March | April 2020

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R E S TAU R A N T S | R E C I PE S | W I N E S | F O OD | C U LT U R E


21 Anniversary Issue ®

Smart. Local. Delicious.

Exceptional Eats!

Readers’ Choice Awards

DIY Bitters Celebrating 21 years at the forefront of local food and drink INDEPENDENT & ISLAND OWNED

MARCH | APRIL 2020 ISSUE 24-02

Vietnam’s Vibrant Street Food


Welcome AS I WRITE THIS, there's a whiff of spring in the air—another growing season is fast approaching and with it the beautiful abundance at the markets, farm stands, and stores. So many great new stories to tell, dishes to make, recipes to share, restaurant openings and new menus to discover. Some of our writers have been travelling and brought back their stories. Cinda Chavich was baking in Ireland, Julie Pegg toured Portugal and its wineries, and Shelora Sheldan attended a ten-course Asian feast on the Riviera Maya. Adrien Sala takes a look at a Zero Waste Kitchen in part one of a two-part series, and of course, we're talking restaurants in Reporter. Thank you to all who took the time to fill out the Exceptional Eats! Readers’ Choice Awards poll and survey. The EAT team is excited they're back. After much tabulating, and discussion about the entries (we are always surprised!), we’ve got your winners (page 36). P.S. Our photographers also had fun at the award photoshoots! CYNTHIA ANNETT-HYNES EDITOR

Cynthia Annett-Hynes



Stage is now open every Sunday evening from 5pm and offering a pre-set, coursed family-style dinner for $35 per

O r g a n i c

person (tax & tip not included). The menu changes weekly and will be posted on their website, where you can also book your table. A new Australian-inspired café serving breakfast, lunch and

Visit for more articles, recipes, news and events.

front at 849 Fisgard. Yumcha kombucha has a rotating flavour list including options such as Ginger Apple, Pineapple Goji Berry, Pomegranate Apple Rose and Strawberry Lavender. Yumcha is made with all natural, locally sourced ingredients.

Taj Taste of India, announcing its arrival as “Victoria’s first Bollywood themed restaurant,” has an planned early-spring opening at 852 Fort Street (formerly Spice Jammer). The winter months saw several restaurant closures. Artisan Café on Fort St closed permanently. The Livet said a fond farewell after eight years on Broughton. In Oak Bay, Sunday’s Child closed

i n g r e d i e n t s

Yumcha, a new artisan kombucha business, has opened a store-

D i n e r

at the corner of Cook and Fort Street.

c l a s s i c s

coffee, Bear & Joey is hard at work for their spring opening

(250) 590-6586

1900 Douglas street 3



its doors but was quickly replaced by

menu items and inspired dishes from

the second location of Ruth and Dean.

an abundant selection of restaurants,

Perhaps the most notable closure of the

lounges, pubs, cafes, specialty pur-

season was Cobble Hill’s Island Bakery,

veyors, and sip from a fine selection of

which closed after close to four decades

local and regional wine, cider, and craft

in business. Haro’s, the dining room at

beer. Partial proceeds provide schol-

the Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa, closed

arship awards to the Camosun College

permanently in early January. It was

Culinary Arts Program and a donation


announced that Mike Murphy, owner of

is made each year to the BC Hospitality


the 10 Acres Farm and Restaurant Group


will be taking over the space. Renovations are currently under way.

On the cover:

Lemon Cream Anniversary Cake

Styling + Photography: Rebecca Wellman Recipe on 35 FOUNDER


Pacific Island Gourmet EDITOR

Cynthia Annett-Hynes Rebecca Wellman Carolyn Bateman VANCOUVER CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Julie Pegg

For the second year running, Camosun


College is partnering with the Songhees


This is a first for Victoria - January Gin

Nation in presenting an evening of

Joint & Eatery, a gin-themed bar and

Food Sovereignty and Cooking for

eatery, will be opening between Chatham

Reconciliation. This event will be a

and Herald on Government St.

celebration of Indigenous food and

januaryinvictoria .com

learning how food connects people to

Festival is returning to the Parkside

culture, heritage and nature. The event

Hotel and Spa on May 9. Guests of the

will take place at the Songhees Wellness

Cheese and Meat Festival taste their

Center on March 27. This gala event

way through international and local

is a partnership between the Songhees

artisan food and liquor samples. All

Nation, Camosun College’s Hospitality

guests will be given a small charcuterie

Management, Anthropology and Culinary

board upon entry for the cheese and

Arts programs. All proceeds will go to a

meat samples to be placed on while

Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods

scholarship fund for the Songhees Nation.

vendors describe the item being show-

first opened its doors in Kitsilano,

Tickets are $85 per person and available


in 2013. They are a family-owned

on Eventbrite.

The team from NUBO will soon be launching a brand new healthy food venture at 754 Pandora: Cube Food Box. They are very excited to offer fast and high quality food to the community.

business passionate about creating fresh, healthy, delicious food. With six locations across Vancouver and one Toronto location they are now opening in Victoria at 805 Government St (formerly Sam’s Deli).

McLean’s Specialty Foods in Nanaimo Congratulations to Eric and Sandy and their staff on this milestone. Pop in,


grab some cheese, and wish them Happy

BOWL. Your ticket gives you gourmet


of BC, and Cheryl's Gourmet

Greater Victoria residents about craft

Pantry accompanied by

beer. VBW is fuelled by events that pair

delicious Portofino bread.

BC craft beer and local Victoria artisan

And after being thoroughly

food vendors, with a clear focus on

entertained and fed, take

showcasing quality BC craft beer and

home your selection of a

educating beer enthusiasts. Smaller tast-

beautiful handcrafted bowl

ings, seminars and micro-events happen

donated by local artists. All

at various venues throughout the week.

funds go to support Victoria

Mar 6-14.

Youth Empowerment Society. Tickets are $50 per person and available on Eventbrite.

year. This event provides locals with

Looking ahead to May,

the opportunity to savour signature

the Cheese and Meat


Isabelle Bulota Nate Caudle Cinda Chavich Jennifer Danter Jacqueline Downey Pam Durkin Gillie Easdon Deb Garlick Kyle Guilfoyle Lillie Louise Major Denise Marchessault Sherri Martin Elizabeth Monk Daniel Murphy Daisy Orser Elizabeth Nyland Adrian Paradis Adrien Sala Shelora Sheldan Johann Vincent Rebecca Wellman REGIONAL/NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER


Ron Metella Lorraine Browne

soups prepared by celebrated

of BC craft breweries while educating


Victoria, Rebecca Baugniet

Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. The concept

restaurant, The Union Club



celebrates its 28th anniversary in April.

of events highlighting a broad selection

Conference Centre on March 26 this

Amanda Batchelor

holding its 22nd fundraising event at the

chefs from 10 Acres

held in the main building of the Victoria


On April 15, Souper Bowls of Hope will be

Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day festival

The ninth annual Culinaire event will be

Cynthia Annett-Hynes


Parry Bay Sheep Farm Metchosin, BC pg. 41 FACEBOOK/EATMAGAZINE TWITTER/EATMAGAZINE INSTAGRAM/EATMAG For advertising and other inquiries: PHONE

250-384-9042 / 778-350-6962 EMAIL ONLINE

Parry Bay Sheep Farm along with Stillmeadow Farm sells lamb, pork and roasting chicken to restaurants and butcher shops in Victoria and through our on-farm market in Metchosin. We truly appreciate those who “walk the talk” and support local producers. From picturesque pastures to backyard barbecues Parry Bay lambs make people smile. John & Lorraine Buchanan 250.478.9628

instagram: @parrybayfarm MAILING ADDRESS

Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4 STOCKISTS

EAT is delivered to over 200 pick-up locations in BC. PRINTED IN CANADA

EAT® is a registered trademark. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Pacific Island Gourmet / EAT Magazine. EST. 1999

Get Fresh



Root to flowering top, every bit of fennel is a flavour fiesta. CONSIDERED AN INVASIVE WEED IN AUSTRALIA and a staple in most of the Mediterranean, fennel is very much loved here, but it still intimidates many. As a food sustainability nerd, I harbour much love for any fruit or veg that you can use every, single, bit of. This is the case for many things, but how many of us are really making carrot top pesto? We can tolerate “every single bit” of many veggies, but with fennel, every single bit is celebrated. THE BULB: Crunchy and slightly sweet, when used raw it adds a refreshingly light but distinct licorice-y crunch and flavour burst to salads, sandwiches, and crudité plates. The options are really limitless; you can also roast, barbecue, steam, sauté, braise, soup, pickle, or ferment (a favourite of mine).


THE STALK: Closely superimposed around the bulb, the stalks share the flavour of the bulb but can be a bit tough. Better cooked than raw for this reason, fennel stalks can be diced like celery and made into amazing soups and stews or roasted with a medley of veg beneath a chicken. They will impart their lovely flavour to anything you pair with them. THE LEAVES/FRONDS: Fennel is closely related to parsley, carrots, dill, and coriander as evidenced by its “fronds.” These wispy bits are flavourful, and I always save them to add a sprinkle to any fennel salad or soup. But the fronds can also stand alone and be made into a fragrant pesto or dried for tea.


SEEDS: Produced from dainty yellow flowers atop the fronds (furthering occasional confusion with dill), fennel’s seeds are often mistaken for anise seeds. They are, in fact, quite different in both appearance and flavour, being less pungent and less sweet. Frequently appearing in sausage, and prominent in much Indian cuisine, fennel seeds’ licorice flavour imparts an “oooh, what is that lovely taste” response. You’ll notice it but can’t always place it. Look for fennel bulbs that are firm, with no sign of flowering if tops are attached, as this indicates the bulb was harvested past maturity and its flavour will be affected. Some will tell you to avoid any splitting or discolouration of outer layers, and that the stalks should be nice and straight, but I disagree. Please don’t subscribe to the notion that a straight stalk tastes better than a crooked one. Keep those imperfect fennel out of the compost and use the quirky bits for soup stock. They deserve their time in the sun. If purchased nice and fresh, fennel should stay happy in your fridge for up to 10 days, but like all produce, nutrient density, along with flavour, deteriorates the longer you wait. Another way fennel wins is that it can grow almost anywhere, including here. It in fact prefers temperate climates and will bolt and turn bitter in the garden if it gets too hot. Fennel is available to us year round, imported largely from California, which produces round plump white bulbs. Local BC fennel is smaller and less pale, but it is often sweeter. Our local BC season is July and August, and, as with anything freshly harvested, offers wonderful flavour. You will likely find it only at markets and produce stores. What’s not to love? Daisy Orser is co-owner of The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer


Eating Well for Less


BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER A day’s worth of eating—in style and affordability.


Stage has a new menu and a new mission. The words

marrow, which can be eaten straight or smeared on the buttery bread. And to take it over the top, you can order a glass of sherry and pour it down the emptied bone into your mouth (a practice known as “luging”). These plates are meant for sharing, and generous vegetable

under new owner David Listhaeghe, it is now more of a

plates can round out your meal, such as the Brussels sprouts

neighbourhood gathering place and homage to a Parisian

with fish head mayo for $14, and the carrot salad with chèvre

bistro. And what an homage. After having the intensely

and sherry vinegar for $12. If you failed the sharing unit in

savoury and umami-packed grilled cheese and pig head

kindergarten, the classic French cassoulet with Toulouse

sandwich with plum jam for $14, I woke up two mornings in

sausage and remoulade for $16 is a self-contained and

a row madly craving it.

cozy dish.

Another dish that honours using every part of the animal is

Even the dishes under the heading of “snacks” for $6 are

the dramatic roast bone marrow plate for $13 with massive

generous and sophisticated, such as the dozen seared

bone halves like canoes docked on a slab of fried spelt bread

chicken hearts in classic French garlic and herb butter. After

and topped with a parsley shallot salad. This is a very tactile

9 p.m. it is happy hour, and “staff dinner” goes on for $12 and

dish. A small spoon is presented for scooping out the silky

wine for as low as $7—perfect for after a Belfry show!




“Maison de Quartier” are now under the name because


Rise & Grind 1294 BROAD ST. NEAR YATES ST. 778-265-8101

Rise & Grind is simple on the surface, but comedic, surprising, and mostly committed to quality underneath. Let’s take the rap music theme in this café. Yes, rap music plays in the background, and sandwiches have names that refer to rap and hip hop artists. But it’s rap played quietly—how very Canadian—and if Angela, the owner,

Vic West. The kombucha is yet another deal at $5 for 12 ounces. The vegetarian Fetty Wrap for $11 makes me feel healthier just looking at it. It’s a party of orange and green, with grated carrot, romaine lettuce, and avocado surrounding a heart of feta cheese. The homemade balsamic dressing adds to the juiciness. This wrap is so large it could be shared by two people with smaller appetites.

sees seniors or small children coming in,

The polar opposite is The Bidness, and here

she immediately turns it down even more.

is where a sense of humour comes into play:

Their bestselling breakfast bun is The Originator for $7. The warm Portofino bun thick bacon, and oozing cheese, all topped off with sriracha mayo and green onion. Simple, and so affordable. Drinks are super-local—the coffee is from Discovery,

patty, a Western ham patty, Spam, bacon, and two kinds of cheese, all rammed into


squeezes comfortably around a fried egg,

it’s a protein bomb with an egg, a sausage

a brioche bun. I’m not saying it’s healthy, but if you’re going to have a meat or meat products sandwich, I honour the level of commitment, and I toast the $10 price tag.

teas are from Special Teas, and on-tap

Rise & Grind definitely wakes you up with

kombucha is from Cultured Kombucha in

its playful menu and affordable prices.


Experience the rich traditions and vibrant flavours of North African cuisine with this exotic lunch. Four Courses $55.00 per person March 12 – April 12

Reservations Strongly Recommended

778-265-6466 1964 Fairfield Rd. Victoria

Call for an appointment to book your wedding or private function at The Teahouse.

