What’s Good This Week In Vancouver – Jan 16

Event and Happenings in Vancouver this week

Today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year according to news reports and a survey that landed in my inbox. While this may just be “marketing”, this time of year can be tough, and I am sensing this in myself and those around me as this year is particularly dismal outside. Be aware of any serious mood changes, and deal with those with professionals; I can only recommend a few surface fixes. This week try some different feel-good things, connect with friends, get some exercise, drink or eat some chocolate, and fuel up on good food and perhaps some medicinal cocktails.

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Cineplex Blue Monday Fix – Half the Points for a Show

Movies make you feel better (except the really bad horror ones I’ve been watching late at night on Netflix, but that’s another story), so on January 16th, Cineplex is offering a special redemption offer for SCENE members to help beat Blue Monday.  SCENE members can treat themselves to any movie, at any Cineplex theatre, for any experience by redeeming half the usual SCENE points – 500 points for regular movies, 750 points for enhanced experiences and 1,000 for VIP Cinemas.  More information is available at Cineplex.com/BlueMonday. Stay away from anything somber or horrific.

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Hot Chocolate Festival – January 19 – 27 days

Chocolate makes everything better (well almost everything). When it launched in 2011, The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival was the first city-wide festival of its kind in the world. Returning for its 7th season, it’s bigger and better than ever, with Vancouver’s best chocolatiers, pastry shops, bakeries, cafes, gelato and ice cream parlours joining forces to make the humble chocolate drink hotter than it’s ever been before.

61 Flavours
29 Chocstars (vendors and suppliers)
29 Locations around Greater Vancouver
27 Days to do it all!

View the website where you can find all the information about the festival at: http://hotchocolatefest.com

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Dine Out Vancouver Starts Friday! 

I’ll have more on this soon, but I have tried dishes from Chicha, Juniper, and Edible Canada and give these three top marks. Plus I’ve marked the February 1 Chef’s Exchange on my calendar and will be doing a giveaway for this soon! FIRE + WHISKY –Chef Chris Whittaker, Vancouver’s champion of local food, welcomes Chef Ryan McIlwraith – of Bellota in San Francisco- to Timber. Spanish and Canadian flavours meet over wood fired coal in this epic collaboration dinner. Dine Out Event and Menus

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Push Festival starts TODAY!

Macbeth opens the 13th edition of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival tonight at the Playhouse Theatre. Tickets are still available to select performances. Don’t miss this epic South African production!

Over the next three weeks of the 2017 PuSh Festival, join 25,000+ of your fellow Vancouverites for groundbreaking live art at 150 events in venues across this beautiful city.

#LIVEPUSH and share it!

Hand Crafted Spirits on Talk 1410 – Healthy Cocktails at The Keefer

Amber Bruce Mixes Up Some Magic In Chinatown at The Keefer

If you been following the Hand Crafted Spirits Show, you may have caught a few segments where Joe Leary and I search for tasty cocktails on TSN1410.  Since it was the New Year, and health is usually one of the resolutions many make, this week I was looking for cocktails that not only contain alcohol but also had a healthy component to them too!

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We checked into the cocktail program at The Keefer, where bartender Amber Bruce crafts her drinks with medicinal ingredients, many of them found in the bar’s Chinatown Neighbourhood. She made us the Dragonfly, a tasty combination of gin and sake, with the health benefits of dragonfruit, ginger, lemon and magnolia bark tincture.

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HB4116

Catch the audio above.

The Keefer Bar

Dragonfly 

1oz dragonfruit infused gin
1oz nigori sake
0.5oz ginger syrup
0.5oz lemon juice
3-4 dashes magnolia bark tincture.

Shake on ice. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pear fan.

This drink is absolutely delicious. So well balance, with a nice zip of ginger. I’d say this could just be the solution to the common cold, or it will at least make the sniffles a little more tolerable. Looking forward to working my way through a few more of these healthful drinks on the list at The Keefer. Here’s to a healthy 2017!

Bocuse d’Or Fundraiser – Wishing Chef James Olberg Well On His Journey

BC Chefs Band Together For Canadian Chef in Bocuse d’Or Fundraiser

Created in 1987 by Mater Chef Paul Bocuse, the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition is now in it’s 30 year. Twenty-four of the most promising chefs in the world go through two days of intense competition and give their very best to secure a top spot. Intense is the key word here – this is MAXIMUM chefness at work (and yes, I do know that’s not a word).

