like coconut. Conversing with my table mates, everyone else enjoyed this and their meal just as much.

And with dessert we enjoyed the 2015 Late Harvest Kerner from the Okanagan Valley. This smaller bottle of sweet dessert wine, left a great impression on everyone. It was so tasty, that I would mind just drinking this for dessert.

And with the first 6 of our 7 course meal we enjoyed either/or, or both a red and white from “Singletree’s” collection. Their 2017 pinot gris made from grapes grown in the Fraser Valley, and their 2015 Harness with grapes gathered from their vineyards in the Okanagan. Both wines perfectly reflecting the theme of “homemade and homegrown”. “Singletree” is terroir driven, they focus on the grapes that naturally grow well in this climate, thus giving you a true taste of Abbotsford.

You may have missed this culinary experience, but you can still enjoy the hospitality of the “Singletree Winery” through their events and use of their property. “Wind-down Friday” hosts local musicians as they perform live. And on any dry day, you can grab a seat in their licensed picnic area. Pull open a book, or see if you can spot some of the wild life that visit. The wild animals can be caught nibbling from the wild fruits that still grow in the area; seeing as the property use to be the largest fruit orchard in the city, with a focus on blueberries. Black bears, deers, and birds of prey.

SINGLETREE WINERY
5782 Mount Lehman Rd, Abbotsford, BC V4X 1V4
(604) 381-1788
singletreewinery.com

#handmadehomegrown
#cultivatedcity
#exploreabbotsford

The Magical Brunch at the Fairmont Vancouver

As soon as it posted, I purchased my tickets for this unique high tea experience; thus saving on the early bird pricing. Held at the “Fairmont Vancouver”, I had high hopes of grandeur, coupled with dreams of castles and happily ever afters; like those belonging to Disney princesses. It was advertised as being Disney-themed, but not directly connected to, or affiliated with the “house of mouse”.

To skip the reading and just watch the highlight reel, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

Based on the event’s website, I expected decorations and plenty of photos ops, so planned to stop by early to enjoy those without a crowd or wait in line. However, this was not the case. Early or not, everyone was hoarded into a ballroom and told to wait in a line. A ticket checker in Mickey ears then came around asking to scan your passes. And there we stood, impatiently waiting until 15 minutes after the advertised event start time. It was planned at 2hours, so while holding my breath, I wondered how will they make up for the loss of time? $75-80 is steep for high tea. The venue made up for part of it, but the experience left me wanting more.

There are 3 different sittings throughout the day. The earlier brunch sessions were family friendly, while the evening’s festivities was adults only. High tea and sit down service in the AM. And a cocktail and canapé style event, with over 4 hours of entertainment, in the PM. I rather sit and take in the setting, than chase rotating small bites. Plus, we did plan on drinking, and preferred to do it during the day. We took full advantage of the alcohol available to purchase, but it would have been nice to be greeted with a welcome glass, to set the mood.

You trade cash for drink tickets, and use them to purchase your choice of beverages between classic martinis, craft beer and bottled wine. With a $2 difference between deluxe and premium labels. We enjoyed premium white wine, but wished for sparkling; I felt like that would have been more princess-like.

Seating is first come first serve, wherever there is room. Each table is named after a Disney movie or theme. “Jungle book”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “enchanted tiki room”, and/or “golden zephyr” (to name a handful). We grabbed two seats at the latter, only to have two families with small children join us. We ended up swapping tables, in search of one only seated with adults. This was to ensure that our drinking would go without judgement. Seeing as the room was split in two, with the dance floor down the middle, it would have been nice to split the guests by under 19 and over 19; with the bar centrally located in the latter.

Each table is preset with the necessary dish ware and cutlery, along with two tea towers for everyone to share. One of each item, for each person. However, you can get away with seconds if your table mates passed on theirs.

The menu for high tea was posted before the event, so I knew to be disappointed when we didn’t get what was promised. This was especially the case for the finger sandwiches.

