Whenever I’m at a loss for what to gift friends on their birthdays, I turn to the ‘experience option’. Of course, my experiential gifts most always involve food. My absolute favourite not-in-a-box present for a loved one, is a progressive dinner.
What’s a progressive dinner? It’s a food-filled soiree that begins at “Restaurant A” for a cocktail and appetizer. A short walk away, you hit “Restaurant B” where you’ll hunker down for cocktail #2 (or perhaps a good bottle of wine) and a scrumptious entree or more small plates to share. The last stop is “Restaurant C” where, of course, you’ll grab a spoon and dig into something rich for dessert with an after-dinner drink or a pick-me-up latte. In the end, you’ve given the gift of an adventurous and celebratory evening…your friend will feel loved.
Here are three progressive dinner maps for you to try out in Strathcona Village. And trust me, each of these sips and bites have been chosen for one reason: you won’t forget them.
Strathcona Village Progressive Dinner Map #1
Stop A: L’Abattoir
What to Drink: Clover Club Refashioned
This gin-based, original creation by Shaun Layton — a top Vancouver bartender — is frothy with egg white, slightly citrusy, kissed with mint and far too easy to drink.
What To Eat: BBQ Octopus (pictured)
This could be the best octopus dish you’ve had. Crispy jalapeno rings, crunchy bread crumbs fried in fat, generous dollops of red pepper sauce, and ultra-tender morsels of octopus elevate this small-plate to the next level.
Stop B: Calabash
What to Drink: Dark and Stormy (pictured)
At Calabash, Vancouver’s premier Caribbean restaurant, cocktails are given as much love as the food. The ginger beer in this famous Dark and Stormy is made in-house, the rum is always Bermudan (a requirement for authenticity) and a handful of coconut-kissed coconut ribbons are a most alluring garnish.
What To Eat: Jerk Chicken
Any dish inspired by a chef’s grandmother has my vote of confidence. Marinated for a minimum of 12-hours in a blend of brown sugar, fruit juice, allspice, thyme, hot peppers and cinnamon, this sweet, sumptuous, mildly-spicy creation is and was indeed inspired by Chef Cullin David’s Guyanese grandma.
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