For many of us who enjoying spending time in the kitchen, the holidays are an excuse to do even more cooking, baking, and (let’s be honest) eating.

If you’ve been reading the Georgia Straight cooking column for the past two years, you likely already have ideas for what you’ll be whipping up for party guests and cooking on Christmas.

For new readers, I’ve rounded up some seasonal recipes from Vancouver chefs below to help you through all of your holiday entertaining.

Last week, PETA brought "sexy pizza slices" to downtown Vancouver.

Today (December 11), the animal rights group staged another demonstration in the city centre.

With an avian flu outbreak under way in the Fraser Valley, protesters in hazmat suits held signs stating: "Meat is a biohazard: go vegan".

Meanwhile, CBC reported that "a total of 155,000 birds will be killed if they have not already died from the virus".

In the leadup to the release of Inherent Vice on December 12, actor Joaquin Phoenix isn't just using the spotlight to hawk his latest flick.

Phoenix has lent his star power to a Mercy for Animals video that exposes the "harsh reality" faced by pigs at a Walmart pork supplier.

Narrated by Phoenix, the video documents an undercover investigation that found that piglets have their tails cut off and their testicles "violently ripped out of their bodies".

Phoenix says this is despite the fact that pigs are "one of the smartest animals in the world".

The actor ends the video by urging people to ask Walmart to stop selling pork from pigs locked in gestation crates, and to stop eating animals.

So the sixth annual B.C. Dairy Industry Conference got underway today (December 2) in Vancouver. According to its website, the conference, put on by the B.C. Dairy Association and B.C. Milk Marketing Board, is the "most anticipated event of the year for dairy farmers and industry affiliates alike".

No doubt People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wasn't invited to the milk industry party. But that didn't stop the animal-rights group from staging one of its trademark (and, critics say, sexually objectifying) publicity stunts to coincide with the conference kick-off.

Chef Curtis Luk has settled into his new job as executive chef at Bambudda in Gastown and his first menu is now up and running. "At the heart of it, it's the cuisine I grew up with, filtered through my personal experience and taste," said the Top Chef alumnus at a recent media tasting dinner.

There's a new Spanish restaurant in town, and not only is the food and wine Spanish, but so are the proprietor and much of the staff.

Located just east of Maple Tree Square at 52 Alexander Street, the restaurant's name, Salida 7, translates to Exit 7. The name references the exit on the Mediterranean highway--which runs from southern Spain north past Barcelona to France--that leads to the province of Girona and the Costa Brava.

When Chomp Vegan Eatery set up shop in Port Moody back in 2011, it was the Tri-Cities’ only fully vegan and gluten-free restaurant. Three years later, the Tri-Cities’ loss is Vancouver's gain.

Chomp has moved in with Fairy Cakes (3586 Fraser Street), a vegan cupcake shop, in East Vancouver. Its menu is also nut-free.

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.

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