Complete menu online: 7


The onion bhaji pulled me back to the buffet four times. Multiple curries beckoned from the lunch buffet, but I could not stop munching on those addictive little fritters at this spacious restaurant. For $13.99 plus tax, the lunch buffet at Royal Spice offers seven curries, two soups, and the seductive bhaji. While the owner Naveen Sharma hails from North India originally, he has many customers of South Indian origin, so he heeded their request for food from that region with crunchy, nutty lentil doughnuts that can be dunked in a lentil soup called “samber.” Other dishes offer a fine balance. Beef curry in the Kadai style is simmered almost four hours in a steep-sided wok and has a definite cardamom finish. The Black Gram Potato feels meaty thanks to the simmered but not mushy beans, and is redolent of cloves and nutmeg. Moving along the spectrum from meaty to delicate, the Dal Tadka has yellow lentils enlivened with cumin and garlic, and the Mixed Vegetables are very lightly sauced, allowing the cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, and peas to take centre stage. Be sure to create a plate with a palette of their sauces—the house-made mint sauce is spicy, savoury, and herbal, and the tamarind sauce is finished with ginger. For something more soothing, the mint yogurt is cooling and refreshing. If you have a non-Indian-food eater in the group, and have allowed that person to remain in your circle of friends, she can take advantage of the couple of Western pasta and vegetable salad offerings. There was a reason this restaurant was full of Indo-Canadian patrons, and I also noticed it is a convenient open space for people who use wheelchairs.

Victoria’s premium farmers market for 29 years Est. 1992

Moss St. Farmers Market

to end of April 10am-1pm May - October 10am-2pm 8





The Great Irish Bake Off A return to family roots and easy home baking. W OR D S + PHO T OGR A PH Y

Cinda Chavich Irish Tray Bakes – lit tle squares of layered chocolate and creamy g reen mint f illing.


akers: On your mark, get set, bake!” And so my weekly, vicarious baking fix begins— channelling my great, great Irish grandfather, a baker, through the trials of home bakers compet-

ing on British (and now Canadian) TV shows. I’m an accomplished cook, but I must have missed out on that baking gene. Luckily there are several great artisan bakers here in Victoria, and a perfect baguette, a loaf of chewy sourdough, or a flaky croissant is always close at hand. But today I’m in Bronagh Duffin’s colourful kitchen, in her little cooking school on the edge of Lough Neah in Northern Ireland, and we’re making that simple Irish staple, soda bread. It’s her granny’s recipe—just four ingredients and so quick and easy to make, it’s literally child’s play, and one of the breads Duffin teaches both kids and adults to bake. We dump the flour into a bowl with the baking soda and salt, then add just enough buttermilk to create a soft dough that’s formed into a round loaf. It’s set on a baking sheet and scored into quarters—just partway through “to let the fairies out”—then baked. Thirty minutes later we’re tearing into a warm, golden loaf, as simple and satisfying today as it was when baked on a griddle over an open fire in centuries past. In Northern Ireland, says Duffin, home baking is a tradition that has offered comfort to many through troubled times. “Growing up in the 1980s, with The Troubles, life was quite


difficult,” she says, recalling Northern Ireland’s long civil

basket at the excellent James Street South restaurant

war. “Food was a healing thing—it offered some comfort and

in Belfast. I didn’t get a chance to meet the legendary

brought people together.”

chef Niall McKenna, but he also has a cookery school

Now Ireland has peace, but fresh bread—from flat, griddled potato bread and malty, rustic wheaten to massive baps and

at James Street South and is generous with his recipes (see for recipes).

sourdough to slather in good Irish butter—is something I

“There is nothing like breadmaking to take the stress out of

encounter with nearly every meal in my travels through

the daily grind, and our bread class at the cookery school is

Belfast and up along the rugged northern coast.

one of the most popular on the schedule,” McKenna wrote

Farls, Potato Bread and Baps St. George’s Market in Belfast is the place to head for breakfast and the famous Belfast Bap. The bap itself is a big, dense, bulbous bun—originally created to feed a hungry populous in the 19th century—and today quelling hunger is a given, the bread split, toasted, and piled high with Irish bacon and sausage, then crowned with a fried organic egg. A long queue snakes beyond the griddle at The Belfast Bap Company market stall, where each giant breakfast sandwich is cooked to order. Said to be the classic hangover cure, the Belfast Bap is a Sunday tradition. But there are other fresh, local breads on offer at this historic food market, where tables are piled with sweet and savoury cheese scones, boxy loaves of dark wheaten bread, and triangular potato breads and soda farls, thick griddle breads to split and serve with famous Irish cheese. Even the iconic dark Irish stout, Guinness, makes an appearance in simple soda breads. I’m smitten by the little individual muffins of Guinness Wheaten in the bread The Belfas t Bap Company market s tall

in the Irish News several years ago. “Customers always talk about the

Easy Bakes

nature of daily bread-baking being a dying art, but we are lucky to be

Back at home, I’m inspired to revive my family tradition of home-baked quick breads and

able to sustain the making of bread and also share the pleasure of a

simple squares.

wonderful array of flavours with our customers.”

Brownies were the first thing I learned to bake as a kid, and maybe it was the Irish in us that

Though yeasted breads and sourdoughs require time and skill, sim-

channelled a love of other easy sweets—the puffed wheat squares, Matrimonial Bars, and

ple soda breads deliver solid returns, with minimal investment. Like

gooey chocolate chip and coconut Hello Dolly squares that came out of my mother’s kitchen.

Duffin’s basic soda bread, these are quick breads, raised with baking soda and easy to whip together at home.

Like the treats I encountered in Ireland, they’re just as easy

A Serious Sweet Tooth

to whip together today, and

The other side of Irish baking is sweets, the kind of homemade

offer a similar hit of nostalgia.

squares (the Irish call them “tray bakes”) that your mother or grand-

Perhaps that’s why this kind

mother might have made.

of old-fashioned home baking

Two of them are waiting for me as a welcome nosh in my room at the modern Ten Square Hotel in Belfast: little squares of layered

is still a staple of Canadian coffee shops and bakeries, too.

chocolate and creamy green mint that would rival our Nanaimo Bar,

The Great British Bake Off

and a quintessential Belfast treat called Fifteens. I’ve read about this

celebrates British culture and

homey local snack—a combination of crushed digestive biscuits, can-

is credited with the resur-

died cherries, chopped marshmallows (fifteen of each), mixed with

gence in home baking in that

sweet condensed milk and rolled in coconut. And though it’s incred-

country. Along with my recent

ibly sweet, it does offer a taste of childhood comforts in a simple slice.

food explorations in Northern

I find Fifteens, and other squares (think Rocky Road, Jammy Blondies, and Malteaser Squares), at Jam and Ollie’s stall in St. George’s Market, and wherever I stop for coffee or tea. Yellowman or

Ireland, it certainly offers me a reason to dust off the baking pans.

honeycomb is another Irish sweet, that fluffy, crispy candy made with melted sugar, syrup,

I won’t be winning any

and baking soda that we know as sponge toffee (or the centre of a Crunchie bar). Some Belfast

television bake-offs but I’m

bartenders even like to add honeycomb to cocktails (there’s one featuring local Jawbox gin

celebrating my Irish baking

with ginger ale), and at St. James South my sticky toffee pudding is layered in a sundae glass

roots during St. Patrick’s

with ice cream and crispy chunks of honeycomb candy, a warm, cool, crunchy revelation.

season this year. Sláinte!

Irish Soda Bread

PERFECTION IN PLACE AND ON PLATE Our showcase wine cellar is the newest addition to the traditional dining options at the Wickaninnish Inn. Not too big and not too small, this intimate venue carved into the bedrock is just right. Book now to share this unique dining experience with friends, family or co-workers. Share a toast in the newly renovated On the Rocks Bar before joining your group for exceptional dining ambiance. | | 250.725.3106



On a hot and very humid tropical evening,

a nod, said the chef, to the michelada—the

with welcoming cocktail in hand, and after

classic cerveza drink that’s mixed with

a sneak peek into the kitchen—where each

lime and tomato juice with a chili rim. The

chef had a team of assistants preparing

soup, his grandmother’s recipe, uses what in

a meticulous mise en place—we took our

Thailand is called the three kings of herbs:

places at the table.

lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaf.

A series of hot and cold appetizers kicked off the evening. Standouts were chef Kamoto’s raw scallops accompanied by flower-shaped hamachi anointed with umami-rich shio koji and flambéed, followed by Okuwa’s poke-style tuna

It’s a simple recipe, notes Wattanakamin, but one that relies on a broth that takes a few days to reduce to make a “nice soup.” The resulting broth of coconut and aromatic herbs was poured over fresh herbs and chicken sausage at table. The layering of flavours made for a delightful and light repast

Best of Asia in Mexico

belly tartare presented on shiso leaves

Stars of the Asian culinary world aligned this past fall at the luxury Grand Velas resort on the Riviera Maya for a dinner celebrating milestones and culinary friendships.

Asian sauces centred around a more-

Chef Okuwa’s show-stopping, miso-aged

ish Indonesian curried chopped pine-

Wagyu beef was tenderized by butter and

apple. This was accompanied by a dish

mixed with sweet (shiro) miso and sake

of cumin-garlic-marinated and fried

lees molded around the A5-quality Wagyu.



Shelora Sheldan

held aloft on a rice cracker. Chef Lee presented a playful medley of Southeast

that played on the palate and readied us for the protein courses to follow.

meaty blue shrimp topped with crunchy

Once melted away, the meat was quickly

hen the stars align and

The all-star lineup included Makoto

caramelized coconut. His “board game”

seared to render a lovely caramelized crust,

milestones are reached,

Okuwa, protégé of Masaharu Morimoto

of sauces included Indian mint chutney, a

served with charred leeks cooked with a bit

celebrations are in order.

and owner of three Makoto restaurants

tamarind-black-pepper-cinnamon sauce,

of kombu. Chunks of the exquisitely tender

including one in Mexico City; Kazu

a carrot-coconut-cardamom sauce, and

meat, with a flavour complexity of salt, spice,

Kumoto, owner and chef of the casually

Assam tomato curry. The pineapple dish

acidity, and melt-in-your-mouth texture,

elegant Kazu’s Kitchen in Mexico City;

was slow-simmered in a blend of turmeric,

were served on skewers with a centre anchor

Canada’s Susur Lee, of Top Chef fame,

ginger, lime juice, and curry powder and I

a bowl of soupy udon noodles.

at the helm of four Toronto restaurants,

could have eaten it by the soupspoonful.

Such was the case last October at the prestigious Grand Velas Riviera Maya with the Best of Asia dinner event. Owned by the Ruiz family, this high-end resort puts the lux in luxury, with a property seamlessly integrated into 206-acres of pristine jungle and mangroves leading to a private white sand beach. Embraced by the flora and fauna of the Yucatán Peninsula, it’s a beyond-all-inclusive all-inclusive.

and a judge on Food Network Canada’s Chopped; and Master Chef Thailand Kent Vatcharavee Visetpohchanatip, former chef for the official receptions of the Royal Family of Thailand.

From chef Kent Visetpohchanatip came

Chef Wattanakamin played with Thai

duck breast, tender and succulent, done in

and Mexican elements in his soup course

a southern Thai turmeric and yellow curry

of tom kha gai. The rim of the bowl was

sauce, and a delicate sea bass in a sauce of dill

dusted with ground galangal and chili,

and turmeric. Chef Lee made a rack of lamb marinated in

I was here for the Best of Asia event, the

char siu spices, topped with brightening hits

fifth of their annual Best of series and part

of crispy mint, and presented with a Penang-

of the resort’s commitment to promoting

inspired salad of chopped mango, peanuts,

local and international gastronomy. The

and lime leaf. It was all about the textures,

resort was receiving the coveted AAA Five

and it was incredibly delicious.

Diamond award, their Asian-themed Sen

Saffron rice heady with galangal, lime leaf,

Lin restaurant was accepting the AAA Four

and coconut, meat-filled salapao steam buns,

Diamonds, and the chef behind it, Wayu “Light” Wattanakamin, was being inducted into the prestigious Club Master Chefs

and fat handmade udon noodles provided the Caramelized coconut prawn with sauce medley

Japanese cheesecake with mango mousse, pandan leaf sauce

carb elements for the main courses and were served family-style on a Lazy Susan.

Thailand, the only Thai chef working in Latin America to receive the coveted award.

The sweet finish came with an elegant and

So the Best of Asia seemed a fitting theme

light Japanese cheesecake served with

for this Best of series.

mango mousse, coconut ice cream, candied watermelon, and a verdant pandan leaf sauce.

The 10-course dinner was being cooked with four of Watanakamin’s colleagues, all

Expert wine pairings throughout were

culinary masters in their own right. Each

provided by the hotel’s sommelier,

would cook two dishes reflecting their

Eduardo Quiroga, who deftly chose wines

unique modern-meets-traditional approach

from both boutique Mexican and storied

to Asian cuisine.


Akami tuna tar tare chef Makato Okuwa

Tom Kha Gai Michelada- s t yle Chef Lig ht

French wineries.

Applause and thank-yous at the end accompanied the presentation of exquisite engraved carving forks to the participating chefs. Guests and chefs were invited to dance the night away into the wee hours at an adjoining bar on the property. I was content to return to my luxurious room, snuggle into the bed’s plush linens, and fall asleep remembering the amazing meal I had just eaten. See more photos and read more about Shelora’s trip at

Coming Soon... A new Food & Beverage experience. SPRING 2020 O A K B AY B E A C H H O T E L . C O M

Victoria, British Columbia Follow us

Best of Asia top chefs starting 4th from the right - Susur Lee, Makoto Okuwa, Kazu Kumoto, Kent Vatchararavee Visetphochanatip, and Wayu Light Wattanankamin


Liquid Assets


Tending the Vines, Tasting the Wines THE DAY WAS BRIGHT AND SUNNY, a welcome reprieve from a week of foul weather


of almost Biblical proportions. The traffic over the Malahat was light for a change, as I guess many would-be travellers had hunkered down for the Super Bowl. I had been invited to participate in a vineyard pruning workshop presented by Michael Abbott, Vineyard Manager of Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan. Michael began the workshop showing us the ins and outs of vine pruning, and in the first hour we touched on the basics: when to prune and what to look for, double-pruning, determining the number of buds and canes to leave, as well as the rationale behind the double guyot vine training method used at Blue Grouse. It was all Greek to me, but after 35 years in the business, I thought it was about time to have a little walk about in a vineyard, learning the basics of cane and spur pruning, a job considered by those in the know to be perhaps the most important activity after the harvest. It was time to get to know the vine. After all, good wine comes from good vineyards. Winter pruning is a vineyard practice developed primarily to produce fewer, but larger and healthier, bunches of riper grapes and is particularly important in cooler climates such as the Cowichan Valley. If left untended in its natural state, a grape vine will forever reach for the sun, growing up any structure that will support its weight. Theoretically, the vine could have thousands of buds on an unholy mess of spurs and canes, producing a multitude of fruit bunches and shoots that would not only lack the qualities required to produce a desirable wine but also weaken the vine and shorten its life. More than 85 percent of each year’s growth may have to be removed and the required canes trained on the trellis system. Winter pruning directly affects the yield, but ideally the pruner should not only possess the necessary knowledge and skill set to successfully prune the vine but also be slightly proph-

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etic as climatic conditions for the growing season are not known. An experienced pruner is perhaps the most important member of the vineyard crew. It is back-breaking work with the added danger, if you are not fully focused on the job at hand, of pruning a finger or two along with the unwanted vine growth from the previous year. But the reward for a job well done can be found in a bottle of the finished product. In this case, I tried several barrel and tank samples of the previous vintage before embarking on a tour of the unbelievably beautiful modern winery, the tasting room, and the exquisite Grouse House “Bed & Bottle” retreat, located in the surrounding vineyard, just down the hill from the winery. Blue Grouse Estate Ortega 2019 (tank sample) Ortega is Vancouver Island’s “go to” grape. It is a cross between siegerrebe and müller-thurgau fermented in stainless steel tanks, hold the malo! A classic island Ortega with delicate floral and orange peel aromatics, medium-bodied with refreshing acidity and a clean, crisp finish. Blue Grouse Quill Q White 2019 (tank sample) A blend of pinot gris, schöburger, gewürztraminer, and siegerrebe sourced from island vineyards. A veritable fruit salad in a glass with peach, tropical fruit and citrus aromas. Very clean, very fresh with a juicy long finish. Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Gris 2019 (barrel and tank sample blend) One-hundred-percent estate fruit of which about 30 percent has seen the inside of a French oak barrel, with the balance fermented in stainless steel. The blend has gone through a full malolactic fermentation that contributes to the wine’s richness, giving it a nice creamy texture and a hint of butterscotch on the nose. Soft acidity with a long, rich finish.


