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How I Survived Tasting 18 Kinds of Beer at Surrey BC’s Battle of the Brews

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Battle of the Brews is an annual event organized by 102.7 The Peak FM and Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society. All the money from ticket sales goes to the Ahletics4Kids which focuses on children from low-income families. And as Sandy Hancock, the executive director of this organization stated, they could provide up to $600 a year per kid to spend on sports activities. Unfortunately, according to one of the firefighters’ representative Jeremy, they were only half way through expected donations.

Even so, the event was also about having fun! The three-hour reception was featuring 18 kinds of beer to taste, food samples such as mini-burgers from Milestones, chicken tacos from Cactus Club and many more, games to play, spinning wheels where you could easily win a dinner for 4 (!!!) or a free entry at featured restaurants. Have you ever tried ginger raspberry beer? Me neither, but I sampled that drink from heaven at Battle of the Brews. It was the most unbelievable taste ever – so soft and fruity! How about licorice beer? I bet you would never imagine such a drink exists and yet, here it is. For those of you who like an aftertaste surprise – beer with some bourbon is a slight (or even extreme?) bolt from the blue. Some of the breweries not open yet and this event was a good opportunity for them to promote their business.

Walking around those beer and food stands with my new violet shades on (which I won there by the way), meeting new people, listening to the cool music played by Vanessa and her team from 102.7 The Peak FM, being invited to other cool events by my new acquaintances, and knowing it’s all for a great cause – is an amazing feeling. I wish you can come next year and enjoy your day there as I did. It’s worth it!

P.S. Guess which beer I nominated as the best one?:)

Participating Breweries:

Bomber Brewing, Cariboo Brewing, Central City Brewers and Distillers, Dageraad Brewing, Dead Frog Brewery, Lonetree Cider, Mariner Brewing, Raven’s Moon Craft Cider, Red Arrow Brewing Co, Red Truck Beer Company, Stanley Park Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Co., Steel and Oak Brewing Co., Trading Post Brewing, Three Dogs Brewing Co., Two Wolves Brewing Co., White Rock Beach Beer Company

Participating Restaurants:

Brown’s Social House, Cactus Club Cafe, Elements Casino, Famoso, Milestones, Joseph Richards Group, Sammy J Peppers

Alie Slabenko is a local writer and poet passionate about human rights. She recently completed the New Media Journalism Program at Simon Fraser University. She also holds a Masters in Tax Crimes from Russia and PDD in Marketing from Douglas College in Vancouver. Alie has volunteered for the YVR airport magazine as a creative contributor and written several travel and lifestyle articles for an online Russian magazine. She is a traveler by heart and has visited Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, China, and the USA. In her free time Alie likes to paint, take photographs, write poems, and manage her social justice oriented website. Alie is a human rights advocate who seeks to serve people through her journalistic skills focusing on racism, transgender rights, women rights, and human trafficking.

Food & Drink

Happy Singh Eats Provides Meal Delivery to Frontline Hospital Workers at VGH, Delta & Surrey Memorial Hospitals

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Happy Singh Eats, the newest restaurant endeavour by Tandoori Flame Restaurants, may not be open to the public just yet, however they are already serving their community. Teaming up with the kitchen at Tandoori Flame Delta, starting this week they prepared meals for medical staff at Delta Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital, including their Emergency Room.

They are providing between 100 – 200 individually wrapped meals every day for those working on the front lines. One hospital worker exclaimed, “Everyone loves it [the food]. For some of our staff its one of the only means they eat a day because they are working 16 hours a day and live alone. So this is such a treat for our staff.”

“This is just our small gesture of appreciation for all healthcare workers are doing to keep us safe,” explained Managing Director, Shraey Gulati. “We all have to do our part.”

He went on to share that we can all help thank our healthcare professionals by practicing social distancing, good handwashing etiquette and only leaving your home for essential items. Let’s all do our part to stay healthy and safe.

Happy Singh Eats is slated to open in early Summer 2020 with 160 seats inside and 72 outside on a covered patio. Akin to a South Asian version of fast casual dining, it is modelled after popular roadside cafés found all over India providing ready to eat snacks.

