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Devour your city Kiss Me Iâ€™m a Farmer
Why itâ€™s hip to be hick Young downtown urbanites are curing bacon, churning butter, keeping beehives, planting blueberry bushes in their window boxes, and ... shhh ... hiding chickens from their supers. Plus never before revealed secrets of the Okanagan
Page 2 - Inside Front Cover
by executive chef
A lavish introduction to “the jewel in Vancouver’s culinary crown”
westrestaurant.com/thecookbook Personalized copies available thru our website or at the restaurant 2881 Granville Street 604 738 8938 toptable.ca
Spend some time in Nanaimo,
imagination and ﬁres the spirit. Take
“DISCOVER THE SECRET TO
relaxed atmosphere that fuels the
in our vibrant cultural scene, amazing culinary
shopping. Scream at the top of your lungs at our outdoor adventure centre, or catch your breath along our harbourfront walkway. Whether you visit for a few hours or weekend you’ll get a taste of the secret to life on the Island.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR YOUR
1 800 663 7337 www.secretnanaimo.com
e it i n
Farme r Fashion
gra r ew A
new ore than you k M s ’ There In the OKA NAGA N
Everyone’s a Farmer ... Or Wants to be One. Calendar Restaurant News Food and Art Food and Books Wine
5 6 9 10 11 12
What Farmers Know that You Don’t
2003 & 2006 International Winemaker of the Year International Wine and Spirit Competition 4110_CF
Tip: See our list of the best food items in the Okanagan and where to find them at www.cityfood.com
10/9/08 12:36:21 PM
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Discover Sidney’s secret vacation residence by the sea Steal away from the city to Miraloma this December for a luxurious waterfront romantic escape. Experience our boutique resort, nestled on 1.5 acres of beautiful heritage gardens, in Sidney, BC.
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS (THIS ISSUE)
Janet Collins Jay Drysdale Andrea Flexhaug Claudia Kwan Rhonda May Jane Mundy Craig Noble Rhys Pender Anny Scoones Shelora Sheldan
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BC weekend getaways
Ten Tables to Try in Nanaimo Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge, located in the Coast Bastion Inn boasts of the city's best view of the Hudson Bay Bastion and surrounding waterfront harbour from its expansive bay windows, but inside the newly redecorated restaurant, the view looks onto 3,200 square feet of dining space, four fireplaces, a 16-seat horseshoe bar and a 150-seat restaurant that puts its menu focus on local seafood and other westcoast fare. We like the shell lights, the a la carte brunch menu, the killer Nanaimo bar cheesecake, and the fact that the appies go for half price during happy hour (4-6 p.m.), Monday to Friday. 11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo. 250-753-2977. www.minnoz.com
Is this the dawning of the age of Agrarians?
The Mediterranean style Illios has new owners who plan to slowly incorporate some new menu items that have recently been featured on the fresh sheet. Prices here are very reasonable and portions are generous. 215 N. Terminal Ave., Nanaimo. 250-754-1122.
Assembly Required. After work, enjoy a well-deserved cocktail with friends. Open 4p daily.
www.georgelounge.com 1137 Hamilton Street | 604.628.5555
Voted best pub by locals three years running, the Longwood Brew Pub & Restaurant does not filter their beer, so the brew retains its vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The holistic approach to beer manufacturing goes further with the inportation of barley from the orginal Guinness malt house in Warminster. Take the tour through the premises every Saturday at 3 p.m. 5775 Turner Road, Nanaimo. 250-729-8225. www.longwoodbrewpub.com
CoCo Locos is popular for their fresh, organic smoothie made with rice and coconut milk. Each will arrive with a chuck of fresh coconut on top and both the cup
Mon Petit Choux is a French style café committed to fresh organic breads and pastries, that uses real imported butter. A specialty is the Miche which is made with organic red fife, a heritage Canadian wheat. Stay for a cappuccino or eat a full lunch or breakfast. 101-120 Commercial Street, Nanaimo. 250-753-6002.
The Thirsty Camel is a funky, middle eastern kitchen combined with a fair-trade espresso bar. Everything is homemade and the falafel and hummus is made daily. While they might appreciate belly dancing here, they don't want you to have one, a belly that is. Your health is looked after with free-range chicken, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and everything is food allergy friendly. Camels are not native to South America that we know of, but that hasn't stopped these ones from quenching their thirst with latin Yerba Mate tea. You should too. 14 Victoria Crescent, Nanaimo. 250-753-9313.
The Modern Cafe is where Nanaimo goes Yaletown. The brick walls are the original; its neon sign is a registered historic landmark from the mid 1940's. Inside, art hangs from the red brick walls and jazz plays over the speakers. Think you've drank everything? This is the home of the Nanaimo Bar Martini! Sweet! 221 Commercial Street. Nanaimo. 250-754-5022.
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If mermaids were caffeine-addicted gypsies living in Las Vegas, The Mermaid's Mug is what their grottos would look like. Don't ask. We'd explain it to you but this is one coffeeshop you need to see for yourself. While you are buzzing on the the java, have your tarot cards read, sing karaoke, or sign up for speed dating. If you can get bored in this place there is nothing wrong with your life, there's something wrong with you. Be sure to check out the front patio and the secret garden. The mug is fully licensed. 375 Wesley Street., Nanaimo. 250-754-6693. www.gypsymermaid.com
Enjoy authentic Spanish tapas and paellas at Basque Restaurant's 52 ft tapas bar, or enjoy a a leisurely weekend brunch on their downtown patio. The restaurant is housed in a renovated heritage building that has retained its original “star” ceiling, and if you’re feeling romantically retro, you can dine and dance in the fully restored, heritage "Dining under the Stars Lounge". (They give salsa dancing lessons every Thursday.) Or just sit back and enjoy some live jazz with fresh, local oysters from Ladysmith, or a dish of homemade ice cream. We just don’t recommend eatting them together. 489 Wallace Street, Nanaimo. 250-754-7354.
“You are forgetting one thing” said my editor at Western Living with a big roll of her eyes, “NO ONE is interested in farmers!” The year was 1991 and I was resigning my beat as food editor at the lifestyle magazine because I was no longer interested in confining my food writing to home cook-friendly recipes (along with styling the accompanying alter worship photography), and instead wanted to focus on the stories of the people behind the production/importing/retailing of the food, wine and other beverages that represented our westcoast way of life. I thought it much more fascinating, and in some as yet undefined way, more important, to delve into the reasons why these producers were so passionate about growing or raising a better, more old-fashioned product, and why they were willing to sacrifice so much easier income in order to achieve that end. However, in order to do so I was going to need more column space, something the publisher was unwilling to give me, and the reason why was made pretty clear. “There was no advertising income to be gleaned from BC agriculture.” In fact, I was reminded, the only reason I was being indulged in a “food” column at all was because it raised the percentage of female demographic readership stats, and that was very handy when courting fashion advertisers. Well, as A.J. Liebling famously said, the freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, and in the end I figured that if I was ever going to be able to choose my own subject matter then I would need to have my own publication. Which led to the founding of CityFood the following year. Big media scoffed at that presumption too (in those days startups were NOT sexy by any means). In fact, the then editor of one of the major local dailies wagged his finger at me and called me “a naughty girl” ... but that’s a story for another day. Needless to say, a lot has changed since that time ... and it would apear that in 2008, nearly everyone is interested in farmers. The press has stepped up its obsession with the topics of food, food production, food distribution, food scarcity, food fear, the erosion and encroachment of farmland and other related topics. Urban farmers markets have proliferated, even in the smallest towns, and attendance at events held in pastoral settings, such as the “Feast of Fields, is booming. BC has three versions of the FarmFolk/CityFolk fundraiser now and have recently green lighted a fourth for the Okanagan. As CityFood has been a media sponsor of that particular collaborative effort between country farmers and city restaurants since it began in the early ‘90s, I can remember how at one time it was hard work to encourage Vancouverites make that Sunday drive out to the country -- particularly when it was raining. Now they bicycle. Let us not forget the chefs, who have always tended to be the lead sheep when it comes to food trends. These days they have gone beyond just sourcing good quality products from small farms, they are also apprenticing with their suppliers to gain an even closer awareness of how these relationships in the food chain are linked and interdependent upon each other. It would be one thing if only chefs and “foodies” were following this route, but the return to rural romanticism is showing up in many other facets of our urban culture.“Back to the land” vibes are evident in popular music, fashion, books......even our terminology. For example, while it used to be trendy to tack the words “cafe” or “lab” onto business names to imply a cutting edge sociability, these words have been replaced with “farm” ... “art farm” “idea farm” . We even came across an Internet forum dubbed “conversation farm.”
Catch the Protection Island ferry (or if you are into fitness then kayak or row), right up to the dock of North America's only floating pub and restaurant at the Dinghy Dock Pub & Bistro. While you order, Kids can play Captain Ahab while fishing from a hole cut into the restaurant floor. The views of the harbour and Mt. Benson are spectacular. www.dinghydockpub.com
and lid will be 100% biodegradable. Cocos is a great spot for an economical lunch. A wrap and a smoothie will only set you back $10. 2 Commercial Street., Nanaimo. 250-740-2581.
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EVENTS CALENDAR OCTOBER 14, 2008: Farmstead Wine at Parkside Wild mushrooms, rare game and big bold sauces return to Parkside this autumn for the third annual Game and Wild Mushroom Festival. This year the festival will begin with a special Farmstead Wines dinner hosted by Anthony Nicalo and Andrey Durbach. This evening's menu will showcase the handmade wines from the Farmstead Wines collection alongside some of chef Andrey Durbach’s favorites from the Game and Wild Mushroom menu. Tickets are $150 per person including tax and gratuity. Call 604-683-6912. Parkside Restaurant. 1906 Haro Street, OCTOBER 14-26, 2008: A Taste of Yaletown. The event invites Vancouver’s food and wine enthusiasts to discover and enjoy the offerings of Yaletown’s premier restaurants. The restaurants will offer guests a special three-course menu at set prices of $25, $35 or $45. A portion of the proceeds raised will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
OCTOBER 14 - NOV 15, 2008: Parkside’s Wild Mushroom and Game Festival Wild mushrooms, rare game and big bold sauces return to Parkside this autumn for the third annual Game and Wild Mushroom Festival The festival continues for an entire month with a menu highlighting the fall mushroom bounty (chanterelle, bluefoot, trumpet, and pine) along with rich, hearty flavours of wild game such as quail, rabbit, and bison. $65 for your choice of three courses. Parkside. 1906 Haro St., Vancouver. 604-683-6912.
OCTOBER 18, 19, 2008: Apple Festival at UBC. Taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Look for the Vancouver Farmers Markets booth at the festival too! $2 for adults; free for anyone under age 18. UBC Botanical Gardens. OCTOBER 19, 2008: Celebrity Chef at Potluck Cafe. Join Chef Jeff van Geest from Aurora Bistro for a multi course fundraising dinner in support of the Potluck Cafe
Society. (Potluck is a not-for-profit organization located in the Downtown Eastside whose programs include the provision of daily meals for residents of the Portland Hotel Society who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues.) Wine pairings donated by the Artisan Wine Group. $125 per person. (Charitable tax receipt available.) 6 p.m. 604-609-7368. 30 West Hastings St. OCTOBER 20, 2008: Paul Jaboulet Aîné Winemakers Dinner at Provence Marinaside. Provence Marinaside along with guest speaker Nicolas Jaboulet will host a chef's table wine dinner, served en famille style, with Paul Jaboulet Aîné wine. Duck confit, wild mushroom volau-vent, grilled pork medallion, daube de Bison, and rosewater poached pears are just some of the highlights of the 5course menu. $100 per guest, tax and gratuity included. Tickets available only at Provence Marinaside. 6:30 p.m. Provence Marinaside. 1177 Marinaside Crescent. 604-681-4144. OCTOBER 26, 2008: The Vancouver Mycological Society's Mushroom Show. The show provides displays of identified mushrooms and other fungi, with their edible, poisonous or dubious status. Look for displays, speakers, slide shows, books and roving experts on cultivation, preservation, cooking, medicinal use, hunting, ecology, and cultural use. Bring your own specimens for identification. 11 a.m to 4 p.m. $3 Children under 12 free. Wheelchair accessible. Parking free.Vandusen Botanical Garden, Floral Hall, West 37th and Oak (Street, Vancouver. firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-878-9878. OCTOBER 26, 2008 West Cookbook Luncheon. Join West's executive chef, Warren Geraghty, restaurant director Brian Hopkins and the team for a multicourse luncheon featuring the recipes from West:The Cookbook, paired with wines from BC's leading producers. Chef Geraghty offers seasonal savoury starters and mains, compelling desserts, wine pairings, and playful cocktail recipes. $150 per person includes wine,
tax, gratuity and a personalized copy of the book. Call 604-738-8938. Reception with canapes and cocktails at 1 p.m. Five-course lunch with wine pairings. at 1:30 p.m. West. 2881 Granville Street. OCTOBER 27, 2008 FoBo Table d'Hôte with Tina Fineza. Chef Tina has been busy consulting for Les Faux Bourgeois, the latest addition to Vancouver's restaurant scene. Under Chef Tina's guidance you will create a classic French bistro menu, perfect for the three act dinner party. Enjoy your creations in the candlelit gallery with wine pairings and music. $95. plus GST. 6:30 p.m. Quince. 1780 West 3rd Avenue, Vancouver. 604-731-4645. NOVEMBER 1, 2008: Wine on the Mountain . This wine and food tasting atop Grouse Mountain is in support of the Adoptive Families Association of B.C. Guests will ride up to the Peak where they will enjoy wines, canapes, chocolate and live music as well as auctions, raffles and prizes. This year s theme “Red and White and All That Sparkles” features fine wines from Argentina, Australia, B.C., Chile, German, Italy, South Africa, Spain and the US, all paired with food by Chef Dino Gazzola, and Greg Hook of Chocolate Arts. Special guests include Senator Larry Campbell and wine expert John Schreiner. $150 per person includes Skyride. 7 p.m. Grouse Mountain, top of Capilano Road, North Vancouver . For tickets, email email@example.com or call 604-320-7330 ext. 104 NOVEMBER 7, 2008: Big Guns Dinner at Araxi. The iconic 1998 Grange, will be the centerpiece at Araxi restaurant’s annual Big Guns Winemaker's Dinner. Following a reception of canapés and Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Rosé, Chef James Walt will present a five-course menu of seasonal ingredients from the Pemberton Valley and the meroir of the Pacific Ocean--each married to acclaimed labels and pedigree vintages from one of the world's most diverse wineries. In addition to the Grange, explore the exemplary Yattarna Chardonnay, and the Penfolds 'Baby
11/30/07 2:03:15 PM
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Grange' - a mini-vertical tasting of the fresh 2005 and mature 1990 Bin 389 Shiraz. Penfolds' Matt Lane, Director of Wine Education, is traveling from Napa to introduce the wines for each course, providing provocative commentary about Penfolds' portfolio and vineyard holdings, as well as Penfolds' pioneering winemaking processes.7 p.m. $250. Araxi. 4222 Village Square, Whistler, B.C. Canada. 604-932-4540. NOVEMBER 8, 2008: Bubbles + Oceans @Araxi Get pretty to play your backspin at Araxi's Bubbles + Oceans post-Crush Party - the hottest ticket in town. Then shuck to the beat from the people who made the word party into a re-Verb. The DJ will loop and scratch, while you cruise power towers of Chef James Walt's fabled plateaux de mer - and the sushi and shuck-down oyster bars - backwashed with luxe-only Champagnes, including 20 of the world's top Champagne and sparkling wine houses. Re-fuel: at the lobster and Dungeness crab stations. Stay cool: the DJ's up late. Tickets are available at www.whistlercornucopia.com. $150. 10:30 p.m. Araxi. 4222 Village Square, Whistler, BC, Canada. 604-932-4540.