R EPORTER Breakwater Bistro and Tasting Room Virtuous Pie 10 Acres at the Pier Fol Epi WOR D S

Cinda Chavich Gillie Easdon Adrian Paradis Daniel Murphy PHO T OGR A PH Y

Jacqueline Downey Johann Vincent Sherri Martin Lillie Louise Major


Clif Leir of Fol Epi


Breakwater Bistro and Tasting Room

199 DALLAS RD, VICTORIA 250 -386 -8080



The Helm brothers and their talented team have re-imagined a popular Victoria landmark for a new generation. IT’S HARD TO CALL a restaurant a “hidden gem” when it commands a chunk of real estate with spectacular views sitting on one of the city’s most prominent points. But I have to say, the stylishly modernized Breakwater Bistro and Tasting Room (which locals will remember as the more casual Ogden Point Café) is the kind of neighbourhood local that was not really on my radar—until now, that is. The Breakwater is a tale of two enterprising brothers and two chefs, a collaboration that’s turned a longtime soup and sandwich stop in James Bay into a destination for all-day casual dining, local brews, and some of the most exceptional tacos in town. Which has put it solidly JACQUELINE DOWNEY

into my casual restaurant rotation. The Helm brothers, Mike and Adam, grew up in Victoria, where their parents built popular neighbourhood pubs like Maude Hunter’s and Christie’s Carriage House. Their grandfather founded Helm’s Inn, behind the Royal BC Museum, so local hospitality and history run in the family. In 2010, the brothers jumped into the local restaurant business themselves, opening McRae’s Bistro at the corner of Shelbourne Street and McRae Avenue, a popular place for casual dining and local music. When they acquired the Ogden Point Café late in 2012, they began the busi-

Chef s David Furlonger (L) Israel Alvarez (R)

ness of upgrading the aging building, with new structures inside and out, and rebranded it the Breakwater Café and Bistro. It’s been an ongoing process, but now there’s a big open kitchen

When Furlonger moved upstairs to create the elevated bistro menu, they lured Mexicanborn Israel Alvarez from Edmonton (more on his creative contributions later).

and modern bistro/bar with impressive ocean views, and a tasting room downstairs with its own dedicated kitchen and chef. They’ve remodelled the menu, created a cool, industrial-chic

Furlonger grew up in Canmore but headed west early in his career and soon combined

space for morning, afternoon, and late-night noshing, and created a showcase for local music.

his love of the outdoors with foraging wild foods for the plate. With experience living and surfing around the world—from North Africa to Central America and our wild west coast—

After the final, six-month reno in 2019, the new Breakwater Bistro and Tasting Room was

Furlonger brings a multicultural eye to his coastal cuisine. Though the bistro menu includes

re-launched with a grand opening party in October.

many casual favourites, from fried chicken to burgers, the focus is always on local ingredi-

Chef David Furlonger, a keen surfer, forager, and lover of all things local, has been along for the ride. Furlonger first worked with the brothers on the food offerings at the outdoor Breakwater Barge party, held every Friday night during the summer months, then found a place to show-

ents, often with a wild, foraged, or naturally fermented twist. The BC Halibut and Chips is battered with gluten-free chickpea flour and comes with kelp tartare sauce and Furlonger’s seasonal, house-fermented vegetables. Fermented ketchup

case his charcuterie and fermentation skills when the Helm brothers converted the former

tops the Two Rivers organic beef burger, sockeye salmon poke is seasoned with his own bull

surf shop into the Tasting Room.

kelp gomasio, and the wild mushroom toast features a variety of locally foraged mushrooms. “Kelp is a big ingredient for me, and we use mushrooms, berries, and lots of wild greens in season—chickweed, nettles, and sea lettuce,” says Furlonger, the in-house forager. “Here we can do it all year.” The upstairs bistro and bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, with a Café to Go counter just inside the entrance offering takeaway coffee and baked goods for those who want to stroll the historic breakwater or enjoy the views from a park bench. The evening-only Tasting Room (open 4-11 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday), accessed through its own entrance or from an outdoor staircase from the bistro, has a casual vibe, with happy JACQUELINE DOWNEY

hour prices from 4-6 and 9 to close. There’s a comfortable bar with high-top tables and local craft beer on tap, a cozy enclosed patio, and a unique menu available only to downstairs diners. This is where you’ll find chef Israel Alvarez and his authentic Mexican nixtamal tortillas. Transplanted from Mexico City to Victoria via Edmonton last year, Alvarez is channelling his Mexican roots with the story of heirloom corn and the tradition of nixtamalization, an

Wild Mushroom Toas t with sumac, smashed avocado, foraged mushroom, and chili oil


ancient process devised by early Mayan and Aztec civilizations. His tortillas are made from

scratch using similar ingredients and techniques, with whole kernels of dried corn that are slaked with lime to release their digestible nutrients and flavour, then ground into a rustic masa, formed by hand and cooked on a searing hot griddle until puffed and brown. This is the kind of tortilla you will get with each of Alvarez’s tasty taco boards—four freshly

all the best tools for your kitchen

made nixtamal tortillas, with three house-made salsas, and a choice of toppings, including braised bison with chilies, duck confit carnitas, snapper al pastor style, pinto beans with winter squash, or a medley of wild foraged mushrooms with epazote and feta from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. It’s all turned out in a compact kitchen behind the bar, with Alvarez pressing and cooking


every tortilla to order. The dried landrace corn, most sourced from Oaxaca, includes colourful varieties that are soaked and crushed, creating tortillas with exceptional colour, texture, and unique corn flavour. “There are 52 varieties of corn in Mexico, none is GMO,” says Alvarez, gathering a ball (bolito)


of the ground dough (masa) to flatten in his tortilla press, and explaining why the processed corn flour (masa harina) used for most corn tortillas in North America simply can’t produce the same product, in flavour or nutrition, as this organic, whole-kernel, heirloom corn. “Every single landrace is different, and I feel it’s my responsibility to my heritage to change people’s perspective of how Mexican food should taste,” he adds. “To think, at some point, the

#1-6332 Metral Drive, Nanaimo 250.933.1800

entire Mesoamerican culture was fed with this.” And now Victorians have the good fortune to have a passionate expat like Alvarez making a simple staple with the complex care it deserves. There’s no doubt this is a great spot to enjoy the views—amazing sunrises and sunsets over the Salish Sea, walking along the 100-year-old breakwater, even scoping out the latest giant cruise ship at the dock. It’s a busy, buzzy, touristy spot with some 400,000 visitors taking a stroll along the waterfront each year, and the Breakwater Barge food and music event every Friday night during the summer months. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority recently renamed this oceanside area—home to

Han dmade

the cruise ship terminal and Helijet pad—The Breakwater District at Ogden Point. And with the latest stylish makeover of the Breakwater Bistro and Tasting Room, the Helm

Eth i cal

brothers and their talented team have re-imagined a popular Victoria landmark for a new generation, with a crave-worthy menu to match the million-dollar view.


L o cal Tradi t i o n al




THEWHOLEBEAS T.CA C U RED@ T H EWH O LEB EA ST.C A Tacos at Break water are ser ved with nix tamal tacos, ferments, and 3 house-made salsas: Taquero salsa verde with net tle, lava rock roas ted tomato & chili pepper s, and a fried chili pepper salsa.


Virtuous Pie

530 PANDORA AVE., VICTORIA 250-590-2992



The passion, candor, and integrity of head chef Christina Zoubos are key ingredients in this much-anticipated addition to Victoria’s plantbased food scene. PIZZA, ‘ZA, PIE, A SLICE, whatever you call it, pizza is etched on our collective souls and taste buds. Thick, stuffed, thin crust, melty, gooey, yummy, spicy, pineapple, or not—I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t like pizza. JOHANN VINCENT

I have, however, been privy to the kvetching of dispirited pizza lovers who realize they’re gluten-intolerant, dairy-intolerant or are stepping away from animal-based diets. Let’s face it, as good as you feel eating what works best for your body, lifestyle, or beliefs, that sentiment evaporates when you press your teeth into mealy, rubbery fake meat and cheese on a cardboard, gluten-free crust.

The next pizza I tried was the Superfunghi on a gluten-free

But now, everything’s changed. Virtuous Pie has finally

crust with cashew mozzarella, herbed potato cream, truffle

come to town, and head chef Christina Zoubos invites you

almond ricotta, wild mushrooms, and arugula. The almond

by for a pie and a chat in their gorgeous, industrial-chic

ricotta was lush and the truffle subtle. The earthy mush-

space on Pandora with a bricked back patio that screams

room mix of cremini, oyster, and shimeji played well with

summertime. With other locations in Vancouver, Toronto,

the creaminess of the mozzarella, potato cream, and ricotta.

and Portland, Virtuous Pie is 100-percent plant-based, but

The gluten-free crust was more like a tortilla with density

they’ve mastered the ingredients and flavours—the pies

and flavour. It’s made by Nextjen Gluten-Free using organic

are tasty. Victoria’s their largest eatery and also the first

millet, organic buckwheat, organic psyllium husk, brown

restaurant to open as a full service restaurant with a bar,

rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca flour, guar gum, pectin,

lounge seating and handcrafted cocktail menu (the Toronto

water, sugar, yeast, and olive oil. Be still your celiac hearts;

location transitioned to full service about mid-2019 and

it’s next level.

Portland also has a cocktail list now). Christina grew up in restaurants (her aunt still has Maria’s Souvlaki Greek Restaurant in Sidney) but didn’t start working in hospitality until she was 23. Starting as a dishwasher at Earl’s in Vancouver, she wanted to work her way up and understand each part of the process. “We all play vital parts, from the dishwasher to the hosts.” Before driving across Canada to launch and run the Victoria Virtuous Pie, Christina was the day sous chef, then assistant manager at their Toronto location for a year. “I’m thrilled with our team. Everyone is so happy and committed.” And now onto the pies. The first one I tried was the Street Corn with garlic- paprika butter, charred corn, tofu feta, cashew mozzarella, cilantro lime crema and fresh cilantro. It came with a lime wedge. The crust was crisp, but chewy, with more structure than a classic Neapolitan-style. The


Cole Babichuk



cheese pulled perfectly, the corn was not charred to black but softened to enhance the niblet-sweetness. The fresh lime set this pizza apart. Inspired by Mexican tajín corn (tajín is a classic spice mix of chili, salt, and lime), this pie paired beautifully with a Caramel Colada with Bacardi 4-year rum, pineapple, horchata (a Central American nut and rice-based beverage), lime. and caramel.

Head Chef : Chris tina Zoubos

The third pizza I tried, the Sweet Pepper and Sausage,

choice of garlic, ranch, or blue cheese dip (wings are also

featured San Marzano tomato sauce, cashew mozzarella,

found on the “Stranger Wings” pizza). The Savoury Brussels

house-made Italian sausage, red peppers, and onions with

Sprouts are a yummy evening side—slow-roasted with a

hot honey. Christina recommends this for people who like

balsamic and Dijon marinade, then dusted with smoked salt

meat. The “honey” is unfiltered apple juice, chamomile tea, brown rice syrup, and Calabrian chilis with oil. This

and parmesan crumble. Ultimately, Virtuous Pie is a great place for a solo lunch, date, or meeting, but bring family or a

was rich, meaty, and sweet, but had just the right balance.

few friends and share—you’ll be golden.

The crumbled sausage mixed the flavours beautifully.

Order dessert. The ice cream is creamy, tasty, and, confus-

A Ruby Haze complemented this. Possibly the summer drink of 2020, it is Cazadores Blanco tequila, Amaro Montenegro, ruby grapefruit juice, salt, soda water, and Prosecco with a spice-rimmed glass and fresh rosemary. I would skip the rim—it’s such a refreshing, drinkable beverage, it doesn’t need it.

ingly enough, very dairy-like without a list of non-dairy, hard-to-pronounce, processed ingredients. The Cookies and Cream was delicious, and the seasonal Pumpkin Pie and Pecan was a great chilly-weather treat. The only thing that matched how blown away I was by the range of flavours, wonderful textures, and consistency of yum was Christina’s transparency, passion, and integrity

greats. The Warm Potato Salad is perfect to share. A riff

for the work and her Virtuous Pie community. “If some-

on Christina’s grandmother’s recipe, the lemon potatoes,

thing’s not right, it’s my fault—maybe I didn’t train the cook

arugula, grape tomatoes, red onion, confit garlic, Dijon

properly, or something was not scheduled right. Ultimately,

dressing, and spiced tofu feta reminded me of long sunny

I’m accountable. We’re all in this together.” Her enthusi-

picnics with friends. The Cauliflower Wings are lightly

asm, candor, and sense of accountability are absolutely a

battered cauliflower “wings” tossed in your choice of house-

key ingredient to this much-anticipated and fantastic new

made hot, honey garlic, or maple barbecue sauces, with a

addition to Victoria.