This year’s Canadian candidate is Chef James Olberg who heads to France very shortly to compete in the  Bocuse d’Or. However Chef Olberg has more than just culinary prep to do, as unlike many other countries, that have immense budgets for their chefs to train for the prestigious Bocuse d’Or contest, Canada does not. Our chefs have to work full time, raise families, try to stay healthy and have some personal time AND train for the Bocuse d’Or AND worry about the financing of it all. Needless to say, something has to give.

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

This past December I was super impressed, once again, with our local chef community as they banded together to help one of their own. Chef Keith Pears spearheaded the venture at his hotel, the Delta by Marriott in Burnaby. Guests could choose the chef they would sit with and there were some pretty big hitters here! Truffles were shaved, caviar spooned out liberally and there was an amazing sense of community. I hugged many old friends and met new ones.

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Marcus Von Albrecht’s generously donated XFour Vodka for the initial Cocktail and a selection of skillfully prepared canapes were served. Then we headed to our chefs tables for the dinner.  I had the good fortune to sit with Chef Sylvain Currier.

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Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Autumn Harvest Vegetable Salad – burgundy truffle puree, candied hazelnuts, preserved lemon

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

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Pine mushroom custard white alba truffle, caviar, cauliflower topped with hand shaved trufflesBocuse d'Or Fundraiser

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Braised veal cheeks with Perigold truffle, fois gras croquette, parsnip puree, crispy celeriac, parsley puree

Bocuse d'Or FundraiserAmaretto Panna Cotta – BC apple sorbet, candied ginger, carrot puree, crisp meringue, almonds

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Macarons by Panifrance

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

We wish Chef Olberg the very best on his journey and thank all that contributed to this amazing night. May the force be with him!

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CCFCC Bocuse d’Or Canada team includes Navjeet Singh as the Official Commis to Chef James Olberg at the 2017 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon.

2017 Acura MDX – Safety, Room and Performance

Taking the Acura MDX for a Spin or Two!

We drove our fair share of cars last year, sometimes just about town, but usually on one of our frequent road trips, and we certainly found a few favourites. Our number one was the Acura MDX, both around the city and on the highways; it was the hardest loaner to give back.

2017 Acura MDX

We drove the newest model last month up to Sun Peaks Resort in rather advanced snow conditions, and the vehicle certainly made the trip more comfortable and possibly saved our lives. I know that sounds rather dramatic, but the we had a near miss when an eighteen wheeler came around the corner, far too far over in our lane, and the car in front of us braked suddenly. We had full snow tires on and the grip combined with the Vehicle Stability Assist stabilized the vehicle and maintained traction, and prevented us from a full slide off the road.  The MDX now also has the AcruaWatch safety system across the whole MDX line, not just in the Elite, so all models are also aided by forward collision warning, auto-emergency braking and lane-keeping. The lane-keeping can be a bit abrupt and we chose to disable as it sort of jerks the car if you veer off slightly and it’s a bit distracting.2017 Acura MDX

The Acura MDX is in the luxury three-row crossover category, with a price range from around $54,000-$66,000, and there’s plenty of room for passengers, or in our case luggage. The engine is 290-horsepower, 3.5-litre V6 engine with a nine-speed automatic transmission, with variable cylinder management, meaning it runs on only three cylinders when full power isn’t needed. Our model included auto start/stop, shutting off the engine at idle, but I prefer to disable this. The fuel economy is great for such a roomy vehicle.

2017 Acura MDX

Driving the MDX, you’ll find it responds amazingly, and the ride is smooth, you can opt to drive it in comfort, normal or sport settings, depending on how aggressively you’d like to travel. In Canada all MDX come with the Acura’s SH-AWD (Super Handling all-wheel drive) system; which increases or reduces torque to individual wheels as the car accelerates or turns. There’s also the adaptive cruise control, a low-speed follow system that allows you to set a desired speed and also maintain a desired interval from the car ahead so you enjoy the benefits of cruise control in light traffic

2017 Acura MDX

There are two screens in the dash to control the stereo, heating, navigation, etc. and we liked the way the one screen can stay in navigation mode, while you adjust the temperature in the other. There’s a lot going on there though, with heated seats, a premium stereo and rear-seat entertainment too, so you do need to take some time to get to know the system and if you are solo when driving, I’d recommend pulling over for some of the more complicated functions.

