With the holiday season in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to pop over to the big city for a food-driven sojourn. In recent weeks, we’ve visited Vancouver on a few occasions and have dined at some of the city’s most talked-about restaurants. In November, Hilary and I were among 24 guests who had the pleasure of attending Edible Canada’s Guest Chef Market Dinner featuring Vikram Vij. The charismatic chef and restaurateur invited us to stand around the kitchen island as he prepared a vibrant, multi-course meal of coconut masala prawns, Vij’s family chicken, cinnamon-stewed lamb curry and rice pudding. Memorable doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. During visits to the city, we lingered over beautiful brunches at the always-exceptional Hawksworth Restaurant (the pacific sablefish brandade and smoked chicken hash were superb) and Oakwood Canadian Bistro (where we were won over by the tuna confit benedict and asparagus omelette with fried brussel sprouts). The West 4th room is divine all year long, but feels especially cozy during the festive season thanks to the crackling fire, tartan banquettes and Canadiana-inspired décor. For dinner, we soaked up the weekend buzz at Fable Kitchen; the “canned” tuna (served in a shallow mason jar), Weathervane scallops and bacon with cauliflower velouté, and lemon meringue parfait were spot on. And, back downtown at Yew, we nibbled on beautifully executed sustainable seafood while gathered around one of the luxe low tables.

On one of our visits, we were delighted to stay at the Opus Hotel, Yaletown’s ultra-stylish boutique hotel. Decorated in bold hues and one-of-a-kind artwork, the 96 contemporary rooms and suites are a tech-lover’s dream thanks to in-room iPads, Samsung Galaxy smartphones and a virtual lifestyle concierge service that suggests restaurants, shopping and entertainment tailored to guests’ personalities. The award-winning property is home to sparkling Opus Bar—the perfect place to sip champagne before a complimentary jaunt in the hotel’s Jaguar XJ—and La Pentola della Quercia, a sleek, Northern Italian-inspired restaurant (which won silver in the 2013 Vancouver Restaurant Awards’ “Best New Restaurant in Vancouver” category).

Back on our beloved Vancouver Island, we’re looking forward to a restful, memorable Christmas with our nearest and dearest – and wish the same for you and your loved ones.

Happy holidays and bon appétit!

Alison, Lorna and Hilary