For sides, Christina has created a few Victoria-only

Piz zas (from top lef t) - S treet Corn, Super Fung i, and S weet Pepper & Sausage.


10 Acres at the Pier


Michael Murphy is set to expand his ever-growing family of restaurants to Sidney in late March. “THIS LOCATION DIDN’T EVER cross my mind,” says

halibut, and salmon and we’ll play around with some

Michael Murphy, local restaurateur and owner of 10 Acres

geoduck. The rest of the time, we’ll be using our local pork

Farm and Restaurant Group. “It wasn’t on my radar at all.”

and chicken that we grow on the farm.”

This newest addition, 10 Acres at the Pier, will take over what was Haro’s in the Sidney Pier Hotel, as well as the attached Georgia Cafe and Deli. Murphy plans to make good use of the new location’s close proximity to his Saanich Peninsula farm, which supplies food to each of the 10 Acres restaurants. Two EAT reporters got to see the space in its

Though adding a location with 170 seats, including a large patio, is no small undertaking, the close proximity to his farm makes this an ideal fit for collaboration between Murphy’s restaurants. He says this new location makes more sense then anything else he’s done thus far.

raw form in January. Surrounded by unfinished construc-

“Rather than have everyone do a little bit of everything every

tion and exposed drywall, Murphy talked about the new

day, we’ll be dividing the workload,” he says. “If we want to

location, the future of his business, his farm, and what the

smoke fish, we’ll do it out here and then send it downtown

collaboration between his restaurants will bring.

in our van.” Meanwhile, the downtown locations make

The hotel’s general manager, Natalie King, used to be the years ago, says Murphy. “She called me one day saying the hotel wanted to do a complete revamp of Haro’s Restaurant.

prep necessary for each kitchen. “This way, we get the best product each person makes. It’s hard to do everything all the time. But if we can go between the places it will get easier.”

I said I was more than happy to help them out and give them

With his focus always on improving and expanding, this new

advice thinking it would be nice to lend a hand to a friend.

project comes at a time when Murphy already has big plans

But I didn’t understand what she was asking. They wanted

for his nearby farm. “We’ll be planting another 500 cider

me to take it over.”

trees soon for a total of 900 trees,” he says. Working from a

Major renovations to the location started in January. Murphy and his team plan to redo the interior with more wood accents and white subway tile to replace the worn seashell look, as well as install a fireplace, a larger bar area, and an oyster and ceviche station. “This will be the result of everything we’ve learned at our downtown locations,” says


manager at Murphy’s Pescatores—now 10 Acres Kitchen—

daily pasta and sourdough bread, and do much of the basic

Owner Mike Murphy at the space during cons truc tion.

desire he’s had for some time, the farm is hoping to open a

they are able to feature choice items while the rest of their

cidery and craft distillery in the near future. Murphy also

needs still primarily feature island-grown produce.

has tentative plans to build a bakery and processing location on the McTavish Road farm, where they can make their hot sauce and tomato sauce rather than bring the tomatoes to the restaurants in August when staff are at their busiest.

“This is just a natural extension,” says Murphy. “The food at 10 Acres at the Pier will be very similar to what we’ve done in the past. While the 10 Acres family expectantly awaits its newest member, the Sidney and Saanich Peninsula areas

Murphy. “There will be a focus on seafood in the summer.

While 10 Acres Farm produces a lot of food, Murphy says it

can no doubt look forward to a new hub to show off their

We’re planning on having lots of oysters, clams, mussels,

still only accounts for about 10 percent of the restaurants’

exemplary local offerings.


overall usage. “We couldn’t possibly grow much more than that,” he says. “So what we’ve learned is to grow things we can do better than what other people are doing. Our purple asparagus is outstanding, and we have four hoop houses devoted to really excellent peppers.” Growing their own tomatoes, for instance, gives SHERRI MARTIN


them access to a product picked at the perfect time, as well as green tomatoes— something difficult to come by unless you’re growing

Fresh shucked oys ter s with 10 Acres mig nonet te, fresh hor seradish


them yourself. This way

Humbolt squid, crispy pork belly, garlic chili hoisin, thai sauce, pickled vegetable salad, basil, peanuts


From Anarchy to Amandine

101-398 HARBOUR RD & 732 YATES ST, VICTORIA 2 5 0 - 47 7- 8 8 8 2 & 7 7 8 - 2 6 5 - 6 3 1 1



The granular evolution of Clif Leir’s Fol Epi. BROWSING THE DELICATE PASTRIES in Fol Epi's meticulously arranged display

to yeast behaviour, water and dough temperatures, baking lengths, and proofing humid-

amid the refined chatter of the “double-shot-half-caf-Americano” set, it’s hard to fathom

ities. But at the end of the day, how do you quantify the proper “feel” of a ball of dough that

that it all began as an act of rebellion.

hits its optimal oven readiness? That takes skill. Experience. Mastery. You don’t get there

But way back in the beginning, an 18-year-old Clif Leir cashed his welfare cheque, plucked a

by accident.

book from the shelf of an anarchist bookstore, and set to building a brick oven in his yard. It

The baguette is the yardstick of any bakery—especially one promoting their French

was grassroots. It was “f*&% the man.” It was punk.

influence. And if you can find one with better contrast between a chewy, doughy, slightly

While the roots of Fol Epi appear to stand in opposition to its now-polished veneer, that’s just smoke, a trick of the eye. The common threads binding its origin to its present are

fermented-smelling interior, and a perfectly pullable, tough-but-not-hard crust—well, congratulations.

obvious: it all began in aid of community, bringing people together. It’s about feeding people

Somewhat unbelievably, Fol Epi opened its initial Dockside Green location a full 10 years

food that’s real. It’s the product of a persistent need to experiment and refine.

ago. For those of us who remember standing on its curb before we knew what it was, puz-

If you graced the makeshift aisles of Moss Street Market 20 years ago, you would have found a tired-eyed Leir working the booth, first trading whatever he could to other local producers, then gracing the public with the rest. “Markets are hard work. It’s bread, it has to be fresh—so it’s basically an all-nighter, a twenty-hour day. And then a day to recover.”

zled as the silos and epic millstone were first brought into the place, it does not seem that long ago. But adding up the accomplishments that followed puts it into perspective. Since then, Leir has opened a second location, created an upscale restaurant, and revitalized an aging, iconic diner. Leir is at once deflective (“I don’t really do anything anymore”) and honest (“even after 20 years . . . it’s a grind”). And he admits his role has changed dramat-

Obviously, the effects of acute sleep deprivation aside, it went well. That immersion into

ically. After starting Fol Epi as a way to get back to “working by myself,” he now oversees

bread culture was deep and driving, pushing Leir to form the business proposition that

a staff of 70. Whereas it was once all about perfecting dough and pastry, now it’s about

would become Wildfire Bakery on Quadra near Pandora. Ten years later, amid mounting

“pushing, inspiring, and motivating people.”

internal differences of opinion, Leir moved on. Back to the yard. To build another oven.

The Yates Street location began as purely a spatial necessity. Creating pastry and dough

For Leir, Fol Epi represents a personal progression. The next logical step in the arc of his

require different skillsets, and usually different personnel. So once the first assistants were

craft. And at each stop, his technique has been self-analyzed and further adjusted. It’s an

hired at Dockside, it was a frustrating game of musical chairs to get through a shift. Which,

interesting mix—authentic rebel spirit and scientific precision. Granular attention is paid

at 3 a.m., can cause a heightened sense of conflict, or “dysfunction” as Leir puts it.




Handmade gourmet preserves available at fine food and gift stores In a chance encounter with the very same realtor who wanted nothing to do with 19-year-old

Leir’s unproven concept for Wildfire, the Yates Street location was suggested for Fol Epi. Initially a floorplan of four separate units, the building developers were open to a single lease for the entire space. But it had to be up and running impossibly quickly. Perhaps by manipulating the fabric of time itself, Leir took the Fol Epi and Agrius spaces from shells to operational


spaces between June and November. Despite the fact that he’d never operated—or even worked in—a restaurant. (And for that matter, he’d never worked in a bakery prior to Wildfire.) Agrius was born as an extension of the same principles as Fol Epi, expanding them beyond the ovens and using the Fol Epi ethos to inject more vibrancy into Victoria’s night-time dining scene. Although it’s “so much more complicated than a bakery, because you’re hosting people in your space,” Leir’s same web of contacts plays a huge role in its operations: “We still buy stuff from the farmers I was selling with at Moss Street 20 years ago.” And the results are what you can expect when real, authentically local, and organic food is prepared simply and with deft skill. Minimal manipulation of ingredients. A fullness of flavour that can’t be bulk produced and shipped en LILLIE LOUISE MAJOR


masse. It’s a menu borne of respect for growers and produce. Now, applying that same principle and execution to an (at times in its history) “seedy” latenight diner—that’s a whole different challenge. But the Fol Epi family was forged from challenge.


On Paul’s: “It all happened quickly. I loved the space at Paul’s Motor Inn. Its casualness, its kitchen, its social element.” The relaxed service model of the diner also gave Leir a chance to temper the price point of their offerings: “Rents are high here. People don’t have a lot left after that. We can still make it all from scratch, and keep it organic, but if we make it faster and with less involved processes, we can keep costs down—while staying playful, fun. And really good.” The future? “Well, we survived Atkins. We survived South Beach. We’ll survive keto,” says Leir. “This profession has been around for thousands of years, and we all still share this deep relationship with bread.” True, but the industry—like basically every mode of food production—fell victim to 20th-century mass industrialization, and it’s been a climb to get it back to its natural state. In February 2020, Fol Epi released the first of this year’s prod-

15 - 40% Off regular price

ucts made with certified organic, Comox Valley-grown wheat—a project Leir has spent his entire career working towards. And that feels somewhat full-circle. It began as a means for feeding a community something authentic. After a couple of decades of sweaty, gluey, flour-caked sunrises; the unpredictable ebbs and flows of business, and life; and risk after challenge after risk: mission accomplished.


Broadmead Village | 325-777 Royal Oak Drive 250.727.2110 | |



Good for You

BENEATH THE SKIN Don’t take that banana for granted! It’s teeming with important nutrients.

THE PHRASE “GOING BANANAS” IS used to describe impending insanity—but there’s nothing crazy about eating the fruit. Beloved globally, bananas are the world’s fourth most widely consumed food—for good reason. They’re not only affordable, they’re also remarkably versatile and nutrient-dense. Underneath their skin, bananas are teeming with nutrients, most notably vitamins A, B6 and C, copper, folate, manganese, potassium, fibre, and antioxidants. This impressive line-up can help enhance your health in a variety of ways.

Cardiovascular Health

Study after study shows that people who eat foods rich in potassium have a significantly lower risk of high blood pressure and related diseases like heart disease and stroke. Just one banana supplies your body with a whopping 400 mg of this heart-friendly mineral! But potassium isn’t the only nutrient in bananas that keeps your cardiovascular


system healthy. Both vitamin B6 and folate can help reduce elevated homocysteine levels, a known risk factor in the development of heart disease.

Helps Alleviate the Blues

Bananas don’t just contain key vitamins and minerals, they are also chockful of the amino acid tryptophan. Why is this important you ask? The fruit’s hefty dose of vitamin B6 helps convert its tryptophan content into the feel-good hormone serotonin. This helps boost your mood and also aids in getting sufficient sleep. Not surprisingly, because of its ability to raise serotonin levels, tryptophan has been used in the treatment of conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and depression. A recent Pakistani study found banana pulp did indeed have anti-anxiety and antidepressant affects and concluded that daily intake of the fruit may be a safe and valuable adjunct in the treatment of mild depression and anxiety.

Cancer Fighter

A recent large population study conducted in Sweden found that women who ate bananas four to six times per week reduced their risk of kidney cancer by 50 percent compared to women who rarely or never consumed the fruit.

Bone Health

Recent research suggests potassium, which abounds in bananas, can help increase bone mineral density in the

elderly and may play a significant role in the prevention of osteoporosis. Furthermore, preliminary animal studies indicate bananas’ mineload of manganese may also help stave off the crippling disease.

Buying Bananas

In the late 1990s, buying Fair Trade bananas became de rigueur for environmentally conscious consumers. Is the certification still relevant? You bet. In 2017, 96 percent of the Fair Trade banana farmers surveyed in Colombia said their working conditions and economic situation had improved since becoming Fair Trade. The certification ensures fair profits for small farmers and sustainable farming practices that protect the environment.

In the Kitchen

While bananas are undeniably delicious eaten as a snack or added to baked goods, there are other tasty ways to get their healing goodness. In many countries, they feature in savoury dishes like stews and casseroles. One of my favourite ways to use bananas is in a piquant salad. I simply mix sliced bananas with toasted pecans, chopped celery, diced red onions, and peppers and combine with a little mayo, lemon juice, and honey. Its heady mix of textures and tastes delights every time! I also find the fruit lends itself well to curries and moles. But don’t take my word for it—try Googling “savoury banana recipes” and experiment yourself. You’ll be surprised by the fruit’s “a-peeling” versatility!

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HAPPY HOUR Drinks that don’t require a dress code. Delight in $5 draught beer, $7 glasses of wine, and food features from $8. EVERYDAY 3PM – 6PM & 9PM – L ATE.




Vietnam’s Vibrant Street Food

The country’s icon dishes are best enjoyed outdoors against a backdrop of motorcycle horns and exhaust fumes.


recent trip to Vietnam gave me a new appreciation for alfresco dining. From the bustling cities of Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, you’ll find clusters of outdoor diners squatting on pint-sized plastic stools, hunched over steaming bowls of phở (pronounced fuh), Vietnam’s treasured noodle soup. For about $1.25 you can enjoy a restorative bowl of chicken or beef phở garnished with crisp lettuce, fresh bean sprouts, and fragrant herbs. Served with sliced limes, chopped garlic, Thai chilies, and an assortment of condiments (often sweet hoisin sauce and spicy sriracha), you can season phở to your liking. Altogether, it’s a harmonious blend of textures and flavours—Vietnam’s culinary character summed up in a bowl. Phở can be enjoyed indoors too, of course, but you’ll pay plenty more—and it’s hardly authentic without the backdrop of motorcycle horns, exhaust fumes, and plastic buckets to toss your napkins into. Traditionally a breakfast food, phở is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike throughout the day. Women tend enormous caldrons of bubbling stock over wood-burning fires along the city’s narrow corridors and impossibly busy streets. I sought out the most popular vendors, with the longest lines, eventually overcoming my concerns about food safety—there’s no getting squeamish when hunting down the best phở, even if you’re not sure what sort of knuckles are floating in the soup cauldron. Busy vendors toss handfuls of rice noodles and freshly cooked meat—pork, chicken, beef, or duck—into your bowl (often with the same hand that handled your money) before ladling the hot broth on top. There’s nothing pretentious about phở. The name phở, incidentally, is thought to have derived from the French stew pot au feu. Whether that’s accurate or not, the legacy of French colonization is evident throughout Vietnam. You can see it in the architecture, the patisseries, the ubiquitous bánh mì stalls (mini baguettes with pâté, pork, and pickled vegetables), and the country’s pervasive coffee culture.