2017 Acura MDX

The 2017 is a bit sexier than the previous year with a new streamlined grille and reshaped LED headlights, hood, rear bumper, and dual exhaust outlets. It looks sleeker, wider and slightly lower, and still parks easily in tight spots, assisted by the rear view cameras.

The Acura MDX is a great choice for families that need both room and safety, and for couples who road trip. We’re definitely booking this one again this year.

What’s Good This Week in Vancouver Version 2017.0

What to do in Vancouver this week of January 2017

Is it just me or does it seem like the new year really starts in the second week of January? Last week wasn’t bad, it’s not like I ate a dozen donuts in one seating, I actually had some great gal pal time  and even planned my pre-wedding week away. I did try a new restaurant, and explored new cocktails and food, and even went for a couple runs. I just don’t feel I buckled down like I need to for 2017 business-wise I suppose. So, since my business is telling you what to do (or something like that), let’s get this week going with a few great events I’m giving the thumbs up to in and around Vancouver. Wishing you motivation and success this week! Please do the same for me?wine tasting

Best Sommelier of BC Competition

Monday January 9 at Rogers Arena (200 Level, Captain’s Lounge, enter via Gate 10, 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver),  at 1:00 pm you can catch the top three finalist competing in the practical exam that will determine the Best Sommelier of BC. There will be test on Sparkling wine service, Red wine decanting, Food and wine pairing, Menu correction and a Blind tasting of cocktails, red and white wines. It’s open to the public by donation. Later that night, the Winning announcement for BC’s Best Sommelier in 2017 will be announced at a sold out event at CIBO. I’m heading down to catch some of the action.

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Theater of Life at Vancity Theatre

MON JAN 9 – 7:00PM (Gala Launch part of Vancouver Italian Film Festival)
FRI JAN 13 – 6:30PM • SAT JAN 14 – 3:45PM
SUN JAN 15 – 5:45PM • MON JAN 16 – 6:45PM • THU JAN 19 – 6:15PM 
INFO + TICKETS | Website & Trailer

In an extraordinary soup kitchen in Milan, two vastly different worlds come together in a unique social experiment. Theater of Life captures the remarkable relationship forged between the finest haute cuisine chefs in the world, led by chief instigator Massimo Bottura, and the city’s most disadvantaged groups: refugees, recovering drug addicts, former sex workers, and a host of others with no place else to go. Monday Jan 9th Gala Launch Event: Doors from 6:30 pm. Reception – 6:45-7:45 featuring dishes prepared by chefs David Gunawan (Royal Dinette); Brian Luptak (The Acorn) and Robert Clarke (The Arbour). (Pay bar) 7:50pm Screening followed by Skype Q&A with Filmmaker Peter Svatek.

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Psychonaut World Premier

January 10th, 2017 at the Cinematheque Theatre in Vancouver, BC you can catch Psychonaut, a sci-fi indie feature shot exclusively in the Vancouver area. Psychonaut is a psychedelic sci-fi indie feature about mind travel. It follows one man’s journey on a path of spiritual awakening through science and technology. Scientists who have been pushed into underground research facilities following government intervention, continue to work on discovering the inner workings of the human mind. But when a secret disc containing sensitive research is stolen, it’s a race against time to recover the disc before worlds collide, causing catastrophic consequences.

The soundtrack is provided exclusively by psychedelic band DRUGZNDREAMZ Watch the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/176829943 To purchase tickets to the exclusive world premiere of Psychonaut, click here

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Wild Rice DINE IN JAN 3 – FEB 12

Dine out Vancouver starts Jan 20 (book here quickly!), but you can already get some deals around town. Take a ride out to New West for a change and try the two course meal for $25, or for an additional $5, you can choose the dessert of your choice.

