While some folks might find it too early to partake in Christmas festivities before December, Vancouver will be getting a double-dose of holiday cheer this weekend. Both the Vancouver Christmas Market and CandyTown Festival take place downtown on Saturday (November 22).

The Vancouver Christmas Market kicks off a month-long run at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza (650 Hamilton Street) starting Saturday at 11 a.m. The outdoor event, now in its fifth year, is modeled after a classic German Christmas market. Revellers can check out handmade gifts, such as wooden toys, knitted goods, pottery, and nutcrackers, while sipping on mulled wine and apple cider.

The history of Thai cuisine in Vancouver can be divided into two periods: before Maenam and after Maenam. If you think that's an overstatement, remember that it wasn't so long ago that nobody thought twice about eating pad Thai made with ketchup. Many Vancouverites won't stand for that these days, and Maenam is a large reason why.

Drinking wine is easy, but talking about wine can make even experienced imbibers uncomfortable. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that even in its second year, Sunday School at the Vancouver Urban Winery continues to sell out quickly. One-day seminars held once a month on Sundays are hosted by sommeliers David Stansfield and Lisa Cook. Their approach to wine is informal and irreverent, and the focus of the event is to enjoy 10 bottles while learning a few tips.

It looks like a sunny and cold weekend ahead in Whistler...perfect for scenic drive up the Sea-to-Sky highway.

I made the trip for the start of the festival on November 6, and although there was no snow in the village, beautiful autumn leaves were everywhere. Here's a taste of what I experienced as a guest of the festival in its first few days. 

A new event called Cellar Door premiered on November 7. It was a more intimate version of the signature winetasting Crush, with about 30 wineries pouring (less than half the number at Crush) and a focus on higher-end bottles.

Skills ‘n Spills, the B.C. Hospitality Foundation Industry Games, takes place this Sunday (November 9) at Vancouver's Hellenic Community Centre (4500 Arbutus Street).

The event, now in its second year, is a fun opportunity for hospitality industry personnel to take the day off work, dress up in costumes, and get together for a Sunday-Funday, all while raising funds and awareness for a charity that supports industry workers facing a financial crisis due to a medical condition. 

The problem with some comedians (Dennis Miller, Jeff Foxworthy, and Jay Leno) is that they're really just right-wing hacks who never challenge the neoliberal status quo.

Not Russell Brand.

His YouTube channel runs daily segments Monday to Friday called the Trews, in which he skewers the conventional pablum peddled by most of the mainstream media.

In the two segments below, he's joined by new-economy researcher and author Helena Norberg-Hodge in a conversation about why international trade deals are undermining public health.

On July 1, Ned Bell set out on an ambitious journey. The avid cyclist and executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and its restaurant YEW seafood + bar rode his bike from St. John’s, Newfoundland, all the way home to the West Coast.

The 72-day trip, which included 8,700 kilometres of cycling, rallied other Canadian chefs to support the Chefs for Oceans campaign and raised awareness about the importance of sustainable seafood.

Earlier this year, Vancouver-based restaurant chain Earls Kitchen + Bar unveiled a test kitchen at one of its downtown locations and a product-development team that included some of the city’s most accomplished chefs.

Who knew cereal could be so political?

We've been witnessing a wave of TV commercials featuring parents that haven't traditionally been given much visual representation in popular culture or advertisements.

The latest example is from Cheerios Canada. The touching ad features two Québécois dads, André and Jonathan, who tell their story about adopting their daughter Raphaëlle, who is of African descent.

While an ad like this shouldn't be a controversial subject in Canada in 2014, it does remain a potentially risky subject for companies to address.

A lot has changed at Blueprint over the past few months. The Vancouver-based entertainment and hospitality company saw the departure of its executive chef Brett Turner last spring. In August, Blueprint moved its head office to Gastown, and the following month, closed the popular Shine Nightclub after a 14-year run.

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