Denise Marchessault S T Y L ING + PHO T OGR A PH Y

Deb Garlick

Despite the limitations of cooking in the open, street food is a thriving business. With no refrigeration, or room to store (or conceal) the food, a vendor’s livelihood is entirely transparent—and dependent on a swift turnover. In a competitive food market, that means super-fresh. You can smell your way to a good food stall: just follow the warm fragrance of phở, scented with star anise, cinnamon, and cloves, or the smoky aroma of charred pork (bun cha), the mouth-watering sizzle of crispy crèpes (báhn xèo) or wok-fried spring rolls (cha giò). Vietnam is a country perfumed with street food—and a vague whiff of diesel fuel. With more than 14 million motorcyclists in Hoi Chi Minh City and Hanoi alone (according to Vietnam’s DTI News), it’s no wonder face masks are a fashion accessory, in every style and colour imaginable. Regardless of the oppressive traffic and persistent smog, there’s a vibrancy to Vietnamese food that comes with an abundance of fresh produce. The tropical climate yields a breathtaking assortment of herbs, fruits, vegetables, and brightly coloured flowers, allowing outdoor markets to thrive year-round. Rain or shine, you can find women in traditional conical hats haggling over everything from live chickens to squirming eels and heaps of snails as tiny as peas. Stalls with every conceivable type of noodle sit next to those piled high with ginger, garlic, and chilies. You’ll even find takeout phở ladled into plastic baggies for motorcyclists on the go.

Ph ở is ser ved alongside crisp beansprouts, fresh lime, torn let tuce, refreshing herbs, crispy-fried shallots and an assor tment of condiments.

Vietnam has a raw splendour that I wanted to pack up in a suitcase to bring home. I’ve brought back two of my favourite recipes that capture the country’s essence: chicken phở and deep-fried spring rolls (cha giò), street food classics. A quick trip to an Asian food market (or a well-stocked grocer) and you, too, can enjoy the flavours of Vietnam. Plastic stools optional.


Spring Rolls In a medium bowl, combine the mushrooms, carrots, spring onions, chopped prawns, pork, salt, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar. Mix thoroughly with a spatula or your hands. Working with one wrapper at a time (cover the rest with a damp cloth), place a spring roll wrapper at an angle, like a diamond, with one point of the square facing you.

Crispy pork and shrimp spring rolls are wrapped in crisp greens and served with Nuoc Mam Cham, a vibrant dipping sauce.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls Makes about 14 3½-inch rolls.

These classic spring rolls are served alongside romaine lettuce leaves, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts. The rolls are enjoyed wrapped in the crisp lettuce, with torn herbs and sprouts added. Dipped in a refreshing sweet-tart dipping sauce, these spring rolls are additive. You can find the wrappers in the freezer sections of food stores carrying Asian ingredients, such as Fairway Market. You’ll need to thaw the pastry before getting started, so plan accordingly. A microplane makes mincing garlic and ginger easy work.

Spring Rolls ¾ cup finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, about 4 ounces ¾ cup finely chopped carrot, 1-2 carrots ⅓ cup finely chopped spring onions, about 6 onions 5 oz raw prawns, deveined and shells removed, roughly chopped 8 oz ground pork 1½ tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp regular salt) 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated or minced 1 tsp garlic, finely grated or minced 1 Tbsp fish sauce ¼ tsp granulated sugar 1 package frozen spring roll pastry wrappers (8-inch square), thawed Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Garnish Romaine lettuce hearts Fresh cilantro Fresh Thai basil Fresh mint Bean sprouts 26 MARCH/APRIL 2020

Place two tablespoons of the filling in the lower third of the wrapper, creating a log shape about 3½ inches long and 1 inch wide. Brush the lower point of the wrapper with a bit of water. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press to adhere. Fold both sides of the wrapper in to encase the filling, as pictured, then roll to create a tight log. Brush the top point of the wrapper with a bit of the water to seal. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. Pour about four inches of oil into a deep, heavybottomed saucepan. Heat the oil slowly until an instant-read thermometer reads 350°F, or when a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in one minute. (If the oil is too hot, the pastry will burn before the filling is cooked through.) Working with a few spring rolls at a time, carefully lower them into the oil, being mindful not to overcrowd the pan, which would render them soggy rather than crisp. Rotate with tongs or a fork to brown evenly, about 4-5 minutes. Place the cooked rolls on a paper towel to remove excess oil, then transfer to a low warm oven while cooking the remaining spring rolls. To serve: Wrap a warm spring roll in a crisp leaf of romaine lettuce. Garnish with fresh herbs and bean sprouts. Serve with nuoc mam cham.

Dipping Sauce – Nuoc Mam Cham ½ cup water 2 Tbsp sugar ¼ cup rice vinegar 4 garlic cloves, finely minced 1 Thai chili pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped 2 Tbsp fish sauce 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and mix to combine. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and set aside to cool. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. *If using a pre-sweetened seasoned rice vinegar, reduce the amount of sugar to taste.

Chicken Phở Serves 4-6.

Phở is all about the broth, so you’ll need to start with a flavourful homemade chicken (or beef) stock. (Boxed or canned stock will not do this soup justice.) If you need a chicken stock recipe, see Jan|Feb 2019 issue at Fresh rice noodles, available at Asian markets*, are a revelation! They have just the right texture and only need to be warmed in the hot broth. Don’t be tempted to omit the fish sauce; it provides a complex savoury flavour that’s essential to phở and many other Vietnamese dishes, including the preceding recipes. Fish sauce won’t make your phở taste fishy (despite its funky smell), and it lasts for ages in the refrigerator. Look for Golden Boy brand. Serve phở with chopsticks and spoons. Invite guests to first taste the aromatic broth before adding a spritz of fresh lime juice and a heap of sprouts, torn lettuce, and herbs. Mix the greens with chopsticks, then season to taste as desired with additional chili peppers, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, and crispy shallots. *Fairway Markets has a great selection of Asian ingredients.

Broth 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin removed and brought to room temperature before poaching 8 cups homemade unsalted chicken (or beef) stock ½ onion, sliced in two 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled 2 star anise 1 cinnamon stick, about 3 inches 2 cloves 1 tsp sugar 2 tsp kosher salt (omit if stock is salted) 2 tsp fish sauce 1 package 19.3 oz (550 g) fresh rice noodles (or more as desired)

Garnishes and Condiments 4 green onions, thinly sliced 2 limes, sliced 2 cups fresh bean sprouts 1 bunch fresh mint 1 bunch fresh cilantro 1 bunch Thai basil 4-5 leaves crisp romaine lettuce 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced 2 Tbsp chili sauce, such as sriracha 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce ¾ cup fried shallots, optional (see recipe next page)

Chicken Phở

to remove them quickly, otherwise

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer.

noodles between the bowls, top with

Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the onion and ginger in the dry pan until charred, turning them as necessary to ensure they are blackened on all sides. (They do not blacken evenly.) Add the star anise, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook until just fragrant, about a minute or two. Transfer the onion, ginger, and spices to the stock. Add the sugar, salt, and fish sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning, adding additional salt, if necessary. Use a slotted spoon or small sieve to remove and discard the onion, ginger, and spices.

they’ll fall apart.) Distribute the sliced chicken, and ladle stock over the top. Top with sliced green onions and allow guests to help themselves to fresh garnishes.

Crispy Shallots Makes about ¾ cup. Can be made up to

for spring

three days in advance. 1 cup thinly sliced shallots, about 2-3 large ¾ tsp kosher salt Vegetable oil for frying Spread the onions in a single layer on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and leave for about an hour or longer. Blot the onions dry with a clean paper towel. You need to remove all the moisture

Place the chicken in the simmering stock and gently poach until barely cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil. (The residual heat will continue to cook the chicken.) When ready to serve, thinly slice the chicken against the grain. (If the chicken is still pink in the centre, return the slices to the simmering stock until no pink remains.)

before frying the shallots, otherwise

When ready to serve, pull apart the fresh noodles and, working in batches, place them in a small colander or sieve and submerge them in the simmering stock until warmed through. (You need

and transfer to a clean paper towel. If

they won’t crisp. Heat about an inch of oil in a small



saucepan. Place a slice of shallot in

3 0 8 C AT H E R I N E S T


the oil to check the temperature—the oil should bubble when the shallot is added. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the shallots. Cook until just browned, then quickly remove with a slotted spoon the shallots are not completely crisp, transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray and dry in a low oven (175°F) until crisp, about 30 minutes.

18th Floor, Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites


Chicken Ph ở - Vietnam’s aromatic noodle soup.



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Kitchen Confidential for the #MeToo Era “Funny, bracing, disturbing, and above all necessary. Victoria reveals the best and darkest in who we are and how we dine. I couldn’t put it down.” —Bianca Bosker, New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork

Available now where books are sold


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Restaurant Roundup 900° Wood Fired Pizzeria Adrienne’s Restaurant & Tea Garden Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio Il Covo Trattoria Artisan Bistro

9OO° Wood-Fired Pizzeria “As close to perfection as it’s possible to get” - Where to Eat in Canada, 2019-2020 900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria in Langford is now considered one of the best restaurants in Canada, earning a spot in the famous Where to Eat in Canada for three years in a row. On top of that, the restaurant earns a “Good Buy” designation in the guide. Every table in the restaurant is within sight of the dramatic gold-coloured pizza oven, custom built in Naples, which offers forth sophisticated and exquisite pizzas. The very high heat sears in flavour and creates bubbly, thin crust Neapolitan-style pizzas. Thicker New York-style pizzas are another option, with firmer wood-scented crusts. Even gluten-friendly pizzas come out of the oven, with customers swearing the pizzas taste just like classic ones. These crusts serve as a base to each of the more than 30 unique and authentic Italian pizza combinations on the menu. Salsiccia Rossa is just one example of a classic Red Pizza, boasting house-made fennel sausage, cherry tomatoes that burst open in your mouth, garlic, thyme, and a swirl of house-made lemon olive oil, all on a base of tomato sauce. The White Signature Pizzas include the Foresta, with an earthy, creamy combination of mushrooms, gorgonzola, garlic, thyme, and Parmigiano.

The wines are imported directly from Italy – you cannot get them in the liquor store and often not even online – only here! A current favourite is the fresh and floral 2018 Chianti Zifolo, which is offered by the glass or the bottle. Even non-pizza lovers, if such people exist, can enjoy a taste of Italy by trying any of the 15 different daily specials, appetizers, and salads available. One example, the Scorched Tomatoes appetizer with wood-fired Roma tomatoes, ashed goat cheese, pesto, candied walnuts, fig-balsamic & garlic bread, is sure to please any palate. The desserts are irresistible, with rich layers of flavour on offer in the Raspberry Lemon Panna Cotta, Tiramisu, Truffles, and Flourless Chocolate Torte. And the Gelato and Sorbetto are sure to bring back travel memories of lingering on a piazza in Rome. Five years ago, 900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria was simply a surprise new contender in the Victoria food scene, tucked into an outdoor mall in Langford. Now, with many of the original staff still proud to be part of this culinary team, 900° is nationally recognized and providing a high calibre international experience to the lucky residents of the Victoria area. ELIZABETH MONK


2401-B Millstream Rd., Victoria, BC, Millstream Village




Adrienne’s Restaurant & Tea Garden In a city of fast-moving food trends, an establishment can rarely measure its time in decades. Adrienne's Restaurant and Tea Garden in historic Mattick's Farm can do just that. "Some of our senior customers have been coming since they were children," says owner, Sabine Schwaiger. Sabine bought the business eight years ago. Keeping to her roots, she has adapted several of her mother's original German recipes that they sell in the bakery, including the famous apple strudel and the decadent German cheesecake. "Most items we make in house, and we bake with real butter," says Sabine. "That's important to me. It's very German and traditional European." Also on offer in the bakery are cinnamon buns, scones, muffins, tortes, and cookies. And there is an ice cream parlour with 16 flavours of locally made ice cream. Adrienne's restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, a daily special ("The skillet special is extremely popular."), local beer, wine, and Adrienne's Tea Cocktails, and afternoon high tea. Famous for their Eggs Benedict, they offer their "build your own" Omelettes, and Classic Belgian Waffles as all-day breakfast. You can find some breakfast items all day in their Deli as well. "In the restaurant, our lunch is focused on local and sustainably harvested products and west coast cuisine, for example, our Vancouver Island Smoked Salmon Bagel, West Coast Style Seafood Crepes, Adrienne's Seafood chowder and Fanny Bay Oysters. We are known for our house-made soups and salad varieties, our newest addition, the Spa Salad!" They also serve Afternoon High Tea, a Tea Plate, and a Kid's Tea as well as a Kid's menu. Being a contributing member of their community is an important detail to the team at Adrienne's. Every year, the business gives back to a variety of local charities, including the Heart and Stroke Care and Cancer Care centres at Royal Jubilee Hospital and the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association.

5325 Cordova Bay Rd., Victoria, BC, Mattick’s Farm


"I have always felt that if you put a lot of effort, energy, pride, and enthusiasm into what you do, success will come," Sabine says. "I believe in good food, beverage, and hospitality. I think that's important and that's why I'm here." Adrienne’s is a warm, welcoming spot for a cup of tea and a slice of cake, a delicious breakfast or lunch, or just an ice cream cone of your favourite flavour! ADRIAN PARADIS




Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio Thanks to a stunning renovation and a tempting global small plates menu for every meal and palate, it’s a new era at Aura Restaurant at Inn at Laurel Point.