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BOOK FOR Dine Out Vancouver

The good seats go fast so get booking for Dine Out Vancouver, Canada’s largest annual celebration of food and drink. This year there is 17 days of culinary events, prix fixe menus at 270-plus restaurants (at $20, $30 or $40 price points), as well as “Dine and Stay” packages and special hotel rates  January 20 to February 5. dineoutvancouver.com @DineOutVanFest #dovf

In addition to prix fixe dinners at more than 270 restaurants in and around Vancouver (many with suggested BC VQA wine pairings), food lovers can select from a roster of more than 40 events that include an Oceanwise Pop-up at the Vancouver Aquarium (sustainable, locally sourced menu paired with an interactive under-the-sea experience); a Robbie Burns Celebration (Scottish-themed feast at YEW Seafood + Bar along with a whisky masterclass led by award-winning bartender Lauren Mote and a special visiting guest who’s making waves in the spirits world); an Asian-inspired Lunar New Year feast at Heritage Asian Eatery (10-course, family style meal celebrating the Year of the Rooster); and more. Returning favourites include the Vancouver World Chef Exchange (welcoming star chefs from London, New York, San Francisco, Mexico City and Galway); a series of brunch crawls showcasing the most palate-pleasing haunts in Vancouver’s distinctive neighbourhoods; and others. And you won’t want to miss made-for-a-crowd experiences like the music-packed Tasters Tapas & Talent; a cozy Winter Beer Hall; Craft Beer & Tacos (a fan favourite pairing!) and more.

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Campagnolo ROMA  will be pairing up with Odd Society

Delicious food and cocktails? YUM! Wednesday, January 11 Chef Jesse McMillan will be serving up six courses based on the hearty, rustic winter cuisine of Rome while cocktail pairings
will be designed using spirits from Odd Society.

Oyster – oaked mignionette

Winter Squash Salad – pumpkin seed vinaigrette, scamorza

Charred Cabbage – bollito misto, brassica brodo, sourdough bread

Squab – grilled radicchio, anchovy, squab jus

Goat’s Milk Custard – brown butter, peach, lovage

Baked Apple – pie crust, smoked anglaise

Tickets are $90 inclusive of food, beverage, and service and can be purchased by visiting http://romacollab.eventbrite.ca or by phoning the restaurant at 604.569.0456campagnolo
 

German Night – Passion For Pork – Kassler Pork and Cabbage

Kassler Pork with Cabbage, Onions and Apple

Whenever I drive out anywhere near Pitt Meadows, I stop at Hopcott Meats and grab a bag or two of groceries. They’ve got a section in the freezer of sale items, it’s a good way to save a little money and pick up some cuts or meats you may not normally be drawn to. My last visit I ended up with chicken breast (unusual for us as we’re thigh people), steaks and some Kassler Pork from the pork section as well. Hopcott works with local pork farmers to source their pork, always look for that Western Canadian pork (BC Pork and Alberta Pork) and support your local farmers! #porkambassador

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Kassler or Kasseler is salt cured and slightly smoked cut of pork and it’s traditionally served with sauerkraut and potatoes, so I figured I’d do a little bit of a similar things once I got home. For some reason I thought I should use my food processor to shred the cabbage, onions and apples, but after having several arguments with the functioning of this TOOL I used a knife. Last month the whole blade came off and now the adjusting width for the blade thingy is not working. I’ll be looking into this as maybe it’s just me and I’m doing something wrong, but meanwhile I am cursing this device.

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So…here’s the recipe for 2 people. I plated the above, but if you had some mad skills, it could look like the featured image. Either way it will be tasty.

Ingredients

1/2 green or red cabbage shreeded
1 small or 1/2 larger onion chopped
1 apple thinly sliced
2 tbsp oil (olive, flax, canola work fine)
2 Tbsp grainy mustard – we use Maille
2 Tbsp Edible Artisan Cranberry Apple Sage Jelly
1 cup Apple Cider – Taves is great
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Kassler chops

Add 1 tbsp oil to large, deep saucepan (I used a wok) and add onion, cabbage and apple. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 mins until wilted stiring off and on. Add in mustard, jelly and cider and bring to boil and then turn heat to low for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile brown pork in 1 tbsp oil and then add it to the cabbage mixture part way through cooking.

I made a few baby potatoes to accompany and we’d been snacking on some carrots so I felt we’d had enough veg for the day, but a cucumber salad, pickles, frisee or greens would be nice additions.

