Pride 2021: A rainbow of limited-time food and drink to catch in Metro Vancouver

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      Pride comes in a spectrum of different forms, and that’s particularly true this year.

      Whether you prefer to party at home or in public, there are numerous but limited-time opportunities to enjoy special rainbow-hued food and drinks or events this year across Metro Vancouver and here's a selection of them to check out.

      Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

      Tropical treats  Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts baking and pastry arts chef and instructor Julien Salomoni has created a flavourful, limited-time cutie to celebrate Pride Week with. This coconut dacquoise sponge cake ($7) includes pineapple confit; fresh pineapple, marinated in vanilla and honey; and a white chocolate mousse infused with Malibu coconut rum. It’s only available from Thursday (July 22) until August 1 at Blue Hat Bakery-Café (101–1505 West 2nd Avenue), perched at the entrance of Granville Island.

      Cool colours  To beat the heat (among other things), Notch8 Restaurant at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 West Georgia Street) is serving a shortbread cookie ice cream sandwich ($7), with $2 of each sale going to the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS). This colorful and lick-worthy frozen dessert is made with housemade shortbread cookies and ice cream.

      Spill the high tea  Working the (airport) runways, a special rainbow-edition of the afternoon tea service Globe@YVR (3111 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond) will make a glamorously brief visit from July 30 to August 1 for Pride weekend. At $69 per person ($35 for the rainbowed Junior Afternoon Tea version for children), queens for a day (or lifetimes) can dive into a prismatic array of classic tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets. While the tea is brewing, the other type of tea is available—sashayers can sip from a collection of Lot 35 loose leaf teas (perfect for loose lips) as well as tea cocktails, such as the Hibiscus Mule ($14, with $1 from each sale donated to the VPS). Globe@YVR will also serve the Rainbow Burrata Salad ($19, with $1 from each sale donated to Vancouver Pride)—featuring burrata, heirloom tomatoes, pistachios, bee pollen, castelvetrano olives, basil oil, balsamic pearls, and a peach vinaigrette—throughout August.

      Whole Foods

      A spectrum of eats and treats  Whole Foods Market is offering a Pride bag for $15 (plus ticketing fees, for a total of $16.93) that’s chock full of food items with a total value exceeding $75. All proceeds will go to the Dr. Peter Centre, which provides care for people living with HIV. Among the products are items from Chiobani, Righteous Gelato, Fatso, La Croix, Green Beaver, Wholly Veggie, Mate Libre, Aisle, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Sea Snax, TMRW Foods, Hornby Organic, and more. These bags can be ordered online and picked up at the downtown (1675 Robson Street), Cambie (510 West 8th Avenue), and Park Royal (925 Main Street, West Vancouver) locations of Whole Foods on August 1 and 2.

      Time Family of Wines operations manager Darrien McWatters recommends 2018 Evolve Cellars Pinot Gris for Pride 2021.

      A fine time for wine  In Penticton, Time Family of Wines operations manager Darrien McWatters, who identifies as a transgender woman, recommends the 2018 Evolve Cellars Pinot Gris (750 mL) when raising a glass to celebrate Pride. With an aroma of “ripe nectarine, white peach, and apple blossoms with layers of fresh stone fruit”, this wine is described as “round and juicy, beautifully balanced, with fresh citrus and a crisp finish”—which is what we should all aspire to be. It’s available at select Save-on-Foods locations (where it’s regularly $19.99, but on sale now for $16.49) or private wine stores in B.C., as well as at Time Winery and Kitchen (361 Martin Street) in Penticton.

      Fable Diner

      Fairy tales and fables  Positioned at the cusp of the east and west sides of Vancouver (when it comes to geographical orientation, does that make them bi? Or non-binary?), Fable Diner (151 Broadway East) is offering some deliciously queer cocktail specials to catch until August 2. There’s the Hemingway Daiquiri ($7), with Bacardi, Maraschino liqueur, Chasers grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup, with a lime wheel; the Bees Knees ($7), with gin, East Van Bees honey syrup, and Chasers lemon juice, and topped with soda and a lemon wheel; Negroni-house brewed kombucha ($7), with Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth on ice, complete with an orange and cherry wheel; and sangria ($15), with red wine, triple sec, martini dry vermouth, peach schnapps, soda, and lime, lemon, and orange juice and fruit segments.

      Strathcona Beer

      Libation liberation  The new pop-up patio at the front plaza of Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place), called Oakridge at Pac Rim Patio, is serving a special Pride-themed drink: Strawberry Youth ($20) is a gin-based strawberry rhubarb-infused cocktail that also incorporates chamomile, citrus, and Champagne. For beer lovers, Strathcona Beer Company will be providing Pride-themed beers ($11 each) such as Beautiful Mosaic Pale Ale, Big Sexy Funk Hazy IPA, and Love Buzz Strawberry Guava Sour, in collaboration with Fairmont Pacific Rim.

      Brunch bounceback  Post-Pride, partygoers can rebound (or ricochet, as the case may be) with the Pride Recovery Brunch ($59 per person, with $5 from each sale going to Vancouver Pride) on August 2 at ARC Restaurant (900 Canada Place). Drag queen extraordinaire Kendall Gender will preside over the bottomless brunch, along with drag performers Carlotta Gurl and Jaylene Tyme who’ll be keeping up with Kendall—which is also what the rest of us will be trying to do.

      Carlotta Gurl, with a friend who knows what's shakin'

      Pride picnic picks  Although this year’s parade will be virtual, there are several official Vancouver Pride picnics that Pride supporters can converge in person at. The Beyond the Binary Picnic—a social event for anyone who is trans, genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, or nonbinary, as well as allies and friends—will be held Jonathan Rogers Park (110 West 7th Avenue) in Mount Pleasant from noon to 2 p.m. on July 30. Attendees can bring their own food while enjoying entertainment.
      The following day (July 31) from 9 to 11 a.m. (same location) is the costume-friendly Teddy Bears Family Picnic for families and children, with entertainment by improv troupe QueerProv and drag performer Karmella Barr. 
      Then on Pride Day, the Pride Picnic will be held at the same location from noon to 5 p.m. on August 1. Attendees can bring their own food or purchase items from food trucks on hand amid drag performances, live music, and other entertainment.
      Registration for all of these events is free at the VPS website—but take note that all have limited capacities available.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.