I have a slight tendency to only talk about food in New York. But do not be fooled! Great food exists absolutely everywhere. So you don't only have to be in the Big Apple to get fat.
One of my most favorite places for eats in Vancouver is Edible British Columbia at the Granville Island Market. Started a few years back by local chef Eric Pateman (who also happens to be one of the nicest people I have ever met) to showcase unique food products that were 100% made/grown/thought of in beautiful British Columbia.
My mum and I jumped on this bandwagon back in the early days, when my mum found out that Edible BC holds an event called Cooking with BC's Best dinner series . Basically what happens is that you enter Granville Island at the back door after closing (sort of fun to be in the market when NO one is there!), warmly welcomed by Eric or one of his team (we used to get reusable bags - I don't know if they still do that), and you find a seat at a table set for about 12-14. Each week, a local Vancouver/BC chef creates a menu that uses all local products. The menu consists of at least three courses.
The eaters don't cook the food, it's a cooking demonstration. Which is fine by me. Because while we watch the chef at work, Eric is liberally pouring a local wine that befits the course.
Our first chef belonged to the Fairmont YVR (he is no longer there if you go looking) and spoke with such passion and enthusiasm about the food he was creating I found it quite infectious (in fact, I think this is when my true foodie nutbar came out). Suddenly, I realized that not only do we have incredible food in BC but the work that goes into creating those dishes means that we still get top food at a great price. Affordable in New York? fugetaboutit
Since my first evening, I have been back several times. The most entertaining was Vikram Vij of the famous Vij's. Not only was Vij amazing to watch and listen to, but the food was OUT OF THIS WORKD. As was the wine! Eric was as liberal as Vij and the Engineer and I left full and slightly tipsy.
In fact, Vij gave us all second helpings to the point that the whole table was full. But his rice pudding dessert was so incredible that when I noticed the lady next to me couldn't finish hers I asked for it. Even though I thought I might explode, I ate her helping!
That night was so great that now you have to win a lottery to see Vij. It was also so great because Vij was being filmed for the Food Network and I made it on TV! Making roti. Well, more like ruining roti and screaming.
The dinners are an amazing deal at around $90 per person. Don't forget, it's all local food, you will be full, and each course has a BC wine to go with it.
The other great thing Edible BC does is food tours of Vancouver 'yum' spots - like Chinatown, Little India and Commercial Drive. Again, the knowledge is so great and you will learn so much about a spot of town. I have been going to Chinatown since I was a kid but until I went with Edible BC I had no idea what or why some of the odd things existed at Chinese markets. Even the Engineer didn't know and he's Chinese! Plus we ate ALOT.
Edible BC also has gourmet kayak weekends, personal 'chef for a day' lessons where you walk around the market and device your own BC menu (I did this and it was so wonderful), and whiskey dinners. Not to mention the storefront that stocks all that is fabulous about BC.
It's seriously a treasure and will give you an appreciation for what BC offers to the world. Hmmm, I'm sort of homesick just writing this.
So go and get fat Vancouver style!