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A new venue but the same fantastic party at Big Night 2013

1. Tojos 2. Jewel Ballroom 3. Blue Water Cafe & Raw Bar 4. Luxardo

Photos by Kelly J Marion -- follow her at @kellyjean247

Vancouver Magazine's annual Big Night event was back for its 7th year, bringing guests a much anticipated evening of delicious food and wine.

With some of the biggest chefs in Vancouver serving dishes created especially for this event it is continuously a unique and mouth-watering experience. I wasn't surprised to discover that many of the guests have attended Big Night since the inception including Sharon, who is a long-time friend of Vikram Vij. 

There was one major change to the event this year, and that was a change of venue. In the past it was held at the Vancouver Club, with this year's event being hosted by Jewel Ballroom. This was only my second year at the event so I was less affected than others by the new location.

Jewel Ballroom provided an ample amount of breathing room and a simple inner and outer circle layout, which ultimately made for a better experience for guests. However, I preferred the elegance that the Vancouver Club offered with its foyer and winding staircase to the main floor, compared to the elevator at Jewel Ballroom and the chandeliers hanging from a "classroom style" tiled ceiling. These difference are definitely not a game-changer as in the end it is the sensible layout, easy navigation and comfortable air flow that wins, and in this regard Jewel Ballroom takes the cake. The event ended a huge success that will most likely sell out again next year and will have those regulars anxiously awaiting the next one.

Interested in what the chefs prepared and what wines they were paired with? Eat your heart out.

Hy's Steakhouse

Modern steak tartare

Wine pairing: Painted Rock Estate Syrah 2009

Blue Water Café + Raw Bar

Pacific octopus and Berkshire pork belly with pickled persimmon and smoked sunchoke chestnut puree

Wine pairing: Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay 2009

Cactus Club Café

Braised lamb shoulder and caramelized onion ravioli, creamed spinach, oven dried tomato, truffle lamb jus

Wine pairing: Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2008

La Quercia

Tongue and cheek terrine, red pepper and almond pesto, saffron sauce

Wine pairing: Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2008


Dungeness crab, dashi custrad, cashew, yuzu

Wine pairing: Devil's Lair Margaret River Chardonnay 2009


Pineapple and spice galette, caramel macarons

Wine pairing: Mission Hill Family Estate Riesling Icewine 2011

Memphis Blues BBQ

Mini pulled pork brioche with coleslaw and Carolina mustard sauce

Wine pairing: Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne


South Indian style coconut vegetables on basmati rice

Wine pairing: Marqués de Cáceres Rosado 2011


Smoked sablefish croquette

Wine pairing: González Byass Nutty Solera Oloroso


Pithivier of Apple, Cheddar, and Smoked Ham and Rabbit

Wine pairing: La Chablisienne Chablis La Pierrelée 2010

Jewel Ballroom

Saffron Risotto with Bone Marrow, topped with a Baja Prawn, served with Foie Gras on a Torcheon Toast

Wine pairing: 2011 Red Rooster Riesling

My favorites of the night were Cactus Club's sumptuous ravioli, Blue Water's immaculately prepared octopus and pork belly, Pied-à-Terre's flaky plithivier and Thierry's addicting desserts.

My favorite wines were Mission Hills 2011 Reserve Riesling Icewine,
Painted Rock's 2009 Estate Syrah 2009, 2011 Red Rooster Riesling and Castello Di Gabbiano's 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva.


Milano Coffee had a booth at Big Night as well, with staff eager to perk guests up with an espresso or macchiato after two hours of drinking and eating. It was my much enjoyed palate cleanser, that unfortunately kept me up until the wee hours of the night. 

As they do every year, Les Dames BC hosted a raffle to benefit their organization and the programs they support. This year they raffled a “Dame Dinner of a Lifetime”, which includes a dinner for eight prepared in the winner's home by a Dame Chef and her crew, along with a magnum of Champagne and paired wines.

For more photos check out my Big Night 2013 set on Flickr.

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