Dine Out – With Friends!

Delectable morsels of delight featured at Hawskworth, one of the over 200 participating Dine Out Vancouver 2014 restaurants. Photo: Shawn Conner.

Delectable morsels of delight featured at Hawskworth, one of the over 200 participating Dine Out Vancouver 2014 restaurants. Photo: Shawn Conner.

It’s Dine Out Vancouver time again. Now in its 12th year, the festival has become one of the city’s premiere culinary events, and for 2014 features over 260 participating restaurants. Besides prix fixe menus at many of the city’s top eateries, Dine Out is also featuring dozens of special food-related events.

To help build excitement for the festival (Jan. 17-Feb. 2), Tourism Vancouver corraled a number of journalists, photographers and bloggers into sampling food and drink from some of this year’s 200+ participants. (Restaurants began taking reservations yesterday, Jan. 7, so if you have been thinking of going, hurry!)

On the evening in question, the assorted media types, including yours truly, gathered together at Tourism Vancouver HQ before dividing up into eight differently themed groups to be whisked away to various destinations. My group’s theme was Dine Out With Friends, and our destinations were… well, read on.

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Dine Out – With Friends!

Hungry? Top 5 Dine Out Vancouver 2014 Events

Photo sourced from Tourism Vancouver

Photo sourced from Tourism Vancouver

Canada’s biggest restaurant fest is just around the corner.  The Dine Out Vancouver Festival returns Jan. 17-Feb. 2 for 17 straight days of bargain eating at the city’s best restaurants.  Hundreds of eateries around the city will be offering discounted three-course, prix fixe menus at $18, $28 and $38 price points.

The official list of restaurants and their special menus won’t be disclosed until Jan. 6 (or Jan. 3 if you’re an American Express cardholder).  In the meantime, a lineup of dozens of special food-themed events has been announced to whet diners’ appetites. Options range from guided foodie tours of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods to gala dinners and culinary seminars.

Here are five can’t-miss events at the 2014 Dine Out Vancouver Festival:

East Van Craft Brew and Culinary TourEast Vancouver is home to some of the city’s best new craft breweries.  This unique tour takes visitors inside two of them to learn about the brewing process and – more importantly – sample some suds.  Then, groups hit the gritty streets of East Van in search of some beer-friendly fare, including locally made sausages, traditional Roman pizza and even stout-infused cake. January 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, Feb 1; 3pm, 3 hours. $65

Food-tography: A Culinary Photography TourLet’s face it: We all take pictures of our food and most of them are . . . well, not very appetizing.  Learn how the pros take those mouthwatering food porn shots on this unique tour of Vancouver’s Railtown neighbourhood.  Groups stop in four local eateries to sip and sample the delicacies. Meanwhile, seasoned photographers offer instruction on how to capture memorable food moments. January 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31; Tues & Wed: 3.30pm, 2.5 hours; Thurs & Fri: 1:30pm, 2.5 hours. $65. 

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Hungry? Top 5 Dine Out Vancouver 2014 Events

5 must-see events at this year’s Vancouver Writers Festival (Oct 22 – 27)

Night Film author Marisha Pessl. Photo credit: Deborah Lopez.

Night Film author Marisha Pessl. Photo credit: Deborah Lopez.

The day after the Oct 10 announcement of Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize for Literature win, it seems appropriate to take a look at writers and writing and, especially, the Vancouver Writers Festival.

This year, the fest takes place as it always does at various locations around Granville Island. There are day-time events suitable for different age groups, some night-time fun for the adults and lots to interest book lovers and book readers. And while Alice Munro – the first Canadian woman to win the prize – won’t be there in the flesh, she will no doubt be there in spirt.

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5 must-see events at this year’s Vancouver Writers Festival (Oct 22 – 27)

Six Vancouver Fringe Festival picks

Cameron Brown cast Minsky Rosebuds

Minsky’s Rosebuds in Gypsy Rose Lee at Minsky’s Burlesque, part of this year’s Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Cameron Brown.

Feeling overwhelmed by the more than 80 productions at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival? Fear not, true believers!

We were hard at work over the weekend (and opening night, Sept. 5) seeing some of the best this year’s #1 theatre festival, on until Sept. 15, has to offer. Three of the following shows have been vetted for quality by yours truly, while the other two have good buzz. Even better – all are local productions, so you’ll see some great homegrown talent!

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Six Vancouver Fringe Festival picks

Intimate and lively dance performances in East Vancouver

cindiwicklundfotografia6

Kirsten Wicklund. Photo credit: Cindi Wicklund.

Vancouver’s groundbreaking dance series returns this fall for its 29th installment. For three evenings, Sept. 12-14, Dances for a Small Stage showcases some of Vancouver’s hottest emerging dance artists on a small stage, this one at the Ukrainian Centre (154 E. 10th Avenue at Main St.).

And yes, there will be perogies.

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Intimate and lively dance performances in East Vancouver