Friday, November 27, 2009

Hopscotch and the Chowder Chowdown

By nature, I am not a very social person. I enjoy being by myself, and I generally dislike crowds of people. Therefore, I have avoided events like Vancouver's Hopscotch Festival ( and Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown ( in the past.

This year, things were different: a friend bought me a ticket to Hopscotch as a birthday present, and I won a pass to the Chowder Chowdown from Yelp ( and Mobio.

Hopscotch was fun, and my passion for single malts managed to repress my mild social anxiety for the evening. Plus, the world looks a whole lot friendlier after the first few drams enter the bloodstream! I attended the Tasting Hall, which was filled with reps from numerous scotch distilleries, in addition to reps from non-scotch-related distilleries such as PatrĂ³n tequila, Buffalo Trace bourbon and Highwood rye. There were also more than a dozen craft breweries distributing their malty beverages, if one needed a break from sipping (or slamming, in my sister's case) the hard stuff. I will hit up Hopscotch again next year for sure, but I think I may register for one of their formal events rather than the Tasting Hall.

I went to the Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown last night and am nursing a mild chowder hangover this morning. I didn't even know I could eat that much shellfish at one time! The Chowder Chowdown takes place IN the Aquarium and is a competition between ten of Vancouver's best restaurants. Just to make this event THAT much cooler and enjoyable, the Aquarium and Oceanwise teamed up with the Craft Brewers Association of BC to pair each chowder with a domestic beer. This three-hour event consists of meandering around the tranquil tanks of the Aquarium sampling amazing chowders from the likes of Coast and O'Douls whilst consuming unlimited amounts of micro-brewed beer. This is actually what I imagine Heaven will be like. At the end of the night a vote takes place - by both the public and a panel of judges - as to who makes the meanest chowder in the city.

Save the dates for both of these events when Fall 2010 rolls around. They suit the season, they are completely unique, and they will likely cure you of any social phobias that may be lingering in your psyche.

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