5 Ways To Survive a Dining Crawl

By Leeann Froese

As part of the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival there are ‘brunch crawls’ taking place on the weekends. They are put on by Vancouver Foodster and are along the lines of a regular dine around series he does throughout the year called Tasting Plates.

There are two left this weekend: in Yaletown and on Main Street – and you can watch for future similar events even when Dine Out is over.

This was my first dine around event… where you have a small bite at each place you go to. These bites can be something that the restaurant usually features on their menu or is a mini or modified version of a regular menu item. The idea is to give you a peek at what the food at the place visited is like. It’s a great way to be exposed to places you might not have visited before, or to have a snack at some of your favorites.

I’ll explain what I got to taste and where we went to to follow, but first I thought I would give some helpful tips from what I learned – my top five ways to survive a dining crawl.

1. Dress for the Weather
Because you are moving from one location to the next, and often on foot, you want to make sure that you are dressed appropriately. You want to make sure that if it’s going to be sunny that you’ve got your sunglasses and a hat, or if it’s raining make sure you’re wearing something waterproof and that you have your umbrella with you just in case. It also pays off to wear layers because on the day that we did our crawl, it was sunny, windy, and also had a little bit of rain. It’s not recommended that you wear high heels; comfortable shoes that you can walk in are definitely the way to go.

Oh, and wear stretchy pants… see #2:

2. Be Hungry
Arrive with an appetite. With several stops to be made on a crawl, even if you are having a small bite at each, they do add up and you do get full. While some stops want to offer you seconds or give you a large plate of food to taste, I recommend that you pace yourself.

3. Be OK With Carbs
Bread, waffles, crackers, etc. are great vessels to carry or hold other ingredients and flavours. Be prepared for there to be some sort of carb at each stop; if not part of the main taste, then at least to hold something else.

4. Keep An Open Mind
A favourite saying of mine is “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset”. This can’t be more true for a dine around or crawl situation. While in some cases you get to see the menu in advance, sometimes there are last-minute substitutions and not every menu item is going to meet your particular dietary restrictions. Also you might be visiting a place for the first time and unfamiliar with their menu, so be ready to taste something new-to-you and take a risk on some ingredients you might not ever have before.

5. Don’t Be in a Hurry
With four hours to cover a neighborhood, it offers plenty of time and you don’t need to worry that you won’t get to fit in every stop. Taking time to talk to the people at each location and learn more about what they are doing is complimentary to them, and they appreciate it. Also you can gain a sense of the kind of regular business they do when you see what they have to offer. Some places will be busier than others, and you can be prepared to wait in a line, or potentially even wait for somewhere to sit. You can’t let this frustrate you; you have to just take it in as part of the pace of the experience.

In short, for my first experience doing a brunch crawl I thought it was overall a good one. For a brunch crawl I would’ve liked to have an egg; I was surprised that no one served any kind of egg dish beyond quiche.

But what I did receive was yummy waffles, bagels, pancakes, and French toast. And I can’t forget coffee; we had some great coffee! To follow is the detail of what each location offered, and I invite you to go out and try one of the spots yourself when they’re open for regular business.

Here’s the recap of my first crawl:

I was lucky enough to be the guest of Karl Kliparchuk  – Karl is an educator who also hosts the popular website My Wine Pal.

Here’s the order we did our stops in and what we had:

Bean Around the World

Bean Around the World Brunch Crawl

Café Latte

Bowen Island Pizza Co – in collaboration with Cobs

Brunch Crawl YVR 2nd Stop

Italian Crostini with olive and artichoke tapenade.

Apricot French toast with strawberry reduction.

Apricot French toast with strawberry reduction.


Two Daughters Bakeshop

Two Daughters Bakery Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Left to right: Ginger lemon sandwich cookie / Gluten free vegan apple tart

Cook Culture

Red lentil pancakes with haskap & maple syrup smoothie with banana, mango, rooibos, coconut

Left to right: Smoothie with banana, mango, rooibos, coconut/ red lentil pancakes with haskap & maple syrup



Chef Cook Culture

Cook Culture bites prepared by Chef Jonathan Chovancek!

