Vancouver Weekender: December 14 through 16, 2012

If you’re not dashing off to a post-work Christmas party on Friday night, we suggest you segue into the weekend with a bit of holiday cheer a la Hawksworth Restaurant’s bar and lounge. Its convenient location at the corner of W. Georgia and Howe make it a no-brainer choice for cocktail hour (warm up with the tasty Bourbon Spiced Sour for starters).  

Next, make your way across town to test out the recently opened L’Ufficio in Kitsilano. If you can find a seat in this popular room located next door to La Quercia, enjoy their tasty selection of charcuterie-style small plates and well-chosen wine list as you enjoy an escape from the holiday bustle outside. One thing is for certain; with the rather dreary weather we’ve had as of late, we are all about staying dry and cozy… two things that L’Ufficio has arguably perfected.

It feels like every weekend is filled with all things crafty, and this weekend is no exception with the return of The Great Canadian Craft Fair taking over the Salt Building, featuring more than 200 local artisans and loads of unique gift ideas all tucked into a cozy Christmas village-like setting. This is definitely a spot to hit up if you’re looking to make a dent in the holiday shopping list.  

Post cruising the holiday craft isles, we suggest you bee-line your way over to score some farm fresh goodies at the Winter Farmer’s Market located at Nat Bailey Stadium and get a head-start on stocking up on seasonal produce from local farms. Ripe for the picking this month: Brussels sprouts, Winter Squash, Shallots and more. Also taking place is the Holiday Market (this Saturday only) at the Croatian Cultural Centre featuring plenty of unique and high-quality artisan offerings and edibles worth noting. 

After all that shopping, we suggest warming up at South Granville’s Salontea Boutique for a mid-day caffeine fix. They’ll be hosting an all-day event to help celebrate International Tea Day and will have plenty of pre-packaged gift items on hand (perfect for tucking into stockings) as well as a charity raffle, prizes and Loonie teas all day long (with flyer).

Post tea party, be sure to meander your way through this bustling neighbourhood – they’ve got plenty of great shops, galleries and more to explore. 

En route home, we’re thinking you might have worked up a bit of an appetite and have a hankering for a bit of guilt-free comfort food. Our answer, head to the newly opened Smoke’s Poutinerie at their Granville location. This new arrival to YVR has more than hopped on the gravy-train and now boasts 36 locations across Canada. They’ve cornered the cheese curd market with a menu oozing with not-so-low-cal options that we’re dying to try.

Come Sunday, ditch the raingear and make your way up one of the local mountains for a bit of R&R slope-side. Rent a set of cross-country skis or snowshoes, pack a thermos with a bit of spiked hot chocolate and grab your camera to capture the stunning cityscape views.

If you aren’t feeling notably athletic and would rather ease into the day with a full belly, we suggest heading out for brunch at one of our favourite local bake shops, The Last Crumb. Tuck into the weekend paper while sipping a cappuccino and noshing on one of their freshly baked treats guaranteed to satisfy your sweet or salty tooth.  

Follow this up by meandering over to check out the first ever East Van Bazaar taking place at the Waldorf Hotel starting at 10AM. It will feature plenty of local community vendors, a screening of Bad Santa, live music, drinks and snacks and plenty more.  

Photo courtesy Salontea