Serve with a nice Dopplebock, Central City just happened to have one in our beer advent calendar, or a perhaps a Gruner Vetliner if you have one on hand (which I will for next time!).

The Naramata Inn Welcomes Ambrosia Restaurant and Lounge by Chef Victor Bongo

Chef Victor Bongo to Take on The Food Program at The Naramata Inn

It may not be wine touring season quite yet, but it’s just around the corner, and each year there’s a few more spots to both wine taste and dine at.  For one, we’ve just heard there’s going to be a new face behind the fires at the Naramata Inn, Chef Victor Bongo. Knowing Chef Bongo, he’ll be sure to add some of his international flair to the region.

I first met Chef Bongo at the Canadian Chefs Congress in Duncan in 2010, where he was representing the Yukon Territory, and I’ve had the pleasure of sampling his cuisine many times. Once again at Kitsilano’s Establishment, and many times while attending a variety of events he was cooking at, including the launch of his latest cookbook.

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Bongo has recently been cooking at a pop up at Rooftop in Vancouver, but he’s packing his knives and heading to Naramata to open Ambrosia Restaurant & Lounge come spring. Bongo describes the restaurants style as “Unique signature global fusion cuisine; plates packed with flavor and whimsy presented beautifully in a casual/semi-formal and welcoming environment.”

There will be three spaces and themes at the Inn and here’s a bit of information from the release:

Ambrosia Restaurant is located on the main floor in the classic and dining rooming seating 91 guests with a patio that seats 17 for a total experience of 108 seats. The semi-formal dining room has two seating’s at 6pm and 8:30pm. You’ll see plated meals consisting of appetizers ($16 – $22), Mains ($26 – $40) and Desserts ($8 – $12) along with a small classic cocktail list and a healthy wine list with unique wine library of local producers expertly matched.

Ambrosia Lounge will is housed on the lower floor and will showcase west-coast décor and a nouveau prohibition style wine lounge that serves up Chef’s signature global fusion tapas. Ambrosia Lounge seats 68 guests and will operate from 4pm to 12am daily with Happy Hour running 4pm to 6pm. The menu is designed for sharing, and will include medium tapas ($8 – $15), large tapas ($16 – $30) and desserts ($8 – $10) along with a unique artisan cocktail program, uniquely appointed wine list and craft beers program.

Ambrosia Patio seats 60 and operate  from 11am to 7pm. When the lounge opens at 4pm the entire happy hour and lounge menu is available to guests on the patio. The Ambrosia Patio offers a unique BBQ Pit with Chef’s signature marinades and rubs at a cost of $25 per person and includes 1 portion of local artisan proteins from and unlimited gourmet sides.

Victor Bongo

Before the New Year I was invited to a menu sampling while the photographer did a photo shoot for the new menu. I did my best to capture some of what’s coming your way should you stop in at the Inn for a formal meal.  This year’s resolutions involve working on my photography (again) so it was great to watch a pro and take note of some tips for the future.

Victor Bongo

Chilled White Asparagus and Truffle Bisque with black truffle, crab and avocado remoulade and golden sturgeon caviar.

Victor Bongo

Chipotle Braised Lamb Cheek Tortellacci with Scallops, roasted chanterelle mushrroms, Frangelico sauce, sweet pea and roasted jalapeno puree, summer truffle

Victor Bongo

Arctic Char and Golden Caviar Tartar with Avocado wasabi mousse, mango habanero sauce, toasted sesame seeds, miso and squid ink sauce and crispy nori

Victor Bongo

Pan Roasted Arctic Char with sweet pea mint risotto, lemongrass and ginger creme fraiche and candied lemon maple butternut squashVictor Bongo

Moroccan Pistachio Crusted Lamb with plantain and habanero pepper puree, butter and red wine braised asparagus, Gruyere potato pave and lamb jus

We’ll be looking forward to stopping in at the Inn this season. Maybe we’ll have to spend a night there before our wedding. Pre-wedding honeymoons are a thing, aren’t’ they? Well they should be. It’s really a darling place to stay with its heritage-style rooms and amazing lake views. I’ve had the pleasure once at Christmas a few years back and always meant to return. We’re wishing Bongo luck on the opening and we’ll see him and his crew very soon. Victor Bongo