Echo Cafe

spinach tomato and feta cheese quiche / Waffle BLT: bacon lettuce and tomato waffle special pesto mayo on top of fresh Belgian waffle / savory scone: fresh baked cheese and green onion

Left to right: spinach tomato and feta cheese quiche / waffle BLT: bacon lettuce and tomato waffle special pesto mayo on top of fresh Belgian waffle / savory scone: fresh baked cheese and green onion

Rosemary Rock Salt

Dill pickle lox and cream cheese on poppyseed bagel with capers, red onion, lemon and dill pickle / vegan cashew spread on rosemary rocksalt bagel / Montreal smoked meat sandwich on sesame bagel with mustard

Left to right: dill pickle lox and cream cheese on poppyseed bagel with capers, red onion, lemon and dill pickle / vegan cashew spread on rosemary rocksalt bagel / Montreal smoked meat sandwich on sesame bagel with mustard





Meet Alyssa Dawson #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new week to bring you amazing people #withTownHall!

If you are new to reading this blog or new to our company – we want you to know that we are proud that we have a big network, and we are continually meeting new and interesting personalities.

This week #withTownHall, we are rolling in on #featurefriday to introduce you to an amazing freelancer, Alyssa Dawson.

Alyssa Dawson withTownHall

Alyssa joined Town Hall’s ‘spider web’ through her on-camera hosting role at Novus TV and her love of food. Alyssa covered the Chefs’ Table Society of BC‘s cheque presentation and Project Chef‘s children’s curry cup competition for Novus. As well, she interviewed Chefs’ Table Society president chef Scott Jaeger, Pear Tree Restaurant, to talk about how to prepare spot prawns.

She also works as an on-camera host for LNG Productions, JMS Media Group Inc., and Blink Media Works.

Being in front of the camera as a host, Alyssa knows how to work the angles and has booked numerous roles in commercials. Recently, she booked principal roles in Second Chance on Fox, and in two feature films: Colossal starring Anne Hathaway/Jason Sudeikis and Little Pink House starring Catherine Keener.

As an emcee, since 2013, Alyssa has hosted the celebrity stage at EAT! Vancouver, as well as, The Gluten Free Expo, 2015, 2016, and will be back in 2017. And those opportunities do not include the countless cookbook release parties and technology events she emcees for.

Beginning to forge her path on the radio waves Alyssa has a monthly segment called “Spirit City” on Joe Leary’s ‘Just Here for the Beer’ show on TSN 1410.

She’s an influencer on social media and in the culinary world creates recipes, judges culinary competitions, including the upcoming Barn Burner BBQ in Chilliwack, and helps with food styling in film, television and print.

With her love of food Alyssa has a culinary bucket list that includes making pasta with locals in Tuscany, publishing a cookbook (it’s in the works!), and diving for lobsters.

She brings her vibrant personality into her work and we are so happy to have her in our network.

With all that being said will you help us say hello to Alyssa?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter

Meet Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new week to bring you amazing people #withTownHall!

If you are new to reading this blog or new to our company – we want you to know that we are proud that we have a big network, and we are continually meeting new and interesting personalities.

This week #withTownHall, we are rolling in on #featurefriday to introduce you to an amazing chef, Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson.

Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson, chef de cuisine, Perch Restaurant 02Gus is currently the chef du cuisine at Perch Restaurant that is situated at the top of the UBC Student Nest. He is also the sustainability chair for The Chefs’ Table Society of BC.

Gus was born and raised in Winnipeg and growing up he spent much of his time on his grandparent’s farm. Spending time on the farm helped to shape his love of food and the way it brings people together with his first memories consisting of eating fresh vegetables from his grandparents fields.

Taking his first food centric job at the age of 14, Gus graduated from the Culinary Arts Program at Red River College where he learned classic French techniques.

After graduating he worked at top European locations such as the Hotel Atrium in Mainz, the Restaurant Römerquelle Weinrebe and the Michelin Star Restaurant ENTE. It was through these experiences that Gus developed a passion for every aspect of food, from planning to plate.

After honing his craft locally at the Zagat rated Pear Tree Restaurant, Gus joined the AMS last year, bringing an international flair to our west coast ingredients at Perch.

Gus has been busy kicking off 2016 with Dine Out Vancouver, Follow Me Foodie’s Six Course Discourse and back in his hometown this weekend for Raw Almond.