Think local Seacuterie with prawn and scallop mortadella, uni mousse and salmon speck. Picture BBQ Sambal Skate on a banana leaf with xo sauce and jicama slaw, or house-made Spam with crispy rice, and soft poached egg. Maybe Cauliflower ‘Risotto’ is more your style today, or a selection from the small plates dessert menu, including the banana Mille Feuille or Profiterole with salted egg custard and craquelin. Can’t decide on a wine? Relax, we’ve got 3oz pours so you can explore a few! Welcome to world travel for your tastebuds—for the curious and the social. Drop on by, happy hour crews and patio loungers. Small plates brunch? Only at Aura—we can’t wait to see you soon. GILLIE EASDON

680 Montreal St., Victoria, BC, Inn at Laurel Point




Il Covo Trattoria If you don’t know Il Covo in James Bay, this summer may be the perfect time to discover its picturesque garden patio, its welcoming atmosphere, and its authentic Italian cuisine. Beginning in March, you may also find something else there; they plan on building special menus around that most coveted ingredient, Italian truffles! While they will be importing white and black truffles from Italy to feature on the menus, Il Covo will still be staying true to its style of blending traditional Italian ingredients with regional produce and bounty. “It depends on how much our truffle supplier in Italy can find, but we would like to hold monthly events featuring the truffles we get,” says chef Rafael Laouini. “I like combining the Italian truffles with local seasonal ingredients.”

106 Superior St., Victoria, BC, in Historic James Bay


Building feature menus means being able to adapt to what is available. Laouini says he has planned an Italian carpaccio topped with grated black truffle, fresh tagliatelle with white truffle, and a beef tenderloin topped with black truffle. “I love working with truffles because it’s something different,” he says. With white truffle ranging between three to five thousand dollars a kilogram, Laouini says they are a precious ingredient, but one that will be fantastic to feature during the coming months. ADRIAN PARADIS




Artisan Bistro Daryl Pope is the chef behind the curtain and owner at Artisan Bistro in Broadmead Village. Feeling driven to cook good food due to food intolerances he had as a child (but grew out of), Pope studied at Camosun College, graduating from the Culinary Arts program with his Red Seal.

Today, he has gone back to his roots and his love of French cooking, and it is reflected in his menu. The bistro also hosts monthly wine dinners featuring a special four-course dinner and an inspired wine pairing. Also in attendance are the winemakers to talk about their wines. Chef Pope says, “It’s exciting to do the wine dinners, as I get to be more creative and inventive with the food, and the kitchen team can learn from unique ingredients and dishes.” With more wine dinners planned and the ever-changing seasonal menu, 2020 is proving to be an exciting year at the Artisan Bistro.. ADRIAN PARADIS

777 Royal Oak Dr, Victoria, BC, Broadmead Village


Pope entered into an apprenticeship at the Aerie Resort under executive chef Christophe Letard. There he gained a strong background in French cooking before he moved on to increase his range of experiences—he worked at the English Inn Resort, and as restaurant chef at the

Hotel Grand Pacific as well as at the Westin Hotel in Edmonton. Pope was also a finalist in the 2011 Chef of the Year Canada competition, winning third place. It was while working as sous chef at the Victoria Golf Club that Pope met his future financial partners and the Artisan Bistro was born.




fol epi celebrating a decade of organic baking

Celebration We baked a cake!


Rebecca Wellman


Lemon Cream Layer Cake

Happy 21st Anniversary to EAT Magazine! In celebration, let’s make (and eat) a cake! I’ve always been that girl who eats the cake but leaves a border of icing on the plate. I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, so when dessert is in order, I will leave the sugary-sweet stuff behind and reach for the citrus and the cream. The lemon curd is a stand-alone recipe and is excellent over ice cream, spooned into a pastry crust, or as a quick-to-satisfy spoonful. The cake is versatile, too, and can easily be layered with raspberry jam or chocolate or iced with a simple icing sugar frosting. In any case, it suits a celebration of any kind.

Lemon Curd Makes about 2 cups 3 large egg yolks 1 large egg ¾ cup granulated sugar Pinch of salt ½ cup fresh lemon juice ¼ cup unsalted butter, diced In a medium-sized pot, whisk together all the eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon juice until well blended and smooth. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, 10-12 minutes. Add the butter and decrease heat to low. Continue whisking until butter is melted and mixture is shiny, smooth, and thick, about 5 more minutes. Curd will thicken significantly once fully cooled. Remove from heat and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Place covered in fridge until ready to use. (This is good to make a day ahead.)

Cake Serves 8-10 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp sea salt ¾ cup butter at room temperature 1¾ cups granulated sugar 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 5 large egg whites at room temperature ½ cup full-fat plain yogurt 1 cup whole milk Heat oven to 350°F and grease two 9-inch round cake pans (or three 6-inch). Line with parchment paper. Grease and flour parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or with a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat at high speed until well mixed, about 3 minutes more, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the yogurt and beat for one minute more. Lower the speed to low (don’t forget to turn down the speed for this step or you will have flour and batter all over the kitchen!) and blend in flour mixture until just mixed. Add milk and blend again at medium speed until just blended. Pour evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean and top is golden brown, 30-40 minutes (depending on pan size). Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let sit until completely cool.

Frosting To make a whipping cream icing that is stable, one that holds up and doesn’t melt right off your cake, it’s necessary to add a bit of gelatine to the cream. If you prefer not to do that, you can cut the cake into wedges and simply serve with a dollop of the frosting mixture below, made without the gelatine. 1 Tbsp Knox unflavoured gelatine 3 cups whipping cream ¾ cup icing sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract Pour the gelatine into a glass measuring cup. Whisk in ¼ cup of lukewarm water until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, whip together the cream, icing sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Very slowly, drizzle in the gelatine (if it’s too thick to pour, add another tablespoon of lukewarm water), continuing to whip at medium-high speed until stiff peeks form.

Assemble Place one 9-inch cake on a cake stand or plate. Slather evenly with ¼ - 1/3 cup of the lemon curd then top with the second cake. (You will have some curd leftover – a good thing). Some of the curd may squish out, but that’s OK—ice over top of any that leaks over the edge. Using an offset spatula, ice the entire cake. Embellish with edible flowers, candles, or sparklers if you’re really fancy. Slice and serve. *If you are baking 6-inch cakes, use 3 Tbsp to ¼ cup of the lemon curd on the first layer, set a second cake on top, slather with another 3 Tbsp to ¼ cup, then top with the third cake. Ice the entire cake with the frosting. 35

Exceptional Eats! Readers’ Choice Awards The polls are closed. The results are in. Who won the hearts and taste buds of Vancouver Island? Readers cast their votes for their favourites. In some categories, the margin between winners was knife thin, while in others there were clear favourites. Congratulations to all EE winners and to the amazing food and drinks industry here on the island. Please, dear reader, support your favourite food and drink establishments, try some new ones, and enjoy.


Fol Epi won three awards: Bes t Place to Buy Bread, Bes t Place to Buy Pas tries, and Guilt y Pleasure—S weet On You


Chef of the Year

Castro Boateng This is not Chef Castro’s first award of late. Over the past few years, this West African born chef has made a name for himself. With the 2018 opening of his restaurant House of Boateng in Victoria’s west shore, Chef Castro has found the opportunity to serve us his food seven days a week, inspired by his West African roots and the incredible bounty that Vancouver Island offers. His cooking is unique, seasonal, and presented beautifully. While House of Boateng is currently serving only breakfast, lunch and brunch, we hear rumours of dinner plans. Castro, we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Runners-up: Rob Cassels, Brain Tessolin and Chris Klassen SHERRI MARTIN

Restaurant of the Year & Hall of Fame Inductee

Brasserie L’Ecole

Brasserie L’Ecole remains one of Victoria’s top restaurants for its classic, consistent and quality food, atmosphere and service. It is classy yet unpretentious, intimate, but not stuffy, bustling without being overwhelming. And they nail it. Every. Single. Time. Nestled amongst the shops of Victoria’s Chinatown, Brasserie has been serving us since 2002. Chefs have moved on, and staff has changed, but the owner and sommelier Marc Morrison remains the friendly face who greets us each evening. Their success is evident by the fact that we are all JACQUELINE DOWNEY

willing to stand in line for an evening with them. So now, with 6 consecutive Restaurant of the Year wins, Brasserie L'Ecole deserves not only the award for Restaurant of the Year 2020 but has earned the Gary Hynes Award of Excellence in the Exceptional Eats! Hall of Fame.

Runners-up: Olo, Zambri’s 37

Best Lunch & Neighbourhood Gem

The Exceptional Eats! Hall Of Fame

Part & Parcel

2020 Lifetime Achievement Award

Shawn Soole

Co-owners Grant and Anna Gard have changed the face of Quadra Village. So much so that they have won 2 awards! Not only are they the best place for lunch, but they are also that neighbourhood gem to wander over to when you need an outstanding lunch (or dinner) that requires zero fussiness. If you need to impress your out of town friends, take them here.

Runners-up: Lunch: Boom + Batten, Paul’s Diner by Fol Epi · Neighbourhood Gem: Fernwood Inn, Stage


Best Beer Store & Best Wine Store

Vessel Liquor Store SHERRI MARTIN


Runners-up: Beer: Cascadia, Cook Street Liquor · Wine: Everything Wine, Cascadia


If you are familiar with the hospitality industry in Victoria, then cocktail VIP Shawn Soole is likely a recognizable name. You may have tried one of the spirits he’s helped to create (Sheringham Akvavit, Legend Distilling Naramaro, and Phillips Fermentorium Stump Gin, to name a few). You may have spotted Shawn at one of the many bars he has helped design (both locally and abroad), or maybe you've read one of the two cocktail books he’s written (he co-wrote Cocktail Culture in 2013 and in fall of 2019 released his own: Great Northern Cocktails). Or perhaps you’ve sat across from Shawn as he's served you one of his own unique and delicious drinks in establishments he has opened himself (Little Jumbo, Foxtrot Tango Whiskey Bar). This only touches on the strides he has made in the industry that make him one of Victoria’s most important players in introducing us all to a cocktail culture to rival the big cities. His big presence, easy smile, and enthusiasm for the industry are infectious, and for a guy so young, he has accomplished a great deal. As luck and hard work would have it, he shows no signs of stopping. Congratulations Shawn! Your award is well deserved.

You read right—Vessel took both these awards. For all your beer and your wine requirements, Vessel has what you need (and often what you think you don’t need, but walk out with anyway). From the obscure and hard-to-find to your favourite standbys, Vessel is the place to go. Not only do they provide a fantastic selection, but they are also locally owned, which makes them even better.

Delicious & Nutritious, Feed Me!

Restaurant Cooking Local

People often associate delicious food with naughty indulgence. Nourish has proven those people wrong by allowing us to keep our virtue intact and enjoy fare that is pleasing to the palate. Even their cocktails have a healthy twist, utilizing their housemade ferments, fresh juices, and a feature flower essence. Where else can you go where you leave completely satisfied and feeling great. Win-win.

Olo’s owner and chef, Brad Holmes, has been dedicated to sustainable farming practices and supporting growers of local fare since he opened in Victoria’s Chinatown in 2010 (Olo was then known as Ulla). Throughout the change from chef-driven cuisine to a more farm-to-table approach, Olo’s commitment to seasonal, local and high quality hasn’t missed a beat.

Runners-up: Be Love, Green Cuisine

Runners-up: 10 Acres, Part & Parcel



Virtuous Pie Runners-up: Chorizo, Boom + Batten

Cat-Out-of-the-Bag: Best Undiscovered Gem


Runners-up: Porto Osteria, Uchida

Best Place to Buy Bread & Best Place to Buy Pastries

Fol Epi

Runners-up: Bread: Frys, Cobbs Pastries: Crust, Pattisserie Daniel

Best Coffee Purveyor

Discovery Coffee won all three categories Runners-up: Favourite all round purveyor: Fernwood Coffee, Café Fantastico Favourite neighbourhood coffee shop: Hide & Seek, Hey Happy Favourite close-to-work coffee shop: Habit, Bows & Arrows

You Brought Wine

Unsworth Vineyards



Best New Addition to the Food and Drink Scene

Gilded Gatherings

Touring Around

Runners-up: Culinaire, Dine Around

Runners-up: Sea Cider, Unsworth Vineyards

Brewery & the Beast

Merridale Cider

Best Front-Of-House Crew

Place For Appys & Cocktails

TIE: Brasserie L’Ecole /Olo


Runners-up: Veneto Lounge, Little Jumbo /Sherwood

Runners-up: Boom + Batten, The Courtney Room

Lounge Lizard

Innovative Beverage of the Year

Runners-up: Veneto, Little Jumbo


Sheringham Lumette Alt-Gin

Best Caterer


Runners-up: Sheringham Kazuki Gin, Kombucha

Runners-up: Truffles, Little Piggy TYSON AIRAKSINEN PHOTOGRAPHY

(Charme De L’Ile/Pinot Noir)

Runners-up: Averill Creek Vineyard (Pinot noir), Rathjen Cellars (Pinot Noir)


Outstanding Local Beer of the Year

Hoyne Dark Matter Runners-up: Fat Tug, Il Sauvage




Great Pizza Pie

Best Local Food Product or Ingredient

Runners-up: Standard Pizza, 900 Degrees Pizzeria

Runners-up: Salmon, Spot Prawns

Prima Strada

Best Street Food

Best Place to Buy Meat

Runners-up: Tacofino, Burger Crush

Runners-up: Village Butcher, The Whole Beast


Best Place to Buy Fish

Runners-up: Big Wheel Burger, Chuck’s Burgers/The Pink Bicycle

Runners-up: Oak Bay Seafood, Thrifty Foods

Best Place to Buy Cheese

Runners-up: The Farmhouse (Reuban), Salt and Pepper Fox (Bahn Mi)

Runners-up: Ottavio, Choux Choux


“Bang On” Brunch

I’m Health Conscious


Whole Foods

Runners-up: The Ruby, The Village

Runners-up: Root Cellar, Lifestyles

Guilty Pleasure—Sweet On You

Best Local Spot for Your Kitchen /Dining Room Needs

Fol Epi (Croissants)

Runners-up: Cold Comfort (ice cream Sandwich), Crust bakery (Cronut)

Dish Under $15


Runners-up: Fishhook, Green Cuisine

Best Take-Out/Delivery

Cook Culture

Runners-up: Capital Iron, Penna

Best Pub to Take a Kid

TIE: Fernwood Inn/Six Mile Pub Runners-up: Spinnakers, Penny Farthing

Take out - 900 Degrees Pizzeria

Sour, Neat, Dirty and New

Delivery – Romeo’s

Runners-up: Watermelon A Love Story – The Courtney Room, Bootstrap – Cenote

Best Specialty Food Store

Oh, My Head. Need Water, Need ____________. Best Hang-Over Cure

Runners-up: Foo, Royal Spice

Runners-up: 900 Degrees Pizzeria, Oregano’s Pizza


Runners-up: Fig, Farm & Field

Best Stall at a Market

Killer Beez – Veneto

Eggs Benny from too many places to list Runners-up: Burgers or Big Breakfasts – bowls, eggs and bacon, waffles, hash – you like it all

Haus Sausage (Sausages)

Cooking Class or School

Runners-up: Sheringham (gin), Fierce Love (veggies)

Thai Cooking Classes at The London Chef

Best Farm Stand

A Year of Living Sustainably

Runners-up: Dan’s Farmstand, Sunwing Tomatoes

Runners-up: Zero Waste Emporium, Top Soil


FAS (Finest at Sea)

Sandwich Me

Part and Parcel (Chicken Kamut)

Join us for upcoming events. Details at:

Farm & Field

The Burger Is A Thing Of Beauty

Bin 4

We’re Back!