Safety First for 2017 – Winter Tire Testing With Kal Tire

Winter Tire Testing Proves Vancouver Road Conditions Call For More Than All Seasons This Year

Sometimes we talk food, sometimes, wine and sometimes cars and driving. Since we opted out of owning a car, we’ve had the opportunity to drive all sorts of different models and compare everything from seat comfort to the effectiveness of anti-locking braking systems and fancy headlights. We’ve become acutely aware of tires and have driven on a number of different tire types, from summer passenger to all seasons and winter. One official road test we’ve done involved side by side comparisons of summer and winter tires, in summer driving conditions (see Driving Tips with Carl Nadeau, Michelin), and it was obvious the winter tires must come off for summer or performance and safety suffers vastly. This time we tested out 3 seasons and winter tires, both new and worn.

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The Course Part 1

Kal Tire invited me out to take the driver’s seat to experience first-hand the differences in the performance of new versus worn winter tires and a new versus worn three-season tires on a driving course in Pitt Meadows with winter-like road conditions. To prepare for the drive event, dry ice was placed on the road to lower the road’s surface temperature and then shaved ice was placed on top of the cold surface to replicate the same type of snowy conditions that a driver would encounter when braking or cornering on a snowy road surface. We also drove on a track that that was not snow covered, but was cold and wet due to rain.

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Worn tirer….obviously.

As you can imagine when driving with the worn tires, both winter and three seasons, there was far more slipping on corners, and even skidding (yikes) and when the brakes were slammed fully on the snow, the car slide far further than with the new tires.

The surprising thing for me, though, was the new three season vs the new winter tires. With the colder roads, even the snow free parts, the three seasons lacked the grip that the winter tire exhibited and when the tires hit the snow, the winter tires stopped many feet ahead of the three seasons, sliding far less horizontally as well, even when both were brand new.

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Checking Tires Out

In the past I’d relied on the all seasons to get me through, well, all seasons. I wasn’t into spending a lot of money on things as boring as tires, and thought that it really didn’t make a ton of difference, but really, I was so very wrong. With Vancouver’s weather in January remaining both cold and snowy, and the forecast continuing on for a few months, I’m encouraging you to check your tires and re-think them, if they are all season, as it could mean a literal difference between life and death.

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We recently drove up to Sun Peaks and on the way home a huge truck came towards us far over the line on our side of the road. The car, the Acura MDX, had a new set of solid winter tires on, and those, combined with the superior handling of the vehicle, kept us on the road, although I wasn’t entirely sure there for a minute.

If you haven’t got them yet, get them winter tires now, or please stay off the roads, even just around Vancouver. There’s a long road ahead of us this season.

*Post sponsored by Kal Tire, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

Fitness Fridays – On Cloudflyer Runners

The On Running Shoes were recommended and I’ve been super happy with my choice. These shoes are lighter, while still providing more cushioning, and I felt the impact decrease while still feeling stable. I’ve been running faster ever since, no lie!
On CloudFlyer Runners
I’ve got the Cloudflyer runner ($179.99) which is great for all types of runners looking for a supremely cushioned and stable shoe that retains a light and agile running feel and weighs only 9.8 oz. The science behind the sole is that when you hit the ground, the highly rubber elements cushion both vertical and horizontal forces for a soft landing. Once on the ground, the Clouds lock firm to provide a solid foundation for a natural and powerful takeoff.  I’m now training regularly and feel super suported. Watch for more on running from me in 2017 as I up my mileage and test out more equipment.

Food Trends and Hopes For Vancouver in 2017

Let’s take Food Trends Further Towards Sustainability and We Can All Eat Better

What do I wish for in 2017? Sure, I’d like to see more wild game on menus, fewer macarons and perhaps more great casual dining with a focus on local, but food security for all would be my real number one. We can move closer to food for all this year with just a little more thought around the very subject of food, and it’s hell trendy too! Sustainabilty has to be a trend in our world, not only from a food perspective but in every way we live, or we won’t have the soil we need to grow food, or the environment to support it. Fortunately most food trends have been moving in right direction, so let’s all further embrace these particular trends and continue to make a difference in 2017.

Food Waste – We are reducing food waste and will be paying more attention as the price of food increases. From veggies to meat to that leftover pasta, let’s use those odds and ends. It’s about the carbon footprint people, not just dollars down the drain and into the land fills.

