5 Quirky Culinary Events at the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Fest

DINEOUT_SHARK_480x280_both-1-Canada’s biggest food and drink festival is coming to Vancouver this January … and it’s got a few surprises.

The Dine Out Vancouver Festival returns, Jan. 15-Jan. 31. Hundreds of eateries – from trendy bistros to elegant restaurants – will be serving up special three-course, prix fixe menus at $20, $30 and $40 price points. In total, more than 100,000 food fanatics are expected to descend on the city to taste drive all that Vancouver has to offer.

But epicures also have the opportunity to partake in dozens of culinary-themed events. Options range from brunch crawls and cocktail tastings to some unusual options that are a bit more off the beaten track.  For culinary adventurers, here are 5 quirky, can’t-miss culinary events at the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival:

Seafood, up close and personalThe Vancouver Aquarium is the setting for Feast with the Fish, a unique meal where your dinner companions include reef sharks, seahorses and sea turtles. Enjoy a four-course meal, including Humboldt squid calamari and ling cod and salmon tacos, all set against a tropical underwater backdrop. The event also features a behind-the-scenes tour. Jan. 27; $100. 

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5 Quirky Culinary Events at the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Fest

5 Off-Beat and Unconventional Halloween Activities in Vancouver

stairs-205718_1920Vancouver has no shortage of thrills and scares for those looking for Halloween fun, from spooky trolley and train rides to haunted houses and even a ghoulish amusement park.

But there are also plenty of options in and around the city for Halloween lovers searching for something a little different. Here are five off-beat, sometimes overlooked and somewhat unconventional Halloween activities guaranteed to give you a few goosebumps. Some of these activities are on offer year-round, while others are especially for Halloween:

Sleuth your way out of a “serial killer’s basement”: Popular around the world, escape rooms are elaborate, themed rooms – like a haunted mansion or a mummy’s tomb – where participants are quite literally locked inside. Groups must solve clues and puzzles to break out before time expires. In Vancouver, Smartypantz offers several terrifying challenges perfect for Halloween, from a serial killer’s basement to a doomed submarine and an old abandoned house. Year-round, approximately $25 a person. Continue reading:
5 Off-Beat and Unconventional Halloween Activities in Vancouver

Top 5 Quirky Vancouver Tours

Photo credit: kandyjaxx | Flickr

Photo credit: kandyjaxx | Flickr

Plenty of tours show off Vancouver’s charms, from the West Coast scenery to the city’s daring fusion cuisine.

But these five quirky tours add a little something extra to the mix, going above and beyond standard sightseeing to reveal an unexpected side of the city:

Vice, Dice and Opium PipesThis tour offered by the Vancouver Police Museum takes guests along the “mean streets” of Gastown and Chinatown.  With a guide, you’ll peek into the former opium dens along famous Shanghai Alley, learn about the daylight murders that defined Vancouver during its rough-and-tumble prohibition days and get the inside scoop on police corruption. $20. Learn more.

Railtown Urban Eats TourThe Railtown district, in the heart of the city’s gritty Downtown Eastside, is hardly the first stop on most travellers’ itineraries.  But the low-income neighbourhood is fast becoming a hotspot for foodies looking for under-the-radar eats.  This tour from Off the Eaten Track stops in at a culinary academy where recovering addicts and others serve incredible comfort food, a unique urban winery, an old-fashioned butcher shop where almost everyone has a handlebar moustache and more.  $55. Learn more. Continue reading:
Top 5 Quirky Vancouver Tours

Quirky Chinatown: Top 5

Last week, Vancouver’s Chinatown was declared a national historic site by the federal government.  The three blocks along Pender Streer, from Gore Avenue to Taylor Street, now join 956 other national historic sites around the country.

The new designation got me thinking about what Chinatown has to offer.  For tourists, it’s a must see, but many Vancouverites rarely venture through the colourful Millennium Gate on Pender to explore what’s inside.

So I’ve come up with a short, quirky list of some of the overlooked (and not-so-overlooked) charms of Chinatown.  Here goes:

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Quirky Chinatown: Top 5