Haus Sausage

Big Wheel Burger

The Next Big Thing More plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian foods; that is what the majority voted. Signaling a move to eating less, but better sourced, proteins, the answers were more about moderation in everything. Non-alcohol or low alcohol drinks were on a few minds, as was cooking with cannabis, and preserves. Some people also mentioned no seafood due to health and environmental concerns. Being Social You are a loyal group of readers! Besides naming EAT Magazine as number one (we’re blushing!) and following most of our contributors (past and present), you follow Tasting Victoria, Vic Food Guys, too many of the local restaurants and bars to name, and a scattering of other interesting people—@LanceWildcraft, @DennistheFoodie, and @Leilalikes, to name a few. And you do it all primarily on Instagram. Worst Trend of 2019 Y’all had a lot to say! Your answers ran the gamut—some of you are over the Keto diet. Mini burgers and huge burgers. Fake meat and kale. Sweet cocktails and sour sauces.



Get fired up for spring! 250.592.0823 ∙ 2577 Cadboro Bay Road 40 MARCH/APRIL 2020

Best New Trend of 2019 I’ll let you have the last word. Thank you, EAT readers, you are the best. “A continual striving by our chefs and managers to be local and interesting.” “Awesome to see so many lists of local suppliers on menus, great way to know how attentive the restaurant is to their community as well to find some new stops!” “Collaborations of different chefs and bartenders supporting each other in the local community.” “Communal dinners; farm dinner events (Cowichan); nose-to-tail cooking; producing very low waste/garbage in restaurants and home; getting rid of single-use plastic items.” “Ethically and sustainably sourced meat and dairy.” “Interesting takes on special diet needs - without making people feel embarrassed.” “Periodic profit donations to charity (Cold Comfort donated their December 2019 scooped ice cream profits to the Umbrella Society).” “That a lot of small food and drink businesses spring up. I’m always impressed by people taking it upon themselves to open a restaurant, brewery, or run a farm. And that you could actually get a good mocktail!” “Ugly fruit and vegetables on store shelves resulting in less food waste.”




Treading lightly on the Earth.

Adrien Sala

s I write this article, Australia is

(opposite Victoria Public Market) carries a wealth of

considerations in how you stock it. Ideally, you want

being decimated by wildfires linked

everyday items that when bought in traditional stores

to avoid plastics as much as possible. In many cases,

to climate change, a 17-year-old from

are wrapped in the dreaded soft plastics that are a

bamboo is a nice substitute for cooking utensils.

Sweden is making us all look bad for

burden on the recycling system. At the Emporium,

Abeego Wraps, the beeswax cloth wraps made by a local

our fossil fuel addiction, and turtles every-

they have multiple reusable container options that

Victoria company, can be used over and over again,

where are busy blowing microplastics out of

you pay a small deposit on and use to buy every-

helping you avoid single-use plastic wrapping.

their noses—which is to say, it’s a tough time

thing from fresh peanut butter and cooking oils,

for the planet.

to veggies, ice cream, and dish soap. You’re

As a result, many of us are starting to think a lot more about our impact. There is now more than ever a growing interest, if not urgency, in finding ways to lessen our footprints. The migration away from fossil fuel will certainly help, but the climate

welcome to bring your own containers and they will subtract the weight of them when measuring. Other good options for stores like this

in our lives anymore,” says Doucette. Her advice is to use glass containers, like Mason jars, to store leftovers. They stack well, are food safe, and very reusable.

are The Bulk Barn’s two locations in Victoria and the

One of the more sinister scourges over the past several

Westshore and Westcoast Refill on Broad Street.

years are coffee pods. In the US alone, sales of coffee

crisis isn’t just about burning carbon. It’s also

“What’s cool to see is that these stores are being

about plastics. And food waste. And adopting

able to keep their doors open. People want to

better consumer practices so that one day we

reduce their own waste.”

don’t wind up poisoning our food supply.

“There’s just no need to have plastic wrap or Ziploc bags

pod machines soared over the past decade, from 1.8 million in 2008 to 20.7 million in 2018. And according to research done by Halo, a British producer of compostable coffee capsules, every minute about 29,000 of

Another consideration is the packaging on meat. In

the pods are dumped into landfill sites. But don’t fret!

To better understand how we as individuals can make

bigger stores, meat is often packed on Styrofoam and

There are two options that will help. First, reusable

more sustainable choices in our home kitchens, I

liquid absorbers, then wrapped in plastic. And

silicon pods in which you can add your own coffee are

met with Jill Doucette, founder and CEO of Synergy

cashiers will often double-wrap it for the jour-

readily available. And secondly, several pod producers

Enterprises, a consulting firm based in Victoria that

ney home. It’s an unnecessary amount of plastic

are now packaging in fully recyclable aluminum. Both

works with companies and organizations around

and waste.

are better options than traditional plastic pods.

Shopping at independent butchers, such as Farm


and Field Butcher on Blanshard Street, helps solve

Most of Jill Doucette’s advice is fairly common sense,

that problem. There, you can have your meat (which is

when it comes down to it. Use less, think about what

all super high quality, by the way) wrapped in butcher

you’re buying and how it’s packaged. Avoid waste. But

paper, instead of plastic. There are still some

like with a lot of healthy decisions in our lives, it can be

concerns with butcher paper, as it can’t easily

hard to do a complete turnaround in one fell swoop.

the globe to build strategies for sustainable business practices. Doucette is also the co-founder of the Food Eco District (FED), a Victoria-based initiative whose members include restaurants like Agrius, Zambri’s, Foo Asian Street Food, and many more. Restaurants in the FED are awarded certification based on a proven commitment to reducing their impact on the environment in myriad ways. “Consumer awareness is growing and people are wanting solutions,” says Doucette, who adds that as a first step, we should consider our blue bins. “When we put our blue bins out on the street every two weeks, most of that comes from the kitchen. I think it’s possible for every household to cut their blue bin volume down by half.” THOUGHTFUL SHOPPING One of the best ways to start lessening your output is to begin at the consumer level. The majority of us have already transitioned to reusable bags, which is a big step, but going a little further will make even more of an impact. “Places like the Zero Waste Emporium are a great place to get a lot of the items you need,” Doucette explains. Zero Waste Emporium on Douglas Street

be recycled, but it is, as Doucette says, a much better option. Another smart idea when shopping is to think about an item’s longevity. Tomato paste is a good example. A lot of it is sold in tins, the smallest of which generally hold way more paste than most recipes call for, resulting in it going bad before it can be used and winding up in the bin. Think instead about purchasing things like tomato or anchovy paste in metal squeeze tubes. They last longer and are recyclable. “We also get some great tips from The Root Cellar,” says Doucette, “like creating a smoothie bag for your freezer. If you have fruit that’s on its last day, but is still good, just chop it up and put it in your bag. The same goes for stocks.”

The intention and desire to make significant changes can feel overwhelming. Understand this: it’s not your fault. From the 1950s onward, we’ve been conditioned to use plastic wrap and plastic bags. Our lives of convenience have been predicated on single-use packaging that magically goes into the garbage or recycling bin never to be seen again. And that kind of conditioning takes time to change. It’s habitual and most habits are hard to break—but it can be done. So rather than going whole hog and trying to become the environmental warrior 2020 needs out of the gate, you might be better off making small changes. Tackle simple thing first: like getting some reusable cloth produce bags that you keep with your shopping bags. When you start looking at things through the lens of its impact with


less pressure on yourself, the shift toward a zero waste

Thoughtful shopping will certainly help

kitchen is more likely to take hold. And who knows,

mitigate the amount of plastics and waste

maybe by the end of the year, you’ll be cutting down on

you bring into your kitchen, but there are also

your blue bin content by half. ILLUSTRATIONS: ISTOCK.COM/OIXXO


Food (and Travel!) Matters



A jaunt through the Lisboa wine region reveals unique wines and foods touched by Portugal’s connection to the sea. THE OVERNIGHT FLIGHT TO PORTUGAL was bumpy. The person next to me grumbled throughout (turbulence, food, no smartphone outlet, etc. etc.), which added to the unsettledness. By 7 a.m. arrival I was cranky, tired—and famished. By 3:30 p.m., however, all bumps were forgotten. I and two other writers, our host Joana, and intrepid navigator Maria (who, I would soon learn, could probably manoeuvre an army tank through a narrow JULIE PEGG

alley) had just lunched at Adraga restaurant right on the beach in the tiny marine wine region of Colares. It was the first day of a media wine jaunt through the Lisboa wine region (known as Estremadura until 2009), about an hour’s drive from Lisbon. The restaurant’s dead-plain exterior and interior belied some of the finest fish and shellfish to emerge from a kitchen:

difficult to find in North America as it is to pluck the flesh from those gooseneck barnacles.

grilled whole fish, clams, the sweet meat of gooseneck barnacles resembling little horse

I’m just lucky to taste them right here, right now. I do care that much of the vine land years

hooves. The white wines were the perfect seafood match—herbal, citrus, and as saline as the

ago was given over to upmarket real estate. Only a few hectares of vines remain.

pounding surf.

We taste through several local wines at Viúva Gomes, which has been in the Baeta family since

We strolled the beach following lunch, my toes sifting through sand finer than flour, the

1988 and, until recently, an aging facility for local cooperative wines. Now father José Baeta

wind whipping my hair to one side. The sea’s salty tang worked like a shot of adrenaline. I

with son Diogo has revitalized the making of Colares wine on site. That’s encouraging news.

was geared up for our wine tasting.

I’d always looked to Portugal for its fine Oporto ports from grapes grown in the Douro

Salinity is the hallmark of Colares wines, whose vines rather than maturing on trellises,

Valley. I’d also become increasingly enamoured with Douro’s dry red wines. That lush

snake along the sand towards the cliff’s edge high above the sea. Traditional DOC Colares

vineyards and such a diversity of wines and wineries, boutique and corporate, were within

wines are made from Malvasia de Colares for white and Ramisco for red. Wines from other

reach of the capital had escaped me. In fact, Lisboa is the largest producer of the country’s

varieties must be labelled Vinho Regional Lisboa. I care not a whit that the wines are as

wine. Arinto, Fernão Pires, and Vital traditional grapes often dominate white wines. For reds they are Aragonêz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional. In 2004, ex-pat Brit and former sound engineer Christopher Price and his German wife, Helga Wagner, founded the organic Vinhos Cortém, which is little more than a rough-hewn stone house at the end of a curvy road atop a hill. The couple takes on nearly all the growing, winemaking, and bottling. As we ready ourselves for tasting at the sturdy wood table, Helga sets out home-cured olives and feta bruschetta, while Chris, also a wry raconteur, punctuates our tastings (one of which is an unusual and gutsy blend of Aragonêz, Tannat, and Petit Verdot) with anecdotes of life in the British music biz, before Cortém. It’s hard to bid tchau (ciao) to this quirky, chatty couple. I’d much rather bunk down in the airy open guest room with the gauzy canopied bed. Two days on I feel the same about departing Quinta do Pinto. I could easily wile away the evening in one of those rocking chairs on the veranda of the old estate’s villa, sipping a glass or three of berry-laden Touriga Nacional and inhaling the gentle sea breeze. Ana Cardoso Pinto, and sister Rita, as well as a close-knit team of collaborators, farm and look after Quinta do Pinto’s “rancho.” Ana, architect-turned-sommelier, tells us the name Pinto refers not only to the family name but also to an antique gold coin used to pay for wine from the region back in the day. I’ve no rocking chair. No front porch. But I did come away with a bottle of Touriga Nacional. I will enjoy it on a summer’s eve, perhaps with grilled chourico, a JULIE PEGG

simple salad, and fond memories. Adega Mae and Casa Santos Lima are the antithesis of boutique. These sleek, low, corporate structures produce and house a multitude of smart-looking brands under their umbrellas—or adegas as it were (I can’t fathom how all that branding business works.)


Fortunately, a few Casa Santos Lima labels reach BC’s wine shop shelves. They are terrific value and ideal for quaffing with caldo verde, Portugal’s rustic kale and chickpea soup, pork and clams (another of the country’s classic dishes,), and cod cakes, or knock ’em back with Wednesday pizza and Friday fish and chips. Adega Mae is the brainchild of salt cod magnate Bernardo Alves and a homage to family matriarch Manuela Alves. (Mae means mother.) The walls of the ultra-modern facility are cut out to allow for large glimpses of the hills and vineyards. It’s as though I’m looking at a living piece of framed art. Barely do we sit down to lunch with winemaker Diogo Lopez when a sudden stop is put to the proceedings. Anthony Bourdain’s death has just hit the news. We are shocked, saddened, and silent. Eventually, glasses hoisted, we toast Bourdain, figuring he would have enjoyed tucking into the splendid roasted cod, steamed greens, and buttery potatoes as much as we do. Dory, a blend of traditional Arinto and Fernao Pires grapes and a dollop of not-so-traditional Viognier is the perfect match for the meal. No doubt, Bourdain would have also marched away with a few tins of the local sardines. I certainly did. Quinta do Sanguinhal, family-owned since 1926, has that certain graceful unpretentiousness that comes with established property—the 19th-century garden, with its enormous old tree, the tiny chapel across from the family house, the heritage buildings, and the rambling stone cellar, which doubles as tasting room and wine shop. Our tasting is a lineup of Sanguinhal wines and wines from the family’s other two estates, Quinta das Cerejeiras and Quinta de San Francisco. A casual spread of ham, sausage, egg tarts, and bread is just the ticket for this informal but no less informative tasting. (Good news. Some Sanguinhal wines are available in BC private wine shops courtesy of AmoVino wine agency.) A modest alcohol underpins Sôttal, a tasty alternative to Vinho Verde. From the Cerejeiras estate comes gulpable red, white, and, my favourite, the rosé. Shelling out a few more dollars rewards with Cerejeiras Reserva Branco or Quinta de San Francisco Tinto. The trip ends as it began, with wines culled from just a few remaining hectares of vines, which too were sacrificed for the sake of real estate. This time the wines are fortified sweet beauties from the Oeiras municipality in Carcavelos, just minutes from the city and just the thing to accompany pastéis de nata, those little, flaky, delicious, iconic Portuguese custard tarts. But it’s time to leave. My knowledge (and waist) have expanded immensely. The return flight is smooth. My seat companion and I share a lot of interests. In fact, we have stayed JULIE PEGG

in touch. All is wonderfully righted. Should Lisbon and wine travel be somewhere in your travel plans, as a return visit is for me, I’d push them right to the head of the queue.


