Dine Out 2012 Preview: Here comes Street Food City

Korean short rib tacos, Roaming Dragon Truck, Vancouver, BC

Caution: Reading this post may make you hungry.  Details on Vancouver’s 10th annual Dine Out (Jan. 20-Feb. 5) are beginning to surface, and it looks like it might be the best one ever.

Dine Out, if you haven’t been initiated, is the yearly festival where the city’s top restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus at deeply discounted prices.  For people who love food, it’s a chance to “taste drive” the best of the culinary scene – everything from haute cuisine to intimate bistros, trendy lounges and ethnic fare – without breaking the bank.

This year’s Dine Out runs Jan. 20-Feb. 5.  Prices for the special three-course dinners are set at $18, $28 or $38, depending on the restaurant.  In total, 225 restaurants in the city will be participating – a new record.  The names of these restaurants – as always – are a hotly guarded secret . . . for now.

Participants will be revealed on Jan. 9 on the Dine Out website, at which time you can make your reservations right on the site (Tip: Book fast because top restaurants tend to fill up quickly, sometimes within hours).

Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver

But while restaurants remain a mystery, some other exciting details about Dine Out 2012 have started to emerge.  More than 70 food-themed events will take place during the 17-day festival.  Things kick off with Plated and Paired at the Public Market on Jan. 20: For $38, you get to dine in the Granville Island market after dark, feasting on plates prepared by the Island’s chefs, paired with wines from 11 B.C. wineries.

Other highlights include Secret Supper Soiree (For $129, hop aboard the Vancouver Trolley for a 5-course culinary tour to secret locations, Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4) and Dine Academy (unique culinary classes and tours, including a Gastown craft beer crawl with Vancouver Food Tour and Dim Sum and Sake class at Quince Handcrafted Cuisine).

But the event generating the most talk so far is something called Street Food City.  From Jan. 24-Jan. 26, the city’s top food carts will all congregate in one place at lunchtime.  The location of the “city” and the participants haven’t been disclosed yet.  But this is the kind of event that street food enthusiasts have been dreaming of for a while: a lively caravan of food carts, serving up everything from bulgogi tacos to burritos in the same spot.

The best site to keep up with the latest updates on Dine Out 2012 is Dine Out Vancouver.

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