NOVEMBER 11- 16, 2008 Hopscotch Festival. Canada's biggest whisky and premium beer festival returns this fall. The satellite events will be held in and across Vancouver, including Gotham Steakhouse, The Shebeen, The Molson Brewery, and Coast Restaurant. The Grand Tasting Hall, Hopscotch's main event, will be open for 2 nights, November 13th and 14th, both from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Grand Tasting Hall is a large scale tasting held at the Rocky Mountaineer Railstation for those wanting the opportunity to taste some of the 200+ products available. New for 2008 is the inclusion of select premium spirits including several brands of Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Rum, and Liqueur. Tickets to the Grand Tasting Hall are $40 and include 5 sampling tokens. General admission, VIP Tickets and satellite event tickets go on sale to the public Monday, October 6, 2008 at 10 a.m. Ticket purchasing and information is available by calling 604-742-1706.
NOVEMBER 20-22, 2008: 12th Annual Tofino Oyster Festival Locals and visitors alike will break out the moves during the costume party-themed Mermaid's Ball, pull on the woollies and check out the cold water treasures during the Oyster's Afloat Farm Tours and don dressy duds to close the weekend at the Oyster Gala. Local chefs take centre stage - along with plenty of live music - during the gala event, crafting some of their finest oyster-filled morsels for guests to sample and rank for a favoured peoples' pick. The Mermaid Ball's Annual Slurping Contest will match competitors and oyster-lovers alike for a shot at gulping glory. General inquiries through firstname.lastname@example.org
NOVEMBER 20 - 23, 2008: One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale. After a successful run of 33 years in Toronto, the east coast artisan craft fair will now have a sister show in Vancouver featuring the work of over 200 artists, artisans, and designers from BC, Alberta and North America. According to the mandate of the show, each exhibitor must be directly involved in the production of their crafts and each piece in the show must be handmade. Beyond the special items suitable for table settings or home entertainment, of special interest to CityFood readers will be the One of a Kind Flavours exhibit which will be dedicated to homemade foods including preserves, cakes, and savory treats. BC Place Stadium. Thurs to Sat, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adults $10; Seniors $6.50; Students $6.50; Children 12 and under free. Tickets will also be available for pre-purchase from the website at a reduced admission rate for Adults of $8. NOVEMBER 27, 2008: Parade of Trees at Grouse Mountain Thirty corporations will donate $1,000 to decorate Christmas trees in support of SOS Children's Village BC. Decorating takes place from noon to -5 p.m. with refreshments and snacks provided to get everyone into the holiday spirit. (Companies interested in participating should contact Ryan Butt at 604-582-2990 ext. 228, or Email: email@example.com On the same day, a gala held at Grouse Mountain to launch the Parade of Trees will be a night of wine, food and music with the highlight being the ceremonial lighting of the trees. A silent and live auction includes vacation packages, hotel stays and restaurant meals. Two complimentary tickets are included for the corporate sponsors of the trees and additional tickets can be purchased for $100. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information see the contact numbers listed above.
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OCTOBER A Cookbook for West West: the Cookbook made its debut this month with over 100 recipes and multiple full-colour photographs. Presented as to season, the collection of appetisers, mains and desserts from Executive Chef Warren Geraghty (along with contributions from members of his West restaurant team), are matched to suggested wine pairings, and cocktails. Special sections include an introduction to Geraghty, who hails from London’s Michelin-starred L’Escargot, and who joined West’s team as Executive Chef in February 2008; plus the story of the restaurant itself, from its opening in 2000 (as Ouest, with an accent on French cuisine) to its evolution to West, and its current emphasis on the best of the Pacific Northwest. (Subsections highlight the regional ingredients used at the restaurant: from Dungeness crab and chanterelle mushrooms to goat cheese and local pears. West. 2881 Granville St., Vancouver. 604-738-8938. www.westrestaurant.com
seafood (daily fish, prawns, mussels, scallops); or game (wild boar, venison and lamb sausages). Reserve beside the fireplace to seal the deal. At Le Gavroche, 1616 Alberni Street. 604-685-3924. ww.legavroche.ca. Opening: Loden Hotel and Voya Restaurant.
Parkside Mushroom and Wild Game Festival Wild mushrooms, rare game and big bold sauces return to Parkside this autumn for the third annual “Game and Wild Mushroom Festival”. This year the festival will begins on October 14th and continues to November 16th, giving game and mushroom lovers ample opportunity to experience local chanterelle, bluefoot, trumpet, and pine mushrooms, and to enjoy them with the rich flavours that Andrey Durbach does best. Chef Durbach not only celebrates the hearty flavours of these mushrooms, he also pairs them with wild game like quail, rabbit, and bison. Three courses - $65, wine extra. Parkside restaurant. 1906 Haro Street., Vancouver. 604-683-6912. www.parksiderestaurant.ca
Cassoulet and Paella Dinners at Le Gavroche Starting in October and throughout the fall season, Le Gavroche will feature specials of Sunday Paella and Thursday Cassoulet. Each are available as part of a three-course meal on their designated day for $35 (or $60 with wine pairings). The Paella is available in three flavours: classic (chorizo, rabbit, mussels); seafood (daily fish, mussels, crab claw); or game (quail, duck, venison sausage). Thursdays are also more comforting thanks to the three-course cassoulet menu. Choose between three options; classic (duck confit, rabbit, chorizo);
After a long construction delay, the Los Angeles-based Kor Hotel Group announced that its first Canadian venture, Loden Vancouver, along with its restaurant Voya, would finally open in late October. Gone was the original plan for a roof-top pool, but Loden's 14-story tower would house nearly every other amenity, including a spa and wellness centre, not to mention the 77 guest rooms, six suites and 1,600square-foot penthouse (under the care of GM Edel Forristal), plus a stylish 80-seat restaurant led by Executive Chef Marc-Andre Choquette (at one time Rob Feenie’s right hand man at Lumiere). Popular mixologist Jay Jones was also hired on this summer to head up the beverages division. Designed by the San-Francisco-based firm of Babey, Moulton, Jue and Booth, Loden's curved glass, natural stone and copper exterior are intended to mimic ocean waves, symbolic of the British Columbia coastline. Introductory rates begin at $239 per night, plus taxes and are available October 18 - December 30, 2008 (based on availability). 604 669 5060, or www.lodenvancouver.com.
NOVEMBER November Winemakers Series at Provence At Provence Marinaside, pastry chef turned Sommelier Rachelle Gaudreau will be designing a series of 'exclusive' wine dinners (only 20 seats at each one) for each of the 4 Wednesdays in November. As at press time, details on the first three November dinners had not be announced. But the last (November 26) will be held with Laughing Stock Vineyards of Naramata. The proposed menu shows scallops matched to the Laughing Stock Pinot Gris 2007, sablefish with the Chardonnay 2007, pheasant roulade and elk medallions with the Portfolio 2004 and 2005, and a cheese and dessert platter with the Portfolio 2006. All for around $125 per person. Should be good. Rachelle advises us to check the web site www.provencevancouver.com for updates on the other three menus. 1177 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver. 604-681-4144.
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Mushroom and Truffle Fest at CinCin CinCin will be bringing back it's annual mushroom and truffle festival throughout the month of November. Look for menu items incorporating local funghi such as chanterelle (golden and bluefoot), porcini, lobster, oyster, maitake, and even the elusive pine mushroom, along with offerings of hand-selected French tartufi noir (black truffles) and Italian tartufi bianchi (white truffles). Guests are encouraged to indulge in delicate shavings of the prized Black Burgundy truffles and rare White Alba truffles on their plates of pasta, gnocchi, and risotto. Wash it all down with selections of rich deep-bodied Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera d'Asti, Barbera d'Alba, and Dolcetto d'Alba wines from CinCin’s respected cellars. CinCin. 1154 Robson St., Vancouver. 604-688-7338. www.cincin.net Restaurant Opening: Campagnolo: Tom Doughty, Robert Belcham and Tim Pittman of Kitsilano’s Fuel Restaurant are behind this new and casual Italian restaurant that will serve rustic dishes inspired by the Piedmont and Emiglia-Romagna regions. According to the press release material: “ The room highlighted by the buildings original old growth fir wood beams will be composed of a 65-seat open dining room and a 25-seat wine bar tucked in the back - Chef Belcham and Chef de Cuisine Alvin Pillay have created a simple and authentic menu focused on salumi (“The Cure”), pizza, pasta, risotto, and seasonally inspired main courses. Sommelier Tom Doughty has compiled a wine list composed of Italian and BC selections, balanced by Italian-influenced cocktails and a solid selection of beers.” It will need to be enticing as the location is not a great one for walk by traffic -- smack in one of the city’s last “under-developed” neighborhoods in the downtown areas (off the exit of the Cambie Street Bridge near Chinatown), but still very close to GM place. 1022 Main St., Vancouver.
Says Boulud on page 4: “Even if things fall into place perfectly, it will take you at least 10 to 15 years before you can truly call yourself a chef.” So if the ink is still drying on your certificate from the local culinary academy, best leave your ego at the freezer locker door.
Whatever you do, “DON’T ACT LIKE YOU’VE ARRIVED”.
As we all know by now, Daniel Boulud will soon be opening a Vancouver outpost for his restaurant empire, hopefully before the end of the year. And no doubt once he does, there will be many young chefs in the city longing to find a place in his kitchen. If that sounds like you, before you show up for that all important interview, maybe even with the superstar chef himself, here’s a must do: read this book. Letters to a Young Chef (Basic Books, 2003) is a manual belonging to the “Letters to a Young ____” series with a catalogue of professions or pursuits that can be inserted into the blank, such as “Gymnast”, “Lawyer”, “Catholic”... even “Activist”. All of these being penned by (or possibly ghost written for) a high profile, top achiever in said category. Daniel Boulud put his name to the “Chef” version, and there is a good chance that Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks already has it in stock, or if not, could order it for you. It’s worth the investment because within this slim tome the master has spelled out every personal trait he thinks it takes to become a world-class chef, and doubtless will be looking for when he makes hiring decisions. Even if you can only manage time to read a few pages, then it make them numbers 8 through 9. This is where Chef Boulud gives detailed instructions on how to make the perfect omelet - in the French technique. That one’s the cast iron test, and you won’t be stepping one clog into a Boulud kitchen if you can’t ace it. Forget waving around that Iron Chef, or Bocuse d’Or title. The more crucial thing is: are your beaten eggs aerated without being foamed? Good, you can now move on to the rest of the book which has more sage advice stuffed into it than a 20 lb holiday goose. Here’s another helpful tip from the files.
Cramming for the Daniel Test
At press time, holiday season lunch dates at Vancouver restaurants had only started to arrive, however three confirmed from the Top Table group are: CinCin (December 1st - 23rd), Blue Water Cafe (Dec 8th - 23rd), and West (Dec 8 - 23rd). Keep watching www.cityfood.com for updates.
S i g h t L i n e s
restaurants + art the title: One Becoming You, 1 and 2 the artist: Bruce Paskak the location: Cibo restaurant the medium: The paintings are hand painted in that they are brush and paint only. From the refined painting of the portraits to the dots, etc. -- all of it is hand painted with a variety of brushes. Thus they are labour intensive and rewarding to me. The portraits are of two different models and I work from drawings I make from sittings by the model. I use a variety of materials in my work, often building up surfaces before applying softly rendered images onto them. In this case, the portraits were created with water soluble oils. the meaning: The works illustrate a notion that I have been exploring for a long while in my work and stems from the simple question: How do we know things? The titles "On Becoming You 1” and On Becoming You 2”, imply that the subject of the paintings, two women of colour, may be you, or may become you. This at first may seem threatening and identities come into question, but what's most significant here is the method we use to construct how we know ourselves, and what is our identity, and eventually, how do we identify. On Becoming You is a complex journey to be taken into the construction of knowledge or “methodology”. Simply put, it brings into question how we think we know things. If investigated, we find we really can't know things because of their complexity, therefore we construct methods to do so (a set of rules that determine how to know something).
It is the method we use that I have placed under scrutiny here. I've concluded that all knowledge paradigms are constructed and exclusive. In order to know something, we must put it through a knowledge test that is biased and pares away aspects of the subject that doesn't fit the methodology. "On Becoming You" can be you as much as you can be you, and there's great comfort in knowing that. Because how we construct ourselves or know ourselves can change according to the variables we use to construct that knowledge. to find the artist: I have a large triptych in the Art Hotel lobby in Calgary, and more works can been seen at the Paskak Studio (formally Gallery seven) and at the Paul Kuhn Gallery in Vancouver .
-- as told to us by Bruce Paskak
Revised page 5, 11
....continued from page 4
RELAXED FINE DINING
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— open — Monday –Saturday 5:00pm–2:00am Closed Sunday Late Night Post-Theatre Menus 10:00pm–2:00am
. Fall 2008
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For a more visual example, consider the Mason et Object show that took place this summer in Paris. The exhibit is one of the largest and most influential designer trade shows in the world, and as one of their main themes for 2008 they chose “Farm Life” An entry wall stenciled with the theory --“In a period of galloping urbanization, a rustic style is becoming deeply rooted. People are discovering the animal and organic beauty of the agricultural world. Objects with roots cultivate the appealing authenticity of raw materials and craftsmanship.”-- led to rooms filled with chic furniture items incorporating such materials as hay bales, chicken coop wire, apple boxes, and turkey feathers. But the Masion et Object was not alone in attributing all this agro trendiness to a backlash against our increasingly mechanized lives and a desire to escape back to a simpler era (even if in hindsight there is only the perception that these times were any less stressful than our own). It’s been pretty much the most popular conclusion. Another theory however, argues that collective anxiety from daily headlines about tainted manufactured food is behind our drive to “do it ourselves”. Processed food (which was actually glorified in the ‘50s as the rocketship way to a tasty and leisurely future) is becoming increasingly taboo, as health-conscious consumers aim to buy direct from local, small batch producers, and in as pure a form as possible. Hence our feature this month on the new urban farmer ... despite the many considerable obstacles involved, not the least of them being a lack of time, many city trendsters are attempting to find a place for Grandma’s methods of putting dinner on the table, somewhere on the counter between their microwave convection ovens and their sub zero refrigerators. Take “Henrietta” as one example. “Henny” is a subject, whose full story I reluctantly pulled from the series due to her fears of confrontations with her landlord if he should happen to find out she is boarding a chicken for a roommate. Henny is one of those smart, young, urban professionals who works in a high rise office tower, lives in a Westside city duplex and cares a lot about what she eats. What she likes to eat for breakfast are farm fresh, freerange, unmedicated eggs. But they were not always easy to acquire (especially in the winter when the farmers markets are not operating), and even when she did find them, the high prices were a factor. Even so, she didn’t intend to become a chicken farmer, it just happened that way. One day she found a large and past its cute stage chick in her back yard. It might have been an Easter present that had been disposed of in the nearby wooded area, or perhaps it had been intended as dinner for someone’s pet snake (that happens.) Who could tell ... but not expecting it to survive long she kept it in a parakeet cage and feed it bird seed. Instead of dying, “Speckles” kept growing and one day she produced small, shellless, rubbery skinned egg, about the size of a walnut. At that point, Henny decided to rig up a “henhouse” -- a wooden box that she affixed from the inside of her kitchen to a pet door (left by a previous tenant) that led out to a wire covered dog run out on the other side over a stretch of grass-covered lawn. I guess I’m lucky that she’s a quiet bird, she said. “She never “crows” like some hens actually do, but prefers to sit on her nest most of the time with the occasional foray out to the lawn. In return she gives me at least one fresh egg every day, and in her own way, she also provides some low maintenance company. I’ve seen those fancy hen houses “chicken pods” you can purchase through the mail order companies, the kind on wheels so they can be moved around the yard, but I don’t want to attract attention to her ... and besides, I think she is a natural fibers type. She keeps her wooden box very clean.” If there is any lesson here it is that city dwellers are more willing these days to put up with some of the inconvenient realities involved when you get that close to your food sources - noise, dirt, waste products - even if the municipal authorities still frown on it. Which leads me back to thinking about how things were in the early days of the magazine. At that time I had wanted to do the eco-thing too and had invested in recycled paper and vegetable inks. And I confess there was a budget advantage in it as well, because those materials were much less expensive. But it was another idea that was not well received from a commercial point of view, the grey-toned paper made the sponsors’ ads look dull, and the inks crept outside image borders and rubbed off on readers hands. As soon as I could manage it, I upgraded the stock to something more respectable. The irony is, today those materials are not only cleaner, they are also now much more expensive than the standard options. So it seems that given enough time nearly all our attitudes and circumstances can flip a 180, and the question hovers ... 17 years from now will I be growing my own hi-grade, organic paper stock in some farm of the future - a solar powered, hi-rise agro station tower, or will I have long since made the jump to the cleanest, brightest and cheapest medium of all - the Internet? That remains to be seen. Right now the idea that I might still be in the publishing business after all that time seems science fiction enough. --- Rhonda May, Editor
FOOD + Wine
: an expert’s personal list
vintage 2008 - a synopsis A cool, late Summer in 2008 resulted in many BC vineyards running up to three weeks behind in growth. This caused a few anxious moments for winemakers at the end of August, but for the most part, the fall brought enough heat and sunshine in the nick of time to save the harvest. Plenty of grapes had to be sacrificed however, in order to give the vines their best fighting chance to deliver sufficiently ripe ones before the late fall rains and frost began. This could result in a decrease in wine production for individual wineries for the 2008 vintage, however the amount of wineries coming on line has increased so greatly in the past couple of years, consumers may not notice much of a difference in wine pricing. Let’s wait and see if the problems of the world’s economy accomplishes that instead. For now, this list comprises my favourite bottles gathered after a summer spent taking wine around the province. (Look for a list of my pick of the local reds and fall releases in the Winter issue of CityFood.)