Fry Baby Comfort food with a healthy twist.


Isabelle Bulota 44 MARCH/APRIL 2020


t may seem counterintuitive to suggest that fried chicken can be healthy—it’s certainly thought of as more of a comfort food. But what if I told you that with a few simple changes, some of our favourite foods can be enjoyed with a little less guilt—even fried chicken? The key is replacing a few classic ingredients in our pantries with healthier alternatives; swap white flour for quinoa flour and fry in avocado oil, and you’ve got a healthier modification that provides all the comforts of traditional fried chicken. Quinoa has become incredibly popular among health-conscious

people and is an excellent source of vegetable protein. Avocado oil also has many benefits, largely related to its antioxidant and healthy fat content. The best way to balance the meal is to enjoy a nutrient-rich and tasty green salad. Both Brussels sprouts and micro-greens provide many health benefits and important nutritional value. Kefir milk is a fermented drink made from cow or goat milk. Rich in nutrients and probiotics, it is very beneficial for digestion and intestinal health. The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are also numerous; among other things, it has the power to regulate transit, helping to renew the intestinal flora and stimulate digestion. It is even said to prevent ulcers. Sunflower seeds are rich in fibre and are especially valuable for their vitamin B content. These foods choices are good additions to any diet where tasty, healthy meals are called for. Bon appétit!

Kefir and Quinoa Fried Chicken

Press each side of the chicken into the flour mixture, making sure the chicken is well coated, and place on a tray.

1½ cups of kefir milk 2 eggs 3 garlic cloves 2 tsp sea salt ½ tsp ground black pepper 1 small bouquet garni of fresh herbs (not chopped, as per method) 8 chicken thigh fillets, trimmed Avocado oil for frying

Fry chicken in batches until crispy, golden and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. If the oil gets too hot, add a little more oil. Once cooked, place the chicken on a rack in a preheated oven at 140°C (275°F) and keep warm until ready to serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Flour seasoning 2 cups quinoa flour 1 tsp sea salt ½ tsp ground black pepper 2 tsp paprika 1 Tbsp fennel seeds, crushed 1 tsp cayenne Avocado oil, for frying Lemon wedges, optional In a mixer, combine and blend together the kefir milk, eggs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place the marinade in a shallow bowl and add the chicken and the bouquet garni of fresh herbs, toss to combine and refrigerate, covered, for 2 to 8 hours.

Sprinkle with additional salt and serve with a lemon wedge, if desired.

The Greens Serves 4.

8 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced Fennel leaves 4 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced 8 red grapes, sliced Mixed micro-greens

Toppings 200g blue cheese, crumbled Roasted sunflower seeds In a large bowl, arrange Brussels sprouts, fennel, fennel leaves, cucumber, grapes, cheese. Drizzle with Creamy Kefir Milk Dressing.

Fill a large frying pan one-third full of oil (about 1inch deep), and place over medium high heat until the temperature reaches 170°C (325°F) on a frying thermometer. While the oil is heating, place the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, fennel seeds, and cayenne on a large platter and stir to combine.

Creamy Kefir Milk Dressing

Remove chicken from kefir milk mixture, allowing excess liquid to drain, discard the herbs, and the marinade.

Place kefir, mustard, vinegar, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk together.

Makes 1 cup. 1 cup kefir milk 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


BAR 101

DIY BITTERS The art of tincturing and blending for the perfect cocktail.


n excellent cocktail is like a well-composed dish. The spirit is the protein, the sugars are the fats, the acids are, well, the acids, and bitters, my friend, are the spice rack. Like salt in a soup, these little marvels that work their magic



Nate Caudle

Kyle Guilfoyle

through dasher tops or dropper vials can instantly change the complexion of a drink (or

along with gentian (a bitter root bark), make it an umbrella solution for cocktails that need a

food for that matter) and add another layer of depth.

little extra punch.

How many times have you fiddled around at home and MacGyvered a cocktail that ended up

Sometimes though, in the pursuit of the perfect custom cocktail, we need a flavour aug-

being pretty good, but ultimately was kind of flat and one-dimensional? But then some-

menter that isn’t readily available at our local merchant. So what do we do? We make our

times, out of some divine inspiration, we reach for that yellow-capped misfit from Trinidad

own. Let me guide you through the process I go through when I need bitters to harmonize a

we bought at the grocery store years back. With a cheap paper label too big for its bottle,

concept and bridge ingredients together.

it sits sequestered with the Caesar rimmer and the Hypnotiq from that house party two years ago. Bravely, with a violent shwack, we dash its unifying essence and thusly save our

There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to making bitters:

cocktail from mediocrity.

The First: Throw everything into a jar together with some booze and pray it works out.

Angostura aromatic bitters are, simply put, the gold standard for flexibility in this field. If

Being an instinctual person, I can appreciate the cavalier nature of this approach and trust-

ever you stumble across a recipe that calls for “bitters” and does not specify a type, this is

ing your gut. That being said, way too many variables come into play and we need to take

what you use. The unique blend of warming winter spices (clove, cinnamon, cardamom),

some steps to control what is going on.


Extraction is a funny process. Star anise will seep out faster than dried apricots. Dried lavender will imbue faster than fresh lemongrass. Depending on moisture content and the nature of your botanicals, they all have different clocks when it comes to times for steeping. Because of this, I highly advise against the one-shot, one-kill method of preparing your cocktail bitters.

The Second: Tincture, tinker, tailor. For the utmost control of your flavours, I strongly recommend a three-jar approach.

THE BASE TINCTURE This is the hero element of your bitters, and the one flavour you want to showcase most (apricot, lavender, coffee, hops, strawberry, etc.). You’re going to simply isolate said element with as many different layers of that flavour as you can (i.e., if you are making apricot bitters, try to get dried, as well as fresh fruit). Once packed into a 500 mL jar, fill the jar with a clean vodka of choice, or a very high ABV neutral grain spirit like Everclear. The choice between the two doesn’t matter much, it just becomes a matter of time. Seventy-five percent liquor will extract quicker than 40 percent vodka, basically taking days to infuse, not weeks. Agitate every day to maximize surface area contact, and taste regularly until desired flavour is present.

THE HIGHLIGHT BOTANICAL TINCTURE These are the supporting cast members. They lift the profile of your bitters and keep them from being flat. A good mental approach is viewing your base tincture through a culinary


lens. Say you’re making some strawberry bitters; a little black peppercorn and dried basil really lift it to the next level. A foolproof set of flavours for a good secondary layer to almost any custom bitter is dried citrus peel (orange and lemon), coriander, clove, vanilla, star anise, and cinnamon. Use these together and they will stack massive flavour for you.

THE BITTER TINCTURE This is what separates the term “bitters” from a tincture. Tinctures are simply an element in alcohol. Cocktail bitters add depth by drying out and spicing with medicinal digestive root barks and herbs. Three common and easily attainable ways to do this are with:

Wormwood Artemisia absinthium, the key element in absinthe and traditional vermouths.

Cinchona Bark The “fever tree” that gave us quinine, the treatment for malaria and the bitter flavour in a good tonic water.

Gentian Root The dry, almost dusty ingredient that gives Campari and Suze their signature aperitif flavour. All herbs are available at Self Heal Herbal Centre, 1106 Blanshard St., Victoria. Once isolated in alcohol, and fully extracted, proceed to strain through a tea strainer or cheesecloth. You now have full control to blend your three jars to the desired final product. A good ratio to follow for smaller batches is the following recipe based on three 500 mL mason jars: 1 full jar of base tincture ⁄3 jar highlight botanical tincture *good for re-use on future batches, and will last indefinitely.


1-3 tsp bitter tincture (depending on strength of bittering agent) Sweetening element to taste (agave, caramel, honey, etc) If using a super-high ABV alcohol like Everclear, feel free to dilute it down to 40-45 percent to stretch the batch and adjust your extracting times accordingly. Go to for another of Nate's bitters recipes and two delicious cocktail recipes. Nate Caudle is co-owner of the Nimble Bar Co.


Tyee One On



Jennifer Danter

Jacqueline Downey

Sometimes the elements of a great cocktail not only pair well with food but are even better splashed right in it! Traditional salmon gravlax gets a tipsy nod from the Negroni. Think bitter notes of Campari smoothed out with creamy vodka, a few botanicals and sweet orange. But first, the Negroni.

Gravlax gets some tipsy assistance from a classic cocktail.


s d a e ta br

H & Dorsera ill C dish ream

1-2-3 Negroni

In a cocktail shaker, combine: 1 oz Campari 1 oz vodka (or gin) 1 oz vermouth Rosso

Add a fistful of ice; shake well. Strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

Local Favourite

ed ion l k c Pi d On Re 48 MARCH/APRIL 2020

Try Ampersand Vodka (from Duncan). It’s made with 100 percent BC-grown wheat and local spring water. Luscious creamy texture with a hint of sweetness. Great in cocktails, and an excellent sipper too!

spring into something fresh at the Blue Crab Organic, local offerings at breakfast, lunch, dinner and our twice-a-day Happy Hour. There’s nothing to be crabby about here!

Negroni Gravlax

1 cup granulated sugar ⅔ cup kosher salt 1 cup chopped dill, divided 1 Tbsp each black peppercorns, coriander seed, and juniper berries, crushed 2 Tbsp grated orange zest ⅓ cup Campari 3 Tbsp Ampersand Per Se Vodka 2½ lb (1.13 kg) salmon fillet (skin on; pin bones removed) Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Line a small baking sheet (one that will fit in your fridge) with a few paper towels, then two overlapping pieces of plastic wrap. In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, ¾ cup dill, peppercorns, coriander, juniper, and orange zest. Sprinkle a third of the salt mixture in centre of prepared pan. Place salmon, skin side down on top. Cover with remaining salt mixture and gently massage in. Drizzle with Campari and vodka. Fold plastic wrap over fish, wrapping as tightly as you can. Place another baking sheet on top; weigh down with heavy objects (try a few large cans or bottles of water). Refrigerate for 48 hours, turning occasionally. Some liquid will leak out onto sheet, that's OK. Unwrap fish; rinse off salt mixture under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels; sprinkle with ¼ cup chopped dill and grind fresh pepper on top.


Established 1992 in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

Welcome to a Food Lover’s Paradise • • • •

Exotic Cheese and Chutneys Truffles, Olives and Pates Gourmet Oils and Vinegars British, European and South African Imported Foods In Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

250-754-0100 426 Fitzwilliam Street the bigcheese@

Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the salmon from the skin on a 45-degree angle. Serve with flatbreads, pickled red onions, and Horseradish and Dill Cream (below). And definitely a Negroni!

Horseradish & Dill Cream Stir together:

½ cup sour cream with 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill 1 Tbsp prepared creamy horseradish Taste; season with salt and pepper.





Adrien Sala caught up with Tarn Tayanunth to talk about Dumpling Drop—the inspiration, intention, and mad success of an Instagram-era food service.



pulled a website together for her and took some promo photos. Before long, Dumping Drop

year, there wasn’t much she could do other than try to keep her happy—and what made

became the “it” food for a lot of downtown residents.

her happy was spending time with her daughter. So Tarn found them something to keep them busy: making dumplings. Hand stuffing dumplings is a simple, repeatable task that can be done while conversation happens at the table. It’s quality time with the side benefit of dumplings.

Things have evolved somewhat since the early days. You can still get dumplings delivered, but there are also options for pickup twice a week in Chinatown. Instagram is still worth a follow for updates, but orders now go through the Dumpling Drop website (still no number to call). She offers two standard dumplings—one veggie kimchi and the other made with pork

Tarn has been involved in the food scene in Victoria for a long time, working front of house

belly from Farm + Field Butcher, as well as a special dumpling each week. There are also a

at Baan Thai for 16 years, managing Famous Original, and most recently working evenings

ton of pop-ups at places like Cold Comfort, Paul’s Motor Inn, Il Sauvage, and The Village, all

at Foo Asian Street Food. Her presence in certain foodie circles is well known, so when word

of whom have been fervent supporters of Tarn and her business.

of the surplus dumplings got out to her friends, it didn’t take long for orders to start coming in. What started as a way to spend time with her mother quickly turned into a fun way to get your dumpling fix.

Tarn is still making dumplings with her mom, which was really the whole point to begin with, and it has become her full-time gig. But it seems likely that the sheer amount of orders will soon require more bodies. In the meantime, placing an order and bringing home some hand-

Dumpling Drop has no storefront or food truck. The original way to get your order in was

made dumplings to cook up whenever the mood strikes is certainly a win for all involved. Get

through Instagram DM (direct messaging). You’d follow her account, place an order, and

to the website a week early though – popularity has its drawbacks and Dumpling Drop can

Tarn would hand-deliver your dumplings to you, frozen, in packs of 20. Eventually, friends

sell out fast.


OPENINGTHIS THISSUMMER! SUMMER! OPENING OPENING THISVictoria, SUMMER! 1515 Douglas Street, BC 1515 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC 1515 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC

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e tantalize m o “C ur taste buds. yo Here. Now.”

Taste the Difference Experience simple, honest flavours from around the world

That's Bubby's Philosophy

Open Daily 7am– 9pm 103-225 Menzies, James Bay 250.590.8209

Some Favourites from the menu: Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange Zest Fratellanza Pizza Russian Befstroganof Fish Khieu Wan Pla Bubby’s Ultimate Burger

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