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Pickling/Fermenting – You know what helps reduce food waste? Pickling and fermenting. We’ve known this for centuries, but we’re doing it a lot more now. There’s a ton of fermentation courses out there, and heaps of books on it! It’s also pretty cool to reach into the fridge and grab a jar of pickles that you made yourself. Maybe you even know the farmer that grew said pickles; even better. Check out “The Art of Fermentation“, the bible on this subject.

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Community based food events – A number of very dedicated and special people come to mind when I think about events over the past few years that build community around food. These events are gaining momentum through 2017 as we all want experiences, no matter what generation we are. Examples include:

  • Across Vancouver, networks of committed people are focusing on food justice and resilience at the neighbourhood level with the Neighbourhood Food Networks (NFNs). Each Network provides community-based food initiatives and programs. You’ll find bulk food buying clubs, gardening workshops and community kitchens. Here’s where you’ll also find that fermentation workshop!
  • At UBC Farm each year Meeru Dhalwala and Mary Mackay produce the Joy of Feeding, an event featuring home cooks from different ethnic backgrounds who share their dishes, traditions and stories. From Russia with love!
  • Greasy Spoon Super Series – Fundraiser For A Better Life Foundation –  This monthly series sees Vancouver’s top chefs create their own unique spin on diner fare. The dinners raise awareness and support food security in the DTES, all while bringing people together to eat over a reasonably priced well though- out meal.

Gut Health – From bone broth to kombucha to kefir and just good old regular yogurt, people want to feel good and will turn to food to help them more. Fermented food strike again here too as there’s massive benefits to the digestive system from consuming anything prepared in this manner, plus food waste is vastly reduced. Check out my friends and client, Home on The Range Organics and their Bone Broth Bar at 235 East Broadway for more.

sustainable seafood

Sustainable Seafood – Let’s make sure what we are eating comes from fishermen that respect the sea and ask questions, and talk to fishermen, chefs and seafood shops where we buy from. Follow Chef Ned Bell on his sustainable seafood journey and shop with seafood purveyors that get it.

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Vegetables, Veganism and Sea Veggies– Vegetarians and vegans are all around us and it’s great! We are getting better vegetable dishes and chefs and home cooks are more creative. Add some sea veggies to your plate and you’ve also added not only a cool factor, but a ton of nutrition as well. Check out vegan chesse as well, in Vancouver, Blue Heron produces amazing non-dairy cheee!.

Grains and Pulses – It was The Year of The Pulse in 2016, and kudos to all that helped get the message out and put those lentils and more back on our plate. I look in my cupboard and see many more pulse-based goods. These items deliver a reasonably priced nutrition-packed protein and are also great for those who need to be gluten free. Another bonus is that they are Canadian-grown; check out the Alberta Pulse Growers for more information and recipes.

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Herbs and Spices – Just as I was typing the word turmeric at few days ago, I looked up and saw my pal, and fellow food writer, Dan Clapson, talking turmeric on Global TV. This is a colourful and health-filled spice and I know we’ll see more of it, along with other herbs and spices that add more than just flavour. Stock up on Ras Al Hanout, Zatar, ginger, cinnamon and more. Make sure you also clear out any spices that have come of age in your cabinet as these are no longer effective from a health or flavour perspective.

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Meat – We are still eating meat, but better meat and it’s key to continue to support your local farmers who are producing meat sustainably and treating their animals right. I’m continuing my work on educating consumers on pork with the Passion For Pork project, promoting Western Canadian Pork, and urge you to ask your butcher and grocer where all your meat comes from.

Trends come and go, but the trends that last are the ones that actually make sense over the long term  and are SUSTAINABLE – there’s that magic word we really need to focus on. What needs to trend right now is understanding our food system is part of a much bigger system, influencing our entire environment and all people around us. Make some good choices in 2017, share more food with those you know and those you don’t, create a community event, cook up some new veggies, use pulses and spices and sustainalbe meat and seafood, and most importantly ask questions and more questions. Let’s push the trend towards feeding not only ourselves well, but others too, both physically and spiritually.

Good Life Vancouver is all about the good life in and around Vancouver and often far beyond!