. Fall 2008
Gehringer Brothers 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Oliver) 89/100
This summer my search was for wines that expressed great aromatics and also tapped into the acidity that our region naturally imparts into the grapes. The wines on these pages represent my personal favourites: well-made examples that express their own personality, and yet are good representatives of distinctively BC wines.
Year after year, this wine continues to impress me. Imagine a typical Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with its clean fruits and cut grass. Add a dash more tropical fruit flavour and a squeeze of BC acidity to lift the intensity, and you have one of the best valued Sauvignon Blancs in the province. They always sell out of this wine first, so don't think too hard about it. Keep your food pairings simple with this wine and watch out for natural sugar in your ingredients. It's trendy to sidedish your proteins with salsas and fruit compotes, but always remember that the natural sugar in foods will reduce the mouth feel of the wine and make it seem wimpy and watery. Try this wine with grilled foods such as scallops, mushrooms, or pork tenderloin dressed in the best olive oil and salt that you own. $18 at the winery, VQA Stores, and Government Stores.
Nk'Mip 2007 Riesling (Osoyoos) 91/100
Domaine de Chaberton 2007 Bacchus (Fraser Valley) 88/100
Siegerrebe, Schonberger, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Ehrenfelser, Muscat, Wurzer, Huxelrebe, Regent, Gloria, Reichensteiner and Cantaro. Try saying that after finishing a bottle by yourself -- and believe me, it could happen. This wine from Vancouver Island is fresh and vivacious and costs only 16 bones at the winery. Enjoy while having lunch at Thistles Café which is located on the property.
The huge aromatics in this wine practically jump out of the glass in waves of tropical fruits and layers of citrus. However, it also has a back end of mineral that brings balance to all that intensity up front. The wine is a good example of the drier style of Riesling that is trendy now. It’s delicious on a hot Saturday afternoon, just poured on its own. But if it’s lunch time and you must pair the wine with some food, then get creative with the acidity in your salad dressing (use cider or Champagne vinegar, or a healthy squeeze of citrus juice) and watch this wine stand up with confidence. $18 at the winery.
I love this wine as a great alternative to an off dry Riesling or a
Quinta Ferreira 007 “unoaked” Chardonnay (Oliver) 90/100 Unoaked Chardonnay has a bright future in BC and this wine is a great example of why. Our region offers a diversity of growing conditions for Chardonnay that produce wines running the full gamut from ultra ripe to lean and crisp, yet complemented by a characteristic acidity that heightens and balances the fruit and mouth feel. I look forward to more unoaked versions as that style starts to establish its own BC identity and more winemakers discover their own style working with this varietal. This particular example will impress you with the fruit that awaits your mid-palate. The intensity and longevity of flavours is how a mini fruit bomb should play out. Yet even with all that fruit, the wine can also stand up to strong flavours in food and a touch of sugar. When cooking for this wine I gravitate towards savoury BBQ sauces and strong cheeses. $20 at the winery, VQA Stores and some specialty shops
Le Vieux Pin 2007 Vaïla, Pinot Noir Rosé (Oliver) 94/100 Absolute purity in flavour. I have never experienced such clarity of grapefruit in a rosé before. The intensity of grapefruit and soft strawberry notes are like laser beams as they travel across the landscape of your palate. If you have ever zested a grapefruit and inhaled the essence that fills the air, then you have already experienced the long finish of this wine that is also complemented by floral notes. Another reason this wine is exciting, is its ability to pair with so many styles of foods. Its intensity makes it capable of working with most ethnic dishes that are loaded with exotic flavours and moderate spice. I also think this is another perfect salad wine that can handle most types of salad dressings you toss at it. Available at the winery for $25.
Gewurztraminer. However, this little cousin is no slouch, and at $14 you will discover a great nose full of zesty tropical fruits and a slightly off dry palate, making this wine very food friendly. The almost oily mouth feel could take on even the most eclectic family BBQ, and maybe even persuade the wine averse into partaking in a glass or two. You'll find this wine at the winery and most VQA Stores.
bubbles The kids are back in school; your out of town guests have finally left. Time to shut off the phone and opt for a curl-up on the couch with a movie and a bowl of popcorn (seasoned with a little truffle oil and salt of course). You reach for the bottle of bubbles tucked away in the back of the fridge, and ... ah ... life starts to feel normal again.
Sumac Ridge 2004 Stellars Jay Brut 89/100 When choosing a bottle of bubbly you should always look for the oldest vintage first. A wellmade bottle of sparkling will age beautifully, and the quality and price coming out of BC always make them a great deal. When you're scouring the shelves for the 2004 you may still find older vintages, but I am drinking the 2004 right now because of its softer mouth feel and ripe fruit flavours, while saving the 2003, 2002, and 2001 for another five to seven years while they take on the beautiful aged qualities that sparkling wine lovers wait so impatiently for. I always have been, and most likely always will be, a big fan of Sumac's bubbles, but the 2004 is different, in a good way. The natural acidity I appreciate so much is softer in the 2004. Available at the winery, VQA Stores, and Government Stores for $25.
Zanatta Winery 2005 Allegria Brut 91/100 2007 Vivace (Vancouver Island) 88/100 The Vivacy is a conference of white grapes in a bottle: Pinot Blanc, Muller Thurgau, Ortega, Bacchus, Pinot Gris,
My best find of the summer. I discovered this Vancouver Island gem while enjoying a great lunch at Zanatta Winery with a flight of their bubbles. They don’t offer tastings of their sparkling wines in their tasting room, but I guarantee if the opportunity comes up to spend an hour enjoying a light lunch and experiencing these wines in their restaurant, you won’t be grumbling about it. The Allegria is made with Pinot Noir and has a gorgeous pink hue and soft nose, but it's what it does on your palate that makes it a winner-- a huge, rich, soft mouthfeel
by Jay Drysdale that seems to come out of nowhere and last forever. In fact, it has the fullest and richest texture I have ever experienced in a rosé bubbles. All four of Zanatta’s sparkling wines were impressive, but the Allegria scored even higher with me as it held up best to an egg-rich vegetable frittata that was on the menu. The wine is available at the winery and some specialty shops for about $27.
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͚ŐŽŽĚĨŽŽĚ͕ŐƌĞĂƚƐĞƌǀŝĐĞ ĂŶĚĞǀĞƌǇĚĂǇƉƌŝĐĞƐŽŶ ǇƵŵŵǇ͕ǇƵŵŵǇĨŽŽĚ͛͘ ϭϴϱϬtĞƐƚϰƚŚǀĞ͕<ŝƚƐŝůĂŶŽ ϲϬϰͲϳϯϮͲϭϰϰϭ
cellar choice I am always looking for cellar worthy wines that are balanced in flavour, tannin, acidity, and finish. They may still be a little rough around the edges, but with some time in the bottle those edges will soften and you will be rewarded with a wine that others wish they had invested in.
2005 Single Vineyard Series Meritage 90/100 A sleeper of a wine for $25. Meritage seems to be all the rage with winemakers, but too often I am seeing it being made because of the price point it commands, and not for the quality of grapes and skillful blending. This wine was a welcome surprise as its complexity rivals many Meritage wines at twice the price. This Merlot dominant wine will fool many aficionados as the Cabernet Sauvingnon and the Cab Franc speak loud and proud. Tuck a bottle or two away for a minimum of a year (preferably for two or three years) and you will be rewarded. If anyone still has the '98 out there and are drinking it now, then you know the bliss of which I speak. Available at the winery, VQA and Government stores.
͞dŚĞƐĞǆŝĞƐƚ͕ŵŽƐƚĞǆŽƟĐƚĂƉĂƐƌĞƐƚĂƵƌĂŶƚ sĂŶĐŽƵǀĞƌŚĂƐĞǀĞƌƐĞĞŶ͟ ůĞǆĂŶĚƌĂ'ŝůů͕'ůŽďĞĂŶĚDĂŝů
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on the radar
With over 15 years of experience Jay Drysdale brings a wealth of industry knowledge to his food and wine writing. Jay’s interest in wine started while he was working his way through a number of restaurant kitchens in BC and Alberta, and he has taken his background as a chef along with him into the wine business. He completed his Sommelier degree in 2001 and has continued to focus on education and food and wine pairing after settling in the Okanagan in 2004. As GM and Sommelier of the Toasted Oak Wine Bar and Grill he managed to put the restaurant on the international wine map, while at the same time, launching a VQA Store in Oliver BC. At the end of 2007 Jay put the restaurant hours behind him and started his own consulting company “Fermentable Arts” and is now the VQA Liaison for the BC Wine Institute working with the 20 VQA stores in the province, focusing on sales and education. Jay continues to be a wine judge, freelance writer, and educator, as he keeps his finger on the pulse of the BC wine industry.
The wine that has surprised me most is a “Tannat” from Twisted Tree Winery. Tannat is a grape native to South West France in the Madiran region. It is generally a grape that produces monster tannic wines, which with a little luck will soften up in five to ten years. Tannat is the national grape of Uruguay but the South Americans produce it in a lighter, softer style -- similar to what I experienced at this Osoyoos winery. At Twisted Tree it had a wonderful floral quality, with layers of red fruits and was holding the flavor and structure of oak very well. I also like the initial signs of the Tempranillo grape being made in BC. Native to the Rioja region in Spain, it can range in style from a light bodied simple quaffer to the intense glass-staining versions found in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. Inniskillin and Twisted Tree are polishing two very different versions of this grape and I look forward to seeing both of them in the bottle. A Malbec/Syrah blend from Blasted Church Vineyards is showing that these two grapes can play well together in a full bodied complex style. Look for it this fall. Chenin Blanc can be a light, apple-y, citrus wine that is nothing to rave about. But if allowed to fully ripen, it can take on a magnitude of tropical fruit flavours, and in combo with the grape’s natural acidity, it has the ability to can produce some complex wines. The reason I am telling you all this, is because Road 13 Vineyards (formerly Golden Mile Cellars) is producing a sparkling wine with their 20+ year old vines. Maybe our first Cremant de Okanagan?
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Young MacDonald Had a Condo
Home cooks are figuring out how to bring artisan techniques of food production back to their own kitchens...even if home is in the big concrete pasture.
Big City Blues ... by Claudia Kwan
Urban Buzzzz ... by Jane Mundy I
McGill Grocery Store is located at the corner of McGill and Slocan; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
hobbyists. Apparently you can't sell honey unless it's on your property, otherwise you'd have to meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency standards and that would mean a highly filtered product. If you haven't tried raw honey, it's heady and aromatic. Compared to commercial honey; it’s like corn syrup versus real maple syrup. Godwin believes in a minimum amount of filtering, "only to take out bee bits--the extra protein," he says. "[Commercial honey] is pasteurized at 150ºF but that's basically flavoured sugar, whereas I heat it only to 80ºF, almost going straight from the honeycomb into your mouth--my job is just to put the honey into containers to facilitate the transfer." "I don't know of any other store in Vancouver that sells raw honey," says Harry Mah. Neither do I and I'm glad it's available at my corner store, although I'm not convinced that I'd be calm in a swarm. But Godwin reminds me of the bee's role. "Pollinators are an important part of our ecosystem and a by product is honey," says straight-talking Godwin, "and since everyone's talking about carbon footprints, why not allow any food product to be grown locally?" He's got a point, but I just had a flash of Eva Gabor, sick of farm life and craving Park Avenue, and I'm with her; give me the honey but I sure don't want to wake up to cock-adoodle-doo.
fine with it." Yikes, how often do they swarm? Harry tells me when bees populate themselves and the hive becomes crowded they look for a new home--when bees are flying in the air they are looking for a branch to cling to until a permanent home is found. It's happened a few times (they fly about 20 to 30 feet away) and Godwin has climbed stepladders and shimmied up trees to collect them--he gently knocks them into a box, with a tight lid. Godwin explains that a swarm is a docile collection of bees because they don't have a home to defend. "First they slim down and agitate the queen and kick her out so she's forced to join the departing collective to form a new colony. Like Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg was created based upon the social structure of the bee colony..."OK, moving on to my next question: Is it even allowed in Vancouver? Godwin tells me that beekeeping became legal three years ago, mainly thanks to pressure from food advocates and
here's what I've learned from gardening version 1.0. Gardening is an addiction. At some point you stop seeing watering/weeding/pruning and the like as chores and instead use them as a respite from the whirl of modern day multi-tasking. It's much cheaper than therapy. Gardening makes you irresistible--at least to insects. Before vegetation takes up residence on the deck, there's nary a life form to be seen. The vast sea of terracotta pavers looks as inviting as the surface of the moon. No sooner do a few succulent leaves beckon than gigantic ants, ladybugs, little spiders, fruit flies, and even two tiny jade green caterpillars find their way up to the eighth floor. No bees unfortunately, but that's another story. Gardening both reinforces and discourages sharing. When the blueberries come in properly, I'll be pressing them upon neighbours and family, lacking the freezer space to hoard them all to myself. But I'm not willing to share my precious plants with the bugs. The caterpillars are unceremoniously dumped in a plastic container and moved to the nearest park. Gardening is difficult. I've made the choice not to use chemical fertilizers to see if I can farm organically, but I have the luxury of shrugging off a crop failure, accessing an alternate source of income, and going to the grocery store to buy a pound of blueberries to eat. I also have the luxury of being able to go through individual plants and handcrush the aphids and other pests that make it into the garden. I will never begrudge the cost of organic food again. Gardening is a club that's always accepting new members. Bring up your garden and you'll be instantly surrounded by people who love being around living green things, and who are happy to share their knowledge. I continue to be warmed inside by how willing gardeners are to be generous with their time. Gardening makes you greedy. I walk around public spaces now and wonder how much food could be produced if a stretch of velvety green lawn were to be replaced by food-bearing plants, and whether all that lovely good nutrition could solve some social ills. Luckily, all was not lost for the season. I nipped off to the garden store a second time to pick up strawberry plants, mint plants, a hybrid dwarf tree with five varieties of apple grafted to it, and two more blueberry bushes that were capable of producing even into October. I’m ready for Gardening 2.0
sauntered over to my local grocery store the other day, bought the newspaper and a quart of milk, and couldn't resist two jars of the raw, Urbansweet honey, proudly displayed on the front counter. While bees may be disappearing in droves, they seem to be thriving in four hives behind the McGill Grocery Store: owners Harry, Peter and Charles Mah tell me their honey sells out every harvest. "We get two harvests each year and this is our fifth," says Harry, which translates to about 400 lbs of honey they'll sell this year. The Mah brothers got to talking with their neighbour Russell Godwin-- self-professed latent farmer and amateur beekeeper (he took a course through honeybeecenter.com and has three years experience)-and pretty soon the brothers had two hives in their backyard. "We first got interested because one of my mum's friends was sick and she believed raw honey would make her better," Harry explains, "and we soon found out our customers were also interested in getting raw honey." My obvious question: Were the neighbours amicable to the idea of bees buzzing around? "Our next-door neighbour grew up on a farm so she was OK with the idea, and once we explained it to the others, they weren't perturbed," says Harry. (And it helps that the neighbours get a few jars of honey at Christmas time.) "However, a swarm has caused a bit of concern, but once we educated them about what happens and why, they were
Buoyed by the realization that the 200 square foot deck of my new home actually faces south, I idly wonder aloud whether I can grow blueberries there. The blueberry farmer sitting nearby says yes, assuredly: give the bush a roomy container, acidic soil, and lots of sunshine and water, and away you go, even though it's on the 8th floor of a downtown condominium building. The friendly encouragement serves as a catalyst to turn musing into action, and after an afternoon's mad researching on the Internet, off I head to the nearest garden store. Potting soil, trowel, containers, drainage rocks, a couple of blueberry bushes it's probably the first shopping spree I've ever undertaken without trying anything on. Why blueberries? Perhaps I've been indoctrinated with the message of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, popping freshly picked sun ripened blueberries right into your mouth is a pleasure everyone should experience just once. I dare say they're simply my favourite fruit. However, I'm not just indulging my stomach. Blueberry bushes are attractive year-round, with delicate white flowers in the spring, and foliage that turns red or orange in autumn. When the leaves fall, the naked branches are rustily tinged as well. And while you can prune blueberry bushes, you don't have to. They're self-fertilizing, although the berries are larger and there are more of them if you have two bushes of the same variety to keep each other company. Even watering is easy if the plants are outside. Rainwater tends to be acidic and there's certainly no lack of that in Vancouver. The only caveat is that blueberry bushes don't react well to sitting in a pool of water (known as 'wet feet'), so proper drainage is essential. Anything that has to be taken care of in my garden has to give me food in exchange, and I'm glad they're also providing some fresh oxygen through all of the car fumes that drift up to me. As the spring begins and the fuzzy pale green leaves venture forth, I rejoice. Clearly I haven't killed the plants, which is a big achievement. Clusters of flowers begin to emerge, and then Mother Nature smacks me across the face. A cold snap at the worst possible time blights the crop. Blossoms turn brown and rot off each day, leaving one lonely potential berry out of two whole bushes to ripen to fruition. It's the best $150 blueberry I've ever had! Like Red Sox fans used to say, there's always next year. Some gardening experts say you shouldn't allow blueberries to fruit in the first year anyway, to promote upright growth. In the meantime,
Blueberry Varietals that do well in the city. Duke:produces quite a few sweet good-sized berries early in the season. It is one of the most commonly planted varieties in BC. It grows to about 6 feet high, serving as an ornamental screen if privacy is a concern. Patriot: also fruits early in the season. It is quite resistant to cold and performs better in wetter conditions than other varieties. Patriot spreads horizontally and only grows to about 4 feet, making it a good contender to deal with windy conditions. Chandler produces late season, with gigantic berries the size of cherries-worth it for the wow factor alone. The bush also fruits over five to six weeks, which keeps the freshness factor high, and grows to five or six feet high.