The new cafe style restaurant will offer dine-in and take-out options with live cooking at over 10 food stations where guests can see popular street style snacks being prepared right in front of them.

The menu will include items such as: kathi rolls (street-food dish or a vegetarian or meat filled rolled inside a parantha bread); a chaat station (a savoury h’orderve which traditionally includes a mixture of potato pieces, crisp fried bread, yogurt, chickpeas and tangy-salty spices); a Jr. Happy Singh box meal for kids; thali style meals (plated tray meal consisting of several small meat or vegetable dishes accompanied by rice, bread, etc.); traditional curries; Paranthas (a flat unleavened bread that is fried on a griddle), a samosa station, a dosa station, traditional curries, pizzas, sandwiches, and more.

Check Their Instagram

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The rise of #MeatlessMonday: President’s Choice Plant-Based Recipes

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With 38% of Canadians looking to incorporate plant-based foods into their diets along with the #MeatlessMonday movement becoming more prominent in many households, plant-based alternatives allow us to get adventurous in the kitchen and add variety to our diet!

The PC® team has a number of delicious plant-based recipes that are sure to bring Canadians’ #MeatlessMonday meals to life, including:

Here are some of the PC® plant-based items that are included in the recipes below:

PC® Plant-Based Chickenless Chicken Breasts: These tasty, plant-based chicken breasts make mealtime a breeze. Simply pop in the oven for 20 minutes and they are ready to pair with everything from cauliflower purée to steamed broccoli to Greek-style salads.

PC® Plant-Based Cashew Dips: Available in Original, Red Pepper and Cucumber Dill flavors, these delicious dips are ideal for both dipping and spreading.

PC® Plant-Based Mayo-Style Spread: This mayo-style spread is thick, creamy and delicious – perfect for sandwiches, burgers and wraps, or as a base for dips, dressings and sauces.

Recipes:

15-Minute Vegan Romesco Rotini

Serves: 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes

Per serving: 450 calories, fat 14 g (2 g of which is saturated), sodium 390 mg, carbohydrate 68 g, fibre 4 g, sugars 6 g, protein 15 g

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (454 g) rotini
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted natural (skin-on) whole almonds, toasted
  • 1 pkg (200 g) PC® Plant-Based Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Dip
  • 1 cup (250 mL) canned whole plum tomatoes (with juices)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL)fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

1. Bring 4 L (16 cups) water to a rapid boil. Add pasta. Stir occasionally until water returns to a boil. Cook until al dente or tender but firm, 8 to 9 minutes, adding frozen peas during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time. Reserving 1 cup cooking liquid, drain.

2. Meanwhile, pulse ¼ cup toasted almonds in a blender on high speed until finely ground. Add cashew dip, tomatoes with juices, oil, salt and paprika. Blend, scraping down side, until smooth sauce forms. Set aside. Chop remaining 2 tbsp toasted almonds for garnish; set aside.

3. Return pasta mixture to saucepan off heat. Stir in sauce and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, adding more cooking liquid if necessary to coat pasta and reach desired consistency of sauce.

4. Sprinkle pasta with chopped almonds and parsley.

Chef’s Tip: Toast whole almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring or shaking often, until light golden and fragrant, about 6 minutes.

Chickenless Marbella

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours
Cook time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Chicken Marbella was the go-to party dish of the ‘80s, brought to popularity by the Silver Palate Cookbook. Here, the combination of brown sugar, prunes, capers and olives makes a sweet, briny, tangy marinade for PC® Plant-Based Chickenless Breasts. Bonus: The marinade doubles as a serving sauce.