If you haven’t made it out to Perch yet to see and taste Gus’ food art put it into your calendar and head to UBC.

With all that being said will you help us say hello to Gus?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter

Meet Kian Lam Kho #withTownHall

By Leeann Froese

It’s a new year to bring you amazing people  #withTownHall!

If you are new to reading this blog or new to our company – we want you to know that we are proud that we have a big network, and we are continually meeting new and interesting personalities.

Last year we introduced you to some amazing people – and in 2016, we can’t wait for you to meet more people we want you to know.

This week #withTownHall, we are rolling in on a #featurefriday to introduce you to an amazing chef, Kian Lam Kho.

Kian Lam Kho

Kian lives in New York city, teaching the fundamental techniques of Chinese cooking.

He started his career in cooking after training as an aerospace engineer and developing software on Wall Street for more than twenty years. He apprenticed in the kitchen of Chef Josh Capon at Canteen (now Lure Fishbar), in New York, but it was Chinese cooking that interested him the most.

After Canteen he started organizing pop-up Chinese banquet events to showcase the variety of ingredients and versatility of techniques in Chinese cuisine rarely experienced in American Chinese restaurants. He continues to work at different restaurants as a guest chef, creating unique Chinese banquet events.

To share his knowledge Kian created the very popular Chinese cooking blog Red Cook. In 2011 Red Cook was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award.

Now, Kian is in the midst of sharing his knowledge with his beautiful new cookbook: Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees.

For Vancouverites, Barbara-Jo of Books to Cooks has organized a dinner at Mission Kitsilano on January 18. Chef Curtis Luk of Mission is Chinese, and for this special night he will alter the regular offerings of Mission and present a menu from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees. Cost of the evening is $140.00 and includes a personalized copy of the book, cocktail, meal, gratuity, and the chance to talk to Kian. Please call 604.688.6755 to reserve your seat.

And whether you get to go to this dinner or not, will you please help us give a big hello to him?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter


Events to Plan for in the Lower Mainland in 2016

What’s Happening in 2016

What’s happening for events in Vancouver?

We find the best way for you to know about a client or project is to meet them in person, and the best way to do that is to hold an event, so everyone is hosting something.

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We have gathered all of the events in Vancouver and area that we know of for 2016.

Note: this is for planning purposes and will change – check back often.


January 19-February 7: PuSh Festival

January 25: IVSA New Product Salon (trade)

January 25: Taste the World (public event)

January 26: Trade Conference Ticket Sales for Vancouver Wine Festival

January 27: Food and Wine Dinner (media)

January 28: Taste BC

January 29: Chinese Restaurant Awards (night one)

January 30: Chinese Restaurant Awards (night two)

February 5: Big Night

February 13-14: Chinatown Spring Festival-Cultural Fair

February 14: Chinese New Year Parade

February 16: Wines of Chile Tasting (media)

February 17: BC Home and Garden Show Opening Night

February 17-21: BC Home and Garden Show

February 18: Travel & Lifestyle Event (media)

February 18-28: Talking Stick Festival

February 19-21: Winterruption

February 18-March 13: Chutzpah! Festival

February 20-28: Vancouver International Wine Festival: Italy

March 4-6: Festival du Bois

March 7: 3rd Annual Curry Cup hosted by Chefs’ Table Society of BC

March 9: Eastside Beer Festival

March 20: Barn Burner BBQ in Chilliwack

March 22: Locals Only BC at Edible Canada

March 21-April 17: Cherry Blossom Festival

March 26: BC Distilled

April 1-3: The Fraser Valley Food Show

April 4: Meet the Maker (Trade and Media only)

April 4: Lick Your Plate Launch Party (Vancouver)

April 1-28: Capture Photography Festival

April 6-10: Vancouver Cocktail week

April 7: Elixir Spirits Festival

April 9: Dinner Party YVR featuring Serendipity Winery

April 10: Avocados from Mexica Avocado Showdown

April 9-14th: Eco Fashion Week

April 13: Okanagan Falls Winery Association Spring Release Party

April 17: Garagiste Wine Festival

April 21: Lifestyle & Fashion Event (media)

April 23: Vaisakhi Day Parade

April 25: California Wine Fair (trade & consumer)