Instead of a “Smoked Salmon & Dill” sandwich, we got an open faced cucumber and cream cheese with green onion. An easy and light start, but not the same without the salmon.

The listed “Roast Beef Horseradish Creme Fraiche” was actually ham and white cheese with mayo and zesty mustard. Once again, good, but not as good, when you know what you should have gotten.

I did like the “Chicken Salad” sandwich. I am not sure if we got what was planned, but it was delicious, and my favourite item of the brunch. Flavoured with fragrant curry, it was definitely memorable.

The online menu also mentions a “Tomato & Cucumber” sandwich as the fourth, but we only got three.

The “Freshly Baked Scones” were buttery soft and crumbly. Each person had two: one plain with powered sugar; the other, slightly salty with baked cheddar cheese. Good as is, but for those who needed a spread, there was “Whipped Cream & Fruit Preserves”. The latter, a nice mellow apricot.

The “Selection Of Petit Fours” did not disappoint. Other than the juicy raspberry tart with custard in a buttery crust, they were all decorated to today’s theme.

A mini chocolate cupcake with chocolate disks to represent Mickey Mouse and his ears. It was spongy and moist, best consumed in one bite.

The sugar cookie was shaped like Cinderella’s glass slipper. They even got the perfect shade of pale blue, to match her iconic ball gown. It was not too sweet, but buttery like the texture of shortbread.

And my favourite was the swirl of meringue, made to look like Olaf from “Frozen”. He was the most animated with chocolate arms and a whimsical facial expression. You felt bad biting into him, and having him crumble on to your tongue.

At the beginning of the service, servers came around to pour coffee or tea, and later again to clear any empty glasses. But the whole brunch felt pretty much like self serve. You get up to get your own drink, you use tongs to grab an item off the tea tower; and if you need anything else, you have to search for an employee to get it.

As you ate, actors recreated popular scenes from your favourite Disney cartoons . All set around “Beauty and the Beast”. Belle and the Beast are spending time together. Belle is recalling her favourite fairy tales, retelling them like stories, with the Beast listening intently.

Belle starts things off by welcoming everyone, and asking them to “be our guest”. She sings this large musical number, alongside her fellow princess friends.

Next, Ariel explores her underwater world and recalls her collection, though showing and telling.

Flynn and Rapunsel sing around her freedom and what the future holds for the two.

Then Aladdin takes Jasmine on a magic carpet ride, all the way “to a whole new world”.

Elsa proves that you don’t need anyone saving you, as she belted out: “Let it go!”

After, Belle and Beast took to the dance floor. There, they re-enacted the moment where they fell in love, mid waltz.

Then humoursly, the “show” closed with all the actors getting together to sing their favourite Disney song, “Hakuna Matata”; nodding well to the upcoming, live action Blockbuster movie.

Those who knew the words sang along to all the songs above. However, with all that was going on, and all the young kids walking through the dance floor with careless abandon, it was distracting. The live actors were great at rolling with things, as their microphones squeaked; and their dance floor saw congestion, as tiny bodies tried to hug their favourite princess. Despite all that, I still definitely preferred this high tea setting to the adult only cocktail mingler. Though the all ages aspect did take away from my experience, as a fun loving adult. If they repeat this event again, I would suggest having two lunch seatings, or brunch on two different days, with and without children.

There was a list of karaoke songs printed out and set at each table, yet there wasn’t any mention of it, or an opportunity to sing along to your favourite tunes. But that might be because they were having difficulties with their projector and getting their message across in the screen.

Along with the live show that came and went, with breaks between musical numbers; there were photo ops and vendors scattered through the ballroom. Not to mention, ones with the actors, once their performance was done.

A paper flower wall of blues, purples, and pinks with gold centres for you to pose in front of.

And a scene decorated to look like a forest clearing with paper mushrooms and butterflies, as well as artificial turf and tree.

There were also two tables where local jewelry artists were set up for shopping. This was a nice idea, but none of their goods necessarily matched the princess theme. Had they, I could see more guests becoming customers, purchasing diamond necklaces and matching earrings to fill out their look. Or something overtly Disney in tone, to take home as a keepsake. Instead, there were crystal necklaces, metal outlines of nature, and animals printed in enamel settings.