Per serving: 430 calories, fat 22 g (5 g of which is saturated), sodium 650 mg, carbohydrate 41 g, fibre 1 g, sugars 4 g, protein 19 g

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup (188 mL) pitted prunes
  • ½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup (83 mL)pitted green olives
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) capers (with brine)
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) each dried oregano and ground black pepper
  • 1 pkg (400 g) frozen PC® Plant-Based Chickenless Breasts
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL)packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Directions

1. Stir together garlic, bay leaves, prunes, wine, olives, oil, capers, oregano and black pepper in a bowl. Arrange frozen chickenless breasts in a single layer in an 8-inch (2 L) square glass baking dish. Spoon garlic mixture evenly over top. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Drizzle chickenless breasts with vinegar and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake uncovered until liquid is gently bubbling and chickenless breasts are cooked through, 22 to 24 minutes.

3. Transfer chickenless breasts, prunes, olives and capers with slotted spoon to serving platter; cover to keep warm. Transfer remaining sauce to small saucepan; discard bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

4. Spoon sauce over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.

Chef’s Tip: Dry wine simply means it isn’t overly sweet. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc are all great options.

Vegan 7-Layer Salad with Bacon Maple Tempeh

Makes: 12 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 45 minutes

Kick it old school with this vegan take on your grandma’s go-to layered salad. We’ve swapped the iceberg lettuce for hearty kale and used tempeh instead of the traditional layer of bacon. Chickpeas make a great protein-rich stand-in for the eggs. Don’t worry, we’ve kept the creamy mayo-based dressing you love (sans eggs, of course) by calling on our PC® Plant-Based Mayo-Style Spread.

Per serving: 250 calories, fat 16 g (2 g of which is saturated), sodium 360 mg, carbohydrate 23 g, fibre 5 g, sugars 5 g, protein 6 g

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 600 g/1-1/4 lb total), scrubbed and cut into 1/2–inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 2 tbsp (30mL) olive oil
  • ½ tsp (2mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper
  • Half pkg (198 g pkg) PC® Blue Menu Bacon Maple Flavour Tempeh (about 8 slices)
  • 4 cups (1 L) chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups (1 L) thinly sliced stemmed curly kale
  • 1 can (540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) sliced skin-on (natural) almonds

Dressing:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) PC® Plant-Based Mayo-Style Spread
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Toss together sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp oil, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper in a large bowl. Arrange in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake, flipping potatoes once, until tender and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tempeh; cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool slightly. Chop or crumble into bite-size pieces.

3. Dressing: Stir together mayo-style spread, maple syrup, lemon juice, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Layer romaine and kale in a 12-cup (3 L) glass bowl or other large serving dish. Top with sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Dollop dressing over top. Sprinkle with tempeh, pomegranate seeds and almonds. Toss gently to coat just before serving.

Chef’s Tip: Make this salad up to 24 hours ahead – just cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Makes: 22 to 24 balls
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours
Ready in: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Keep a stash of these bites in your fridge for a quick grab-and-go snack. Read the labels of chocolate chips to ensure they’re vegan – ingredients to watch for are milk powder and whey.

Per ball: 100 calories, fat 7 g (2 g of which is saturated), sodium 35 mg, carbohydrate 7 g, fibre 2 g, sugars 3 g, protein 4 g

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 mL) smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup (188 mL) quick-cooking (not instant) oats
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) PC® Vanilla Vegan Protein Drink Mix
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) vegan mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup

Directions

1. Stir together peanut butter, oats, protein drink mix, chocolate chips and maple syrup in large bowl until well combined.

2. Roll into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls. Refrigerate until firm, 4 hours or overnight. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Chef’s Tip: We use regular peanut butter for this recipe, but you can easily swap in natural peanut butter. You may need to microwave the natural peanut butter for 30 seconds to make it easier to stir – just be sure to let it cool slightly before mixing it with the chocolate chips to keep them from melting.

Vegan Tropical Frozen Yogurt Bark

Makes: 24 pieces
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours
Ready in: 4 hours, 25 minutes

The fruit and seeds in this recipe are merely suggestions – you can easily use whatever you have on-hand. Try frozen sliced strawberries in place of the raspberries and chopped pistachios instead of pumpkin seeds.

