One-Off Dining Delights and Pop-Up Dinners in Vancouver for June

PURailtownTailgate_BBQMenuThis month brings some exciting chef collaborations, brewery dinners, pop-ups and one-off experiences to Vancouver’s dining scene, so if you want to try something fresh here are seven dates for your diary.

It’s the 10th anniversary of Ocean Wise this year and there are plenty of sustainable seafood celebrations happening to mark this auspicious event. CinCin Ristorante in the West End is hosting Table on the Terrace, a delicious toast to Ocean Wise, with a 40-person long table out on their beautiful patio overlooking Robson Street. Executive Chef Andrew Richardson will be cooking up a four-course menu of Ocean Wise delights served up with the season’s freshest produce. Wine lovers can opt in to pair their meal with wine from CinCin’s extensive cellars specially selected by Wine Director Shane Taylor. Call or email to make reservations.

Winners of the hotly-contested Gastown BBQ contest, the Railtown Cafe is hosting a series of summer Tailgate Barbecue parties starting this weekend on Saturday June 6th with additional dates scheduled for July 4, August 8, September 12th and 26th. The Railtown Cafe chefs and co-owners Dan Olson and Tyler Day will fire up their custom-built, 12-foot smoker/barbecue barrel from 4 to 10 p.m. and they’ll be serving up heaped plates of slow-cooked tender brisket, pork shoulder, beer-brined chicken and sausage, as well as a pair of side dishes for $16 per person, with a vegetarian option for $10 per person. Continue reading:
One-Off Dining Delights and Pop-Up Dinners in Vancouver for June

Unsung Heroes of the Pacific served during 10th annual Vancouver seafood festival

Blue Water Cafe's rendition of sea urchin 2014

Blue Water Cafe’s rendition of sea urchin 2014

Each February, for the last 10 years, Blue Water Cafe chef Frank Pabst expands palates while supporting sustainable seafood.

Dubbed “Unsung Heroes”, Pabst initially created the month-long event to celebrate local and unique seafoods at the same time avoiding over-fished species or species harvested in ways that can damage ocean beds.

I am the Pabst target market: concerned about the environment, slightly hesitant land lubber raised eating the usual ocean suspects: salmon, halibut, crab, and oysters. I must admit when I was invited to a preview event I was a little nervous, I’m an adventurous eater but not entirely familiar with all the weird and wonderful fruits de mer. Luckily Pabst and his friendly and accommodating staff are proud to share their passion for delicious and ocean-friendly seafood at an affordable price (Unsung Heroes dishes range from $9.50 – $12.50).

“Our objective was – and is – to utilize lesser-known ingredients while introducing guests to new experiences and flavours,” says chef Pabst.  “The popularity of the event has increased tremendously and these formerly ‘unsung’ species are now heroes in their own right – they have truly entered the ‘mainstream’ of the public’s consciousness.”  Continue reading:
Unsung Heroes of the Pacific served during 10th annual Vancouver seafood festival

Blue Water Cafe Wows With Their 2013 “Unsung Heroes” Sustainable Seafood Menu

Red sea urchin mousse in its crispy shell with ponzu jelly and avocado sauce

Red sea urchin mousse in its crispy shell with ponzu jelly and avocado sauce

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Yaletown’s elegant seafood destination and one of North America’s finest seafood restaurants, is wowing diners with their 2013 Unsung Heroes menu, available now through February 28. The annual Unsung Heroes festival puts the spotlight on underutilized sustainable seafood such as mackerel, herring, jellyfish, red sea urchin – instead of the usual arctic char, sablefish, tuna etc.

Blue Water’s goal? To make diners aware of tasty species we don’t often order. Under the expert care of Chef Frank Pabst, who’s worked at Michelin-starred restaurants throughout Germany and France, oft-overlooked B.C. fish truly shine.

I took my mackerel-loving Norwegian husband along to try the Unsung Heroes sharing plates. Obviously, he was pre-inclined to love the menu. And – HOLY MACKEREL – did he ever. As for me, it was quite possibly the best meal (and certainly one of the most surprising meals) I’ve had in Vancouver to date. I’ll happily sing for yesterday’s supper.

