Vancouver Weekender: May 24 through 26, 2013

With a handful of new nosh-worthy spots having recently opened around Vancouver, the pickings are far from slim these days. On our radar as a must try is West Oak Steakhouse (formerly Chinois) in Yaletown. Alternatively, we suggest you also head down to Gastown to score a seat at the always-packed second location of The Flying Pig. Yet another option, should you be on the lookout for a more casual fix, be sure to add Coal Harbour’s newest addition, Smak, to your list (a great alternative for those of you with a hankering for healthier fast food options). 

Post eats, you might want to check out the 2nd Annual Vancouver International Tequila Expo taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown. As Western Canada’s largest festival dedicated to Mexico’s number uno export spirit, it’s a definite way to ensure your night ends up a bit on the wild side. Tickets must be purchased in advance (before 4pm on Friday), so don’t hesitate.

Taking place all weekend long is the Eat! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival located at BC Place. This epic vortex of all things cuisine-related is a mecca for foodies, wannabe chefs and those simply on the hunt for a whack of never-ending samples. Open early until late, be sure to head down to catch cooking demos, score deals on kitchen tools and appliances, catch celebrity chefs and score an insider’s scoop (and taste) of the latest taste trends. Whet your palate as you sample your way around the sprawling space and wash all the food down with wine, beer and spirits at the licensed pavilion.

In keeping with our food-minded options, why not use part of Saturday to head out and re-visit the River Market at Westminster Quay? It’s a fairly easy drive (about 20 minutes out of downtown) and will make you feel as though you’ve escaped the city. Need another reason? Given that it’s still Spot Prawn season in BC, they’re celebrating this two month-long fishing season with the opening of Longtail Kitchen. Longtail gets its name from the Thai water taxis and is owned by the award-winning chef of Maenam – Angus An and features Thai-style street food. For more information about Saturdays special opening event, click here.

If you haven’t already had a chance to venture over to La Mezcaleria in the city’s Grandview area, be sure to plan to do so come Saturday night. We recommend you make a point of getting there on the early side as their cozy space fills up quickly, and for good reason. The menu is loaded with authentic Mexican cuisine; your taste buds will be more than tempted (try their snapper ceviche, pollo flautas and queso fundido). Save room for a few rounds of Mezcal – just remember, it’s not a shooter!

Come Sunday, before you make your way out for the day we think you ought to check out Matchstick Coffee Roasters for your early morning caffeine fix. Now open with longer hours, there’s simply no excuse not to score a cup of their ethically-sourced and superb java.

On our list of must-do events taking place in Vancity this weekend is Sunday’s noteworthy Walk for Rape Relief 2013. Aside from the obvious reasons we think you ought to consider participating (or at least heading down to Stanley Park to show your support) is that this year the organization is celebrating 35 years of walking strong! Lace up and pledge to help raise funds and awareness for this worthy cause – walk starts at 10:30am sharp. Find more details here.

Post coffee and walk, be sure to head over to check out Portobello West and their summer market at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre. Always a hit with young professionals looking to make sustainable purchases in support of other creatives and entrepreneurs, this summer’s first market features a fresh array of artisans (we count more than 50)!  Make an afternoon of it and check out live music, grab a bite at one of the on-site food trucks, and score a retail coup!

Top photo courtesy La Mezcaleria