Per serving (4 pieces): 120 calories, fat 4 g (2 g of which is saturated), sodium 10 mg, carbohydrate 23 g, fibre 2 g, sugars 13 g, protein 2 g

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tub (500 g) PC® Plant-Based Plain Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen mango chunks
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) agave syrup
  • ½ cup (125 mL) frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) chia seeds

Directions

1. Blend together 1 banana, the yogurt, frozen mango and agave in blender until smooth.

2. Pour onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spreading to about ¼-inch (5 mm) thickness.

3. Slice remaining banana into ¼-inch (5 mm) thick rounds. Arrange banana and frozen raspberries evenly over top of yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and chia.

4. Freeze uncovered until solid, at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces, about 2-inch (5 cm) each. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Chef’s Tip: Look for agave syrup in the natural foods section of the supermarket.

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HSBC Canada Sevens and Stanley Park Brewing Team-up in Multi-Year Partnership

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HSBC Canada Sevens and Stanley Park Brewing Team-up in Multi-Year Partnership

Canada Sevens organizers and Stanley Park Brewing are excited to announce a new partnership agreement that will see the iconic West Coast brand become the Official Beer Partner of HSBC Canada Sevens.

The partnership will span over the 2020 & 2021 instalments of HSBC Canada Sevens tournaments and includes the launch of the new Canada Sevens Lager (#Canada7sLager).

A crisp, flavourful, light lager brewed with barley, oats and sea-salt to produce a light to medium bodied beer, Canada Sevens Lager is the perfect way to refresh as you cheer on your favourite 7s team.

“Keeping in mind the all-day nature of this sporting event, we wanted to create something that was a low calorie, low alcohol option – meant for sessions,” explained Thom Riley, Brewmaster of the award-winning Stanley Park Brewing Co. “The Canada Sevens Lager is the right beer for the occasion coming in at 4% ABV, 10 IBU and less than 100 calories per 355ml can.”

The new Canada Sevens Lager will be introduced in Vancouver at HSBC Canada Sevens on March 7 & 8, followed by HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens in Langford, BC on May 2 & 3.

“We love the energy and spirit that Canada Sevens brings to Vancouver, and we’re inspired by the speed and passion of the Rugby Sevens game,” shared Doug Devlin, General Manager, Stanley Park Brewing Co. “We’re proud to launch this new partnership and look forward to sharing our Canada Sevens Lager with local and international rugby fans alike at this year’s tournament.”

On March 7-8 alone, HSBC Canada Sevens expects to see more than 70,000 fans at BC Place watching the 45 tournament games. With teams preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, action on the pitch is expected to be extra intense.

“We are thrilled to welcome an iconic Vancouver brand like Stanley Park Brewing to our tournament partner family,” said Jamie Levchuk, Managing Director of Events, Marketing and Communications with Rugby Canada. “Sevens is known for action on and off the pitch, and I know our fans will welcome the addition of Canada Sevens Lager to our tournament menus, ready to pair with other unique tournament offerings such as Aussie-style Meat Pies, the new Monstrosity Poutine, or the iconic Outrageous Burger at BC Place.”

Be one of the first to get a taste of the Canada Sevens Lager this March at HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place Stadium. Tickets are going fast, get yours today at https://www.canadasevens.com/tickets/. THIS IS SEVENS!

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Valentines Day Restaurants Perfect for Date Nights

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As soon as February 1st hits, we’re suddenly surrounded by all things lovey-dovey. It’s expected and unavoidable. From TV commercials to grocery store chocolate displays – the pressure of Valentine’s Day is everywhere we turn. Taken or not, there’s no better time to bask in the glory of chocolate, flowers and restaurant promos. With special offers and events that all promise to make your Valentine’s Day one to remember, it can feel daunting to know where to begin when trying to plan the perfect love-filled celebration. Keep reading to discover the hottest specials that you and your loved ones should take advantage of to guarantee a good time this Valentines Day!