Bringing Home I love bacon. I could never cut it as Vegan, Jew, or Muslim. I love bacon with eggs, in soups or pasta, and sometimes when I’m feeling patriotic, straight up dipped in maple syrup.
4 Dry Cure Recipe: 225g Kosher Salts, 212g Dextrose, 15g Pink Salt, 3 points Star Anise Once I have collected all the goodies, I’m ready to make the dry cure. As you can see, the cure is basically salt and sugar.
well. The point is not to have all that salt and anise on the out side of the bacon when I eat it. After a thorough rise, I pat it with some paper towels and place it on a drying rack.
7 The rack goes on on a plate and the whole thing goes back into the fridge for 1-3 days (7). This makes the outside of the belly tacky and ready for the smoke. I remove the belly from the fridge with the rack and take it out to the BBQ.
What I don’t love, or should I say don’t love about the stuff sold in supermarkets and at fast food restaurants, is the way that industrial pork is raised: inhumane conditions, antibiotic abuse, water and air pollution. Not to mention the gross over consumption by the general public which almost puts me off the stuff.
salt, but it prevents botulism, enhances color and I cut back on the amount that is specified for this recipe. So far it hasn’t killed me.
2 Thankfully I took matters into my own hands and decided that if I was going to continue to enjoy the sweet, salty, fatty goodness that is smoked pork belly, I would have to learn how to make it myself. After doing my homework I realized that bacon is super easy to make, rewarding and fun, not to mention delicious. I produce this glorious product (1) on the 9th floor of my
3 downtown condo, a marginal place indeed, so if I can do it here it can be done almost anywhere, no excuses… It takes a little time and some forethought, but its worth just to kneel at the alter of City Bacon. Here’s how I do it. First I go shopping for the following ingredients (2): Pork Belly, Kosher Salt, Dextrose, Pink Salt, and some Star Anise The most difficult item to find is the belly, especially as I only want the good stuff, but it’s well worth the search. I use organic, beer-feed pork (3), that I purchase from a local farm, but to get that, I confess I have some connections. As an alternative, quality pork can also be sourced from farmers markets, butcher shops, the Internet, and some supermarkets. For organic/ local pork see: www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca. For non-local but organic pork go to Famous Foods at 1503 Kingsway, Vancouver, or for factory-raised but fresh (and a great field trip) try Dollar Meats, 266 East Pender Street, Vancouver. The rest of the ingredients I purchase from bulk ingredient suppliers. At this point, I should say that I am aware of the detrimental effects of large doses of sodium nitrite, or pink
5 The cure is what preserves the meat, and gives bacon, pancetta, prosciutto it’s delicious taste. I weigh out the salt, sugar and pink salt and mix it together in a large zip-lock bag. This is enough to do two or three bacon cures so it can be saved for next time. (4) I place the belly on a plate and start to rub and cover it with the dry cure. No point being timid, I’m going to need approximately 1/4
6 cup of dry cure for a 2-3 pound piece of belly. I have experimented with a lot of different kinds of extra flavoring, including maple syrup, honey, cloves and coriander but my favourite version so far is just a hint of star anise. (Just three points of one star, (not whole stars), ground up in a mortal and pestle.) Grabbing another zip lock bag (5), I place the cure-covered belly inside, then I toss in another tablespoon or two of the dry cure just for good measure. The bag is sealed, and placed in the fridge (6). For the next 7 days I flip the bag over everyday, or “overhaul” the belly. After the first day a watery fluid collects in the bag, which is the liquid that allows the cure. I keep checking that the seal on the bag is secure. (Once there was a leak, and it wasn’t pretty.) After the 7 days the belly should be firm. How firm it should be is difficult to describe, but in doing this for awhile, I’ve learned the “feel” for it. I find the curing time fluctuates from belly to belly, and it’s by no means an exact science. If I even suspect its not firm enough, I just leave it in the fridgefor another day or two. When the belly is done curing I take it out and rinse it off
8 BBQ Equipment: Gas Grill, Scale, Large Zip Lock bag, Aluminum Foil, Apple Chips, Cooling rack, Mortal and Pestle, Meat thermometer Imagine how excited I was when I figured out that I didn’t need a dedicated smoker. That fact saved me hundreds of dollars, which meant more money for pork and beer. It took me a few tries to get this right but essentially, this is what I did to turn
9 my BBQ into a smoker without a bunch of fancy equipment. First I remove the rack from one side of my grill (8). (If I can’t remove it then I use the over-head tray to smoke the bacon.) I take the foil and make a boat shaped receptacle; it could be long or fat, what ever I fancy that day, and I perforate the bottom with a knife. These holes ignite the chips. Once I have my “boat” prepared, I grab two handfuls of wood chips and put them inside (9). I prefer apple chips; apple wood and pork is a match made in BBQ heaven. I get the chips at the hardware store. It’s probably the most finicky part of the process but its important that before I close the BBQ lid, I don’t forget to spritz the chips with water first, because although I want them to catch and smoke, I don’t want them to ignite, burn and ruin the bacon. I work from home so the four hours I will spend smoking and monitoring the smoke is do-able. The last thing I would want to do is to leave the burner on. I only leave it on long enough to get the chips smoldering and smoking nicely, then I turn it off. I have ruined perfectly good cured bellies by giving them too
words and photos by Craig Noble BETTER BUTTER UP .... word and photos by Jane Mundy much heat and they drip and burn. ( Remember, I am smoking, not grilling this bacon. ) The pork belly in these photos was
10 smoked (10) for 4.5 hours using about 6 handfuls of chips. This produced a wonderful color, and the temperature of the grill did not exceed 150 degrees. After I’ve done admiring my work (11), I throw the bacon into a slow 200 degrees oven until the internal temp of the thickest part of the belly reaches 150. I then remove the bacon
from the oven and let it cool, wrap it up in plastic wrap and its good for about 2 weeks, if it lasts that long! If you can’t see yourself committing to such a lifestyle then head down to Oyama on Granville Island and pick up some of John van der Lieck’s bacon. He’s done all the work and it’s delicious.
12 Resource Books:
Charcuterie- The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn W.W. Norton and Company Inc. 2005. Maynard- Adventures of a Bacon Curer Maynard Davies Merlin Unwin Books. 2003.
hen I arrived at Tomas Hicks's east Vancouver home he had glass milk jars lined up on the kitchen counter, full of milk that was waiting to be turned into butter, ghee, yoghurt and cheese -- all within two hours. You could say that Hicks is a kind of milkman, one of a vanishing breed. Then again, due to the popular demand for all things organic and natural and sustainable, he could be considered cutting edge. Before we got to make anything, he explained the most important component -- the quality of the milk. "I get unpasteurized milk from a cow-share in Chilliwack and I just pay for the delivery," he says, thereby skirting the illegality of selling unpasteurized milk. I figure this guy is rather fanatical until he pours me a glass. Ah, that's how milk should taste. However, for those of us that don't share a cow, Hicks says Avalon's whole milk is the next best thing. There was a dish of pebbles on the counter --some spiritual aid perhaps? But no -- Hicks poured some milk into a mason jar, added the pebbles, and shook the jar like a rattle for a few minutes. Then it was my turn. Next time I make butter, I'll multi-task and watch an episode of CSI while shaking--after about 10 minutes my arms felt like I'd lifted weights for an hour. (Of course, you can also use a whisk or food processor to perform this kind of magic, but it won't be as rewarding.) It's worth the effort -- I discovered that homemade butter is golden and velvety and tastes like the essence of butter. But don't forget to remove the pebbles. I thought turning milk into cheese was like an alchemist turning lead into gold, but Hicks soon took the mystery out of the process. As I stirred a few splashes of vinegar into the saucepan of simmering milk (2 liters), curds formed within seconds. The curds tasted like a bland mozzarella and were squeaky to eat, but admittedly, they had potential. To personalize your curds, Hicks suggests infusing milk with herbs or spices such as garlic or mint, cumin or coriander. The second cheese we made was creamier; this time we used less vinegar and added whey from the first batch of cheese (nothing wasted!). Hicks drained off the whey, molded the curds into a cheesecloth, squeezed out some more liquid and pressed it between two heavy cutting boards on a slight incline to drain it further. At this point in the process, it's known as paneer or farmer's cheese; if you add more whey it becomes cream cheese, and if you add salt it becomes hard. Whey cool! Meanwhile, a pot with a few cups of butter was simmering on the back burner. Hicks says you know when ghee is ready when all you can see under the top layer of froth is oil. "Making ghee doesn't need tons of attention but be aware--stir and pause, stir and pause, he says, as I go into a trance…" When the crackling subsides and it's reduced somewhat, it's ghee." All you have to do is cool and strain and again, there's no waste: collect the leftover bits on the sides of the pot to rub on your skin, like Cleopatra's milk bath. Another decadent tip: Mix 1 part dark chocolate to three parts ghee and you've got something like Nutella.
Our final recipe was yoghurt. So that's what the cooler was for on the dining room floor--to act as a yoghurt incubator. Hicks had stuffed it with mason jars filled with boiling water and wrapped in towels to get the right temperature. An oven is too hot, although just having the pilot light on would work, or you could find somewhere warm like the top of your fridge. The temperature has to be about 110º F, but no hotter or the culture is killed, which means fermentation cannot take place. Hicks added 1 Tbsp of the culture (you can use store-bought organic yoghurt) to 1 liter of milk. "Adding more starter won't make it thicker but if you want it creamier, add milk powder," he says. Just leave it for about 8-12 hours in the cooler-oven or someplace warm and bingo! Not only did everything taste better than what I've been accustomed to but it actually costs less than store-bought to eat organic and natural butter, cheese and yoghurt. When Tomas Hicks isn't volunteering at Trout Lake Farmers Market, he conducts dairy workshops and other classes. Check out his website for schedules: http://www.cityfarmer.ca Phone 604-708-9055 or email email@example.com.