And the calligrapher who wrote out the name of each table was on location, creating bookmarks for all the guests. Your name against watercolour or metallic on black. This was a nice little keepsake, and helpful in receiving your seat. Shame, I didn’t wait the 5 minutes necessary to have it fully dry.

Overall the “Magical Brunch” was a great idea, but I would have liked to see it executed differently. The venue was stunning, but I would have liked two high tea seatings, one just for families and another for adults only. The photo ops could have used more props and something more representative of the theme, and maybe more of them. An underwater background for “The Little Mermaid”, the ability to climb up a tower to put yourself in Rapunzel’s shoes, and/or a frozen landscape to build a snow man with Elsa. They could have done much more to elevate this to the level of the “Fairmont Vancouver”, and I didn’t get that. Not to mention what was promised on the menu and indirectly in the photos used to advertise the event, did not measure up. Memorable, but I would not pay the price again.

THE MAGICAL BRUNCH
https://www.themagicalbrunch.com/

Chef Ivy Yang popup

Today I was invited down to “Hy Tea Lounge”, at the striking waterfall building. Here, to attend the trial run of a series of sit down dinners hosted by “Swipe Menu Event”. Their desire is to bring foodies together with well known local chefs for dinners held at various venues. All with the goal of diversify the dining experience in Vancouver.

And this blog post gives you a look at what you can expect from their very first pop-up. Four courses prepared by Chef Ivy, better known for her work as the executive sous chef at “ELISA Steakhouse”; and formerly of “Blue Water Café” and “Ask for Luigi”. Today she was representing herself in her farm to table inspired dinner, which included fresh vegetables sourced from her friend’s farm. “I like to support local farms. These ingredients can always help me create the most healthy and delicious food for my customers.” says Ivy.

The actual event is on September 27th, and I am here to see what it is about first hand, and to report if it is worth the $75 fee (this price does not include the $5.60 Event Brite fee). But it does include refreshments upon arrival, a glass of champagne, Chef Ivy’s four course meal; and for a little more, four glasses of wine perfectly paired with each course. The dinner does breeze by quickly with dishes coming to pass quick, and prompt service; so it is best to prolong your experience by opting in for the bonus drink feature, for $45 more. More drinks equal more fun.

Each event night consists of 2 sittings. One after another in two hour intervals, with 30 minutes in between for the kitchen to regroup. What sounds like a tough shift went smoothly, so I am sure show time will not be an issue.

We sat across 2 large tables, set with silver chargers, golden cutlery, and a display of peach roses and baby’s breath to set the upscale mood. The following is what we had. The menu is posted on the event page so you know what to expect ahead of time. Therefore there aren’t any substitutions. Nuts, gluten, and dairy are all part of the deal. Course by course Chef Ivy presented herself and her dishes to us, exactly as how you would get them if you purchased a ticket.

The first course was “Hamachi Crudo” with chanterelle, black table farm tomato, lemon, cucumber, and black olive tapenade. It was fresh and fragrant, a light and easy start. The flavour of the korabi compressed with fish sauce and the pickling with apple cider vinegar doesn’t overwhelm. This was a thoughtful dish. There was enough visual and textural interest to curate and change up the flavour bite after bite. The dish was watery at the bottom, but not watered down.

Round two was titled, “Everything smoked”, a sealed mason jar is set before you. In it salmon roe, potato, and confit egg yolk. Supposedly when you open the jar, smoke is released for a visual treat, but sadly none of us had even a puff waft out when we opened ours. Next, your server comes around and sprinkle some homemade furikake over your portion.

You then stir everything up for a uniquely smoked potato purée, made fishy with the smoked and marinated ikura. It was a delicious paste, that would have been better as a side, than featured as its own standalone dish. Ideally, along side the duck to follow.