Are you planning on catching a movie or turning in early to catch up on your favourite TV series? The temptation to stay in to Netflix and chill is real, but we promise that this Valentine’s day special is worth getting off the couch for. Pizzeria Farina is a Vancouver restaurant that’s jazzing up their regular pizza and creating something a little more romantic for this special occasion. Head on in for a dine-in meal on February 14th to enjoy a heart shaped margherita pizza anytime after 5pm while quantities last!

If you’re looking for a more formal, romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, try taking in the sea-side sights and sounds in Steveston. The Steveston Seafood House is putting a pause on their regular dining menu to focus on featuring a special seafood menu handcrafted by their renowned culinary team. If you’re a seafood lover, you and your date can enjoy a 3 course Prix Fix for only $59.00! It doesn’t get more romantic than sharing a meal with the one you love in front of a beautiful sunset, does it?

If you’re hoping for more of a traditional V-Day dinner, feast your eyes on JRG’s date night offering. If you’re in need of a DD for the evening, The Italian is the perfect route for you. Their shuttle service will be running all night, so take advantage of their Bistecca Alla Fiorentina for 2! The decedent 32oz AAA Canadia Beef Porterhouse with a starter, salad and desert is the perfect 3 course meal, and it’s just $99! We suggest splurging on their suggested wine pairing while you’re at it, especially if you plan on capitalizing on their shuttle service.

Are you in the mood for vegan food? BeetBox Veg, a 100% plant based Vancouver restaurant, is hosting a vegan wine and cheese mingler for the plant-based foodies in your life this Valentine’s day! Enjoy a modern spin on the classic charcuterie board and purchase your $25.00 tickets now for a chance to enjoy their deliciously conscious comfort food.

Whether you’re spending the evening with your pals or going all out on a fancy date night – delicious food and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. We recommend taking advantage of these local restaurant promotions that are right at your fingertips. Let loose and indulge in a memorable date night – you deserve it.

Pizzeria Farina
Steveston Seafood House
The Italian
Beetbox Veg
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How One Family Brought the Flavour of Colombia to Vancouver, BC

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Aji Gourmet Products – The Story of How One Family Brought the Flavour of Colombia to Vancouver, BC

Aji Gourmet Products is a Vancouver company that offers delicious and healthy condiments, dips, sauce mixes, and marinades. Owned and operated by the Gonzalez Biagi family, Aji is as rich in family history as it is in authentic South American flavors.

Back in 1999, the Gonzalez Biagi family moved to Canada from their home in Colombia. A culturally rich country, Colombia is known for its heartwarming people, festive celebrations, and exceptional cuisines, including a traditional condiment known as Aji. Upon their arrival to Canada, the Gonzalez Biagi family (Dyana, Carlos, and their kids Allison and Nicholas) settled into their new home in British Columbia, making sure to bring a recipe for Aji with them.

The Gonzalez Biagi family continued to enjoy Aji in the privacy of their family home until one day Dyana was asked to bring guacamole to her hockey party. However there was one BIG problem – she had never made guacamole in her life. With no time to find a recipe, Dyana decided to add some fresh aji into a bowl of mashed avocados and brought it to the party. Much to Dyana’s enjoyment, her dish was met with an overwhelming response. The other guests loved it – they had never tasted anything like aji before.

It was no surprise when Dyana began getting frequent requests for her famous Aji. To keep up with increasing demand, Dyana began to look at ways that she could grow her flavourful Aji into a family brand. The opportunity came when she created Ají Gourmet Products in 2006 and sold her first jar to a local store in South Surrey, BC.

Today the company continues to be run as a family business – with Dyana, her husband, and their two children. Beginning with one original Aji, they have now expanded their brand to feature 10 unique products, including a new line of Aji Guacamole Pouches, which makes for a fast bowl of delicious guacamole. Aji has grown from a Gonzalez Biagi kitchen specialty to being available in more than 150 stores across BC, Alberta, and Toronto.

Experience the flavours of Colombia for yourself and take home a bottle of Aji Gourmet Products for your kitchen. Made with zero sugar, zero preservatives, and no artificial flavours, Aji is a healthy way to add some zip to your home-cooked meals. Available at various locations across the lower mainland.

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