Out of my dreams and into my backyard: planting a new vineyard ... by Rhys Pender
any wine lovers secretly dream about starting their own vineyard, working the field season after season, shod in sturdy boots -- Mother Nature providing the perfect backdrops of wind, rain and warmth. We picture ourselves rising early to beat the heat of the day, our hands worn by honest physical labour and our skin burnished by the sun. Fast forward a few years and there we are again, pouring the pressed and fermented results of our labours for the approval of friends and family, who smile as they wax eloquently about the complexity and intensity of flavours and textures that we have created. It’s a common fantasy, and therefore not surprising how many fans of the grape yield to its temptation. I too have been caught up in the dream, and now, along with my co-conspirator and wife, Alishan, we have made the first steps towards the inevitable outcome. What needs to be clarified is that perhaps we should have known better. This particular ambition usually takes awhile to materialize and we have seen the drudgery of preparing land, working row after row of vineyard and spending vast sums of money, only to have it turn quickly into a nightmare. But we won't be deterred, and so far, we have found we are actually glorifying in the little tasks, the dream coming a step closer as each job is completed. There is something magical about your own piece of dirt, putting on boots and swapping the glare of the computer screen for that of the sun, plus fresh air and the sounds of agriculture. Digging oneself into a hole never felt so good. One of the main drawbacks to becoming a vineyard owner is cost. The favourite saying in the wine business is that in order to make a little money you have to first start with a lot of money; and it’s true. I have consulted on many a start-up operation, presenting figures that prove just how little is left in the initial years to show for all the arduous work involved. Increasingly, getting into the wine business is a game for the wealthy. Yet despite a lack of wealth we refuse to be discouraged, determined to survive those lean, initial years and earn the rewards that follow. It is basically three years of work without any pay, but the rewards are in what you create and what lies ahead. This vineyard dream concept is strong and persuasive, a force leading us on to the rocks and dirt of this piece of terroir. So how can those of us not listed in the Fortune 500 still get a crack at growing grapes and making wine? First of all, you need to be able to find affordable land that is suitable for quality grapes. Through researching for some articles, I stumbled onto the beauty of the Similkameen Valley and the staggering quality of its wines. This upcoming region still offers outstanding value for money when compared to the prohibitive prices of the Okanagan Valley. A five acre property and a beautiful 90 year old house cost us not much more than our 800 square foot bungalow in Peachland. So here we are, surrounded by stunning peaks and sheer faces of cliff, the noise of the highway swapped for birds, frogs, the occasional bird scaring propane cannon and mostly the lovely deafening silence. For Alishan and me, 3.6 acres of vines should keep us busy a couple of days a week. This is about all we can handle
while running a wine school and consulting business and also raising our two little girls. Now that we have landed on our plot of soil, the long process of preparation begins. The first step is seeking out help with funding, through programs from Farm Credit Canada and the Environmental Farm Plan, or getting some knowledgeable advice on how to execute and manage the initial stages of overhead. It costs a lot to plant a vineyard, $20,000 to $30,000 an acre, and you generally need all the financial help you can get. The decisions start at least a year out: What varieties should we plant? Where do we get our water for irrigation? What kind of soil do we have? What direction does the wind come from? How do we maximize the vines exposure to the daily passage of the sun? The answers to some of these questions may seem obvious, but the further you delve into them, the more and more detailed they become, and always there is more to do than you expected. At this point, digging that first hole to plant a vine is still nearly a year away. But the project is starting to take shape. You can picture the rows of neatly pruned and tucked vines stretching away down the length of the property, basking in the sun. Once the financing is sorted out, and you've gotten your mind around waiting 6-8 years to reach a positive cash flow, and another 10-15 to actually owning the vineyard, the dream becomes a little more real. You can almost taste the fruits of your labour, a chilled glass of wine while you recap your hard day’s toil amongst the vines. The first consideration is what will grow well on your land. As soon as we moved to our new property we set up a temperature data logger to measure the site climate. We can now look at the temperature every 30 minutes and get an idea when the dangerous hot and cold spikes happen. We're chosen to plant Chardonnay and Riesling, two varieties we both love personally, that have great staying power in the market place, and that will easily ripen on our site. From here, the details could easily spiral into a headache of a narration. Deciding the small details of clones, rootstocks, planting density, trellis type and height and row direction are all very important and take time and research to make a good decision. Then you think about preparing the soil. Do you have to shape the land, rip the soil, make any soil additions (nutrients, fertilizers), and is there time to plant a cover crop? What about nematodes and other nasties who could turn your dream into a nightmare? All this is worth checking out in advance to avoid any painful surprises later on. The seemingly endless tasks of rolling up old irrigation line, fighting poison ivy bushes, and removing the amazingly complex array of junk that has found its way into our soils is now complete. The orchard has been plucked out, the soil tested (yes we had some high nematode populations) and a D8 Caterpillar is deep-ripping the soil as I write. We are well underway. But what about those other creatures that like nothing better than a meal of ripe grapes or young vine shoots? After listening to neighbourhood stories, it looks like we will need deer fencing,
bird netting and protection against the bears that are capable of eating a couple of thousand dollars worth of wine in one night? Irrigation must be designed to allow for proper flow rates, soil types, and volume - a task best left to the experts at Nulton Irrigation in Oliver. Do you need to drill a well, is your water of good quality? Where does it come from? Fortunately, our property has a well that serviced the orchard that previously existed on the site. Plus the land has good flow and is fairly flat, making it easy to irrigate. How are you going to farm the land? Organic, conventional or even biodynamic? What kind of tractor, mower, sprayer? Bamboo stakes? What size and the all important thickness? Should one use grow tubes or milk cartons to protect the young vines, or nothing at all? One’s head could explode from all the details. We have a penchant for organic and the Similkameen is well suited; one of the advantages of the area’s sometimes spiteful wind is that it helps keep the vines largely free of pests and disease. Maybe I'll even pursue biodynamics and grow a shaggy beard and mane of hair in honour of the late and great biodynamic producer Didier Dagueneau. All this thinking, the tiny details and the planning is making me thirsty and we are still months away from planting a vine. It is all about decisions, decisions that we will be stuck with for the next 20 to 30 years over the life of the vineyard. We are trying to get as much done this fall, making everything easier in the spring. That is the goal - plan, be prepared, make life easy, make good decisions without being rushed. The reality of the vineyard dream can scare many people away, perhaps wisely. But no, we're not going anywhere. Stubborn, stupid or star struck? I'm not sure. I see the next few years looking something like this: Get out the cheque book, spend, spend, and spend some more. Work, work, work and then wait, wait, wait, starting to wonder if the money ever does come back. Next year plant the vines and wait for them to grow and grapes to appear. Nothing the first year, the vines barely seeming to achieve a shoot worth mentioning. The second year things will look a little better. We might even need to install a couple of wires to stop the long, pencil thick shoots from falling into the rows. Maybe even a few bunches of grapes appear. Year three will build hope and a small crop should be harvested and begin its journey to someone's table. Year four a bit more, and by year 5 the bins are being filled, and cheques are actually coming to us, cheques big enough to pay workers, interest payments, and to start to chisel away at those looming loans. From there it should only get better. Yes the first few years will involve poverty, backbreaking labour and hardship, yet every day the dream will be closer. Is the dream different from the romantic notions I had when I first entered the industry 14 years ago? Yes, it’s a different kind of dream, but one even more satisfying than I could have ever imagined. Yes it is true, that in spite of the hard work the hope of having a successful vineyard is not built on empty promise but of rewards along the way beyond simple dollars and cents. *
Revised Pg. 19
food+style what’s your bag? Market shoppers have largely abandoned plastic these days in favour of cloth bags or woven baskets. And even though they may have changed habits because it felt like the right thing to do, people are discovering that one-of-a-kind bags are just more fun to carry around. Like a t-shirt, your tote bag can signal a lot about you: where you’ve been, what you’ve experienced; what your esthetic preferances are with regards to art and design; even where you stand on the important issues of the day. Or they can just look interesting and cool while being functional at the same time. Nothing wrong with that.
VIKI: My bag was made by an organic, no sweatshop, fashion company in Seattle called Prairie Underground (the name is printed on the bag). I received it as a Christmas gift from the company and I find it extra convenient to always have on hand because it zips up into the tiny pocket you see on the side.
LYNN: I bought this bag in Provence when I was there two years ago with my sister on a camping/road trip. (We drove from Amsterdam to Provence, 1,400 km in 14 hours.) I was very nervous that it would get crushed with the other carry-ons on the flight home, but it survived just fine. It’s so easy to just throw all my veggies into this bag and the braided leather straps are comfortable and don’t cut into my shoulder.
COREY: I’ve owned this bag for two years, and even though it looks handstitched, it’s still strong and sturdy. It was made by hill tribe people living in the Thailand/Laos border area, and it was given to me as a present by my friend Viki (see left). I think as a bag it works for nearly everything I need to carry around. It’s comfortable, and it can also be worn slung across the chest bandellero style.
. Fall 2008
LIZ and PETER: The basket I am holding (on the left) was made in West Africa. Peter’s basket (on the right) was made by a basket weaver on Hornby Island who hand makes baskets from willow. We’ve owned both for a long time and these are only two examples of the large basket collection we own. We use baskets for everything.
ROSS: It looks new but I’ve owned this basket for at least 10 years; I think I acquired it in Victoria, B.C. I find it more convenient to use than a bag, and easier to carry. And I use it constantly - for everything.
KAREN: A friend brought me back this bag as a souvenir gift from Hong Hong. It’s incredibly sturdy and well made, and I like the old Hollywood photos and press clippings of Marilyn Monroe that decorates it. I use it for everything flowers, food from the farmers markets, and just shopping at regular stores. I keep it in the car all the time and make sure that when I unload my purchases I put it back there right away so that I always have it handy.
Bags for a cause Search around the internet and you will be amazed by the number of sites offering unique, hand-crafted totes in all sizes, colours and materials, and most of these companies will gladly deliver to Canada for a small shipping fee. The best of these are bags created from recycled agricultural trash, such as the plastic or burlap bags that are used to ship coffee, sugar, bananas, animal feed and other exported products. It’s even better if their construction helps to create a cottage industry providing employment for an impoverished local populace. Trashbag.com.au, for example, is a company that hires Cambodian land mine victims to recreate wallets from recycled rice sacks. Hagar Design Products and Geckotraders.com are two other companies with good social improvement programs for their workers. In general, we were impressed with the attractive graphic element of many of the recycled products, such as this large fish feed bag from Cambodia ($39 at www.shoplight.com), pictured right. Okay, maybe not ideal if you are not in favour of fish farming in Asia, but there are many other products to choose from. Digging around we even came across interesting variations on the villainous plastic supermarket bag. One woman was creating strong and stretchable totes by crocheting strips cut from ordinary supermarket bags, using different coloured plastic to create attractive designs. Another had made a perfect mimic of a brown paper shopping bag from lined burlap. Other sites were purely into innovative design, such as the nylon tote sack from Flip & Tumble (www.flipandtumble_presskit.pdf) that folds like a sock into a tennis ball-sized pocket. Whether you fancy a bag made from Bollywood posters, old jib sails (seabags.com), recycled car seat covers, silk neck ties, wax juice cartons, or whatever, someone’s got a business online making that very thing.
Revised page 20
Can you be too sexy for your pickup truck? Your braided garlic? Your compost pile? It’s not just an attitude, it’s a way of putting yourself together ... like our models on these pages, all of them vendors at the Trout Lake Farmers Market, who not only have the right stuff, er produce ... they’ve got the look!
she is: Kathryn from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
he is: Wade from Jah Jireh Soaps
her dress: “It’s a hand-sewn, thrift store dress. I put it on
her sunglasses: “I found these in a thrift store in
and it was like it was custom made just for me - it fit perfectly.”
his kilt: “It comes from www.utilikilts.com, a handmade no sweatshop company. I won a few of them in a Utilikilts promo video contest when I came in 2nd place with a video called '”Rock Your Freedom”. I’ve got a light summer weight one, and a heftier one with more pockets for tools, wrenches, etc.”
Lana from Snowy Mountain Farms
her shoes: “From Naot, an Israeli-based shoe designer. They’re actually orthopedic shoes made for nurses, so they are incredibly comfortable. I could walk from Trout Lake to UBC in them!”
her necklace: “I made this myself. The wood is from Botanical Bay on Vancouver Island.”
her scarf: “This came from Israel, and was a gift from my Grandpa.”
her sweater, jeans and shoes: “I bought the sweater on a trip to New Zealand. And the rest? Hmmm ...Winners? Payless? Honestly, I really can’t remember.
his boots: “From a store in Victoria called Viberg Boots.” his hat: “I call this my 'Market Dreadlock Containment Unit' -- somewhat necessary when I’m working as a market vendor. I’ve had the dreads for 7 years.”
How to get that bad ass Agro-Hip look for fall 2008: Just a few key investment pieces and some well-chosen accessories could turn your wardrobe around from yesterday’s anemic urban look to this year’s agro-fabulous! Here’s our guide to the best of what’s showing in front of truck tailgates this season: Last year: extensions This year: dreadlocks Lot’s of ‘em and the longer the better. If Parks Canada has declared your hair to be a bird sanctuary, then you’re on the right track. Last year: no tan lines This year: farmers’ tans White torsos with mahogany necks and forearms are sexy. They show the world that you didn’t spend the summer slouching like an irresponsible consumer around some pool, but instead, made yourself useful turning asphalt parking lots into sustainable schoolyard gardens. What’s really hot? Apparently
it’s that band of brown skin just above the buttocks line. According to blogster “Organica” it hints suggestively that you do a lot of bending over in your line of work. Last year: vintage rock band t-shirts This year: Farm aid shirts T-shirts, always a classic, and a foundation piece for your agro-wardrobe. But this year don’t publicise your addiction to designers or your boomer music preferences -- so geriatric. Instead, make rural, if not hormone-free statements via t-shirt declarations such as: “Farm Boys are Early Risers” “Cock-a-doodle and Proud of It” “Help Me Spread My Wild Oats” “Born in a Barn” “Wanna Make Some Hay?” “Locally Raised and Grass Finished” and the classic .... “Manure Happens!”
Last year: nose studs This year: nose rings Nostril jewelry continues to be a farm fashion staple, whether it be Bollywood-style sparklers or New Zealand fishbone hooks. A solo brass hoop has made a comeback this season, and looks good, just as long as you don’t place it between both nostrils and over the top lip. It’s a hassle when you get the cows excited. Last year: Celtic or barb wire tattoos This year: tattoos that are an ancient tribal or first nations symbol for earth goddesses, animal spirit guides, or harbingers of rain. Again: make sure you do your research first. We know of one young farmworker who had what she thought was an ancient Hopi Indian design of birds tattooed above her butt cleavage, only to find out it was actually the corporate commercial brand mark for Ravenswood Winery.
Last year: skinny fringed scarves. This year: cheap dimestore bandanas. Actually any scarf, shawl or bandana will do, as long as they are hand knot or crocheted from natural fibres. Fashionistas in Europe this summer flirted a farm agent provocateur look with rough woolen scarves knotted over denim vests and black lace bras. Last year: skinny jeans This year: The farmer-ette. We kid you not. The stone-washed farmer’s overall complete with bib, rolled up legs and adjustable suspender straps was this year’s hot pepper. Especially when worn barearmed. Blame actress Meryl Streep in the movie version of “Mama Mia”. Also: Plaid, wellies in all colours, fleece (as in the kind from sheep), waffle caps, Lil’ Abner boots (the muddier the better), and serious sunglasses in granny-style wire frames.
Pg. 20, 21
they are: John and his son Simon from JobstHof Orchard
john's hat: “I bought this at Bamboo World. It’s a shop in the Chilliwack/Agassiz area.” simon's hat: “Do you like my hat? It’s a “Bailey” hat - the same kind that Indiana Jones wears. My parents bought it for me in a Kelowna boot store. We need to wear hats all the time because the sun can get real hot.”
their foot gear. “We’re both wearing the original version of the Croc shoe.”
. Fall 2008
Tamara from Reimer’s Corn Patch. (The chicest woman we’ve ever seen selling corn cobs.)
he is: Ron from Stein Mountain Farm
her scarf: “I picked this up in Ooh La La Boutique, which
his style: As you can see, Ron goes for the minimalist look in farmer fashion. He’s one of the busiest vendors at the market, so we were loathe to bother him with our questions, but seeing as he was sporting the most significant beard on the scene, we felt we had to a least snap his portrait.
despite its name is actually a home décor store in Abbotsford.”
her shoes: “It was a small store on West 4th Ave, but I can’t remember its name.”
her sweater and jeans: “Old Navy.”
Photos and interviews by Jackie Connelly
Pg. 22, 23
the farmer’s hi-5 factmanac Or what real farmers know that you don’t by Anny
In this age of rapid change, we see a new eco-crusader, cross-breed of farmer emerging.The new-age, farmland old-fashioned farmer is aware of protecting preservation activist, humourist, and the environment, supports the healthfulness owner of of organic growing, and desires to farm on Glamorgan Farm on smaller acreages. Whereas the old modernist farmer is under Vancouver Island. scrutiny for his industrial farming practices: raising battery hens, calves and pigs that never see the light of day; feeding livestock harmful growth hormones; not following proper manure management (manure runoff e-coli, pollutes our water courses); cutting down ancient, beneficial hedgerows; and worst of all, applying to sub-divide their huge spreads of scarce, fertile farm land. So not all farmers are the same breed, however, whether you are a new-old or oldnew style farmer there are a few things that all of us have in common.
Five Things you didn’t know about farmers
Farmers Carry an Enormous Amount of Stress and Anxiety, which is often a cause for sleepless nights, tight muscles, headaches, mood swings, and one of the worst – indigestion! Items currently causing stress on Glamorgan Farm include: the fact that the great 700 pound Gloucester Old Spot sows are barren (or that dear Boris, their faithful affectionate boar is impotent); a menacing but intelligent racoon who has figured out how to grab three chicks through chicken wire in the past week; a family of rats who can chew through an "animal proof" feed bin; and the affordability of replacing logs in the 130-year-old heritage barn which houses the horses. But it could be worse, and it often is. This year our neighbour lost two thousand bales of sweet nutritious hay (his summer income) because of a five minute freak thunder storm in the middle of the night. To combat this stress, a hot bath in Epsom salts and a strong hot whiskey (winter) or chilled martini (summer) does the trick. To be brutally honest, we could add a "People" magazine (stressed out farmers don't read Harrowsmith), a vinyl recliner and some "Judge Judy" into the mix. There, the secret's out.
Farmers Also Have Numerous Physical Ailments and Treat Them with Livestock Remedies:
“Must haves" in a farmer's medicine kit include:
Farmers thrive on routine, on their daily regimented chore schedule – farmers do not appreciate the drop-in visit! Farmers are too weary and stressed and under time constraints to be polite and well mannered for a spontaneous social visit – to stop work, wash one's hands, make tea and chat simply for the social value, means that the pigs may not have their pens cleaned out before dinner, or that the injured goat may not have his wound dressed with the care and patience it takes, that the eggs won't get collected to sell from the roadside stand that day, or that the plot of broad beans won't get watered or the pigs won't have their sunscreen applied behind their great pink ears before the scorching summer heat settles over the farm for the day. ALWAYS CALL THE FARMER AHEAD OF TIME IF YOU PLAN A SCHEDULED SOCIAL DROP-IN (or be prepared!).