Our third course was “Duck breast” served with fregola, pistachio pesto, black kale, sour cherry, and black truffle jus. “Fregola” is a type of pasta that typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into balls 2–3 mm in diameter. It is a fun texture to chew through and a great base for the duck. But I expected more than one piece of duck, especially as my one was over cooked and a touch dry. The greens on the side were bitter, but helped fully and masked by the cheery flavour I did really enjoy.

For dessert everyone had their own “Eclair” with Moscato poached apricot, caramelized white chocolate, and goat cheese. The cream tasted like salted caramel, it paired well with the sweetness of the softened apricot. But my favourite element of this was the crispy tuile, I could eat a bag of them as is.

If you haven’t visited “Hy’s Tea Lounge” before, this is a good reason to. The space is so special, and this four course dinner is a great way to highlight it. Not to mention, it is always great supporting local talent and home spun initiatives like this in the city. If there is enough demand, there will be more new and upcoming ways to enjoy Vancouver’s full food scene.

This one-night event will be held on September 27th at HY Tea Lounge on 2nd Ave, right behind the waterfall. Tickets are limited, so be sure to get yours before they are gone. The first seating is at 6pm, the second 8:30pm, two rounds to get your chance to try the first in a series of such pop up culinary events. Be warned tickets are non refundable. But for those interested in more information or in purchasing a pair, check out the link below.

#ivyspopup
@ivy.f.yang
@swipemenuevent
@hytealounge_waterfallbuilding
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chef-ivy-yangs-pop-up-dinner-at-hy-tea-lounge-tickets-70390599177

Dîner en Blanc 2019: George Wainborn Park

“The Social Concierge” brings Vancouver another year of Dîner en Blanc, summer’s most photogenic event. Once a year, attendees dawn their brightest whites, and gather at a secret location; to celebrate the height of summer, with a picnic in the park. Add in roaming actors, live performances, visual displays, and strategic photo ops; and you have the makings of another successful Dîner en Blanc!

This year the converging point was George Wainborn Park, downtown Vancouver. The location isn’t disclosed until 2 hours before the actual event. Where then, all participants converge with their all white regalia to set up for dinner. White tables, white chairs, white plates, and white napkins are a must.

But first, we were at the VIP pre-Dîner en Blanc party and reception, hosted by “M8”. I arrived a little too late to nosh on the charcuterie, and the small bites from the kitchen that rotated around. From what I heard this included the popular “M8” pork belly and their salted egg yolk deep fried chicken skin.

Thankfully, we were in time for the drinks. Wine and beer for purchase at the bar.

And a complimentary welcome cocktail that gave you the opportunity to customize it. Your choice of spirits mixed with fruit juice and flavoured Red Bull, then finish off with help your self toppings at their fruit and candy bar.

There was also “Strongbow” apple cider offered by the can, on the patio.

Then 15 minutes to 6pm, off we walked to the event site, joining others checking in as a sea of white. As guests set up their tables, live music played on the centre stage to set the jovial mood.

Once seated, all guests wave their white napkins in the air, to signal the beginning of the dinner.

We found a high top table in the media lounge, right by the open bar pouring sparkling wine, white, and red.

And we feasted from the self serve buffet present by “Hawksworth Catering”. Bread and dips; antipasti with artichokes, olives, tomatoes, and grilled vegetables; and crudités with dip.

My favourites were the finger sandwiches, a spicy chicken with scallions and crunchy vegetables; and a house smoked salmon with pickles, dill, and cream cheese.

And for dessert we enjoyed fresh fruits and a basket of chewy chocolatey cookies.

After eating and drinking their fill, guests are invited to explore the dinner grounds. Where various photogenic moments and points of interest are set up. There were white park benches and white recliners.

Hammocks for sitting on and others to lounge across.

“Fleurs De Villes” was on site, with their stunningly detailed, beautiful done, floral displays. White blossom encrusted chandeliers and lanterns hanging from trees.

And their trademark mannequins dressed in white and green plant material. Fashion forward looks with petals, stems and leaves. One wore a couture gown with aloe branches and orchids.