April 28: Wines for Waves featuring Serendipity Winery

April 29: Vintage 2015 (media preview)

April 29-May 1: EAT! Vancouver

May 5-15: DOXA Documentary Film Festival

May 6: Rosé Revival

May 9-10: Summit 2016: Hospitality Industry Conference & Marketplace (Kelowna)

May 10: IVSA New Product Salon-Victoria

May 13: Spot Prawn Gala: Celebrating 10 Years of the Spot Prawn Festival

May 14: Spot Prawn Cooking Classes at PICA

May 15: 10th Annual Spot Prawn Festival hosted by The Chefs’ Table Society of BC

May 17: IVSA New Product Salon-Vancouver

May 18: Dish ‘n Dazzle for the BC Hospitality Foundation

May 18: Bloom BC VQA Spring Release (Victoria)

May 19: Bloom BC VQA Spring Release (Vancouver)

May 26-29: Art! Vancouver

May 26-29: Half Corked Marathon

May 28: Vancouver International Tequila Grand Tasting

May 29: Blue Grouse Estate Winery Open House

June 3: Liberty Wine Provence Rosé Wine Tasting

June 4: Provence Rosé wine tasting at 39th & Cambie BCLDB

June 11-12: 4th Annual Heard It Through The Grapevine

June 13- Wine Tasting (trade only)

June 21: Les Dames Wine Launch

June 23: Night at the Aquarium

June 23: Totem Distillers Launch

July 7: Champagne & Caviar

July 7: Vancouver TheatreSports opening reception performance

July 11: BC Hospitality Foundation Vancouver Golf Tournament

July 12: Summer Sizzler TMAC BC Chapter

July 16: Deighton Cup

July 20: Silk Road Vancouver ParTEA Opening

July 21:Vancouver TheatreSports Opening Reception Performance

July 24: Brewery & the Beast (Vancouver)

August 17: Best of Craft BC

August 18: Diner en Blanc

August 28: Black Hills Estate Winery Nota Bene Release Tasting (Everything Wine)

August 28: Black Hills Estate Winery Winemakers Dinner (Black + Blue)

August 29: Black Hills Estate Winery Nota Bene Seminar

August 30: Black Hills Estate Winery Long Table

August 31: Black Hills Estate Winery Nota Bene Release (Marquis Wine Cellars)

August 31: Black Hills Estate Winery Winemakers Dinner (Zest Japanese Cuisine)

September 7-8: Top Drop Vancouver

September 10: Naramata Bench Tailgate Party

September 11: BBQ Off the Bypass

September 13: Chefs’ Table Society and Yaletown BIA Chef Meets Truck

September 15: Dinner by Design

September 16: Dinner by Design

September 18: Chefs’ Table Society of BC Slow Fish Dinner

September 19: BC Hospitality Foundation Victoria Golf Tournament

October 4-7: Eat! Vancouver

September 30- October 8: Harvest Haus

October 24: Italian Wine Tasting (Consumer & Trade)

October 31: Portugal Wine Tasting (Trade, Consumer, Media)

October 31: IVSA Liquor Industry Conference

November 10-20: Cornucopia Whistler

What event did we miss here? Let us know: info @ townhallbrands.com








Fearlessness is NOT a thing.

Fearlessness is Bullshit. It’s not a thing.

By Leeann Froese

I have had fearlessness on my mind for several months now. A new year seemed a fitting time to let my thoughts out, and as a #winelover, I thought what better day than a Wine Wednesday?


It all started last August in Finger Lakes, New York State, during the Wine Bloggers Conference pre-excursion.

An event held at Ventosa Vineyards showcased women and wine – who gathered to speak and illustrate the varying roles of women in the vines, cellars and labs of this cool climate region. The theme of their event was Bold. Fearless. Original.

We heard from Marti Macinski, from Standing Stone Vineyards, who is arguably one of the pioneering vintners in the Finger Lakes wine region. She spoke of the roles she has played in the past and the ones she now plays as a farmer, hospitality manager and vintner, and how her work to establish a wine industry in an unproven region, combined with being a woman winemaker, required fearlessness.