1.) Udder Bag Balm – good for farmer's raw, weathered, calloused, chapped hands (real farmers don't wear gloves except when picking stinging nettles). 2.) Dr. Bell's Colic Solution for settling stomach cramps – one eye dropper into the mouth of the farmer will prevent intestinal twisting and cramping. Cover the farmer with a blanket to prevent chills and walk the farmer around until symptoms subside (the walking prevents him or her from rolling and grovelling – there's always the fear the poor creature won't get up, so keep the farmer walking until the body temperature is back to normal). 3.) A Hot Bran Mash With Molasses (to sweeten) for constipation (may also help a head cold by adding a vapour rub to steam the head). Six cans of bran and hot water for one 1,000 pound horse – adjust for the farmer.
Beware the Cranky Farmer:
What Farmers Never Use:
1.) Alarm clocks: farmers sleep lightly – they rise quickly at any hour from the slightest cackling panic in the henhouse should a wily racoon be attempting to grab his dinner. 2.) Self-Help books: farmers have neither the time nor the energy to analyse their own minds or behaviours – they are too busy with chores to even notice a potential or underlying personality disorder. 3.) Hormone replacements: a menopausal farmer cannot tell the difference between working exhaustively or a hot flash – we just keep going . . . 4.) Coffee Lattes: No time to fuss with a squirt machine when the sheep are giving birth on a cold morning – an ever warming pot on the stove works well enough. 5.) Lycra clothing: too slippery when slopping the pigs. 6.) Personal Trainers: A farmer's pedometer reaches 20,000 steps by nine in the morning. 7.) Anti-bacterial soaps: Too hard on the septic tanks and farmers do not consider dirt to be dirty anyway.
8.) Immunity Enhancing Commercial Booster Drinks: Too much naturally good greenery already growing wild on farms such as mustards, cresses and nettles 9.) Odour Killing Sprays: There's nothing more natural and clean smelling than fresh hay, damp nutritious soil, sweet peas or a great pink sow! 10.) Life Style Coaches: A farmer, despite all the moaning, is surrounded by growth, reality, humour, loyalty, food, big skies, full moons, bird songs, night scented stocks, and all sorts of other good things.
Despite the Farmer's Often Seen Rugged and Rough Exterior, Within Every Farmer is also a Soft Side:
When the frog chorus rises at twilight here on Glamorgan Farm, and the dews settle on the red tin barn roofs, I tell the great pigs Mabel, Matilda and Boris, who lie in their deep hay beds in their little log barn, that I love them – no farmer would want you to know this, but it's true.
Pg. 22, 23
Five Things a Farmer Knows That You Don't
Five Top Items on a Farmer’s Wish List.
1. Certain female chickens (hens, as opposed to roosters) can exhibit male characteristics far more aggressively than roosters. This masculine hen will crow at dawn, protect her flock by flapping her wings when threatened, mount other hens, engage in altercations over food using her small, sharp spurs on the back of her legs as weapons, interfere in group hen relationships, and generally behave in a rowdy, male manner, following which she will retire to her nest and lay an egg. The behaviour does not seem to be breed specific although here on Glamorgan Farm, the small and delicate Polish Crested hens have exhibited Gender Benders In The Barn more than other breeds.
1. That fair farm tax rates were applied and respected. A current policy is being explored and has actually been implemented (with appeals denied) to eliminate the farm tax rate on many farms and to tax instead at the residential rate on the farm property.
2. Why does that billy goat smell so musky? Adult male goats regularly urinate into their long beards (pretty nimble!) in hopes that the smell will attract nannies. 3. The tallest sunflower ever measured at the Saanich Fair on Vancouver Island (the oldest ongoing annual autumn fair in Western Canada) was over 24 feet, grown as a "volunteer" in a compost pile, according to the locals. The highest sunflower ever grown on Glamorgan Farm was just over 12 feet. An old wives tale says that if you plant sunflowers amongst your crops, it not only guards against pests, but also brings good luck to the crop output.
4. That more of the general public bought local and understood why sometimes local food costs more, and supported the farmers anyway despite the higher costs. Fall 2008
5. That foot massages and chill martinis for farmers everywhere were covered under medicare.
A Farmer’s “Get Stuffed” Squash
Slice the squash in half (at the equator) and take out the seeds. Put the squash face down in a baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, (or microwave) until getting tender but not quite cooked. Remove from oven. Turn over the squash, sprinkle the insides lightly with salt and fill each with some apple mixture. Put the dish back in the over and cook, uncovered for another 30 minutes or so until the apple bits are cooked. Remove from oven and for extra decadence, place a small dab of butter on top of each stuffed squash. Serves four and makes a great side dish for roast organic turkey. Recipe adapted from Donna Trenaman’s recipe in A Taste of Penticton, Penticton Centennial Cookbook Committee
2 small winter squash (acorn is good) 1 1/2 handfuls of chopped apples 1/2 handful of chopped celery 2 big spoonfuls of chopped nuts, (walnuts, pecans, etc.) 1 big spoonful of sugar 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Many farmers don't measure things out, they go by feeling, intuition, and common sense, and by eyeing it – don't let this method scare you off from trying this delicious side dish! Be a farmer in your own kitchen!
5. Alternatives to pesticides and herbicides: Pest Control for Crops: a.) Farmers will often create (or not remove) rock piles, as the warmth from the stones and protective tunnels within the piles make excellent snake habitats, and snakes keep the rodent population down. b.) Thousands of lady bugs are often used in green houses (sold in bulk) as an alternative to herbicides for aphid control. c.) Bats are encouraged to live in lofts and bat houses. The world's smallest mammal comes out at night and feeds on many insects which are harmful to crops, such as ants, which can kill a fruit tree in one season.
3. That more agri-tourism ventures were supported and understood by the general public and neighbours of farms, and that the opposed understood that agri-tourism may be a viable way for the farmer to supplement his/her income in a bad farming year (while still maintaining the farmland for production).
4. Most farmers do not eat edible flowers but sell them to restaurants who in turn charge $20 bucks for a plate of two nasturtiums, one evening primrose and a JohnnyJump-Up. Here on Glamorgan Farm however, the delicate pale blue borage flower is floated in the occasional martini or gin and tonic after a hard day of haying. (Borage in one's bath by the way, makes an excellent skin tonic to aid in skin irritations, from haying for example, and the flowers also attract bees needed for crop pollination).
2. That the agricultural business was not so often regulated with policy and by-laws created by non-farmers. We KNOW not to put our outhouse next to the well, we don't need a bureaucrat in a suit (who no doubt has never sat in an outhouse) to tell us so. One of the saddest and most impractical new set of regulations has prompted the closure of many local abattoirs. Local egg inspections will be next, and jams and jellies are already under scrutiny. An overly regulated society (including sub-division) will simply lose its country ambience and force farmers young and old to seek out other employment, thus spelling the end to the small time, local farmer and rural community, but then, perhaps that is actually the goal of pro-development politicians and developers.
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Amazing tales of the South Okana -- some true, some just because they’re a panic. what the excitement is al
eccentric fruit stands of the similkameen valley
Visitors to the Okanagan can find roadside produce stands large and small, commercial or familyowned, up and down the length of the Valley. However, the best ones, both for selection, quality and character, tend to be located in and around the main highway running through the towns of Cawston and Keremeos --the heart of organic farm country -- making the choice of whether to make the trip to Vancouver on either the more northerly Coquihalla Highway or via the Similkameen to the Hope-Princeton, a snap decision. Here’s three of our favourite stands:
Parson’s Fruit Stand
Dutch Mill Fruit and Imports
The Mariposa Orchards fruit stand greets you at the west entrance to Keremeos with an almost volcanic eruption of pumpkins and colourful winter squash in every shape, hue and size imaginable. When asked how many varieties of squash the stand sells, the owner just shook his head. "I couldn't imagine trying to count them" he said. "But there would have to be over 30 different kinds." Around the corner at the front of the stand it's pretty much the same scenario for newly harvested apples. Apples in bins and apples in baskets, everywhere you look -- in shades of red, yellow, green, pink, apricot, and all the striped and speckled variations in between. You’ll find at least 25 varieties of heritage apples, and also several types of pears. Parson’s Fruit Stand is a kind of Similkameen Valley institution. Not just for the fruit, produce and other items it sells, but also for the colourful yard show it offers every autumn. Parson’s rescues rusting tractors, farm trucks and other large pieces of antique farm equipment from fields and barns all over the Valley, and puts them on display beside the stand, adorned in every nook and cranny with vibrant orange pumpkins (of all proportions) which glow against the brown metal like headlamps. Look inside the store and you will find a beaut of an ancient wood-burning stove, also decorated, only in this case with jars of locally made condiments. Parson’s is also one of the few places where you can find Crowsnest Bakery products.
Dutch Mill Fruit and Imports, just a little ways down the road, is a place that is more Dutch than the Netherlands. At least that’s what European tourists tell the proprietor. Inside the large roadside stand he stocks all sorts of Dutch made ware including Delft blue china, linens, wooden clogs, Christmas decorations, imported Gouda cheese, biscuits and canned fish. You will also find Indonesian spice mixes and staples, plus many other kinds of imported grocery items. Much of which, the Dutch visitors say, is now difficult to find even in Amsterdam. We always stop for the licorice - real licorice - in every novelty shape you could conveive of: flowers, animals, shoes, hats, stars, ropes. A good chew on any of that, plus the valley’s new red wine, will keep your teeth black for the long term.
the house that swallowed okanagan lake This summer a millionaire (whose name we won’t reveal except to say that it sounds like a yell), who had bought himself a winery (with a name that sounds like a clump of trees), also decided to build a monster house for himself and his family on a small strip of beach at the foot of a 90-degree cliff in Naramata. That in itself is not so unusual these days, except rumours of the cost of the driveway that had to be carved from the rock hillside in order to access the building site rivaled the budget for the Sea to Sky highway improvements. Apparently it wasn’t such a big deal to install a straight road that a four-wheel drive could negotiate, but the township insisted on several switchbacks that would be able to accommodate stretch ambulances and a full size fire engine ... and they ran their vehicles up and down the thing to make sure it did. The end result was a driveway many times longer than originally estimated with a final cost of between $150,000 to $250,000, depending on whose version you care to believe. Now for the bathrooms ...
Revised pages 24-29
t is all about now
wineries of the Golden Mile you may not know yet... ...unless you happed to be wine scribe John Schreiner, that is. The Golden Mile (the region west of highway 97, south of Oliver and north of Osoyoos) is famous for such wineries as Hester Creek, Tinhorn Creek, Gehringher Brothers, Fairview, Domaine Combret and Inniskillin. However, tucked around and between them are four emerging wineries that up until now have been lying below the radar. In the next few years however, you could be hearing a lot more about them.
The first has recently grabbed the attention of wine watchers thanks to a major new branding campaign and the switch to a new name. What was once Golden Mile Cellars is now Road 13 Vineyards. Owners Pam and Mick Luckhurst made the change in order to highlight the new direction they are taking with the winery, one that will put the emphasis on terroir-driven wines. And to zing two birds with one stone (something every Golden Mile vineyard manager literally wishes he could do), the move also permitted the term "Golden Mile" to return to the general domain as a geographic indicator for the region. At present, winemaker Michael Bartier is presenting Road 13 Vineyards wines in three distinct tiers: a red blend and a white blend called "Honest John's" (after John Oliver who was BC premier from 1918 to 1927), a varietal series of red and white wines under the "Road 13" classification, and a premium tier of small lots and blends under the designation "Jackpot" (which refers to the area's historical connection to B.C's gold mining era). The adoption of the tractor symbol (see above) must be lucky for the winery, it not only is better suited to owner Mick Luckhurt’s rough and ready personality, it’s now adorning bottles that won three gold medals at the recent Okanagan Fall Wine Festival: the 2006 Merlot, the 2007 Chenin Blanc and the 2006 Fifth Element. 13140 316A Ave, Road 13 RR1 S-28A C10, Oliver, 250-498-8330.
earthlings, we come in peace,
we just don’t like each other.
Quick. Answer this question: The Okanagan is well-known in certain international circles, for what product? Wine? Bzzzzzzzz. Wrong! Fruit? Still wrong, but closer. Nuts? Bingo! You win. Yep, the Okanagan, particularly an area just south of the city of Kelowna, has been well documented as one of the areas of the world where there have been a disproportionally large amount of reported UFO sightings. Hey, who knew? Some of this stuff truly is outlandish -- the most bizarre being eye witness accounts of a Star Wars-like battle on July 2, 2007 between two different space craft, one cigar-shaped, the other a more iconic, saucer-like object. According to the story, the saucer scored a bullseye hit on the cigar, which then plunged into Okanagan Lake with tails of fire streaming out behind it -imagine how that must have scared the poop out of the Ogopogo -- only to rocket back out of the lake a few minutes later, and streak into the sky in pursuit of its opponent. Another story recalls the testimony of two women who claim to have been abducted by aliens and taken into a space ship one night while they were driving along the Black Sage Road. Come to think of it. This might be connected to the wine drinking business after all ... or maybe it has something to do with our indigenous wild mushroom crop.
Almost next door is a winery presided over by Vancouver businessman, Bruce Fuller, a former vice-president of the Jimmy Pattison Group (see photo, below left). At present, Fuller is mulling over a working title of “Rustico Farm” for his wine label in order to reflect the historical connections of the vineyard land to the pioneering era of mining, land clearing and ground crop raising that existed in the Golden Mile long before it became famous as orchard and vineyard country. Perhaps the best example of these times gone by, is the large log cabin on the property that stands against the foot of the hills, facing the vineyards. It was originally a bunkhouse for workers at the mine in Hedley. Learning that it was about to be demolished, it was rescued by the vineyard’s previous owner, who had it taken apart log by log and then reassembled at its new location. The cabin is a good fit for Mr. Fuller who enjoys riding horses, collecting antique guns, saddles and other western memoribilia and whose romantic nature revels in the “Wild West” look. As a “virtual winery owner”, Fuller previously produced two wines under the D’Asolo label, using grapes from other vineyards and the facilities of a host winery. But that should change with the completion an on-site winery and utilization of the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Riesling grapes that are currently growing at “Rustico”. www.rusticowinery.com/ .... continued on page 29
Willow Hill Vineyards
Revised pages 24-29
local flavour reading for book nerds
Thanks to wine labels, we all know that owls burrow, quails run, hawks hunt, and eagles scream. Indeed, so frequently do wineries associate themselves with their feathered friends, that until one of them is honest enough to label itself “Starlings Gorge” we must take their word for it that a winemaker’s feelings in regard to his bird neighbours is purely that of poetic appreciation. There is plenty of that sentiment in Richard Canning’s small book, An Enchantment of Birds. (Greystone Books, 2007). Canning, a consulting biologist who lives in Naramata, and who is a Professor of Field Ecology at the University of British Columbia, has had a lifelong fascination with the many varieties of birds that populate the Okanagan Valley. Not the least of them, the meadowlark, whose song he calls “the anthem of the grasslands ... as much a part of the Interior as the smell of sagebrush after a thunderstorm, or the colour of the evening sky above the black mountains in the summer twilight.” These songsters are so well camoflaged when nesting directly on the ground that Canning has actually only seen two in his lifetime, and one of those only when he accidentally stepped on it. Of course, thanks to the decline of natural grasslands and the diversion of waterways in North America for farm irrigation, few of us can even hope to make that much of an acquaintanceship. Canning does his best to fill any gaps in our education. Despite the book’s sponsorship by the David Suzuki Foundation, the author goes light on any green-chirping and instead puts the focus on the behavioural quirks and charms of some 30 different avian species common to the south areas of British Columbia. Hence we learn that saw-whet owls are part-time bigamists, and occasionally trigamists, and that the tiny calliope hummingbird weighs the same as five extra-strength aspirins. Cannings anecdotes and scientific observations reveals such affection for his subjects, it is difficult to determine which among them is his favourite. Except, no surprise, for the most ubiquitous bird of all. As it is in the wine industry, the subject of the European Starling is best left unmentioned.