Another in white blossoms walked her ruffled petal dog, to match. And the last was sitting on a boat in the park’s water feature, shaded from by her daisy umbrella.

Nearby “Clarins” was on location, giving out skin care samples.

Then when the sun began to set, and the lights came on, the mood and ambience shifted with it. The DJ began turning his tables and the crowd filtered on to the grassy dance floor. Top 40 and hip hop paired with giant spot lights and the glow of purple neon.

And then the event highlight, the one that everyone looks forward to and closes out the night: the sparkler moment. Sparklers are passes out, everyone gets their own to wave about and add to the sea of twinkles.

When the trumpet call sounds, it is the end of the evening, and guests begin packing up. A collective clean-up effort has it so that the site is as neat as it originally was, prior to the event’s start.

And thus ends another successful Dîner en Blanc. This is my third year in attendance and each year I find they get better and better, and I become more and more amazed at how elaborate it is. Be sure you don’t miss out on the next one by checking out the links below.

DINNER EN BLANC
https://vancouver.dinerenblanc.com
Twitter: @dinerenblancvan
Instagram: @dinerenblanc.van
Facebook: /DinerenBlanc.Vancouver
#dinerenblanc #DEBVan #DEBVancouver2019

PNE Pre-Fair Press Conference & Preview 2019

Today I was invited down to the PNE, 2 days before The Fair’s opening season. I was here for a sneak peak of what guests can expect from this year’s run from August 17th to September 2nd, 2019.

Along with traditional media, I joined a tour around the fair grounds. The following is what is new and noteworthy, so that you can better plan your upcoming visit.

We started with a Press Conference announcing all the shows and exhibits for the 109th year. PNE’s The Fair continues to serve as an affordable and fun family event, for all ages and all interests. An occasion that brings everyone in the city out, and a way to welcome visitors from out of town. This year there will be hundreds of shows, performances, and exhibits throughout the 2 weeks. An estimated 700,000 individuals will walk through the front gate, as the largest ticketed event in BC.

New is “Revel District”, an outdoor area with a “Western zone” that includes beer booths, barbecue, and a bucking mechanical bull. As well as a “Mexican zone” with tacos and margaritas. Daily, its stage will host comedians, a strong-woman performance, and a nightly drag show.

Sure to be The Fair’s most well received exhibit, is “Snap Happy”. This gives event goers the ability to capture the perfect memory with stationary photo ops. More on that below.

At the Garden Auditorium guest’s can walk through the evolution of gaming with a self guided museum-esque tour.

Historically renown hypnotist Reeven comes back to The Fair, with the next generation. Son taking over for father: Reveen the impossiblist 2.0. People from the audience volunteer to become stars on stage. They are hypnotized into carrying out crazy actions, thus giving the crowd watching, the “World’s most funniest and most amazing stage show”. A must see!

Each night ends with “Electric Fire”. The closing show that sends rockets and fire into the dark sky, and coupling it with great music.

And speaking of great music the Summer concert series at the Chevrolet stage is taking you back to the 90’s with the likes of the Beach Boys, 98degrees, TLC, Vanilla Ice, and MC Hammer hosting his own house party.

Fan favourite shows like the Super Dogs, Knights of Valour, and Duelling Pianos return. And families can once again grab a seat in the park and watch a family friendly movies together.

There will now be tractor races for the kids at the agriculture and all the baby animals to pet and coo at will be back.

And of course, the prize home lottery returns, celebrating its 85th year. All this and more, all free with admission.

And for those looking to save further The Fair is made more accessible with various ticket promotions. Downloading the new PNE phone app get you in for only $2 on opening weekend, this Saturday August 17th and Sunday August 18th. Tuesday August 20th and 27th offers free admission for those visiting between 11-1pm. Thursday August 22nd is free admission for seniors. And on both Fridays August 23 and 30th, if you visit using translink, show your compass card at the gate and get two for one fair admission.