The sharing plates range from $9.50 to $12.50. Delicate white anchovies enhanced roasted red pepper bruschetta with mozzarella. Adventurously, Blue Water paired the bruschetta with Alvear Amontillado sherry – a spot-on choice. I was surprised to get hooked on salty herring roe taramosalata with grilled flatbread paired with Russian Valley brut. Beware Caspian caviar and French bubbly – this is the local, authentic deal.  (Ample food porn after the jump.) Continue reading:
Blue Water Cafe Wows With Their 2013 “Unsung Heroes” Sustainable Seafood Menu

Free Ocean Wise iPhone App Helps You Support Sustainable Seafood

By now, most Vancouverites know about Ocean Wise, the non-profit organization founded by the Vancouver Aquarium to support and promote sustainable seafood. Most of Vancouver’s top seafood restaurants carry the Ocean Wise seal of approval next to their sustainable seafood menu items, and there are now Ocean Wise restaurants participating in the program across Canada.

To help you find restaurants and markets that use Ocean Wise sustainable seafood, there’s now a free Ocean Wise iPhone App that covers over 3,000 Ocean Wise restaurants, markets and supplier venues from coast to coast, as well as a comprehensive list of ocean-friendly seafood options.

Continue reading:
Free Ocean Wise iPhone App Helps You Support Sustainable Seafood

Local Lounge Wins 2011 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown

Chef Paul Cecconi of Local Lounge (middle) wins 2011 Chowder Champion. Photo: Dana Lynch

Last night, my partner and I joined the 560(!) guests at the sold-out Vancouver Aquarium’s 2011 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown for an evening of chowder and beer tasting that was a rousing success. Along with the other guests, we sampled different seafood chowders from 12 of Vancouver’s top chefs, each paired with a different BC craft beer.

There were two big winners last night: Local Lounge and its Chef Paul Cecconi won the title of 2011 Ocean Wise Chowder Champion with their “Smoked Outlandish Oyster Chowder,” while the underdog-ish Sunset Bay Yacht Group and Chef Natasha Harris took home the People’s Choice Award, as voted by the diners themselves. My partner totally agreed with the Sunset Bay win; their ultra-creamy “New England Style Chowder” was the only one he went back for twice!

Continue reading:
Local Lounge Wins 2011 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown

Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium + Prize Package Giveaway!

2010 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

What happens when 12 of Vancouver’s top chefs compete to make the best seafood chowder you’ve ever tasted? You get one of the best Vancouver foodie events of the year, the annual Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Don’t worry: You get to eat the chowder, too!)

The Chowder Chowdown has all the ingredients to make it a perfect night out. Not only do you get to sample all 12 gourmet chowders and the local beers they’re paired with, you also get to support one of the Vancouver Aquarium’s most important conservation programs, Ocean Wise. All proceeds from the Chowder Chowdown support Ocean Wise’s efforts to educate restaurants and consumers about the importance of sustainable seafood. Which, given how important seafood is in Vancouver, should be a cause close to all our hearts. (You’ve probably noticed the Ocean Wise seal of approval beside menu items at restaurants like Blue Water Cafe and Araxi.)

And the kicker? You get all the seafood chowder, beer and good karma for just $40 per person!

Continue reading:
Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium + Prize Package Giveaway!

Night at the Aquarium – Vancouver Aquarium’s Gala Fundraiser June 10, 2011

Night at the Aquarium - the Vancouver Aquarium's gala fundraiser

The Vancouver Aquarium is one of the most beloved institutions in Vancouver. It’s home to more than 70,000 creatures, the go-to place for family fun any day of the year (rain or shine), and a Stanley Park landmark. But it’s also so much more. The Vancouver Aquarium is a leader in conservation whose programs have had an impact across Canada. The Aquarium founded the famous Ocean Wise program to promote sustainable seafood (Ocean Wise logos appear on restaurant menus at 2,700 locations throughout the country), and plays a vital role in many local and national conservation efforts, including marine mammal rescue, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Adopt an Orca, and many more.

Because the Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit, self-sustaining organization, community support is extremely important. On June 10, 2011, you have a chance to demonstrate your support and enjoy one of the highlights of the Vancouver social calendar at the same time at the Vancouver Aquarium’s annual gala fundraiser Night at the Aquarium. This elegant evening features incredible gourmet food from Vancouver’s top chefs and restaurants, B.C. wines and dazzling entertainment, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Aquarium’s education and conservation activities.
Continue reading:
Night at the Aquarium – Vancouver Aquarium’s Gala Fundraiser June 10, 2011