We unearthed this paperback book from a remainders bin in a Penticton second hand bookstore, where it had dropped from the tree of knowledge like a fermenting windfall apple. That seemed an odd place to find it at first because the premise of Out of the Interior: The Lost Country (Cacanadadada, 1993) -- the author’s reminiscences of a childhood growing up in the orchard country of the Similkimeen Valley -- would seem like the sort of literature one might find grafted to any local gift shop cash register. Or maybe not. Reading further it becomes apparent that much of the memories it contains are not exactly as postcard picturesque as say, the Penticton Peach. Over all, the book has a strange duality. Harold Rhenisch is a poet, and that’s obvious. (His short essays have an over embellished rhythm to them, especially in their closing paragraphs.) Yet his tributes are anything but romantic. As a poet would, he mentions the word “light” on nearly every page, yet the pictures he paints are as black as a backcountry road at midnight. Between the descriptions of apple blossoms and crystalline air, we hear brooding tales of his German immigrant family’s struggle to survive financially among the brutal realities of farming during the ‘50s: his father’s haunted obsession with a past spent in Nazi youth organizations; his mother’s impoverished childhood; the backbreaking, never ending cycle of farm labour; the cruelty of Mother Nature, the dispatch of farmstock at its most clinically practical. Truly none of it is a tourism marketing department’s dream. But worst of all, given our modern sensibilities about such things, may be Rhenisch’s shockingly frank tales of the amount of pesticides that were once commonly used in the fruit industry. In one chapter he talks about hand spraying orchards with Paraquat (a dioxin-contaminated base for Agent Orange) until the trees streamed with white rain for five minutes afterwards, and of farmers who fed their sheep 2 lbs of DDT a day as a cheap and effective medicine for worming. As more and more old orchards are cleared for grapevines, it gives one pause to imagine how many chemicals from that era may still be saturated in the soil. Yet despite the dark side, there is humour and tremendous amount of sensitivity within the lines as well. Rhenisch’s magicrealist style blends local history, lore, and artifact to create a fascinating and compelling picture of an Okanagan orchard, even though he can’t resist digging up all the skeletons that are buried within it.
If the some of the talk above left a bad taste in your mouth. Here’s the antidote. A Taste of Penticton, is the hottest seller in the Okanagan town since peach pits were rumoured to contain the original Viagra. A centennial project of the employees of the Penticton Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance Office, with a little financial help from the local credit union, the book sold out of its print run (400 copies) in a smoking 3 1/2 weeks. Undoubtedly after that kind of success, reprints will be on the agenda. A collection of memories and recipes from local residents, some of them passed down through several generations, the recipes in particular were chosen because they were “wholesome and fairly economical to prepare”. Need the recipe for Sister Acie’s Salad, Shwartzie’s Potatoes, or Lois’s Double Chocolate Chip Cake? You got it. Or how about some Pork Chops Cooked in Beer with Galumpkis (cabbage rolls), or Double Crunch Bumbleberry Crisp? The Fruity Jello Ice Cream Whip alone could make us fairly wiggle with nostalgia. Well, all that is just good kitchen fun, but there’s an even pleasanter romp in store via the memory sections of the local “pioneers” who say such things as: “We thought all children were permitted to roller skate in [their home’s] complete circle of halls upstairs ... or have their lunch put in a basket and wheeled on a clothesline from the kitchen up to their treehouse.” ...“We moved to Penticton because the advertising brochure said it had more sun than Los Angeles.”... “This recipe is also known as that Weird Wheat Thing”...“The buildings on Front Street were originally built on skids so they could be moved around by a team of horses.” Ah, such a deal for only $10, and you can cook with satisfaction knowing the money went to assist the Food Bank of Penticton. To order your copy, log on to: www.penticton.ca/centennial/centennialcookbook.htm
Cabana Bar and Grille 3799 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna. 250-763-1955. cabanagrille.com The secret: Currently the hottest cougar bar in Kelowna.
Restaurant 764 4600 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna. 250-764-7645. The secret: Chef Mark Filatow is moonlighting on himself
with this one. He also has the Waterfront Wines & Bistro.
Fresco 1560 Water Street, Kelowna. 250-868-8805. frescorestaurant.net The secret: Everyone’s first love in the Okanagan. Fans still
harbour a mad crush on either Chef Rod Butters, his wife and partner Audrey Surrao, or both.
Someone needs to set these kids up in a restaurant. That way we could access their truly excellent cooking all year round, instead of just in the summer season when Dana Ewart and Cam Smith of Joy Road Catering present their Sunday communal style dinners, or Thursday winemaker dinners at God’s Mountain Estate. What we may miss most throughout the winter is Joy Road’s stand at the Penticton Farmers Market, from where they dispense the most amazing fruit tarts (300 to 400 of them a day) in seasonal fruit flavours of apple, plum, peach, apricot and strawberry. We can’t believe that they would part with the recipe but here it is. (Pictured above is their popular apricot version.) Dana and Cam’s Peach Galettes Pastry: 2 cups all-purpose flour (make some of that hazelnut flour if you can find it.) 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 1/4 cup salted butter 3 to 4 Tbsps ice water Filling: 1/4 cup sugar 1 Tbsp flour 4 large ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch slices 1 Tbsp lemon juice Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, salt, sugar and butter in a food processor, or cut the butter into the dry ingredients with two knives until the lumps are the size of peas. Add in just enough water to bring the dough together, then with your hands, form the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill it for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 4 pieces and roll out each onto a floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. (Each round will be approximately 7 inches in diameter. In a bowl, combine the sugar and flour for the filling. Add the peaches and lemon juice and toss well to coat. Set aside. Place dough circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pile peach mixture in the centre of each round, leaving a 3/4-inch border free around the outside edge. Loosely crimp pastry so that you have an edge that stands up about 3/4 of an inch all around the peach filling. Then fold the pastry edge back towards the centre to partially enclose the peaches. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and juices are bubbling. Makes 4 galettes
Revised pages 24-29
Where the local sophisticates are eating now These places are all new, hip, happening, and have it all: good food, good ambience, good times. We have their number ... and also their shameless secret that only the locals know. Bibo 8316 Main Street, Osoyoos. 250-495-6686. The secret: Eatery of choice if you are conducting an affair with a
local. The place is so dark no one will recognize either of you.
Victoria Road Deli & Bistro 13615 Victoria Road North, Summerland. 250-583-9343. The secret: Bring a big doggie bag. At Roger Gillespie’s new
place the homemade corned beef and duck ham rocks.
Amante Bistro: 493 Main St., Penticton. 250-493-1961. The secret: So chic it’s making all its sister restaurants in
Penticton feel old, dowdy, and past their best buy date.
And where they won’t tell you they eat but they do
That old saying “On the Island of Women Only, the inhabitants are all fat, happy and comfortably dressed” makes us think of Campo Marina. Voted the most popular restaurant in the Okanagan, the 14-year-old Osoyoos institution, sometimes nicknamed “the House of Sloppy Carbs”, serves up a large menu of mostly pasta dishes -- all served under a blanket of rich tomato sauce and cheese. Everyone is wearing their jeans. Everyone leaves looking fantastically happy. And unlike some of the trendier places nearby, it’s always, always packed. 5907 Main Street, Osoyoos. 250-495-7650.
...continued on page 29
Osoyoos Delights Bakery
il Vecchio Deli
We had heard rumors that the tiny eclectic Osoyoos Delights bakery run by a Chinese family in Osoyoos made good dim sum - and sure enough it did. In fact the menu is posted next to the register beside the bags of flax
8323 Main St., Osoyoos, B.C. 250-495-2899.
Nickle Plate Cafe
9418 Hwy 97, Osoyoos, B.C. 250-495-5555
bread, plates of rice crispie squares and jars of royal bee jelly. We expected a microwaved meal, but instead got a steamed selection of dim sum classics in a charming bamboo basket. And while it may not have been responsible for the cafe’s self-proclaimed “international flare”, it was satisfyingly tasty. Most locales however hang at the cafe for their made to order breakfasts that begin at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays. Sign by the cash register: Drink coffee. Do Stupid things faster!
521 7th Aver., Keremeos, B.C. 250-499-5474
Hwy 3, Henley, B.C. 250-292-8335.
Platters Restaurant is a drive-in tucked just off Highway 97, right before you get to the Husky Gas Station at the main streetlight in Osoyoos. They specialize in hamburgers. In fact, that’s all they sell, but they are decent and generously proportioned burgers. Especially the bison variety. We’d say the atmosphere is kind of hunting lodge crossed with trailer park, the kind of place Sarah Palin might find familiar with its animal heads and paint by numbers landscapes adorning the walls. No doubt the stop is legendary with long-haul truckers because nearly everyone who comes in, pushes his baseball cap further back on his forehead and asks the distance to the US border. Upon which, the young server answers as politely as if she has just heard that question for the very first time. Sign by the cash register: “It’s three miles south to the US border.”
Stumble in to Keremeos’ K-Cafe on a Sunday morning and you’ll feel like a lost heifer in the middle of the Cowboy Breakfast Roundup. By eight in the morning the place is already crammed with weathered looking gents (all of whom look like Mick Luckhurst) who have tethered their horses or tractors and come into the cafe to chat and chew a spell. Shouts of “Hey Earl”, “Hey Walter” greet each new arrival at the door. They all appear to know each other, and the kindly waitresses (the sort that call you “hon” even though they are the same age as you are) know all of them. Other than the waitstaff, it’s a boy’s world at that hour and if the odd woman is a member of the club she tends to look like Mrs. Dog the bounty hunter. Inside, the place looks more diner than restaurant with its aqua-coloured linoleum tables, metal chairs, amateur landscape paintings on the wall, philodendron plants and gumball machines parked by the door. And the food? Well, let’s say it’s not yuppie enough for you expect real maple syrup for your pancakes, but the coffee that is poured from the Pyrex pitchers is truly endless, and so is the warmth and character of the place. So leave your hounds in the pickup, poke your thumbs through your suspender loops and head on in. Sign above the cash register: “Hello Cowboy. Home Cooking without the Cook”
Don’t roar though the old mining town of Hedley, hell bent for Penticton. Stop just before the south exit to have a coffee and a slice of pie from the Nickel Plate Cafe. Joining you at the counter or at one of the flower-fabric covered tables is sure to be members of what a young friend of ours affectionally terms the “cottonhead generation”, the retired Shirleys and Lloyds rambling through town in their monster RVs, or maybe a trucker pit stopping for a grilled cheese and a coke. (During our last visit it was a large family all wearing identical bumble bee striped shirts.) The waitress with her green nail polish and Hedley Fire Department t-shirt will give you her best “why on earth would you want to eat that” look no matter what you order, but the cafe’s claim to fame is that you can build your own burger or omelet to order. At the Nickel Plate, decor goes as far as the industrial indoor/outdoor carpeting, and the plastic tumblers look well tumbled. However, they do display the electric fly swatters they sell prominently on the wall as if they were art objects. Which is actually very post modern of them. Sign posted above the cash register: “Be kind to the cook, he’s stuck in this place.”
The success of the Canadian TV comedy “Corner Gas” has to be due to the fact that there’s a Corner Gas in every Canadian town. (Our favourite episode was the one where the RCMP constable accidentally tazers himself while showing off in front of the coffee shop’s new security camera.) It’s one of those insider jokes that just makes you feel more Canadian when you know you “get it”. The Okanagan too has no lack of oddball local eateries, and here’s a list of few of our favourites, still holding their own against the mine sweep of Tim Horton’s out of a sheer determined quirkyness that we think ought to be rewarded with their own TV pilot. How frozen in time are these places? Well, among them, only Cantaloupe Annie’s has even a primative website.
Revised pages 24-29
best crumbs Baguette and Brioche Viennoiserie French Artisan Bread Shop 36080 97th St., Oliver, B.C. 250-487-0432
rolling out the barrels Okanagan Barrel Works has brought back the centuries old craft of barrel making, and it has the distinction of being the only commercial cooperage in Canada at present to do so. Cal Craik, vice president and general manager, says the whole venture “just kind of evolved”. He had moved to Oliver in 1996 where he did general woodworking and the closest he got to the wineries was making wood boxes for them. One day Craik was talking to a neighbour and the point came up that “here we are in the middle of the wine business and nobody in BC is making barrels, or repairing barrels, or even living here and selling barrels,” he recalls. Now Craik and his staff of four fulfill all of those tasks. Craik learned as he went along how to make an oak barrel from start to finish. “It was interesting,” he says, “Up until then I'd never even put my hands on a barrel.” So he got some old wood barrels and figured out how to take them apart and put them back together. “And taught myself pretty much what I needed to know” he notes. “It's fascinating stuff. It's the ultimate in woodworking and joinery. There's no adhesives, there's no fasteners, there's no nothing holding the barrel together other than these hoops.” Each oak barrel is handmade using quality knot-free oak staves (strips) from France or the U.S. that have been seasoned, toasted and heated to curve into shape and enclosed snugly in iron rings. Last year, Craik brought in Master Cooper Eric Fourthon of France to join his team and teach them all of the finer points and intricacies of this ancient craft. “I don't know a fraction of what Eric can do,” concedes Craik. Okanagan Barrel Works has gone from production of less than 500 barrels their first year in 2001 to 1,500 a year now. He estimates about 85 percent of the bigger barrels are sold locally, with other orders coming in from as close as the U.S. as far away as Australia. ” We'll send them anywhere,” he notes. And Craik expects the wine barrel market to only get bigger. He says they could easily produce up to 3,000 barrels a yearˇand more. And Okanagan Barrel Works doesn't stop at making barrels. Craik and his team also produce oak wine tanks, and as as far as Craik knows they are the only ones producing those as well. “We have a 6,000 litre tank up at Road 13 Vineyards. Craik and his crew at Okanagan Barrel Works feel they are definitely part of the winemaking process locally. “We know the winemakers, we know the wineries,” he says. “It's just all being part of the community.” -- article by Andrea Dujardin-Flexhaug Okanagan Wine Barrels 340th Ave., Oliver, B.C. , 250-498-3718,
It’s a cool, drizzly morning in the South Okanagan and the best reason to get out of bed is the realization that if you don’t hustle down to the Baguette and Brioche in Oliver before noon, you'll find them sold out of their fresh-baked French bread – and then you will be a sorry chicken indeed. The Baguette and Brioche Viennoiserie is one of those places that when you walk through the threshold, the first thought that enters your mind is: “what is a place like this doing in a town like Oliver?” Paris, mais oui. Montreal, of course. Even Vancouver's Yaletown would be a more likely location. But Oliver? Proprietor Danielle Favreau, born into a Quebecois family with ten children, and trained as a baker in Montreal and Europe, just laughs. “Well, you see”, she explains. “We love the small town atmosphere here. My husband Michel Banville and I had been coming to the Okanagan from Quebec to spend our summer vacations over the past ten years. “But it wasn’t just because we liked the area that we decided to move here and establish a business in 2007. We did our research and we discovered that there was nothing like our kind of bakery already here. Between Kelowna and Osoyoos – nobody was making fresh baguettes. And make them fresh she does, from pure and simple ingredients of flour, water, salt and fresh yeast. Favreau is one of those old-fashioned bakers who gets up at 3 a.m. to prepare and bake the dough for her traditional French baguettes, along with numerous other items such as the seasonal
fruit tarts (see the nectarine version left); croissants of course, in plain, almond or chocolate; mini loaves stuffed with spinach and goat cheese; a Mediterraneanstyle of pizza (with a thin crust and cut square from the pan); brioche of all descriptions; and baguette sandwiches filled with brie or local cheeses. Go in for a bowl of latte and a “little something to peck on” and decisions will be difficult. Right now the shop with its brightly painted walls of robin’s egg blue and lime green, is closet-size tiny. The wares are on display in the window, the little open kitchen is in the back, and in between, the couple have managed to fit two or three petite tables for customers to stop and eat. But considering how demand for their products is heating up, will they expand? The couple are rumoured to be checking out new venues. “It is a little crowded in the kitchen when Michel is making the breakfasts and I am baking,” says Favreau. “But for now, we like it small. We like the daily contact with our regular customers. After all, that’s why we chose this place and not the big city.”