After the press conference, we were given a go of the “Snap Happy” exhibit before the crowds converged and there is a need to wait in queue for your unobstructed photo. They suggest taking many selfies here, however majority of the props do require a photographer. Like the pinwheel garden right as you enter.

Or if you want to ride the individual merry-go-round horse or hop into the single bumper car.

You can straddle a pink polka dot cow, or channel your inner super dog with this kennel with hydrant. Or maybe pop your head in to a game of whack a mole, which includes paddle. Or dawn a feather boa and strap on a guitar, and pretend you are head lining your own concert.

A 2D black and white roller coaster gives you the photo image, without the fear.

The wall of stuff animals explained what they did to the ones that the children don’t win.

The wall of colour changing sequins allowed you to customize your backdrop. But I preferred the wall of tinsel that gave you a rainbow sparkle backdrop.

Or you could wait for the crown of neon lights to change to the perfect hue.

The mysterious box that you could walk under, made selfies easier with 360 degree mirrors, and twinkling lights surrounding you.

For the foodie, you can sandwich yourself between two burger patties in this specialty couch.

Or give yourself cartoon ice cream cone wings or pizza wings with matching halo. They even have backdrops of mini doughnuts and swirling lollipops.

Across from this is a fully stocked concession. Here, you can see how it’s like to serve the fair candy and treats, instead of eating them. Giant lollipops and gummy bears, fully stocked pop machines, and cotton candy bags in a row.

There was also unique furniture crafted with whimsical poses and arms, giving them animated life. And pink sugar coated clouds with matching cushion to think sweet thoughts on, ended the hall of photo ops.

Next, at the “Transport 2050” booth they spoke to the future of transit and wanting to solicit the city more through surveys. You can help decide the direction that translink will take in future expansion. And to help get your here, they will have 5 extra buses shuttling people from Renfrew skytrain station to the PNE grounds.

Adjacent was showcase of buses, including Vancouver’s first double decker bus, launching in October. And the new Rapid Bus with its specialty route.

And the most unique of them all is the 1950 GMC refurbished into a travelling museum. Once the doors are opened you can head inside to learn more about the history of transportation from horse and buggy to ride sharing.

A similar story was also told across a scale model of the city, and a projector that brought it to life. This is the “Micro City” exhibit. A recording talked about the evolution of travel in our fair city, and the need to start planning for the future as more and more people converge. As the first of the public to see this, I definitely recommend checking this out.

Our tour started with all the newness to The Fair this year, and ended with one of the oldest at The Fair, year after year: “Jimmy’s Lunch”. Owned and operated by the Parson’s family, who have been serving their iconic hamburgers, most notably topped with mounds of fried onions, since 1929. They first opened opened in 1929, serving as a sit down dining establishment. At the time it was the largest restaurant under canvas in North America, and sat 200. Today, they are one of the most well known stands in PNE history. And to celebrate this history and their 90th year at The Fair, they were presented with permanent picnic bench and stand location. A ceremony and occasion we were here to witness.

A new lovely setting marked with the inscription “Presented to the Parsons Family in recognition of the 90th anniversary of Jimmy’s Lunch at the Fair”. A welcomed addition for family and friends to enjoy a burger on.

And lucky for us, we would get to do just that. Fun fact, approximately 900 tonnes of onions have been peeled over the 90 years, served across 4 generations of the family. And at the turn of the century, these very fried onions were actually named one of the 10 most memorable things to come of the 1900’s by “Vancouver Magazine”. And after getting a taste, I can see why they earned the recognition.

I would get the very second burger they have made for this 2019 season. An all beef patty kept warm and moist under a mound of well seasoned, fried onions. With it I had all the toppings including cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, and a ketchup relish between two white buns. It was delicious, best paired with their crispy fries. I wolfed everything down, slurping up strands of onions and licking the juices that ran down my hands.

And thus ended this little teaser. I will be back to cover all the new food stuffs next week, so be sure to stay tuned for that post and vlog. For more on the events and going ons, visit the link below.

PNE, THE FAIR
2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5K 5J1
604-251-7717
pne.ca

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