By contrast in age and experience, Jenna LaVita is the 29-year-old winemaker and vineyard manager of Ventosa Vineyards. She has been earning numerous accolades at an early point in her career, working in a field ever-dominated by men. She shared how she had to behave in a fearless way to show her peers and also herself, that as a young woman winemaker she has the capability…

Liz Leidenfrost, the assistant winemaker and tasting room manager of Leidenfrost Vineyards, spoke of the importance of having a champion. In her case, her father is her cheerleader – he advised her that she could do anything, and she will make mistakes, but that is OK. His backing gave her to confidence to face her fears.

The partner and general manager of Three Brothers Winery & Estates, Erica Paolicelli, is also a young woman, and one of the only females on her winery team. She has to show confidence and bust it on a daily basis to make her way with the boys.

Chef Heather Tompkins is a chef serving Finger Lakes wine country, and co-owner of Opus Espresso and Wine Bar. A pioneer herself, she was one of the first interns to open The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, California.

From these Finger Lakes ladies, they share the traits of passion, being a risk taker, and reinventing rules on their terms. But are they fearless? But I’d prefer to NOT use that word.


These women are not fearless, even if their T shirts say they are. My silly and blurry selfie with Marti Macinski, chef Heather Tompkins, Liz Leidenfrost, Erica Paolicelli, and Jenna LaVita.


“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou


Towards September, the fearlessness theme continued for me; this time, I turned it inward.

A good girlfriend of mine, Ingrid, wanted to celebrate her birthday by doing the death-defying act of zip lining across a canyon in the Okanagan Valley. She asked me and other friends to join her. The idea of doing this was quite scary and took me out of my comfort zone. When I shared my nervousness, Ingrid said she didn’t expect me to be afraid; because I am the most fearless person she knows. She said that it seems like I’m never afraid to do anything.

And even my own team members tell me they see me as somebody who is fearless; Sujinder at one point tweeted something about me being the fearless leader at Town Hall.

I found it so interesting that people saw me this way.

I think a friend of mine could relate. Lynda Steele, a Vancouver broadcaster, made a bold move by leaving a high-profile on camera consumer reporter role at CTV to take on an equally high-profile job with her own show on CKNW news talk 980. Lynda had no formal radio experience to speak of and the thought of making this bold career move after three decades in television was something that she publicly expressed great trepidation and fear about. In the week leading up to her big change, she shared on her Facebook wall that she had a restless night thinking about her move to radio. She said when she finally got up, that seemingly out of nowhere, this image rolled though in her iPhotos:


Lynda said this had to be a message from above. This led to a symphony of comments to follow, with Lynda’s friends cheering her on, stating how they felt she is bold and fearless, and also commenting about worry and fear and how it is healthy and can give you energy.

Lynda’s friends aren’t the only ones who feel that fear can fuel you. Dame Judi Dench has been quoted on this topic.



Within all of these anecdotal examples of strong women an amount of bravery was required, but to me, that is not what fearlessness is.

I actually think the idea of fearlessness is not a thing. It’s bullshit. I think people are generally terrified when they get outside their comfort zone, and despite the fear they strive to move forward.

This fear: of failure, vulnerability, of evaluation by others, can be turned inward into an energy, a fire in your belly, that can help push you forward. This could be perceived as fearlessness, but I think it is just fear manifesting itself as strength.

We use the energy generated from fear to give us strength and propel us forward, despite the fact that what we are facing is terrifying, either on a physical, emotional or spiritual level.

In all of these examples of women that I shared, they talked about how they were pushed beyond their comfort zone in order to make some sort of a change; is the bravery required to do this considered to be fearlessness?

I don’t think so. I think fear is real, tangible, gives one physical symptoms, and in some cases can paralyze.

But no matter what we do, even when we are terrified, we need to come to the realization that we need to take risks, do something we are afraid of, so we can stretch and learn and grow.

So as a new year is upon us, and so much has yet to unfold, I recognize that I am terrified every day. Am I doing the right thing as a parent? Is my young business going to be OK? Will my clients be happy? Is my team going to stick with me? How do others see me? All these things creep in as fear and self doubt. There is no way I am fearless.

Despite all this my approach is to feel the fear, and do it anyway. I’ll rise to the challenges life hands me, knees shaking, and do the best I can.

And with that in mind, I wish you all a great year, filled with fun, courage and optimism. As I love to say: #gogetit!