The Bakery at Crowsnest Vineyards 2035 Surprise Rd., Cawston, B.C. 250-499-5129
The sourdough rye, Parmesan oregano, roasted garlic and other varieties of loaves from this small bakery are finding a growing local fan base in the Okanagan, but one has to know where to find them. Either at the winery (see address above), at the Saturday Penticton Market, Parsons Fruit Stand in Keremeos, or from a mobile van in Keremeos on Friday mornings. The hunt should get easier once the Crowsnest makes its move to a permanent retail store on Keremeos’ Main Street. Pastries will be added to the repertoire.
hot off the press Looking for a fun, economical way to pass the time? Look no further than one of the small newspapers that services the local communities of Oliver, Osoyoos and Keremeos. Far from being boring, small mundane town issues and folksy key areas of interest are seldom so poignantly captured, nor so ironically entertaining. Start with the front pages and beyond gloomy crop price forecasts you’ll learn that Friday’s dinner special at the Legion is “all the ham and scalloped potatoes you can eat for $7”; that when Laura (who graduated with honours this year from UBC) is not camping, canoeing or snowboarding, she’s keeping her distances from moose and bear; that you can smile with confidence throughout the holidays because the local company specializing in denture relining is having a sale; that Copper who is missing, will respond to the command “Copper Come!”; and that Oliver’s “Smile of the Week” Ed Grubisic, the oldest working, long-haul cattle transporter (also known as the “Highway Hugger”) not only plans to keep working at the job he loves ‘till the second he kicks the bucket, he’s also determined to hug as many women as he can before he does.” And it’s not just the editorial that makes you read twice, the ads also command attention. Such as the one with a headline that shouts:“Kristen is Back in Town!!!” No need to lock up your farm boys on that one. Kristen turns out to the town’s most popular if prodigal hairdresser. Meanwhile, in a bitchin’ Letters to the Editor section in back, the
full drama of the new Okanagan intersecting with the old, plays itself out in public... as progressive/hog-greedy real estate developers and the people they are going to buy land from, duke it out with a vigilant/ fossilizedtown council. And we’re not even yet getting to opinions regarding the municipal elections candidates. Such drama and passion you little expected. All in all, your 75 cents will never be so well spent.
Revised pages 24-29
....continued from page 25
Willow Hill Vineyards is producing the only red Merlot Icewine that we know of in the Okanagan. In fact, it happens to be the only wine that the small boutique winery is producing commercially at all. Named after the large willow tree that dominates the top of the knoll where the winery’s five acres of Merlot are located (on the road leading up to Hester Creek), the winery is the home of owners who are also employed full time by other winery institutions. Patricia Venables works for a government agency which licenses new wineries, While Lanny Swanky (a Kenny Rogers lookalike) is a manager for Vincor. The Willow Hill winery is their own personal project and something they can be very proud of as their Merlot Icewine with its vintage Port-like colouring and nose is delicious -- brimming with complex, candy apple/toffee fruit flavours and a spicy aftertaste, yet without any accompanying cloying sweetness. For the winelover, the challenge may be just to find some. Right now the entire stock is presold to restaurants (particularly in Richmond), although we
have seen some bottles in VQA stores. Try the Penticton branch. 12326 Avenue, Oliver, B.C. 250-498-6198. Last but not least is a winery that is so new, it has yet to even settle on a name. But keep your eye on that landmark blue shed alongside Highway 97 beneath the Geringher Bros Winery (see photo page 25). What was once the Myriah Apple Orchards, is now under the ownership and management of new partners from Vancouver who have planted Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier grapes, and who are also eyeing an additional parcel of land to grow either Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon as a blending grape. The 10,000 acres of vineyards were planted in Spring 2008 but doing so well there may be some wine in the barrel as early as the harvest of 2008. As for that shed, come spring it is due to be repainted to another less conspicuous colour .... and it may even be the venue for a major valley industry party in 2009. When we know, you’ll know.
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317 Robinson Street, Penticton, B.C. 250-492-7610.
Do like the knowlegeable foodies of Penticton do and after a stroll through the Penticton Saturday Farmers Market, jam into Il Vecchio Italian Deli for one of their fabulous 2-, 3-, or 4-meat sandwiches. The line of aproned teenage girls behind the counter look less than thrilled to have to make you one, but nevertheless they do a good job, stacking your choice of cheese and sliced deli meats onto a kaiser bun, spooning on lettuce and veg, and then diapering the whole thing in a sheet of brown butcher paper. It’s the hot pickled vegetables they slap on top of the mustard and mayo before they lid lock the bun that makes the deal. There’s couple of tables where you may eat inside and on the window sill, a stack of crinkly, sunbleached Western Livings from 1998 to provide further occupation. Afterwards, if you are not feeling as stuffed as the sandwich you just ate, try the homemade tiramasu. Sign by the cash register: Never been close enough to read it.
Despite its quaint name, Cantaloupe Annie’s Wine Country Deli and Tea Room in Oliver doesn’t strike one as particularly eccentric until you visit the restroom, and then you feel like Alice dropping down the rabbit hole -- there are tea memorabilia and posters everywhere. In fact, it has to be the first lavatory we’ve ever been in that had a full china tea service on display. Otherwise the cafe/deli is a chintz-covered delight serving lunch, breakfast and dinner on tables that look
34845 97th St., (Main St.), Oliver, B.C. 250-498-2955. www.cantaloupannies.com
36094 -97th St. (Main St.), Oliver, B.C. 250-498-0872.
like they belong at an outdoor garden party. By the way, Cantaloupe Annie was actually the nickname of the steam train that once transported the area’s melon crop to market during the tender years of Oliver’s infancy. Sign by the cash register: The cafe’s list of sandwiches.
One of Oliver's best restaurants is a little hole in the wall Indian restaurant called appropriately, Best of India. It’s a modest little establishment with early-tobed farmer’s hours, a fashion bazaar sense of decor (they have pinned gauzy saris on the wall for a little colour), and excellent cooking. Which is not surprising when take into account how many families of Indian origin inhabit the south Valley. The place gets really busy between 5 and 7 p.m. every night, especially on weekends, thanks to its location directly across from Oliver’s one and only movie theatre. A truly decadent way to enjoy the fare is to try it the way we did - in a big bag of curry-aromatic takeout brought back to eat in the suite of our swanky $450 a night hotel room. Sign by the cash register: Have you tried our Indian sweets?
Sunshine Coast Dining Report
Vi c t o r i a Update
by Janet Collins
by Shelora Sheldan
One of the joys of spending time on the Sunshine Coast is having so many opportunities to taste the best of the coastal lifestyle. Kayaking, diving, and sailing opportunities abound. And few things beat a picnic on the rocks overlooking the dramatic waters of Shookumchuck Narrows or the calmer currents of Sechelt Inlet as viewed from the forested shores of Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. But as fall and winter brings it’s cooler and wetter weather, along with it comes the need to to retreat to more sheltered, indoor venues in which to to eat “out”. Luckily the sheltered coastal communities along Georgia Strait and Porpoise Bay also provide a scenic setting for some of the Sunshine Coast's best dining opportunities. The recently opened Restaurant at Painted Boat in Pender Harbour forms a case in point. The Painted Boat resort is setting a new standard for recreational communities along the Sunshine Coast. In addition to serving up a unique range of amenities including a 60-slip deep-water marina and five-star resort spa, the 31 condo-style units on the property are available to a wide range of potential purchasers through sales of fractional (1/4 share) ownership - a new purchasing option on the Coast. But the draw for local foodies and investors alike is doubtless The Restaurant at Painted Boat. Everything about The Restaurant is clean and fresh. The décor is simple and straightforward. “We didn't need adornment inside,” says Dana Brash, Mobius Architecture's interior design expert. “We 'invited' the environment inside through the use of complimentary colours and materials.” As a result, natural elements such as wood and stone dominate the materials palette. Nowhere is that more apparent than on warm days when dining on the outside deck overlooking the marina and the surrounding waters of Pender Harbour is an option. The décor echoes Executive Chef David Cox's vibrant yet unpretentious menu. While working at Calgary's Muse Restaurant and Lounge, and Divino Wine and Cheese Bistro, Cox honed his skills to create what he called “a distinctive Rocky Mountain style. I was trained in French cooking techniques,” Cox continues, “but I lighten things. I don't use as much butter as in traditional French cuisine and I use the freshest of local ingredients to create something nutritious and uniquely flavourful.” At Painted Boat, local organic ingredients (many farmed or grown wildly on the Sunshine Coast) are sourced whenever possible and cooked in a simple, straightforward manner. As a result, the subtle flavour of halibut, served with locally grown tomato/ cucumber salad and coriander relish, is accentuated by the condiments rather than smothered by it. Similarly, in the gem lettuce salad, it is actually possible to distinguish the flavour of the spring peas from the Salt Spring Island chevre that surrounds them. Personally, I'm willing to attempt making a meal out of the verbena and thyme crème brulee. The Restaurant at Painted Boat is owned and operated by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR), a Calgary-based company that boasts three mountain lodges, four restaurants, a wine boutique, a bakery, and a game farm. So it should come as no surprise that CRMR executive chef Alistair Barnes helped Cox develop a menu that includes bison burgers along with the beef tenderloin, roast chicken Provencal and various fish and seafood offerings.
Restaurant manager Ryan Schmidt notes that CRMR's beverage experience will also be in evidence at Painted Boat. Wine Spectator magazine has acknowledged CRMR's four Calgary restaurants with an impressive 22 awards. “At Painted Boat, we'll have a concentration of BC wines,” says Schmidt, “but we'll also pull from [CRMR sommelier] Brad Royale's list as well.” The Restaurant at Painted Boat is open for lunch and dinner only. 1-604-883-2456. www.paintedboat.com/sunshine-coast.html Of course, one restaurant does not a culinary destination make and there are other options worth investigating. The Rockwater Secret Cove Resort has also added to the Coast's dining cache with the arrival of chef Steven Ewing, who recently served as interim chef at Vancouver's Raincity Grill, and who has also done stints at the world-renowned French Laundry in Napa Valley. The cauliflower puree soup with white truffle oil is among my favourite of his dishes as is the applewood smoked pork tenderloin. For weekend dining, the Rockwater's brunch menu has acquired the big local following. 5356 Ole’s Cove Rd., Halfmoon Bay. 1-604-885-7038. www.rockwatersecretcoveresort.com/ Those lamenting the loss of the old Wakefield Inn can satisfy their bi-valve cravings at Smitty's Oyster House in Gibsons. Located at dock level next to the landmark Molly's Reach, Smitty's serves up all things seafood. Best seat in the house? In summer it’s the massive dock-side picnic table for lunch, dinner and pub grub along the likes of DIY fish tacos, clam burgers, crab ravioli, chowder and more. Barbeque fans will also find plenty that appeals, including my faves Thai-marinated halibut grilled in a banana leaf or the BBQ Oyster Combo. 643 School Road Wharf,Gibsons. 604-886-4665. www.smittysoysterhouse.com As for beverage offerings, the Sunshine Coast has its share of notable watering hole destinations, too. Haus Uropa is one destination wine lovers will want to take in. Located across the road from the Gibsons Marina, this restaurant's wine list has garnered a bronze award from the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival for the third consecutive year. Taking part in one of the restaurant's tastings is a great way to explore the list - and learn about the wines. 426 Gower Point Road,Gibsons. 1-604-886832. www.hausuroparestaurant.com In other Sunshine Coast dining news: Bonniebrook Lodge will soon be opening the much anticipated Chasters dining lounge with a nice view of the waterfront. 1532 Ocean Beach Esplanade. Gibsons. www.booniebrook.com 1-877-290-9916 Former owners of the popular Old Boot Eatery in Sechelt have given Gibsons a taste of Italian, thanks to their newly opened Sita's Spag Shack. Best place to twirl spaghetti while taking in the views of Howe Sound. 546 Gibsons Way, Gibsons. 1-604-886-7721. www.sitas.ca Finally, last but not least, The Lighthouse Pub has expanded its indoor dining space in addition to an extension for its the popular waterfront deck. 5764 Wharf Road, Sechelt. 1-604-885-9494. While right next door, Magellan's Tapas on the Bay has also been given a face lift. 5764 Wharf Road, Sechelt. 1-604-740-0904.
Judging from the recent bout of industry changes and closures, even summer was a slow tourist season for Victoria. Almost overnight, Cafe Vieux Montreal on Government made their last smoked meat sandwich, while Verjus, who had made a valiant effort in a dismal Oak Bay location followed suit. Sanuk and brewpub Hugo’s flanking the Magnolia Hotel & Spa closed at the end of September, to partially make way for the hotel's spa. Although, it's business as usual at Paprika Bistro, owners George and Linda Szasz put their popular restaurant on the market, citing a desire to spend more time with family and concentrate on their small plates restaurant Stage. And winemaker and distiller Ken Winchester, responsible for the increasingly popular Victoria Gin, is no longer part of the business. Winchester Cellars and Victoria Gin is now in the hands of (former) business partners Bryan and Valerie Murray. Peter Hunt who worked still-side with Winchester is now the distiller. Plans for the much-anticipated single malt whiskey have been put on hold, and as of press time a new winemaker had yet to be announced. While some fall by the wayside, others are ready to pick up the torch. Pizzeria Prima Strada, a Napoli-style wood-fired pizzeria, is off to a promising start. Packed from the moment they opened their doors, the focal point of the cozy space in the Cook Street Village is the 850-degree oven where pizzaioli buzz around making pies, topping them with San Marzano tomatoes, Fairburn Farm buffalo mozzarella, and locally made sausages. The simple menu of six pizzas and four antipasti priced between $7 and $13, and a cheap and cheerful wine list of Southern Italian wines, makes value-driven Victorians very happy. 105-230 Cook St., 250-590-8595, www.pizzeriaprimastrada.com After a much-needed restaurant facelift, the Inn at Laurel Point revealed Aura. The glow is contemporary with floor-to-ceiling windows and patio that skirts the park-like setting with harbour views. Chef Brad Horen heads up the land and sea-based menu with Japanese flourishes such as the togarashi spiced beef salad. 680 Montreal St., 250-386-8721, www.laurelpoint.com Long time barista Ken Gordon has taken his fan base and Hines beans with him to his first caffeine-fueled venture, Level Street Espresso. 714 Fort St., 250-361-9927. Elizabeth Levinson and Carolyn Macey-Brown of Café Mela and Mela's Tearoom brought more vibrancy to the Humboldt Valley neighbourhood -- as high tea hostesses for Home Heist designer guys Colin and Justin -- and few lucky contest winners. Both men were suitably flamboyant and highly entertaining with Justin sporting an oversized corsage of hot pink orchards, heather, cedar, sword fern and salal. 796 Humboldt St., 250-382-7750. For those seeking more spiritual pursuits, Solomon Siegel opened Solomon's on Herald Street for serious time-honoured, shaken-and-stirred cocktails, and a small plates menu. 542 Herald St., 250-590-7656. www.solomons.ca Award-winning mixologist and Victoria Moxie's bar manager Shawn Soole has invented a new muddler. The Viva! Stick is sleek, functional and efficient - and food safe - with a two-inch wide waffle base that Soole says “can rip through any mojito, caipirinha or caipirioska in three muddles.” Only $10., www.theliquidrevolution.com. Spinnakers Spirit Merchants opened a James Bay location with an adjoining food and wine tasting bar called Sips. 425 Simcoe St., 250-590-3515 Bard & Banker is the latest from publican Matt MacNeil. The two-storey interior of the 1886 heritage building boasts a vaulted ceiling with ornate pillars accented with Victorian-era chandeliers and seating for over 320. Patrons can deposit themselves along the 16-metre long granite bar or in one of the cozy snug rooms for a pint from the 26 on tap. UK transplant chef Paul Roberts ex of Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck, Marco Pierre White's Criterion and a stage at Gordon Ramsey's Hospital Road, heads up the menu of elevated pub fare. Bangers and mash with parsley sauce and Tikka curry with homemade naan kicks nachos in the ass. 1022 Government St., 250-953-9993, www.bardandbanker.com Mid- Island - Urban Beet boldly opened in Nanaimo's big box neighbourhood offering fine food, with a stake in local and organic. Think risotto of the day, bacon-wrapped meatloaf and stilton cheesecake for dessert. 6595 Applecross Rd., 250-390-9722 Ladysmith-based chef Sara Redpath launched Sarandipity, her line of organic homemade chocolates - including a killer version of S'mores with homemade marshmallows. www.sarandipity.ca
Page 27 - Inside Back Cover
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